- Updated May 30, 2020
- Writen by Editorial Staff
- Table of Contents
10 Best Sit On Top Kayaks – The Most Versatile & Popular Kayaks
- Updated Jul 17, 2018
- Writen by Editorial Staff
- Table of Contents
The sit-on-top kayak is one of the most versatile and popular types of kayaks on the market. It can be used for a wide range of activities from recreation to fishing.
This kayak has an efficient design, offers excellent tracking and is easy to operate. Even absolute beginners will have no problem navigating the sit-on-top kayak like a professional.
Moreover, one of its distinctive features is its large cockpit that gives you a lot of maneuverability during movement-intensive activities like fishing.
If you are fresh on the market for a quality kayak, we have you covered. We hand-picked some of the best sit-on-top kayaks for the money and give you our impressions below.
- Sit-On-Top vs. Sit-In Kayak
- 10 Best Sit-On-Top Kayaks - Reviews
- 1. Sun Dolphin Camino SS sit-on-top Kayak
- 2. Intex Explorer K2 sit-on-top Kayak
- 3. Lifetime Lotus sit-on-top Kayak With Paddle
- 4. Lifetime Tamarack Angler sit-on-top Kayak
- 5. Lifetime Tioga sit-on-top Kayak
- 6. Ocean Kayak Frenzy sit-on-top Kayak
- 7. Vibe Kayaks Angler sit-on-top Kayak
- 8. Sun Dolphin Bali SS sit-on-top Kayak
- 9. Sun Dolphin Journey sit-on-top Kayak
- 10. Ocean Kayak Venus 11 sit-on-top Kayak
- How to Buy the Best Sit-on-Top Kayak
Sit-On-Top vs. Sit-In Kayak
1. Sit-On-Top Kayak
The sit-on-top kayak is one of the most popular types of kayaks that you will find on the market. It distinguishes itself with its large cockpit that provides the operator with excellent maneuverability in every direction. Moreover, the sit-on-top kayak can contain multiple seats to accommodate more than one paddler.
This type of kayak is generally used as a recreational or fishing kayak because it offers excellent maneuverability. The only downside is that the sit-on-top kayak usually lacks speed and is not made for navigating turbulent waters like whitewater.
2. Sit-In Kayak
The sit-in kayak is generally smaller than the sit-on-top kayak and has a smaller and more confined cockpit. The small cockpit is better protected from the outside thus providing the paddler with better protection against impacts. Therefore, the sit-in kayak is usually used as a sports kayak rather than for recreational or fishing.
Moreover, the sit-in kayak has a more compact and efficient design that makes it very good when it comes to speed. It is easy to paddle and due to its smaller form factor, it has excellent maneuverability.
10 Best Sit-On-Top Kayaks - Reviews
1. Sun Dolphin Camino Sit On Top Kayak
2. Intex Explorer K2 Sit On Top Kayak
3. Lifetime Lotus Sit On Top Kayak
4. Lifetime Tamarack Sit On Top Kayak
5. Lifetime Tioga Sit On Top Kayak
6. Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit On Top Kayak
275 lbs - 325 lbs
7. Vibe Kayaks Angler Sit On Top Kayak
8. Sun Dolphin Bali SS Sit On Top Kayak
9. Sun Dolphin Journey Sit On Top Kayak
10. Ocean Kayak Venus 11 Sit On Top Kayak
37 lbs, 44 lbs
1. Sun Dolphin Camino SS sit-on-top Kayak
- Weight capacity: 225 lbs
- Weight: 40 lbs
The Sun Dolphin Camino SS is a popular sit-on-top kayak that has one of the best price-to-performance ratios in this review. This is a small and compact kayak that measures only 96 inches in length.
Since it is so compact, it can easily be steered either left or right with the paddle and its streamlined form factor makes it an efficient kayak when navigating calm water.
For those who are looking for an affordable sit-on-top kayak that can also retrofit as a fishing can, then this model is quite stable because it has a flat bottom.
Moreover, despite its small form factor, it has a storage compartment that will allow you to keep your various accessories dry. Additionally, the backrest is comfortable and can easily be adjusted. The only caveat is that there is no foam or padded seat.
All in all, the Sun Dolphin Camino SS is a pretty basic sit-on-top kayak but it still offers a nice design and a nice price. Therefore, without hesitation, we elect this kayak as the overall best sit-on-top kayak in this review.
2. Intex Explorer K2 sit-on-top Kayak
- Weight capacity: 400 lbs
- Weight: 33.57 lbs
We understand that not everybody can afford a very expensive sit-on-top kayak. Most people are simply looking for a budget model to have a great time. This is where models like the Intex Explorer K2 comes into play.
Intex makes affordable and yet high-quality water equipment. This inflatable sit-on-top kayak is no different. It can accommodate up to 2 persons and despite its small cockpit, it still offers decent maneuverability.
The seat is not adjustable but quite comfortable. Moreover, what distinguishes this kayak from others is its lightweight at only 33.57 lbs. This model is delivered with a high-quality pump that will allow you to inflate this sit-on-top kayak in a matter of minutes.
Additionally, it has a front guard that is double-layered and will protect you against impacts. It is quite long at 123 in and steering is not the best.
However, taking into account its highly affordable price, this cheap sit-on-top kayak brings a lot to the table and will provide you and your family with hours of fun.
3. Lifetime Lotus sit-on-top Kayak With Paddle
- Weight capacity: 250 lbs
- Weight: 38 lbs
The Lifetime Lotus is a compact and lightweight sit-on-top kayak that has a lot of versatility and flexibility. You can purchase this model as a 2-pack or as a single kayak based on your need and purpose.
Despite being fairly basic, it is made from a molded and high-density polyethylene that is very durable and long-lasting. Over, the cockpit is quite large providing you with excellent maneuverability.
For more comfort when paddling, you have 4 footrests at different positions to help you gain a more comfortable paddling position. While there is no padded seat, there is a soft and comfortable backrest that is fully adjustable.
Of course, this model comes with a quality paddle to help you get started right away. But what separates this model from others is definitely its low weight of 38 lbs.
This kayak can easily be transported or carried around by a single person. If you're looking for a performing and lightweight sit-on-top kayak, we have absolutely no problem recommending the Lifetime Lotus.
4. Lifetime Tamarack Angler sit-on-top Kayak
- Weight capacity: 275 lbs
- Weight: 56.5 lbs
The Tamarack is a popular sit-on-top kayak that is known for its excellent build construction and streamlined form factor. Indeed, it has an efficient design that allows it to move quite fast on water and also provides good maneuverability despite its flat bottom.
When it comes to stability, this model is unbeatable and regarded as one of the most stable sit-on-top kayaks on the market. You can comfortably stand up on this kayak and fish without the fear of rolling over.
Moreover, the cockpit is quite large and provides you with good maneuverability in all directions. We also note the presence of multiple footrests positions for a more comfortable paddling.
In addition, this unit has a lot of storage space as it contains no less than 2 storage compartments that are fully waterproof. You can use it to store your sensitive items like smartphones.
When it comes to comfort, you will find it in the Tamarack as it has a soft rubber seat and an adjustable backrest. Excellent for those long hours of paddling.
5. Lifetime Tioga sit-on-top Kayak
- Weight capacity: 275 lbs
- Weight: 56.5 lbs
The Tioga is a little bit more basic than the Lifetime Tamarack we just reviewed above. However, it has the same quality polyethylene build construction that is durable and long-lasting as well as quite comfortable to paddle. Despite its basic design.
Moreover, the weight capacity of 275 lbs is not the best we have seen but still sufficient to accommodate a medium to large size individual. Since it measures 120-inch in length, it has excellent tracking and due to its flat bottom, it is quite stable on the water.
In this model, you will find the presence of only one storage compartment which is large enough to accommodate most of your accessories, including fishing accessories. It even has a lid that is 100% waterproof to keep them dry.
You definitely get a quality paddle with this purchase which is easy-to-use by even absolute beginners. One of the outstanding features of this sit-on-top kayak is definitely its deep and large cockpit that gives you a lot of space to maneuver inside.
6. Ocean Kayak Frenzy sit-on-top Kayak
- Weight capacity: 275 lbs - 325 lbs
- Weight: 43 lbs
When it comes to durability, few kayaks can beat the Ocean Kayak Frenzy. Indeed, this model is made from a molded high-density polyethylene that is very durable and long-lasting. Moreover, it offers excellent shock resistance during impacts.
Despite being so durable, it is still lightweight at 43 lbs which makes it easy to carry and transport to the kayaking location. In addition, the cockpit inside is quite large providing you with excellent maneuverability while paddling.
We also note the presence of multiple footrests for a more comfortable paddling during an extended period. There are also carry handles at the sides for easy transportation.
Right in the middle, you will find a cup holder and a storage compartment at the back. However, there is no hull and you cannot use the storage compartment for storing sensitive materials that can get damaged by water.
Another caveat we have with this kayak is that the seat is thin and does not provide the best comfort. Especially when compared to other single sit-on-top kayak models in this review.
7. Vibe Kayaks Angler sit-on-top Kayak
- Weight capacity: 375 lbs
- Weight: 57 lbs
This Vibe model is one of the most interesting propositions in this sit-on-top kayak review. Indeed, it comes in different colors to suit individual needs as well as a relatively higher weight capacity to accommodate overweight people.
Indeed, at 375 lbs, it can comfortably carry an oversized person along with a lot of accessories. To make it even more interesting, this kayak has no less than 2 large storage compartments to store your various fishing accessories.
Furthermore, the storage compartment is protected by a 100% waterproof hatches to keep your accessories dry. The cockpit is not the largest we have seen, but it still offers good maneuverability inside.
In addition, the seat is very comfortable and will not cause fatigue even when paddling in this kayak for an extended period of time.
All in all, it is not difficult to maneuver this kayak and even absolute beginners can get started right away as almost no experience is necessary. Therefore, we recommend this sit-on-top kayak for beginners because it is highly maneuverable and despite being pricier than other models.
8. Sun Dolphin Bali SS sit-on-top Kayak
- Weight capacity: 395 lbs
- Weight: 48 lbs
The Sun Dolphin Bali SS is an upgrade to the Camino SS we have reviewed above. Indeed, this model offers a better weight capacity of 395 lbs which makes it more suited to carry an overweight individual and heavier accessories.
Moreover, the build construction is also superior as it is made from a high-density polyethylene that is very durable and long-lasting. Additionally, it will protect you against heavy impacts when this kayak is used on turbulent waters.
To make it an even better deal, there is a very large storage compartment to store big objects like fishing accessories. Additionally, due to the long length of 144-inch. of this sit-on-top kayak, the tracking is excellent. The only caveat is maneuverability can be a little bit difficult.
Best, you can purchase this sit-on-top kayak in 3 different colors to suit your preference.
9. Sun Dolphin Journey sit-on-top Kayak
- Weight capacity: 250 lbs
- Weight: 44 lbs
This is another model from Sun Dolphin that is lightweight and offers an excellent build construction made out of high-density polyethylene. Moreover, this unit offers excellent tracking as well as maneuverability for a wide range of locations.
Indeed, you can use this sit-on-top kayak in rivers, lakes or in the open depending on your purpose. At 44 lbs., it is very lightweight and can be easily transported to your kayaking location. You will not have a problem transporting this unit on a kayak trailer as it is of standard dimensions.
To make it even more interesting, there is a large storage compartment at the back for storing your various accessories. In addition, the storage compartment is protected by a 100% waterproof hatch that will keep your accessories dry at all times.
The cockpit is not the biggest we have seen, but maneuverability is still very good inside for an average height person. Lastly, the backrest is extremely comfortable and will prevent you from getting back pain when paddling for an extended period.
10. Ocean Kayak Venus 11 sit-on-top Kayak
- Weight capacity: 225 lbs
- Weight: 37 lbs and 44 lbs
When it comes to performance and speed, the Ocean Kayak Venus 11 is difficult to beat. Indeed, this model is regarded by many as being possibly the best sit-on-top kayak on the market.
It has an excellent build construction from a high-density polyethylene that is extremely durable and long-lasting. Moreover, the design has been streamlined to make it extremely efficient and easy to paddle on the water.
When it comes to comfort, the padded seat and adjustable backrest make it a pleasure to paddle especially for those who like to stay in their kayak for an extended period.
You will not be disappointed with the stability as the flat bottom makes it very stable and not a problem for those who like to stand up while fishing on their sit-on-top kayak. In addition, the cockpit is quite spacious and there are multiple footrests so that you get a better position while paddling.
Last but not least, you can order this model in no less than 3 different colors to suit your need. However, quality has a price. The only caveat we note is that this model is more expensive than others.
How to Buy the Best Sit-on-Top Kayak
Before purchasing the best sit-on-top kayak for your need, there are some important aspects to take into account.
First and foremost, you must consider your need and purpose. The sit-on-top kayak is a type of kayak that is mostly used for recreational purposes and not for speed.
This is because it has a wide cockpit that allows for free movement inside. The only problem with this large cockpit is that water can easily get inside and if you navigate rough waters like whitewater, you will have the inside of the cockpit wet all the time.
Therefore, the sit-on-top kayak is the best choice when it comes to recreation and not competitive activities like sports.
Moreover, the main advantage of the large cockpit is that it can accommodate multiple people, and sometimes you can even bring your dog along.
The sit-on-top kayak is one of the largest types of kayaks that you can buy. It is wide and long offering you with a lot of space for movement. However, you do not necessarily need a lot of space if you do not have any use for it.
Therefore, you will need to choose the size of the sit-on-top kayak based on your purpose.
In addition, the size of the sit-on-top kayak plays an important role in the maneuverability of the kayak. Indeed, the longer the kayak, the more difficult it is to steer as water resistance is much higher than with a more compact kayak.
However, the advantage that a long length has is that it offers better tracking. In short, tracking is the ability for your kayak to keep moving forward and not steering from side to side. For recreational purposes and for tandem usage, a good tracking in your kayak is vital.
If you want to transport or carry your sit-on-top kayak around, the weight is another important consideration. As a general rule, the lighter the sit-on-top kayak the better as it means that it is easier to carry by one person. In addition, many sit-on-top kayaks have carry handles at the rear and the front and even sometimes, the size of the kayak to make it easier to carry.
On top of the weight, the weight capacity of the sit-on-top kayak is another aspect to consider as well. The width capacity is simply the maximum weight that the sit-on-top kayak can handle before it either rolls over or sinks. The bigger the weight capacity, the better.
4. Number of paddlers
If you're planning to have multiple paddlers on your kayak, you need to consider the number of seats that are available in the sit-on-top kayak. Kayaking does not necessarily have to be a solo experience.
Moreover, if your sit-on-top kayak has more than one seat, then it is called a tandem kayak or a 2-seater.
For those planning to take additional people with you, or if you desire to take your dog along then it is a better idea to purchase a tandem sit-on-top kayak than a single seat kayak for more flexibility and space.
Comfort is at the heart of the sit-on-top kayak. In fact, most of the comfort that you enjoy in this kayak is provided by the seat. Ensure that the seat is padded and comfortable so that it does not cause fatigue especially when used for long hours.
In addition, the backrest is an important part of the sit-on-top kayak and needs to be fully adjustable.
As we have seen, the sit-on-top kayak has a large cockpit and you have a lot of maneuverability inside. This type of kayak is an excellent multipurpose kayak and can be used for a wide range of activities, ranging from fishing to leisure.
Moreover, you can also ride this kayak in multiple ways and in diverse places ranging from lakes to narrow rivers.
Lastly, our sit-on-top kayak review above contains some of the best models available on the market today. If you have still not chosen a kayak for your need yet, we recommend you go through our review one more time.