Best Sit-On-Top Kayak (SOT)

Sit-on-top kayaks, also known as SOTs, are quite popular among paddlers. They offer greater mobility to the kayaker, are easy to handle, and are perfectly convenient for getting in and out of. These features make them a must-have kayak type.

So, if you’re the kind of person who likes to carry lots of gear while paddling and wants a SOT with enough storage space, then I have compiled a list of some of the best sit-on-top kayaks.

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THE Best Sit-On-Top Kayaks

Kayaks BrandWeight Price
PERCEPTION TRIBE 9.5 Sit On Top KayakPerception Kayaks Store46 Pounds
Perception Rambler 13.5 Sit On Top KayakPerception Kayaks Store78 pounds
Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit on Top Recreational KayakOcean Kayak43 pounds
Intex Explorer K2 KayakIntex31.3 pounds
Perception Pescador Pro Sit On Top Kayak Perception78 pounds
Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100 Recreational SOT KayakVibe57 pounds
Lifetime Tioga Sit On Top KayakLifetime50 pounds
Lifetime 10 Foot Sit on Top Tandem Fishing Kayak!Lifetime65 pounds
Riot Kayaks Escape 12 Angler Sit On Top KayakRiot72 pounds
eMotion Stealth Sit On Top KayakeMotion51 pounds
Emotion Spitfire Sit-On-Top KayakEmotion45 pounds

Perception Tribe 9.5 Sit on Top Kayak for All

The Perception Tribe 9.5 is one of the best sit-on-top kayaks for all types of paddlers. It is designed to ensure great stability and speed at the same time. Perception has taken comfort levels very seriously with the Tribe 9.5, adding premium comfort features like a comfort seating system with thick, ventilated padding and an adjustable seatback that reclines both forward and backward. There are also multiple footrest positions for a comfortable paddling experience.

The Tribe 9.5 is designed in a way that ensures excellent speed and maneuverability while maintaining next-level stability. Despite being a sit-on-top kayak, it keeps you drier compared to other models. Its sleek hull and sharp design track very fast, yet turns perfectly, giving complete control to the paddler.

The Perception Tribe 9.5 is the safest sit-on-top kayak available with built-in buoyancy and stability. It has spacious front and rear compartments with bungee cord lashes that can be used to secure your gear bag or other belongings. There is also a molded cup holder and a center hatch with a built-in bag and protective lid. The molded carry handles make it easy to transport this kayak to or from the water.

Why choose this Kayak?

  • Ventilated padded seat with backrest
  • Multiple footrest positions for added comfort
  • Large front and rear open storage
  • Dry hatch located at the center
  • Six scupper holes to drain out water

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Model & Accessory Specs:

Length: 9’ 5″
Weight: 46 lbs
Material: Rotomolded Polyethylene
Maximum Capacity: 300 lbs

LEO'S Choice

Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit On Top Kayak

The Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10ft is one of the best sit-on-top kayaks for beginners. It features a spacious and wide stable cockpit with a padded backrest. The molded hull is shaped to let you sit comfortably while your legs are completely exposed and free to move.

This sit-on-top kayak offers great stability, with a dry storage compartment along with shock cord and deck rigging. You can also use the Portable Accessory Carrier (P.A.C) to store additional equipment.

To make your journey more comfortable, this kayak features protective thigh pads, adjustable foot braces, and a paddle holder.

Why choose this Kayak?
  • Rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High Density Polyethylene material
  • Open cockpit
  • Portable Accessory Carrier
  • Paddle holder
  • Comfortable seating and thigh pads

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Model & Accessory Specs:

Length: 10’
Weight: 49 lbs
Material: UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene
Maximum Capacity: 325 lbs

Best Priced Kayak

Perception Rambler 13.5 Sit on Top Tandem Kayak

The Perception Rambler 13.5 is one of the best tandem sit-on-top kayaks for the money. It offers an amazing paddling experience and joyous rides at a reasonable price. The Rambler is designed to be very easy to get in and out of, with a spacious cockpit and comfortable seating with ergonomic support. To fit paddlers of all sizes, it has multiple footrest positions.

The Rambler 13.5 is a stable and steady kayak on the water, helping the paddler to stay drier. As an added safety feature, it has built-in buoyancy. Its fully leak-proof one-piece roto molded construction is UV, impact, and abrasion-resistant. The hardware used in this ‘yak is fully rust-resistant.

For storage, it has a deep tank on the back that provides enough space to store your gear. There are 4 carrying handles (2 T-shaped and 2 molded) to transport the kayak to or from the water with ease.

Why choose this sit-on-top tandem kayak?

  • Spacious cockpit
  • Very stable and easy to get in and out of
  • Extra molded-in seat for a pet or child
  • Extra-large tank well storage space at the back
  • Comfortable seating and footrests

Model & Accessory Specs:

Length: 13’ 6″
Weight: 78 lbs
Material: Rotomolded Polyethylene
Maximum Capacity: 550 lbs

The 4th

Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit on Top Recreational Kayak

Ocean Kayak Frenzy is a great Sit-on-top recreational kayak for beginners. This single-person kayak is stable and easy to control, and the molded footrests provide plenty of legroom. The tri-form hull design by Ocean Kayak adds even greater stability to the kayak.

The Frenzy comes with a four-way adjustable Comfort Plus seat that allows you to paddle for long periods without feeling tired or uncomfortable. The stern tank provides storage space for your gear and food, and there are removable bungees and bow deck bungees to secure your belongings.

The threaded drain plug allows water to drain out while you’re paddling, and the handles on both sides make it easy to carry the kayak from your car to the water and back again. Overall, the Ocean Kayak Frenzy is a perfect SOT that provides a great experience on the water.

Why choose this Kayak?
  • Durable and four-way adjustable seat for maximum comfort
  • Sufficient storage space for gear and food
  • Replaceable skid plate for added durability

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Model & Accessory Specs:

Length: 9’
Weight: 43 lbs
Material: Polyethylene
Maximum Capacity: 275 to 325

Number 5

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Sit On Top Kayak

The Intex Explorer K2 is one of the best sit-on-top tandem kayaks available. Its unique banana shape is sure to catch the eye of many outdoor enthusiasts. This inflatable kayak is lightweight and easy to transport from one location to another. It features a removable skeg, which can be taken off for increased stability. The package includes an adjustable inflatable seat and spacious cockpit, providing an extra level of comfort for paddlers.

One advantage of the bright color of this kayak is that it is highly visible even from a distance, which can be beneficial in case of an emergency situation. When not in use, this kayak can be deflated and easily stored in a small bag that won’t take up much space in your trunk. The Intex Explorer K2 is a perfect budget-friendly sit-on-top kayak for beginners.

Why Choose This Kayak?
  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • Removable skeg for increased stability
  • Spacious cockpit with adjustable inflatable seat
  • Highly visible bright color
  • Inflatable and puncture-resistant with two separate air chambers

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Model & Accessory Specs:

Length:  10’3”
Weight:  31.3 lbs
Material: Heavy duty vinyl
Maximum Capacity: 400 lbs

The Sixth

Perception Pescador Pro Sit On Top Kayak 

It is best to sit on a top fishing kayak that is designed for whole day long trips. There are large front and rear open storage areas for coolers, tackle, and other gear, making your fishing experience great. It features a completely leak-proof construction with built-in buoyancy for added safety.

The Perception Pescador SOT Fishing Kayak also features a 2-level seat adjustment and breathable mesh. The seats can be lowered for comfortable and relaxed paddling, or they can be raised for optimum level and control. You can also include several accessories, such as rod holders or electronics.

Why choose this Kayak?
  • 2-level seat adjustment
  • Very comfortable for long trips
  • Durable
  • Enough storage for gear and equipment

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Model & Accessory Specs:

Length: 12’
Weight:  78 lbs
Material: Polyethylene
Maximum Capacity: 350 lbs

The 7th!

Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100 Recreational SOT Kayak

The Vibe Yellowfin is a 10-foot, 1-person recreational sit-on-top kayak that offers great stability. It is an easy-to-transport SOT fishing kayak available out there.

Due to its hull shape, it is comparatively easy to maneuver in water and perfect for beginners. Despite its weight of 57 pounds, it has a capacity to store 375 pounds so you can store all your fishing gear.

The breathable mesh fabric seat makes your paddling experience very comfortable. As per the makers, it is designed for comfortable whole day paddling. The Yellowfin 100 is a perfect water SUV that is fun and easy to play around the whole day!

The stability is remarkable in all kinds of waters and offers a slip-resistant, open-deck kayaking experience.

Why choose this Kayak?
  • Very comfortable and easy to maneuver
  • 4 flush mount fishing rod holders
  • Comfortable seats

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Model & Accessory Specs:

Length: 10’
Weight:  57 lbs
Material: Polyethylene
Maximum Capacity:  375 lbs

Number 8!

Lifetime Tioga Sit On Top Kayak

The Lifetime Tioga is among the best lightweight sit-on-top kayaks that offer amazing performance in still water. It offers great stability in still waters, which was approved by the coast guard. The body of this kayak is UV-resistant, making it a perfect kayak to sustain in the long run and tough weathers.

There are multiple footrest positions for different size riders, making your paddling experience comfortable. There is also a 6-inch storage compartment to store your stuff, along with two paddle cradles with shock cords. Moreover, this kayak is puncture-resistant, with a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) construction for durability.

An inflatable backrest and comfortable seating increase your comfort experience with paddling. The front of the kayak is entirely used to store your stuff with a mesh top.

Why choose this Kayak?
  • Inflatable backrest
  • Footrest at multiple positions
  • Sufficient storage space
  • UV damage resistant
  • US Coast Guard approved

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Model & Accessory Specs:

Length: 9’
Weight:  50 lbs
Material: Heavy duty puncture resistant vinyl
Maximum Capacity:  275lbs

Number 9!

Lifetime 10 Foot Sit on Top Tandem Fishing Kayak!

The Lifetime 10 Foot Sit-On-Top is a perfect fishing kayak with a capacity of three people. The upper part is molded from high-density polyethylene, ensuring superior strength and durability.

The company offers an exciting 5-year warranty, which keeps you on the edge as a consumer. Multiple footrest positions and a padded backrest are added to enhance the comfort level and let you enjoy the water for hours.

The hull design offers great stability on water and gives you an amazing tracking experience. The durable high-density UV-protected polyethylene (HDPE) construction helps to resist fading, cracking, and peeling. There is a 6-inch storage hatch to keep your gear dry. Moreover, there are two 3 fishing pole holders, making it a perfect fishing kayak.

Why choose this Kayak?

  • Padded backrest
  • Footrest at multiple positions
  • Fading, cracking, and peeling resistant

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Model & Accessory Specs:

Length: 10’
Weight:  65 lbs
Material:  High-Density UV-Protected Polyethylene
Maximum Capacity:  500 lbs

Number 10!

Riot Kayaks Escape 12 Angler Sit On Top Kayak

The Escape 12 Angler kayak is specifically designed for fishing and enjoying the hot summer in nature. There are five fishing rod holders, making it a perfect fishing kayak as it gives you the option to carry five fishing rods at a time or place your rod at your convenience.

It offers great stability, which is most required for fishing in the middle of the lake or river. The sliding foot braces allow you to find the perfect sitting position for yourself. Sliding foot braces can also be helpful when you are catching a big fish and require a perfect grip. There are also two paddle hooks.

I would say that it is a perfect tandem fishing kayak to have!

Why choose this Kayak?
  • 5 fishing rod holders
  • 2 paddle hooks
  • Molded-in cup holder
  • Pilot rudder system

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Model & Accessory Specs:

Length: 12′
Weight: 72 lbs
Material: Glass-reinforced plastic
Maximum Capacity:  375 lbs

Number 11!

eMotion Stealth Sit On Top Kayak

eMoton Stealth is one of the best sit on top kayaks for ocean adventures. It has a large capacity and can even accommodate taller individuals. The kayak features a Large Rear Tankwell with Cargo Net Lacing for Storage, as well as a Solace Hatch for additional storage. It is easy to maneuver in the ocean, and even easier to turn, even at high speeds.

It also comes with ledge lock paddle keepers to secure your paddles. With handles on the bow and stern, it is easy to transport. It is a fun kayak with lots of features.

Why choose this Kayak?
  • 2 Flush Mount & 1 Deck Mount Rod Holder
  • Comfortable seating
  • Ample storage Lightweight

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Model & Accessory Specs:

Length: 10′ 3″
Weight: 51 lbs
Maximum Capacity:  275 lbs

THE 12th!

Emotion Spitfire Sit-On-Top Kayak

The Emotion Spitfire SOT inflatable kayak is a stable and well-tracking kayak designed for moderate water conditions. It features a comfortable CRS and ultralite padded seat with a padded backrest for added comfort while paddling.

There is also a closed hatch beneath the deck for added storage, as well as molded-in paddle keepers and side carry handles for easy transportation. Additionally, it comes with molded-In Freedom Footwells for secure foot bracing and to help you maintain a grip while paddling.

In the event that water enters the cockpit, this kayak has self-bailing scupper holes to drain the water out. The kayak is made of UV-protected high-density polyethylene construction, ensuring its durability over time.

Why choose this Kayak?
  • Comfortable padded seat and backrest
  • Convenient paddle keepers and side carry handles
  • Lightweight design
  • Self-bailing scupper holes to drain water from cockpit

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Model & Accessory Specs:

Length: 9′
Weight: 45 lbs
Maximum Capacity:  350 lbs

Guidelines from the US Department of Transportation and Coast Guard for Selecting the Best SOT Kayak

When choosing the best SOT kayak, the US Department of Transportation and the US Coast Guard recommend taking into consideration the following factors:

Checkout: Some of the Best Kayaks here. 

  1. Stability: Look for a kayak that has good stability, which will help you stay balanced and avoid capsizing. The US Coast Guard recommends testing the kayak’s stability by sitting in it and leaning side to side.

  2. Weight Capacity: Consider the weight capacity of the kayak to ensure it can accommodate your weight and any gear you plan to bring. The US Department of Transportation recommends not exceeding the weight capacity of the kayak.

  3. Length: The length of the kayak can affect its speed and maneuverability. Longer kayaks are faster but less maneuverable, while shorter kayaks are slower but more maneuverable. The US Coast Guard recommends choosing a kayak that is appropriate for the type of water you plan to paddle in.

  4. Skill Level: Consider your own skill level and experience when choosing a kayak. The US Department of Transportation recommends beginners choose wider kayaks with good stability.

  5. Paddle Type: Choose a paddle that is appropriate for your kayak and your paddling style. The US Coast Guard recommends using a paddle with a blade that is appropriate for the type of water you plan to paddle in.


What is Sit on Kayaks & Why to Choose them?

Sit-on-top kayaks are a type of kayak that allows you to sit on top of the deck and paddle. Our team has done extensive research testing in selecting the best SOT kayaks available in the market.

The cockpit of these kayaks is open, and the paddler is not enclosed in any spray skirt or shell, which gives enough flexibility for the kayaker. It is a perfect kayak for paddlers with long legs and those who feel cramped in a sit-inside kayak.


  1. Easy to Sit and Get Out: One of the prime features of sit-on-top kayaks is that you can easily get in and out of them since you don’t have to settle into a shell. Adjusting yourself on top of it won’t take much time, making it ideal for beginners or those who may struggle with mobility.

  2. More Flexibility: Being a sit-on-top kayak, it gives leverage to the paddle of moving flexibly around. It does not let the paddle feel enclosed or packed into a shell, allowing for more natural movement.

  3. Enough Storage Space: It gives you enough storage space to hold all of your gears. However, most of your gear will be in the open as closed hatch has a smaller space to carry.

  4. Enjoy the Summer Breeze: Another amazing advantage of Sit-on-Top kayaks which we personally love, is that it allows you to enjoy the open cool breeze in summer. However, don’t forget to put on sunscreen to avoid sunburn.


  1. Not Suitable for Winter or Cold Waters: Being an open kayak, it is not ideal to take it out in cold water or winter. It means that SOTs are highly dependent on weather. Since they expose you directly to the cold, you may end up getting cold and may ruin your entire trip.

  2. Sunburn: Being exposed to the sun for long periods can cause sunburn, which can be painful. Therefore, you have to make sure that you have applied good sun cream to keep yourself protected.

  3. Eskimo Roll Not Possible: Since you are sitting on top of the kayak, Eskimo Roll is not possible. However, it is highly unlikely that an SOT kayak will get rolled. If it does, it is much easier to swim away and get back on than attempting an Eskimo Roll.

  4. Limited Dry Storage: As mentioned above, there is limited space to hold your items dry. You have to take care of it by using waterproof bags or containers.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a kayak that is easy to get in and out of, gives you more flexibility, and provides enough storage space, then Sit-on-Top kayaks are an excellent option. However, they are not suitable for winter or cold waters, and you need to be mindful of sunburn and limited dry storage space. We hope that our selection of the best SOT kayaks helps you make an informed decision on your purchase. If you have any personal favorite SOT kayaks that you think are the best, we would be happy to consider your suggestion.

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