The Best Kayaks for Families of 2019

best kayaks for families

Kayaking is a fun and safe way for whole families to enjoy summer activities and water sports. It's an activity that is enjoyable and healthy, and lets you build special memories together. But not all kayaks are good for the whole family, so it's important to look for a kayak with enough space and the right features to be safe and pleasant for everyone. Here are our top picks for the best kayaks for families:

Comparison Chart

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, Yellow, 12 Feet
ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE-1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak, 15', Red
Lifetime 90118 Manta Tandem Sit on Top Kayak with Paddles and Backrests, 10 Feet, Yellow
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, Yellow, 12 Feet
ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE-1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak, 15', Red
Lifetime 90118 Manta Tandem Sit on Top Kayak with Paddles and Backrests, 10 Feet, Yellow
$777.00
$622.38
from $564.40
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, Yellow, 12 Feet
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, Yellow, 12 Feet
$777.00
ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE-1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak, 15', Red
ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE-1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak, 15', Red
$622.38
Lifetime 90118 Manta Tandem Sit on Top Kayak with Paddles and Backrests, 10 Feet, Yellow
Lifetime 90118 Manta Tandem Sit on Top Kayak with Paddles and Backrests, 10 Feet, Yellow
from $564.40

Best Kayaks for Families Reviews

1. ​Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak 

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, Yellow, 12 Feet

Review

The Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Kayak can hold up to 425 pounds, and has plenty of room for two adults and a child. It has three paddling positions so that it can be used by one, two, or three people at the same time. Overlapping molded-in foot wells allow everyone to use the kayak in comfort and safety. The two comfort-plus seats, molded-in handles, and side carry handles provide extra comfort and versatility, no matter how long or short your legs may be.

Even better, the design of the hull and deck of the Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Kayak are designed for easy stacking, for compact storage and transportation if you need more than one for a growing family. It comes in three colors: Yellow, Envy, and a two-tone Sunrise color.

It is more stable and versatile than other sit-on-top kayaks and has bow and stern carry handles, gear straps, and a skid plate so everything stays easy, safe, and secure. Ocean Kayaks are known for their durability, and the 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem will last for years with proper care.

Sale
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, Yellow, 12 Feet
  • Enjoy sun and surf with a friend or a furry companion with the kayak's three seating positions, which support solo, tandem, or tandem paddling with a child or pet.
  • A pair of Comfort Plus seats provide four-way adjustability, generating a custom fit and greater slip prevention over molded seats.
  • Patented overlapping foot wells allow center-seated paddlers to settle in and brace their feet comfortably.
  • The open, sit-on-top hull makes it easy to get on and off the kayak and includes a pair of molded-in handles and skid plate.
  • Maximum capacity of 425 pounds; measures 12 feet long and 34 inches wide. Lifetime warranty on the hull.
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PROS

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    ​Easily usable by one, two, or three people with multiple paddle configuration options
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    ​Plenty of room for two adults and a child or pet
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    Hull design allows for easy stacking
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    Has bow and stern carry handles, gear straps, and a skid plate
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    Excellent handling and stability
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    ​Innovative overlapping foot wells provide good stability and leg room

CONS

  • ​At 62 pounds, it is pretty heavy to transport, but then, it is a large, high-capacity kayak

2. ​Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak 

ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE-1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak, 15', Red

Review

For a tandem kayak without all the weight, the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak is an inflatable kayak with a capacity of up to 550 pounds. It collapses down into a bag for the easiest transport possible, but, when inflated, the built-in aluminum ribs define the bow and stern for improved tracking. Three layers of material provide sturdy puncture resistance for safety, and it has three paddle positions for solo or tandem kayaking.

When folded, the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak weighs 52 pounds and is just 35 x 21 x 12 inches. It is pre-assembled, so you just unfold it, inflate it, and attach the supportive, adjustable padded seats. It has an integrated pressure relief valve, molded low-profile rubber handles, reinforced seams in rip-stop fabric, a skeg tracking fin, and six chambers. D-ring tie-downs and deck lacing provide easy options for gear and transporting the kayak.

For an additional purchase, you can take advantage of AdvancedFrame's different deck configurations and make the most of this convertible kayak, so you can have the open, closed, or tandem decks that suit you best.

Sale
ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE-1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak, 15', Red
  • Built-in aluminum ribs define the bow and stern and improves tracking
  • Three layers of material for extreme puncture resistance.Folded size 35 X 21 X 12 inches. Max Weight-550 pounds. Weight-52 pounds
  • Pre-assembled at the factory; simply unfold, inflate, and attach the seats
  • High support, adjustable padded seats provide comfort for hours of paddling
  • Three seat locations allow for paddling solo or tandem
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PROS

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    ​Lightweight and portable
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    ​Three seat configurations
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    ​Seat backs are comfortable and adjustable
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    Holds up to 550 pounds

CONS

  • ​Can be time-consuming to deflate, clean, and dry out. The fabric is more difficult to dry and maintain than a hardshell kayak
  • ​It can be difficult to try to get it back into the case, and the action of putting it into and taking it out of the case can mis-set the aluminum ribs, which need to be re-positioned and fiddled with a bit before the next use

3. ​Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Sit-on Kayak with Padded Backrests 

Lifetime 90118 Manta Tandem Sit on Top Kayak with Paddles and Backrests, 10 Feet, Yellow

Review

The Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Sit-on Kayak is a great choice for a small family. Although it's just 10 feet long, it holds an impressive 500 pounds, and can be used singly or tandem. It has a lightweight design with molded front, and rear carry handles for easy transport. The built-in soft backrests support you in comfort, and the high and dry seating keeps you dry. The tunnel hull design provides excellent stability and tracking, and it's almost impossible to tip over.

It comes in yellow or green, and two 2-piece sports paddles are included with the kayak. While it may not be as fast or as sleek as many other kayaks on the market, that's not what you get this kayak for. You get it because it's a safe well constructed kayak that can easily be used by the whole family.

Lifetime 90118 Manta Tandem Sit on Top Kayak with Paddles and Backrests, 10 Feet, Yellow
  • Designed for single or tandem use; 500 Lb. weight capacity
  • Includes 2 soft backrests and 2 double sided paddles
  • Lightweight 60 lb. design with molded front and rear carry handles for easy transport
  • Tunnel hull design provides ultra stability and tracking; Almost impossible to tip over
  • "High and Dry" seating keeps riders off of kayak floor; Backed by a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty
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PROS

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    ​Excellent for use with small children or pets; the non-tip design provides extra stability
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    ​Upturned bow manages waves easily
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    Comes with oars included
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    ​Versatile seating options for solo or tandem kayaking
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    Holds up to 500 pounds

CONS

  • ​Not as fast as other kayaks
  • ​Not as sleek as other kayaks

​The Verdict

When kayaking with kids and pets, safety is the most important thing. For that reason, our No. 1 recommendation for those with small children and young pets is the Lifetime 10 Foot Tandem Sit-On Kayak. It isn't as fast or sleek as other kayaks and doesn't always track well, and some don't like the exaggerated “banana boat” shape, but it's virtually impossible to tip over and extremely safe for the whole family. It's a great way to have fun, relaxed, safe water outings, even with young children, and ensure that everyone stays safe on the water.

For those with older children or pets, the Ocean Kayak Malibu Tandem is also a great choice. It has a good weight rating, excellent handling, and is perfect for two adults and a child or a pet, even if you want to go ocean kayaking and handle some waves. Kayaking is a spectacular family-friendly activity, whether it's just exploring and playing, or fishing and relaxing, and these kayaks are a great way to do it together, and in safety.

The Best Kayaks for Families of 2019

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