What Are The Advantages of a Sit-On-Top Kayak?

What are the advantages of a sit-on-top kayak

Many people love sit-on-top kayaks for many reasons. With a sit-inside kayak available for you as well, beginners want to know the kayak to pick.

What are the advantages o a sit-on-to kayak? In this article, we would make that known.

What are the advantages of a sit-on-top kayak
What are the advantages of a sit-on-top kayak

Meanwhile, we would talk about how to pick a sit-on-top kayak in the market. With the tips offered, you can get your hands on good kayaks.

Tips for Buying a Sit-on-Top Kayak

If you want a great water toy to paddle with, the sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks can be a great choice for you.

The primary use of SOT depends on what you want to do with it. Do you want to fish, exercise, have fun, or explore with this model?

Here is what to look for in a sit-on-top kayak:


When buying SOT kayaks, you should consider the material used on them.  Most sit-on-top kayaks are built with roto-molded polyethylene.

Linear poly or single-layer is tough and provides you with great performance. High-density poly or super-linear is more expensive.

However, the model is lighter, tougher, and more UV-resistant.


When the kayak is longer, it runs faster in the water. However, the shorter kayaks are easier to maneuver and easier to stow aboard.

The downside is that the shorter kayaks are slower than the longer kayaks. The shorter model weighs less and is easier to carry and launch.


When it comes to kayaks, the wider they are, the more stable.  The wider kayaks are easier to board and more difficult to capsize.

The greater beam allows for a larger seating area to accommodate a larger body size. However, wider kayaks are a little slower.


You should know that not every sit-on-top kayak has seats. Some models provide seats as an accessory item.

While tall seat backs offer better support, they can restrict effective paddling by limiting the ability to twist the torso.

Meanwhile, the shorter seats are better if you want to cover the distance.


When buying SOT kayaks, you should consider the footwells. Most SOT kayaks come with molded-in footwells for prescribed distances.

You should sit on the kayak you want to buy before you pay. This would give you an idea of how comfortable the paddle position would be for you.

A kayak that does not have comfortable footwells can be managed with an adjustable foot-brace option.


On some models, you can find covered, watertight storage compartments and can often be added as a dealer or DIY option.

This would offer you an opportunity to stow your sunscreen, water, or camera. On-deck bungee straps are less secure, but functional.

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A rudder is designed to offer you better stroke. For SOT kayaks that are lounge-about water toy, you may not need the support of a rudder.

However, paddlers who want explore the water can use a rudder.


Shape and body size are major factors when you want to buy a sit-on-top kayak. You should try out various cockpit configurations to ensure that comfort is available.



The paddle you use is important. A paddle can be affected by the hull width. You should know that a wider hull needs a longer paddle.

Consider your height when buying a paddle. A taller paddler would require a longer paddle and paddle weight is important as well.


The cost of a kayak should not be the prime purchasing consideration. Some SOT kayaks are inexpensive.

However, they may not hold up, paddle well or encourage use. The choice you make should depend on what you want to achieve and your comfort.


What Are The Advantages of a Sit-On-Top Kayak?

Generally, the main advantages of the sit-on-top kayak are:

  • ease of entry into and exit out of the boat and
  • self-rescue

Since Sit-on-top kayaks have a completely sealed top and bottom, paddlers do not need to worry much when the kayak flips over.

All they just need to do is flip it back upright and get back on it.

As sit-on-top kayaks have an open cockpit, the paddler will not feel confined within the kayak if the kayak capsizes.

If this happens, then the paddler can enter the kayak again easily.

Moreso, sit-on-top kayaks have a much higher center of gravity than sit-inside kayaks.

They are also generally wider than most sit-inside kayaks and this provides the kayaks with a higher level of initial stability.

Initial stability is simply the tendency of a kayak to remain upright while the paddler is sitting in the kayak with the knee positioned directly underneath.

Thanks to the completely enclosed design of their hulls, sit-on-top kayaks are unsinkable.

If the kayak capsizes by accident, the self-bailing scupper holes can drain out the water from the cockpit.

For paddlers who like to surf, this kayak is ideal, as the paddlers will not need to carry a bilge pump along.

Also, the sit-on-top kayak has an open tank in the stern and this offers the paddler enough room to store equipment, gear and other bulky items like a cooler to keep drinks or fish cold (for fishermen and anglers)

It is very difficult for sit-on-top kayaks to get filled with water unless there is a problem with the hatch.

If a sit-on-top kayak capsizes, the paddlers may not need to swim back to the shore and empty the kayak to get the water out of the cockpit.

Drain holes known as scuppers are usually made in many sit-on-top kayaks. The function of the scupper is to allow water, which washes into the kayak over the top of the boat to drain out through the back of the hull.

This self-draining design in addition to the self-rescue makes sit-on-top kayaks a beautiful choice especially if you want to go for a recreational kayak to paddle a reasonable distance away from the shore

For launching and landing, the low and flat design, which is included in many sit-on-top kayaks, is extremely helpful.

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With this design, it is very easy to lower yourself onto the seat and swing your legs on board if you are standing knee-deep while walking your kayak into the water.

What are the advantages of a sit-on-top kayak
What are the advantages of a sit-on-top kayak

This is highly recommended for paddlers who have limited mobility.

Are sit-on-top kayaks better?

Many paddlers who are new to kayaking , fishermen and anglers who like a high degree of initial stability for short  range excursions prefer sit-on-top kayaks.

On the other hand, sit-inside kayak designs are used mostly by both intermediate and advanced paddlers that like speed and are going for a long range day paddling, extended camping trips, or expedition paddling.

Hence, before selecting the type of kayak you should use, you must first consider the purpose of the kayak and then purchase according to the intended use rather than the design or recommendations.

Is a sit on top kayak better for a beginner?

For paddlers who are new to kayaking, a sit-inside kayak can keep the paddlers protected from cold or rough waters when they do not want to get wet.

Sit-inside kayaks are ideal and recommended for surf, touring and paddling long distances

However, the sit-on-top kayak is a better option for beginners during the summer as they can have fun in it while exploring nature.

Kayaks are basically divided into two namely:

  • Sit-on-top kayaks
  • Sit-inside kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks are user-friendly. Most recreational kayaks are sit-on-top kayaks and they are also great for fishing.

To know which type of kayak is best for you, you need to understand their differences and their individual features as well as their pros.

Pros of Sit-Inside kayak


  1. Protection from sun or rough water

Since the paddlers sit inside the kayak, they are protected from harsh weather conditions and even rough waters. Moreso, a spray skirt can be attached to the cockpit. This can provide full protection from rain, snow, or frigid water while paddling in the winter season. With a well-sealed high-quality spray skirt, the cockpit of your kayak can be kept out of the water in case your kayak capsizes.

  1. Maneuverability

By placing your legs against the side of the kayak and the underside of the deck, sitting inside the cockpit allows your body to become one with the body of the kayak.

This in turn provides the paddler with more control and maneuverability.

  • Large storage space

The sit-inside kayak has a storage space where you can keep gear, equipment and other essentials protecting them from the water.

Water cannot get into the kayak thanks to the self draining scupper holes on the kayak.

  1. Integrated watertight compartments

Some sit-in kayaks even have integrated watertight storage compartments.

  1. Easy paddling

As a result of the narrow beam of sit-inside kayaks, paddlers can make use of a shorter paddle.

With this, the kayak can be easily propelled forward as the moment arm will be tighter.

It is important to note that the moment arm is the distance from your centerline to the part of the paddle, which enters the water.

The shorter the moment arm is, the easier the kayak is to paddle.

  1. Secondary stability

In a sit-inside kayak, the center of gravity is lower than that of the sit-on-top kayak.

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This offers the kayak amazing secondary stability that enables the paddler to be able to lean the boat on its side edge for a more efficient and fast turning.

It also allows the kayak to remain upright even in rough sea

  • Speed

Since sit-inside kayaks have a lower center of gravity than sit-on-top kayaks, they can be made much narrower and longer.

This in turn means that they are faster and are easier to paddle than the sit-on-top kayaks, making them ideal for use during longer trips.

  • Barely affected by wind

As sit-inside kayaks have a lower profile, they are not really affected by the wind


Pros of Sit-On-Top Kayak

  1. Price

Sit-on-top kayaks are more affordable than sit-inside kayaks

  1. Accessibility to gear

Since the storage space is practically on the deck, paddlers do not have to stress themselves while trying to get heat or equipment.

As such, it is easier to get your gear and other things you may need.

All fishing kayaks are sit-on-top kayaks to provide fishermen with easy accessibility to their gear.

  • Storage

The sit-on-top kayak has very large storage space and it permits paddlers to carry any gear, equipment and other essentials needed for their trip.

Great design

Sit-on-top kayaks have a great design, which makes launching and landing very efficient and effective.

With this, the paddler can lower himself/herself into the seat of the kayak and swing legs on after launching from knee-deep water.

The sit-on-top kayak is recommended for people with mobility problems.

  1. As the sit-on-top has no cockpit, if the kayak flips over, it does not fill up with water and hence, the paddler can quickly flip it back over and get back on.

More space for paddlers

Since the sit-on-top kayak has no cockpit to fit into, the sit-on-top kayak are very ideal for larger people.

  • Initial Stability

Sit-on-top kayaks have initial stability thanks to  their wider beam. With this, they offer more ease of use and convenience.

  • Easy entry and exit

Entry and exit from these kayaks are very easy. Paddlers can safely jump into the water for a swim and climb back when they want

  1. Presence of drain holes

The drain holes in the sit-on-top kayak allow water to be drained away quickly when if water gets into the deck

Can you use a sit on top kayak on a river?

Sit-on-top kayaks are stable and they have a generous storage space which is of great advantage for anglers and fishermen.

Since the line of kayaks available for storage and stealth is remarkable, the approach on deciding the ideal and perfect boat for hunting or fishing is a very direct one.


Can you go down rapids in a sit on top kayak?

When it comes to paddling the whitewater in a sit-on-top kayak, paddlers do not have to get worried or anxious except, the rapids are grade 3 or above.

Most times, some people who start this way may prefer to use closed cockpit kayaks or canoes and others may opt for sit-on-top kayaks.

Regardless, of whether the kayaks are different, people are continually being introduced to kayaking either way.