What Are The Best Sit On Top Kayak Boats In 2017?

Buying the best sit on top kayak means you will have endless holidaying possibilities for you and your family. A sit on top is ideal if you fancy having a good time in the outdoors kayaking or just floating in the middle of the lake enjoying the fresh air and outdoor freedom. The sit on top is a cheaper version of the more expensive sit in Kayak. It is a preferred choice for the budget conscious family or the kayaking enthusiast trying out deep sea sporting. However, how do you get a sit on top kayak that caters to your needs? You will have to consider a few factors before making the first purchase.


*Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Things To Consider When Buying A Best Sit On Top Kayak

Turning and Tracking Abilities

Turning And Tracking Abilities

Tracking refers to a kayak’s ability to travel straight while turning defines its ability to turn in a different direction. A sit on top kayak with excellent turning ability may not necessarily track well, and vice versa. Therefore, the sit on top kayak you decide to purchase depends on what you are willing to sacrifice. Fortunately, modern kayak boats are designed to have balanced turning and tracking abilities.

Stability of The Boat

Stability Of The Boat

Stability of a kayak is defined in two distinct ways: the initial stability and the final stability. Initial stability defines the Kayak’s ability to remain steady while anchored or cruising in slow speeds. On the other hand, final stability defines how steady the sit on top remains in the roughest of waves.

A kayak with great initial stability allows you to get in and out of the boat with ease. It is the boat to have if you love bird watching, like to stop and sunbathe, or just cruise on the low currents. However, great initial stability may affect the final stability and speed of the boat. If you would like to have a kayak that can handle the waves, a kayak’s final stability is your greatest concern.

Kayak Material

Kayak Material

The material used to make the sit on top kayak affects its pricing, durability, and performance among other things. Sit on top kayaks are generally made of plastic, inflatable plastic, Kevlar, wood, fiberglass, and fabric on frame. Plastic kayaks are considered to be the heaviest. Their sturdy body also makes them resistant to damage. In addition, plastic parts are easily recycled.

Though kayaks made from plastic may be inexpensive to purchase, they can be quite expensive to maintain. This is because they require metal fasteners or welding to repair leaks or any other damage. Fiberglass, on the other hand, is lighter and firmer than plastic. However, you cannot recycle it.

Kayak-Material-Compressor (1)

Fabric-on-frame kayaks are quite popular because of their DIY assembling factor. They are sold in parts to be assembled by the buyer. Fabric on wood kayaks are the most difficult to assemble but they are the lightest compared to plastic and fiberglass boats. On the other hand, fabric on metal kayaks are easy to assemble and can be collapsed to enhance portability. However, they are more expensive compared to fabric on wood sit on top kayaks.

Kayak Material

Inflatable plastic kayaks are a more portable option compared to fabric on metal boats. They have great final stability making them ideal for white water paddling or surfing stronger waves. However, they do not track well on water. Kevlar and carbon are some of the most lightweight boat making materials. However, they are not found in many boats because they are pricey. Wooden sit on top kayaks are quite rare and expensive to construct, which is why many boat manufacturers prefer blending wood with epoxy.

Cockpit Design

Cockpit Design

The cockpit is described as the area in contact with your feet (the foot brace), your hips (sides of the seat), your knees (thigh braces or deck underside), and your bottom (the boat seat). There has to be some level of comfort and support in the aforementioned areas. This will enable you to paddle, turn, or maintain balance on the boat even in the roughest waters.

White water kayaks and cruise kayaks have different cockpit designs. Whitewater kayaks feature a padded inner cockpit to protect you when the boat topples. The cruise sit on tops are designed for luxury thus the cockpit is left spacious giving ample room to stretch while taking long cruises.

Cockpit Kayak

How well the cockpit is designed also determines the ease of entering and exiting the boat. Although whitewater boats are designed with a snug fit, the opening is left wider for emergency exists. Long cruise kayaks previously had the same keyhole cockpits but the size has grown smaller with time. This new design is said to reduce swamping of the boat when hit by a large wave. The leisure kayaks have the widest cockpit opening with limited ability to keep the paddler on board in case of a big wave.

Length of The Boat

Length Of The Boat Kayak

Longer boats are faster and more stable than shorter ones. The length of the boat also takes into account the size of the paddler. Long sea excursions will need a kayak with lots of space for the paddler, a tent, sleeping bags, and any other necessary gear.

Single or Double Kayak?

Single Or Double Kayak

Purchasing a single or double kayak depends on whether you have a paddling partner or more luggage to carry. Double kayaks carry more luggages on board and tend to be more stable than single kayaks. However, single kayaks are lighter, easy to maneuver, and can travel faster.

Boat Rigging

Deck Rigging Kayak

via clcboats.com

Deck rigging refers to on-board accessories like shock cords, deck netting, perimeter lines. Shock cords are effective for storing and holding gear in place while deck netting can store smaller items like flasks, fishing bait, or gloves. Perimeter lines help mark a current territory or isolate an emergency scene.

Quality of Boat Hatches

Boat Hatches Kayak

The hatch compartment is an ideal place to store items like food or dry clothes. Thus, it needs to be waterproof and spacious enough to fit all items you will be bringing on the trip. The hatch cover is vulnerable to strong sea gales and requires a solid lock to hold it securely in position. However, not all hatches are entirely leak-proof. Therefore, it is important to seal your items in airtight bags. Items that cannot fit in the hatch compartment can be stored in waterproof floatation bags.

Boat Paddles

Paddle Kayak

Many people assume that boat paddles are a one-size-fit-all tool. However, this is not true at all. Quality paddles are more durable, complement your paddling style, and feel comfortable in your hands. Cheap paddles may not be of the best quality and vice versa. Buy a kayak paddle that is within your budget. However, make sure you get a paddle that grips better and helps you accelerate faster.

The Best Sit on Top Kayaks

*Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Paddle Kayak

Via Amazon.com

Also known as the Big Angler II, this sit-on-top boat is designed with the fishing enthusiast in mind. The kayak opening is wide to allow the paddler to move above freely casting their fishing line. The bow hatch compartment is spacious to fit fishing gear and an additional stern tank provides for extra storage. The sides of the kayak have keepers to hold the paddles while fishing at a stationary spot. There is a built-in beverage holder as well.


  • A spacious cockpit for easy entry and exit
  • Plenty of storage space on board
  • On board cup holder
  • A strong hatch cover to keep items safe
  • Ease of movement while in the boat
  • Elegant design that transforms this kayak into a city cruise boat as well
  • Has handles to conveniently transport the kayak
  • Inbuilt track system for extra feet comfort
  • Side keepers to hold paddles when not rowing


  • Quite expensive
Paddle Kayak

Via Amazon.com

The Malibu sit on top kayak is a multi-purpose boat for those who love camping and excursions. It designed to fit more luggage, extra fishing gear and still packs stability and speed while on the water. Malibu is 12 feet long, a feature that complements its swiftness and sturdiness. The bow holds a gigantic gator hatch that fits all your camping gear and an additional fishing line. The front and rear have double rod holders to maximize your fishing experience or for that extra paddler you brought along. Besides fishing, the Malibu sit-on-top boat is convenient for camping or any recreational trips.


  • Multi-purpose sit on top kayak for fishing and recreational trips
  • Four-rod holders to boost your fishing experience
  • Can hold a maximum weight of 450lbs
  • Plenty of storage for luggage, fishing and camping gear
  • Spacious cockpit for easy movement
  • Side paddle holders
  • On board cup holder
  • A fast boat with great stability and tracking
  • Foot track is adjustable for comfort


  • Relatively expensive
Paddle Kayak

Via Amazon.com

This sit on top would easily be a personal favorite except for the minor drawbacks in engineering. The Sun Dolphin Bali SS Boat is nicknamed the ‘family boat' as it is designed to fit all ages. It comes in 2 sizes, a 10 feet and 12 feet models. The 10 feet is suitable for kids while adults can take the 12 feet kayak. The cockpit is wide enough for convenient entry and exiting.

In addition, the foot brace and paddle holders are adjustable to maximize comfort. Apart from the bow hatch compartment storage, there is an additional portable container to hold all your fishing accessories. The Sun Dolphin Bali SS kayak is designed specifically for weekends of fishing for the entire family. It even comes with a customizable deck to mount a fish finder. You also have a cup holder and paddle holders on deck.

However, the downside of the kayak is that its drainage holes allow water back in creating possible leakage spots. Therefore, you will have to purchase extra standard plugs to stop leaks. In general, the Sun Dolphin sit on top does well for a fishing boat and comes in a wide range of colors.


  • Spacious cockpit with adjustable brace and paddle holders
  • Kayak size is suitable for all ages
  • Light and easy to transport
  • Has great stability in still waters
  • Value for money


  • Uncomfortable seat
  • Leaking floors
  • Not the best tracking
Paddle Kayak

Via Amazon.com

The Wilderness Tarpon sit on top kayak makes up for what the Sun Dolphin SS lacks. It is leak proof and designed for comfort as a recreational boat. With some slight adjustments, you can transform this boat into a fishing kayak. It has a solid body construction as well, making it one of the most durable sit on top kayaks on the market.

The cockpit is quite spacious and adds XL feet brace to adjust legroom for comfort. For storage, a midship and bow Orbix hatch compartment allows you to store all your fishing gear or recreational items. An additional gear storage pocket stores smaller items like house keys, sailing license, or your cigarette lighter.

The deck is customizable and you can add rod holders to make this an ideal fishing vessel. The floor of the kayak has scupper holes that prevent backflow and keep your feet dry. The seat is padded for comfort and the cockpit wide enough to turn freely while paddling.


  • Excellent stability
  • Adjustable foot brace
  • Great durability
  • Enough storage space on board
  • Comfortable sit on top seat


  • You may have to purchase paddles separately
Paddle Kayak

Via Amazon.com

The Ocean Frenzy sit on top kayak is suitable for all ages. It is 9-foot-long kayak that weighs about 325 lbs. Seats are padded to provide sufficient comfort for all body sizes. The Ocean Frenzy sit on top is recommended for recreational activities. It is light thus easy to carry to your weekend summer camp by the lake. It is also reasonably affordable for a first time kayak enthusiast.


  • Lightweight and portable
  • Ample storage for small items
  • On board cup holder
  • Great recreational boat for all ages
  • Comes in different colors to choose from
  • Affordable for both a first time and regular kayaker


  • Quite small for taller people


No doubts only one sit on top kayak stands out among the five. The Malibu kayak is the winner of this comprehensive review. It is well engineered and packs features that promote comfort and enhance your outdoor experience.

The sit on top is 12 feet long making it the largest of the five boats. This is ideal for taller people while the foot brace and paddle holders are adjustable to fit short people. While many kayaks on the market compromise on either speed or stability, the Malibu delivers on both. The deck is relatively spacious and features four-rod holders to bring company the next time you go fishing. This boat is also ideal for recreational activities with the whole family.

I hope you found this review useful. Please help your friends by sharing it with them on social media. We will also love to hear from you; leave your comments and questions in the comments section.

Lucas Bryant

Hi, I’m Lucas Bryant and fishing is one of the most important parts of my life. I usually go fishing with my friends and have many fishing competition. That why I like to research and create many tips to get more fishes to win a race. I hope my experience will be useful for you.

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