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8 Best Sit-On-Top Kayaks (2021 Reviews and Guide)

If you are looking for the best sit-on-top kayak you are in luck. Kayaking is a fun and exciting recreational activity. If you don’t have your own watercraft yet, please keep reading. In this post, we will take a look at the different models available and help you choose the right one.

Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, you’ll find sit-on-top kayaks are an excellent option for a fun day on the water.  But with all the different varieties available choosing the right kayak can be overwhelming.

So, before you hit the water with your new kayak, you need to consider a lot of things. Keep in mind that kayaks are not one-size-fits-all. There are specific types of kayaks for different paddlers.

Best sit-on-top kayak

It is important to determine your needs, the features you’re looking for, where you are paddling, and what type of activities you will be doing. These are some of the things that could influence your decision and will help you narrow down your choices.

If you still find yourself lost from all the brands and models, this article will help you get the right sit-on-top kayak and answer all your questions.

#1 Perception Pescador Pro Sit on Top Kayak

perception Pescador Pro 12 | Sit on Top Fishing Kayak with Adjustable Lawn Chair Seat | Large Front and Rear Storage | 12' | Dapper
  • Your perfect first fishing kayak - Made in USA
  • Lawn chair style mesh seat with 2-level seat adjustment and breathable mesh for...
  • Seat can be lowered for relaxed paddling or raised for optimum casting
  • Leak-proof one-piece construction with built-in buoyancy for added safety
  • Large front and rear open storage for cooler tackle and other gear
Material:High-Density Polyethylene
Size:12 feet x 32.5 inches
Weight Capacity:375 lbs
Kayak Weight:64 pounds
Seating Configuration:Solo – removable seat


Perception kayaks are popular and for good reason. At 12 feet long, the Pescador Pro gives you plenty of cargo space and stability while maintaining maneuverability. This kayak is set up to hit the water running with rod holders and a fish finder console if you are an angler.

The kayak is designed to track well in various conditions, and you can cover a lot of water quickly.  If storage is what you are after, this kayak has you covered.  Large bow and stern open storage areas are great for fishing gear, a cooler, or even taking your furry friend along for the ride.

Front and rear carry handles, and molded side carry handles help you transport this kayak.  There is plenty of legroom and a 2-level seat for all-day comfort. Gear tracks let you add the accessories you want without drilling holes.


Plenty of storage space
Gear tracks allow you to add accessories
Adjustable, breathable seat for all day comfort
Generous legroom


64 pounds is kind of heavy to carry alone
Doesn’t include a paddle


The Perception Pescador Pro 12 is a durable kayak that offers great value. This is a great sit-on-top kayak because it offers generous storage space, tracks well, and comes fully equipped.

#2 Pelican Sentinel 100X Sit-on-Top Kayak

Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak - Sentinel 100X - 9.5 Feet - Lightweight one Person Kayak (Fade Black Green/Light Khaki, Angler/Fishing) (MBF10P100-00)
  • A multi chine flat bottom hull ensures the stability needed when casting lines and...
  • Measuring 9'6"" and weighing only 44 lb, the SENTINEL 100X ANGLER is incredibly easy...
  • Made using our patented Ram-X materials, the SENTINEL 100X ANGLER will be around for...
  • Comes equipped with the ExoPak, a removable storage compartment that fits perfectly...
  • Our unique manufacturing process allows us to include additional flotation inside the...
Size:9.5 feet x 30 inches
Weight Capacity:275 lbs
Kayak weight:42 pounds
Seating Configuration:Solo – adjustable seat


The Pelican Sentinel 100X is a well-priced sit-on-top kayak.  The footrests give you ample legroom and multiple foot positions.  The backrest is adjustable so you can get the right amount of back support when and where you need it.

The Sentinel has a lot of storage for a 10-foot kayak. The kayak is equipped with a removable storage container that fits in the rear tank well. You can load your gear in the compartment and take it with you at the end of the day.

Front and rear carry handles make transporting the kayak easier.  One notable feature is the side bungees designed to hold your paddle.  I don’t know about you, but it’s challenging to fish, or take pictures while you are holding a paddle.

There are two models available, Angler or Recreational.


Compact and portable
Large rear storage area
Adjustable footrests and seatback give the paddler support
Paddle holders are a huge plus


Kind of small for tall paddlers
Paddle not included


The Pelican Sentinel is a great sit-on-top kayak for a relaxing day on the water. It’s easy to transport and has plenty of rear storage for your gear.

# 3 Perception Tribe Sit-On-Top Kayak

Perception Tribe 11.5 | Sit on Top Kayak for All-Around Fun | Large Rear Storage with Tie Downs | 11' 5" | Sunset
  • Perception’s bestselling sit-on-top kayak – Made in the USA – Top choice for...
  • New adjustable framed seatback with cushy padded seat pan - Paddle with greater...
  • Molded knee/Thigh areas for added comfort/fit
  • Integrated footrests to accommodate paddlers of different sizes
  • Front and rear tank well storage with bungee tied owns
Material:High-Density Polyethylene
Size:11.5 feet x 30.25 inches
Weight Capacity:350 lbs
Kayak weight:52 pounds
Seating Configuration:Solo – adjustable seat


The Perception Tribe 11.5 is a great kayak for a relaxing day on the water. Perception is a well-respected a popular brand with a lot of kayaks in its family.

The Tribe kayak has a lot of storage space on both the front and rear of the boat. Bungee cord tie downs help to secure your gear. There is plenty of room for a cooler, and if you are a dog lover, plenty of space for your pooch.

The padded seat bottom is comfortable and helps you stay on the water longer.  The framed seatback gives you plenty of back support.  The seatback is adjustable for different sizes of paddlers, or you can recline and just soak up the sun.

There are toggle handles on the front and rear of the boat, along with side handles for easy transport. The side handles can be used as a secure point to attach a lock to the kayak.

The molded footrests give you options when it comes to stretching out your legs.  This is also a great feature for different sizes of paddlers.

The Tribe 11.5 comes with four scupper holes in the cockpit area and two in the rear tankwell. Scuppers are small holes that allow water to drain from your boat.  If you paddle in a cold climate you may want to use plugs to keep water out.

If you go overboard, or want to go for a swim, it’s easy to re-enter the Tribe 11.5 from the water.


Ample storage space
Easy to transport
Lots of legroom and different footrest positions
Framed seat back for support
Scupper holes to drain water out


Not a lot of storage space
Vinyl could puncture


The Perception Tribe 11.5 is a great kayak for relaxing days on the water. There is plenty of storage space and legroom. The seatback provides ample support. This is an excellent kayak if you want to take your pooch with you.

#4 Ascend 10T Sit On Top Kayak

Material:Rotomolded Polyethylene
Size:10 feet x 30 inches
Weight Capacity:325 lbs
Seating Configuration:Solo – removable seat


The Ascend 10T belongs to the T model family. According to the manufacturer, these models are efficient in any water type with its inverted bottom. They are designed mainly for fishing but versatile on water.

It tracks well when loaded. So, when you want more stability you can add weight to the kayak. Don’t worry about capsizing because the stability is exceptional. Standing-up activities and a wide range of movement is not a problem with this kayak. You can also use its flat casting deck as a paddleboard.

Ascend upgraded its seats with a deluxe seating system. The seat includes friction-lock bungees that hold it down and ergonomic form factor. I like that it’s removable. When you want to stand up in your kayak, it gives you more freedom to move.

The integrated weathertight storage is handy because it provides enough storage for gears. Accessorizing this kayak was also made simpler as most aftermarket accessories fit in the rail mount.


Easy to stack and store
The traction pad perfectly fits on the kayak
The accessory track allows you to move your gears- forward or backward
There’s huge storage in front and rear


Sits really low


Overall, I must say this is a great bang for your buck. It is also impressive to get those extras with just less than $500. This sit-on-top kayak is a solid value given this price point.

>==Click here to view at Cabela’s==<

#5 Ascend 12T Sit-on-top Kayak

Material:Rotomolded Polyethylene
Size:12 feet x 31 inches
Weight Capacity:350 lbs
Kayak weight:77 pounds
Seating Configuration:Solo – adjustable seat


The Ascend 12T is a fully-loaded fishing kayak that a beginner would definitely enjoy. It a redesigned sit-on-top kayak based on previous models. However, what makes the Ascend 12T better than other models they used customers’ feedback to build it. It promises more stability, functionality, and comfort.

Its design ensures great stability when doing stand-up activities, like fishing.  It offers solid tracking, and it’s easy to paddle. The seat and foot braces are adjustable according to your needs.

The kayak comes very well equipped to get you started. There are six strategically placed scupper holes with plugs. It’s up to you whether you’ll put them in or out. But I suggest keeping them handy in different situations.

Storage is not an issue on the Ascend 12T. You get the conventional storage like a large tankwell with D-rings, and recess storage area. They come with flush-mounted bungee cords. So, the security of your gear is not a big deal at all.


Sufficient storage for gear
Easy to add accessories
Good stability for beginners
Seat and foot braces are adjustable


Portability and storage are a challenge due to the size
Very heavy to transport


I don’t think there’s a better choice that is priced at this range. If you’re looking for a longer kayak than the Ascend 10T, by far this is a great choice. This is one of the best sit-on-top kayaks because it has sufficient storage, it’s very stable and it is priced well.

>==Check the latest price at Cabela’s==<

#6 Pelican Basscreek 100xp Angler SOT Kayak

Pelican Kayak BASSCREEK 100XP Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak Kayak 10 Feet Lightweight One Person Kayak Perfect for Fishing
  • Lightweight and easy to carry with two retractable carrying handles this sit-on-top...
  • The Multi-Chine flat bottom hull design provides ultra stability and great tracking...
  • Storage All your gear for your trip with a quick lock hatch in the front plus a 4"...
  • Fishing accessories: gear with a swivel rod holder and two flush mount rod holders, a...
  • The ERGOFIT G2 seating system includes a padded seat cushion and an adjustable...
Material:RAM-X multi-layer polyethylene
Size:10 feet x 30.5 inches
Weight Capacity:325 lbs
Kayak weight:50 pounds
Seating Configuration:Solo – adjustable seat


The Pelican 100XP Angler comes with a front storage hatch and a rear tank well with bungee cord tie-downs.  There is space for a cooler, and fishing tackle in the rear of the vessel.  The front storage hatch is good for smaller items.

The Erogfit G2 seat comes with a padded bottom cushion and an adjustable backrest for upper back support.  You can tighten up the straps for more support, or loosen them to relax.

This kayak is set up for fishing with a rod holder in the cockpit area and two flush mount rod holders behind the seat.  There is plenty of room to store fishing gear in the rear tank well behind the seat. 

The footrests are adjustable for different sizes of paddlers. If you need to stretch your legs while you are on the water, you can adjust the footrest position on the fly.

Scupper plugs in the front and rear help to drain any water that gets in the boat.


Sufficient rear storage for fishing gear
Three fishing rod holders
Adjustable footrests and backrest
Front storage hatch
Easy to transport


Not as much storage space as other models
Doesn’t come with a paddle


The Pelican 100XP Angler is a great sit-on-top kayak for a nice day on the water. Whether you are an angler or not, this kayak will serve you well. Complete with fishing rod holders and a spacious tank well, this is a great option.

#7 BKC RA220 Sit-on-Top Kayak

Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC UH-RA220 11.5 foot Angler Sit On Top Fishing Kayak with Paddles and Upright Chair and Rudder System Included
  • The Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC-UH-RA220 is equipped with 3 Rod Holders, 2 Flush-Mount...
  • Standup Stability - The Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC UH-RA220's is such a stable...
  • Waterproof Storage - The Angler 1-person kayak features ample watertight storage...
  • Paddle Parks - Secure your paddle to the Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC UH-RA220 with...
  • Cargo Area - The rear of the Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC UH-RA220 features a built-in...
Material:High density polyethylene
Size:11.6 feet x 34 inches
Weight Capacity:550 lbs
Kayak weight:68 pounds
Seating Configuration:Solo – adjustable seat


Brooklyn Kayak Company is an industry leader in kayaks.  The RA220 features a large rear cargo area with bungee tie-downs and three watertight hatches. There is plenty of space to hold all of your gear. 

Speaking of fishing, the RA220 is an anglers’ dream. There are two flush mount rod holders behind the seat. You can keep your poles out of the way while you are paddling. The rear storage area is great for a cooler and fishing tackle.

Talk about stability. You can stand up and cast or reel in your big catch.  You don’t have to worry about falling overboard on long casts.

The kayak also features a foot pedal-operated rudder.  You can control the kayak in all conditions without paddle steering.

Lastly, this kayak is robust, has plenty of legroom and an upright aluminum seat.


Lots of storage space, including watertight storage
Two flush-mount fishing rod holders
Foot-pedal controlled rudder
Large rear cargo area
Stable enough to stand up and cast


It’s pretty heavy to transport
Doesn’t come with a paddle


The BKC RA220 is a great SOT kayak whether you are an angler or not. The kayak is spacious and would even be a great option to take your dog with you. The kayak is stable, has plenty of storage, and is very durable.

 #8 Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100

Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Tan, 120""" (90508)
  • Constructed of uv-protected high-density Polyethylene. Multiple footrest positions...
  • Adjustable padded seat back and seat pad for comfort. Two flush mounted fishing rod...
  • Front and rear shock cord straps. Two 6" storage compartments in rear and center. One...
  • Front and rear t-handles for easy transport. Deep hull tracking channels
  • Stability chine rails. Durable high-density Polyethylene (HDPE) construction
Material:UV-protected high-density Polyethylene
Size:10 feet x 31 inches
Weight Capacity:275 lbs
Seating Configuration:Solo – removable seat


The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 can’t win any race but offers decent features. Let’s start with its padded seat with back support, it keeps paddling and fishing comfortable.

Thanks to its extreme safety and stability feature, you are secured with a stable flat bottom with deep tracking channels. The stability chine rails keep the kayak steady when you stand up, or if there’s a lot of movement in the kayak.

You can get all the fishing accessories you need. You’ll find fishing rod holders, shock cord straps, multiple footrest positions, and two storage hatches.

Another interesting feature is its adjustable multiple footrests. This makes the kayak suitable for any paddler size.


Paddle keeper secures your paddles secured
The adjustable fishing rod holder is handy


Hatches are not convenient to use
The free scupper plugs don’t fit well


The Lifetime Tarmack Angler 100 is an average fishing kayak. But with all the features it has, you’ll definitely get a solid value of your money.

How to choose the best sit-on-top kayak

Before you explore the features of a kayak, it is important to know the different types of kayaks.

Recreational Sit-on-top kayaks perform well in small lakes, rivers, creeks, and other calm waters. They are usually 8 feet to 13 feet long which makes it suitable for beginners and occasional paddlers. It allows you to navigate narrow inlets or passageways in a more relaxed way.

Surf Sit-on-top kayaks, if you’re a surfer and wants to try paddling. Then this is just right for you. They are short but they are stable and the fastest kayak. This is actually for professionals and they can fit a certain length of legs.

Scuba Sit-On-Top Kayak is suitable for scuba divers. It is designed to resist large waves in open water. However, they don’t have enough space for storage.

Fishing Kayak, as the name suggests, it is intended for fishing. You’ll find extras on these kayaks like rod holders and rudders, and some fishing kayaks are pedal-powered too. Most fishing kayaks have flat bottoms which makes them excellent for stand-up fishing and casting.

Touring Sit-On-Top Kayaks are usually 14 feet to 18 feet long. They are easy to maneuver and designed for longer trips or all-day paddling. They track well even in large waves, bigger rivers, and lakes.

Now that you’re acquainted with the different types of kayaks, here’s a breakdown of the features you need to consider.


Before beginning your search, decide on your budget. This is the most important thing you need to consider. SOT kayaks may vary in design, use, and price. They usually range from affordable to expensive. But keep in mind, that not all expensive kayaks will give you the best quality and experience.


Before deciding on what SOT kayak to buy, you also need to think about what you want to bring. Does it require large storage or waterproof?

There are two common storages in SOT kayaks: deck lashing and hatch. The deck lashing is open storage. So, anything you put in there will be exposed to water.

On the other hand, a hatch is watertight storage. They are not guaranteed to be waterproof but they can prevent your gears from getting wet. A waterproof hatch is necessary if you are paddling in rough water where your kayak is likely to flip. But most recreational paddlers aren’t likely to be in this water condition.


If you need help lifting your kayak on and off of your vehicle, you might want to consider a lighter kayak. This would be more convenient for you when help is not around. Another feature you need to consider is carrying handles because they make it easy to pick up your kayak.

Having a kayak means might need a roof rack on your truck, which makes it easier to transport your boat. Kayaks are made from durable materials but weather conditions and rough roads may cause exterior damage. A suitable rack secures the kayak and provides support.

A roof rack allows you to transport your kayak easily, this gives you the convenience to bring your kayak to different locations. If you’re into different water activities, I recommend a suitable rack that’s compatible with other watercraft. In this way, you can use it for canoes, SUP’s and surfboards too.

To save your time and effort, I’ve also written a list of the best kayak racks for trucks. You’ll find this helpful in your search.


SOT kayaks have hard shells made from different materials; durable plastic, fiberglass, carbon, and Kevlar. However, some of these are expensive and uncommon. Let’s focus on polyethylene and ABS because they are the common kayak hull materials and low maintenance.

The polyethylene kayaks are popular for beginner paddlers. Aside from they come at a reasonable price, they serve their purpose well. However, they are not UV resistant. This means you cannot store them where they are exposed in sunlight. They can be heavy too. Overall, it’s still a good buy if you’re on a budget.

While ABS makes SOT kayaks expensive, you get what you pay for. They are UV resistant, safe from abrasions, and lighter. And of course, they are more efficient in the water. When it comes to its price, it can be extremely expensive.


When buying a kayak, you must be certain about what type of water activity you’ll be doing. That will help you choose the right length of kayak.

The length influences your kayak’s speed. Well, the general rule, long and narrow kayaks travel faster, while short and wider kayaks are more stable but slower.

Longer kayaks are recommended for taller people because they provide additional legroom and comfort. This type of kayak also prevents leg cramps.

Choosing the length of your kayak is like deciding between agility and efficiency. Kayak’s length ranges from 6-14’. For beginners, 10’-12’ is the common option it may sacrifice speed.

Like I’ve said, shorter and wider kayaks are more stable and efficient in paddling straight. They have more space for storage and a common choice for long days of paddling.

Weight Capacity

The weight capacity of a kayak varies. Pay attention to the weight capacity if you’re planning to bring more items with you. The capacity includes the paddler’s body weight, as well as additional items in the kayak.

Also, if you’re planning to bring someone in your kayak, it is ideal to get the tandem type. However, you’ll lose the performance you’ll have in a solo kayak.

Kayak Seat

If you’ve purchased an inexpensive kayak you’ll find its accessories with just average quality. When buying a kayak, it’s always a great choice to have a replaceable seat. Because if it doesn’t fit your needs, you have an aftermarket option to get a better one.

If you’re confused about what to buy, here’s another guide for the best kayak seats.

Does it come with a Paddle?

Some kayaks come with a pair of paddles. Like I’ve said about kayak seats, they are just made from average materials. They work fine and are usable, but usually, they are heavier compared to aftermarket paddles.

If the budget is not an issue, I highly recommend the lightest. They can be very expensive but they can make your paddling much easier. Also, keep in mind that the paddle should be tailored to your height.

Here’s the list of my top paddle choices. You can use this as a guide when you consider purchasing an aftermarket paddle.

Check out my guide about kayak paddles.

How well does it track?

Another factor you need to consider is how a kayak can go straight in the water. If this is your priority you can choose a longer kayak because it is proven to track well and glide farther as you paddle.

Storing the Kayak

Kayaks require a large space for storage that can protect them from UV rays and weather conditions. So, make sure you have storage that can accommodate it.

If this is not workable, you can put it on the ground. But make sure to place it on its side and its deck side leans against the wall. Getting a UV and water-resistant cover will protect your kayak from any damage.

Advantages of a Sit-on-top Kayak

A sit-on-top kayak has numerous advantages. It is a great option for everyone, especially for beginners. They are also suitable for tall people and large framed because there’s enough legroom that can accommodate them.

Great for fishing

Sit-on-top kayaks have a wider hull that makes them a perfect choice for fishing. They have a wide-open deck and a higher sitting position that does not restrict movement. Your legs aren’t enclosed inside the kayak and everything is on top along with the foot braces.

The SOT fishing kayaks are bigger, wider, and more stable. It is designed to allow paddlers to stand up while fishing. However, this type is slower compared to short and narrow kayaks. Just in case you flipped, you can roll back while you’re submerged in the water.

Scupper Holes

SOT kayaks have a unique feature called scupper holes. These are the openings you see in your kayak that allow water to flow off. They prevent water from pooling or even worse from capsizing. During warmer weather, they are usually left open. They are designed as a safety feature, but you can block these using scupper valves and scupper plugs.

Holds a lot of gear

There is plenty of storage for your gears and electronics on SOT kayaks. Watertight hatches and open deck lashing are some of the common storage features. For SOT fishing kayaks, fishing accessories have dedicated racks too. They are designed to have extra fishing accessories. This extra can actually save your money from buying accessories.

Easy to get on and off

This is one of my favorite features of SOT kayaks. It’s so easy to get on and off. Unlike sit-in kayaks, you don’t have to loosen or tighten a spray skirt. SOT kayaks are also easier to climb on and off from the water. They are also easy to get back on if you fall overboard!

Disadvantages of a Sit-on-top Kayak

Though many paddlers enjoy their ride on SOT kayaks, there are also disadvantages to this watercraft. However, there are things that you can do to avoid these.


Sit-on-top kayaks can be challenging in cold weather. Because of its open deck, you are exposed to the elements. Being wet in cold weather can lead to hypothermia. When you’re paddling in this condition it is ideal to wear a dry suit. Here’s an article that would help you with what to wear in case it’s rainy, warm, snowy, or windy.

It is also harder to control SOT kayaks in windy conditions. This is where an anchor or anchor stake comes in handy


It is inevitable to have water in your kayak. Thus, staying dry during your ride is not easy. Because it’s open, water comes in from splashes from your paddle. Scupper holes are also an entry of water, even if you cover it with scuppers plug a little water may still pierce through.

Keep in mind that water inside sit-on-top kayaks are completely normal.

You are more exposed

The open deck and higher seating design have disadvantages too. It leaves you exposed to external elements. It doesn’t protect from the sun. This may cause sunburn and other skin-damaging effects of UV rays.

It can expose you to strong winds as well and can cause your kayak to swing into the wind. This will require you an extra effort to paddle to keep your kayak on track.


Best sit on top kayaks - three kayaks sitting on a beachPin

After reading this article, I’m sure you already have some options in mind that fit your criteria. I understand that it’s hard to find the perfect kayak without compromising on some features. But here’s for sure, you will find the specific kayak that’s just right for you.

Keep in mind, it’s not just about kayaks, but it’s also about safety while having fun. If you’re a beginner you might want to learn how to launch a kayak, how to steer, and how to paddle before hitting the water.  Be sure you always wear your life jacket!

If you have any questions let me know.

Steve Morrow Founder of Paddle About
Steve is an avid kayaker and founder of Paddle About. When he is not on the water, Steve enjoys outdoor activities, including fishing, camping, and hiking with his family. Read more.