Best Sit On Top Kayak of 2018 & Buying Guide

Kayaking is an exceptional water sport which allows you to relax, get physically fit and enjoy breathtaking scenic views at the same time. These attributes of this water sport make many people want to go for it but the actual idea of getting inside the small space of a kayak makes many people anxious, and they feel claustrophobic.

The best possible solution to this issue is the use of sit on top kayaks which provide you with the option of sitting on the top of the kayak in a molded-in depression instead of inside the kayak. These offer the same hull design, speed, and stability as the traditional sit-inside kayaks but are more comfortable, easier to use and less expensive.

Moreover, these eliminate the problem of feeling confined faced by many paddlers with large body sizes.Having an open deck reduces the possibility of paddler trapping in the boat if it turns over and increases the chances of self-rescue.

However, if someone is looking out for kayaks but is confused how to choose the right one, we got you covered. This article focuses on some best sit on top kayaks available in the market and will serve as your tour guide in selecting the right one.

Product

Ranking

Our Rating

Price

BKC UH-TK181 Kayak Seats included

Best Overall

Lifetime Muskie Angler Kayak

2nd Choice

Emotion 90244 Spitfire

3rd Choice

Lifetime Lotus Kayak

4th Choice

Sun Dolphin Kayak Bali SS

5th Choice

Buyer’s Guide 

The process of choosing a particular kayak that fits your needs from the diverse variety of options available in the market might seem very tiring and sometimes even impossible.

To choose the best sit on top kayak, you need to look for some specific features in kayaks including their dimensions, style, and hull design.

BKC UH-TK181 Kayak Seats included

BKC UH-TK181 Kayak Seats included

Which style of kayak should I go for?

Lifetime Muskie Angler Kayak

Lifetime Muskie Angler Kayak

Kayaks come in a variety of styles meant for different kinds of environmental conditions. The process of choosing a style of kayak that fits your needs perfectly might seem intimidating to a beginner. However, this is not such a complicated process.

If you are a beginner and plan on going for kayaking to a calm lake for relaxation, recreational kayaks are the best choice. This is because they are wider and more stable.

You should go for a touring kayak if you plan on kayaking in rough open waters with strong air currents. Touring kayaks are comparatively longer and narrower due to which they remain on their course. These also have more space for storage of food and gear and come with a rudder or skeg attached to them.

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Sit on top kayaks should be purchased if you are a complete newbie to the sport of kayaking and want something wide, stable and comfortable. These kayaks are the ideal option for fishing, touring, scuba diving and surfing. You should buy this style of the kayak if you are an anxious kayaker because it makes self-rescue quite easy.

What material should I prefer during the purchase of a sit on top kayak?

These kayaks come in a variety of materials such as plastic, composite (Kevlar, fiberglass, carbon) and soft shells made from strong, durable plastic. The kayaks made from plastic such as polyethylene and ABS are heavier, inexpensive and more durable.

However, their disadvantage is that they can become brittle and get deformed after long exposure to sunlight. Composite kayaks are comparatively expensive but are lightweight and sturdy. These are ideal for beginners because they are easy to handle and turn around. 

Emotion 90244 Spitfire

Emotion 90244 Spitfire

Soft shell kayaks are made from durable and strong fabrics that are puncture-proof.  These include folding and inflatable kayaks. You should go for these if you have a problem with transporting kayaks.

However, finding the type of kayak material that fits your needs perfectly is based on trial and error. It is recommended for a beginner to go for less expensive plastic ones.

Should I go for a solo kayak or a tandem kayak?

Lifetime Lotus Kayak

Lifetime Lotus Kayak

Many people who buy a kayak for the first time want to go for tandem kayaks so that they can take along their friend or spouse for recreational kayaking. This effort usually goes in vain because of most of the time, you end up going for kayaking alone, and it gets challenging for one person to paddle a tandem kayak alone.

Thus, the best option is to buy a solo kayak, and if sometimes, out of the blue, your friend or spouse wants to accompany you, renting a kayak for them can help in this case.

What should be the dimensions of the kayak I buy?

The dimensions of a kayak include its weight, width, depth, and length of a kayak. Kayaks come with their weight holding capacity explained by their manufacturers. Choosing a kayak’s dimensions largely depends upon your weight and the weight of the gear and other supplies you will be carrying along.

You need to make sure that the weight of all this combined falls under the weight range of the kayak for its best performance. Moreover, it is essential to try sitting on the kayak and making sure that you fit in perfectly before buying it. 

Sun Dolphin Kayak Bali SS

Sun Dolphin Kayak Bali SS

To know that the dimensions of the kayak are perfect for your height and weight, you should sit on it and see that if your feet reach the foot support and the backrest provides sufficient support to your back.

Should I focus on the accessories that come along with a kayak during its purchase?

Accessories for kayaks come in diverse varieties, and research and personal preference entirely determine the choice of accessories. You need to do your homework and know exactly what you want on your kayak. They include different hatches and storage compartments, adjustable backrests, and fishing rod.

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Which design of hull should I go for?

The choice of the type of the hull mainly depends on the kind of kayak you want and the environmental conditions in which you will be kayaking. Hulls which have leveled bottoms, sharper chines with right angles at the junction of bottom and sides and a larger flare provide greater stability and are perfect for beginners going for kayaking on rough open waters.

Oppositely, rounded hulls with softer chines and smaller flare are less stable but lighter and contribute to high speed. The more marked their V shape at the bottom is, the higher their speed is and the lower their stability is. Round bottom hulls are preferred for recreational kayaking on calm waters.

Should I go for a kayak with a rudder or a skeg?

While buying a sit on top kayak, you might be presented with the option of choosing between a kayak with skeg and a kayak with rudder. A skeg is a blade that comes out of the kayak from a place near its stem.

The paddler can control the depth to which a skeg enters the water and the extent to which it controls the influence of waves, winds, currents and trims the wind. Rudders are different from skegs in a way that they move side to side in the water.

These are also controlled by the paddlers and can even be pulled out of water when not needed. These help in controlling the direction and maintaining the course of the kayak.

Skegs and rudders differ only in some function, but if you are a beginner at kayaking and trying to learn basic techniques, you should probably go for skegs to avoid relying on rudders from the start and also because skegs are quite easy to handle due to lack of moving parts and complexity.

Top 5 Best Sit On Top Kayak Reviews

We have picked up a few best sit on top kayaks and examined them to help you choose the best one that fits your needs.

1. Sun Dolphin Kayak Bali SS Review

This kayak made of high weight polyethylene plastic comes with an ST performance hull which allows it to be great at speed and tracking while being stable at the same time.

In this model, the back support is stepped up equipping it with CRS padded backrest. It is easier to transport because of handles on its inside and also has bungee lacing for easy packing of loose items.

Pros

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    Very strong and durable
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    Very stable and ideal for tracking
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    Easy to transport to and from the waterfront

Cons

  • Small and not suitable for adults having height of 5ft 7” or above
  • Not suitable for rough waters and gets brittle over time in sun
  • Fragile hull easily damaged in rough waters

2. BKC UH-TK181 Kayak Seats included Review

Pros

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    Fishing rod holders are adjustable and provide an extra advantage when angling
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    Paddle rests are available
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    Multifunctional-acts as both solo and tandem kayak
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    Waterproof storage

Cons

  • Fills up with water when the waves are high
  • Not easy to transport because of heavy weight

3. Lifetime Muskie Angler Kayak, Tan, 120″ Review

This kayak is quite suitable for long kayaking trips and fishing. It is perfect for adults and measures to be 120 inches long. Moreover, it has a weight holding capacity of 275lb and comes with rod holders. It has a good storage capacity, is UV resistant and very stable.

Pros

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    Stable and UV protected
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    Very comfortable because of many footrest positions and padded back seat
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    Two 6 inch compartments for storage in rear and middle
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    Durable because of construction with High-density polyethylene

Cons

  • The speed of this kayak is not very fast
  • Storage compartments are not leak proof and fill with water

4. Lifetime Lotus Kayak, Blue, 8′ Review

This kayak has the ideal length of 8ft that helps every tall adult to fit in comfortably. It comes in blue and has a weight holding capacity of 250lb. Its adjustable backrest ensures a comfortable experience, and the large size helps to provide many storage opportunities.

Pros

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    Hull designed in a way that it provides extreme stability and perfect tracking
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    Scupper holes are present which drain the cockpit area and prevent the kayak from filling with water
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    Easy to transport because of easy carry handles’ presence
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    Weighs only 38lb and provides great speed because of being light weight
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    Does not get discolored and avoids cracking and getting brittle

Cons

  • Not suitable for kayaking in rough waters

5. Emotion SpitfireKayak, 90244 Review

It has features such as side carry handles, bungee lacing, secure foot bracing, scupper holes, 240lb holding capacity and an excellent hull design allows it to be super-fast and stable at the same time.

Pros

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    Extreme stability and tracking
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    Tankwell and bungee lacing present in the back for easy transport of losing items
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    ST performance hull is present
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    UV protected and ultra-durable because constructed from High-density polyethylene

Cons

  • Not leak proof and can fill up with water
  • Not very easy to maneuver

CONCLUSION

After going through this article, you must have picked up ideas related to what features and characteristics you need to focus on before buying a sit on top kayak to assist you in purchasing the right one. The reviews mentioned above on the best sit on top kayaks available in the market will help narrow down the options for you, and the comparisons that we made between these kayaks will help you to find the kayak that best fits your needs. If you follow the guidelines provided by this article, you will end up buying the best kayak that will cater your specific needs and prevent you from wasting your money.