Five Best Sit On Top Kayaks

HomepageWhether you are in Chicago or New Zealand, kayaking offers an amazing way to explore the breathtaking coastal lines and inland waterways!

There are different types of kayaks available for novices and experienced professionals. The choice of kayaks widely depends on its use, so if you are going for fishing, recreational trip, or a surfing adventure in rough conditions you will need a kayak that suits your requirements.

In this article we are going to talk about sit on top kayak (SOT) that features a design unlike the conventional sit-in models. The SOT models come with a molded-in depression on the deck where you can sit, making it convenient to get in and out of the kayak.

When buying a SOT kayak, several things will impact your decision. First of all, you need to decide on the kind of paddling you plan to do. If you plan to paddle around in flat water in the local waterways (rivers and lakes) then you would need a model with average length and width.

Longer kayaks are faster for sure, but they are hard to turn making it difficult to use them in inland waterways. The narrow sized kayaks will be faster, but if you are looking for stability choose the one with greater width.

Another important terminology that you’ll frequently come across in kayaking is the ‘rocker’ and it refers to the extent bow and stern are turned upwards. The kayak with a lot of rocker will appear like a banana, while the one with ‘less rocker’ will have more of a straight shape. For recreational purpose, you must look for a kayak with medium rocker.

What to look for in a Sit-On-Top Kayak

There are so many different types of kayaks available in the market that choosing a ‘GOOD’ one that matches your requirements can be tough! The purpose of buying a kayak will also have a major impact on your purchase decision. For example, if you are looking for a SOT kayak for fishing then there are several things you need to consider. Let’s discuss the various buying factors one by one:

The material used in construction of kayaks plays an important role in buying decision as you will find models made from fiberglass or molded plastic.

Speed of the model and the degree of handling are also major factors. There are different parameters that determine the speed, and these include the length and width of the deck.

The convenience of transport and portage also play vital decisive factors. This is usually determined by the total weight of the kayak.

Safety comes first whether you are using the kayak for fishing or recreational purpose, hence you must take into account the degree of safety when choosing a kayak, particularly when you have children who will be coming along for every expedition.

Stability of a kayak is determined by the overall dimensions including the length, weight and width. Hence, the level of stability must be considered during purchase. You can use various types of accessories to upgrade an ordinary kayak and increase its stability.

To enjoy a good trip, the kayak you buy should provide utmost comfort to the voyagers and comfort level is usually determined by the bulkhead and back band.

We have listed the 5 best sit on top kayaks available online to make it easier for you to compare among the best and buy that ‘PERFECT’ one.





   Lifetime Tandem Sit on Top Kayak with Back Rests  $$  4.5/5.0
   Emotion 90244 Spitfire Sit on Top Kayak  $  4.0/5.0
   Ocean Kayak Venus 11 Women’s Sit-On-Top Kayak  $$$  5.0/5.0
   Riot Kayks Escape 12 Sit-On-Top Flatwater Recreational Kayak  $$$  4.8/5.0
   Sevylor K1 QuikPak 21 Gauge PVC Inflatable Coverless Sit-On-Top 1 Person Kayak  $  4.4/5.0
   Lifetime Tamarack Sit-On-Top Kayak  $$  4.4/5.0
   Driftsun Transparent Crystal Clear Kayak  $$$  3.0/5.0
   Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set  $  4.3/5.0
   Sun Dolphin Bali SS Sit-on top Kayak  $$  3.8/5.0
   Solstice Flare 1 Person Kayak  $$  4.0/5.0

Lifetime Tandem Sit on Top Kayak with Back Rests

The first product we will review in our list of 5 best sit on top kayaks is the Lifetime Tandem Sit on Top Kayak with Back Rests. First things first – the refreshing green color of the kayak caught our attention and we found it a complement for our wanderlust.

The moment you set your eyes on this amazing looking boat, you instantly wish to leave everything behind and hit the waves for an adventure! Although there are two seats with backrest, this multi-purpose recreational kayak can seat up to three people, so it suits the requirement of a small family.

Whether you are looking for a solo adventure or family fun, this 10 feet long kayak promises a comfortable ride. It boasts a 500 lb. capacity with an impressive tunnel hull design to give you extra stability.

The kayak is made from high-density Polyethylene (HDPE) for durability and it comes with UV-protection to prevent fading, peeling or cracking.


  • It can accommodate up to 3 people
  • The incredible hull design provides extra stability and better tracking
  • It is a light weight kayak meant for recreational use
  • There are multiple foot rest areas for different type of riders


The unique design of the Lifetime Tandem Sit on Top kayak gives it added stability and the several features make it worth every penny.

There are two super comfortable seats for two adults and one little one can also be included; however riding with three adults might not be a good idea. There’s also enough storage space in the front side.


Although the manufacturer calls it a light weight kayak, it cannot be carried by one person without dragging it. So, you may need an extra hand to be able to carry with ease.

It is good for recreational purpose and occasional use, however if you want to enjoy true paddling experience or go sea kayaking, you must look for a higher quality one.


The Lifetime Tandem Sit on Top kayak is designed for the amateurs. This is a good reasonably priced boat you can paddle around on the lake with a bottle of beer and enjoy fishing. It suits recreational purpose well and comes easy on the pocket.

Emotion Spitfire Sit on Top Kayak

The next product we are going to review is the Emotion Spitfire Sit on Top Kayak. Impressive red color and cutting edge design steals our hearts as we lay our eyes on it. We are reminded of the lines by JJ Heller – “You have bought me with your blood, And I am painted red by your love.”

Well, that’s just about the looks and let’s delve deeper to find out how this kayak fares in terms of performance, affordability, and stability.

The Emotion Spitfire Sit on Top Kayak is shorter in size however it delivers good performance and speed for its size. The stability is no way compromised for its size, and it comes equipped with some amazing features such as tankwell with cargo, padded seat back, and cargo net. There’s enough foot placement area for a comfortable ride. Built in the USA, the Emotion Kayaks are made from highest quality components to deliver high capacity.


  • It is perfect for both adults and kids
  • It is made from high density polyethylene
  • It boasts 240 lb. weight capacity
  • There are rear, front and side carry handles for convenient transport
  • Enough storage space near the tankwell
  • It delivers outstanding stability and tracking feature


This kayak is well built and it is sturdy enough to take out into the surf.  The handling capacity is good enough when tested in small rivers and creeks.

The seat is comfortable and the backrest is supportive and adjustable. Light weight so you can carry it with ease, and the product is so compact that you can easily fit it inside your car when going for a small trip.

This is a light weight boat for beginners and fun recreational use. The boat stays upright and turns well. The storage area is enough to hold a few items such as water, lunch a small bag for a short day trip.


The serious kayaking enthusiasts will find this product lacking in features and size. It is more suitable for beginners and kids.

This is not designed for sea surfing, so if you are planning to go to the sea with this kayak then you would be disappointed.


This is a nice and light kayak you can use to paddle around a local water body, watch birds, relax and listen to music. Overall, it offers good value for money to the beginners.

Ocean Kayak Venus 11 Women’s Sit-On-Top Kayak

The Venus 11by Ocean Kayak has been designed for women paddlers and the bright pink color says it all. There are two other colors available – light green and blue. It weight just 44 pounds which makes it easy to carry the boat. It comes with a nice Grab Handle System that permits easy transport, and makes it possible for an independent rider to load and unload. There’s also a storage bucket where you can keep your essentials when out for a short day trip.

Venus 11 is clearly made for fun and features wider seat to offer extra stability. The boat stays stable on flat water and slow moving rivers. If you have been looking for a kayak that is easy to carry and handle then the Venus 11 fits the bill.


  • Hybrid Seat Back for comfortable seating
  • Paddle keeper and storage bucket
  • 6 inches Cam Lock Hatch along with storage bucket
  • Molded-in cup holder
  • Tank well with bungee


The wide seat is designed in a way to match a woman’s center of gravity, and this gives more stability to the boat while riding it.

We like the grab handle system that makes it easy to place it over the car top and head to the water without seeking any assistance from others.

The low deck profile is suitable for female paddlers. It is good for recreational use and cuts through the water pretty well. Designed to give you hours of fun on water!


The quality of the moulding is okay, however there are some minor faults around the drain holes.

Unlike Ocean Kayak’s Mysto, the Venus 11 does not hold a good grip and there’s a risk of side slip during the cross winds.

The seat is a little hard but you can make a tiny tweak with cushions to fix the issue. The lack of adjustable foot rest might be a serious concern for some paddlers.


This lightweight kayak tracks really well and stays stable even in sea. We would not call it a beginner’s boat although it is so easy to use. It is specifically designed for women and smaller paddlers. There’s enough room to carry your dogs along with you for an adventure, and the storage space is also sufficient to carry essentials for a short trip.

Riot Kayks Escape 12 Sit-On-Top Flatwater Recreational Kayak (White/Blue, 12-Feet)

The next kayak that makes it in our list of five best sit on top kayaks is the Riot Kayaks Escape 12! It is clearly designed to give you hours of recreational use – fishing in the lake or simply floating on calm water as you watch birds.

This small boat stays stable on water and tracks impressively. It comes fitted with two rod holders and there is ample storage space. The kayak boasts an impressive dimension -12 feet by 30 inches and it weighs 55 pounds.

The four attachment points are mounted on adjustable straps to give you a comfortable seat with high back rest. You can customize the seat’s position to suit you. The boat also comes outfitted with sit-on-top high back outfitting, front hatch, two flushmount rod holder, quick-lock adjustable footbraces, rear shockcord storage and drainplug.


  • This is a sit-on-top kayak designed for recreational use
  • It comes with two rod holders and a cup holder
  • It weighs about 70 pounds and it can support weight up to 300 pounds
  • The boat is 12 feet long and the dimensions are 144 x 30 x 16 inches
  • The high back and seat combo are customizable and comfortable
  • The boat is good fishing, diving, or just relaxing on the water


This kayak is clearly meant for the advanced paddlers and you can expect an incredible performance on both river and sea.

The seat can be customized and adjusted to give you extra seating comfort and better leg space so you can enjoy hours of adventure on water without feeling worn out.

The Riot Kayk’s Escape 12 offers good value for money. We also like the blue and white color combination of the boat that gives it a soothing appearance.


The boat might seem a little bulky for river rides, and we would of course not recommend this for the beginners. Those who are starting off, need a light weight and easy to handle boat.

Although it is easy to assemble, some customers complained about parts coming off the boat after a few trips. Hence, the durability might be questionable.


Overall, this is a good boat for they experience paddlers looking for some adrenal rush on the sea! It is clearly designed for the wild waves and rough seas. The price to performance ratio is also good, which makes it a recommended buy!

Sevylor QuickPak Coverless Sit-On-Top Kayak

If you are looking for an easily inflatable ‘grab and go’ kayak then the next product on our review list is just what you need – Sevylor QuickPak Coverless Sit-On-Top Kayak. This inflatable boat weighs just 28 pounds and you can carry with you wherever you go with ease.

So, if you suddenly make up your mind to go fishing then you can set up this kayak within 5 minutes and get ready to hit the water. It comes with a bag so that you can fold the boat when not in use and carry it on your shoulders. The product also includes a paddle and an air pump to inflate the boat.

The Sevylor QuickPak Kayak can support up to 400 pounds and performance wise it fares really well for the price. It comes equipped with features like airtight system which ensures that there are no leaks in your boat. It also comes with dual tracking fins that allow easy maneuverability.


  • Super easy to inflate and get going
  • It takes only 5 minute to setup from backpack to boat
  • The dimensions are 9.5 x 17.25 x 31 inches
  • The kayak can support up to 400 lbs weight
  • Airtight system guarantees no leakages in the boat


The Sevylor QuickPak coverless sit-on-top kayak is a quick ‘grab and go’ boat and it glides really well on lakes or slow moving rivers. The performance is good enough at this price and it cuts the lake water incredibly well.

This inflatable boat is easy to set up and when you done kayaking, it can be folded and stored as a backpack. Hence, it is a good choice for those living in a small apartment and driving a small car.


These inflatable boats are slightly harder to maneuver than a standard kayak. They often spin off to the side while riding, especially when you don’t want them to.

The backpack system is a little confusing and most customers have complained that they found it difficult to put the boat back into the bag.


If you are looking for some recreational fun on the lake or mild river, then the Sevylor QuickPak Coverless Sit-On-Top Kayak is a good choice. We would recommend this product to those who don’t want a regular sized kayak due to storage or space problems. They can still enjoy kayaking with this easy to inflate and use boat!

Final Verdict

Whether you want to paddle, fish, surf or sail, buying the best quality product will not only give you stability but also extra safety in rough conditions. If you plan to use your kayak occasionally only in lakes or lazy rivers then getting a lower quality one would be a good choice as it will cost less.

However, if you hope to hit the water more frequently and surf against the high tides of the sea then we would suggest that you invest in a high quality kayak that offers maximum durability, stability and safety.

We hope that the above list of five best sit on kayaks will help you find the boat that suits your needs perfectly. Now that you have made your choice…take out that fishing line, pack your bag and set out on a little adventure! Come, the nature waits to be explored by you!