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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.

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.

Best sit-on-top kayak

#1 Hobie Mirage Passport 12 Sit-on-Top Pedal Kayak

Best sit-on-top kayak - Hobie Mirage Passport

Features:

  • Material: Polyethylene plastic
  • Size: 12 feet x 34 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
  • Number of Paddlers: 1-person

Review

This model is larger and longer compared to its predecessor, the Mirage Passport 10.5. The Mirage 12 can easily transport you with its pedal propulsion system. The ST fins move you forward in the water with the power of your legs. The rudder is responsive even with slight movement and makes your ride smoother.

It features a larger deck space and hull for all your essentials. The breathable mesh seat has tilt adjustability and is removable too. Its wide cockpit area provides comfort and enough legroom for you to stretch your legs. The EVA floors padding ensures stability and safety when standing up.

If you’re worried about where to mount your gadgets, there are accessory tracks to accommodate them. It supports some popular track mounts such as Yak Attack, Railblaza, Scotty, and Ram Mounts.

Pros:

  • Its pedal system works well and is durable
  • The storage hatch is water-proof
  • Easy to maneuver
  • It has a large storage area

Cons:

  • Heavier than other kayaks
  • The chair sits low and no adjustment

Summary

If you’re looking for a sit-on-top kayak with premium quality at a reasonable price, this is your best choice. However, it is only designed for a single person. That means it doesn’t have room for another adult or kids. So, it is not recommended if you’re planning to bring someone with you.


#2 Perception Crank 10.0

Perception Crank 10 | Sit on Top Pedal Kayak | Adjustable Lawn Chair Seat | 10' | Sunset
  • Incredible pedal performance in a punchy 10 ft. package - Made in USA
  • Perfect for lakes, ponds and calm coastal waters
  • Efficient and easy-to-use pedal drive system; ability to go forward and reverse without removing the drive from the boat
  • Captain's Chair: folding, adjustable, and removable seating
  • One-handed rudder control

Last update on 2021-03-05 at 04:14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Material:High-Density Polyethylene
Size:10 feet x 35 inches
Weight Capacity:350 lbs
Seating Configuration:Solo – removable seat

Review

The New Perception Crank 10.0 is small but offers a lot of features. I’m sure you’ll consider this on your next purchase. It is perfect as a fishing kayak. You can also take it in different water conditions except for open water and rapids. Its innovative hull design provides great stability that allows on-deck movement and stand-up fishing.

Comfort is not overlooked in this kayak. The seat features a padded lawn-style chair, and adjustable for multiple back support. It is also removable to allow unrestricted in the boat. Whatever activity you’ve planned, the large rear tank well can accommodate kayak crate, tackle box, or even a cooler.

As for its performance, the pedal drive quickly picks up speed in the water. Surprisingly, this kayak feels like a sporty kayak rather than a recreational one. Its drive pedal system is efficient and rigid. The Crank 10.0 does well in the water like the Perception Pescador Pilot 12. This means it runs from a technology designed for longer kayaks.

What I personally like about this boat, it can go forward and reverse without removing the drive.

PROS

Compact and portable
Open large storage with bungees to secure gear
Transportation is easier because of its carry handles
Easy pedal system

CONS

The cockpit sits low, it is not recommended for tall paddlers
The rudder is small for large hands

Summary

When it comes to design and performance, the Perception Crank 10 is the best among the 10-footer kayaks. So, if you’re looking for a fast and compact kayak, this is your best choice.


# 3 Pelican Premium The Catch 130 Hydryve Sit-On-Top Kayak

Best sit-on-top kayak Pelican Premium Catch

Features

  • Material: Multi-layered polyethylene
  • Size: 12.6 feet x 34 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 425 lbs
  • Seating Configuration: Solo- removable seat

Review

Pedal drive kayaks are becoming popular. It is amazing how Pelican was quick to adapt to this technology. The Pelican Catch 130 Hyperdrive is the first model to bring a pedal drive system.

What’s special with this rudder controlled fishing kayak is its hands-free maneuvering mechanism. With the power of your legs, you can control the kayak’s direction. As for its reversal, you need to remove the pedal drive.

This can be a downside of the Catch 130 Hyperdrive but it guarantees easy reversal. It has also adjustable pedals and adjustable foot straps, and double-sided footrests that make pedaling easier.

Another interesting feature of this kayak is its housing. It helps prevent damage if there’s too much torque on the pedal drive. The housing actually acts as a barrier between the pedal drive and the hull.

When it comes to design, the Hyperdrive brings Pelican’s RAM-X Premium material and advanced resin in the top layer. This guarantees that it is not only rigid but is also light on the water. For the overall design, you’ll get a rugged and high-end quality kayak.

Sitting in your kayak all day made comfortable as well. Pelican combined the design with its ERGOCAST G2 seating system. The seat features a combination of mesh material and padding. It has adjustable straps for extra support.

For the kayak’s storage, it features the conventional tank well with a bungee cord. It has two sets of gear tracks and flush-mount rod holders perfect for fishing.

Pros:

  • It has an anti-slip carpet
  • The drain plug works as an easy drainage system
  • Tunnel Hull provides superb stability
  • Pre-mounted Scotty tracks can accommodate more gear

Cons:

  • Cannot reverse direction
  • The kayak drags a bit

Summary:

Over the years, Pelican is known to have produced premium quality kayaks. If longevity and pedal system is your deciding factor, then this is a reasonable price for a quality sit-on-top kayak.


#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

Review:

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.

PROS

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

CONS

Sits really low

Summary

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

Best sit on top kayak Ascend 12T

Features:

  • Material: Rotomolded
  • Size: 12 feet x 31 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
  • Seating Configuration: Solo

Review

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.

For just over $600, you get everything you need. 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.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Portability and storage are a challenge due to the size
  • The kayak is prone to leakage and flooding with scupper holes
  • Some scupper plugs won’t fit tight

Summary

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 Ascend 128T Sit-on-top Power Kayak

Best sit on top kayak Ascend 128T White

Features:

  • Material: Rotomolded polyethylene
  • Size: 12.8 feet x 33 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
  • Seating Configuration: Solo – removable seat

Review

The Ascend 128T brings all the specific features of the T models kayak. But it stands out with its electric power feature.

This kayak is versatile, you take it to many types of water. Its design allows limitless customization. Accessorizing has made it easier as well. The recessed bow and open storage are compatible with popular kayak accessory brands.

The Yak-Power electronic control system is a unique feature that’s rare to find in a kayak. It supports 12-volt electronics and has 3 plugs for more gadgets to power up. This ensures that your gadgets won’t run out of juice even if you paddle all day.

Speaking of its stability, it is stable when casting when standing up. The pull up assist makes it easier to get up and down.

Pros:

  • Carrying handles make it easy to pick up the kayak
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Tracks well

Cons:

  • Deck and hull warp when exposed to the outside elements
  • Rod holder is inconvenient to use

Summary:

The Ascend 128T yak power has the features that you won’t find in any brand for its price. If you’re a paddler that brings different electric accessories, then this kayak suits you. In addition, it tracks well and provides a comfortable ride, making it one of the best sit-on-top kayaks.

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


#7 Ascend 128T Sit-on-top Power Kayak Desert Storm

Best sit on top kayak Ascend 128T

Features

  • Material: Rotomolded polyethylene
  • Size: 12.8 feet x 33 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
  • Seating Configuration: Solo – removable seat

Review

This is just another variant of the Ascend 128 yak power. But it comes in a more rugged design. It sports a well-crafted seat. With its suspended 3-positioning seating system you are guaranteed to have a smooth ride.

It has the same yak-power system. This features a wiring harness and master controller. The three power plugs are strategically placed for easier access and control to your 12-volt electronics. What makes it more convenient, there’s no splicing or cutting required.

The electronics system supports different fishing accessories such as fish finder, bait well pump, and LED lighting.

Pros:

  • Storage has flush-mounted bungees
  • Eight scupper holes with eight plugs
  • Extra watertight storage in the bow and stern
  • Stable and flat casting deck

Cons:

  • Heavy to lift
  • It’s hard to maneuver when extra weight is added

Summary

When it comes to design, the Desert Storm variant is unbeatable but performs like the Titanium. Whichever variant you’ll choose, you get the same power, performance, comfort, and stability. The Ascend 128 series is one of the best sit-on-top kayaks.

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


 #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 for different size riders. Stable flat bottom
  • Adjustable padded seat back and seat pad for comfort. Two flush mounted fishing rod holders. One top mount fishing rod Holder
  • Front and rear shock cord straps. Two 6" storage compartments in rear and center. One paddlekeeper, one adult black paddle
  • Front and rear t-handles for easy transport. Deep hull tracking channels
  • Stability chine rails. Durable high-density Polyethylene (HDPE) construction

Last update on 2021-03-05 at 04:14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Material:UV-protected high-density Polyethylene
Size:10 feet x 31 inches
Weight Capacity:275 lbs
Seating Configuration:Solo – removable seat

Review: 

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.

PROS

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

CONS

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

Summary

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.

Cost

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.

Storage

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. Waterproof hatch is only 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.

Transportation

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 in 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.

Materials

SOT kayaks have hard shells made from different materials; a 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.

Length

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 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 the 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 kayak. It’s so easy to get on and off. Unlike on 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 of this watercraft. However, there are things that you can do to avoid these.

Weather

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 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

Water

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 wind. This will require you an extra effort to paddle to keep your kayak on track.

Conclusion

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

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
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.