Sit on Top Kayaks for the Upcoming Summer Vacation

Every type of kayak comes with its own benefits. Sit on top kayaks, while not as popular as their sit-in cousins, are a great choice because they tend to be more durable than traditional options. They are generally easier to operate as well.

Sit on top kayaks provide many ways to enjoy the water, making them great for all experience levels.

However, not all models give you the same results. Some, like the ones outlined in this guide, go above and beyond the normal standard to deliver amazing results.

How We Chose Our Ratings to Find the Best Sit on Top Kayaks Around

kayaks on the shore

Every sit-on-top Kayak comes with its own look and feel. To ensure all of the ones in this guide are the best of the best, they are broken down by their most important features.

The ratings are carefully hand-picked based off of durability, dependability, how well they fit their intended use, and construction quality. High customer reviews were taken into account as well.

That criteria ensure every single model listed here goes above and beyond similar products.

5 Best Sit on Top Kayaks for 2019

Here are the 5 best sit on top kayaks you should consider buying for your next summer vacation.

Malibu Kayaks Mini-X Recretional Model Sit on Top Kayak, Mango
  • Made in the USA: The highest quality and protection for your kayak
  • Stability: highest stability on any kayak
  • Recreational: perfect for any LEVEL of kayaking

As most sit-on-top kayaks are specified for one activity or purpose, it is best to begin our list by analyzing one that is much more multi-faceted.

The Malibu Mini-X Recreational is a boat perfectly suited for all different types of kayakers. It is not only great for fishing, but it also works for leisure trips, long journeys, and small day ventures. In that way, everyone, from anglers and families to divers and hobbyists, can take advantage of it.

When going out on the water you want something with a bit of versatility, and that is exactly what this vessel provides.

There is no doubt that this boat is a bit smaller than similar kayaks. However, that is one of its largest benefits.

The Mini-X is a compact package perfect for people who want a boat that doesn’t take up too much room. If you don’t have a lot of space, or simply want something that’s easier to manage, this is a fantastic option to go with.

In addition, as it is so versatile, this model is a great choice for both beginners and the more experienced kayakers. Those who spend a lot of time on the water will appreciate its many uses, while people just getting started will enjoy how easy it is to get the hang of.

Though this model is a bit shorter than other recreational kayaks (especially sit-in options), that often won’t be a big issue because you’ll often be using it for more leisurely activities.

Even so, you can use it for more serious treks if you so desire.

Small, Tough, and Sturdy

The final aspect to note about the Mini-X is its durability. This kayak may be more compact than what you’re used to, but that does not mean it isn’t strong. In fact, it can handle many different waves and currents with ease.

That long-lasting capability ensures the boat will stay safe over time, making the model a sound investment. This is fun on the water year after year regardless of where you like to paddle.

That durability not only comes in a compact package, but it is also a light one as well. The Mini-X, true to its name, is easy to carry around with little worry. That makes it simple to put out on the water and a synch to throw on top of your car.

If you want a sit on top kayak that gives you various options, or if you want a boat that you can cover all of the bases, this is the choice to go with.

Perception R15 Pescadors 100 Kayak, Sand
  • Comfort Seating System (CSS)
  • Molded-In Footwell
  • Bow Hatch and Stern Day Hatch

The second sit on top kayak we’ll break down here is the Perception R15 Pescador 100. This kayak is 10 feet long, weighs 52 pounds, and can hold up to 325 pounds.

Those specs show how sturdy this model is, and reveal that it can hold just about any boater with ease. You have no weight issues here, providing plenty of room for both you and any gear you want to take along.

This is especially handy for camping kayakers who like to bring quite a few items along on their trip.

To help with that, this model comes with a lot of storage. Many sit on top kayaks have great features, but they cannot be properly taken advantage of without proper storage. By giving you a place to keep your accessories, the Perception R15 is truly a journeyman’s kayak.

However, note that does not mean it is one-dimensional. Though many will use it for their fishing or adventuring gear, you can also load it up with toys or lunch for an exciting day trip.

You have a large dry storage compartment at the front, an open area at the back, as well as shock cords and a small covered hatch.

As with the Mini-X, this product is also incredibly light. You have a way to carry it around or transport it around with few problems. Ease of use is something that you can overlook when purchasing a kayak, but it is something you should always keep in mind.

This also comes with straps that enable you to secure the paddles when they are not in use. That furthers the usability of this kayak.

Unlike other models on this list, the Perception R15 is best suited for more moderate conditions, such as light rivers or calm lakes. However, few sit on top kayaks are better in such situations.

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Switching gears completely, we have the Old Town Predator PDL. While the above two models are more geared towards casual kayaking, this boat is for high-performance anglers.

Every feature on this kayak builds towards a great fishing experience, making it an excellent choice for those who enjoy the sport.

First off, this kayak comes with a specially designed raised seat for better casting, as well as a range of different upgrades and specs focused on getting you to your favorite spot.

The kayak has a pedal drive, which allows it to reach up to 5.5 miles per hour. That enhanced speed works beautifully with the increased agility, allowing the model to cut through the water with ease. It also helps you to travel with little worry.

All of that is then complemented by the unique hull that allows for both quick movement and superior balance. In fact, the kayak is made so that you can stand up or lean without worrying about tumbling into the water.

Everyone enjoys staying dry, but that is especially good for fishermen who constantly battle with their line.

A Truly Hands-Off Experience

The pedal ability is also at the center of this kayak, providing you a way to move around while keeping your hands free.

This enables you to both cast and reel as you move around at your own pace. Hands-free boating is critical for any angler.

Old Town even made the drive easy to put on and take off. Rather than bothering with an oddly-shaped boat, the PDL comes with a pedal drive that can be stored at will. It can also be mounted on in seconds, enabling you to get to fishing faster.

This is definitely one of the larger and more-expensive sit on top kayaks on our list. However, that premium price comes with many premium features.

Any angler who wants a solid boat for their fishing, no matter where that takes them, will be happy with this one.

Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
  • 1 person sit-on-top kayak, max capacity 275-325 lbs.
  • Transport and Storage: 9 ft. length and only 43 lbs. means easy transport in the back of a pick-up or car top; Easy to...
  • Seating: Durable padded Comfort Plus Seat Back provide cushioning, support and 4 way adjustability for all day paddling...

The PDL is a kayak specifically made for fishing. In contrast, the next entry on this list, the Frenzy, is crafted for the ocean.

Most kayaks you’ll come across are made for lakes or rivers. However, there are plenty of great options for people who want to take their journeys to wider, more open waters.

The Frenzy is a perfect example of that.

This nine-foot-long boat weighs just 44 pounds but is more than capable of handling the spanning blue ocean. Not only is it durable, but it has a weight capacity of up to 325 pounds.

Though the above three models are not the most well-known sit on kayaks out there, the Frenzy is quite popular. And for good reason.

This boat is packed with exciting and interesting features that make it a great choice for all different paddlers. While it is an ocean kayak, it can be used on other types of water if needed.

In that way, it is a great all-around model that provides unmatched versatility.

More Features Than You Can Shake Your Paddle At

Another reason this model makes it onto the list is that it tracks well and is extremely stable. Those options mean that anyone can paddle it with ease.

This also has a durable padded comfort seat with a special back to provide the paddler with extra cushioning no matter how long they are on the water. That added support also comes with 4-way adjustability to fit any body type.

Being able to change or switch the cushioning as you go is a perfect characteristic for long journeys.

While there are no dry storage areas in this model, there are two strapped sections at the front and the back. Beyond that, you also get a cup holder and a replaceable rear skid plate.

The boat is light for easy transportation, but it also comes with carry handles at the front and back, as well as molded-in side handles so you can carry it in any way you want.

The final sit on top kayak on this list, the Emotion Spitfire, is the best choice for people who want a lot of quality at a low price.

While some paddlers may shy away from an inflatable kayak, long gone are the days of low-quality models. Technology has come a long way over the past decade, and many inflatable kayaks are just as solid as hard-shelled ones.

That quality is one of the many reasons the Spitfire is such a good choice for people who want to get out on the water in an affordable way.

As with the Frenzy, this model comes with a padded seat and separate padded backrest. Extra comfort is always welcome, especially for those who spend their time in rougher waters.

Keeping You and Your Wallet Relaxed

The Spitfire also comes with a solid storage at the back, and a cover to put over the top. Side handles and molded paddle holders also make for easy transportation.

Those different features all come together to create a boat that has just as many features (if not more) than much more expensive kayaks.

This model is also faster than you would expect, and it comes with solid tracking. It does not quite have the firepower needed for rougher waters, but that’s to be expected with this type of boat. 

As long as you keep off the intensity, this is one of the best cheap sit on top kayaks for calm or flat waters.

Sit on Top Buyer’s Guide

Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

There is no doubt that the above models are the best of the best when it comes to sit on top kayaks. Even so, it is important to know what qualities to focus on before making a purchase.

A well-known company is a good start, as are strong materials and high-class construction. It is also key to ensure the kayak you’re after fits your hobbies.

It is not just about discovering a boat that can do one thing. It is about getting a boat that suits you and your specific needs.

Comparison Table

More Than Just a Good Boat

When it comes to sit on top kayaks, few can match the five laid out in this article. Though all of the options are fundamentally the same style, they each have different specialties.

Analyze those specialties as best you can. That will then help you pick the correct one for you.

Janice Friedman

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