Best Sit-On-Top Kayak: 2019 Top Picks and Buying Guide


In recent years, sit-on-top kayaks have become a popular alternative to the traditional kayak design. Whether you are a recreational paddler or an angler, it has many advantages over the traditional design, including ease of access. It also gives kayakers larger legroom, making sure of your highest level of comfort.

Looking for the best sit-on-top kayak? The options are overwhelming. They are available in various types and designs. From the materials to the capacity, they differ in more ways than one. If you need help making the right decision, read on and learn from the insights we’ll share.

Benefits of Sit-On-Top Kayak

Before we start listing down the top products that should be on your list, let’s first talk about the good things about a sit-on-top kayak, which will give you compelling reasons to choose it over a traditional kayak.

  • Easy to Enter and Exit: It will be effortless for you to get it and out of this type of kayak. This is possible because of the lowered cockpit design.
  • Fewer Chances of Sinking: Safety is another major benefit of choosing a sit-on-top kayak. The wide and open design of the cockpit makes it more stable. If the kayak sinks, it will be easy to get out of it.
  • More Storage Space: You will have fewer restrictions on the weight that you can carry. There is more space for everything you will need.
  • Comfortable: Especially if you have a large body and long legs, sit-on-top kayaks are great because there is ample space for you to move. This is unlike other kayaks that restrict your movements when you are sitting and paddling.

Our Top Picks for the Best Sit-On-Top Kayak

Ready to start your search for a top-rated sit-on-top kayak? This section briefly looks at five of the best products that should be on your radar.

1. Sun Dolphin Bali SS Sit-On-Top Kayak

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak

If you are looking for a sit-on-top kayak with a price that does not hurt the wallet, this is one option worth considering. It is made by a popular and reputable brand, so you can already be confident about its quality and performance.

Among others, one thing that we like in this product is its overall construction. The body uses UV-stabilized Fortiflex polyethylene. This is a high-density material that withstands the test of time. Despite the strength of the material, it is lightweight. This makes the kayak excellent in terms of portability.

The Portable Accessory Carrier is another good feature of this kayak. You can use the latter as a storage compartment, allowing you to bring more when kayaking.

Based on the technical information from the manufacturer, it is best to use this kayak when you are paddling in rivers and lakes. However, if you are going to use this for fishing, you won’t like how there isn’t a holder to secure your fishing rod.

For your comfort, as it is common with sit-on-top kayaks, there is plenty of legroom. It also comes with adjustable footrest and backrest that you can customize depending on the position you find most comfortable.


  • Great for beginners
  • Affordable
  • Adjustable foot brace


  • Seat has no bottom cushion
  • No fishing rod holders

2. Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100 Recreational Sit-On-Top Kayak

Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100 10 Foot Angler Recreational Sit On Top Light Weight Fishing Kayak with Paddle and Adjustable Hero Comfort Seat and Flush Rod Holders and Built in Storage

The price of this sit-on-top kayak can easily discourage many people, but that should not be the case. This is worth every dollar given its high-end features.

Among others, one thing that we love about this kayak is how it provides optimum control. The smart design makes it easy to maneuver. However, some of you might complain about the weight. The kayak weighs around 57 pounds, which is quite heavy. This is quite difficult for most people to transport and carry.

It is built with the needs of anglers in mind. If you want to go fishing, you can bring all the accessories that you need while still having a generous space for you to move. It has four flush mounts to secure your fishing rods. It also has an open-deck platform for storage.

Despite the weight, speed is one of the best assets of this kayak. The design of the hull makes the kayak fast without requiring a lot of energy on your end.

Lastly, it also ensures your comfort. It has a dual-position seat, so you can customize it depending on what you prefer. The foot brace is also adjustable. Plus, it gives users easy access to their fishing gears.


  • Lots of mounting options for accessories
  • Comfortable seat
  • Has built-in rod holders


  • Heavy
  • Expensive

3. Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

Weighing only 43 pounds, this is great if you are looking for a portable kayak. Bringing the kayak in your trip is not a difficult task. The length is 9 feet. Meanwhile, the maximum capacity is 325 pounds.

The Tri-Form Hull, which is an exclusive design innovation from Ocean Kayak, is one of the best features of this model. This makes the kayak excellent when it comes to tracking, maneuverability, and stability.

There are many features to ensure the comfort of the user. For instance, it comes with a padded seat. The kayak also has molded in-foot wells. This allows you to maintain a comfortable position while you paddle. There is also a cup holder for easy access to your beverage.

It is space-efficient when the time comes that you have to store the kayak. This is because of the push-button breakdown. It allows the blade feathering angle to adjust automatically.

For your peace of mind, it is also good to know that the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty for the hull.


  • Excellent stability
  • Easy to transport
  • Padded seat


  • Not comfortable for large paddlers
  • Slow

4. Emotion Spitfire Sit-On-Top Kayak

Emotion Spitfire Sit-On-Top Kayak

The padded Comfort Rest System (CRS) seat is one of the best features of this kayak. The seat also comes with bottom and back padding, which will ensure your comfort throughout its use. The molded footwells are also great to keep you comfortable.

This kayak is lightweight at only 45 pounds. It also comes with multiple handles in strategic positions. You won’t have a hard time bringing it with you on your next trip. Despite keeping the weight at a minimum, you can be confident of its longevity. The main material used in its body is high-density polyethylene. It also has UV-protection.

You will also like how it offers plenty of storage space. The rear tankwell comes with a bungee cord to keep your stuff in its position as you paddle. There is also a paddle holder next to the footwell.

Lastly, the five-year warranty that the manufacturer offers is also notable, although, we have seen some kayaks with a lifetime warranty.


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to control
  • Great stability


  • Limited speed
  • Tracking can be better

5. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Angler Kayak

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Angler Kayak

Whether you are looking for a recreational kayak or one that is suitable for anglers, this is one product that should be on your radar. It is known for its excellent glide and maneuverability. However, with a weight of 63 pounds, this can be quite heavy for some users, especially for small kayakers.

The kayak comes with a self-bailing tankwell. It has a large storage area and a bungee to keep your things secure. There is also a scupper, which will keep water out of your gear.

Another notable feature of this kayak is the Phase 3 Air Pro Seat. This exclusive innovation makes the seat comfortable. The manufacturer claims that this technology also makes their kayak the most comfortable you can find on the market. It has a mesh fabric cover and honeycomb vent to improve air circulation. There is also 3D foam for exceptional cushioning.

To make it more comfortable, the kayak also has the Keepers XL Foot Brace System. The large and padded footrest will provide the support that you need to remain comfortable even after an extended period of paddling.

Lastly, it has a covered hatch on one end, which is an excellent place to keep your gear dry.


  • Excellent tracking
  • Durable
  • Comfortable seat


  • Heavy
  • Expensive

How to Choose the Best Sit-On-Top Kayak

To help you come up with the right decision, this section talks about the most important factors to consider.


When evaluating the construction of the sit-on-top kayak, one of the most important considerations is the material. A high-quality material means that the kayak can withstand the test of time, making it a great investment.

Most of the kayaks available are made of high-density polyethylene. It is also common to have UV-coating for protection from the harsh heat of the sun.

Length and Weight

Speaking of the construction of the kayak, you also need to consider its weight. This depends on the material of the kayak and the features present. A good choice is one that is lightweight, which also means that it will be portable. Lightweight kayaks are also easy to maneuver and control.

As for the length, this depends on your personal preferences. Longer kayaks are excellent if your priority is speed. Shorter kayaks, on the other hand, are great if you are after maneuverability. If you want the kayak to be stable, it is best to choose one that is wide.


Sit-on-top kayaks are more comfortable compared to the traditional kayak design. Nonetheless, your comfort still depends on several things. One of the most important is to have generous space in the kayak. There should be plenty of legroom, especially for tall users.

The seat is also important. A molded backrest is great for the comfort of the user. Cushioning is also crucial. Aside from the seat, it is also good if there is a footrest. With these features, even if you are paddling for an extended period, you won’t complain of discomfort.


Pick a kayak that offers storage space for your gear. This is especially important if you are going to use it for fishing. There should be an integrated fishing rod holder. You must be able to utilize the front and back parts for storage. There should also be a way to keep the water out to make sure that your gears will not get wet.


Consider factors with direct impact on the overall performance of the kayak. Speed, stability, and maneuverability are some of the most critical factors that affect performance. Choose one that is suitable for your skill. For instance, if you are a novice, make sure that the sit-on-top kayak is beginner-friendly.

Intended Use

At the end of the day, the most important is to choose a sit-on-top kayak that is suitable for the intended use. With that, below are the common kayak classifications to help you narrow down the possibilities:

  • Touring Kayak: This kind of kayak is designed to travel fast and straight. They are narrower and longer compared to a recreational kayak.
  • Recreational Kayak: These kayaks are small and short. As the name implies, this is the perfect choice if you are using a kayak for recreation or relaxation.
  • White Water Kayak: If you are using the kayak in rivers with running rapids, this is the best choice. You will use it in active and moving water.
  • Fishing Kayak: For anglers, this is the best kayak. These kayaks have plenty of storage space for all your fishing accessories, including a rod holder.
  • Inflatable Kayak: This is a great choice if portability is an important concern. You can deflate it when traveling, which makes it space-efficient and lightweight.
  • Tandem Kayak: If there will be two of you using the kayak, this is the best choice. It is longer than the traditional design since it accommodates two people.


By now, we hope that it is easier for you to decide what to choose for the best sit-on-top kayak. These kayaks offer abundance of benefits over their traditional counterparts, such as comfort, safety, and ease of use. Nonetheless, to take advantage of all these benefits, it is crucial that you choose wisely.

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