Sit On Top Kayak Buyers Guide

So it’s time to splash out on your own boat, with a whole host of kayaks available on the market it can be a potential minefield.

In this buyer’s guide, i’ve tried to outline a few points to consider when buying a sit on top kayak.


Really think about where you want to go and what you want to do. Many sit on tops are built as a general purpose boat meaning it can be used anywhere. It won’t be the best boat for anything in particular but will be perfectly usable in a range of locations. You will see many of these boats in our Best Kayaks for beginners.

As you look through different Sit on Top Kayaks you will notice that many boats are designed with specialist uses in mind.

For Fishing Kayaks, have a look at our Best Fishing Kayaks Review

To get the correct kayak you really need to decide where you want to use the kayak, Is it a touring kayak for covering distance or is it something to use on whitewater or in the surf?

For longer distances, a longer boat will carry its speed and be better suited to all day comfort.

For whitewater, the boat will be shorter and much more manoeuvrable. A shorter boat will turn quickly and is not as suitable for long distances

Kayak Weight

There’s no point having the best Sit on Top Kayak ever built, if you need an army to lift it.

Again think about your usage and distance you must move the kayak. Can you use a cart and is it possible to load the kayak onto a car rack solo?

It’s certainly worth thinking about some of the lighter weight boats. they are great options and make moving the kayak a much easier experience.


As we know with sit on tops you want something with a bit of comfort. You want to be able to spend all day in the boat without constantly making land to stand up and stretch. Look for a kayak with an adjustable footrest and a padded backrest and seat. By lifting yourself off of the hull will keep you warmer and much comfier during the day on the water. In some cases boats have thigh braces to offer increased support and control over the craft.

Weight capacity

Be sure to keep an eye on the maximum kayak capacities, as you will need to think about both your own weight plus the weight of your accessories.

Most kayaks have large manufacturers recommended maximum capacities but be sure to stay below this. If your boat is overloaded it can feel sluggish and difficult to maneuver and control.

The weight will certainly affect the handling of the kayak so if carrying a lot of accessories be sure to spread it over the length of the boat to keep things stable.

Materials & Durability

If you are looking for a sit on top to last then definitely look to the bigger brands to buy something with the quality you can trust. Many of the boats are sold with a manufactures warranty guarantee to replace or repair the boat in the event of manufacturers problems with the kayak. Many of the brands are best known for their whitewater kayaks. These boats are designed for waterfalls and rapids many of these companies use the same plastic and materials across there sit on tops also. So you know you have a great quality boat you can trust.

Solo or Tandem

So it is important to decide how many people will be using the kayak. Is it just for one person or do you want to take a friend along for the ride? For a beginner, it is important not to go out alone so sometimes paddling a tandem will be a better option in the event of fatigue or injury. A tandem kayak is a great way to safely introduce friends and family to kayaking

Final Verdict

Sit on Top kayaks are much more user friendly than some Sit in Kayaks. They are a great way to get on the water easily and quickly. Many Sit on Top kayaks are perfect for all the family to use and enjoy.

If you want to choose a new kayak have a look through this guide, The most important point being that you need to really get the boat that is correct for your own individual needs. Think about where you are going and what you want to achieve and this will point you in the right direction for the correct Sit on Top kayak to purchase.

Take a look at the best Sit on top Kayaks for 2018

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