large family in a 3 person kayak with three seat

Best 3 Person Kayaks for Large Families & Family Kayaking Tips

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If you’re in search of the best 3 person kayaks for large families and essential family kayaking tips, we got you here at Wander Wildschool.

We know all too well that choosing the best kayak for your big family adventure can be a daunting task, with the many options available on the market.

best 3 person kayaks for families and family kayaking pin

Whether you’re looking for sit-inside kayaks, tandem kayaks, or inflatable boats suitable for large families, we’ve curated a list of top-rated 3 person kayaks to cater to your family’s needs.

But before we dive in you should know that when choosing the best kayak for your family, it’s crucial to prioritize safety by ensuring everyone wears a personal flotation device and carry essential items such as a first aid kit, paddle floats, and a tow line.

Investing in additional gear like dry bags for storing belongings and fishing gear for outdoor adventures can enhance the overall experience for the entire family.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into the best three seat kayaks for large families for your next family adventure!

What to Consider When Choosing 3 Person Kayaks for Large Families

1. Size and Capacity: When selecting the best kayak for your large family, it’s crucial to consider the storage space and maximum weight capacity to comfortably accommodate all family members and any accompanying gear or supplies.

Consider the number of family members who will be paddling and their respective sizes. Double-check the weight capacity to ensure it can safely support the combined weight of all paddlers and equipment.

2. Stability and Maneuverability: Ensuring greater stability is essential, especially with young children onboard.

Look for stable kayaks with a wide beam floor and a removable tracking fin for improved maneuverability in open water conditions.

3. Comfort and Accessibility: Prioritize comfortable seats with adjustable backrests to cater to varying body types within the family.

Sit-on-top kayaks like the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL offer ease of use and ample space, making them a good option for families with young children and first-time paddlers.

4. Storage and Gear Space: Evaluate the available storage options, including dry bags and duffel bags, to ensure there’s plenty of space for gear and supplies during day trips or overnight camping.

Consider inflatable tandem kayaks with separate air chambers like the Sevylor Big Basin 3-person kayak for added durability and safety.

5. Construction Materials: Kayaks come in various materials, each with its own advantages.

Heavy-duty PVC construction is common in inflatable kayaks like the Driftsun Teton, providing durability and lightweight design suitable for families seeking portable kayaks.

6. Additional Features: Explore additional features such as fishing rod holders and built-in cup holders to enhance your family’s kayaking experience.

Consider recreational kayaks like the BKC TK with ample space and comfortable seating for leisurely day trips.

What is the Best Kayak for Family?

When it comes to finding the best kayak for large families, several factors come into play to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

  • Sit-inside kayaks offer stability and protection from the elements, making them a top choice for families with kids.
  • Tandem kayaks, such as the Intex Explorer K2, provide ample space for multiple passengers and gear, perfect for long-distance recreational outings on both shallow and deeper waters.
  • For families with younger children, inflatable seats and stable designs are essential features to look for, ensuring comfort and safety throughout the adventure.
  • Kayaks with adjustable seats and flush mount rod holders offer versatility and convenience, catering to the diverse needs of family members of all ages.

Whether you’re navigating calm lakes or open waters, selecting the right kayak with the appropriate weight capacity and additional features is crucial for creating lasting memories of fun-filled family kayaking trips.

What is the Easiest Kayak to Get in and Out of?

When it comes to ease of entry and exit, sit-on-top kayaks are often the preferred choice. Their open design and spacious cockpit make them incredibly user-friendly, especially for families with children or beginners.

Sit-on-top kayaks like the Intex Explorer K1 and the Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak offer hassle-free access, allowing kayakers of all ages to easily climb on and off without feeling confined.

These recreational kayaks are perfect for leisurely paddles on calm waters, providing stability and comfort for families looking to enjoy a day on the water.

With their lightweight construction and adjustable features, such as the seats found in models like the Sevylor Quikpak K5, sit-on-top kayaks offer versatility and convenience, making them the perfect choice for young kids, teens, and adults alike, whether navigating small lakes or venturing into the open ocean.

What Style Kayak is Most Stable?

When it comes to stability, sit-on-top kayaks are often considered the most reliable choice, especially for families with kids or beginners.

Unlike sit-inside kayaks, which may feel more confined, sit-on-top kayaks offer an open cockpit design that enhances stability, making them ideal for small children or those looking for a stable and secure paddling experience.

Models like the Intex Explorer K1 and the Sun Dolphin Journey provide a comfortable seat and ample room to move around, ensuring confidence and peace of mind for paddlers of all ages.

Whether navigating flat water or venturing into rough conditions, sit-on-top kayaks remain a popular choice for their versatility, ease of use, and reliable stability.

Best Kayaks for Families

Let’s get into our top pics for family kayaks!

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The Driftsun Teton 120 Hard Shell Recreational Tandem Kayak is a top-notch recreational tandem kayak designed for families seeking adventure on the water.

With its durable hard shell construction, this kayak ensures stability and reliability for both novice and experienced paddlers alike.

Its spacious design comfortably accommodates two to three persons, making it perfect for family outings or group excursions.

Featuring a sit-on-top design, the Driftsun Teton 120 offers easy entry and exit, along with ample legroom for a comfortable paddling experience.

The kayak is equipped with multiple storage options, including rear tank well storage with bungee cords and two watertight storage hatches, providing plenty of room for gear and supplies on extended trips.

The kayak’s hull design facilitates smooth tracking and maneuverability, while molded-in handles make transportation to and from the water a breeze.

It’s adjustable padded seats ensure optimal comfort during long hours on the water, while molded footwells accommodate paddlers of various sizes.


Storage Space: The Driftsun Teton 120 offers ample storage compartments and bungee rigging, ensuring plenty of space for gear, snacks, and essentials needed for extended journeys.

Adjustable Seats: Comfortable and adjustable seats provide a personalized paddling experience for every family member, enhancing comfort during long excursions.

Hard Shell Design: Crafted from heavy-duty PVC construction, the Driftsun Teton 120 boasts a hard shell design that ensures durability and stability, making it ideal for tackling various water conditions.

Stability and Performance: With a sleek and streamlined profile, this kayak excels in both calm waters and open oceans, offering smooth and efficient performance for the entire family.

Additional Features: Equipped with fishing rod holders and plenty of space for water bottles and gear, the Driftsun Teton 120 is not only a great choice for recreational paddling but also for fishing trips and day-long adventures.

Pros & Cons

to Driftsun Teton 120

  • Durable hard shell construction for stability and reliability
  • Suitable for various water conditions, including calm waters and open oceans
  • Sit-on-top design with ample legroom for easy entry and exit
  • Multiple storage options including rear tank well storage and watertight hatches
  • Adjustable padded seats and molded footwells for comfort during long trips
  • Molded-in handles for easy transportation to and from the water
  • Heavier weight may require assistance for transportation, especially when fully loaded
  • Limited color options compared to some other models on the market
  • Some users may prefer additional features such as built-in rod holders or cup holders

2. The Sevylor Big Basin 3-person Kayak

The Sevylor Big Basin 3 person kayak is a versatile and reliable choice for families seeking thrilling adventures on the water. Designed to accommodate up to three paddlers, this inflatable kayak offers exceptional performance and comfort for a memorable outdoor experience.

Constructed with durable materials, the Sevylor Big Basin ensures stability and durability, even in challenging water conditions. Its sturdy build and heavy-duty PVC construction make it a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts.

One of the standout features of the Sevylor Big Basin is its spacious design, providing ample storage space for gear, snacks, and other essentials needed for long journeys.

Additionally, the kayak’s adjustable seats ensure optimal comfort for each paddler, catering to varying body types and preferences.

Whether navigating through calm waters or exploring open ocean, the Sevylor Big Basin offers greater stability and maneuverability, thanks to its removable skeg and streamlined design.

It’s a great option for family outings, day trips, or even fishing adventures, with integrated fishing rod holders for added convenience.

Equipped with a hand pump for easy inflation and deflation, the Sevylor Big Basin is incredibly portable and easy to use, making it suitable for paddlers of all skill levels. Its lightweight design and included carry bag allow for hassle-free transportation to and from the water.


  • Spacious design with ample storage space.
  • Adjustable seats for enhanced comfort.
  • Stable and durable construction for longer distances and various water conditions.
  • Removable skeg for improved tracking and maneuverability.
  • Integrated fishing rod holders for added versatility.
  • Easy inflation and deflation with included hand pump.
  • Portable and lightweight design with included carry bag.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious design with ample storage space
  • Adjustable seats for enhanced comfort
  • Stable and durable construction for longer distances and various water conditions
  • Easy to inflate and deflate with included hand pump
  • Integrated fishing rod holders for added versatility
  • Portable and lightweight design with included carry bag
  • Can be affected by strong winds and currents in open water conditions
  • Maximum weight capacity may limit gear and supplies for extended trips

The Lifetime Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak offers seating for up to three people, making it perfect for family outings.

green lifetime tandem sit on top kayak for family

Its durable high-density polyethylene construction ensures stability and longevity, while the sit-on-top design provides easy entry and exit for passengers of all ages.

With ample storage space and built-in features like cup holders and paddle cradles, this kayak is well-suited for recreational activities and day trips on the water.


Spacious Design: The Lifetime Tandem kayak has a spacious cockpit with ample room for two paddlers and a small child in the center seat and their gear. Its generous storage space allows for convenient stowing of essentials, making it perfect for longer excursions and family outings.

Adjustable Seats: Equipped with adjustable seats, this kayak offers customizable comfort to accommodate paddlers of varying sizes and preferences. The ergonomic design ensures a comfortable and supportive seating experience during extended paddling sessions.

Sit-On-Top Design: The sit-on-top configuration provides easy entry and exit, making it suitable for paddlers of all skill levels, including beginners and young children. It also offers enhanced stability, allowing for greater confidence and maneuverability on the water.

Stable Hull Design: The kayak features a stable hull design, with a wide beam for superior stability in choppy waters. This design element provides greater confidence for paddlers, especially in windy or turbulent conditions.

Integrated Footrests: Built-in footrests offer additional comfort and support, allowing paddlers to maintain proper posture and leverage while paddling. The adjustable footrests accommodate paddlers of different heights, ensuring a customized fit for optimal performance.

Multiple Carry Handles: Convenient molded carry handles facilitate easy transport to and from the water, allowing for hassle-free loading and unloading from vehicles or storage areas.

Scupper Holes: The kayak is equipped with scupper holes to drain excess water from the cockpit, keeping paddlers dry and comfortable during their adventures.

Accessory Mounting Points: Integrated mounting points allow for the attachment of accessories such as fishing rod holders, cup holders, or additional gear storage options, enhancing the kayak’s versatility for various activities.

Pros & Cons

to Lifetime Tandem Sit-on-Top Kayak

  • Spacious seating for up to three occupants
  • Suitable for family kayaking
  • Stable and easy to maneuve
  • Plenty of storage space for gear and supplies
  • Durable construction for long-lasting use
  • Heavier and less portable than inflatable kayaks
  • Tandem design may require coordination

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Kayak XL stands out as a versatile and reliable choice for families and outdoor enthusiasts seeking an exceptional paddling experience.

This tandem kayak is designed to accommodate up to three paddlers, making it ideal for families with young children or groups of friends looking to explore the water together.


Spacious Storage: With ample storage space onboard, including bow and stern tank wells, the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL allows you to bring along all your gear and supplies for extended adventures on the water.

Adjustable Seats: The kayak features adjustable seats to ensure customizable comfort for each paddler. Whether you’re embarking on a short excursion or a full-day adventure, you can easily adjust the seats to find the perfect position for optimal paddling comfort.

Stable Sit-On-Top Design: Its sit-on-top design offers stability and ease of use, making it suitable for paddlers of all skill levels. The wide hull provides greater stability in calm waters and open ocean conditions, allowing you to paddle with confidence.

Durable Construction: Crafted from durable materials, the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL is built to withstand the rigors of regular use. Its hardshell construction ensures long-lasting durability and reliability for years of enjoyment on the water.

Versatile Performance: Whether you’re paddling in calm waters or venturing into more challenging conditions, the Malibu Two XL delivers versatile performance. Its sleek hull design allows for efficient paddling, while the removable skeg enhances tracking and stability.

Pros & Cons

to Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Kayak XL

  • Spacious storage capacity for gear and supplies
  • Adjustable seats for personalized comfort
  • Stable sit-on-top design suitable for all skill levels
  • Durable construction for long-lasting use
  • Versatile performance in various water conditions
  • Removable skeg for enhanced tracking
  • Limited seating capacity compared to larger kayaks
  • Sit-on-top design may result in exposure to water splashes in rough conditions

The Sea Eagle 420X Explorer Inflatable Kayak is an exceptional choice for families seeking an adventurous paddling experience. Crafted with durable materials and boasting a spacious design, this kayak offers unparalleled stability and performance for exploring a variety of waterways, from calm lakes to open oceans.

Featuring adjustable seats and ample storage space, the Sea Eagle 420X ensures a comfortable and convenient ride for paddlers of all sizes, even during long-distance excursions. Its inflatable design, coupled with the included hand pump, makes it one of the best inflatable kayaks for families who value portability and ease of use.

With its removable skeg and stable sit-on-top configuration, the Sea Eagle 420X excels in a wide range of water conditions, providing greater stability and maneuverability even in choppy waters. Whether you’re embarking on a day trip or an extended expedition, this kayak delivers exceptional performance and reliability.


  • Spacious design with adjustable seats for added comfort during long trips.
  • Ample storage space for gear and supplies, ensuring you have everything you need for your adventure.
  • Removable skeg for enhanced tracking and stability, allowing for smooth paddling in various water conditions.
  • Durable materials and construction ensure long-lasting performance, making it a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Inflatable design and included hand pump make it easy to transport and set up wherever your adventures take you.

All in all, the Sea Eagle 420X Explorer Inflatable Kayak stands out as a top choice for families seeking a reliable, versatile, and convenient watercraft for their outdoor adventures. With its durable construction, adjustable features, and exceptional performance, it’s no wonder why it’s considered one of the best options in the inflatable kayak market.

Pros & Cons

to Sea Eagle 420x Explorer

  • Exceptional stability and performance in calm waters and open ocean alike
  • Comfortable seating and ample legroom for paddlers of all sizes
  • Lightweight and portable design for easy transportation and storage
  • Versatile and suitable for a wide range of water activities, from fishing to recreational paddling
  • May not offer as much storage space as hardshell kayaks for extended expeditions
  • Requires some assembly and inflation before use, which may take more time compared to rigid kayaks


When it comes to selecting the best 3-person kayaks for large families, several factors must be considered to ensure a rewarding and enjoyable paddling experience. Whether embarking on long distances or exploring calm waters, finding the best option means weighing the merits of various kayak types, including hardshell kayaks and inflatable boats.

For families seeking versatility and ample space, a three-person kayak provides the ideal solution, accommodating larger groups comfortably. Alternatively, two-person kayaks and traditional kayaks offer intimacy and efficiency for smaller family outings.

The choice between a sit-on-top tandem kayak like the Sea Eagle Kayak or an Intex Explorer K inflatable tandem kayak depends on personal preferences and intended use. Both options offer stable and high-performance platforms suitable for various weather conditions and recreational activities.

Accessories like a dry bag and shoulder strap enhance convenience and comfort during excursions, making them an excellent choice for families looking to optimize their kayaking experience. Whether opting for a recreational kayak or a sea kayak, ensuring good stability and enough room for everyone aboard is paramount.

In the end, selecting the best tandem kayak boils down to identifying one that meets your family’s unique needs, considering factors such as weight, durability, and available features. With options from reputable brands like Aqua Marina and Brooklyn Kayak Company, families can rest assured they’re investing in a long-time companion for their aquatic adventures.

Happy Paddling!

-Wander Wildschool

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