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10 Best Sit On Top Kayak for Beginners: Hand-Picked for the Modern Kayaker

Kayaking is fun!

Undoubtedly it gives us a chance to get close to nature. Kayaking is a cool activity for any beginner to learn and it’s not rocket science. All you need is a good lesson, along with the right vessel.

For a newbie, SOT or sit on top kayaks are the best option due to its easy access and on & off feature. The best thing is SOTs will help to keep you fresh and active in the open air.

So, what is the best sit on top kayak for beginners?

I’ll walk you through the whole process of finding the right Kayak for you. Let’s get started.

There is a little debate about the convenience between Sit on top and Sit-in kayaks – how and where you are going to use it. 

Taking the main features on the account, let’s figure it out.

Whenever it comes to a fishing kayak, most of people think about the Sit-In kayak (SIK), as it is the traditional one. A SIK is like a hollow box with a chamber in the middle. The chamber is called ‘cockpit.’ Hence, The occupant stays sealed into the kayak with all the elements. These kayaks are usually used for general recreational and touring. It has a comparatively lower center of gravity.

Want to know a secret?

The Sit on Top (SOT) is the updated breed of SIK. The main thing that differentiates both kayaks is the occupant sits on the top of the kayak on SOT, which is known as the deck. They are more similar to a surfboard – It is more like a recreational vehicle.

The acceptance of SOT is getting higher with the time because of its convenient features. It is also very suitable for the ocean as well as lakes or rivers. It ensures easy access and an affordable price. They are both user-friendly and stable. 

Quick Summary – Best Sit On Top Kayaks

Pros and Cons of Sit-On-Top Kayak


  • More comfortable and easy movement  
  • Free to paddle
  • More lightweight than sit in kayak
  • Easy to repair
  • More Flexible
  • Easily Floats


  • Not ideal for the chilly season

How to Choose the Best Sit On Top Kayak?

There are some key points that you need to know before buying a Sit on Top Kayak. Picking the right kayak for your requirements is critical to make sure you have a satisfying outcome. The size and stability of your kayak as well as its storage requirements and price should all be considered. So, let’s have a bird’s eye look on them:

Consider the Model

At the very beginning, you need to identify what type of paddling you want to do because these kayaks come with many kinds of design. If you are about to kayaking on the flat water like a slow moving river or local lake, then you need a medium width and length.

There are also pedal kayaks that come with a bicycle style mechanism that eliminates the need for a paddle altogether.

Solo Vs. Dual

Most of the Sit on Top Kayaks manufacturers offer both solo and tandem kayak facilities. If you want to ride with a partner, you can get yourself a tandem kayak – these have two seats and extra length to provide . But we recommend the solo one so you can get extra stability.

They can also be used alone if you partner skips for any reason, but the extra length and weight can make them unwieldy.


When you are alone in the kayak, there are certain items you will need to store – whether it is food, spare clothes, tackle, or camping gear. Taking into account the cargo space and the number of hatches is a crucial consideration.

So you need to have enough space for them. But at the same time, you need to keep in mind that the heavier the cargo, the slower you will go.

Storage and Transportation

You have to consider this issue very seriously; especially pay heed to the size and weight. You don’t want a kayak that you would need to buy a new vehicle because of its extra-large size. Also, the weight shouldn’t be as more than you can lift.

Consider where you will be kayaking – if there is a long walk from your truck to the river then a smaller, lighter kayak may be ideal.


Depending on the size, material of construction, and propulsion mechanism, the price can be significantly difference. Make sure you select the right model that meets all of your needs at the lowest possible price.

1. Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS – Best Sit On Top Whitewater Kayak

When it comes to choosing to sit on top kayak, durability, and stability reign supreme. No doubt, it’s nice to have an attractive kayak, but often the more functional choices win out. This sun dolphin journey kayak is precisely that.

Why am I saying this?

It’s simple and fundamental, but it gets the job done and comes at an affordable price point.

Style and Dimension:

• Color: Blue.

• Size: 10 foot.

• Construction type: High-Density Polyethylene.

• Seat Material: Plastic.

• Weight: 44 pounds.

Why we love it?

This is a pretty good canoe for the money!

The Journey 10 sit-on kayak offers many amazing features to enhance your fishing experience. Great for rivers and lakes and for those hard to find excluded fishing spots.

Let’s talk about its construction – Made up from Rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex Polyethylene, this kayak is sturdy. Besides, the open cockpit design gives it an almost effortless entry.

Still not convinced?

The best part of this kayak is the large cozy seating area. It paddles and tracks with ease while providing maximum stability.

Keep In Mind

This is a cheap, entry-level kayak – So it’s only recommended for a leisurely paddle or a beginner around pretty still water.


  • Carrying handle  
  • Graduated foot well
  • Molded-in paddle holder


  • Footrests are not enough for tall people
  • Not suitable for large swells or rough conditions

2. Lifetime 10-Foot Kayak- Top-Rated Sit On Top Kayak for 2 People

Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak
  • Versatile Design Allows for Solo or Tandem Paddling
  • 10-Foot Compact Length for Easy Transport and Storage
  • 3 Fishing Rod Holders and Rear Storage Hatch

What an adorable, cute little Kayak!

It has impressive cargo capacity, is easy to maneuver, very stable, and fairly easy to transport – particularly for a two people kayak! Yes, it has been made for single or tandem use.

Style and Dimension:

• Color: Yellow, Green.

• Size: 10 foot.

• Construction Type: Low-Density Polyethylene.

• Seat Material: Plastic.

• Weight capacity: 500 Lb.

• Item weight: 60 lb.

Why we love it?

Before everything, let’s talk about the overall looks. It comes with two vibrant colors, tunnel hull design ensures ultra stability and tracking;, and is practically impossible to tip over. With UV-Protected Linear construction this is a sturdy kayak.

And guess what?

It includes 2 double-sided paddles and two soft backrests. It’s “High and Dry” seat facility will keep you off of the kayak floor.

Plus, it is backed by a five-year limited warranty which I really appreciate.


  • Forward cargo area  
  • Rear carry handles
  • Paddle included
  • 500 lb carrying capacity


  • Only one backrest

3. Sun Dolphin Camino 8 SS – A Great Recreational Kayak

Sun Dolphin Camino SS Sit-on-top Kayak (Ocean, 8-Feet)
  • Square Stern offers maximum stability
  • Large open cockpit for easiest of entry
  • Adjustable, padded seat with high backrest

If you want something stable yet comfortable to sit in, this nice little kayak is the best choice for you. This tiny boat also looks pretty solid and is very durable.

Sound impressive?

It is constructed with a square stern for more stability, and the large open cockpit allows entryand exit.

Style and Dimension:

• Color: Red

• Size: 8 foot.

• Construction type: Polyethylene.

• Seat Material: Plastic.

• Weight: 39.5 pounds.

Why we love it?

The thing that impresses us most is the seat is pretty comfortable and comes with a padded backrest. That means you can ride for a few hours without interrupting for a break for your back.

But you know what else?

The kayak ensures a smooth ride, and track great on both mild and calm waters. It is self-bailing, includes a paddle holder and storage compartments. It offers graduated footwells and molded-in carrying handles.

Keep In Mind

The square stern tends to fishtail if you paddle too fast. If you are determined to have a smoother ride, keep a steady pace for a better experience. As we mentioned earlier, it is primarily meant for a light relaxing trip, not really for speed.


  • Graduated foot wells 
  • Storage compartments
  • Vibrant look


  • The paddle is not included
  • The square stern limits the top speed

4. Ocean Kayak Frenzy- Best Sit on Top Kayak for One Person

  • Responsive and stable, this one-person kayak works okay in the surf but behaves better on flat water.
  • Tri-Form hull combines primary and secondary stability and a long center keel to keep you going straight.
  • A durable, four-way-adjustable seat supports all-day paddling and is comfortable for any body type.
Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak (9-Feet / Sunrise)
  • Capacity: Seats one adult, 275-325 lbs capacity
  • Transport and Storage: 9 ft length and only 43 lbs means easy transport in the back of a pick-up or car top. Easy to lift and small to store.
  • Seating: Large comfortable molded-in seat and molded-in foot braces

If you are a weekend warrior who wants to have fun playing at the lake water with the family, then the ocean kayak frenzy kayak is the perfect watercraft for you.

The sturdy, four-way-adjustable seat supports almost all-day paddling, with coziness for any body type.

Style and Dimension:

• Color: envy, sunrise.

• Size: 9 foot.

• Seat Material: Plastic.

• Weight: 43 pounds.

• Capacity: 325 pounds.

Why we love it?

Offering great fun in a compact hull, this Ocean Kayak Frenzy is One-Person Sit-On-Top Kayak, a versatile choice for either river or ocean adventurers. 

What makes this so unique?

This kayak is designed for flat waters without much swell. They can be used in the surf for fun but not for very long. Store your food, gear and other equipment using the stern tank with bow deck and removable bungee.

This kayak has good stability due to the hull design and the center keel gives you good control over your direction.

It is lightweight so can be easily carried from your truck to the lake’s edge. Plus, it features the molded-in side handles and stern carrying handles.

Keep In Mind

It has a small cockpit area – So if you are a big guy, it’s probably not the right choice for you.


  • Molded-in side handles  
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Easy to carry


  • The seat is too straight
  • May not be suitable for the larger gentleman

5. Ocean Kayak Venus 10- A Classic Women’s Sit-On-Top Kayak

  • Compact and easy to maneuver
  • Comfortable seat with lumbar support
  • The seat well is designed to accommodate a woman’s center of gravity.
  • A specially designed car-topping handle system makes it easy to load onto a vehicle.

Not the fastest, but responds & rides well.

From its cheeky roots in a Malibu backyard to the shores of New Zealand, this Ocean Kayak persists in finding brand new, clear ways to ride the waves.

Why it’s great for women?

It’s easy and safe to use! To board, easy step into the Venus and flop on the seat. The seat well is specially designed for a woman’s higher center of gravity through improved stability.

If any case if you capsize, you don’t have to panic about the canoe filling up and sinking.

Style and Dimension:

• Color: Fuchsia, Envy.

• Size: 9 feet 10 inches.

• Width: 28 inches.

• Weight: 37 pounds.

• Capacity: 175 pounds.

• Seat Type: Comfort Hybrid.

Why we love it?

The Ocean Kayak Venus is an ultra-lightweight, comfortable, easy-to-transport canoe designed for free-spirited women. 

A foot shorter than the sister kayak—the ocean Venus 11—this Venus 10 maneuvers well, making it ideal for flat water, slow-moving rivers, and moderate ocean swells and waves.

But hang on a minute!

Surprisingly enough, this Venus kayak’s state-of-the-art seating system provides a seat back height for extra lumbar support, and it’s a helpful feature for women. The seat is attached to the kayak, so it won’t slide while in use. In addition, it easily adjusts so that you can find a comfortable position for your next water adventure.

Keep In Mind

The Venus 10 is a low-deck profile and designed specifically for women with stability and comfort in mind. So don’t expect too much speed.

Also, the carrying capacity is extremely low compared to other models – so don’t expect to store much extra equipment.


  • Extra lumbar support  
  • Right-side paddle holder
  • Easy to Carry


  • No cup / bottle holders
  • Very low carrying capacity of 175 lbs

6. Emotion Spitfire 8 Kayak- Best Touring Kayak

Emotion 90244 Spitfire Sit-On-Top 8 Foot Kayak, Red
  • Constructed of High Density Polyethylene for superior strength and durability; 240 lb. weight capacity
  • ST Performance Hull offers execptional stability and tracking
  • Front, rear, and side carry handles for easy transport
  • Constructed of High Density Polyethylene for superior strength and durability 
  • 240 lb. weight capacity
  • Hull offers exceptional stability and tracking
  • Front, rear, and side carry handles for easy transport

​If you are someone who takes kayaking as a sport and want to do frequently, you need a longer, narrower kayak.

Then the emotion spitfire 8 might be for you.

Style and Dimension:

• Color: Red.

• Size: 8 feet.

• Material: High-Density Polyethylene.

• Weight: 40 pounds.

• Capacity: 240 pounds.

Why we love it?

First of all, let’s talk about construction. It is constructed with High-Density Polyethylene which gives it great strength and stability. ​

It has a weight capacity of 240 lb, so consider how much extra weight you want to carry, particularly for any extended trips..

The extra volume with makes this watercraft a good fit for almost any size paddler from kids to adults.

Keep in mind

Though it’s a standard size, it won’t be ideal choice for someone taller and bigger.


  • Multiple footrest positions 
  • Adjustable padded seat
  • Superior strength


  • Fragile hull
  • Might not be suitable for larger people

7. Sun Dolphin Journey 10 Sit on Top Kayak- Cheap Fishing Kayaks

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak (Sand, 10-Feet)
  • Great for lakes and rivers and to get to those excluded fishing spots
  • Lightweight, easy to carry
  • Tracks and paddles with ease while offering maximum stability
  • Lightweight, easy to carry
  • Retractable carrying handles
  • Tracks and paddles with ease while offering maximum stability

Sun Dolphin also has very few sit-on models, and the Journey 10 is one of the smallest Despite being so compact, this Journey 10 still comes with a decent enough weight capacity of 250 lbs.

Style and Dimension:

• Color: olive, sand.

• Size: 10 feet.

• Material: High-Density Polyethylene.

• Weight: 44 pounds.

• Capacity: 250 pounds.

Why we love it?

This kayak literally has everything an angler needs as a beginner – it includes two flush mount holders behind its seat and one swivel rod holder at the front.

It has a large and comfortable seat, while the cozy, protective thigh pads are a blessing for day-long trips. Like the Journey 10 ss, this little boat also comes with adjustable foot braces.

Keep in mind

If you are a big guy or taller than six feet, this little canoe is going to feel a little cramped, in that case the Sun Dolphin Journey 10 or 12 SS will be a better option.


  • Protective thigh pads  
  • Comes with Portable Accessory Carrier
  • Self-bailing


  • May be too small for anyone over 6 feet tall

8. Point 65 Kayak GTX Tandem- Fastest Sit On Top Kayak

Point 65 Mercury GTX Tandem - RED
  • Swedish design & engineering
  • Tandem configuration; front section paired with mid and back sections = tandem kayak.
  • Swedish engineered and designed
  • Tandem configuration
  • Modular design – splits apart for easy storage and transport

A speed demon!

Yes, that was the first impression when I tested it. And honestly speaking, I was quite surprised how they managed to offer such a fantastic watercraft at this price range. The GTX Tandem Modular Kayak is designed with both kids and adults in mind.

Style and Dimension:

• Color: Red.

• Total length: 13 ft 8 in.

• Material: High-Density Polyethylene.

Why we love it?

Whether it’s fishing, paddling, or just relaxing, this fantastic, high-performance kayak is an excellent choice for friends or family fun on the water. The GTS Tequila has a new tracking keel that gives it an even paddle. With the new midsection, your single-seater can be transformed into a top-grade tandem, just in case you want to bring a friend. 

See the difference?

With Point 65 ́s patented Snap-Tap solution, this design snaps apart/re-assembles in seconds. That’s why it’s considering the most lightweight watercraft on the market so far. Designed for stability and comfort, the Tequila GTX is also a nimble, maneuverable recreational boat with plenty of legroom.

Good for you.

The Tequila includes a super-comfortable seat, molded multi-foot rests, and a pneumatically adjustable backrest that provides you a delightful and flexible seating position.

Keep in mind

At almost 14 feet long this is a large kayak and steers like one.


  • Better tracking  
  • Plenty of legroom
  • A super-comfortable seat
  • Modular design


  • At least 14 feet long, this is a large kayak

9. Lifetime Kayak Tandem- Best Sit on Top Kayak for Fishing

Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak
  • Versatile Design Allows for Solo or Tandem Paddling
  • 10-Foot Compact Length for Easy Transport and Storage
  • 3 Fishing Rod Holders and Rear Storage Hatch
  • High Density Polyethylene for superior strength and durability;
  • 5-year limited manufacturer warranty
  • 500 lb. weight capacity
  • Hull design provides ultra stability and great tracking

A versatile choice for river or ocean adventurers!

Perfect for a day trek or even weekend adventure, this superb watercraft is one of the faster sit-on-top kayaks around. As the name indicates, it’s a Two-Person Tandem and can even seat up to 3 people.

Style and Dimension:

• Color: olive green, camouflage.

• Type: Two Person Tandem.

• Size: 10 feet. 

• Material: High-Density Polyethylene.

• Weight: 60 pounds.• Capacity: 500 pounds.

Why we love it?

Blow-molded from Polyethylene for durability superior and strength; it is backed by a 5-year warranty, which I really appreciate as it eliminates a lot of risk. The hull design provides excellent tracking and ultra stability. The durable HDPE construction protects it from Fading, Cracking, and Peeling.

What’s the best part?

Its multiple footrest positions allow different size riders. It includes paddle clips, 2 double-sided paddles and padded backrests, a 6’ storage hatch and 3 fishing rod holders. This is ready to go for any keen angler.

It also has a huge 500 lb carrying capacity so you can store all of your tackle and camping equipment with you for a multi day trip.

Keep in mind

All tandem kayak’s can be a challenge to steer (although maybe this is the second person’s fault!)


  • UV-Protected Polyethylene Construction  
  • Superior strength
  • Huge weight capacity


  • Hooks are not satisfactory

10. Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100- A Perfect Angler Recreational Fishing Kayak

Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100 10 Foot Angler Recreational Sit On Top Light Weight Fishing Kayak (Jam...
  • KEY FEATURES | 1-person sit on top fishing kayak - 10ft 57lbs fishing kayak that offers best of stability and maneuverability
  • OPTIMUM CONTROL | The Yellowfin 100 is the perfect throw-and-go fishing kayak because it's easy to move by hand and transport.
  • MOUNT FOR ACCESSORIES | 4 Flush mount fishing rod holders
  • 10ft length and 57lbs weight fishing kayak that offers best of stability and maneuverability
  • It’s easy to move by hand and transport.
  • 4 Flush mount fishing rod holders

Whether for a bit of exercise, to reel in the day’s catch, or family fun, you’ll find the vibe’s sit-on-top kayaks wherever the water leads you. Vibe always amazes the adventurers with its awesome outdoor equipment.

This time Vibe kayaks yellowfin design nails it with it’s Jamberry color scheme

Style and Dimension:

• Color: Jamberry

• Type: one Person sit on top

• Size: 10ft 57lbs

• Width: 32″

• Capacity: 375 pounds

• Weight: 57 pound

Why we love it?

Seek-and-find that big monster bass anywhere from shallows to the depths while pulling all your tackle with the super compact and fast Yellowfin 100. It’s purposely designed for the avid anglers comfort.

Meanwhile, it has all the customizable and premium features of the best watercraft on the market, at the most reasonable cost on the market.

Don’t even try to deny it.

The speed hull design provides very fast, nimble tracking to get angler quickly to where the fish are, saving your energy during windy days, long paddles, and strong currents.

Keep in mind

It has sharp edges on the bottom of the sides. Though it makes this yellowfin more stable, makes a bit harder to find the j-rack carrier.


  • Slip Resistant Deck  
  • Ultra-smooth Pontoon-Style Hull Design
  • Dual Position


  • Poor quality strap
  • Sharp edges on the bottom

Wrapping Up and Decision Time

Whether you are a newbie or an experienced paddler in kayaking, the right watercraft can make a big difference.

As you can see, there is actually a lot to consider when you try to pick a top performer sit on top kayak. Each of the watercraft on our list can suit a beginner depending on their circumstances.

What’s our recommendation? We loved each of them.

Now it’s your turn, choose the right one and get ready for the adventure.

Get up and go kayaking!

Russ Egan

Russ is an avid angler. He has fished all over the world, primarily for Saltwater game fish but also for local prize fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Tyrnos for an overhead reel or a Shimano Curado for a baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.

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