Can One Person Use a Two Person Kayak?

Kayaking with a solo kayak is not bad at all as it is built to accommodate one person. But when you decide to create your fun with a friend or companion in your adventures, using a two person kayak or tandem kayak will become inevitable. So, it’s obvious that the solo kayak is for one person while the two person or tamdem kayak is for two people.

But, can one person use a two person kayak? Of course, one person can use a two person kayak. However, such a move will create some difficulties if you don’t make adequate adjustments. This article will provide the guide om one person using a two person kayak. Also, it will consider which is better between a single and double kayak.

What Is A Tandem Kayak?

It is a two-person narrow water boat that moves with double-bladed paddles. It is normally used for sports and recreation, having its origin from the Eskimos of Greenland.

Before the emergence of a tandem kayak, the initial construction and use of kayaks are as a single water boat. This means that anyone that goes kayaking will move with a kayak that can only accommodate him.

What Is A Tandem Kayak

But with the need for a companion while kayaking brought the advent of tandem kayak for two people. This makes it possible for people to kayak with a friend, a kid, or even with a furry pet. So, with a tandem kayak, you can create enjoyable paddling experiences and adventures with a companion.

Pros And Cons Of A Tandem Kayak With The Table

Pros Cons
The kayak moves easier and faster with increased speed as it takes two people to paddle. It could be quite difficult to move the kayak in the right direction. This is because the paddling may fail to coordinate and sync as it comes from two paddlers.
A two-person kayak is longer and streamlined than a solo kayak. So, its moving ability is enhanced. Changing the direction is more difficult due to the length of the kayak.
It creates the right means of getting memorable experiences with a companion. Its weight makes it hard to control or convey to a desirable location through a vehicle.
The kayak is wider and is more stable.
It’s a suitable kayak for teaching a beginner on kayaking.
It provides more storage space for gear and other camping luxuries.

Kayaking with a Tandem is not often as simple as you might think. While paddling with a companion on a tandem kayak, it will require patience and time to get better control over the kayak. This is because the paddling strokes from the two paddlers may not synchronize or coordinate to drive the kayak effectively. Such situations create the reason for a tandem to be called ‘The divorce bolt.’

To quickly overcome the situation, the stronger and more experienced paddler should be at the back. Such a position will help him to control the direction of the kayak effectively. Also, he can coordinate their different stroking to produce a combined favorable output. However, he will employ patience to get such an output.

Once the strokings are synched, the result of the paddlers outweighs that of a single person kayaking alone. The two people will get to their destination faster and with little effort than one person. Also, controlling the direction of the boat will be easier for the two than a solo kayaker.

Can One Person Use A Two Person Kayak?

One person can use a two person kayak. This is because two person kayaks are highly flexible. They can serve both as solo kayak and as two person kayak.

Can One Person Use A Two Person Kayak

Though one person can use a tandem or two person kayak, it will happen with some difficulties. So, kayaking a tandem kayak by a lone paddler comes with both some benefits and setbacks.

Necessary Adjustments on a Two Person Kayak for a Solo Use

The answer to can one person use a two person kayak is simply yes. However, you should put in place some adjustments and preparation if you desire to have safe and enjoyable kayaking with a two-person kayak.

Seat Adjustment

A lone kayaker can easily and comfortably use a two-person inflatable kayak. But you will have to adjust the seat set up to suit one person.  The process involves the removal of one of the seats and repositioning the second one to be at the center.

With the new setup, the solo paddler gets more balance with the kayak. Also, it will be easier for him to control the direction as the boat won’t have the part rising above the other.

Use the Rear Seat

When you have a rigid sit-inside two person kayak, you should use the rear seat for solo kayaking. This position gives you possible control for the direction of the kayak. You will have a favorable advantage if using a rudder-equipped kayak. This is because the controls of these kayak types are always at the rear cockpit.

However, using the rear seat will invariably distort the stability and balance of your kayak. As your weight on the rear will cause the front to tilt upwards. Paddling may become hard as the front part of the kayak moves up and away from water. You can strike a balance by putting some of your items, such as camping gear and supplies, within the front sit-in.

Go for Convertible Tandem Kayak

Using a convertible tandem kayak gives you more flexibility to go solo or double (with a companion) kayaking. You can easily convert it within a few minutes to suit your purpose for each adventure.

Convertible Tandem Kayak

The kayaks are mainly inflatable that come with adjustable seats. Hence, the setup process for any use is simple and easy. You are sure of getting a great balance and stability, whether it’s for solo paddling or double kayaking with a friend.

What Are The Advantages Of Using A Two Person Kayak Alone?

Paddling a two person kayak alone has some benefits that could make an individual consider such moves. Here are some of the advantages of using a tandem solo.

What Are The Advantages Of Using A Two Person Kayak Alone

Additional Storage Space

A two person kayak is designed to convey two persons with more space for comfortable sitting. Using such a kayak on solo kayaking leaves you with extra space. You can conveniently keep some personal items like your supplies, camping gear, or fishing tools within the additional space.

Comfortably Sitting Space

When two people are using a tandem kayak, especially the inflatable ones, the set up for the seats may not ensure comfort with their sitting position. With a taller kayaker, there could be a likely discomfort and pain on his legs using the kayak with a companion. This could ruin an intended adventurous move or camping.

But it’s a different situation for a lone kayaker who is using a tandem kayak. His seat adjustment will give him more room to stretch his legs and relax adequately throughout his adventure comfortably.

Adventure With Your Kid/Pet

Some individuals may want to go kayaking with either their kid or their pet. This may never happen when you have a single or one person kayak. Using a two person kayak is your only solution.

With a tandem kayak, you could use the space for your furry pet or your kid. It doesn’t matter that the kid may not know how to paddle. Moreover, you can convert such an opportunity into teaching your child kayaking. It will create the right platform for more bonding with your child or pet.

Disadvantages of Using a Two Person Kayak Alone

Though you can enjoy kayaking solo with a two person kayak, it comes with some difficulties.

Here are some disadvantages of using a tandem kayak alone.

Balancing difficulties And Less Stability

The design of a two person kayak will maintain balance with the weights of persons on both the front and rear seats. However, using it for lone kayaking will create a situation of unbalanced weight. Hence, the boat will become unstable. This could lead to a tilt in the kayak’s position such that its movement will be difficult.

Reduced Control

Once a kayak is not balanced, the control will invariably reduce. A lone user of a tandem kayak will find controlling the direction and movement of the boat more difficult than with two persons. It could result in a dangerous trip once you encounter obstacles during your adventure.

Also, the lone kayaker will expend more effort in paddling the boat to reach its destination. Moreover, the traveling speed will reduce and as the movement slows down without effective control.

Heavy Weight

A two person kayak has more weight than a single one. This increased weight could cause a challenge in balancing and controlling as it needs some considerable weight that will counter its effect. However, a single person’s weight may not meet the required countering effect.

Also, loading a tandem kayak to its place of use or inside a vehicle by a single person could be quite difficult due to its weight.

How Do You Sit In A Two Person Kayak?

Move your seat to sit in the middle of the kayak to ensure stability. Your sitting position matters a lot when using a two person kayak alone. The sitting adjustment will help you create balance and stability on the boat.

Going solo with a two person kayak could be challenging. The major issues are those of balance, stability, and control. Normally, the weights of two people on a tandem will always stabilize a boat. With one person at the front seat and the other at the rear, it creates a balance making the controlling of the kayak easier.

How Do You Sit In A Two Person Kayak

However, where only a person is on the kayak, there will be a tilt in balance. When sitting at the front, the rear end will tilt up and vice versa. The best position will be to adjust one of the seats to the center of the kayak. Such a position will create balance and enable the kayaker to effectively control the boat.

But, the adjustment is only possible for inflatable or convertible kayaks. You will need to use a different approach for a sit-inside two person kayak. The recommendable solution is to sit on one of the seats, preferably the rear and put some loads inside the other to create the desired balance and stability. So, you can maintain good control when kayaking solo with a two person kayak.

How To Paddle A Two Person Kayak?

Move one of the seats to the middle for an inflatable or convertible kayak to paddle as a solo with a two person kayak. With the sit-inside kayak, sit one of the seats (preferably the rear seat) while keeping some loads within the other to create a balance for easy paddling.

Which is Better: Single or Double Kayak?

Using either a single or double kayak could be a good or bad choice for the kayaker. Before you settle for any type, you should consider both your preference and the purpose of the kayak.

Where you love kayaking solo, your best option should be for a single kayak. This limits both the loads you will carry along and your effort while trying to paddle, balance, and control the boat.

However, a double kayak should be your option when you love having a companion on your kayaking adventures. Moreover, you can settle for an inflatable or convertible kayak. With such a boat, you have the opportunity of using it either as a single or a double kayak based on your immediate need. Then, all you need to do is to adjust the seats and get what you want.


Some people may be asking can one person use a two person kayak? Yes, one person can use a double kayak but will experience some challenges. This article exposes how you can effectively use a tandem kayak on solo kayaking.

Also, when you’re considering whether to settle for a single or double kayak, your preference and purpose are the key. However, the best option is an inflatable or convertible kayak that can function both as a single or double kayak with the right setup.