Can 1 person paddle a 2 person kayak

Can 1 Person Paddle a 2 Person Kayak?

Kayaking is a great fun activity. But do you know what makes kayaking so exciting and popular? Because it allows you to participate with your friends and family. Moreover, you can go solo too if you want some time alone on the water.

Nay kayaker’s out her buy a two-person kayak to use with their partners or friends. But when there is no one to accompany, can 1 person paddle a 2 person kayak? Also, Instead of going for two separate single kayaks, many consider going for two-person options. So, today I’ll discuss this dilemma about kayaking solo on a two-person kayak, its possibility, and how it’s done.

Comparing a one-person kayak vs. a two-person kayak

When you purchase a kayak, there are several considerations to make. But one thing that mainly confuses kayakers is whether they should get a single kayak or a tandem kayak. As you can assume, the name tandem means this kayak is designed for two people.

There are minor differences between a single and tandem kayak, but the key is that tandems have two seats for paddlers. Both kayaks require paddling, but in tandem, the paddling needs to be synced properly. You must determine what type of experience you want to decide between a single and tandem kayak.

Usually, people go for tandem kayaks to enjoy kayaking with a partner, but there can be exceptions too. As we advance, I’ll discuss some instances where a solo paddler might choose to get a two-person kayak.

1-person kayak vs 2-person kayak

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Reasons why a solo kayaker can get a two-person kayak

A tandem kayak is not usually an ideal choice for a single person. It’s not too hard to understand why. However, there are several reasons why a single person can opt for a two-person kayak. Here are some of the common ones I have seen over the years.


This is one of the key reasons why a single person goes for a two-person kayak. While there are different disadvantages, the stability makes it very easy to maintain balance on the water. Especially if you are new to kayaking, this added stability can benefit you. The contact area with water for a tandem kayak is much larger, hence the added stability.


While there are many options for medium-sized guys, I know your pain as a tall kayaker. Sometimes, single kayaks don’t have enough space to sit comfortably and place your legs, whether a plastic or inflatable kayak.

That’s one scenario when a single tall guy might want to get a two-person kayak. However, if you are one of those tall kayakers looking for a tandem kayak, go for sit-on-top variants, as they offer the most legroom.

Storage space and weight capacity

Every kayak has a set weight capacity from its manufacturers. If you go above that limit, you’ll take water, and the kayak will be much harder to maneuver.

Now think of a scenario when you need to carry a lot of stuff like camping and fishing gear. In that scenario, a sea kayak 2 person can come in handy with its storage and weight capacity.

Can 1 person paddle a 2 person kayak?

So, considering all the benefits and challenges mentioned above, is it possible? Yes, you can go kayaking alone on a two-person kayak. However, you must first evaluate the challenges and decide whether you are skilled enough to pull it off.

However, you also need to keep a few challenges in mind. You have to understand that a covetable inflatable kayak for two-person is way too big for a single person. While legroom or storage space is big pluses, it’s pretty challenging to maintain balance, speed, and maneuverability on these kayaks.

First, the weight distribution gets a little off, meaning maintaining balance is hard. Next, the weight might get too heavy to paddle for one person. So, you won’t be able to generate as much speed as a single kayak.

Lastly, there is the maneuverability issue. If you want to know where should one person sits in a two-person kayak, it’s the middle or back of the kayak.

It’s much harder to maneuver as you paddle alone in the back. Making sharp turns or navigating through narrow water passages can get tricky.

When we talk about kayaking solo on a two-person kayak, it’s safe to say that you’ll be carrying it all alone. That’s another issue since large tandem kayaks are much heavier for one person to carry. Moreover, if you carry a lot of gear, loading and unloading those will be another challenge.

If you are ready to overcome these challenges with the skillset, all the benefits of kayaking a two-person kayak alone are yours to enjoy.

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Tips for riding a two-person kayak solo

If you have decided to ride a two-person kayak solo, here are some tips for you that can make the ride a bit more convenient for you.

  • Try to sit in the middle of the rear end for better weight distribution and direction.
  • Add weight on the front side of the kayak if the front feels too light
  • Install a rudder or skeg can be very handy for maneuvering a two-person kayak alone
  • Longer and bigger paddles can help you gain more speed and maintain balance
  • Try to avoid open rivers or sea as they are harder to maintain balance for one person

Final Words

That’s a wrap for today. I hope my article came in handy to clear out any confusion about two-person kayaks. It’s a common and typical scenario where I have seen kayakers go for two-person kayaks to enjoy kayaking with family members and friends.

But confusion arises when that family member or friend is not around, and you have to kayak alone. So, can 1 person paddle a 2 person kayak? As I have discussed above, you won’t always need a partner, even if it’s a two-person kayak. The experience can be challenging, but it’s doable if you have the expertise and keep the instructions above in mind.

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