Sit on top kayak: A Comprehensive Buying Guide
1. Shape and Length
Kayaks between 9 to 12 feet are more stable but slow. Short and wide kayaks are ideal for fun rides on shallow waters. Longer, narrower boats around 13 to 16 feet are suitable for long day trips in deep waters. They are faster, tracks well, but less stable.
So, the kayak’s length, shape, and width determine its level of stability and performance.
Sit on top kayaks types include:
Recreational kayaks are perfect for beginners and occasional paddlers because they have good stability and tracking. They are cost-effective and more useful in lakes and rivers.
If you enjoy riding with a partner, you need a two-person boat. These are long, wide, with extra seating for two to three people.
Touring sit on top kayaks are perfect for adventure rides on lakes and oceans. They are narrower, longer, but with plenty of storage space for supplies.
Unlike recreational boats, fishing kayaks have heavy-duty construction and can handle plenty of loads. They also have many rod holder mounts and ample storage options for your catch.
Whitewater types are pretty stable, featuring shorter hulls for easy maneuvering against rapids.
As the name implies, these have a pedal system to help you steer without hands.
Inflatables are lightweight, easy to store, and comfortable to carry. They have air compartments for you to inflate before use then deflate after. These types can withstand heavy impacts but could get punctured by sharp objects.
Surf types offer convenience for catching large ocean waves. They are expensive but performs well. So, if you want the thrills of surfing without sacrificing comfort, a surf kayak is perfect.
3. Kayak Hulls Shape
The boat’s hull can be grouped into three types:
The base is wider, increasing the boat’s stability and maneuverability. Due to high water resistance, flat hulls don’t perform well for speed.
Pontoon hull is common among anglers because of its unique shape, which results in extra stability.
They have a narrower and pointy bottom, which parts the water as the boat moves. V-shape hulls are less stable but ride at a faster pace than flat types.
4. Max Carrying Capacity
Sit on kayaks’ loading capacities range between 250 to 650 pounds. Always pick a model that can safely bear the combined rider and equipment weight. The Elkton version has the highest weight capacity on this list.
5. Paddling Location
Since kayaks are designed for specific water bodies, you should know your preferred paddling area before buying. Most sit on top kayaks on this list can handle large-sized lakes and rivers provided the water is calm.
6. Kayak Expected Use
Sit on top kayaks can handle diverse water-based activities, but you should buy the one that suits your needs. For example, if you want to fish, choose a model with rod holders and paddle mounts to make your task easier.
Kayak comfort features help prevent body aches and tiredness. Some specs to look out for are cushioned seat with backrest, wide cockpit, and gear mounts.
8. Storage Areas
Intending to spend a day or two kayaking? Need a boat with multiple storage options for your gear, food, and clothing.
Some outstanding kayak materials are polyethylene, fiberglass, Kevlar carbon, and ABS plastic. These materials determine the kayak’s price, weight, and performance.
Sit on top kayaks weigh around 70 to 150 pounds, so you need help to load it on and off your truck. But, when it comes to portability and ease of carrying, inflatable kayaks top the list.
11. Kayak Rocker
The boat’s rocker is the shape of the bottom and how it affects its stability if placed on a hard surface. A rocker design determines how quickly the boat cuts through the water. More rocker is preferable in rougher waters because it reduces the volume of water that enters the cockpit. That said, flatter kayaks have less rocker, which makes it more stable and easy to track.
Where you sit to paddle is the cockpit. The good news is most sit on kayaks have an open cockpit, which makes getting in and out easier.
Grab handles found on the kayak will help you carry it from your truck or trailer to the water.
14. Set up
Once inflated, your sit on top kayak is ready for use. But you should adjust the seat position and thigh straps to get a good fit.
Always pick models with extras like multiple air chambers, puncture-resistant deck, and scupper holes.
If there’s a sudden weather change, a speed boat will help you reach the shore faster. But speed increases with the boat’s length.
As mentioned earlier, sit on top kayaks are designed from a different material that affects their prices. They range from $200 to $1000. So, remember to fix your budget before you start your search.
Why Try a Sit On Kayak Instead of the Sit In Type?
Sit on kayak
Sit in kayak
|Short and Broad||Long but narrow|
|Excellent stability||Tips more often|
|Paddlers easily gets wet||Users stay dry|
|Useful for short distance rides||Great speed, perfect for long trips|
Benefits of A Sit On Top Kayak
- Easy to get off and re-enter
The boat’s broader cockpit design allows you to dive on and out with less effort. Many people prefer to swim with a sit on the top kayak because it’s easy to access from the water. An enclosed cockpit protects you from getting wet but makes re-entry difficult.
All sit on top kayaks have an open cockpit so that paddlers can move their legs freely.
Most sit on types are stable, which makes them less prone to capsize. Besides, if you tip over, you can mount on quickly.
Sit on top are better on a hot day as the open-air helps to keep you cool. But you should opt for a sit-in boat if kayaking in a cold season.
Plug holes in the kayak ensure it doesn’t fill up with water. This means water splashing will exit quickly.
Unlike sit-in kayaks, which are for experienced paddlers, sit on types are perfect for beginners. That’s because the latter is easier to get back on if you fall off into the water.
Since the deck is open, you have enough room to carry whatever comes into mind.
You can use a sit on top kayak for fishing, scuba diving, and touring.
Most sit on top vessels are made from cheap plastics, which makes them affordable.
Who Are Sit On Top Kayak for?
Sit on top kayaks are for paddlers looking to enjoy greater freedom and comfort. The wider and open cockpit designs make them easier to access and comfortable for users with big body size. This means they’re less stressful when you want to step on and out, making them excellent for beginner kayakers. Besides, if you want to learn basic kayaking skills, opt for a sit on top watercraft.
Again, most sit on top vessels are under $500, making them perfect for buyers on a budget. Whether you want to fish, tour, exercise, or sit on top kayak is a good option.
Care & Maintenance Tips
These tips will help you to enjoy the best performance and prolong your kayak’s lifespan.
If kayaking in ocean water or muddy area, rinse your kayak with clean water when you return. Besides keeping your boat clean, this will prevent saltwater from damaging those metal parts. After this, make sure you drain off the leftover water before storage.
Dragging your kayak on a hard surface causes scratches that make it more prone to getting punctured. So, two people can carry it from the truck to the water using the handles.
Most kayak materials are susceptible to UV, heat, and sun damage. Always apply the standard UV protective coating before venturing into the sea. Don’t ride in shallow water with plenty of rocks to avoid puncturing or scratching the bottom. Meanwhile, if there is a scratch or puncture on your kayak, fix it immediately.
Whether you are storing your kayak indoors or outdoors, cover and keep it on a raised platform. This will protect the boat from dust, wind, water, and bacteria buildup.
It’s Time to Wrap Up
If you’re new to kayaking, getting a sit-on vessel might be a good choice. That’s because they are easy to handle and can help you grow your skills faster. With our reviews, we believe you can find the best sit on top kayak for you.
Now, for ultimate comfort, straight tracking, and stability, the Sundolphin version is perfect. It’s a bit hard for a boat in this price range to have these attributes without compromise. So, we guarantee you top-notch convenience and satisfaction with our first choice.
If you’re on a budget but looking for a top-quality kayak, the Quikpak K1 is the answer. This model is the only inflatable boat on our list, and it got many sweet spots. It’s durable, lightweight, easy to carry, and simple to set up.
Looking for the best value tandem sit on top kayak? The Elkton version or the Lifetime 10-foot version should be your top priority.
All our kayak choices are of good quality, feel free to pick any that suits your needs. Hopefully, our reviews will point you in the right direction.
1. How do I slide into a sit on top kayak?
Ans. First, you’ll step into the water and then grab the vessel’s side to climb up. After this, sit, but ensure you adjust the seat, thigh braces, and footrests to your convenience.
2. How should I carry my kayak?
Ans. The most comfortable way to carry a boat is over your shoulder. You need to kneel beside the kayak, grab the handle, then pull the vessel up your thigh. Now, hold the other handle, flip the boat, then rest it on your shoulder.
3. How can I stay dry when paddling a sit on top kayak?
Ans. Splashing is almost unavoidable in a sit on top kayak. But, you can stay dry if you wear the right protective clothing. You should raise the seat and keep the drain holes open.
4. What Kayak length should I buy?
Ans. A beginner can do well with a 10 to 12-foot kayak. Longer kayaks are more suitable for experienced paddlers because they’re narrower and harder to transport.
5. Can inflatable kayak gets punctured and sink?
Ans. Luckily, inflatables are more robust than you think. They hardly sink because they have more than one air chamber. So if there is a puncture, only that section will deflate while the others keep the boat afloat.
6. Which is safer - sit on top or sit in?
Ans. Sit on top kayaks are safer because they permit quicker re-entry if the boat tips.
7. Which is a better single or double kayak?
Ans. A double kayak is more stable than a single kayak if one person paddles it. Besides, if your partner is on board, you can reach the shore faster when the weather gets rough.