Sit In vs. Sit On Kayak: Which is Right for You?

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You couldn’t love kayaking any more than you already do. There’s just one question: Which is better — a sit-on-top kayak (SOT) or a sit-in kayak (SIK)?

Chances are that you and other kayakers you know have a difference of opinion in this area.

Kayakers for years have been debating about whether SOTs or SIKs are the better options — and for good reason. These kayaks’ distinct designs make them useful in entirely different situations.

Are you wondering which type of kayak is the best for your needs? We’ve compiled a guide on the pros and cons of a sit-in vs. sit-on kayak.

Let’s get started!

Sit-in vs. Sit-on Kayak: What’s a SOT Like?

SOTs, which were created for leisure and can fit four paddlers, resemble surfboards. Why? Because this allows them to accommodate surf conditions much more easily.

Of course, these kayaks aren’t just great for surfers. A SOT is popular to use in any sport where participants have to get into the water quickly or access equipment easily.

For this reason, you’ll often see scuba divers use SOTs, too. Also, most fishermen prefer SOTs over SIKs, as they make it easy to move about freely. SOTs also allow them to access their fishing bait and gear with no issues.

A SOT features a small cockpit or seat on the kayak’s top, where a paddler sits. This cockpit typically sits atop the water, thus making the center of gravity higher.

Meanwhile, the cockpit’s bottom has drain holes known as scupper holes. These holes help with draining water that enters the cockpit.

Also, SOTs are usually wider compared with SIKs and are therefore the slower option between the two.

Why Choose a SOT?

SOTs offer several unique advantages.

For starters, they won’t sink. Even if one tips over, you can simply flip it over and re-enter it. The kayak’s scupper holes will make sure that the boat remains afloat for you.

Also, as we mentioned earlier, these kayaks make it easy for you to access your gear from your cockpit. That’s because these kayaks come with plenty of storage.

Another plus? This type of kayak is generally more comfy and stable for a larger person due to its open-air cockpit and wide width.

If you’re all about your budget, you’ll also love SOTs because they are not as expensive as SIKs are.

A SOT is thinner and thus requires fewer materials to create. In the same vein, they are cheaper to ship. Thus, choosing a SOT could easily save you hundreds of dollars.

What to Look for in a SOT

A particular popular SOT is called The Frenzy. This kayak is effortless to maneuver, small and stable for even rough waters. At the same time, it works excellently on calm water.

Also, the kayak is durable due to its hardcore polyethylene material. The kayak also has convenient footrests and even a hatch that you can use to store your wallet, camera, cell phone or other items you don’t want to get wet.

There’s even a cup holder along with carrying handles that make this kayak easy to transport. The kayak is an excellent choice for both expert and beginner paddlers.

What’s a SIK Like?

A SIK is the type of kayak you’ve likely seen in brochures and on recreational websites.

With this type of kayak, you sit in a cockpit that is enclosed, with your legs inside of it. You’ll typically find adjustable footrests, armrests, backrests and cup holders in the cockpit so that you stay as comfortable as possible.

These kayaks are ideal for camping trips and recreational paddling.

Why Choose a SIK?

A significant benefit of a SIK is that you can stay dry due to the enclosed cockpit, which protects you from water splashes. On top of this, the cockpit doesn’t have any drain holes, which further ensures that you remain dry.

Also, if stability in a kayak is crucial to you, then the SIK is your best bet. With this kayak, you stay on the water line, which keeps your boat stable and less prone to tipping over.

SIKs additionally have more storage than SOTs do. That’s why SIKs are recommended for lengthy fishing trips or camping trips.

What to Look for in a SIK

An especially in-demand SIK is the Vapor 10. This kayak’s body is stable and maneuverable, thus making it an excellent boat for paddling on rivers, lakes, and ponds.

You can easily enter or leave the water from it as well, meaning you can jumpstart your adventure sooner. You’ll also love the thigh pads, padded seat, and even the cockpit tray.

Also, the stern’s day well has a high outer edge designed to keep water from entering the kayak. As a result, your wallet, lunch and cell phone can all remain dry even in rough waters.

Try out a SOT and SIK for Yourself

If you’re still wondering which type of kayak would work best for you, look for a rental outfitter in your area.

The outfitter can help you to take both types out on a nearby river or lake, for example, and find out firsthand which would work best for your needs.

How We Can Help

With so many kinds of kayaks on the market, choosing the right one for you can understandably be overwhelming.

That’s why we take pride in being a comprehensive resource when it comes to purchasing kayaks. We showcase a variety of kayak types, including fishing kayaks and inflatable kayaks.

But we don’t stop there.

We also provide information about paddle boats and the best camping equipment you can find today.

The top brands we cover include Intex, Dagger Kayaks, Ocean Kayak, Sun Dolphin and Advanced Elements.

Get in touch with us to find out more about your sit-in vs. sit-on kayak options and how the best kayaks can make your future paddling experiences your best ones yet.


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