Can One Person Use A Two Person Inflatable Kayak?

If you’re a single person and you’d like to use a two-person inflatable kayak, you’re probably wondering if it can be done? And what the potential drawbacks of doing so are. Two-person kayaks are, obviously, designed for carrying and handling with two people. So there are some things you’ll need to consider.

Can One Person Use A Two Person Inflatable Kayak

A two-person kayak will not handle in the same way when there is only one passenger. It is designed to carry more weight, so you need to be aware of this. You may also find the seat placement odd and trickier to distribute your weight properly, making the kayak unbalanced.

Why Does It Handle Differently?

Tandem kayaks were designed to carry two people. Therefore, they are designed to carry quite a lot of weight.

If you only have one person in the kayak, you’re going to find that it tracks differently in the water.

This might be an issue if you’re used to its handling with two people – or even if you’re just used to another kayak. You may find that it is complicated and unwieldy. You’ll also struggle to get it to go where you want.

This is even more likely with inflatable kayaks, which tend to be somewhat awkward to maneuver anyway. They are also not as quick in the water as other kayaks. So, if you’re used to having a second pair of hands while paddling, you might really notice this issue.

However, it shouldn’t be impossible to overcome these problems. You may have to work harder to get the kayak to go where you want. But as long as you are reasonably experienced in the water and you persevere, you should succeed.

It is not a good idea to take a kayak you are unfamiliar with on a challenging route – and that goes for changing a two-person into a one-person kayak. Get used to handling it because it will be very different from paddling with a partner before you attempt anything difficult.

What Makes It Unbalanced?

Again, not having a second paddler may make your kayak unbalanced, especially if it has seats that don’t move. For example, if you sit at the back, you may find the kayak lists backward. And the same issue could occur if you sit at the front.

An unbalanced kayak is much more likely to roll over if it hits a wave at the wrong angle because it will already be sitting awkwardly in the water. 

You might be able to correct for this, but the chances are that you will be less balanced no matter what you do. So you need to take this into account when assessing conditions.

Putting something heavy in the back or front of the kayak may help with the problem, but don’t expect it to resolve it totally. You aren’t likely to be carrying something that weighs as much as another person around with you, and doing so could actually be hazardous. 

While a cooler full of lunch might be a good idea, it probably won’t make much difference to the boat’s overall balance, though it may help a bit.

According to Outsidology, some people find that they have more control and balance if they sit in the back seat of a tandem kayak, so you may wish to try this if you are having problems.

Can I Move The Seats?

In some kayaks, you can move the tandem seats. And indeed, some are designed to let you place a seat in the middle rather than at either end. 

These kayaks are the most likely to convert into single-person kayaks successfully, but you will still suffer from maneuverability problems.

Whether you can move the seats around will depend on the model you own. But if you can, you should find that the kayak can convert well into a single-person boat, even if it doesn’t track brilliantly in the water.

What Other Problems Might I Face?

In traditional tandem kayaks, you would probably find that the boat would be too heavy for you to carry alone unless you were very strong. 

However, with an inflatable kayak, you’re unlikely to run into that issue – but be aware that it will be heavier and bulkier than a solo inflatable kayak.

That isn’t likely to be too much of a deal-breaker. However, if you’re tall or want lots of space for gear, it’s probably worth the sacrifice to get the additional room.

Windy days are likely to present more of an issue if you’re using a tandem kayak alone. Because of the lightness of these boats, they are much more likely to be blown off course. And even more so if they don’t have the anticipated weight inside them.

Be aware of the weather conditions when setting out, and test the boat’s control before paddling away from shore. 

You don’t want to find you’ve been blown into trouble because the boat doesn’t have enough weight to make it stable in the water. Inflatable kayaks themselves weigh quite a bit, but just as they have weight limits, they also require a certain amount of weight to make them stable.

What Are The Advantages Of Using A Two-Person Inflatable Kayak?

There are a few advantages to using a two-person kayak, of course. The first is obvious; you don’t have to buy a second solo kayak if you don’t always have someone on the water with you. This saves money and space.

The second is that you will have more room in the boat. If you’re tall or you want to carry quite a lot of stuff with you, you will find that some kayaks are too cramped – and most tandem kayaks certainly are if you have another passenger.

You may find it more convenient to have the space offered by a tandem kayak, even with the sacrificed maneuverability. You can stow a picnic or a cooler full of drinks by your feet and enjoy them throughout the day.

Ideally, if you’re going to purchase a two-person inflatable kayak, you should look for one designed to convert into a single-person kayak.

This might seem like a frustrating caveat, especially if you really do plan to always kayak with another person. But it’s still important to consider.

Solo kayaking is often more fun. Even if you do it with another person in their own boat. And it provides more freedom and control to both people. 

While tandem kayaking can be great for beginners, it often causes problems once the kayakers are experienced and want to explore more and have their own paddling styles.

Buying a tandem kayak is the best solution. However, it will never be as agile or quick in the water as a solo kayak. On the other hand, it will let you adapt as your kayaking needs change. And allows you to enjoy additional space if you aren’t traveling with a partner. In addition, you’ll have the option to take someone along if you want to.

Final Word

A single person can use a two-person kayak. But it is often a bit tricky to manage, especially in windy or rough conditions. 

You should get a good feel for the handling before you challenge yourself. As the kayak will be easily blown off course or capsized.

Choose a kayak with movable seats. And you will have (nearly) the best of both worlds, with increased space at the cost of some maneuverability.