Sit on Top Kayak vs. Sit-In | Which is Better in 2021?

Sit on top kayak vs. Sit-in? It’s one of the most common questions that everyone wants to be answered. Many people are often seen confused between these two choices because each type has its advantages and disadvantages.

Despite having some major differences in design, there are some common things in both of these kayak types such as seats, foot support, foot pedals, and much more.

We understand that it’s quite overwhelming to choose a kayak among multiple brands. Therefore, we are going to share a brief guide on sit inside vs on top kayak to help you in making the right selection.

Before we discuss any further, let’s have a look at some crucial buying factors that you should consider first before searching for a kayak in the market.

  • What are your specific requirements?
  • Will the water will be calm or tough?
  • Are you looking for a quick kayaking experience or you are just concerned about stability.
  • What’s Your Budget?

Remember, these questions will surely assist you to identify your requirements and make a perfect decision accordingly.

Sit On Top Kayaks

A sit on top kayak usually includes an open cockpit in which the paddler can sit on top of the kayak above the surface of the water. It’s one of the most popular designs that are widely used around the world especially for those people who are confused between sit on top vs sit-in kayak for fishing.

Moreover; a sit-on-top kayak is usually thought to be the most comfortable type as it doesn’t trap the paddler inside or neither has it imposed any sort of restrictions.

A sit on top comes with a completely sealed design on both top and bottom; it enables the paddlers to flip the kayak safely without any risk of the incident because the kayak will automatically come back to the original place conveniently.

Advantages of Sit-On-Top Kayaks

  • A comfortable sitting position of a sit on top kayak is one of the core benefits that it offers. As it doesn’t feature an enclosed cockpit, that’s why paddlers can sit on top of the kayak freely. Due to this particular design, it works great for paddlers who frequently move due to pushing and pulling while catching a fish.
  • The storage space or sitting area of sit on top kayaks is much wider and it also offers a higher centre of gravity for additional stability. Moreover; due to this wider area, you can keep all your accessories with you while kayaking without any fear of weight capacity or space-related limitations.
  • The safety of sit on top kayaks is quite remarkable because they can handle any sudden impact caused by waves of water or any bad weather conditions effectively. Sit on top kayaks have incredible self-bailing scupper holes that help to drain the water from the kayak in case of any emergency. With this excellent feature, the need for a bilge pump can be avoided as there won’t be any issues of water retention.
  • The unique flat design of sit on top kayaks also provides excellent benefits in both launching and landing that makes the mobility convenient for the paddlers.

Disadvantages of Sit-On-Top Kayaks

  • The sit-on-top kayaks have a limited speed due to their wide design. The bulky structure of sit on top kayak makes it very difficult to paddle at a fast speed as the kayakers have to put more efforts to move forward.
  • If we talk about sit on top vs sit-in kayak stability, the overall stability of sit on top kayaks is quite better than sit inside kayaks. But still, there is one drawback related to its stability. Due to the higher centre of gravity, the sit-on-top kayaks are usually not good at secondary stability which that they are quite difficult to stay in an upright position.
  • The maneuverability of sit on top kayaks is also very less as compared to sit inside kayaks. Due to the open cockpit design, it becomes very challenging for the paddler to control it.
  • The sit on top kayaks usually provide less protection from sun or harsh waves of water because the paddler is exposed in the open cockpit. On the other hand, sit inside kayaks also protect the paddler directly from the sun and waves.
  • Sit on top kayaks are more prone to windy conditions, which means that wind is more likely to affect the stability of a sit on top kayak due to its higher profile.
  • Even though the scupper holes used in sit on top kayaks have a greater advantage but still they allow a small quantity of water to come inside the kayak. Due to this, the sit on top offers a wet paddling experience to the kayaker instead of dry paddling in the sit-inside models.

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Sit Inside Kayaks

Unlike Sit on Top Kayaks, the Sit Inside kayaks features a unique enclosed design in which the paddler can sit below the water level. This kayak design is also quite popular but still, it has some advantages and disadvantages that we will discuss later on.

The wonderful design of a sit-inside kayak also ensures that the water is kept outside the hull. Due to this remarkable benefit, it provides additional comfort to the riders, especially during cold weather. However; the price of sit-inside kayaks is very higher than sit on top kayaks, just because of their advanced design.

Advantages of Sit-Inside Kayaks

  • The most notable advantage of the sit-inside kayak is its lower centre of gravity that provides excellent turning capability while paddling through rough seas.
  • The small design of the sit-inside kayak ensures excellent paddler control and fast speed. Moreover; a sit-inside kayak also requires fewer efforts to move forward that’s why they are considered perfect for long-distance kayaking adventures.
  • Unlike sit on top kayaks, the enclosed design of a sit-inside kayak provides better protection against sun and waves. Moreover; you can also attach a spray skirt for the additional protection of the paddler from elements.
  • The lower profile of a sit-inside kayak makes it less vulnerable to the wind due to its excellent design. Due to this unique feature, even beginners or those kayakers with less experience can prefer this kayak.
  • The lack of scupper holes in these sit inside kayaks also provides a great advantage to keep the cockpit fully dry. Due to the dry paddling experience, the kayaker will enjoy paddling through harsh waves of water even during cold weather conditions.

Disadvantages of Sit-Inside Kayaks

  • As we all know that there is no scupper holes option used to sit inside kayaks, that’s why it becomes quite difficult to keep the water out while paddling in rough seas. Even though the water cannot get inside the sit-inside kayaks but still if the water reaches the kayak surface, you have to install a heavyweight pump to drain the water.
  • The sit-inside kayaks can carry limited items due to lack of space. The small design of the sit-inside kayak doesn’t allow any open tank feature which can be used to keep any extra items in it.
  • The enclosed design of a sit-inside kayak also makes it very difficult for the paddler to exit during any emergency.
  • Last but not least, the price of sit-inside kayaks is much higher than sit on top kayaks. If you have a limited budget, it’s quite difficult to find a reliable model of sit-inside kayak.

Our Verdict

We hope this article on Sit on Top Kayak vs. Sit-In Kayak will help you in making the right decision about which is the best sit in vs sit on top kayak? However; if you ask us about our opinion, we will recommend sit inside kayaks as they are overall much safer and reliable than sit on top kayaks.

Therefore, it’s important to first identify your needs and purpose before purchasing a kayak. Don’t hesitate to share your feedback in the comments section.

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