Nothing beats paddling along a river or lake on a sunny afternoon. Many people dream of enjoying the relaxing effect of sitting on a kayak while taking in the scenery, but only a few do anything about it. This is hard to believe since all you need to enjoy this simple pleasure is a kayak and a water body.
If you’ve been thinking about starting kayaking as a means to relax and enjoy yourself, then a sit-on-top kayak is all you need. Unlike other types of kayaks, you don’t have to worry about being trapped upside-down in the water when your Kayak capsizes. This makes it not only safer but more enjoyable.
Kayaks have been around for centuries, and during this time, their designs and manufacturing processes have greatly improved. Despite this fact, shopping for a sit-on-top kayak has never been more daunting. Now, you have a dozen brands to choose from, each marketing their Kayak as the best in the market. So, how do you pick the right one?
The most straightforward answer here would be to sample all those kayaks and see the one that suits you best. But, let’s face it, who has the time to do all that? That is why we took it upon ourselves to review some of the best sit-on-top kayaks on the market.
Best Sit-on-top kayaks on the Market
|Lifetime Tamarack Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak||
Best for fishing
|Perception Pescador 10 Sit on Top Fishing Kayak||
Best for Angling and Relaxation
|Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak - Sentinel 100X||
Best Two-person Inflatable Kayak
|Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Sit-on-Top Kayak||
Best one-person Inflatable Kayak
|Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak||
Lifetime Tamarack Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak – Best Choice
If you are in the market for a sit on top Kayak that will offer you all the comfort and performance of a premium kayak on a budget, then this might be the Kayak for you. This Sit-On-Top Kayak gives you plenty of comfort and performance. However, the product leaves out a few unnecessary features that would otherwise inflate its price.
The Tamarack Angler cuts a few corners in terms of comfort to keep its price low, but don’t let this fool you. It’s still pretty comfortable.
It features a two-part seat with an adjustable back to give you plenty of comfortable sitting positions and support. The cockpit is relatively roomy and comes equipped with several foot-wells that allow you to achieve a comfortable paddling position.
This product has a stable hull flip-resistant design. That, along with the multi-chine hull, gives you plenty of stability, even when riding rapids. If you enjoy fishing, you might also be able to stand on it, although there isn’t much legroom to move around.
At only 10 feet long, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak is pretty maneuverable and easy to pilot around crowded waters. It turns pretty fast and has excellent tracking for such a small, lightweight vessel.
This Kayak also features four carrying handles, one on the stern, one at the bow, and two on each side. And considering it only weighs 52 pounds, it’s not that challenging to carry alone.
Although this Sit-On-Top Kayak does not come loaded with lots of bells and whistles, it still provides ample storage space for a kayak of its size and price. It comes equipped with two compartments for storing small tools. One of the compartments is located in the stern, while the other is located directly in front of the seat.
It also features a large storage deck at the stern and a smaller one at the bow. Both storage decks come equipped with bungee cords to help you secure your load.
This Kayak also features three-rod holders, an articulating rod holder at the cockpit’s starboard side, and two flush mount holders located behind the seat.
This product is suitable for beginners and anybody who enjoys a lightweight kayak of average length. Although it is pretty comfortable, the adjustable can get uncomfortable at times. It is, therefore, not recommended for anyone with back problems and heavy individuals.
- It is stable and lightweight
- There is plenty of storage space
- It has a reliable tracking ability
- The product comes with a paddle
- Not ideal for heavy people
- It is not very fast
Perception Pescador 10 Sit on Top Kayak – Best for fishing
This Fishing Kayak is one of the best multifunctional kayaks out there. It has excellent stability, making it perfect for a wide range of activities like fishing, sports, and leisure.
This sit on top Kayak features a spacious cockpit and a flat, uncluttered deck that makes it pretty easy to move around and adjust your sitting position. It features molded side grip handles and bungee hooks in the rear. This makes hook snagging and line entanglement less likely to happen.
It also features two mount recesses that can fit a GoPro or rod holder on the molded central console.
It also offers a decently sized cup holder, so you don’t have to worry about where you’ll put your beverage.
Unlike most budget kayaks, this sit-on kayak features a seat with the Comfort Seating System (CSS). It makes use of a lightweight EVA foam for the seat and backrest to provide better ergonomic support and ventilation.
The backrest can be tilt-adjusted by tying down the two rear bungee cords on the seat. This allows for more sitting positions as you can loosen and tighten the straps. This product gives you the room to adjust your position till you feel comfortable.
Although the seats are not that bad, they could do better if the manufacturer added a bit more cushioning for the base and lumbar support pad.
This sit-on kayak comes with a 32″ beam that guarantees excellent stability, provided you don’t exceed the weight limit. The flat bottom hull also offers high primary stability, making it pretty easy to get on and off the Kayak.
However, unlike our previous pick, this product is not stable enough to support you while you’re standing, so if your fishing style involves lots of standing, this might not be the best Kayak for you.
The Perception Pescador 10 offers excellent tracking and maneuverability. It features a pronounced keel at the bow and stern that helps it stay on course, while its overall short length makes it agile and responsive.
Although it is pretty lightweight, this product is not designed to win races. Therefore, it requires quite a bit of work to maintain speed, making it unsuitable for long distances.
One of the best features of this product is its ample in-hull storage. Although the only access point to the in-hull storage is the bow hatch, the opening is large enough to access your equipment with ease. You can even stow your fishing rods in the compartment.
The hinged lid enables you to secure your gear quickly through two quick-lock handles, and a bungee threaded through an eyelet. Although the sealed cover does an excellent job at keeping splash water out of the storage compartment, it is not completely waterproof, so you might need a waterproof bag to secure your sensitive gadgets.
It also features a large rear tank that can fit a crate or cooler with ease. Also, the flat deck has multiple inserts and eyelets where you can attach your tackle or accessories.
If you need more storage options, you can always use the bulk between the molded recces in front of the seat and the molded rod holders. The bulk is intended for mounting 6″ day hatches that provide additional storage.
Its lightweight and overall short length make it perfect for beginners. Its large storage capacity, coupled with its excellent stability, also makes it a pretty cool fishing vessel.
It is, however, not recommended for anyone whose fishing technic involves lots of standing. You might find yourself toppling over.
- It is easy to store and transport
- It is an excellent value for money
- It has good stability
- It possesses an ample storage space
- It is not very fast
- It is challenging to stand up in it
Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak – Sentinel 100X – Best for Angling and Relaxation
If you are in the market for a fishing kayak that can hold your gear effortlessly, this might be the Kayak for you.
This product comes with standard adjustable footrests that offer comfortable foot positioning while fishing or paddling. The center console is rigged with bungees and includes a bottle, a cup, and a smartphone holder. It also has a hardcover console lid that opens up to reveal a shallow compartment for keeping keys, phone, and other small items at hand.
This sit-on kayak also features an adjustable ERGOFORM padded seat and backrest slightly lifted from the deck level to offer additional comfort and back support. However, if you plan on using the Kayak all year round, you might need to pack an extra set of cushioning and lumbar support pads.
Stability and Maneuverability
This kayak features a multi-chine flat bottom that provides excellent stability when casting lines and reeling in fish. The flat bottom hull design also improves the boat’s performance, giving you higher speeds when paddling, highly responsive maneuverability, and excellent tracking.
The Pelican sit-on kayak also comes with added floatation inside the hull that increases its buoyancy and safety.
The level of versatility and maneuverability offered by the Pelican makes it perfect for both seasoned and beginner anglers, as you can maneuver through river tights and moderate rapids easily.
Although the Pelican Sentinel is pretty compact, it still has plenty of storage space. At the front, you get a small tank well with a rubber mesh cover that can fit up to three 3600 tackle boxed or any other hand gear you might need.
It also features a molded flat surface behind the tank well that offers large storage space for mounting a GoPro camera or swivel rod.
You also get flush-mounted rod holders positioned at an angle and two accessory mounting eyelets behind the seats.
This kayak is best suited for smaller-framed to average anglers. It offers plenty of versatility in terms of maneuverability and stability, making it suitable for both novices and seasoned anglers.
That being said, the Pelican Sentinel kayak is not recommended for tall or very heavy individuals, especially if you like carrying a lot of gear while you are out fishing.
- It has an ample storage space
- It is comfortable
- It has great stability
- It is made of multi-layer RAM X material
- It doesn’t take much to damage the hull.
- The cushioning is not very comfortable.
Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Sit-on-Top Kayak – Best Two-person Inflatable Kayak
If you are in the market for an inflatable tandem kayak that will offer you plenty of comfort, durability, and reliability, then this kayak might be the boat for you.
This kayak comes equipped with two inflatable seats that can keep your back comfortable for up to three hours of kayaking. The seats are also removable, with an adjustable backrest supported by Velcro straps.
On the downside, there is limited leg space for the back seat. It is therefore recommended for a shorter individual.
Stability and Maneuverability
This product is made from a 1200 denier nylon shell and a sturdy 30 gauge vinyl material, making it pretty light. Its lightweight, coupled with its relatively small size, making it very easy to maneuver.
This sit-on kayak has three air chambers, so if any of them were to get damaged or punctured, the remaining chambers would keep it afloat while you get to shore.
Like most inflatable kayaks out there, this product tends to get a bit wobbly, especially in rapids and fast-moving water. That being said, you don’t have to worry about falling off since its flat-bottom hull design, coupled with its extreme buoyancy, help to keep you stable.
Although this kayak doesn’t offer much in terms of custom storage options, it is very spacious, so you’ll have enough space for all your gear.
On the upside, this sit-on kayak weighs only 31 pounds and can fold into a bag. This makes it the most portable Kayak in our selection. It comes with a manual pump and detachable aluminum paddles.
This product is perfect for beginners who want to use it for a leisure stroll around the lake. On the downside, the limited storage options and its wobbliness makes it unsuitable for anyone who enjoys fishing.
- It is affordable
- It is lightweight
- It is durable
- It is easy to inflate and deflate
- It is wobbly. Not suitable for use in choppy waters
- The paddle quality is not very reliable.
Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak – Best one-person Inflatable Kayak
This kayak is a one-person inflatable product that is well-built and can take you pretty much anywhere without any hustle. Working as a boat-kayak hybrid, the Sevylor Quikpak is perfect for anyone who enjoys recreational kayaking.
This kayak is probably the most manageable inflatable Kayak to carry around and assemble. It can fit in a backpack and can be inflated and assembled in record time using its manual pump.
It features a foam seat with a backrest for support and multi-level footrests that keep our legs comfortable, regardless of your height. Its overall length, coupled with the spacious interior, makes it a very cool relaxation vessel, as you can sit back, stretch yourself, and enjoy the ride.
Stability and Maneuverability
Despite having small skegs at the bottom of the Kayak, it does not track very well. This means that it is quite hard to keep it moving in one direction. The motion of every stroke influences its direction. This makes it quite challenging for someone who hasn’t quite grasped maneuvering a kayak well.
Also, its lightweight makes it very wobbly in rough waters and strong winds. It is therefore recommended for calm waters only.
This sit-on kayak is 8ft 7″ long and three ft. wide. It can carry up to 400 pounds, making it perfect for anyone who carries heavy gear. Like our previous pick, it does not offer much in terms of custom storage options, but the ample space in the boat is enough to accommodate all your gear.
The kayak is perfect for leisure kayaking. Its difficulty in maneuvering makes it harder for first-time kayakers, but with time, you’ll get the hang of it.
Its lightweight and wobbliness make it unsuitable for use as a sporting or fishing vessel on the downside.
- It is comfortable
- It is lightweight
- It is affordable
- It is easy to transport and set up
- It has poor tracking ability
- Flimsy paddle
Buying guide: Factors to Consider when Buying a Sit-on-Top Kayak
Size of the Kayak
If you want to enjoy the best kayaking experience, you need to choose the size that suits you best. The size you go for should also be based on your intended use. The best recreational kayaks usually have a width of more than 24” and a length of less than 12 ft. they should also weigh less than 50 pounds for the best stability.
Touring kayaks, you should go for those with a range of between 12 and 16 feet and a width of between 22 and 25 inches. Such dimensions are perfect for armature kayakers who intend to use it for leisure and sport.
Your body size matters! Whenever you go shopping for a sit on top Kayak, always consider your height. Different kayaks offer different legroom. Therefore, you should go for a kayak that enables you to sit and spread your legs comfortably.
Type of Hull
The hull design of a kayak influences its performance in terms of stability, speed, and maneuverability. Sit on top kayaks come in four different hull designs; flat, pontoon, v-shaped and rounded. If you are a beginner, you should go for a kayak with either a flat or pontoon hull design since they offer more stability.
Kayaks with v-shaped hulls offer more incredible speeds and are more suitable for rough waters.
The weight capacity of a kayak is the maximum weight it can carry without becoming unmanageable or sinking. To determine the best Kayak, you need to add your body weight to that of your gear. The best Kayak for you will be one whose weight capacity exceeds your body weight and gear combined.
If you have a car, then you can go for whichever Kayak you want, but if you don’t, then you should go for an inflatable kayak. Inflatable kayaks can fit in a backpack and come with detachable paddles and pump for easy inflation and use.
The material of the Kayak affects its speed, maneuverability, tracking, and durability. The main types of materials used in sit on top kayaks include:
- Acrylic-Butane-Styrene (ABS)
- Kevlar/fabric with supporting frame
- Carbon fiber
Carbon fiber and Fiberglass are both light but quite expensive. They are, therefore, more suitable for experienced kayakers. Hard plastic offers more durability, but it’s very heavy, thus sacrifices speed.
Polyethylene and ABS are commonly used in lower and middle ranged kayak models. They have the advantage of being more durable and resistant to wear, depending on their construction.
This is probably the most significant factor to consider when buying a sit on top Kayak. Not everyone has the luxury to buy different types of kayaks, so you should choose one that suits all your needs. Lucky for you, the steep competition among kayak manufacturers has given rise to a wide variety of affordable high quality sit on top kayaks that can fit any budget.
Sit on top kayaks are some of the most popular recreational water vessels globally, especially for anglers. As we have seen in the article, they come in a wide range of designs and materials, each suitable for a particular use.
The sit-on-top kayaks available on the market today cater to most kayakers’ needs, but we hope to see further improvements in their future designs. The continuous innovation of new designs and the incorporation of better kayak construction materials are bound to make sit on top kayaks safer and more maneuverable in the future.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Is a sit on top kayak better for fishing?
Although both sit-in and sit-on-top kayaks are good for fishing, sit-on-top kayaks offer more practicality when fishing. This is because sit-on-top kayaks: have better stability, are easier to get in and out, provide easier access to gear, have more storage options and have self-bailing ability.
What is the best sit-on-top fishing kayak?
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak is arguably one of the best fishing kayaks out there. It is made of UV-Protected High-Density Polyethylene, making it suitable for fishing in shallow waters. The adjustable padded seat, coupled with the multiple footwells in the cockpit, makes it super comfortable, even for tall people. This fishing kayak also comes equipped with deep chine rails for added stability and has plenty of storage space. It also has two flush-mounted rod holders for added convenience.
Are sit on top kayaks more stable?
Yes! Sit on top kayaks are generally longer and broader than sit-in kayaks. Their wide hull design gives them more stability. You can even stand on a sit-on-top kayak while fishing without worrying about toppling over. Their longer length also makes them faster than most small single person sit-in kayaks out there.
Are sit on top kayaks safer?
The construction materials and hull design determine safety in kayaks. That being said, sit on top kayaks are safer than their sit-in kayaks. This is because they are easier to get in and out of, thus reducing the possibility of getting stuck under the watercraft in case it capsizes.
Can you stand on a sit on top kayak?
Yes. Most sit on top kayaks have a wide hull design that gives them added stability. However, to stand on one, you will need a lot of core balance. That being said, heavy and tall people often have a hard time standing on a sit on top kayak.
Why do sit on top kayaks have holes?
These holes are known as scupper holes. The purpose of scupper holes is to allow water that splashes into the cockpit to drain out to avoid flooding it.
My name is Bryan and I’m the chief editor of kayakiye.com. My goal is to share my experience with readers of kayakiye.com. Here I tell you how to choose the perfect kayak for fishing, camping, and traveling. I share reviews of the best kayaks on the market. I hope that my blog will be useful to Kayakers and Fishing folks.