Sit on Top vs Sit in kayak 2022 – Expert Guide For Beginners!

Sit on Top vs Sit in kayak

Looking for the guide about the Sit on Top vs Sit in kayak? You are choosing the right place.

“Should I acquire a sit-on-top or a sit-inside kayak?” is one of the most often asked questions in the kayak industry. Need to know about the 2 person kayaks then refer to this post: Best 2 Person Kayak


Kayaks are divided into two types:

1. Sit-on-Top Kayak

2. Sit-in Kayak

Sit on Top (SOT) kayaks and Sit Inside kayaks are both offered in single and double configurations. They’re also available in hard shells and surfboards.

Even though there are some significant variations between sit-inside and sit-on-top kayaks, some of those same components are used in both.

The part of the kayak that sits on top of the water is called the Deck.  The hull is at the base. The bow is in front, while the stern is in the back. Deck lines or bungee straps are frequently found on top of the deck.

There should be some grip loops in the rear of the kayak, and some kayaks feature rudders. Foot pedals operate the rudders, which turn side to side in the horizontal direction. Skegs immediately throw into the water and assist the boat in maintaining a straight course.

Seats, as well as some sort of food assistance, are found both in sit-on-top and sit in kayaks, such as the footwells in this sit on top kayak. Also, there are foot pedals that slide on the track to accommodate kayak paddlers of various sizes.

Footwells are handy, however, if you plan on spending the entire day on the lake, foot pedals are the way to go. They’re far comfier, and they provide a lot more help. The finest kayaks will have a backrest built-in, which enables riding in a kayak much more pleasant.

The most significant distinction between the two kinds of kayaks is that sit-insides are completely enclosed. You sit in a compartment known as the cockpit.

A cockpit rim surrounds the cockpit, in which a spraying skirt can be attached to keep water out. Within the cockpit, there are seat and foot pedals that may be adjusted to fit your heel height.

Picking a kayak might be difficult with so many options available, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s also difficult to make a poor mistake. Identifying how and where you’ll just use your kayak is the greatest method to limit down your selections.

  • Are you going to paddle a kayak paddle on a protected lake or at the beach?
  • Is the water going to be warm?
  • Are you searching for a kayak that can move swiftly or one that is highly sturdy and tough to tip over?

The first and foremost critical decision you’ll have to make would be whether to go with a sit on top or a sit-inside kayak. Both have advantages and disadvantages or you can say Sit in Top vs Sit-in Kayak.

Pros and Cons of Sit-On-Top

sit on top vs sit in kayak


  • The much more user-friendly are sit-on-tops.
  • They’re quite stable, simple to get in or out of, and don’t give the impression of being confined.
  • They’re also personality, which implies they contain little holes (known as “scupper holes”) in them that enable water to drain freely.
  • can easily slip on and off them.


  • You will almost certainly get wet when paddling

Every one of these characteristics makes the sit-on-top kayak an excellent choice for hesitant kayak paddlers, warm climates, and kayaking with children who like swimming.

Pros and Cons of Sitting Inside

sit on top vs sit in kayak


  • Will keep you dry.’
  • Keeps you warm by shielding your abdominal muscles from the wind.
  • Ideal for kayak paddlers who will be on colder water and wish to keep dry while paddling, and who regard the kayak as more of a mode of transportation than a play


  • Limit your ability to maneuver in and out of the water.
  • If you do happen to flip for any cause, rescue will be difficult since your kayak will most likely be full of water.

Professional sit-inside kayaks, like sit on top kayaks, are highly stable, enjoyable, and easy to operate. They have spacious cockpits, so there’s no need to feel cramped inside. Most have watertight chambers with vents in the deck that may be opened.

Buying Guide About The Sit on Top vs Sit in kayak

sit on top vs sit in kayak

Width of the Boat

After you’ve selected whether you want a sit-on-top or a sit-inside kayak, you’ll need to figure out how lengthy you want it to be.

As a rule of thumb, the faster a kayak travels, the larger and thinner it is, and the more secure but slowest it is, the broader it is. Even though they’re broad and sturdy, most sit-on-top kayaks are classified as leisure (or “rec”) kayaks.

Sea Kayaks vs. Recreational Kayaks

sit in top vs sit in kayak

Sit inside kayaks come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and functions. In reality, sit inside kayaks may be divided into two categories: recreational kayaks and traveling sit inside kayaks (or sea kayaks). The leisure boats are broader, lower, and have much larger cockpits. As a result, they have no issues with limiting it.

Touring or sea kayaks are longer and thinner, making them much quicker. They also include thigh hooks or knee cups that offer you additional control over the boat’s edges.

The cockpits are significantly smaller. As a result, you may feel more enclosed, even though getting from these boats is very simple.

If speed isn’t essential to you, we’ll go for a shorter kayak because they’re lightweight and simpler to maneuver.

  • Material/Weight

The hard shell of most kayaks is composed of a strong plastic that will last a lifetime and requires no maintenance. Kayaks constructed of composite materials such as fiberglass, carbon, and Kevlar are also available.

They considerably reduce their weight. The disadvantage is that they do not tolerate abuse as well. They also tend to be more expensive.

  • Kayaks That Inflate

There are also inflatable kayaks, such as this one from Innova. They’re easy to paddle a kayak paddle and can be inflated, rolled up, or packed down to fit in a backpack.

These kayaks are manufactured out of coated textiles and are remarkably long-lasting. Inflatable kayaks aren’t as quick as tough kayaks, but they’re a lot more adaptable.

Which Is Preferable For Beginners: Sit-on Top vs Sit-in Kayak

sit on top vs sit kayak

When it comes to contemplating which type of kayak is best for novices, there is no simple answer. Beginners may select a sturdy, easy-to-paddle kayak. The kayak may be a sit-on-top or a sit-inside style.

Picking the correct kayak for a beginner is more about how you want to use it and what your kayaking objectives are. A novice who wants to go kayak hiking will pick a different design and someone who wants to go kayak fishing.

It’s preferable to consider choosing the right kayak for your planned usage as a novice, whether you choose a Sit on Top vs Sit in kayak layout.

Which Is Preferable For Ocean Paddling: Sit-on Top vs Sit-in Kayak

sit on top vs sit in kayak


Sit on top kayaks are the best choice for paddling farther from shore, even on the ocean, in commercial vessels. If you capsize, they won’t float up, and they’re simple to climb back aboard if you fall off.

Large cockpits and restricted flotation are common features of sit-in leisure kayaks. This renders them an unsuitable option for ocean kayaking.


Sit-in kayaks are a distinct type of kayak that is great for paddling in the ocean. These kayaks are usually smaller and less steady than leisure kayaks, but they include bulkheads that restrict the amount of water that may pour into the cockpit during a swim.

These bulkheads also generate enormous flotation chambers in the kayak, allowing it to remain afloat even when flooded.

If you want to paddle a kayak paddle in deep-sea in a sit-in kayak, you’ll need to master basic rescue techniques so you can safely climb back into the boat if it flips.

What’s the Difference Between Sit-On And Sit-In Kayaks?

Hopefully, this information can assist others in reaching a choice about which kayak to buy sit on top kayak or sit-in kayak.

I like sit-in kayaks, but I can respect and enjoy sit-on-top kayaks as well. On the local lake, a sit-on top kayak with a basic anchor may be used as a diving or fishing platform.

For experienced kayak paddlers looking for more efficiency on longer and more challenging excursions, a Sit-in might be a more serious alternative. Sit-in kayaks are your only choice for extended sea voyages. Whitewater kayaking is the same way.

However, like with any kayak, never paddle alone but know proper safety procedures. Kayaking is a beautiful activity, but it may be hazardous in some scenarios if you don’t have the necessary training. Keep secure, have joy, and appreciate the water whether you’re in a sit on top or sit-in kayak.

In brief, you will get a good idea of which kayak is best for you from this article i.e. Sit on Top vs Sit in kayak. Happy kayaking!

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