How and When to Choose Sit-In vs Sit-On Kayak

Do you also have no idea which is most beneficial among sit-in vs sit-on Kayak?

Kayaking is the best way to get access, enjoy the view of nature, and feel calm in the depth of water. Though choosing a kayak is a little bit difficult. No one wants to buy something that is not worthy of their money.

The biggest problem is why choosing a kayak is a pain in the neck because you can find hundreds of kayaks from different brands online. Not only this, but you also have to choose between sit-on-top vs sit-in Kayak.

Sit-in or sit-on-top are the two famous different styles of a kayak. Both are good, and anyone can enjoy their fishing journey on either.

However, some features make them separate from each other. Not only do features differ from each other, but there might be chances that the user of sit-on-top Kayak will not like sit-in kayak features.

Guide on Choosing Between Sit-In vs Sit-On Kayak

Be cheerful and don’t overthink about this. Because after reading this article, you don’t have to research separately about which is more beneficial between sit-in or sit-on-top Kayak. You’ll find all answers to these queries in this article.

  • What are sit-on and sit-in Kayaks?
  • Which type of Kayak is suitable for an experienced person?
  • Which Kayak suits beginners?
  • What are the pros and cons of buying sit-on-top and sit-in kayaks?


The notable point is no one can say that one is advantageous and another one is worthless between sit-on-top and sit-in kayak. The only way to find out which one suits you most is to read their advantages and disadvantages.

For your ease, below, we’ll be going to break down the benefits and drawbacks of both the sit-in vs sit-on kayaks.

Sit-On-Top Kayak

Sit-on-top means kayaks in which a user sits on the top of the Kayak. This Kayak is great for beginners due to its easy access feature.

One can quickly get in or out because there is no cockpit. The biggest drawback is that you’re liable to the sun, wind, and water, which is not fit for you.

Sit-In Kayak

The second type of Kayak is the exact opposite of sit-on-top. As the name says, a sit-in kayak means a kayak in which you’ve to sit to use it. It has a cockpit for you to sit inside the Kayak that will save you from the sun, wind, and water waves.

If you have little experience in kayaking, then it is not suitable for you. The reason is you can’t get in or out quickly with a sit-in kayak.

Understand the Kayak’s Structure

Before we start about the difference between sit-in and sit-on-top kayaks, bear in mind that there are things that will always remain the same for both kayaks. These things are the main parts, and some required features. Here is an article recommended for you that will provide you insight into 5 lightweight kayaks.

Main Parts of Kayaks

  • The first one is a deck located at the edge of both or one side of your Kayak. 
  • The second part is the hull design of kayaks which is the bottom of kayaks. 
  • The front and back parts of the Kayak are known as bow and stern.
F7- kayak parts

Features of Kayaks

You will find the same features in all kayaks. All kayaks offer adjustable seats, foot pedals for the sake of user comfortability while fishing. an article is recommended for you that provides you the insight into Kayak design basics.

Differences: Sit-In vs Sit-On Kayak

You can’t make the head or tails of sit-in vs sit-on Kayak. Don’t worry because we’re also going to tell you about the pros and cons of both sit-on and sit-in kayaks. So, you can get a better idea about each type of Kayak and select the most suitable one that will be worth every penny.


Sit-On-Top Kayak

  • Sit-on-top kayaks have no cockpit; that’s why you can quickly get in or out with less or no effort in all situations.
  • The best advantage of a sit-on-top kayak is that a tall or large person can use this because the cockpit sets a limit, and such a person can’t fit in it.
  • In case of an emergency, if your sit-on-top Kayak flips in the water. Then you can easily climb on it after flipping it back because it is completely sealed.
  • It is safe because of the drain holes; it will never fill with water.
  • Sit-on-top kayaks are more accessible and stable compared to sit-in kayaks. Even a beginner can use it without any difficulty.
  • It provides more space than sit-in kayaks.
  • You can easily access gears because there is no cockpit, and you have a generous amount of space.
  • With this Kayak, you’ve complete control over the kayak area.
  • The last and most important thing is that it is cheaper compared to sit-in kayaks.

Sit-In Kayak

  • The prime benefit of a sit-in kayak is the cockpit work as a shield to protect you from wind, water waves, and the sun.
  • Sit-in kayaks work faster than sit-on-top kayaks, and one can easily paddle the kayaks.
  • Sit-in kayaks also have spray skirts that work as a cover and protect you in case of rain, snow, or water waves.
  • You can carry things with you because every sit-in kayak has storage compartments that protect your valuables from water and keep them dry.
  • You can place your legs under the deck of the Kayak and keep them dry.
  • Sin-in kayaks are suitable for long trips as compared to sit-on-top kayaks.


Sit-On-Top Kayak

  • The main reason why people don’t like sit-on-top kayaks is that it does not protect you from the exposure of sun, wind and water waves.
  • No doubt sit-on-top kayaks are a good choice for summer, but in winter, water waves and wind are a threat to your health.
  • It will never fill with water thanks to draining holes, but still, the Kayak will never stay dry.
  • It is meant for flat water and does not work well in rough water.
  • Usually, most of the sit-on-top (except some larger ones) do not provide space or compartments that keep your equipment dry.

Sit-In Kayak

F7- sit-in vs sit-on Kayak
  • In case of capsizing, sit-in kayaks sink quickly.
  • It is not suitable for beginners to use, but yeah, after practice, anyone can use it.
  • The rate of sit-in kayaks is pretty high as compared to sit-on-top kayaks.
  • You can not flip back the swamped Kayak in case of any emergency.
  • You can’t get in and out quickly from sit-in kayaks because of the cockpit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a sit-on or sit-in kayak better?

Sit-on or sit-in both kayaks are good and usable for all. The only difference is their features that make them differ from each other. If you are a beginner in kayaking, then a sit-on-top kayak is more suitable for you. For an experienced person, a sit-in kayak is an excellent option to choose.

Is a sit-in kayak more stable than a sit-on kayak?

When it comes to stability and safety, sit-on-top kayaks are more stable compared to sit-in kayaks. A person can save themselves in case of a flip-over in a sit-on-top kayak.

Due to the cockpit, you can’t get in again after a flip over in a sit-inside kayak. Sit-on-top kayaks also have lower gravity which means more stability.

What is the best type of Kayak for a beginner?

Sit-on-top is suitable for shore water and beginners. It is easy to use and easy to get in and out at any time. There is also no chance of sinking because of drain holes, and in case of flip over, you can again flip back the Kayak.

Is a sit-on-top kayak safe?

Whether it is a sit-on-top or sit-in kayak, both are safe if you use it according to instructions. As I stated above, if you’re a beginner and want to enjoy kayaking in shallow water, then sit-on-top kayaks are entirely safe.

However, if you’re thinking of using a sit-on-top kayak in open water, it will be dangerous for you.

How dangerous is kayaking?

Like every adventurous activity, there is a risk. Even hiking, diving, climbing is also dangerous if you don’t follow safety instructions. Kayaking is also hazardous in case of bad weather. Or if a person doesn’t follow proper guidelines.

Bottom Line

No doubt, kayaking is a memorable adventure that one can’t forget. The only problem is choosing the right type of Kayak.

Hopefully, you got the answers to all your queries regarding sit-in vs sit-on kayaks by reading this article. But in case you’re still confused over which is best for you, then here’s the summary.

  • Sit-on-top kayaks are suitable for beginners, shore water, and short fishing trips.
  • Sit-in kayaks are ideal for experienced or intermediate-level persons who know kayaking.