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Sit-On-Top vs Sit-in Kayaks: Which One to Choose?

Sit On Top vs Sit in Kayaks

Kayaking is a great sport to become involved in, but it can be quite difficult for beginners. The best choice of kayak will depend on a variety of factors. One important factor is whether you want a sit-on-top or a sit-in kayak. Both types have their own advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the right one could determine your success in this activity.

Read more about the difference between Sit-on-top and sit-in kayaks below!

Sit-In Kayaks

Sit-In Kayaks

Sit-in-kayaks are usually made from plastic or fiberglass to protect from water damage against the elements. They have an enclosed cockpit that fits tightly around the hips and lower thighs, making them unsinkable by any human or gear weight.

It is important for this kayak to fit the paddler’s body well, so it is usually custom-made. They can be very easy to transport due to their small size and lightweight structure. Sit-in kayaks are generally less stable than sit-on-top kayaks, but they have more storage space, which makes them ideal if you want to do long trips.

The cockpit also provides a dry place for your feet, while the open design may let water flow out of the boat while paddling or even capsize it during rough waves.
Due to their construction, sit-in kayaks are generally faster than other types of fishing kayaks. Because of their small size, it might be easier for an experienced user to control them because the movements are more precise.

However, the non-adjustable seat might be uncomfortable for someone who wants to spend an extended amount of time on the water or is not used to sitting for a long period of time.

Sit-On-Top Kayaks

Sit-On-Top Kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks are made from either plastic or fiberglass as well, but they have no enclosed cockpit that would keep your legs dry. Instead, the kayak is open all around and fits closely around your waist, which can make them unstable during rougher weather.

It means it is easier for waves to come over the side of the boat, but this provides you with easy access out of the water because there are no sides enclosing you in place.

They are usually much easier to transport than sit-in kayaks because they are bulkier and have a larger surface area. The bigger space also provides enough room for storage, so you can use the kayak as your mobile base camp. Another advantage is that sitting on top of the water will offer you a great 360-degree view of your surroundings.

Boat Length

If you’ve decided you want to choose a sit-on-top and sit in the inside of the kayak, you’ll have to determine the length of the kayak. As a rule, that the wider and longer the kayak more efficient it’ll travel.

A bigger kayak will be more stable, but also slow it’s going to be. The majority of sit-on-top kayaks are regarded as”recreational” (or “rec”) kayaks due to their size and being ultra solid.

Recreation vs Sea Kayaks

Water Sea Kayaking

Sit-inside kayaks may differ significantly in terms of shape, size, and also in their purpose. Sit-inside kayaks are divided in two different categories: there are leisurely sit-inside kayaks as well as touring (or sea kayaks). The recreational kayaks are larger and shorter, as well as they’re equipped with large cockpits. They don’t feel confined by it in any way.

The sea kayaks, also known as touring kayaks are larger, more narrow which makes them more efficient. They also come with knee-cups or thigh hooks which can provide you with the ability to control the edges of the vessel. The cockpits are smaller. Therefore, you’ll feel more confined however it’s simple to exit these boats, too.

If speed isn’t important for you, we can choose a kayak that is shorter as they’re less heavy and more maneuverable.


Most kayaks come with a durable shell made of robust plastic that will last for a long time and doesn’t require any maintenance. There are also kayaks made of composite materials like carbon, fiberglass, and Kevlar.

They can make them considerably lighter. The drawback is that they aren’t able to withstand punishment well. They can also cost much more.

Inflatable Kayaks

There are inflatable kayaks, like this one made by Innova. They’re extremely comfortable to paddle, and they can be deflated, folded up or folded and put in backpacks. They are constructed of coated materials and are quite sturdy. Inflatable kayaks aren’t likely to be as swift as hard-shell kayaks but they’re extremely flexible.

The decision to choose a sit-on-top or sit-inside kayak must be determined by taking into consideration:

The way you intend to use your kayak

Barracuda Kayaks

Who will use the software, the location you’ll be using the device, the equipment you’ll need carry, the weather conditions you’ll be kayaking through, and your budget.

Sit On Top Kayaks vs Sit In Kayaks Conclusion

So which one should you choose? It comes down to whether ease of transportation or performance is more important to you; it really depends on what your intended purpose is.

If you want to do long trips across open water, perhaps even overnight, then having easy access out of the boat without needing to climb over the side might be perfect for you.

However, if you want a fast kayak that is easily maneuvered, then a Sit-In Kayak might be the right option for you. Whichever one you choose, it’s important to try a few before buying a permanent piece of equipment. By trying out different types and models in person, you can determine which one fits your needs best without wasting money on something that won’t work well for you.

With all that, we hoped you learned the ins and outs of the kayak game and you will be closer to figure out what would be best for you. We wish you happy fishing and a great vacation.

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