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“Will I get a sit-on-top or a sit-inside kayak?” is one of the most prevalent concerns you’ll hear in the kayaking industry. When purchasing a kayak, this is one of the first choices you would make. The reality is that choosing between a sit-on-top and a sit-inside kayak is mostly a matter of personal choice, though there are a few other considerations to remember.

So, in this article, we will discuss Sit on Vs sit in kayaks to help choose which one is better for you. Let’s begin!


Types of Kayaks

Kayaks come in two types. Sit-on-Top (SOT) kayaks and Sit-Inside kayaks can make available in single and double configurations. They’re also available in rough shells and inflatables.


sit on vs sit in kayaks

Sit On Top Kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks lack an enclosed cockpit because the paddler is seated on top of the kayak above the water’s surface rather than below the water’s surface. Since the sit-on-top configuration does not make a paddler feel stuck inside the kayak, this kayak style is by far the most common design among beginning paddlers and kayak anglers.

The disadvantage of a sit-on kayak is that you will most likely get soaked when paddling and splashing since there is no sheltered space. If you don’t like the thought of getting wet, a recreational sit-in kayak with a larger cockpit opening may be a better option.


Are Sit-On-Top Kayaks Safe To Use?

It is a common query from newcomers. Sit-on kayaks are the best option if you want to be safe and easy to use. You should ensure that it would be simple to use if you get an inflatable or a sturdy sit-on yak. Everything you have to do is lie on it.

In reality, sit-inside kayaks would be more difficult for beginners since reentering the kayak after dropping out can be difficult. It complicates the option of a sit-in kayak, mainly if uses at sea.


Sit-In Kayaks

As the name suggests, a sit-inside kayak has an enclosed cockpit. Therefore, rather than being located on top of the kayak, the paddler is positioned below the water’s surface. As a result, this is by far the most common design among intermediate and experienced paddlers. The sit-inside design has a considerably lower Centre of gravity and, as a result, a much higher degree of secondary stability.

Although a sit-in kayak intends to protect your lower body from cold winds and waves, making it suitable for cold-water kayaking. However, there are some safety concerns.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Sit in Vs Sit-on Kayaks

Following are the Pros and Cons of Sit-In and Sit-On Kayaks.

Sit-In Kayak Advantages

Sit-ins have many benefits that are beneficial for a variety of causes. But below are some of their most notable features:


1.   Distance Travel

One of the main advantages is that it can travel a mile. If you’ve learned the art of paddling, you can rack up the miles due to how quickly these boats sail.


2.   Convenient

A nimble sit-in kayak will turn on a dime, making it ideal for use in crowded bays and harbors.

3.   Storage Space

The hulls of most sit-in touring kayaks have plenty of dry storage compartments.


4.   Great Control

You’ll instantly feel stable and healthy until you’re sitting in a sit-in yak. It takes a lot of effort to tip over or spill out. A sit-inside kayak’s enclosed cockpit allows the paddler to position their knees against the underside of the hull. It can significantly increase the paddler’s control of the kayak as well as its maneuverability.


5.   Lightweight

The majority of modern sit-in yaks construct blow-molded plastic, which makes them light enough for one person to move around in out of the water.


6.   Stability

The most important advantage of a sit-inside kayak over a sit-on-top kayak is its lower Center of Gravity. As a consequence, secondary stability can significantly increase. It allows the paddler to lean the kayak on its side for more effective turning and to stay upright while paddling in rough seas.

7.   Enclosed Cockpit

The paddler can protect from the sun and waves crashing over the bow or gunwale thanks to the sealed cockpit. A spray skirt can also conveniently add to their integral cockpit to fully shield the paddler from the elements.


Sit-In Kayak Disadvantages

Aside from all of this, sit-in kayaks are not the best vessel for everybody. Here are three reasons why you should choose a sit-on-top yak instead:


1.   Not good for Fishing

The interior of a sit-on kayak restricts the range of motion needed for proper casting and reeling. Therefore it is inconvenient to carry rods and trap boxes for Fishing.


2.   Tandem Options

Although tandem sit-in kayaks are available, they have far fewer choices than tandem sit-on kayaks.


3.   Difficult to Capsizes

Sit-inside kayaks are much more challenging to reenter if a paddler capsizes due to their enclosed cockpits. Even if a paddler capsizes, they must use a hand-operated or battery-operated bilge pump to remove the water from the cockpit.


sit on vs sit in kayaks

Sit-On-Top Kayak Advantages

1.   Ideal for multiple people

Sit-on kayaks can carry hundreds of pounds of weight, with many being certified healthy for 500 pounds or more, making them ideal for tandem paddling.


2.   Customization

With accessory brackets for fishing rods, GPS systems or sensors, rudders, and even engines, several fantastic sit-on kayaks can customize to accommodate your wants and needs.


3.   Good for Fishing

Sit-on kayaks give you a lot of freedom of movement while throwing, trolling, and reeling. Many sit-on yaks are designed especially for anglers, with built-in rod holders that take care of a lot of the work for you.


4.   Easy to Board

There is no cockpit to lower into in a sit-on-top kayak. Instead, you climb on, making mounting from a pier, beach, or even a pontoon boat much simpler and faster.


5.   Paddles and Rudders

Many sit-on kayaks have foot-operated pedals and rudders. More speed, better stability, and a fantastic full-body exercise are advantages of having a rudder attached.


6.   Self-Bailing

Scupper holes in sit-on-top kayaks cause water to drain off the deck. They make scupper plugs and scupper valves to block the splashing that comes up through the scupper openings. However, they’re usually left exposed in colder weather.


7.   Open Cockpit

The open cockpit is the most critical feature of a sit-on-top kayak. As a result, not only are sit-on-top kayaks much easier to reach and leave, but they still don’t make the paddler feel stuck in the cockpit if the kayak capsizes.


Sit-On Kayak Disadvantages

Let’s be honest with ourselves: while sit-on kayaks are a lot of fun in the water, they have some disadvantages.


1.   Lower Secondary Stability

The biggest drawback of sit-on-top kayaks is that their Centre of gravity is much higher than that of sit-inside kayaks. As a result, sit-on-top kayaks have much larger beams than sit-inside kayaks to provide them with more excellent initial stability. They do, however, have a slightly lower degree of secondary stability as a result of this functionality.


2.   Bad Storage Space

While an excellent sit-on kayak has at least one or two dry storage hatches, they’re usually a fraction of the size of the dry storage hatches used in a sit-in yacht.


3.   Difficult to handle for rough seas

Sit-on-top kayaks are difficult to lean on their sides due to their wide beam, open cockpit, and poor secondary stability. It makes them more challenging to navigate and make edged turns almost impossible—moreover, they are much more vulnerable in rough seas than sit-inside kayaks.


Are Sit-In or Sit On Kayaks Better: Find Which One Is Better

Sit-in kayaks are best for more experienced paddlers who plan to perform complex paddling techniques. There are several different kinds of sit-in kayaks to choose from, but purpose-built kayaks are much more expensive than recreational kayaks. Overall, these are the kayaks for you if you want to pay a bit more money and swim at a higher speed.

Sit-on-top kayaks are suitable for beginners or those who want to swim in a relaxed manner. Their reduced cost makes them far more accessible to those on a tight budget. They’re ideal for spending a day at the lake with friends or relatives. Because of their stability, they make excellent fishing platforms, so if you’re a recreational paddler or an extreme angler, these are the kayaks for you.



As you will see, both sit-on-top and sit-inside kayak styles have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Finally, the perfect kayak for you is the one that is best suited to your daily watersport hobbies. If you’re a camper who likes to go on multi-day paddling adventures, a sit-in kayak is a way to go. You’ll enjoy a sit-on-top yak if you’re a fisherman who wants all the bells and whistles, like rod holders. I hope you like our comparison of sit-on Vs Sit-in Kayaks. Do share it with others so that they may also find out which one is better for them.

 Read More

Where to Kayak With Manatees

Florida Boating Regulations- FWC



sit on vs sit in kayaks


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