Best Sit On Top Kayak for Camping

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Sit-on-top kayaks, also known as SOT kayaks, are meant to be recreational kayaks used for fun on the water. It is a hybrid of a traditional kayak and surfboard, with a sealed hull. It is usually used on calm waters, like the lakes or calm rivers. Using a Sit On Kayak is pretty simple, making it the first choice for novice kayakers to learn basic kayaking skills. It is also a favorite option among anglers and divers because it is easier to hop in and hop off them. 

 

As there are so many kayak reviews out there, we have narrowed the selection to the best kayaks. If you are hard pressed for time, and want to get the best Sit On Top Kayak, we recommend Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak as the best kayak in the market.

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Why Trust Us

Jules and Ken

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.

Whether you are looking for the best affordable, the best overall or best quality SOT Kayak, just know that you are at the right place. We have reviewed it all and you can save the trouble of reviewing it yourself. In this guide, we have listed down 5 kayaks as our top picks for the Best Sit On Top Kayak For Camping.

Why Buy A Sit On Top Kayak?

You get maximum fun per dollar ratio. It is well worth the money spent. Purchasing it once, is equal to renting a kayak for a week. Imagine renting a kayak every summer.

 

Having lifetime kayaks of your own makes a great choice, especially when you have family or friends visiting. You may want to make the most of your summer and spend the day out with your loved ones. 

 

If you are a parent who wants to introduce your child to kayaking, then this is the perfect solution. Sit On Top Kayaks are very stable and safe. You can slip on and off easily for swimming.

Kayak Basics

Kayak basics
Kayak basics ([email protected])

For beginners, here are some terminologies used in the sports of kayaking. The top of the boat is called the deck, while the bottom is called the hull. The back of the boat is called the stern and the front of the vessel is called the bow

 

The cockpit is on the topside of the boat where the kayaker sits. The hatch is where your gear is stored. Rigging is where bungees are used to hold down your gear and paddles

 

Scupper holes are drainage holes that allow you to drain the water through the kayak. Tracking relates to how straight the kayak moves. A Skeg is a blade in the hull of the kayak to help the boat go straight. 

 

Usually you will find toggles at the stern and the bow of the kayak that help you lift and carry your kayak.

Sit In Vs Sit On Kayak

Sit In Kayaks

Sit In Kayaks

Sit In Kayaks (the ones with an enclosed cockpit) can be swamped with water. First introduced by the Eskimos in the Arctic regions, it was used for hunting and fishing. These boats involve sitting with your legs and hips inside the hull, while your arms and torso are outside the vessel. You can attach a spray skirt to keep water out, allowing you to stay dry. 

Sit In Kayaks are very stable as it puts you very low in the water. However it comes with some setbacks. It is harder to get in or out of the water when it turns over, as your kayak will likely be filled with water. Thus, Sit In Kayaks is usually used by more experienced kayakers.  

Sit On Top Kayaks

Sit On Kayaks have self-contained flotation and do not fill in water. However, you will get wet while paddling. They are more user friendly as it is much easier to get on the boat if you fall out. Sit On Kayaks are also chosen as kayaks for beginners or for your child as an introduction to this sport.

Nonetheless, Sit On Kayaks do not withstand waves well, thus, it is basically used for recreational use or fishing in calm waters. The built up is generally tougher, making it lasting for many years. Sit On Kayaks are usually more affordable compared to Sit In Kayaks.

How to choose a kayak

Material

Materials used to construct Sit On Top Kayaks are usually made of Polyethylene. Some are made with high density polyethylene, blow-molded polyethylene or dual layer polyethylene. Polyethylene is solid and abrasion resistant. 

 

Some kayaks are made of fiberglass, which is light, rigid but cost more than polyethylene. Fiberglass can get damaged if you hit anything hard. 

 

Another material is Kevlar Carbon, which is the lightest material, stronger than fiberglass but less affordable.

 

ABS Carbonlite on the other hand is lighter and stronger than polyethylene, usually used on high-end kayaks.

 

Note that the type of materials used in a kayak will influence the weight capacity, affordability and durability.

 

 

Length

Length of Kayak
Length of Kayak ([email protected])

For more speed, look for kayaks that are more than 10 feet long. For better maneuverability, get any kayak that is less than 10 feet long. The narrower the kayak is, the faster it will travel. But this will also mean it will be less stable.

Weight capacity

If you plan to bring lots of fishing gear on board, then consider the weight capacity of the boat in order to avoid sinking the kayak. Leave 20 to 40 pounds of free capacity, to avoid overloading the vessel.

Storage

Do you plan to carry food, fishing gear or your bag of clothes? If you plan to fish for hours, then you may need more storage for your gear. Ask yourself if you really need a large storage compartment, or maybe an average size is sufficient. 

 

There are also options for a waterproof pocket to store important valuables like your car keys or phone. If there are no waterproof storage options, then you can consider getting our recommended waterproof backpacks. For additional storage, there are  usually bungees incorporated at the bow or stern to attach or secure your bug out bags.

 

Another type of storage factor to consider, is where do you plan to store it at home? You may need a garage to store it. If you live in an apartment, then you may want to consider an inflatable kayak. 

Solo or Tandem

Tandem kayak

Will you be kayaking alone or with some company? Some kayaks have built in features like a anti-slip carpet to accommodate your pet dog. Others are flexible enough to be converted to a solo or a tandem kayak by adjusting the seat positions.

Comfort

As you will be paddling for hours, you want to make sure that your kayak has a comfortable molded seat, with a cushion and a backrest. You can get additional separate comfortable kayak seats, if you have more passengers in your kayak.

Portability

Think about how to get it to the water. Consider if you are able to carry it on your own. Or if it is too heavy, have someone to assist you. Also you need to figure out how you will deal with transporting the kayak from your house to the water. You may need a trailer or roof rack to do that.

Accessories

Fishing mounts on kayak
Fishing mounts on kayak ([email protected]_fishin)

There are kayaks which are made for anglers’ in mind. They have fishing rod holders, mounting points for your rod holders or fish finder and hatches to store your fishing gear. Some of the kayaks do not come with paddles, so you need to purchase them separately

 

Some kayaks have carry handles that are integrated with the hull moulding, making lifting much easier. Scupper holes is another feature which allows the water to drain away from the hull. These are usually located under your seat, rear storage or foot area. Not all kayaks have skegs. A skeg is very useful when you want to improve your tracking.

 

View More Kayaking Tips

Lifetime Tamarak is a versatile kayak, which can be used for fishing or recreational activities. This kayak is a great option for anglers who need an affordable kayak within their budget. It leaves out all the nice to have features, while maintaining the necessary features to get a boat that works well on water. 

 

It is a 120″ adult kayak with a 275 lbs weight capacity, which caters for most average adults. It comes with a padded seat backrest, but some reviewers have feedback that they are not comfortable. There is a molded drink holder in the center right of the front seat, for a refreshing drink especially on a hot summer day.

 

There are 3 different fishing rod holders, which includes two flush mounted fishing pole holders behind the seat. This allows you to mount multiple rods at one time. There is also one top mount rod holder well positioned on the starboard side of the cockpit, which is really convenient. It can be rotated to the position you want. 

 

This kayak is constructed of blow-molded high-density polyethylene and is UV protected, making it extremely durable to external elements. There are two 6″ storage hatches in the rear and center, which is a generous amount of space. It comes along with a 2 piece paddle that can be adjusted in a few ways to fit what you want. 

 

Tracking for this kayak is great, thanks to the stable flat bottom with deep tracking channels and stability chine rails. You cannot go wrong with this purchase. 

 

 

Pros

  • Great for fishing
  • Adjustable paddle is provided
  • 3 rod holders
  • Plenty of storage space

 

Cons

 

  • Uncomfortable seat

Emotion Spitfire is 9 feet long and weighs 45lbs by its own, making it ideal to carry on your own. You can easily slide it into the back of your truck. Carrying handles are found at the front and rear for better grip. If you want to rest or take a photo, there are paddle holders at both sides to secure your paddle.

 

This kayak does not easily get punctured, due to its UV protected high-density polyethylene hull, making it impact resistant. It is well designed with an added storage beneath the deck to stow away your gear.

It comes with an adjustable padded CRS Ultralight seat, which is designed for comfort without being too stiff. It can be folded down or removed when you want to transport or store it. Another great thing about this kayak is, you can stack a few of these kayaks together before attaching them to your roof rack.

Emotion Spitfire has a high weight capacity of 350lbs, so it can hold most people or load in more gear. This kayak tracks really well and easy to maneuver, due to its molded-in skeg and small hull design. But note it does not move super fast due to its length.

You do not have to worry about stability, as it is not easy to flip. The design of the kayak is wide in the hull, which increases the kayak’s balance. Water does not collect in the kayak due to the multiple self-bailing scupper holes incorporated into the vessel. There is a drain hole at the stern to remove water that may be found in the hull.  

Pros

  • Light
  • Stable
  • Easy to store
  • Lots of storage space
  • Great for beginners

 

Cons

 

  • Does not move super fast

Looking for kayak for beginners? This kayak sit on top is ideal for children that are 5 years old and older. This is a perfect starter boat which allows kids to try kayaking on their own at an early age. This helps build their confidence along the way. It is also a great way for the younger kids to spend quality time with the rest of the family.

Designed with children’s need in mind, it has several molded footrest positions to suit different sizes as they grow. The kayak comes with a backrest that can be tightened to allow the child’s feet to reach the footrests. However, this kayak has no seat pads, but it is still comfortable enough for the kids.

 

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak is constructed with high density polyethylene with UV protection which protects the body from color fading, cracks and peels even after long sun exposure.

This kayak is 6 feet in length, 24inches wide and can fit a capacity of 130lbs. And it is not difficult for an older child to carry around as it weighs 18lbs on its own. It glides very well in the water, thus, you may want to use toggles on the kayak to attach a rope from your own kayak to avoid it from floating away.

There is also a swim up deck at the back of the kayak, where you can easily slide on and off, to just sit back. As stability is always the top priority for any parent, this kayak is constructed with a reverse chine to make it more stable. The hull is well designed to resist being flipped over.

Scupper holes are found in the cockpit area to drain out any water that comes in. This kayak comes with a paddle and molded paddle cradle, making it a complete kayak set. The paddles are of nice quality and of good weight for children.

Pros

  • Lightweight enough for pre-teens to carry
  • Complete kayak set with a paddle.
  • Designed for children in mind
  • Small kayak
  • Best kayak for beginners

 

Cons

 

  • No seat pad

You can now go kayaking with your partner with this tandem kayak. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T can fit 1 to 3 persons, with a maximum capacity of 500 lbs weight. The middle seat is usually for a child to ride or for solo paddling. There two seats provided with backrests and cushions. 

 

Another great feature not found in many other kayaks is its 2 sealed waterproof hatches for smaller items like your keys or handphones. 

 

Usually tandem kayaks are difficult to maneuver solo. This kayak is specially designed to allow you to move one of the seats to the middle position, so that it is easier to kayak solo. As it is quite a large boat, it is 33″ wide and weighs 72 lbs on its own. Note that this kayak may be quite heavy for one person to carry. 

 

Crafted with one piece of Ultra Stable Rotomolded Polyethylene, it is leak-proof and super durable. Be assured that your kayak will not take in water as there are four scupper holes to drain the water from the kayak. 

 

This kayak is built with angler’s use in mind, with 2 capped flush mount fishing rod holders, and 4 mounting points. These mounting points can cater for several types of rod holders like Scotty, RAM or Railblaza. 

 

There are two paddles provided, so you do not need to purchase separately. And when you want to pause to fish, two grip holders on both sides of the boat are there to place the paddles. There is also two built in cup holders for the paddlers.

 

You will find Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T the ultimate boat for your fishing adventures or family quality time.

Pros

  • 3 seats 
  • 500 lbs pound weight capacity
  • 6 mount rod holders
  • Small Waterproof storage

 

Cons

 

  • Heavy for one person to carry

Pelican Sit-On-Top is a lightweight kayak and is very portable. It is built with its patented RAM-X material, which is a triple layer high molecular weight polyethylene. What this actually means is that the body of this boat is solid and hard to  dent. It will last you many years. 

Additional floatation in terms of foam blocks are added inside the boat, making it sturdy in the water. It is designed with a Twin-arched Multi Chine Hull, which creates two deep channels under the boat to provide stability and  ensure great tracking.

 

Unlike other kayaks, Pelican Sit-On-Top Kayak has a removable ExoShell 13L compartment. You will find it convenient to pack your gear into the compartment at home, and then load it in the boat once you get to the water. 

 

Designed with animal lovers in mind, an anti-slip carpet can be found in the back seat for your furry friend to join you when you go kayaking. Otherwise, it works as a holder for your items so that it does not slide around.

 

It has a maximum capacity of 275 lbs, and weighs 42 lbs on its own. This makes it easy to load up onto your car roof rack yourself. 

 

The padding and the adjustments features on the ErgoLounge Seating System makes it comfortable to sit for long hours. Do know that this kayak does not come with a paddle, but you can get yourself a good quality one online. You can find paddle holders on each side of the boat, to hold your paddle. 

 

Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak is a great kayak for recreational use in mild conditions. You will simply enjoy it as it cruises like a dream.

Pros

  • Removal compartment
  • Anti-slip carpet for your dog
  • Twin-arched Multi Chine Hull
  • EroLounge Seating system

 

Cons

 

  • It does not come with a paddle

Summary

All the top Best Sit On Top Kayaks we have reviewed above are generally equally outstanding.  But if you are looking for the winning edge, Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak is what you need. It is one of the most popular choices among kayak hobbyists and beginners. You get 2 kayaks for the price of 1, a fishing kayak and also a recreational kayak.  It has a balance of everything you need in a kayak, like fishing mount holders, great storage compartments. It is extremely durable and affordable. You will not be disappointed with this purchase.   

What's Next

If you are looking for a kayak trailer to haul your kayaks, then check out our recommended Kayak Trailers.

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