One of the greatest escapes we all have is the return to nature,  but if you are not ready for it, you might as well just spend more time fighting imaginary monsters on your little black box.

But how can we prepare for it, a dear unknown writer who’s typing this from his jungle hut, you might wonder?

Well, the answer to that is rather complex because as you see, there are plenty of things to do but they are not for everyone. That is why today, we are taking kayaking as a prime example of what you can do whenever you’re near a body of water. Of course, you can swim, but why would you that when you can just float on top of a bullet-shaped UV-protected high-density polyethylene vessel. Before we present the list of the best sit on top kayak, lets what they are and what to look for a kayak. Let’s begin.

Here’s our list of the best sit on top kayaks in the industry: 

Top 7 Best Sit On top Kayak Reviews

1 – Lifetime Tamarack Sit-On-Top Kayak

Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Tan, 120'

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As the name indicates, this is a kayak that can last a lifetime and it’s all because of the intense engineering behind it. As foreshadowed, this kayak is made of UV-protected high-density polyethylene which is easily one of the toughest materials that can actually float.

Being obscenely rigid, however, doesn’t mean that this kayak is going to present a transportation issue because it is still very light.

Main features:

This sport can actually relieve you of both physical and mental issues and with the right build, you are set for an adventure. It is also important to note that this 10-foot long kayak features a stable flat bottom which emphasizes recreational use rather than competitive use. The kayak also features practical tracking channels which will make it easier to navigate in steady water.

Secondary features:

The other features may be secondary but they’re also part of what makes this vessel an impressive sit on best sit on top kayak. Indeed, the rider’s zone is just impeccable and is for many reasons. First, the kayak features a comfortable seating area with multiple footrest positions to fit riders of different sizes. Then, there is the front and rear cargo nets which are meant to help your transport and store pretty much anything from your favorite lunch to a full grown dog.

The kayak is also hooked with two flush mounted fishing rod holders for those of you who wish to sit all day in the sun and exercise their patients. Last but not least, this kayak is also equipped with 2 paddle cradles and rear T-handles for easier transportation.

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2 – Ocean Kayak Scrambler Sit-On-Top Kayak

Ocean Kayak Tetra 10 One-Person Sit-On-Top Kayak, Envy, 10 Feet 8...

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The scrambler is rather a different pick for a different set of people. This is a kayak that is strictly made of durable roto-molded polyethylene plastic which is both tough and flexible. The first one of this series was launched 20 years ago and since then, the brand has been making constant updates which eventually pumped up its performance to the maximum but kept the stable tri-form hull all these years.

Efficiency and durability are the primary factors that keep this kayak in this top list.  This sit on top kayak is also known for its versatility as it can be practically used for surfing, fishing or casual paddling. It is one of the best sit on top kayak for beginners.

Primary features:

One of the best features of the Scrambler is its size which measures at 11 feet. The boat is not only big but it’s also very powerful on water which is why this kayak represents quite the competitor in this category. The Scrambler is also lighter than the previous kayak on the list at just 47 lbs. Imagine how easy it would be to transport and navigate this light of a kayak.

Secondary features:

The smallest details matter and that is why Ocean Kayak paid careful attention to the minute details on the surface and even under it. The kayak features a double foam padded comfort seat which you’ll learn to appreciate on longer excursions. The boat also integrates various footrests for paddlers of all sizes and that is a necessity for anyone who hates tight spaces.

Another interesting feature is the storage hatches in the front and back of the vessel which will come in handy when you need to bring accessories or equipment when you go out paddling.

The hatches are hooked with bungee nets to keep your cargo safe and secured throughout the ride.

Lastly, the vessel comes with molded-in side handles for easy carrying and transport, a paddle holder and a replaceable rear skid plate for extra durability.

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3 – Ocean Kayak 12′ Malibu Kayak

Ocean Kayak Malibu 9.5 Kayak (Sunrise, 9 Feet 5 Inches)

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And yet another Ocean Kayak, except this time it is the more hip and talented sister Malibu. The Malibu is slightly larger than the Scrambler and at 12 feet in length which makes it more interesting. The 2 people sit on a top kayak at hand is very versatile and that is one of its primary qualities because it is a 2 passengers’ kayak.

Yes, you heard it right, this one is double the fun and if you’d like to share your paddling experience with that special someone or a friend, the Malibu is made just for you. Extremely rigid, this vessel is built using a durable roto-molded polyethylene plastic and that is what pushes the weight capacity up to 400 lbs.

Primary features:

The flat bottom hull of the kayak makes it a recreational kayak. In fact, the company even goes to call it a family kayak because you can use it with your wife or kids when going for a kayaking adventure. That, however, does not take away from the vessel’s ability to smoothly sail stable waters and navigate like a charm.

That being said, it is important to note that this isn’t a competitive kayak but it is one of the best sit on top tandem kayaks out there. So, let’s find out why.

Secondary features:

The kayak features three seating positions which are very promising. It also comes with a bow, stern and middle positions for paddling solo in case you feel like going alone. The boat also comes with 2 Comfort plus seats and 3 molded-in seat wells in order to make longer rides less tiring. The kayak also comes with patented overlapping foot wells which are meant to help passengers of all sizes fit in comfortably.

A couple other interesting features include the transportation friendly molded-in handles and the T-shaped hooks on the front and rear of the kayak which are meant to help you secure or to the vessel whenever needed.

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4 – Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10′ Kayak

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Bali SS Sit-on top Kayak (Lime, 12-Feet)

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Now, hold on a second! Which kayak should you go for? This is a list of 7 kayaks and it’s actually pretty difficult to make up your mind when it comes to newer things. So, consider this an insider tip and take a look at the Sun Dolphin Bali SS.

This initially looks like a standard kayak which is exactly why it could be just what you need. The Bali SS is an all-around vessel with pretty much all you need for an exceptional kayaking adventure. The brand is also has a solid reputation and that stems from the clean record history it carries along. The Bali SS measures 10 feet and may look a regular kayak but it can deliver more.

Main Features:

The strength of this bad boy resides in its rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene body. Yup, that is one of the most resilient materials that can actually float on water and that is the prime reason which makes this a great sit on top kayak.

Build material, however, is just the tip of the iceberg as there is a lot more to the kayak than that. Indeed, the design of the Bali is unbelievably dynamic. It features a flat bottom recreational hull kayak but it is still shaped in a way that enables it to cut through the water while maintaining an impressive level of straight tracking.

Secondary features:

If you’re already thinking that the Bali SS is great then here is a list of reasons why you should appreciate it even more. First, the kayak features a wide cockpit which will allow the easiest entry and exit and that is something you’ll learn to appreciate if you’re planning on using the vessel often. Then, there is the dry storage compartment which is safely locked and secured via a shock cord.

The kayak also features 2 shock cord rigging on the front and back for extra storage space which can be used to secure anything from your lunchbox to your paddle.

There are of course plenty of other interesting specs on the Bali SS but the most significant of which has got to be the large, comfortable seating area with protective high pads and the adjustable foot braces which makes this kayak compatible with almost every rider out there.

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5 – Lifetime 10’Sports Fisher Tandem Kayak

Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak

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I’m pretty sure you have already read a few sit on top kayak reviews but there are only a few out there which analyze the lifetime. This is, of course, a newer brand which is why it is more mysterious than the rest and thus harder to trust but you shouldn’t let that stand between you and exploring this kayak.

The Lifetime 10-foot sports fisher tandem kayak is a very simple kayak but it can also be one of the best sit on top fishing kayaks out there because of how it is designed. Let’s check it out!

Main Features:

There isn’t a lot to cover on this vessel because as mentioned earlier it is simply designed and cuts right to the chase. The kayak size is big and measures, 10 feet long to be exact, and can accommodate 2 passengers. Fishing might be a regenerating practice but some actually enjoy doing it with a close fishing buddy.

This kayak isn’t only large but it’s also significantly rigid. The body of this vessel is made of High-Density Polyethylene which is backed by a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty just to prove how much they trust their product. Hence, the kayak is capable of handling up to 500 lbs without negatively impacting its performance making it one of the best sit on a top fishing kayak in the market. Take note that this is a flat hull recreational fishing kayak, so if excitement is your target, then you’re far away from where you should have landed.

Secondary features:

Surprisingly enough, there is a lot more to this Lifetime tandem kayak than what you see on the surface. This kayak is full of smaller features that are aimed at making your experience a lot less tedious.

First, the kayak features multiple footrest areas which are meant to cater for riders of all sizes comfortably. Then, there are the 2 double-sided paddles for solid efficiency and navigation on steady water, the 2 padded backrests for extra comfort which will come in really handy on longer excursions, the 3 fishing pole holders which are more than sufficient for 2 people and a 6” storage hatch which will enable you to transport all the fishing gear, bait and tools you’ll need on your little adventure.

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6 – Sun Dolphin Journey 10′ Kayak

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak (Olive,...

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Unbelievably, here we are stuck with another Dolphin but that doesn’t sound bad at all. Yes, we’ve already reviewed another Sun Dolphin but this one is different and special. you know? Let me explain!

The Journey is an exceptional kayak and this is actually one of the few kayaks out there that is considered to be a prime sit on top fishing kayak. The difference is slight from standard kayaks but for a fishing fanatic, it’s monumental.

 

Main features:

There is a lot to say about this kayak but let’s make it simple and straight to the point. The Sun Dolphin Journey is a solid kayak because it is made of Rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene. This, however, is definitely not news as this is one of the toughest and commonly used materials in building kayaks.

The kayak is also a flat hull recreational vessel like most fishing kayaks out there. The stability that is provided by a flat hull is essential substantial to fishing but that doesn’t mean that it’ll be harder to navigate it. It simply means that it’s not designed to be a competitive vessel but rather a stable, fishing and recreational kayak.

Secondary features:

As a fishing fanatic, there is only so much you should know about this kayak before you fall in love with it. First, this is a gigantic vessel as it measures an outstanding 10 feet in length which is enough to fit 2 people. The kayak is also featuring two flush mount rod holders and one swivel rod holder for extra fisherman accessibility. Then, there is the huge open cockpit which will enable you to easily access and exit the boat.

The kayak also hooks you up with a portable accessories carrier which can be used as extra storage space for anything from your toolbox to your fishing gear. There is also a dry storage compartment of the kayak with shock cord deck rigging to keep your vulnerable belongings safe as you delve into the unknown. Of course, there is plenty more to this kayak that can only be appreciated through experience and this is one experience which we strongly advise you to take on.

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7 – Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak

Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

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Last but definitely not least on the list, we have a special sit on top kayak which is not necessarily what you’d expect. Indeed, the Quickpak K1 might not be your standard kayak but it is very compelling.

First things first, this is an inflatable kayak which means that it’s going to be distinctly different from the previously reviewed kayaks but that doesn’t take away from the possibility that it could be the best sit on top kayak out there. Still have some doubts? Let’s check it out!

Main Features:

The first question that comes to your mind when dealing with an inflatable kayak is how is it going to handle water obstacles. Well, the answer is rather simple because the body is made of military-grade 21-gauge PVC. This kayak might be inflatable but it is made of a robust material which is often used in military zodiacs. Thus, the possibility of puncturing the Quickpak K1 is slim to none.

Also, it’s important to note that this kayak weighs 20 pounds max and can handle up to 400 lbs of load. It measures 8.5 feet and can be easily deflated, rolled up and packed inside a backpack for easy storage. That right there is a feature that none of the above kayaks can afford.

Secondary features:

There is the undeniably countless amount of information about this kayak. Note that the Sevylor Quikpak K1 features a tarpaulin bottom to further support the kayak especially for those of you who like to brush around in shallow water. Then, there is the visibly comfortable pit area which is completely open and thus even easier to access and exit. The back and multi-position footrest on this kayak is also pretty practical and fit for riders of all sizes.

Further, up by the front of the kayak, you’ll find a nice little storage area secured via a bungee cord which is fitting for all kinds of equipment. The K1 comes with a high-pressure hand pump and a paddle. So, what do you think?

What Is a Sit on Top and Sit-Inside Kayak?

Some of you may ask “which is better a sit-in or sit on top kayak?”, the answer will depend on your kayak needs and application. Let’s find out the differences between the two.

There are two basic types of kayaks:

  • Sit-on-Top (SOT) Kayaks
  • Sit-Inside Kayaks

Both models are available as singles or doubles/tandem and can be made of hard shells or as inflatables.

Although there are some significant differences between the two, they share many similarities. The top of the kayak is called the deck. The bottom is the hull. The front is the bow, and the back is the stern. On top of the deck, you’ll often have bungee cords or declines that can be used for storage.

At the stern of the kayak, you should find some grab loops for towing other kayaks, and some kayaks have rudders. Rudders swivel side-to-side in the horizontal plane and are controlled by foot pedals. Skegs simple drops straight in the water and helps the boat go straight.

Both sit-on-top and sit-inside kayaks have seats and some form of foot braces. Adjustable foot pedals may also be available in some models which slide on the track to adjust for different sized paddlers. Footwells are very convenient, but, you may prefer to use foot pedals if you’re going to spend the whole day on the water. The best inflatable kayaks and traditional kayaks will also have a built-in seat backrest, which makes kayaking more comfortable.

The most significant difference between the two types of kayaks is that sit-insides cockpits are enclosed. Around the cockpit is a cockpit rim where you can attach a spray skirt to keep you dry and the water out. Inside the cockpit is the seat and foot-pedals that you can adjust according to the length of your legs.

There are hundreds of options out there, which can make choosing the right kayak confusing. The best way to narrow down your options is to know and identify your specific kayak needs.

  • Will you go paddle at the beach where waves are present or on a lake where it’s flat water?
  • Will the water will be warm?
  • Do you need a fast kayak for quick travels or do you need a stable boat that will not tip over?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Sit-on-tops and Sit-Ins Kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks are the most user-friendly because they are easy to get in and out of, provides more stability and no confined feeling because of the open cockpit. They’re also self-bailing, which means they have scupper holes allowing water to drain out of the boat. Another big advantage of sit-on-tops is that you can slip on and off easily and this feature makes a great choice for newbies or nervous paddlers, for paddling with kids when going out for a swim or warm environments.

One distinct disadvantage of a sit-on-top kayak is that you will get wet while paddling, sit-inside kayaks will keep your lower half dry.

Sit-insides kayaks, on the other hand, shield your lower body from the wind and water, making your paddling warmer. These kayaks are great for paddlers who’ll be on the colder water and who want to stay dry while paddling.  This kayak is also for people who use the kayak as a vehicle for travel than for recreation.

One disadvantage of the Sit-inside kayaks is that you don’t have the same freedom to move in and out of the water. And in case the boat flips, recovery is a bit hard because the kayak will likely be filled with water.

Recreational sit-inside kayaks are very, fun,  easy-to-use and provide great stability. They’ve got large cockpits, so there’s no reason to feel confined in them unless the spray skirt doesn’t bother you. Some of these kayaks have waterproof compartments that are accessed through hatches in the deck.

Boat Material and Weight

Most sea kayaks have a hard shell made from a military-grade durable plastic that can last for years and most of the best sit on top kayaks will not require a lot of maintenance.

There also kayaks made from composite materials like carbon fiber, Kevlar and fiberglass which also make the SOT kayaks lighter. But these high tech kayaks cost more and don’t take abuse as well.

Kayaks have two types of stability where weight capacity is concerned:

  • Primary stability is how stable the kayak feels when the paddler centered and sitting still. This stability is the least affected by weight distribution.
  • Secondary stability is how the kayak feels when you are leaning to the side. Overloading the kayak and poor weight distribution or will significantly affect secondary stability which can lead to dangerous or costly boat flips.

It is recommended to stay below 70% of the rated weight capacity of any kayak, and this includes your gear in the total.

Final Thoughts on Sit on Top Kayaks

What is the best sit on top kayak? Sit on top kayaks are more user-friendly than their sit-in counterparts which makes it easier for beginners to get into kayaking. A sit-on-top kayak is tops for fishing and plain fun times on the water. It offers more comfort and a less expensive option. Just pick the best sit on top kayak that fits your budget and purpose and the fun times will surely come your way.

See also: 

Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Kayak Review

Top 10 Best Cheap Inflatable Stand up Paddle Boards

Sevylor Coleman K1 Inflatable Kayak Review