Sit-in vs. sit-on-top kayaks
One of the questions that buyers ask is whether the sit-on-top kayak is actually better than the sit-on types. Before you make a decision on the kayak to buy, it is crucial to know more about the two types. This will help you know whether it will meet your needs or not.
Let us first consider the sit-in kayaks. This type of kayak comes in an enclosed cockpit design. The hull of this type of kayak covers the lower body. Therefore, your arms and torso lie outside the kayak. This type of kayak leaves you low in the water. The major advantage of this design is that you enjoy a greater level of stability and speed.
Nevertheless, there are disadvantages. Most of the drawbacks are seen when you are just starting how to kayak.
Due to their design, it can be difficult to get into this type of kayak. Because it sits so low, it is nearly impossible to get into the kayak when you are in deep water. If you fall out of the kayak while in deep water, you might find it very difficult to get in without mastering certain techniques.
Some of the techniques to get back into the kayak include the Eskimo roll and the Heel hook rescue. If you have this type of kayak and want to keep it dry, you certainly must have a spray deck.
Overall, the sit-in kayak is excellent, but it is far too much trouble, especially if you do not have experience.
The other type of kayak is sit-on-top. This is the focus of our article, and it comes with several advantages.
One of the reasons why this type of kayak is great is because of the ease of use. Due to the design, you will find it simple to find balance. You will not be as low in the water as the sit-in kayak. The main drawback is that you will be exposed to the elements as you have to sit on the kayak while paddling.
Another good thing about this type of kayak is that if you fall out of it while on deep waters, you will find it easier to remount. They remain floatable and do not need a spray deck. If you are just starting to kayaking, you will find this type of kayak very useful.
Additionally, as these are beginner-level kayaks, so to speak, they are less expensive than the other type of kayaks. For example, the Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak is a great example that can be found at an affordable price.
In summary, the advantages of the sit-on-top kayak are:
- It is easy to master;
- You can get back on it while in deep water;
- Made from durable materials;
- Does not fill with water.
What to be aware of when picking a sit-on model?
As with other products for swimming and use on water, it does come with its drawbacks. In this section, we consider some of the disadvantages of sit-on-top models.
Open to the elements – This is arguably the biggest peeve of this type of kayak. In fact, depending on the climate of your region, you might even be unsafe in a sit-on-top kayak.
Due to the design of this kayak, you are exposed to the elements. It does not cover any parts of your body. Therefore, you will feel all the cold, wind, water, and all of that. As you paddle, the design means that the contents of the lake or river will end up in the kayak.
If you are kayaking in a warm or hot climate, you might not be too bothered about the cold. But you should keep an eye out for sunburn. So, before you use this kayak, ensure that you have applied sunscreen to the parts of the body that will be exposed.
No Eskimo rolling – Eskimo rolling is a popular technique in kayaking. But due to the build of the sit-on-top kayak, you cannot use this technique. Nevertheless, you won’t likely need it as the kayak is easy to get on after falling off.
Keeping these advantages and drawbacks in mind will certainly help you to decide whether the sit-on-top kayak is for you or you’d rather use the other type of kayak.
How to find the best sit-on-top kayak?
After you have seen that there several advantages to using the sit-on-top kayak, you might have finally decided that it is just the right product for you. With that in mind, what are the features that you should consider before you go for a particular model? In this section, we will check the important features in detail.
One of the crucial things that you should keep in mind when making a buying choice is the location, that is, where you will be doing the most paddling. We suggest that you check out the water bodies that you want to use before you make a buying decision.
Small rivers are some of the faster-moving water bodies. If you are planning to buy a sit-on-top kayak, you should keep in mind that you can only use it in up to Class II currents. Anything higher would be dangerous.
Overall, it can help you learn the river, and it is easier to remount the kayak if you fall off. One of the reasons why sit-on-top kayaks are good for small rivers is that they come with scupper holes. These will drain the water out of the boat, and you don’t have to bother yourself with removing the water.
Keep in mind that a smaller kayak will not give you the stability that you might want, especially if you are a beginner.
Large rivers and lakes
Other locations that you might be thinking about are large rivers and lakes. As we have pointed out earlier, these are not quick moving. Therefore, you will be safe using a sit-on-top kayak on them. These water bodies are excellent for camping, touring, and so on. The models that we have reviewed so far fall into this category. The Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak Sentinel 100X is an example of this type of kayak.
Lakes are ideal paddling locations, and most of the sit-on-top kayaks on the market can be used on lakes.
One of the reasons why many people love using the sit-on-top kayak in this location is that you can place your fishing gear and other gear in the kayak without any stability problems, such as seen with the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak.
Lastly, some coasts offer excellent paddling locations. It is widely regarded to be the limit of a sit-on-top kayak.
Max load capacity
There are different types of kayaks, and the designs affect the carrying capacity of the model. The carrying capacity is majorly dependent on the model that you buy. Some of the types of kayaks in this regard are single-seat sit-on kayaks and tandem models.
The single-seat models cannot carry plenty of weight, but the tandem models surely work to carry more – it can even hold more than two people at once.
If you have a crew, the larger the sit-on kayak is, the better the load capacity will be. The Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe Kayak has an impressive max load limit.
While the model is a major factor, most of the sit-on kayaks that we have considered come with excellent carrying capacities. With a larger capacity comes the ability to take along more of your gear and all necessary things for your trip.
If you head over to the market, you will find some models that are labeled as professional kayaks. These come with a narrow and longer design than your average kayak. This length and width contribute to the faster movement of the kayak.
If the kayak is wider, you will observe that it will be slower on the water. But the advantage of this type of kayak is that it is more stable.
Several of the options that we have reviewed come with a wider and shorter design, such as the Sevylor Quikpak K. Additionally, the smaller crafts are lighter than their bigger counterparts.
Materials and construction
The sit-on kayak is available in a variety of materials. Due to the type of materials, these last for a longer time and remain useful for several years. Some materials are obviously better than others, and in this section, we will consider some of the best materials used in making sit-on kayaks.
Wood is a very useful material and is used in many boats and kayaks. In fact, it is the most popular material used. It is useful due to the floating properties and durability. Wood that is used for kayaks also is treated with fiberglass and coated with other types of waterproof materials.
Wooden kayaks are lighter in weight than other types of materials like fiberglass. But our list doesn’t include any of those models.
Another common material used in making these kayaks is polyethylene. It is an excellent material for several reasons. For one, it is easy to form, paint, and it lasts for a really long time despite frequent use. It is also used in affordable kayaks. The Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak is an example of this type of kayak.
The downside of this type of material is that deformation easily occurs in adverse weather or upon exposure to harsh elements.
This is an excellent material that offers impressive durability. It is resistant to the elements, especially heat, and direct sunlight. The kayaks made from PVC materials are geared towards mobile kayakers. An example is the Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak.
The next thing to consider when buying a sit-on kayak is the seats. A look at the market shows that there are three main types of seats. These are the basic, deluxe, and premium seats.
The three seats differ in quality and price, with the basic seats having the least quality and being the cheapest, while the premium seat is the more comfortable and costliest type of seat, such as with the Perception Crank 10. Check out the model that you are buying to know the type of seats that it is fitted with.