Best Sit-In Kayak

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Sit-in kayaks are great for paddlers who are more adventurous and want more performance out of their boat. When we said more adventurous, we meant paddlers who want to conquer rough seawaters or whitewater.    

When all of the other dimensions are the same, a sit-in kayak is more stable than a sit-on-top kayak.

Table of Contents

6 Best Sit-In Kayak

Why Sit-In Kayak Has Better Performance Than Sit-On-Top Kayak?

When you sit inside a kayak, you are sitting at the bottom of the boat. So, that gives you a lower centre of gravity. This allows sit-in kayaks to have a narrower design while maintaining superior stability. 

With a narrower design, the kayak performs much better. Letting you remain upright even on rough waters. 

How To Choose The Best Sit-In Kayak

Unfortunately, there is no straightforward way to this because everyone’s needs and preferences are different. That’s why in this section, we will highlight several aspects to consider when choosing the best sit-in kayak for yourself.

Ensure The Kayak Can Lift You

Whenever you are looking for a kayak, the first thing to look out for is always the weight capacity. The reason is really simple, it’s pointless to get a kayak that you really like but it couldn’t support your weight. 

Furthermore, it’s not just your own weight that matters here. It also includes the weight of all the items you’re planning to bring along. 

So, always check the weight capacity and ensure it can support you. 

Performs Well On The Water

The main factors that contribute to a kayak’s performance are its dimension.

Long and narrow kayaks perform better than a wider and short kayaks. The wider width increases the kayak’s stability but the larger surface area increases friction. Hence, that reduces the kayak’s speed. 

So, choose based on your level of experience. If you’re highly experienced, then it’s alright to go for long and narrow, high-performance kayaks. But if you’re still a beginner, it’s best to stick with wider kayaks which offer higher stability. 

Comfy To Paddle For Long Hours

If you are planning to kayak for long hours, you probably want to ensure a comfortable ride as well.

Think about your back, and probably your bum as well. 

Backache and muscle cramps while on the water or at the end of the day are no fun. Therefore, look out for ergonomic designs or features that increase comfort while kayaking such as good pilot seats. 

Sufficient Space To Store Your Items

Storage is another aspect to consider if you’re going to kayak for long hours. 

First and foremost, like any outdoor activity, you need to keep yourself hydrated. So, having space for drinking water is vital. How much water to bring depends on how long you’re planning to kayak. 

Secondly, you might wanna consider bringing snacks or some energy bars just in case. 

Lastly, your personal belonging like keys, phones, wallets or maybe even first aid kits. For sensitive items like those, you’d want to ensure there’s a dry storage at least. Not all kayak comes with dry storage. 

Pelican Maxim 100X Recreational Kayak Specs

Length: 10′

Width: 28″

Max Capacity: 275 lbs

Weight: 39 lbs

The Maxim 100X from Pelican is like an adorable giant banana. A fantastic choice for all solo paddlers out there. 

This lightweight kayak performs really well on the water. It’s fast and tracks relatively well, very responsive too. Hence, making it easy for you to manoeuvre around on the water. 

For a hard shell kayak, it is considerably light. You won’t need extra help to carry this in and out of the water, or lift it up to your truck. We found happy users, aged 60 – 70 years old, who manage to carry this kayak all by themselves.  

This Maxis 100X has a dry storage at the bow and a spacious open storage at the rear. However, there are 2 things to take note of regarding the storage.

Firstly the dry storage is inaccessible while you are on the water. It’s simply impossible to reach unless your arms can stretch 4 feet long. Secondly, this kayak has only 275 pounds of weight capacity. So, be careful not to overload this little boat.

For new kayakers, you may find this boat a little unstable. It’s primarily designed for intermediate kayakers after all. But fret not, it’s just a minor hurdle. With some patience and practice, you will be able to get used to it in no time.   

Pro

Very lightweight for a hardshell kayak

Performs very well on various types of water

Con

Lack of stability for new kayakers

PROS

CONS

  • Very lightweight for a hardshell kayak
  • Performs very well on various types of water

 

  • Lack of stability for new kayakers

Oru Kayak Coast XT Foldable Kayak Specs

Length: 16’2

Width: 25″

Max Capacity: 400 lbs

Weight: 32 lbs

Inspired by the Japanese art of origami, this foldable kayak is creatively designed to fold neatly into a compact box. It folds so well, that you can easily fit this 16 feet long kayak into your car and carry it with you everywhere.  

Made from highly durable thermoplastic and rust-resistant hardware. So, you can be assured that the innovative design does not compromise on its durability. Rocks, debris and stones in the water definitely won’t break this kayak. 

The Coast XT is one of the latest models from Oru Kayak. So, there are improvements from the earlier models. It’s more sturdy and performs better on water now. 

Being a new type of kayak isn’t all sunshine and rainbow. The Coast XT is unfortunately still not ready to conquer the rough sea waters. Therefore, we highly recommend taking this to calm waters only. 

From our research, we also found that quite a number of people commented that the seat is quite uncomfortable. It feels like sitting in a bucket and the cushion isn’t thick enough. 

All in all, if you are looking for something unique, this certainly fits the bill. The concept of a foldable kayak is relatively new. That’s why there aren’t many producers for it yet. Just take note of its limitation and you are all ready for an adventure with this kayak. 

Pro

Amazing performance on calm water

Easy to fold and unfold

Lightweight & superbly convenient to carry around

Con

Not suitable for rough sea water

The seat is lacking in terms of comfort

PROS

CONS

  • Amazing performance on calm water
  • Easy to fold and unfold
  • Lightweight & superbly convenient to carry around

 

  • Not suitable for rough sea water
  • The seat is lacking in terms of comfort

 

Sevylor Coleman Colorado Specs

Length: 10’9″

Width: 39″

Max Capacity: 470 lbs

Weight: 41 lbs

The Coleman Colorado from Sevylor is an inflatable tandem kayak that is specially designed for fishing. You will find a lot of features to please anglers on this kayak. There are built-in rod holders, plenty of storage pockets and D-rings to attach other items. 

What we really like about the Coleman Colorado is how versatile it is. It’s a great fishing kayak, it can comfortably fit 2 adults and can be fitted with a trolling motor. If this is your first kayak and unsure of your long-term goals with it, this is definitely a starting point.  

While it is a great kayak, it does not come without issues. We found that the seats are rather low. Quite a number of users commented that they often hit the protruding rod holders while paddling. So, we deemed that this kayak isn’t suitable for shorter paddlers.

There are 2 ways to overcome that issue. Firstly is to replace the default seat with something taller, like an outdoor foldable chair. Alternatively, you can remove those rod holders. But note that this will be a permanent alternation. So, do this only if you are absolutely certain that you won’t be fishing with this kayak.  

Pro

  • Versatile use & can be equipped with a motor
  • Rich with features, especially for fishing

Con

  • Seats are too low for shorter paddlers

PROS

CONS

  • Versatile use & can be equipped with a motor
  • Rich with features, especially for fishing

 

  • Seats are too low for shorter paddlers

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak Specs

Length: 10’3″

Width: 36″

Max Capacity: 400 lbs

Weight: 36 lbs

This Explorer K2 from Intex is another inflatable tandem kayak like Sevylor’s Coleman Colorado. Except that it isn’t specially designed for fishing. 

But if you aren’t an angler, that shouldn’t be a concern at all. So, why do we like this kayak too? 

Well, unlike the Coleman Colorado, this Explorer K2 conveniently comes in a complete set. That includes 2 pairs of paddles, a pump, a detachable skeg and a carry bag. The only missing piece is a life jacket if you didn’t already have one. 

So if you already have a life jacket, by getting this, you will be all set to go kayaking. No need to look around for other necessities.  

Thanks to skeg, the Explorer K2 performs rather well on the water. Just ensure you attach the skeg right before you hit the water. It helps the kayak to track well and is rather speedy. But its rear tends to swing out of course a little whenever you’re slowing down. 

Also, there are some people who shared that air holes start to appear on their Explorer K2 after a year or so (even with minimal use). Fortunately, there are repair kits that you can use to quickly patch up those air holes.  

Pro

  • Conveniently comes in a complete set
  • Performs well on the water

Con

 

  • A bit lacking in terms of durability

PROS

CONS

  • Conveniently comes in a complete set
  • Performs well on the water

 

  • A bit lacking in terms of durability

Wilderness Systems Pungo 125 Specs

Length: 12’6″

Width: 29.5″

Max Capacity: 375 lbs

Weight: 53 lbs

Superior stability, unrivalled speed and patented design comfort. That’s the promise from Wilderness Systems on their updated Pungo series. 

There are a few features that make this kayak stands out from the rest. The latest is none other than the Pungo Dashboard. It has 2 cupholders, a removable dry box and an accessory track for you to attach your phone, camera or fishing rod holder. 

Many have shared that the new dashboard is a great addition to the Pungo. It is a very well-thought-out design which makes it really handy. So, that has greatly alleviated their kayaking experience.   

Next is their patented Phase 3 AirPro seating system. Yes, it’s not new but many users commented that the seating system alone is worth buying this kayak. There is even an option for you to upgrade the seat cushion to gel pads.  

That’s why with the Pungo, you will definitely be kayaking in comfort. The seats and the footrests are adjustable. Hence, people of various sizes and heights can comfortably fit in the cockpit. 

Definitely the go-to kayak for long hours of paddling. 

Pro

Extra-large cockpit, suitable for large and tall paddlers too

The patented seat is fully adjustable and absolutely comfortable

Comes with a feature-rich dashboard for an amazing kayaking experience

Con

Many users complaint poor quality control or minor defects 

PROS

CONS

  • Extra-large cockpit, suitable for large and tall paddlers too
  • The patented seat is fully adjustable and absolutely comfortable
  • Comes with a feature-rich dashboard for an amazing kayaking experience

 

  • Many users complaint poor quality control or minor defects 

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame AE1012 Specs

Length: 10’5″

Width: 32″

Max Capacity: 300 lbs

Weight: 36 lbs

Introducing the AdvancedFrame AE1012, a hybrid kayak from Advanced Elements. This kayak combines the best of 2 different kayaks; an inflatable kayak and a foldable kayak. A truly innovative design. 

The AE1012 hull is built with aluminium ribs in the bow and stern. This helps to define the bow and stern, which improves this kayak’s tracking that matches a hard shell kayak. Normally, inflatable kayaks tend to have poor tracking. But this innovative design solved that problem. 

For durability, the AE1012 is made from 3 layers of material. Hence, making it highly resistant to punctures. Our friend has been using one for 6 years already! Taking it out every weekend during summer to small rivers and lagoons. 

He’s been so happy with it, that he’s considering getting a second one. Of course, there have been reasonable wear and tear. Plus, small holes at the bottom over the years. But those are easily patchable.   

Pro

  • Innovative hybrid design for better performance
  • Highly durable with 3 layers of material construct
  • Absolutely convenient to carry around

Con

  • It takes roughly 15 minutes to inflate and deflate it 
  • Limited legroom – not for tall of bigger-sized paddlers

 

PROS

CONS

  • Innovative hybrid design for better performance
  • Highly durable with 3 layers of material construct
  • Absolutely convenient to carry around

 

  • It takes roughly 15 minutes to inflate and deflate it 
  • Limited legroom – not for tall of bigger-sized paddlers

 

Frequently Asked Questions (Faq)

Q: Is a sit-in kayak more stable than a sit-on-top kayak?

A: If the dimension of both is the same, then sit-in kayaks are more stable. But practically, sit-on-top kayaks are usually designed to be wider. Hence offering a superior level of stability too. You can stand and walk on it without tipping overboard.

Q: Which type of kayak is better for beginners?

A: We generally recommend sit-in kayaks for beginners. Especially inflatable ones because of the lower cost of acquiring and using one. It’s very convenient to hit the water and provides sufficient experience until you know which kayak to commit in the long run.  

Q: What are sit-in kayaks good for?

A: Sit-in kayaks are great when paddling during the cold weather. It can keep the paddler dry from the cold water.

Our Verdict

We have reviewed 6 of the top kayaks and frankly, you can’t go wrong with any of them. But from our reviews, we have 2 major favourites. 

If you are looking for a hardshell kayak, we can’t recommend enough the Wilderness System Pungo 125. Wilderness System is a very established kayak maker. Each new model carries the success factors from its predecessor. And that’s how they continuously improve on their kayak designs. 

However, if you’re not ready to commit to a hardshell kayak, an inflatable kayak is the best starting point. For inflatable kayaks, we highly recommend the Coleman Colorado from Sevylor. That’s because it’s a very versatile kayak. You can use it for various purposes until you finally know which area of kayaking you enjoy the most. 

Closing Thoughts

In case you like to look for sit-on-top kayaks too, we have a specific guide for that. Feel free to check out our “best sit-on-top kayak guide” as well. We shared more details about sit-on-top that you can consider if you’re unsure which type suits you better.

Jules and Ken

Jules and Ken

Hi! We are Jules and Ken. We are outdoor lovers, travellers, and writers all rolled into one. You have seen our posts here reviewing lots of different types of outdoor gear, camping equipment, RV equipment, kayaking, to cycling. Our reviews are guided by our years of experience being outdoors. We are happy to share our knowledge with you to make a better choice when you are outdoors.

We hope you enjoyed this article and if you have questions about Best Sit-In-Kayak or want to leave your own personal comments, feel free to leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

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