Deciding on whether to use a single or double kayak is important. This article discusses single vs double kayaks and which one is easier to use.

Single vs Double Kayaks - Which One Is Easier To Use?

If you are new to kayaking, you may wonder if you should choose a single or double vessel. Which one of these is easier to use? Are there true differences? Before selecting an option, it is wise for you to survey the benefits of both.

Learning about the differences between single and double kayaks and the advantages and disadvantages will help you choose wisely.

What Are the Differences Between Single and Tandem Kayaks?

The most significant difference between single and double kayaks is evident. Double kayaks hold two people, while singles carry one. In addition to the unmistakable, it is also essential you understand the added seat means additional weight, which can affect your experience in the water.

While you will paddle the same way in a single or double kayak, tandem kayaks do require more effort because both you and your partner must work together by synchronizing your movements. Without synchronization, you could lose control of the kayak.

Consider the Following When Choosing Between Single or Double Kayaks

There are a few considerations you should think about before choosing between a single or double kayak. It is not that one is easier than the other as far as management, but some people find it easier to go with a single kayak because they remain in complete control. If you are choosing between the two, consider the following.

single kayaks going down a river

First, Define Your Purpose

What is your purpose for purchasing a kayak? Do you enjoy time alone on the river or lake, or do you prefer spending time with friends and family?

If you will be kayaking with a close friend or loved one, a double kayak is going to offer a more intimate experience and allow the two of you to share each moment of the journey.

If you are a person who prefers to explore alone, a single kayak is likely going to please you more. You may find it limiting to work with another person to paddle and agree on location.

Evaluate Your Skills

If you have just begun learning to kayak or have no experience at all, you may prefer a tandem vessel. A double kayak allows you to travel with an instructor or guide who can teach you the ways of kayaking and keep you out of trouble.

If you are a beginner and want to purchase a single kayak, have no fear. Thankfully, kayaking is not complicated, and it only takes a short amount of time for you to grow accustomed to maneuvering and paddling.

Consider the Cargo Space

Another thing you must consider is the amount of cargo space in or on your vehicle. If you are limited on space, you are likely going to find a single kayak will be more suitable. Single kayaks are shorter and weigh much less than tandem options.

single and double kayaks sitting on a beach

Is Speed Important?

Another factor that sets single and double kayaks apart is the speed. If you love going down the water as fast as possible, you will need to avoid tandem kayaks.

Single kayaks are smaller and lighter in weight, so they go much faster and are easier to maneuver. Single kayaks require much less correction when steering, and you do not have to worry about synchronizing your paddling and movements.

What Is Your Strength Level?

As you consider the factors involved in deciding between single or double kayaks, you need to think about your personal strength. How strong are you?

If you are lacking upper body strength, a single kayak may become difficult for you. With a double kayak, you have help paddling and maneuvering. If you get weak, your partner can take up the slack.

While on your own, in a single kayak, the full burden of paddling and maneuvering rests on your shoulders. If you become overly tired or weak, you could be in danger.

man sitting in a kayak on a lake

Can You Solo Paddle on a Double Kayak?

While double kayaks are bigger and clumsier, you do not need a partner and can take them out solo, with some difficulty. Although it is more challenging to paddle a tandem kayak alone, there are things you can do to make it easier.

  • Adjust the rear seat as close as possible to the front seat.
  • Place some weighted gear in the empty seat to balance the kayak.
  • Make sure you will have clear weather during your trip down the water.
  • Consider using a spray skirt to keep water from entering the kayak.
  • Purchase a conversion kit, if you no longer plan on using the kayak tandemly.

Advantages of using a single kayak

  • More room for equipment
  • Ability to kayak on your terms
  • Control the kayak by yourself
  • Less expensive to purchase
  • Less weight and easier to carry
  • Easier to transport
  • Better choice for fishing
  • Faster than a tandem kayak

Disadvantages of using a single kayak

  • Not able to take a friend or family member
  • More expensive to purchase

Advantages of a doubles or tandem kayak

  • Ability to kayak with a friend or loved one
  • Paddling with another person can allow you to go further
  • Easy to take a break while the other person paddles
  • Some people prefer to have someone tag along and not be alone
  • If something goes wrong, there is another person to help

Disadvantages of a doubles or tandem kayak

  • More weight making it more difficult to carry
  • More difficult to transport
  • Both people need to agree on a kayak route and schedule
  • Less freedom
  • Less space for equipment with an extra person
  • Poor choice for fishing
  • Harder to navigate
  • Tend to go slower

Is a single or double kayak better for beginners?

If you are a beginner and are learning to kayak, you may want to consider starting with a tandem or doubles kayak. Although there are advantages and disadvantages of using both singles and doubles kayaks, many beginners prefer the double when starting out. They tend to go slower and can be easier to learn on. If you have an instructor with you and need a break, having another person with you is best.

Which Is Easier: Single or Double Kayaks?

Both can be easier than the other, based on your situation. In some instances, a double kayak is more appropriate, and in others a single vessel may be the best option.

Consider the above to ensure you make the best choice. Kayaking is a thrilling sport people can enjoy, even with little experience.

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