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

WhichTableGame is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

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. 


 lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

If you’re planning for a “Kayaking “ sail, acquiring a Tamarack Angler 100 is a must. The Kayak not only looks good aesthetically but it’s strong and built to give you an incredible kayaking experience on that adventure!

Just to mention a few of its features that make it a must-buy is: its UV protected polyethylene, multiple footrest positions for different size riders, and two 6" storage compartments in rear and centre.

The Kayak has also been made for your comfort with its adjustable padded seat as you are out on the water so as to give you the stability you need to make it through. With all its safety measures, you need not worry if you’re an individual trying out kayaking for the first time.

So if you’re planning for that Kayak hike, this Kayak would be a good place to start with safe and comfortable measures in place.


  • Front and Rear T handles for ease of transport
  • Front and Rear shock cord straps
  • It has stability chine rails
  • Has a stable flat bottom
  • Multiple footrest positions for different size riders


  • Not built for heavy-duty kayaking
  • Made of light material
Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Tan, 120"""...
  • 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
  • Front and rear shock cord straps. Two 6" storage compartments in rear and center. One paddlekeeper, one adult black paddle
  • Front and rear t-handles for easy transport. Deep hull tracking channels
  • Stability chine rails. Durable high-density Polyethylene (HDPE) construction

Perception Hi Life 11 | Sit on Top Kayak - SUP/Paddleboard | Hybrid Boat with Seat Storage/Cooler | 11' 

If you’re a lover of colour then this Kayak is the one for you as it comes with an amazing splash of colours.

This product is packaged for an all-round experience of Kayaking. It comes with a stand-up paddleboard, which makes it so extra!

Another reason you should consider this Kayak besides its colour is that it has an accolade to its name, it was a bronze winner of the prestigious 2018 International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) in the sports leisure and recreation category, which means it’s a Kayak you can trust out on the water.

In addition to that, if you want to get out of the Kayak for a swim, this Perception Hi Life Kayak has a front and rear swim decks and hand grabs to enable you to get into the water in a safe fashion.


  • Kayaking and stand up paddle boarding combined in one Kayak
  • Has a convenient drink holder
  • Elevated seat with supportive fold back-rest
  • Comes in cool colours
  • Good for sharing with kids


  • Only designed for flat, slow-moving waters
  • It’s slightly expensive
Perception Hi Life 11 | Sit on Top Kayak - SUP/Paddleboard | Hybrid...
  • All the fun of kayaking and stand up paddle boarding combined in one - Made in USA
  • Designed for flat, slow-moving and calm coastal water types
  • Perfect for sharing the water with kids and dogs
  • Bronze medal winner of the prestigious 2018 International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) in the sports leisure and recreation category
  • Front and rear swim decks with low sides and hand grabs make getting in and out of the water easy

Perception Tribe 11.5 | Sit on Top Kayak | Recreational Kayak  | 11' 5"

Perception Kayaks just keep coming with the kayak designed to meet your needs. For this particular kayak, it’s not only fit for beginners but also for those with intermediate experience in kayaking thus you can be assured of safety.

Once again, Perception has won with its splash of colours on this kayak as it  gives it a “happy look” which is quite important to set the mood when you’re out to kayak.

No other kayak up until this point screams comfort like this Perception Tribe 11.5!

It has a knee/thigh area that has been molded in a way to increase comfort, and it also has an adjustable padded seat back that is framed.

Additionally, it is quite a convenient kayak with a middle storage hatch for keys and other small items you may have carried on your kayaking adventure.


  • Footrests for paddlers of different sizes
  • Front and rear tank
  • Has built-in drink holder
  • Bow and stern toggle handles for easy carry
  • Top choice for a beginner to intermediate Kayaker


  • Expensive
  • Colour may be off-putting for those who don’t like a mix of colours
Perception Tribe 11.5 | Sit on Top Kayak for All-Around Fun | Large...
  • Perception’s bestselling sit-on-top kayak – Made in the USA – Top choice for beginner to intermediate paddlers
  • New adjustable framed seatback with cushy padded seat pan - Paddle with greater comfort
  • 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

Intex Challenger Kayak Series

If you want to talk safe and strong and trendy then talk the Intex Challenger Kayak! This kayak is made of durable welded material, which makes it strong and sturdy. The interior is even better as it has a comfy, padded seat with a backrest that is suitable even for the young at heart!

It’s also quite the extra kayak as it comes with a cargo net to store your extra gear. To fail to mention its aluminum oar is a gross error as it’s another one of the reasons why this Kayak stands out from the rest. It‘s 84 inches long and is strong enough to wade you through the water without much strain on your end.

The colour of the Kayak is aqua-like, which makes it camouflage well with the surrounding water.

Just to add another one of its amazing features is the removable skeg that grants it directional stability.


  • Stylish cockpit area that is comfortable for all users irrespective of age
  • Has a grab line on both ends of kayak
  • Inflatable seat with backrest
  • Comes with an 84-Inch aluminum oar
  • High-output hand pump and repair patch


  • It’s heavy
  • It’s expensive
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum...
  • Nimble, durable kayak is made of durable welded material with eye catching graphics for added safety on the lake or slow moving river
  • Cockpit is designed for comfort and maximized space, and inflatable I beam floors add stability
  • Cargo net to store extra gear, and grab line on both ends of kayak; inflatable seat with backrest
  • Comes with 84 inch aluminum oar, repair patch and Hi output manual hand pump; Rugged vinyl construction
  • Measures 30 by 15 by 108 inches (W x H x D), with 27.2 pound weight and 220 pound maximum capacity

Perception Tribe 9.5 | Sit on Top Kayak for All-Around Fun | Large Rear Storage with Tie Downs | 9' 5"

Perception has done it again with yet another one of its superb and fit kayaks.

This kayak comes in multiple colours that you can select from so you’re not limited to picking a kayak with all the right features but a boring colour.

It’s also the kayak that has been built for fun on lazy rivers yet it’s the boat that is a breeze to get into the water so it’s hustle-free.

Given that it’s a sit-on-top kayak, the seat has been made with a robust high back backrest to give you that comfort and great slant for an amazing view of the lake, or river.

The kayak also has scupper holes that allow drainage while at the same time allowing your boat to remain buoyant. This kayak comes in highly recommended if you are looking for an alternative recreational activity.


  • Has front and rear toggle handles
  • It’s light
  • Adjustable framed seatback
  • Padded seat
  • It has a centre storage


  • Made of Polyethylene plastic that isn’t as durable
  • Can only handle a maximum capacity of 300 lbs
Perception Kayaks Tribe 9.5 | Sit on Top Kayak for All-Around Fun |...
  • Perception’s bestselling sit-on-top kayak – Made in the USA – Top choice for beginner to intermediate paddlers
  • New adjustable framed seatback with cushy padded seat pan - Paddle with greater comfort
  • 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

Pelican Recreational Sit-in Kayak - Argo 100XR Cosmos - White - Tin Grey -10-Foot Lightweight one Person Kayak - MDP10P100-00

Lastly, dear kayakers, just to give you that extra and edgy feeling for that meticulously planned kayaking adventure, this kayak from Pelican will seal the deal for you. The fun and safety all come under one Kayak!

This kayak has excellent stability because its been built using a multi twin arched chine hull. The kayak also has a spacious cockpit that makes it so easy for you to slip in and out of the kayak hence if you want to talk about convenience in kayaking don’t fail to mention this particular pelican kayak.

It’s also a lightweight paddle that makes pushing it upstream a breeze. Its capacity also allows weight for the average person in addition to items carried along in the course of kayaking.


  • Spacious cockpit
  • Stable
  • Comfortable seat
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty
  • Has a storage platform


  • Can only handle a maximum capacity of 300lbs
  • Can only fit 10ft long
Pelican Maxim 100X Sit-in Recreational Kayak Kayak 10-Foot Lightweight...
  • Lightweight and easy to carry with Front and Rear T-Handles for Easy Transport this Sit-In kayak has a maximum capacity of 275 lb. / 125 KG
  • Includes a Storage hatch with bungee cord and a Storage Platform with a Mesh Deck Cover to store all your gear for your trip on the water
  • The Shallow V Chine hull Design provides good stability and maneuverability while providing very good performance.Do not use chemical products or abrasives
  • Includes a Cockpit Table with bottle holder, Molded Footrests for Comfort and Secure Foot Bracing and a drain plug preventing water infiltration
  • The ERGOFORM Seating System includes a padded seat cushion and an adjustable padded backrest cushion providing better support

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, "", retrieved on, Wed 08-July-2020

Kayaking and Rafting , article, "", retrieved on, Wed 08-July-2020

Kayaking Guide for Beginners , article, "", retrieved on, Wed 08-July-2020

Author: Nick

is a Computer programmer with 25 years experience working in the Industry. Mainly using Microsoft products I have produced systems for several blue chip companies including The BBC, Natwest, British Rail.and Torbay Council.

Amazon Affiliate

WhichTableGame is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.


95 Sunrising, East Looe. Cornwall
PL13 1NG, United Kingdom

Tel: 07593 076598