Best sit-on-top kayaks - header

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I may be a bit sentimental but I think kayaking is one of the greatest watersports today. You get to explore all kinds of waters from the comfort of your kayak, from rugged coastlines to inland rivers. A model of kayak that has gained a lot of popularity over the years is the Sit-on-Top kayaks.

Sit-on-Top kayaks are very comfortable, spacious, and allow you to move around the deck, a big advantage for people that don’t like the feeling of confinement you may otherwise get from traditional kayaks. They can also withstand strong and rapid torrents making you enjoy your time on the water knowing you are safe. You can easily spend hours or even days on a Sit-on-Top kayak.

Whether you are a beginner or experienced kayaker or an experienced fisherman, there will always be a Sit-on-Top kayak that will meet your needs and improve your experience when kayaking.

As you’d expect, there are so many Sit-on-Top kayaks on the market which seems to be increasing every year. This makes it difficult for one to separate the very best Sit-on-Top kayaks from all the options available. But this isn’t going to be an issue anymore as I’ve carried out extensive research and testing to compile a list of the very best Sit-on-Top kayaks available on the market. Continue reading to know these kayaks.

The 7 Best Sit-on-Top Kayaks for 2021

BKC FK184 Sit-on-Top Kayak

BKC FK184 9' Solo Sit-On-Top Kayak w/Premium Memory Foam Seat -Paddle and Fishing Rod Holders Included

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of April 16, 2021 11:15 am

This BKC Sit-on-Top kayak has everything a solo kayaker needs. Whether you want to enjoy some quiet time on a lake or go fishing or even on a multi-day expedition, this kayak got you covered. I like that this kayak comes with all the accessories you need which include 2 paddle parks, 1 bungee cargo tie-down, an adjustable aluminum paddle, a quality memory foam seat, and so on.

Made of high-quality polyethylene material, this kayak is very strong and powerful, capable of taking on lakes, rivers, and oceans without any problem. This BKC kayak has a weight capacity of 330 pounds which means this vessel can easily support larger paddlers. The stability of this kayak is excellent which is the main reason behind its versatility. You can easily use this vessel to navigate swift currents or for fishing.

Angler kayakers will appreciate the built-in fishing rod holders which ensure that your fishing rods don’t get in your way when you are paddling. Also, you’ll be able to deploy multiple lines at once. There’s a large and spacious waterproof storage space on this vessel that can hold gear and supplies for a multi-day adventure..

 Quick Specifications

  • Size:  108 x 33 x 18 in / 274 x 84 x 46 cm
  • Kayak weight:  45 lbs / 20.4 kg
  • Weight capacity:  330 lbs / 150 kg
  • Material:  high-density polyethylene
  • Person Capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Powerful and can take on swift currents.
  • High weight capacity.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Excellent stability.
  • Includes accessories.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • N/A.

Perception Tribe Sit-on-Top KayakOur Top Pick

Perception Tribe 11.5 | Sit on Top Kayak for All-Around Fun | Large Rear Storage with Tie Downs | 11' 5" | Déjà vu

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of April 16, 2021 11:15 am

The Perception Tribe 11.5 is a medium-sized kayak that guarantees you a lot of fun on the water. The simple molded design of this kayak makes it very strong and sturdy, allowing the vessel to easily withstand a fair bit of abuse. This kayak is also one of the most compact Sit-on-Top kayaks available on the market making it easy to transport. You can easily load this vessel on your roof rack and easily carry it down to the shore.

The molded and padded back seat provides a lot of support and comfort for a kayaker. There are also molded knee/thigh areas and integrated footrests to even provide more comfort for you during paddling. All these make the Perception Tribe 11.5 one of the most comfortable Sit-on-Top kayaks around.

This kayak is very durable thanks to the high-quality material. Also, the fact that this vessel has very few bolt-on parts makes it more durable. This kayak is more suited for recreational use and not touring or long-distance paddling. And there’s a two-piece aluminum paddle in the package.

 Quick Specifications

  • Size: 137 x 30.25 x 16 in / 348 x 77 x 41 cm
  • Kayak weight: 52 lbs / 24 kg
  • Weight capacity: 350 lbs / 159 kg
  • Material:  high-density polyethylene
  • Person Capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Strong and sturdy.
  • Easy to carry and transport.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Good stability.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • No sealed storage areas.

Lifetime Tamarack Sit-on-Top Kayak

Lifetime Tamarack Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak, Olive, 120"

$585.00  in stock
7 new from $584.49
Amazon.com
as of April 16, 2021 11:15 am

Whether you just want to paddle around on the water or go kayak fishing, the Life Tamarack kayak will ensure you have a nice time on the water. Made of high-quality polyethylene material, this kayak is very durable and capable of withstanding regular wear and tear. This lifetime kayak can withstand UV, abrasion, impacts, and so on. The sturdy frame of this kayak makes it very stable. There’s also the flat bottom and tracking channels that make this vessel easy to maneuver.

The padded backseat supports your spine and makes sitting on this kayak very comfortable. There are also multiple footrest positions for different sized kayakers that bring about a smooth paddling experience. This makes this kayak suitable for long-distance expeditions.

There are fishing rod handles for angler kayakers and two spacious storage compartments to store your gear. Thanks to the front and rear handles, you can easily transport this kayak to and from the shore.

 Quick Specifications

  • Size: 120 x 31 x 14 in / 304 x 78 x 36 cm
  • Kayak weight: 52 lbs / 24 kg
  • Weight capacity:  275 lbs / 124 kg
  • Material:  high-density polyethylene
  • Person Capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Sturdy frame makes this kayak stable.
  • Easy to maneuver.
  • Top-notch comfort.
  • Suitable for long-distance paddling.
  • Spacious storage compartment.
  • Very durable.

Cons

  • Weight capacity is a bit small for a long expedition kayak.

Pelican Sentinel 100X Sit-on-Top Kayak

Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak - Sentinel 100X - 9.5 Feet - Lightweight one Person Kayak (EXO Neptune White, Recreational) (MEF10P100-00)

$439.99  in stock
8 new from $439.99
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of April 16, 2021 11:15 am

The Pelican 100x Exo is a recreational sit-on-top kayak specifically designed for beginner kayakers. As a result, this kayak is designed to be extra durable allowing the vessel to easily withstand the knocks and bumps most beginners unintentionally subject their vessels to when learning.

This kayak is very compact and lightweight making it easy to transport to and from the shoreline. It’s also effortless to maneuver this kayak on the water, something beginner kayakers will come to appreciate.

The 30-inch wide hull is designed to be extra stable. This means a little tradeoff when it comes to speed. But then, stability is always more important than speed for people new to kayaking. There’s an adjustable high back seat with sufficient paddling to make you very comfortable when you are on the water. You can also take your dog along with you and the anti-slip mat will make your pet more comfortable.

With a weight limit of 275 lbs, this kayak can carry most kayakers comfortably while also allowing them to carry most of their gear.

 Quick Specifications

  • Size:  114 x 30.25 x 11 in / 289 x 77 x 27.94 cm
  • Kayak weight:  41.8 lbs / 18.96 kg
  • Weight capacity:  275 lbs / 124 kg
  • Material:  high molecular weight polyethylene
  • Person Capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Extra durable.
  • Easy to maneuver.
  • Very stable.
  • Optimum comfort.

Cons

  • Paddles not included. You could however get quality paddles at an affordable fee.

Sun Dolphin Bali SS Sit-on-Top Kayak

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Bali SS Sit-on top Kayak (Blue, 10-Feet)

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of April 16, 2021 11:15 am

The Sundolphin kayak is a wonderful recreational sit-on-top kayak that is easy to use and will provide value for your money. One of the standout features of this kayak is the multiple cargo storage areas available which allow you to store all your gear.

There’s even a method of storage called a ‘Portable Accessory Carrier’. The P.A.C. has a built-in sealed hatch and sits in the cargo area to the rear. You can carry the PAC out of the kayak thanks to the incorporated handles and carry it along with your gear to your campsite.

The well-padded seat, adjustable foot braces, and padded thigh braces make paddling on this kayak very comfortable. I also like how roomy the seating area is as this allows you to move around the cockpit with ease. There’s also a paddle holder where you can put your paddle when you want to get some rest.

This kayak is also very easy to maneuver and the high-quality materials make this vessel very durable.

 Quick Specifications

  • Size:  120 x 30 x 11 in / 304 x 76 x 28 cm
  • Kayak weight:  44 lbs / 18.96 kg
  • Weight capacity:  250 lbs / 113 kg
  • Material:  high-density polyethylene
  • Person Capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Ideal for beginners.
  • Good storage.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Good stability.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • The kayak may not be comfortable for heavier paddlers.

eMotion Spitfire Sit-on-Top Kayak

Emotion Spitfire Sit-On-Top Kayak, Orange, 9'

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of April 16, 2021 11:15 am

The eMotion Spitfire is designed for beginner and intermediate paddlers and has a good balance of price and functionality. This kayak performs excellently on flat water as well as on the ocean. With a length of 9 ft, the eMotion Spitfire is more suited for shorter kayaking expeditions than long-distance paddling. There are also chines on this kayak that make the vessel more comfortable and allow it to comfortably handle small waves.

Thanks to the polyethylene material, this kayak is very strong and durable. The padded UltraLite seat also makes this kayak one of the most comfortable to paddle. The molded-in footwells also make this kayak more comfortable as taller kayakers have enough space to put their legs.

The Emotion Spitfire is very compact and easy to transport. Despite the compact design, there’s plenty of space on the Spitfire for you to store your gear. There are also shock-corded tankwells on both the front and back of this vessel.

 Quick Specifications

  • Size:  108 x 31 x 11 in / 271 x 78 x 28 cm
  • Kayak weight:  45 lbs / 20 kg
  • Weight capacity:  350 lbs / 159 kg
  • Material:  high-density polyethylene
  • Person Capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight design.
  • One of the most comfortable yaks on the market.
  • Ideal for beginner and intermediate paddlers
  • Very stable.
  • Easy to maneuver.
  • Plenty of storage space.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • Not suited for longer kayaking expeditions.

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Sit-on-Top Kayak

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 | Sit on Top Fishing Kayak | Premium Angler Kayak | 12' 3" | Breeze Blue

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of April 16, 2021 11:15 am

The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 is a sit-on-kayak famous for its incredible maneuverability and glide. This makes this kayak truly versatile as it can be used for both recreational and sporting purposes. You are going to the phase 3 Airpro seat that makes you very comfortable thereby making this kayak suitable for longer expeditions.

The weight of this kayak is on the heavier side at 63 lbs. But this extra weight makes this vessel extremely stable making the Tarpon 120 very capable of withstanding strong and rapid waves/torrents. The big size of this kayak also allows it to accommodate larger paddlers with ease.

There’s a lot of space for you to store your cargo which is great for long-distance paddling as you’ll need a lot of gear. You can also use this kayak for fishing, fishing, or any other activity thanks to the side track accessory rails that can hold fishing rods or any other gear.

 Quick Specifications

  • Size:  147 x 31 x 14 in / 373 x 78 x 35 cm
  • Kayak weight:  63 lbs / 29 kg
  • Weight capacity:  350 lbs / 159 kg
  • Material:  high-density polyethylene
  • Person Capacity: 2 persons

Pros

  • Incredible maneuverability and glide.
  • Can be used for both recreational and sporting purposes.
  • Super comfortable seats.
  • Powerful and capable of taking on strong waves.
  • Large cargo space.
  • Very durable.

Cons

  • A bit bulky.

Best Sit-on-Top Kayaks – The Guide 

Now that you know the best sit-on-top kayaks available on the market, I’ll be taking you through an extensive buying guide. Here you’ll learn all the factors you need to consider when buying a sit-on-top and thus be able to make an informed decision.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Sit-on-Top Kayaks vs. Sit-Inside Kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks have many advantages over conventional sit-in kayaks some of which will be highlighted below:

  • It’s easy to enter or exit a sit-on-top kayak due to the open cockpit. It’s common to see kayakers leaving a sit-on-top kayak to go swimming when the kayak is on the water because of the ease of entry and exit.
  • The open air cockpit of sit-on-top kayaks makes the kayaker to feel less confined and claustrophobic. Most sit-on-top kayakers also have excellent stability and will not capsize easily. It’s literally unsinkable.
  • You’ll also be cooler when paddling on hot days as you receive more fresh air.
  • There is more space to store your gear as there is no enclosed cockpit to limit the size of the storage area.
  • There are drain holes n sit-on-top kayaks to help drain water out of the vessel without going to the shore.

The only disadvantage of sit-on-top kayaks is that you are exposed to the elements. This means you are going to feel hot if the weather is hot or feel cold if it’s windy. As you [addle, there’s a high chance that you are going to paddle some water onto your body due to the open design. Now, this is a good thing in hot climates as the water can cool your body. It’s also advisable to use some sunscreen if you’ll be paddling on a hot day.

But you see, getting wet in cooler climates is far from fun. So a sit-on-kayak may not be the best in colder climates because you’ll be exposed to the elements.

Where and What Will You Use Your Sit-on-Top Kayak For?

There are four main types of SOT kayaks which will be discussed below:

Recreational SOT kayaks are designed for use on flat water. This type of kayaks has high stability and is also easy to maneuver making them a great choice for beginner kayakers.

Touring SOT  kayaks are designed for longer kayaking expeditions. Because of this, they are designed to be faster and more stable. Touring kayaks can handle oceans and river rapids better than recreational kayaks.

Whitewater SOT kayaks are specifically designed for use on whitewater rapids. This type of kayaks is generally shorter for increased maneuverability.

Surf SOT kayaks are designed for kayakers that want to wants to go surfing while enjoying the stability and convenience a kayak offers.

The type of water you intend to kayak on is another factor you have to put into consideration. Recreational kayaks are designed for use on calm or flat water. Touring kayaks are more equipped to handle torrents or rapids due to their larger size and thus increased stability

Best sit-on-top kayaks - guide

How to Choose Your Sit-on-Top Kayak

Materials

The material used to manufacture a sit-on-top kayak will determine its weight capacity, rigidity, price, and durability. Below are some of the most popular materials used to manufacture sit-on-top kayaks.

Polyethylene is a popular material used to manufacture kayaks because of its durability and affordability. The material is also easy to mold and color.

Polycarbonate Plastic is especially used for middle-priced kayaks. The material is less susceptible to damage from sunlight when compared to polyethylene.

Fiberglass is very lightweight, durable, and can easily withstand UV, abrasions, scratches, and so on. The material is mainly used for high-end yaks that are usually very expensive.

Kevlar is even more expensive and lighter than fiberglass. Kayaks made from fiberglass and kevlar aren’t as popular because of their high price. There’s also the fact that high-end polyethylene and polycarbonate yaks have high performance.

Comfort

The comfort of your kayak is very important as uncomfortable yaks may force you to cut your kayaking short. Comfort is even more important for touring kayaks that are meant for long-distance paddling. Always go for kayaks that have well-padded seats as well as back support. Some kayaks even have adjustable footrests to make you more comfortable when paddling.

Weight Capacity

Your SOT kayak will have a weight capacity that will be clearly specified. Exceeding the weight capacity of your kayak will lead to the vessel getting worn out at a faster rate. This diminishes the durability and consequently the longevity of your vessel.

Take your weight and that of your gear into consideration before buying a kayak. If you want to carry a large amount of gear along, look for yaks with a high weight capacity. Touring kayaks generally have more space than other types of yaks in order to allow the kayaker to carry enough gear and supplies needed for longer expeditions.

Length, Width, Shape

The length and width of a kayak have an effect on its performance. Generally, shorter and wider kayaks are more stable but slower. Most recreational kayaks are designed this way because the recreational kayaker is more concerned about stability.

On the other hand, narrower and longer kayaks are usually faster. Sporting kayaks are usually designed in this manner. However, these kayaks are usually less stable.

Overall, sit-on-top kayaks are more stable than other types of kayaks as they have a higher center of gravity as well as wider body shapes.

Portability & Storage

You have to consider how lightweight and portable a SOT kayak is before buying it as you’ll have to transport your yak to and from the water. Lighter yaks will be more comfortable to transport on your car with the appropriate roof rack. You can also use a trailer to transport your kayak.

There is also the issue of storage. Storing your SOT kayak will be easy if you have a garage, barn, or storage shed. The most compact SOT kayaks may be difficult to carry on stairs or through a door.

If you don’t own a car or have adequate storage space at home for your yak, you can take a look at foldable kayaks or inflatable kayaks.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, the very best sit-on-top kayaks available on the market and a buying guide to help simplify the decision-making process for you. No matter your paddling needs, there’ll always be a sit-on-top kayak for you. Sit-o-top kayaks are fun, easy to use, and affordable. Get one today and start ruling the waters!

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