10 Best Sit on Top Kayak Models Worth To Buy

SOT and SIT near sand beach

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A sit on top (SOT) kayak is a wonderful boat to have. Not only is it more stable and more comfortable, it even allows you to go out to the water with a friend or loved one!

This guide will tell you the best sit on top kayak models available today and essential information you need to know before choosing one for you!

10 Best Sit on Top Kayak Models

Key Takeaways:

  • Built to be a performance kayak
  • Excellent tracking
  • Built to be a performance kayakExcellent trackingMost comfortable sit on top kayak

Hull Design

This Wilderness Systems kayak has a length of 12 feet and 3 inches and a width of 30 inches. This makes it the longest sit on top kayak in this guide.

It weighs 63 pounds, which is relatively heavy compared to the others here. It also has a weight capacity of 350 pounds.

The hull’s flare is wide, giving you stability and safety. The narrow nose and stern allow this kayak to cut through the water and roll with the waves.

Its design gives you excellent tracking to cover long distances. It does well in short waterlines and can easily be maneuvered into creeks and corners. This makes it best for light tackle fishing in tidal rivers.

Deck and Seating

Like the other Wilderness Systems kayaks, this has their Phase 3 AirPro low-profile seat in the cockpit as it’s meant to be a performance kayak designed for paddling miles and miles through unpredictable seas.

The seat gives you the most flexibility and support you need.

Its mesh-covered, honeycomb foam is in the seat, and there is a thick, closed-cell foam on the back to give you ventilation and support.

The back pad and seat bottom are also adjustable, allowing you to get optimum lumbar support and overall comfort.

Storage and Extra Features

SlideTrax gear tracks on the bow and along the tank of these sit on tops allow anglers to secure accessories and rod holders on this kayak.

These sit on top kayaks also comes with upgraded water bottle holders, a dry storage compartment, and paddle holders.

This kayak also has a simple paddle holder in front. It is intuitive and helps keep the paddle out of the way while you focus on fishing.

Finally, the gear pockets under the seat and a small center hatch in the deck gives you a lot of space for smaller items and gear.

Is the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 SOT Kayak for You?

If you’re looking for the absolute best sit on top kayaks, the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 is the top-of-the-line among this category of kayaks.

It is built to be a performance kayak, so you know it will give you excellent tracking, maneuverability, stability, features, and comfort.

  • Exceptional tracking
  • Easy to maneuver, even in tight turns
  • Most comfortable seat
  • Intuitive and convenient features
  • Expensive

Read Full Review:

Emotion Spitfire 9 Sit-On-Top Kayak: Best Budget Pick

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Key Takeaways:

  • Best for flat water
  • 5-year warranty for hull
  • Great for taller paddlers

Hull Design

The Emotion Spitfire 9 is 9 feet in length and 31 inches in width, with 45 pounds. It has a weight capacity of 350 pounds, which is significant, considering it is only for one paddler.

We must warn you that with a length of 9 feet, this is not the best choice for longer journeys.

The polyethylene hull includes chines in its design, giving you added stability and allowing this kayak to handle small waves well.

The hull is also covered by a 5-year warranty, giving you some extra peace of mind.

Deck and Seating

With a padded CRS + UltraLite seat, the Emotion Spitfire 9 is one of the most comfortable and enjoyable kayaks to paddle.

The added good back support is complemented with molded-in footwells to keep your whole body relaxed.

Honestly, even a taller paddler will be comfortable with the leg space provided in this kayak.

Storage and Extra Features

Considering this is one of the most compact sit on top kayaks here, the Spitfire 9 still has plenty of room for storage.

It has both bow and stern stock-corded tank wells as well as a dry hatch in the middle. This makes it suitable for bringing your equipment.

There are also molded-in handles on the sides of the kayak for easy transport and carrying.

Is the Emotion Spitfire 9 Sit-On-Top Kayak for You?

If you want a SOT for sporadic or shorter kayaking trips, the Emotion Spitfire is a dream to have. It is the perfect size for transporting in your SUV and is extremely stable on the water.

  • Top-level comfort
  • Convenient paddle keepers on both sides
  • Stable on the water
  • Can fit inside bigger cars
  • Not for long rides
  • Hard to use molded-in grab handles
  • Not very good tracking

Read Full Review:

Perception Rambler 13.5 Sit on Top Kayak

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Key Takeaways:

  • Best sit-on-top tandem kayak
  • Extremely safe to use
  • Great for those who are heavier
  • Versatile for many kinds of water
  • Huge storage
  • High weight capacity
  • Adjustable backrests for support
  • Also suited for bringing a child or pet
  • Decent tracking
  • Heavy to carry around
  • Complaints about the seat lacking padding
  • Not the fastest

Read Full Review:

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100

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Key Takeaways:

  • Three fishing rod holders
  • Two dry hatches and bungee-corded areas
  • UV protection to make sure of durability

Hull Design

This sit on top fishing kayak is 10 feet long and 31 inches wide. It weighs 52 pounds and can carry up to 275 pounds.

The hull is made with blow-molded high-density polyethylene that gives you impact-resistance and excellent UV protection.

With a flat bottom and stability chine rails, this kayak will remain stable even while you are casting or reeling in.

To make up for this, it also comes with a molded-in skeg for improved tracking, along with a Sharm bow to improve gliding.

Deck and Seating

Both the backrest and seat bottom are padded, making it comfortable for a whole day fishing session.

The backrest is also adjustable through its webbing straps, giving you generous support while paddling or holding the rod.

Moreover, the Tamarack Angler 100 has molded-in footwells to keep your legs comfortable all day.

Storage and Extra Features

We love how this kayak includes three-rod holders in its design. These are comprised of two flush mount rod holders right behind the seat and a swivel rod holder on the right-hand side.

Lastly, if you are bringing a lot of gear, that’s no problem. You get two bungee areas and two dry hatches, reinforcing how good this is for extended fishing trips.

Is the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 for You?

Suppose you love casting bait while on the water. This is one of the best sit on top kayaks for you.

It is incredibly comfortable for all-day fishing and has plenty of both dry and open storage for all your equipment.

  • Fantastic price and great value
  • Plenty of storage
  • High-quality paddle included
  • Extremely stable
  • Durable construction
  • Decent tracking
  • Hatches lead to the hull

Read Full Review:

Old Town Twister Sit on Top Kayak

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Key Takeaways:

  • Best for recreational kayaking
  • Excellent for families and beginners
  • Easy to use kayak

Hull Design

The Old Town Twister has a length of 11 feet and 3 inches and a width of 30 inches. It is relatively light at 46 pounds, though it has a 275-pound weight limit.

This is the ideal recreational kayak for families that want a versatile kayak for the beach, lake, or river. The length helps make it easier to maneuver for various kayakers, regardless of skill level.

Deck and Seating

These kayaks are perfect for most kayakers. It is easy to get in and out and can even be used by beginners and kids. Its cockpit and seating area are spacious and open.

The molded-in seating system has a small, contoured backrest for your comfort. It is also designed to fit a wide range of paddlers. The same can be said for its molded foot wells.

Storage and Extra Features

There are bungee storage areas available on the deck behind the seat. It even has a built-in cup holder and a paddle holder to make everything convenient for you.

You will have no worries about jumping out to go for a swim.

The storage hatch of this sit-in kayak is relatively spacious. It has a molded tank well that can hold a small cooler or some picnic gear. You also get bungee rigging to help you secure your items while on the move.

This sit on kayak is also lightweight and has carry handles for easy transport. A skid plate is also meant to protect the hull against damage when you drag this kayak on the ground.

Is the Old Town Twister Sit on Top Kayak for You?

If you want to get an affordable sit on top recreational kayak for you and your family or beginner looking to try it out, you cannot go wrong with this sit on kayak. Plus, we love the cup holder!

  • Spacious storage space
  • Convenient cup holder
  • Can handle various types of water
  • Carry handles are convenient
  • Relatively low weight capacity

Read Full Review:

Lifetime Manta Tandem Sit on Top Kayak

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Key Takeaways:

  • Highest weight capacity kayak
  • Great for recreational kayaking

Hull Design

This is another excellent option, tandem kayak. It is 100- feet long and 36 inches wide. Weighing in at 60 pounds, it can handle 500 pounds, giving it the highest weight limit among this guide’s kayaks.

This tandem sit on top recreational kayak has a specially designed tunnel hull for better stability and tracking while paddling. There are also scupper holes to drain any excess water that you may take in.

Deck and Seating

This SOT kayak comes with three molded seats. Two have backrests for the paddlers’ comfort, and the third is ideal for a pet or child.

There are also several footrest positions, so both tall and short kayakers can find a position comfortable for them.

Storage and Extra Features

This has shock straps that can be used for fastening down your supplies and ditty trays for smaller items.

A storage area at the bow end can hold your food, drinks, equipment, or anything else you may want to bring on these kayaks.

Sit on top recreational kayak models are even better when they can also be used for fishing, which is true for this SOT with a rod holder.

Is the Lifetime Manta Tandem Sit on Top Kayak for You?

If you want an affordable kayak for two and do not need all the extra features, the Lifetime Manta is the best SOT for you.

With plenty of storage space and incredible versatility, reviews have loved this product for kayaking.

  • Great stability
  • Room for two adults and one child
  • Comfortable for tall and short paddlers
  • Scupper holes for drainage
  • Not for long-distance
  • Not fast

Read Full Review:

Vibe Yellowfin 100

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Key Takeaways:

  • Suitable for beginner and intermediate kayakers
  • Excellent fishing features
  • Easy to handle

Hull Design

The Vibe Yellowfin 100 has a length of 10 feet and a width of 32 inches. It weighs 57 pounds and has a weight limit of 375 pounds, which is pretty generous.

This is a recreational kayak that is great for bays, lakes, or rivers. The short hull is ideal for maneuvering in smaller areas, while the wide flare makes it stable.

Kayakers of all skill levels can appreciate its ease of use and handling. It is versatile for recreational kayaking and fishing.

Deck and Seating

These sit on tops feature a Hero seat that is slightly raised to give you better visibility and added comfort while kayaking.

The padded seat also has an adjustable back for adapting to different paddling styles.

Adjustable foot braces allow you to slide back and forth and make this SOT kayak suitable for various leg lengths.

Storage and Extra Features

The Yellowfin has an ample storage compartment despite its size. It has two 9-inch sealed hatches in the center and a bow for dry storage.

Each storage area comes with a bag insert for you to safely store smaller items, such as tools or keys, making this a portable accessory carrier.

This comes prepared as a fishing kayak, as it comes with flush-mounted fishing rod holders.

Each of these has a cap, so you can keep them covered when not in use. There is also a mounting point in the center you can use with a product from Scotty, RAM, and VIBE.

Moreover, it has paddle holders, so you can easily store them while fishing. There are even two tackle tray holders on each side of the seat!

Is the Vibe Yellowfin 100 for You?

If you want a top recreational kayak that is also well-equipped for fishing purposes, the Yellowfin 100 is an excellent choice.

  • Easy to store and transport
  • Mounting point for accessories
  • Four rod holders
  • Tackle tray holders
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • Ample storage area
  • Pretty heavy for its size

Read Full Review:

Perception Tribe 9.5 Sit-On-Top Kayak

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Key Takeaways:

  • Suited for flatware and slow-moving water
  • Different-sized footwells available
  • Best for recreational use

Hull Design

With a length of 9 feet and 5 inches and a width of 31.25 inches, this sit on top kayak is well-suited for flat water and slow-moving water. It only weighs 46 pounds and can carry up to 300 pounds.

It is made of rotomolded HDPE and can do well in many situations. It is incredibly stable, mostly when used on flat and slow-moving water.

Its weight capacity is one of the highest among these kayaks, as it can hold up to 300 pounds even though it is only meant for one person.

Deck and Seating

With an adjustable recline chair and high back support, the Tribe 9.5 is one of the most comfortable sit on top kayaks available today.

Moreover, it has well-designed molded-in footwells available for different-sized kayakers so that you can choose the right one for you.

Storage and Extra Features

The Tribe 9.5 has a massive tank well in the back, making it ideal for carrying bigger gear, such as bags and coolers. This sit on top kayak also comes with a small dry hatch in the middle for your equipment that cannot get wet.

Lastly, it has four carry handles to make it easy to transport.

All these features clearly show why the Tribe 9.5 is one of the highest-ranked kayaks available today.

Is the Perception Tribe 9.5 Sit-On-Top Kayak for You?

If you want a sit on top kayak with excellent stability and maneuverability, the Perception Tribe 9.5 is an ideal kayak for all-around fun. It is both enjoyable to paddle and comes at a great price.

  • cozy framed seat with adjustable backrest
  • Molded-in footrests for comfort
  • Small dry hatch in the middle
  • Two bungee-corded storage areas
  • Six scupper holes to remove water
  • Draining can be challenging
  • No space for storing paddle

Read Full Review:

Different Types of Kayaks

  1. Recreational kayaks – These are “sit inside” kayaks that can range from moderate to awful performance. However, they are meant for the occasional paddler on a budget.
  2. Whitewater kayaks – These kayaks are built for tackling whitewater rivers or rapids. They are more expensive and have excellent kayak performance.
  3. Ocean kayak – These are made for multi-day paddling in the open sea. These can be very expensive but can perform well.
  4. Fishing kayaks – Because of their use, fishing kayaks have extra features, like rod holders, rudders, and even pedal-powered movement. Often, they are also SOT type kayaks.
  5. Sit on top kayaks (SOT) – They can be fishing or recreational types of kayaks and vary widely in their purpose. However, they are never used for whitewater or open water.

Advantages of a Sit on Top Kayak

Easy to Embark and Disembark

Instead of having to loosen or tighten the spray skirt or spray deck [R] around your waist and having to climb in and out of a lowered cockpit, a SOT kayak lets you easily step onto and off the kayak.

They are also easier to get into and off of from the water, which will allow you to go swimming anytime.

Space and Stability

SOT kayaks have a wider hull because of the higher sitting position, giving better primary stability.

However, you also get reduced secondary strength, so this kayak is not for flat water, the sea, or whitewater.

The open-air cockpit makes the kayaker feel less restricted. In the unlikely occurrence you rollover, you can easily climb aboard your sit on top kayaks again.

Keeps Cool in the Summer

During a hot day, you will stay calm because you are exposed to the open air. Just remember to put on sunscreen to avoid getting those nasty sunburns !

More Storage Room

Since you only have a small dry hatch, everything else will be out in the open. This means that you have fewer restrictions as to what you can bring with you.

Just make sure to keep not overload your kayak so that it still performs well.

Disadvantages of a Sit on Top Kayak

Cold and Wet

The same advantage that will keep you cool during hot summer days can be a pain on cooler ones. This will mainly depend on where you are and the climate of the places you intend to use your kayak in.

Sit on top Kayaks openly expose you to all the elements of nature. This means you will feel cold when it’s cold, especially during windy days.

However, if you want this kayak, there are some fantastic wet proof suit and dry proof suits that you can get to feel more comfortable.

Cannot Eskimo Roll

Eskimo rolling lets you ride a capsized kayak using your body and/or paddle.

Given the open design of a sit on top kayak, you cannot Eskimo roll in case you capsize. However, it isn’t very likely that you will rollover. Moreover, they are much easier to get into in case you do.

Higher Risk of Sunburn

This is another risk of being exposed to the elements. We all know how painful sunburn can be.

Moreover, they are extremely dangerous for your skin and can increase the likelihood of getting skin diseases. [R]

Make sure to wear proper sunscreen on exposed areas of your body and reapply every few hours! [R]

What You Should Consider When Choosing a Sit on Top Kayak

  • Type of Use – As we have mentioned, sit on top kayaks can be for recreation, touring, or fishing. Depending on what you will use it for, the features, price, length, and specifications will change.
  • Budget – Even before you start looking around, you should have a good idea of your budget so it will be easier to narrow down the options. If you have no idea how much they can cost, you can briefly browse reviews (like ours!) to get an estimate, then go from there.
  • Frequency of Use – If you do not use your kayak often, it will be better to buy a cheaper one. Moreover, consider whether renting once in a while is more economical, too.
  • Portability – Since you will have to find a way to bring your kayak from your home to the water, you should consider whether it can fit in your car or if you need to buy a roof rack.
  • Extra features – These will add to a kayak price, but they can make your life way more comfortable. Additional design elements like dry hatches or paddle rests may be something you need. Consider whether you want to spend extra on them and whether you need them in your kayaks.
  • Number of Paddlers – If you are the type of kayaker to have more fun with someone say a spouse or a friend, then consider a tandem sit on top kayak. If not, a solo one may be for you. Moreover, the latter is more comfortable and maneuverable.

Top Picks

While we love all the kayaks we featured here, there are certain models that rise above their competition. Read below to find out why!

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Sit-In Kayak: Best Overall

No other sit on top kayaks can outperform this Wilderness Systems kayak. It has the best tracking, maneuverability, and handling, though it also comes with a hefty price tag.

We love how this kayak has the most comfortable seat. Its features and usage are extremely intuitive, so you know Wilderness Systems thought well about their design and construction.

If you are an intermediate or advanced kayaker who wants top-of-the-line equipment, this is the kayak for you. No other kayak in this guide can do better.

Perception Pescador 10.0: Best Value

The Pescador 10.0 has excellent value with its concrete mix of price and performance.

This is the kayak you should get if you want the best bang for your buck and want a well-performing kayak for spending the whole day catching fish out in the water.

Emotion Spitfire 9: Best Budget

The Emotion Spitfire 9 is an excellent kayak for those on a budget or for beginners who are just learning how to kayak on their own.

The only downside is the shorter hull makes it slower, making it tiring for longer trips.


We hope this guide has made it easier for you to choose the right kayak for you.

We have featured kayaks suitable for advanced, intermediate, and beginner kayakers. There are also models for families and adventurers here.

We are confident in each type we featured and know that the best sit on top kayak for you is here.

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