Best Sit On Top Kayak – The Best Seat In The Water, Is On Top!

Best Sit On Top Kayak - man sitting on a kayak in a race

If clear views, ventilation, and the absence of feeling cocooned, in a shoe box on the water appeals? Check out our list of the best sit on top kayak!

Company on the water is always welcome, and with a partner you can make short work of tides and headwinds.

We have trawled the net to find the best sit-on top kayak to suit your comfort, level, and pocket.

Read next: Check out our review of the best beginner kayaks, tandem kayaks, and kayak seats.

Please note: This article contains affiliate links. If you buy something through the links on this page you won't pay a penny, but we'll get a small commission.

Best Sit On Top Kayak (Comparison Table)

Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Portable Lightweight Kayak - for Day Trips, Picnics, and Casual Fun with Family and Friends …
Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV Flatwater Day Touring Kayak (Yellow/Orange, 14.5-Feet)
Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100 10 Foot Angler Sit On Top Fishing Kayak with Paddle, Adjustable Hero Comfort Seat, Flush Rod Holders & Built in Storage
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Angler Kayak
LIFETIME Tamarack Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak, Olive, 120"
Brand & Model
ORU Foldable Kayak Beach LT
Riot Kayaks Edge14.5
Vibe Yellowfin 100
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120
LifetimeTamarack Angler
Capacity
136 kg (300 lbs)
147 kg (325 lbs)
170 kg (375 lbs)
159 kg (350 lbs)
124 kg (275 lbs)
Material
High Density UV resistant Polyethylene
High quality ABS Plastic
High Density Polyethylene
Polyethylene
Polyethylene
Length
3.65 cm (12 ft)
4.41 m (14.6 ft)
3.04 m (10 ft)
3.73 m (2.3 ft)
3.04 m (10 ft)
Width
71 cm (28 inches)
57cm (22 inches)
81.28 cm ( 32 inches)
76 cm (30 inches)
79 cm (31 inches)
Weight
11.33 kg (25 lbs)
26.6 kg ( 58.6 lbs)
25 kg (57 lbs)
29 kg (64 lbs)
23.5 kg (52 lbs)
Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Portable Lightweight Kayak - for Day Trips, Picnics, and Casual Fun with Family and Friends …
Brand & Model
ORU Foldable Kayak Beach LT
Capacity
136 kg (300 lbs)
Material
High Density UV resistant Polyethylene
Length
3.65 cm (12 ft)
Width
71 cm (28 inches)
Weight
11.33 kg (25 lbs)
Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV Flatwater Day Touring Kayak (Yellow/Orange, 14.5-Feet)
Brand & Model
Riot Kayaks Edge14.5
Capacity
147 kg (325 lbs)
Material
High quality ABS Plastic
Length
4.41 m (14.6 ft)
Width
57cm (22 inches)
Weight
26.6 kg ( 58.6 lbs)
Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100 10 Foot Angler Sit On Top Fishing Kayak with Paddle, Adjustable Hero Comfort Seat, Flush Rod Holders & Built in Storage
Brand & Model
Vibe Yellowfin 100
Capacity
170 kg (375 lbs)
Material
High Density Polyethylene
Length
3.04 m (10 ft)
Width
81.28 cm ( 32 inches)
Weight
25 kg (57 lbs)
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Angler Kayak
Brand & Model
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120
Capacity
159 kg (350 lbs)
Material
Polyethylene
Length
3.73 m (2.3 ft)
Width
76 cm (30 inches)
Weight
29 kg (64 lbs)
LIFETIME Tamarack Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak, Olive, 120"
Brand & Model
LifetimeTamarack Angler
Capacity
124 kg (275 lbs)
Material
Polyethylene
Length
3.04 m (10 ft)
Width
79 cm (31 inches)
Weight
23.5 kg (52 lbs)

Sit On Top Kayaks

Best Sit On Top Kayak Overall 

ORU Foldable Kayak Beach LT

As you may expect, you pay for what you get. This kayak, although being at the upper end of the price range, is well worth it.

It is made of very durable and hard-wearing material, and can be easily folded and stored. Currently, the ORU range consists of three models, the ORU Beach LT forming their base model.

If you are not familiar with inflatable kayaks, the initial setup can be a process.

But once you have it down the setup and pack down time gets shorter.

The cockpit is snug, and although it may first appear that water can get it, its far from the truth.

The design does an incredible job of keeping water out.

This is a great yak for those who want the tracking, speed and durability of a hard shell kayak, but need something that can fit into a cupboard

  • Carrying Capacity: 136 kg (300 lbs)
  • Material: High Density UV resistant Polyethylene
  • Length: 3.65 cm (12 ft)
  • Width: 71 cm (28 inches)
  • Weight: 11.33 kg (25 lbs)

What we like

  • This craft is lightweight, and easy to store
  • Its compact design does not compromise stability or durability
  • Its disassembly is very intuitive and can be done very quickly.
  • A great yak for those new to kayaking as well as for those looking to progress to more advanced waters.

What we don't like

  • Assembly, although well documented can prove a challenge for the first few times you use the yak.

Best Sit On Top Sea Kayak

Riot Kayaks Edge14.5

The edge is an elegantly crafted yak, built to handle the rougher swells. It handles well in both rough and calmer waters.

If you wish to do a bit of fishing while on the water, the edge has both space, and the comfort to accommodate you.

This kayak can be used in calm lake conditions by beginners, but it is really intended for day cruising. It has plenty of storage for gear, and food for your journey.


Its well designed and tightly sealed compartments ensure your provisions stay dry.

  • Carrying Capacity: 147 kg (325 lbs)
  • Material: High quality ABS Plastic
  • Length: 4.41 m (14.6 ft)
  • Width: 57 cm (22 inches)
  • Weight: 26.6 kg ( 58.6 lbs)

What we like

  • Pilot rudder
  • Self rescue straps
  • Well sealed storage compartments
  • Very durable construction will ensure years of use

What we don't like

  • Aimed at the cruiser kayaker rather than the occasional recreational paddler

Best Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

Vibe Yellowfin 100

The Yellowfin has stability at the heart of its design. 

Its wide hull, and short length provide a stable platform for fishing.  The Yellowfin is a good choice for kids, as well as beginners.  

This highly maneuverable yak, although small, has a high weight capacity, making it suitable for the heavier kayaker.

Its size makes it perfect to load onto roof racks as well as carts

  • Carrying Capacity: 170 kg (375 lbs)
  • Material: High Density Polyethylene
  • Length: 3.04 m (10 ft)
  • Width: 81.28 ( 32 inches)
  • Weight: 25 kg (57 lbs)

What we like

  • Comes with four-rod holders
  • The mesh seat is adjustable
  • Excellent Stability
  • Two storage compartments

What we don't like

  • Not suited for rough water or rapids
  • Water has been reported to enter the storage compartments

Best value Sit On Top Kayak

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120

This Kayak may be classed as a fishing kayak, but with its, speed, maneuverability, and stability, it's capable of so much more.

It is a good choice for the beginner, or those who enjoy the tranquil lakes, estuaries, and recreational kayaking.

The Tarpon also comes in a style suited specifically for anglers. This variety also has built in rod holders
.

  • Carrying Capacity: 159 kg (350 lbs)
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Length: 3.73 m (2.3 ft)
  • Width: 76 cm (30 inches)
  • Weight: 29 kg (64 lbs)

What we like

  • Good speed and highly maneuverable
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Generous storage
  • Many users have remarked positively on this kayaks sturdiness and stability

What we don't like

  • For the larger paddler, this yak is not designed for long distance travel, or for sitting in for large periods of time.

  • Storage compartments can leak

  • Not suitable for choppy or rough water

Best Budget Sit On Top Kayak

LifetimeTamarack Angler

Let’s face it when you read “best budget”, you really see “poor quality”.  NOT THIS TIME!!

The Tamarack is one of the few kayaks that has managed to keep its price low, without making significant compromises in the way of quality.  

While its stability is not as good as the higher end kayaks, it certainly wont cause you to feel insecure.  

This is a great kayak for lake paddling, fishing, or exploring. 

It is not designed to be handled in rough conditions and certainly not the kayak you want to be in for long trekking expeditions. 

  • Carrying Capacity: 124 kg (275 lbs)
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Length: 3.04 m (10 ft)
  • Width: 79 cm (31 inches)
  • Weight: 23.5 kg (52 lbs)

What we like

  • Storage at either end
  • Paddle cradle with a bungee cord to secure in place
  • Padded seats
  • Built in fishing rod holders

What we don't like

  • Not designed with the heavier paddler in mind.
  • Not suitable for more turbulent conditions or wave riding

Buyer's Guide for Sit On Top Kayak

As the name suggests, a sit on top kayak is where you sit on top as opposed to being inside an enclosed cockpit.

This gives the paddler some significant advantages over traditional kayaks, especially if you are new to the sport of kayaking.

What we like

Sit on top builds, give a paddler a greater sense of visibility, as well as excellent ventilation. In the event of a paddler overbalancing, and capsizing, sit on tops are much easier to get back onto than traditional kayaks.

Another significant advantage are scupper holes.

Traditional kayaks need to be bailed out, or have bilge pumps to remove any unwanted water that may have entered the cockpit. The hull of a sit on top kayak is enclosed, allowing for drainage holes, called scuppers, to take away any excess water, without any effort from the paddler.

Sit on top yaks offer more space and ability to move than traditional yaks. This makes them a great choice for fishing, or diving.

What we don't like

Generally, the design of a sit on top kayak is wider than their counterparts. This means they are generally slower in the water and not suited to all day paddling as they require greater effort to paddle similar distances to the traditional sit in yaks.

A lack of a cockpit means there is no place for a paddler to brace themselves when turning. This makes sit on top yaks less manoeuvrable. 

Scupper holes are fantastic for keeping unwanted water at bay, however, they do leave a little water in the bilge which can be disconcerting to some users.

Material

The materials used for the construction of sit on top kayaks are as varied as those used for the sit in varieties. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Fiberglas, Carbon Fiber are some of the main materials. Although wood is a material used in earlier kayak constructions, it is by no means a good choice. Certainly compared to the lighter and more durable alternatives.

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About the Author Brad Pickering-Dunn

Hey, I'm Brad - the founder and editor of Watercraft Watch. My love for boating is what prompted me to start WatercraftWatch.com – helping people find the right equipment and supplies so they can enjoy their time on the water. I hope you find the articles on the site useful, and share in my love for boating.

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