Everybody knows what kayaks are, but not everyone knows there are a range of different styles.
While many people choose to use the traditional kayaks where they sit inside the craft, sit-on-top kayaks are also extremely useful. In fact, many people believe them to be better.
To show why, this guide will break down the five best sit-on-top kayaks you can find in today's market.
A Great Way to Enjoy the Water
There are many reasons people choose sit-on-top kayaks over more traditional models. Not only are they much easier to use, but they are also perfect for cruising, fishing, surfing, or diving.
No matter what type of activity you prefer or how you like to kayak, the following options will give you the quality you need to enjoy your time on the water.
The Sun Dolphin Bali kicks off our list, and for a good reason. This 10-foot kayak gives you everything you could ever want out on the water.
In terms of specs, this kayak is not only long, but it measures 30 inches across and weighs a solid 44 pounds. It can also carry up to 250 pounds, giving you a lot of room to work with when bringing on supplies.
That good size and strong durability are both keys when breaking down what makes the Sun Dolphin so special.
A Perfectly Cushioned Ride
The most important aspect of this kayak is that both the seat and sides are completely padded. As fun as kayaks are, uncomfortable ones can lead to a pretty tough time.
Not only can rough seats chafe your thighs, but these can also lead to extended soreness days after.
The Sun Dolphin stops has extra padding all around the seat area to make sure your ride is as smooth and as comfortable as possible.
Another great reason to purchase a Sun Dolphin is because of how easy it is to get in and out of. When kayaking, you want to spend your time on the water, not figuring out how to climb on top of your boat.
The Sun Dolphin's open cockpit allows for incredibly easy entry. This is perfect for beginners because it gives them a way to get in and out quickly.
There is also a great adjustable foot brace and paddle holder for when you want to take a break from rowing.
Extra Space for Extra Gear
One more attribute that stands out here is the incredible amount of storage the Sun Dolphin provides. Having extra space is a great feature, and this boat comes equipped with plenty of extra space.
That allows you to keep all of your valuables and gear dry no matter how rough or wild the waters get.
Though normally touted for fishing, the Stealth 14 from Malibu Kayaks is a fantastic recreational model that is perfectly suited for both casual and more serious kayakers alike.
This boat has many important features that come in handy while paddling along. It is long, measuring 14 feet and 4 inches, tracks well, and is easy to paddle.
It also measures 31 inches across, making it stable for rough or more turbulent waters.
Versatility is always important to have in a sit-on-top kayak, and the Stealth 14 is no exception. This makes it into the list of best sit-on-top kayaks for several reasons, but one of the biggest is because of how many ways you can use its excellent features.
This kayak is incredibly stable. So stable that it can be used on just about any body of water with little hassle or worry. It will stay upright across lakes, rivers, and oceans.
As a result, it is a great choice for those who like to paddle in many different areas.
If you like to cruise out on the open water, that's great. If you like to ride through rougher regions or fish out in long rivers, this works for that as well.
A Wide-but-Nimble Craft
Another reason the Stealth 14 is such a good purchase is because of its incredible design. Not only it is sturdy, but it is sleek in an extremely functional way.
This kayak not only turns and tracks easily, it is also incredibly responsive despite its large size and wide girth. You get extra room for your gear as well.
There is a live bait compartment, which is perfect for people who want to fish, and you also get side hatches that can be used for tools, lures, and any other extra supplies you might have.
Continuing with that, there are 3 large dry hatches that allow you to store belongings in safe, waterproof compartments. The center compartment can also be used towards that end as well.
For those reasons, the Stealth 14 is perfect for any water-related activity and is one of the best sit-on-top kayaks you can buy.
Number three in our discussion of the best sit-on-top kayaks is the Frenzy. Ocean Kayak is known for its high-quality and dependable items, and this model has all of the incredibly useful features you need when out on open water.
This model has it all. It is durable, lightweight, easy to maneuver, and comes in a range of different color options. If you want something that both feels and looks good, this is an easy choice.
A Kayak for Everyone
While smaller than other options out there, the Frenzy is great for both beginners and experienced paddlers alike.
Kayaking can be a tricky activity to get the hang of, especially when someone has no background with water-related activities.
It is always great to have beginner-friendly options that don't skimp on the extra features. This comes with an amazing price-to-quality ratio and turns easily. It also resists flipping and the sturdy body means you can make mistakes without taking a dive.
Some people tend to shy away from beginner-friendly kayaks because they fear they might lack key attributes, but that is not the case here.
A Tough, Resilient Exterior
The Frenzy's short body is another blessing that makes it much easier to handle in tight spots. It also turns easily on the open ocean, which is a handy feature you will use time and time again. Such control is particularly useful for people in coastal regions.
Another plus of the Frenzy is that its strong frame that can handle all sorts of scrapes and collisions without breaking down or becoming damaged.
There are many obstacles in the ocean, ranging from sandbars to corals to barnacles, and you need to make sure your hull can handle them all. Being able to take some hits is very important.
Simple to Move
Not only is the Frenzy strong, it is durable as well. Too often durable kayaks are heavy, which then makes them hard to move around.
In contrast, this Ocean Kayak is easy to move and transport as you need. The body is constructed from tough-but-lightweight polyethylene, which is used in many sit-on-top kayaks. As strong as it is, the Frenzy only weighs 43 pounds.
Also note that, while it is advertised as an ocean kayak, the Frenzy can handle many different water ways.
While the Frenzy – despite its inherent versatility – is best for the ocean, the Perception R15 is a kayak for rivers and lakes.
This model is 10 feet long, 29 inches across, weighs 52 pounds, and is able to carry up to 352 pounds. That capacity is one of the most important features because it means you'll never worry about overloading if you pack extra supplies.
That increased weight load meshes well with the large dry storage compartment on the bow to ensure you'll never have to leave something at home.
Relax as You Ride
There are many reasons to choose one kayak over another. Some have a lot of space, while others are stable or tough. While the Perception R15 has all of those, its main draw comes from its comfort.
This kayak combines multiple features to make sure you will always have a smooth ride.
The comfortable seating is a great way to reduce any discomfort or stress that might be put on your legs. This feature is particularly useful for those who plan on spending extended periods of time on top of their kayak.
The molded-in foot well further enforces that ideology and ensures you'll never be uncomfortable while paddling or fishing.
A Slew of Useful Features
As with the other top models on this list, the Perception R15 comes with many additional features to provide you with a complete kayak experience.
Not only this model is mostly stable, it also tracks well and comes with a large dry storage compartment on the bow. Furthering that, you also get an open storage area in the rear with shock cords and a small covered hatch.
That, combined with the straps to secure the paddles and special comfort carry handles, shows what makes this one of the best sit-on-top kayaks around.
We finish our list with another Perception model. The Pescador Pro is a fantastic sit-on-top kayak that fits right into the midsize/midrange range of options.
This device is not only stocked with all the features you can handle, but it also performs beyond anything else in its price range.
Though best used for fishing, this boat has something for everyone. Recreational users will love how easy it is to control and operate, while more serious or niche users will enjoy the options it provides.
High Quality in an Affordable Package
What sets the Pescador Pro apart from other models is that it offers many attributes without needing to dig too deep into your wallet. That alone is worth purchasing this over other options.
However, the Pescador Pro goes far beyond that by providing you with a high level of compactness and flexibility other kayaks lack.
Most prominently is the low price, which enables first-time kayakers to try out a larger, upgraded boat with almost no risk of getting overwhelmed.
The Pescador measures 12-feet long and 28 inches wide. It is quite sleek, suited for long trips, and is able to both turn and handle quite easily.
It also has a large amount of versatility. This kayak has the speed and control for lakes and rivers, but it also is stable and strong enough to handle choppy ocean waters.
That extremely strong quality typically makes it so the user never has to upgrade.
Fishing and Recreational Use
When analyzing the Pescador, it is also important to talk about how it pertains to fishing.
The model has a unique hull shape designed for a mix of tracking, speed, and stability. While that is great for casual paddlers, it is also necessary to go out and make a big catch.
Not only that, but it also comes with plenty of fishing amenities. You get a caster rod holder, two flush mount rod holders, as well as an anchor kit. Of course, there's a lot of cargo space to hold gear too.
It does not matter if you're casting a line or simply sitting back and taking in a nice day, the Pescador will provide you whatever you need at an affordable price.
The Simplest Way to Paddle
Sit-on-top kayaks are some of the best makes around. While not as common as traditional cockpit builds, they provide an excellent amount of room, space, and ease.
There are many advantages to choosing this style, especially when it comes with the features noted in the above models.
There is no one best sit-on-top kayak. However, the options laid out in this guide all contend for that title.