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Best Sit-On-Top Kayak for Beginners – 5 Features to Consider

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Best Beginner Sit On Kayak

There are so many kayaks in the market today. It's tricky to know the most suitable one if you are new to the sport. For beginners, the best kayaks are usually not suitable for those wanting to take epic trips across wide open seas or in challenging white waters. 

However, they provide a safe and stable way to have fun in lakes, slow-moving rivers and calm seas. Update your knowledge with our beginner’s guide to shopping for kayaks.

What you should look for in a kayak?

Before buying a new kayak as a beginner, you need to consider these 5 things. 

  1. Material used / Durability 

If you’re a beginner in kayaking, you’ll go through a learning curve. You will therefore need a kayak that is durable as you try to figure out how to kayak. A good kayak should withstand the abuse and punishment you’re about to put it through.

You should check at reviews on what the previous buyers have to say. Also, you should be keen with the material used to make the kayak. You can choose from 7 original materials.  They include: wood, carbon fiber, Kevlar, fabric with a frame, fiberglass, hard plastic and inflatable plastic.  A fiberglass or hard plastic kayak is a good bet. Also, the right inflatable kayak can work well for beginners.

Hard plastic is fairly durable, but heavy, whereas Fiberglass is lightweight, but expensive.  Kevlar and Carbon fiber are even lighter, but too expensive and not recommended for beginners. Wooden kayaks aren’t used much nowadays because of their weight and high manufacturing costs. 

  1. Stability

For beginners, when looking for the best kayak, stability of the kayak is one of the most vital things to consider. Look for one that is stable and manageable without constantly tipping over.

Stability of a kayak comes in 2 forms.

  • Primary stability–It’s the kayak stability while in calm waters, entering and exiting the kayak or just chilling. The yak should be stable while performing low-motion activities.
  • Secondary stability–This shows the kayak stability in rough waters. The yak should be able to handle high-motion activities like going at high rates of speed or white-water kayaking.
  1. Length of a Kayak

It is important to define the length of your first kayak. When determining the length, figure out the most important thing to you. For tracking and speed ability, choose a longer kayak. But if you want one that will turn with ease, then invest in a shorter kayak.

Also, before buying you should consider how you will store or transport the Kayak. Obviously, the longer the kayak, the harder it is to store or transport.

  1. Comfort, Depth and Width of the Kayak

Considering the width and depth of your first kayak plays a vital role in many things from how much you can store in the kayak to its steering.

Most beginners choose wider kayaks since they are more stable and easier to get in and out of. However, choosing a wide kayak means sacrificing some speed therefore making it harder to paddle due to increased drag.

Big guys and those opting for more room and space should go for a kayak with good depth. The kayak’s hull will sit higher to create more room in the cockpit, however, you will be more prone to cold and wind.

People with very long or short legs should look for a model that has an adjustable seat or foot braces. Also, consider the width of the seat, more so if you need a specifically wide seat.

  1. Know the Kayak’s Purpose

What you intend to do with the kayak plays a big role in choosing the kayak to buy. What is your primary use for the kayak?

Is it for meant for rough waters? Are you looking for something that is family friendly? Do you want to be fishing with the kayak? Or you prefer to just pedal?

These are the things to consider before buying your first kayak. 

What are the important tips to consider before kayaking

  • Clothing

You should dress for the water, not the weather. You need clothes that will keep you warm and dry.

You also need helmet and boots to protect your head and feet. Many paddlers prefer to wear a wet suit whilst others prefer dry trousers and dry tops. However, British Canoeing recommend that all paddlers to wear a buoyancy aid at all times. Also, always carry a spare set of clothes. 

  • Training

You need good training to be safe and help you enjoy paddling much more.

  • Water Rules & Access

Having purchased your kayak, it does not mean that you can now paddle on any bit of water you come across.

You need a license to paddles in some inland water and canals. However, the sea frontline is mostly accessible for paddling although they restrict some areas.

  • Don’t kayak by yourself

Even if you’re very experienced, it’s never an excellent idea to go kayaking alone. You should team up with another kayaker, so that if one gets into trouble, someone is there to assist.

  • People are more important than kayaks.

In case of an accident, the most important thing is to keep people safe. It may sound obvious, but sometimes people forget this during panicked situations. People can’t be replaced but boats can.

  • Learn how to rescue yourself and other paddlers 

Always be prepared to rescue yourself and others. Go through the basic capsize drills with trained instructors. 

  • Hold the paddle correctly and sit properly in your kayak.

It might sound obvious but many people when learning how to kayak, hold the paddle the wrong way.

Also, sitting properly in the kayak makes it easier to paddle. Rest your feet on foot pegs found on each side of the kayak. Heels should point towards the center and toes should point outwards. Also, your knees should bend upwards and outwards. 

  • Upgraded Features: Additional storage in this kayak includes a front hatch with bungee cord and a rear tank well with mesh deck cover to give you plenty of space to store your personal items. Features also include a cockpit table with compartments and a bottle holder as well as molded footrests for your comfort.
  • Stable: The shallow V-chine hull offers better manoeuverability and tracking while giving you increased secondary stability. This kayak is made for the recreational paddler looking for better performance.
  • Safe: Added floating blocks on each side of the kayak along with a flatter hull type ensures you safety and peace of mind during your ride. Holds a maximum capacity of 275 lb.
  • Comfortable: Paddle in comfort with an adjustable ERGOFORM padded backrest with ERGOBASE seat cushion.
  • Lightweight: Our kayaks being made with exceptionally durable high molecular density polyethylene, less material is needed to produce each boat. At 10 ft and weighing only 36 lb, it makes the perfect kayak for those looking for easy storage and transportation.
  • The most versatile sit-inside touring kayak for larger paddlers
  • New adjustable framed seatback with cushy padded seat pan
  • Molded knee/Thigh areas for added comfort/fit
  • Integrated footrests to accommodate paddlers of different sizes
  • Front and rear tank well storage with bungee tied owns
  • Sport type: Kayaking
  • Kayak has a 220-pound capacity making it great for boating and fishing on lakes or mild rivers; Weighs 27 pounds and is U.S. Coast Guard I.D and TUV-approved
  • Comfortable and spacious cockpit with inflatable seats, backrests, and a cargo net to keep personal belongings in the boat; Streamline design for easy paddling and removable skeg for directional stability
  • Inflatable I beam floor for comfort and rigidity, streamlined design for easy paddling, grab lines on both ends, and made of rugged tough 30 gauge vinyl for durability; Noticeable graphics give a sporty flair and maximize safety on the water
  • Strong molecular structure of this plastic makes it highly resistant to damage from abrasion, impact, and sunlight special PVC plastic material also allows more air pressure for greater rigidity while maintaining the PVC material's natural flexibility and
  • Easy-to-store and carry package includes Challenger K1 kayak, 86-inch aluminum oar, High capacity/output hand pump with 2 quick fill, fast deflate Boston valves on main hull chamber, repair patch kit and carry bag; Dimensions (LxWxH): 108 x 30 x 13 inches
  • Introducing Perception's bestselling sit-on-top kayak, made in the USA and a top choice for beginner to intermediate paddlers. Its adjustable framed seatback and cushy padded seat pan offer superior comfort for all your paddling adventures.
  • The kayak caters to paddlers of all sizes with integrated footrests and molded knee/thigh areas, ensuring a comfortable fit and a delightful journey every time you hit the water.
  • Enhance your kayaking experience with ample storage – front and rear tank wells secured with bungee tie-downs and a center storage hatch for essentials, complete with a built-in drink holder for your convenience.
  • Designed for effortless transport, this kayak comes with bow and stern toggle handles. It's perfect for tranquil lakes, peaceful ponds, and slow-moving rivers and streams, with scupper holes providing efficient drainage while maintaining buoyancy.
  • With a robust design measuring 11'5" in length and 30-1/4" in width, our kayak ensures stable and enjoyable paddling. Despite its lightweight build at 52 lbs, it confidently supports a maximum capacity of 350 lbs, welcoming a broad range of adventurers on board.
  • The Perception Hi Life 11' combines the best of a kayak and SUP, offering remarkable stability and versatility; designed for maximum enjoyment on the water, whether you're paddling or standing up.
  • Features a unique rear swim platform, allowing easy reentry from the water; the ideal companion for water fun, be it at the lake, a slow-moving river, or your favorite fishing spot.
  • The clever seat doubles as storage and a cooler, giving you ample space to store your gear and keep your drinks cold for an all-day adventure; perfect for solo trips or family outings.
  • Made in the USA, the Perception Hi Life 11' guarantees top quality and durability; its one-piece construction can withstand a variety of water conditions and ensures years of dependable use.
  • The Hi Life 11' is not just a kayak or SUP, but an all-around fun platform, equipped with front and rear gear tracks for accessorizing and molded-in grab handles for easy transport. Enjoy an unrivaled on-water experience with Perception.
  • Constructed of uv-protected high-density Polyethylene. Multiple footrest positions for different size riders. Stable flat bottom
  • Adjustable padded seat back and seat pad for comfort. Two flush mounted fishing rod holders. One top mount fishing rod Holder
  • Paddle Included. One Paddle Keeper with Shock Cords. Two 6" Storage Compartments in Rear and Center. Front and Rear T-Handles for Easy Transport.
  • Front and rear t-handles for easy transport. Deep hull tracking channels
  • Stability chine rails. Durable high-density Polyethylene (HDPE) construction

Other Questions

Should I get a sit in or sit on kayak?

Both sit-in kayaks and sit on kayaks excel in their own particular manners and are better appropriate to certain tasks. Sit-on kayaks are perfect for beginner level paddlers or informal use. Since they have no cockpit and holes, they are nearly unsinkable.

They are additionally low in cost, making it simpler for the individuals are on a tight spending plan. They are perfect for quiet lakes, rivers or a day at the seashore. Sit-in kayaks definitely have their share of relaxed novice level kayaks, but they cost slightly more, with increased overall performance to compensate.

Sit-in kayaks are incredible and with their vast assortment, can be used for basically any kayaking.

What is sit on top kayak?

As the name entails, sit-on-top kayaks have no encased cockpit and hence, as opposed to the paddler being placed inside of the kayak at or underneath the water level, they are rather situated on top of the kayak over the water's surface.

Are sit in kayaks more stable?

Both sit-inside kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks are stable. Stability is mostly a task of the width of the kayak.

Obviously, there are other aspects in play. The height of the seat in a kayak hugely affects stability, with seats mounted high over the waterline diminishing steadiness and lower seats expanding it.


If you require more information, please check these references

Kayaking made easy: a manual for beginners with tips for the experienced , article, "books.google.co.uk", retrieved on, Wed 08-July-2020

Kayaking and Rafting , article, "books.google.co.uk", retrieved on, Wed 08-July-2020

Kayaking Guide for Beginners , article, "www.theseus.fi", retrieved on, Wed 08-July-2020

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