Sit-On-Top Vs Sit-Inside Kayaks

With so many options available, selecting a kayak may be tough but here we will provide a guide about Sit-On-Top Vs Sit-Inside Kayaks.

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Sit-On-Top Vs Sit-Inside Kayaks


Kayaks are divided into two types. Sit-on-Top (SOT) kayaks and Sit-Inside kayaks are both available in single and double configurations. They’re also available in hard shells and inflatables.

Although there are some significant variations between sit-inside and sit-on-top kayaks, many of the same components are used in both. The deck is the part of the kayak that sits on top of the water. The hull is at the bottom. The bow is at the front, while the stern is in the back. Deck lines or bungees are frequently found on top of the deck.

Sit-On-Top Vs Sit-Inside Kayaks

There should be some grasp loops in the stern of the kayak, and some kayaks feature rudders. Foot pedals control the rudders, which turn side to side in the horizontal plane. Skegs are simply thrown into the water.

A Day Spent With Water Is Never Waste of Time…!

Seats and some type of foot support are found in both sit-on-top and sit-inside kayaks, such as the footwells in this sit-on-top kayak. There are also foot pedals that slide on the track to accommodate paddlers of various sizes.

Footwells are convenient, but if you plan on spending the entire day on the lake, foot pedals are the way to go. They’re far comfier, and they provide a lot more support. The better kayaks will also have a backrest built-in, which makes sitting in a kayak much more comfortable.

Choosing a kayak might be difficult with so many options available, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s also difficult to make a bad decision. Identifying how and where you’ll be using your kayak is the greatest method to limit your selections.

Are you going to paddle on a sheltered lake or at the beach?
Is the water going to be warm?
Are you searching for a kayak that can move rapidly or one that is incredibly sturdy and tough to tip over?
The first and most important decision you’ll have to make is whether to go with a sit-on-top or a sit-inside kayak. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Sit-On-Top Kayak Pros

The most user-friendly are sit-on-tops. They’re incredibly stable, simple to get in and out of, and don’t give the impression of being confined. They’re also self-bailing, which means they contain little holes (known as “scupper holes”) in them that enable water to drain freely.

Another advantage of sit-on-tops is that you can easily slip on and off them. All of these characteristics make the sit-on-top kayak an excellent choice for hesitant paddlers, warm climates, and kayaking with children who like swimming.

The most significant benefits of a sit-on-top kayak are self-rescue and ease of ingress into—or onto—the vessel.The top and bottom of sit-on-top kayaks are totally enclosed.

This means that if your kayak flips, all you have to do to get back in the water is flip it upright and hop back aboard. To safely return to your kayak, you don’t need any unique self-rescue abilities, and with a little practice, most people can perform a swift self-rescue.

Sit-on-top kayaks will not fill with water unless a hatch malfunctions. This means that if they capsize, they may be paddled immediately away. To get the water out of the cockpit, you don’t need to swim to the beach and empty them or execute a rescue.

Scuppers are drain holes in the bottom of sit-on-top kayaks that allow water washing over the top of the boat to drain back out through the bottom of the hull. If you’re searching for a recreational kayak to paddle a bit further from shore, sit-on-top kayaks are a better choice because of its easy self-rescue and self-draining design.

Many sit-on-top kayaks have a low, flat shape that makes launching and landing easier. It’s simple to lower yourself onto the seat and swing your legs on board if you stroll your sit-on-top out into the water until you’re knee-deep. Sit-on-top designs are therefore ideal for paddlers with restricted movement.

Sit-On-Top Kayak Cons

The disadvantage of sit-on-top kayaks is that you will almost certainly get wet when paddling, whereas sit-inside kayaks will keep you dry.

The open forum of a sit-on-top kayak exposes the paddler to the weather, which is the largest disadvantage. There is no cockpit to protect against rain, wind, or cold.

The scupper holes that allow water to drain quickly and easily may also allow water to back up into the boat from below. Waves might come crashing down on the deck and land in your lap. This implies that paddlers who select sit-on-top kayaks should dress appropriately to be comfortable if the weather is cold, damp, and rainy.

For their own safety, all paddlers should dress correctly for the water temperature to avoid hypothermia if they go for a swim. This is especially critical with sit-on-top kayaks because of the exposed seating posture.

Sit-Inside Kayak Pros 

Sit-ins keep you warm by shielding your lower body from the breeze. Sit-inside kayaks are ideal for paddlers who will be on colder water and wish to keep dry while paddling, and who regard the kayak as more of a mode of transportation rather than a toy.

The most major benefit of a sit-inside kayak is weather protection. A sprayskirt can be installed on a sit-inside kayak to keep drips and chilly gusts out. Sit-in kayaks are also designed to keep water out of the hull unless you flip over or get caught in a rainstorm. They’re a superior choice for comfort in cold weather and chilly water, especially while paddling near to the shore.

Sit-Inside Kayak Cons 

Sit-inside kayaks have the disadvantage of limiting your ability to manoeuvre in and out of the water. And, if you do happen to flip for any reason, recovering your kayak will be difficult because it will most likely be full of water.

The most significant disadvantage of sit-inside recreational kayaks is their lack of buoyancy and simplicity of rescue.

For comfort and simplicity of entrance, most sit-in recreational kayaks have big cockpits. If you flip your kayak, the huge cockpits may take in a lot of water.

Bulkheads are used in touring kayaks to keep the quantity of water in the boat to a minimum. The majority of recreational kayaks don’t have bulkheads, or just have one behind the seat.

This implies that if you swamp, you’ll be dealing with a lot of water.
Climbing back into a flooded recreational kayak may be difficult, and even if you do, getting the water out might be challenging. It can be nearly hard to paddle a flooded boat without a front bulkhead.

Sit-inside recreational kayaks are best paddled near to shore for these reasons when a brief swim to the beach can securely empty you out and get you back on the water.

Sit-on-Top vs Sit-inside kayaks Comparison


Sit-inside and sit-on-top kayaks are both stable. Because stability is mostly determined by the breadth of the kayak, two kayaks of equal width should have similar stability. There are, of course, additional considerations.

The height of a kayak’s seat has a significant influence on stability, with seats set high above the waterline reducing stability and seats mounted lower above the waterline boosting it.

Seats on fishing kayaks are usually raised above the water to allow for improved throwing. To maintain the same level of stability, they must be broader or fuller at the ends.

The term “fullness in the ends” refers to how far the breadth of the boat is carried toward the bow and stern. When viewed from above, a kayak with a boxy form is considered to have broader ends than one with a more diamond-shaped design. From above, the boxier the boat seems, the more stable it will be at a given width.

Because sit-inside touring kayaks are thinner than recreational kayaks, they are often less stable. With so many designs on the market, finding a touring kayak with adequate stability to make any paddler comfortable on the water isn’t difficult.


When people talk about performance, they usually imply speed. As previously stated, a kayak’s speed is mostly determined by its length and width. Regardless of whether it’s a sit-on-top or sit-inside design, a long, narrow kayak will be quicker than a short, broad kayak.

Kayaks that are only a few feet long are obviously sluggish. Boats under 10 feet typically have the sensation of ploughing through the water. If you’re looking for a multipurpose recreational kayak, even a few of feet longer will travel with considerably less effort, so start at approximately 12 feet.

Because of the way watercraft physics operates, there is a limit to how much speed rises with length. When a design becomes too lengthy, the drag on the hull begins to outweigh the speed benefit provided by the longer hull.

Narrow racing or touring designs can be rather long—18 or 19 feet in most cases—but that’s about it. A kayak significantly longer than this would have no benefit in terms of speed and would be more difficult to handle.


Both sit-on-top and sit-inside kayaks have the same fundamental design principles, and you can get a good idea of how a boat will perform by concentrating on three primary factors: length, width, and rocker.

When all other factors are equal, a longer boat will be faster than a shorter boat. The speed of a short kayak will be slow. A long kayak will be more efficient. When moving from a 10-foot kayak to a 12-foot kayak, or from a 12-foot kayak to a 14-foot kayak, most individuals perceive a significant boost in speed.

A shorter boat will be easier to turn than a longer boat if all other factors are equal. Kayaks for recreational use are small and turn rapidly. Longer kayaks are quicker, but they turn more slowly.

A boat with more rocking is simpler to turn, but it is also slower. Designers must strike the correct balance of rocker for each design, based on its intended purpose.

Wider boats are more stable, whereas narrower boats need less effort to move across the water. Designs with broader ends are more stable, although they are slower than ones with sharper ends. To achieve appropriate stability, the breadth and fullness of the seat must be matched against the height of the seat, as previously described.

Sit-inside leisure kayaks with seats situated closer to the waterline are often broader and have fuller ends than fishing sit-on-top types with high seats.


You’ll need some storage space in your kayak for equipment if you’re going on an overnight camping trip or even a lengthy day paddle. The bigger the kayak, the more storage capacity you’ll have. Sit-on-top kayaks frequently feature an open space at the back of the kayak where a large dry bag may be strapped on.

A front hatch on several designs allows for the internal storage of drybags towards the bow.

Storage is possible under the decks with sit-inside designs. A rear bulkhead on many recreational boats offers a storage room accessible by a hatch on the back deck.

Because the most basic designs do not include this hatch or bulkhead, you must put your drybags into the shell from the cockpit. Beyond the footrests in many designs, there is space for a small drybag at the bow of the boat.

Bulkheads and hatches are located in the bow and stern of sit-in touring kayaks or sea kayaks. These bulkheads create storage compartments large enough to hold all of your camping gear.

These touring kayaks are the ideal option if camping is a large part of your kayaking plans, even though they seem less stable than recreational sit-inside versions.

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Have Enjoyable Paddling!🚣🏻🎣

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