Sit On Top vs Sit In Kayak: Which Should You Choose?

Sit On Top vs Sit In Kayak:

Sit-in kayaks differ from sit-on-top kayaks in that they have enclosed cockpits where you can paddle and a spray skirt to prevent water from entering the cockpit. Sit-on-top (SOT), on the other hand, has a fully sealed compartment that the kayaker can sit on top of.

Sit-inside kayaks are positioned at the waterline, with the frame partially covering your legs. Your lower body is protected from wind and cold by the frame that covers your legs.

Sit on top kayaks are elevated above the waterline, have a high centre of gravity, and offer exceptional buoyancy. They don’t take in water. They have self-bailing drainage holes that drain the water from the top.

Sit On Top vs Sit In Kayak

Difference Between Sit in and Sit on Kayak:

Make sure you consider the water type you intend to use when you are purchasing a kayak.

While the main differences are obvious, each style offers its advantages and drawbacks. This is especially important if you’re buying your first kayak.

The benefits and drawbacks to Sit-In Kayaks:

Sit-in kayaks are easy to understand. It could also be the exact opposite.

While a sit-in kayak is designed to protect your lower body from cold winds and water, it’s also ideal for kayaking in the cold.

You may feel limited by the kayak’s sit-in design. Your kayak can become clogged with water if it accidentally capsizes in the water. This can affect your ability to paddle.

Drain the water from your cockpit before you can move on to the next step or return to shore.

It is more challenging to get into and out of a sitting-in kayak if you’re in open water.

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Sit-in Kayak Pros

  • You have a lower centre gravitational value if you are in the water.
  • They glide through the water faster.
  • The right cockpit cover can keep your lower extremities dry.
  • These kayaks tend to be lighter than Si-on top kayaks.

Cons of Sit-in Kayak

  • It’s more challenging to get them into and out of the cockpit.
  • They can get water if they overturn.
  • After falling out of open water, it is more challenging to get back in.

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The Benefits and Drawbacks to Sit On Top Kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks are different from sit-in kayaks. These kayaks are better for beginners and people who want to learn to kayak.

Sit on top kayaks are ideal for novices, nervous paddlers and people just getting started in kayaking.

Sit-on kayaks are great for beginners because they allow water to flow through the top of the kayak and back through the scupper.

The downside of sit-on kayaks, however, is the lack of a sheltered area. The downside to sit-on kayaks is the lack of sheltered space.

Sit-on Kayak Pros

  • It is easier to enter and exit
  • Made of tougher materials
  • It is easier to learn
  • If you’ve fallen out, it is much easier to get in again.
  • If they sink, they won’t be able to fill up with water.

Cons of Sit on Kayak

  • Heavy Sit-on-top kayaks
  • Get wet
  • You need more energy to paddle them
  • Your centre gravity is higher than normal, which makes you “tippy”.

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Which is better: sit-in kayak or sit-on kayak?

Your situation, your experience level, and your plan for kayaking will all play a part.

A sit-in kayak is best for advanced and intermediate kayakers, who are more likely to be in cold waters. A sit-on-top may be better for beginners or those who don’t feel comfortable paddling a kayak alone.

The best kayak for you will depend on your kayaking experience.

Sit on top kayaks are better suited for:

  • Summertime fun
  • Warm weather
  • Learning
  • Children
  • Your kayak shouldn’t be damaged. You can take more abuse on rotomolded sit-on-top kayaks.
  • While you don’t want your life in danger, you must be careful if you get stuck in the cockpit.
  • Fishing!

Sit inside kayaks are better for:

  • Cold weather
  • Long-distance touring
  • Ocean touring
  • Surf kayaking
  • River kayaking, both whitewater and long-distance
  • Racing
  • Drying out

There are some differences between Sit-In Kayaks and Sit On Top Kayaks.

They are virtually identical in terms of their physical characteristics. There is no significant difference in their physical characteristics.

Sit-In vs Sit on Top for Fishing: What are the Differences?

  • Sit-in kayaks, the oldest type of kayak, are the most popular. These kayaks were originally used for hunting in the Arctic. Later, they were modified for recreational purposes.
  • While a sit-in kayak may be smaller than a sit on top, it offers plenty of storage space—ideal for day paddling and short expeditions.
  • Sit-on kayaks are not as good for long expeditions, but they’re great for short trips.
  • Sit on top kayaks are best for those who enjoy kayaking.
  • Sit-on-top kayaks can rescue themselves. Instead of sitting in the kayak, you can instantly get out of it if it capsizes.
  • It makes it easy to quickly and efficiently rescue yourself from a kayak that flips.

For beginners, sit-in or sit on top kayaks?

When it comes to novice kayakers, there isn’t much to choose between sit-in or sit-on kayaks.

It is essential to understand the safety and preparation requirements for kayaking.

All types of kayakers can use these tips:

  • You don’t need to dress for the weather but the water.
  • Safety skills are essential for all kayak types. Kayaks can tip over in the water, which could lead to serious injury.
  • Learn the various paddling styles. Practice paddling strokes while the kayak is still on its ground.
  • Many YouTube videos will help you learn this exercise. At least four strokes must be known: the sweep stroke (reverse stroke), forward stroke, sweep stroke, draw stroke, and sweep stroke.
  • Your kayak can be adjusted on dry ground. Your kayak will tip over if you are too active on it.
  • It is essential to ensure your first kayaking adventure takes place in calm water.
  • You shouldn’t kayak alone! This article will show you how to do it. No matter how experienced you are, it would help if you didn’t kayak alone.

There are no differences in the experience of a novice using a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak. Don’t risk your safety or life by not being prepared.

Best Kayaks For Beginners

A beginner should not buy a kayak

Sun Dolphin Aruba 10:

This sit-in kayak can be carried around by people who aren’t looking to pack a lot.

Oru Kayak beach Lt:

This kayak can be used by those who have a lot of money. It costs above $1000.

Sevylor QuikpakK1:

It is a sitting-on kayak. The kayak’s best attribute is its inflatable nature. It can be stored in calm water.

Ocean Kayak Malibu Tandem:

It is a 2-person, sit-on-top kayak. It’s ideal for beginners who want to share a seat or two with an experienced paddler. This allows you to learn basic kayaking skills while also having someone to assist you.

These kayaks are perfect for beginners. These guidelines will help you understand the basics of kayaking before you buy. These are only four options of many that may best suit your needs.

Sit-In and Sit On Top Kayaks for Fishing

Kayaking can be an excellent way for fishing. Fishing from a kayak is very different from fishing from an enclosed boat.

There are some things you should know before you kayak fish.

Fishing using a Sit-In Kayak

Sit-in kayaks are ideal for fishing in the winter months. They protect your lower body from colder waters and make it easy to find your gear.

Sit-in kayaks are for experienced fishermen. They can be more tipy than their counterparts.

Fishing using a Sit On Top Kayak

The sit-on-top kayak is better for beginners.

The kayak allows you to stand while you fish, something that a sitting in can’t. This is how fishermen fish from boats or docks. A sit-on kayak has more space at its top, making it easier for you to attach your gear.

These fishing kayaks have been made bigger, wider, and more stable.

Both kayaks offer fishing advantages. They are cheaper than renting a boat, and they can be used for fishing.


It’s evident that sit-on kayaks are the best choice for recreational kayaking, warm water kayaking and scuba diving.

Sitting inside kayaks are ideal for paddling in cold conditions and touring, kayak camping trips, and paddling in freezing conditions.

It’s easy to determine which type of kayak is best for you if you consider the above factors. The decision is also influenced by personal preference.

You can find your Sit-In or Sit On Top Kayaks for Fishing here.

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