Sit on top kayaks are probably the most commonly used type of kayaks because they are inexpensive and so easy to operate. They are the first choice of children, beginners, recreational kayakers and those kayak fishing enthusiasts.
If you think you belong to any of these categories of people, you definitely need to single out the best sit on top kayak from a range of options. But how do you do so?
Here’s the best part – Kayakfisherly has got your back because our seasoned kayakers took the trouble of going through several top kayaks of these types and championed the 10 finest models. Wondering which ones finally top the chart? Read on to find out!
Table of Contents
Best Sit on Top kayak for The Money – Reviews
01 SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10 ft (Best Sit On Top Fishing Kayak)
Sundolphin is the perfect combination of price, specs, and performance, which is why we believe this is simply the best sit on top kayak out there for fishing. This model is made of high-density polyethylene, which is durable and UV resistant. It’s fantastic that you don’t need to break the bank to buy this 10 feet boat.
This Sundolphin boat offers superb stability, whether in the lakes or rivers, thanks to its unique rocker design. We were happy that it tracks and cuts through the water with ease. We also noticed this kayak had no issues when paddling against current and wind.
The open cockpit allows easy entry while providing enough space for keeping your supplies. When you’re paddling, you can conveniently lean on the sides without worrying about tipping.
Another exciting feature is the cushioned seat that offers an upright sitting position. Of course, that will make you feel more relaxed and focused and keep your spine healthy. Besides, the adjustable footrests make seating comfortable for paddlers of all sizes. We never experienced backaches or muscle cramps despite paddling for hours.
Luckily, this boat has a rear dry storage to let you protect your valuables from the elements. The bungee cords ensure you carry everything needed for a successful fishing trip.
On the sides are two mesh compartments for you to easily reach out to your favorite items. Also, this kayak has no problem with water entering because of the outlets.
Equipped with paddle and rod holders, you will enjoy an occasional hand-free operation. This vessel weighs around 40 pounds. It wasn’t too heavy for us to carry. But we wish the grab handles were also on the sides of the boat.
- Dimensions: 120 x 30 x 11 inches
- Weight: 44 pounds
- Material: Polyethylene
- Color: Blue
- Carrying handles
- Superior stability and tracking
- Bungee cords and accessory carrier
- Rod and paddle holders
- Cushioned seat and adjustable foot braces
- No side handles
This Sundophin version is the best sit on top kayak for the money. It’s short, stable, and has ample storage space. So, if you want an affordable boat for casual paddling or fishing, this model is the winner.
02 Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak (Best Sit On Top Inflatable Kayak)
A major issue when shopping for a good sit on top kayak is the ease of storage and transportation. With the Quikpak K1 inflatable version, you are on the right track. This boat is pretty lightweight, and you can quickly deflate and fold it into a bag. The handles will give you great comfort when lifting your boat in and out of the water.
The Quickpak K1 uses a 21-gauge PVC deck, which can withstand frequent usage on the lake and slow-moving rivers. Besides having a leakage-proof construction, this boat has different air chambers. The bottom has a solid tarpaulin cover.
So, you have nothing to fear when riding across pointy rocks and tree branches. That’s because your kayak is immune to scratches and will still float if one compartment gets punctured. The kayak is pretty durable as we used it for two years without issues.
The two air valves allow you to inflate the boat under 7 minutes. Spending less time to prepare means you have more hours for your fishing adventure. This boat can hold up to 400 pounds, making it excellent for overweight users who want to exercise.
Despite the price, this Quickpak K1 kayak comes with a powerful hand pump and two paddles. The back of the carry bag unfolds to create the seat and backrest, offering you a convenient seating. The front cargo net gives you a decent option to pack your food and fishing gear.
We had no issue steering this kayak on the lake but was too light for the ocean.
- Dimensions: 103 x 36 x 30 inches
- Weight: 30 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
- Material: PVC
- Portable and lightweight
- Easy to jump off and re-enter
- 400-pound loading weight
- Extremely stable in calm waters
- Solid floor and Inflatable seat
- No dry storage
This K1 model is the best value kayak for the price. As an inflatable boat, it was easy to convey from the shore to the water. The kayak was also stable and pretty easy to exit. Due to its heavy-duty construction, we had no fear when riding through rocky areas.
Above all, the Quickpak K1 kayak is durable and cheap, making it excellent for beginner paddlers.
03 Ocean Kayak Malibu Kayak (Best Sit On Top Recreational Kayak)
Looking to perfect your next kayaking adventure? The Malibu Kayak will be an excellent companion. This boat is about 12 feet long and 34 inches wide. Luckily, three adults can ride conveniently. Still, the deck is sturdy and can accommodate a total weight of up to 425 pounds.
So, if you want to paddle alone or with your partner, this model is a good choice.
Unlike the Quickpak K1 kayak, this one can perform well on the lake and ocean. For us, this Malibu Kayak was very stable and easy to paddle even with large swells. The seating area was pretty comfortable, and we had no issue with getting in or off.
The Malibu kayak features two seats, which you can easily adjust to create a custom fit. The seat design allows you to sit straight or lean. Unlike molded seats, this one doesn’t slip when wet. The floor straps between the seats work great if you want to attach your pet.
What’s more, this boat has four holes, which is pretty efficient at draining water. Though it’s a bit heavy, the molded handles on the sides make the kayak’s transportation easier.
Though the Malibu Kayak didn’t come with hatches, we modified the oval mounds to create internal storage.
- Dimensions: 144 x 34 x 20 inches
- Weight: 57 pounds
- Max Weight Capacity: 425 pounds
- Lifetime hull warranty
- Long and stable
- 425-pound weight capacity
- 3-person kayak
- Comfort seats
- No hatches
We loved this kayak for its versatile design and excellent performance on the lake, river, and ocean. Besides making the boat easy to lift, the handles at the middle secure the vessel to the rack. This Malibu version exceeded our expectations for a tandem recreational boat in its price range. So it was indeed a good buy.
04 Lifetime 10 Foot Tandem Kayak
Another popular kayak out there, the Lifetime 10-foot boat, will give you an adventurous fishing trip. This boat is short but a little slower than most models on this list. With a width of 36 inches, you’ll notice that it’s wide, offering a stable platform but slow to turn.
The kayak has covered storage at the rear with bungee cords for your gear. It has paddle mounts, lots of rooms for fishing poles, and water bottles. The three-rod holders ensure you strike the fish whenever you want.
Another thing we like about this boat is the two adjustable seats. But more than that, the vessel can contain two to three paddlers at a time. Besides, it can handle loads up to 500 pounds, making it the most robust we’ve listed.
Meanwhile, the close seating makes paddling a bit hard, but it works well if your strokes sync. But we added a trolling motor to help us paddle on windy days, and everything worked perfectly.
But, this tandem kayak is pretty heavy, weighing at 60 pounds. Meanwhile, the extra weight makes it more stable and easy to track on the river. The hull is of the high-density plastic hull is very solid. It’s also resistant to fading, UV rays, and cracking. But the included paddles were too small.
- Length: 10-foot
- Width: 36 inches
- Max Capacity: 500 pounds
- Weight: 60 pounds
- Warranty: 5 years
- Multiple footrest positions
- Three fish pole holders
- Rear dry storage
- Bow bungee cord
- Paddles included
- 500-pound loading weight capacity
- Heavy-duty hull design
- Paddles aren’t adjustable
This kayak is very wide, stable, and hard to capsize. You can get a motor installed to make it faster and easier to steer. Above all, we enjoyed this boat, and you can’t get anything better for the price.
05 Elkton Outdoors Tandem Fishing Kayak
Elkton Sit on top kayaks is popular among recreational paddlers because of their unbeatable performance and durability. With a rotomolded injected body, this Elkton kayak will last for many years without a scratch or puncture. The boat is perfect for fishing in lakes, rivers, and ocean.
This Elkton boat has a weight limit of 650 pounds, which is the highest we’ve listed. It’s sturdy and offers a smooth ride despite the amount of load.
This boat is 12.2 feet long and 3 feet wide for the dimensions, so it has enough room for two people and lots of equipment. Still, this tandem kayak has two watertight chambers along with bow and stern bungee cords. That’s to say; you can dash out with as many supplies to last you for a weekend.
Another impressive feature of this kayak is the Eva padded seats, which offer superb comfort for a long day ride. This Elkton kayak weighs around 72 pounds, so you need two people to move it from trailer to the water.
- Hull Weight: 72 pounds
- Material: Rotomold
- Load Capacity: 650 pounds
- Length: 12.2 feet
- Width: 3 feet
- Eva-padded seats
- 650-pound user weight capacity
- Two internal storage sections
- Durable hull
- Aluminum paddles
- Rod holders
- A bit heavy
Great kayak for the price. The Elkton tandem kayak met our expectations. Overall, the quality and comfort were quite impressive, so it’s one model you shouldn’t ignore.
06 Lifetime Tamarack Angler Sit On Top Kayak
This Lifetime Tamarack kayak promises superb durability, stability, and ease of use. It has a flat bottom, so it’s a lot more stable on the water. There are two 6-inch storage compartments in center and rear, which boasts a greater capacity for your valuables. With the front and rear bungee cords, you have plenty to keep your supplies.
This model is constructed of high-density polyethylene, which makes it extra durable. Though it’s a bit smaller than our 4th pick, the cockpit is wide, stretching your legs will be smooth.
Weighing around 52 pounds, you’ll notice that it’s easy to carry alone. The handles also make the boat’s transportation simpler.
This Tamarack kayak features a padded seat with a backrest, which is a great plus. It can only handle one angler and has a limited weight capacity of 275 pounds. The multiple footrest positions make this boat excellent for paddlers of different sizes. With fishing rod and cup holders, you’re guaranteed an enjoyable fishing adventure.
This vessel has a five-year limited warranty, which is proof of the company’s commitment to satisfy you. However, there are no paddles and drain hole covers in the package.
- Dimensions: 120 x 31 x 4 inches
- Weight: 52 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 275 pounds
- Material: Polyethylene
- Excellent tracking and stability
- Plenty of storage space
- Five-year warranty
- Fish rod holders
- Comfort seat
- Multi-position footrest
- Oar not included
This sit on top kayak is a fantastic buy for the price. The fact that it has plenty of storage space makes it a good value for the money. From our experience, it was very easy to fish with this boat. If you’re not sure about getting serious with kayak fishing, this model will give you a good start.
07 Perception Pescador Pro 10
Our next pick is the outstanding Pescador Pro 10. Everything about this kayak is solid and durable. This 10-feet long Perception kayak has a unique hull design, enabling it to track straight in diverse conditions. What you gain here is a stable and easy boat to paddle in still water and thick waves.
The mesh seat feels cool, and the fact that it’s adjustable makes seating comfortable for a tall person. When the boat arrived, we noticed the seat’s position was too high, so we lowered it. Then paddled for about two hours, and it felt quite well. We had a smooth, stable ride; only wish there was a way to rotate the chair.
There is an airtight compartment in the front and another in the rear with bungee cords. What’s more, the carry handles make the kayak a lot easier to take in and out from the water. There are accessory rails on the sides for securing your rod holders, fish finders, and other equipment.
- Length: 10 feet
- Deck Height: 14 inches
- Width: 32 inches
- Max Capacity: 325 inches
- Boat Weight: 57 pounds
- Convenient seat
- Superior stability
- Durable build
- Spacious cockpit
- Hull tracks straight
- No rotating seat
Overall, the features on this Pro 10 kayak suits the price. Best for a tall person looking for a sit on top kayak that performs well in all conditions.
08 Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Kayak
The Wilderness Tarpon is excellent for riding in the coastal areas, lakes, and rivers. With just 10 feet, it’s designed to be easy to maneuver, making it perfect for newbie kayakers. This boat has a broader cockpit that makes stepping in and out of easier.
The Tarpon has a high weight capacity making it a good choice for large paddlers. Still, there is ample room for your gear. That’s because of the rear bungee cords, front and center water bungee system. So, if you love to make long paddling trips, this is a great choice.
This Wilderness kayak can also be used for fishing, thanks to the rod holders at the sides. What’s more, this yak comes with a padded seat with adjustable thigh straps to make your paddling comfortable. The only issue is that there is no paddle in the package.
- Length: 10 feet
- Weight: 42 pounds
- Material: Polyethylene
- Short and easy to paddle
- Broader cockpit
- Stable bottom
- Thigh straps
- Padded chair
- Robust construction
- Oars not included
This yak is built for stability and straight tracking, suitable for recreational and fishing purposes. The Tarpon version is indeed a robust kayak with many years of life, so it’s worth the money.
09 Tioga Sit On Top Kayak
The Tioga kayak has a wide hull and flat bottom for extra stability. But what separates this unit from our previous choices is the deck comes in a pair. In other words, you get two sit on top kayaks in one package.
The Tioga kayak has 275 weight capacity as well as multiple footrest options to meet your height needs. The boat comes in one piece, so you don’t need to assemble before you hit off.
This model is highly versatile, being 12 feet long, you can use it in flat or choppy water. We also found that saltwater does not affect the parts, thanks to its durable construction.
This kayak has front and rear handles; weighing around 50 pounds means it is easy to lift and transport. As for storage, this boat features a 6-inch sealed compartment at the center and front and rear bungee cords. Luckily, this vessel comes with a paddle so that you can use it straight from the box.
This kayak may not be the fastest on this list, but they are excellent for cruising and fishing.
- Length: 12 feet
- Width: 31 inches
- Deck Height: 14 inches
- User’s Capacity: 275 pounds
- Material: High-density Polyethylene
- 12 feet long
- Paddles included
- Two kayaks
- Watertight storage
- Comfortable backrest
- UV and impact protected
- Easy carry handles
- No plugs included
Pretty solid kayaks for the price. The seat areas are large, and the included backrests feel comfortable. So, if you want to have fun kayaking with your partner with different boats, this listing is yours.
10 Perception Pescador 10
The Pescador 10 kayak from Perception is designed to handle under moderate conditions. This means you need it for slow-moving rivers and lakes. It has a large hatch at the bow and rear bungee system to secure your loads. The comfort seating with mesh cover and paddings provides ultimate support for a long day ride.
Due to its high-density polyethylene deck, this boat weighs in at 57 pounds. With the molded handles, you won’t have a hard time lifting it. The Pescador 10 can support a total load of up to 325 pounds.
So, we recommend it for heavier individuals. This boat also has molded-in holders to secure your paddles and fishing rods when not in use.
The Pescador 10 has six drain holes to ensure you stay dry during the ride. No scupper plugs, but you may not need them except you want to go on cold water.
- Length: 10.6 inches
- Width: 32 inches
- Weight: 57 pounds
- Height: 14 inches
- Max. Capacity: 325 pounds
- Material: Polyethylene
- Hands-free rod holders
- Large front and rear storage
- One-piece leak-proof construction
- Comfort seating
- Fantastic tracking
- Paddles sold separately
For the money, this is the best sit on top kayak. It’s pretty stable, easy to maneuver, and tracks very well. The Pescador 10 is perfect for paddlers of all skill levels, sizes, and weight. Besides, it offers a good balance between general-purpose, recreation, and fishing. So, we highly recommend this product to kayakers of all ages.
Best Sit On Top Kayak 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.
- Rounded and V-shape
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.
Broader seat area
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.
Ideal for warm weather
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.
Easier to use
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.
Storing your gear
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.
Keep it clean
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.
Don’t drag your kayak
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