Pros And Cons of Sit-On-Top Kayak

Last Updated on July 13, 2022 by Ecorf

Kayaking is not only a fun-filled activity but also one that empowers the kayakers to have enough time with nature. Unarguable, many paddlers prefer to go along with either of the sit-on-top or the sit-in kayaks. The reasons for this choice include but not limited to the flexibility that comes with the vessels. Out of the two, the sit-on-top kayak offers better precision and fun because of the positioning.

You would be learning about the properties or features that make it the perfect vessel for both the recreational and the angling purposes. Before that, it would be ideal if you have an idea of what a sit-on-top kayak is.

What Is A Sit-On-Top Kayak?

A sit-on-top kayak is one of the various kinds of kayaks out there. It doesn’t have an enclosed cockpit, which makes it possible for the paddler(s) to be positioned on top of the kayak and above the water surface.

Although some paddlers argue that the less stability and the limited protection from water mask the potentialities of the kayak, you would also discover that the sit-on-top kayak has more legroom and can be used for many purposes, such as fishing and swimming.


The features that make the vessel the perfect choice for many paddlers are anglers are many. Likewise, the sit-on-top kayak also has some downsides. So, read further to discover the pros and cons of a sit-on-top kayak.

Pros of the Sit-On-Top Kayak

We would start with the unique features that have helped the kayak to beat the other variant and stiff competitor – the sit-in kayak. Here are the pros:

  • Flexibility

Paddlers do not want to be confined in the kayak. What would be the essence of getting out on the water when you cannot make quick diving into the water or cast your net without second thoughts? That informs the reason behind the flexibility of the sit-on-top kayak.

In that instance, paddlers can be able to make quick dives into the water for a short swim. When they’re done, they can always climb into the kayak because it doesn’t have restricted movements like the sit-in kayak.

  • Easy Boarding and Disembarking

As highlighted in the last paragraph, the sit-on-top kayak empowers the paddlers to move in and out of the vessel with ease. The emphasis here is to highlight the ease of movement, which is facilitated by the design of the cockpit.

Worthy of mention is the notion that the sit-on-top kayak “doesn’t have a cockpit.” The idea became famous because of the design of the cockpit, which is said to be “open.” Also, the paddlers are required to sit on top of the kayak’s hull; hence, giving credence to the name – the sit-on-top kayak.

  • Easy Recovery

Mishaps are not to be ruled out when it comes to kayaking. Although they may be deemed smaller vessels, they are indeed susceptible to flip over, especially when the current is high. It is on that premise that many paddlers and anglers love the sit-on-top kayak.

The lightweight design, which is derived from that of a surfboard, makes it easier to recover. For instance, in addition to the lightweight material, the kayak also has a top area that is shallow. So, in the event of the kayak getting flipped, the paddler/angler can always flip on the water while the kayak wouldn’t get trapped by the water.

  • Price

There’s no denying that price has some roles to play in the choice of a kayak. The sit-on-top kayak isn’t an exception. The fantastic thing about it is that it is affordable when compared to the sit-in kayak.

Cons of the Sit-On-Top Kayak

Now that we’ve looked at the upsides to the sit-on-top kayak, you may have now started itching to have one. Buying the vessel is two sides of a coin. The pros are one of the angles, and the downsides are another.

So, here are some of the downsides or the negative aspects of the sit-on-top kayak:

  • Be Ready To Get Wet

Except you’re looking at adding “getting soaked on the water” to your kayaking adventures, you may have to make serious reconsiderations about the sit-on-top kayak. Because of the open cockpit, paddlers and anglers as the case might tend to get wet while paddling the vessel.

  • Less Storage for Gears

You would want to bring along your gears, especially when fishing. That wouldn’t be a wise decision when using the sit-on-top kayak. The vessel has limited space for gears. So, you may have to be content with handling a few pieces of equipment, which, of course, would be exposed to the elements of the sun.

  • Not Suitable for Some Weathers

Kayaking can be done at different times in the year, depending on the weather and your preparedness. Nevertheless, you have to be picky about that when using the sit-on-top kayak. The vessel is not ideal for use in chilly seasons and during the short summer seasons when the body is exposed to the cold.

Besides, the kayak is also exposed to the constant drip of the kayak paddle, and the splash of the waves. More challenging is the fact that you may not be able to enjoy using it in uncanny weather conditions and under strong currents.

  • Bulky Design

The sit-on-top kayak may be lightweight, but it has a bulky mounted design. This makes it hard when transporting the kayak because of the massive space it takes up in your car.

  • Difficult Paddling

One would have expected the sit-on-top kayak to be faster because of the lightweight design. On the contrary, it could be difficult to paddle the kayak because of the added width. The added width ought to balance the paddler/angler’s high center gravity, but has gone on to reduce the speed of the vessel, hence, making it hard to paddle.


Concluding Thoughts On the Pros and Cons of the Sit-On-Top Kayak

You’ve now seen that the attributes of the sit-on-top kayak are like a two-edged sword. So, it is up to you to decide on the bluntest part of the “sword” and avoid it. If you’re more pleased by the pros than the cons, then you have yourself a vessel. Otherwise, you may wish to reconsider your stance if the downsides outweigh the pros.

The ball is in your court; kick it to any direction you wish. Hopefully, you would use the insights about the pros and cons of a sit-on-top kayak to make an informed decision.