Can one person use a two person kayak ?

If you want to camp and carry your gear with you while traveling the waters, a one-person kayak won’t cut it. The best choice in this situation is to have a two-person kayak for extra storage, but could you safely use a two-person kayak alone?


One person can use a two-person kayak alone, but it won’t be easy. Problems with maneuverability, weight distribution, heavier to haul, and speed are familiar with single paddlers. However, the benefits of extra storage and more legroom can outweigh those issues.


This article will provide information on how you can safely use a two-person kayak and a tandem kayak. You’ll also learn about the safety precautions and tips when kayaking alone. Keep reading.

Are There Pros and Cons for Solo Riding in a Tandem Kayak?

The pros of riding alone in a tandem kayak are extra storage and increased stability. As for the cons, a kayaker needs to deal with maneuver, lifting, and speed difficulties, and uneven weight distribution.

The Pros

  • Extra storage
  • Extra legroom
  • Increased stability

The Cons

  • Uneven weight distribution
  • Harder to control
  • Slower compared to a solo kayak
  • Heavy to transport single-handedly


Use this list to help you decide if riding alone in a tandem kayak is for you. Do you value extra storage and better stability over speed and weight?

What Are the Dangers of Paddling Alone in a Two-Person Kayak?

The dangers of paddling alone in a two-person kayak at a higher risk are capsizing, currents, and collisions. While other hazards are present, these three are the most dangerous to lone kayakers, especially those alone in a tandem kayak.


No one wants to think about what terrible things could happen on a trip, but knowing what to look out for may save your life. In kayaking, think of the three C’s: capsizing, collision, and currents.


No matter if you’re a professional or new to kayaking, everyone risks capsizing the kayak. A tandem kayak alone will be harder to flip back over since it is heavier than a solo passenger kayak, but it’s not impossible.


Kayaks can capsize from currents, waves, and even if your kayak carries too much weight to throw off balance. While you may be in a tandem kayak, there’s too much or too little weight.


If you’re paddling alone, you may encounter obstacles such as rock walls or other kayakers. These obstacles are easy to avoid, but you can’t react as fast in a tandem kayak as a solo kayak.


According to the United States Coast Guard, “In 2018, the Coast Guard counted 4,145 accidents that involved 663 deaths, 2,511 injuries and approximately 46 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.”


Those numbers most likely include kayakers in a tandem kayak. Tandems are proven to be heavier than solo kayaks and are difficult to control, making them very dangerous to go solo.


While all kayakers face the danger of water currents, those who are alone in a tandem kayak are no exception. Solo kayakers can fight the current somewhat to prevent themselves from being swept away, not so much for those alone in a tandem kayak.

Are There Any Safety Classes for Two-Person Kayaks?

There are safety classes geared for any kayaks, including two-person kayaks. Taking safety classes, especially when paddling in a tandem kayak alone, will help you gain self-confidence in your skills and prepare you for emergencies.


The last thing you want is something to go wrong on your trip. To prevent and lower any chance of something going awry, taking safety classes will save your life if something were to go wrong.

Reasons You Should Take Kayak Safety Lessons

You’re probably thinking, “What’s the difference between taking classes and watching them on YouTube?” While free videos online are more accessible and cheaper, you don’t get the hands-on experience in-person classes offer.


Expert and water sports enthusiast Austin Carmody says taking kayak lessons can help prevent terrible paddling habits for every type of kayaker. While classes may not matter as much for recreational use, it matters if you ever want to kayak in whitewater and tour.

What Kayak Safety Classes Teach You

Kayaking classes teach you many unique and helpful skills, but the main takeaway is becoming more confident in your recently learned skills. The interaction you get with your instructor is something you won’t get from online videos, either. Now, let’s find out what you’ll get if you choose to take kayaking lessons.


You may be able to rewind and review videos again, but do you have time to pull out your phone and watch a video on how to save yourself when you could be drowning? The answer is no; you don’t.


While you can learn how to rescue yourself when your kayak capsizes on the internet, you’re more hands-on and confident when you know from a professional in person. Also, you wouldn’t be alone. When you take your tandem kayak with you for your lessons, you can have your instructor give you tips on how to rescue yourself during emergencies.

Proper Techniques

In classes, you learn how to paddle in your kayak correctly. Some self-taught kayakers think they know everything about kayaking and can change some things about it, but in reality, that may get them killed.


When you learn proper techniques about paddling, you can efficiently move your kayak in the direction you want to and could save yourself from future shoulder pain in the process. However, this training doesn’t stop at just paddling.


Some techniques and tips that are taught in kayaking lessons are:


  • How to select bodies of water to kayak in
  • Using the proper kayak for certain conditions
  • Dressing correctly for water and air temperatures
  • Tips on getting into the kayak correctly


While there are many other techniques and tips to learn, I wouldn’t want to spoil all of them for you in this article. Take a class and see what you can learn!


Kayaking lessons teach you one thing that the internet cannot teach- self-confidence. When you know you’re doing the right thing and are confident you can do it, you can tackle anything in your way while kayaking.


While you can use a tandem kayak alone, you must be aware of the safety concerns that come with it. To decrease the possible dangerous outcomes, taking classes and knowing what dangers you could face makes you think critically if a tandem kayak is really for you on your own.

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