Best Sit-on-Top Kayak for Beginners

10 Best Sit On Top Kayaks For Beginners

When you’re a beginner, you’re bound to make plenty of mistakes, but these kayaks are designed to help you learn as you go and not get discouraged.

In comparison to most kayaks, this design is really simple to flip over and get back into. This is imperative because you may wind up in a disaster.

The good news is that even though beginners are expected to flip over, especially when first learning, that is perfectly acceptable, and even beneficial, to do.

This will make you more confident about how to handle a future kayak capsize.

When picking out the best sit-on-top kayaks for beginners, unless you know what to look for, it’s difficult. Consequently, we searched for the most popular entry-level sit-on-top kayaks.

Sit on top beginner

Bow and Stern

These words are used to describe both the front and back of a kayak. When we usually bow forward, someone gives you a harsh look if you return an item with the face you prefer.


Gunwales are what kayak enthusiasts refer to as the sides of their vessel. Sit-on-top kayaks are said to be characterized by their “rails,” but the term is often applied to the area of the boat with this designation, with a wide variety of craft including the sit-on-top models.


Kayaks float due to the vessel’s hull, which submerges when being paddled. A kayak’s hull shape largely influences how fast it can travel, how nimble it is, and how well it is able to weather waves and wind.


Kayaks have cockpits, and while you’re in them, you’re paddling. A sit-on-top kayak has a large open cockpit, which makes it easier for people of all sizes to find comfortable positions for paddling.

Length and Width

The width and length of a kayak determine its balance. Generally, kayaks with a small width are less stable than kayaks with a larger width.

As a consequence, many of the kayaks on our list are custom-made for fishing.

You will have a better experience if you use a boat that’s big enough to withstand the motion from the large fish you’ll likely catch, and you should get the most out of your fishing expedition by starting out with a solid vessel.

Over longer distances, longer kayaks track straighter and can attain higher top speeds because of their length. In contrast, short kayaks are easy to maneuver and much more stable in narrow creeks.

To ensure a proper fit, consider how big or small you are compared to the kayak you plan to buy.

When buying a kayak, you should go for one that can support an extra 50 to 100 pounds more than the weight of the person paddling it.

With this modification, you have extra room in your kayak for gear, a kid, or a pet. When picking a kayak, taller people should choose a kayak with more length to avoid their knees banging into their chest when paddling.

Hull Design

Four common kayak hull designs are used to create each hull. In a boat, there are four common hull shapes: flat, V-shaped, rounded, and pontoon.

The V-shaped hull is preferred in long-distance touring kayaks because it provides the most efficiency in straight lines.

A flat hull makes them extremely maneuverable in rapid water, while a deep V allows for easy manoeuvring in moving water.

Sit-on-top kayaks usually feature a rounded or pontoon hull, which is great for beginner sit-on-top kayakers. Hulls are highly stable, but they lack range and maneuverability.

Storage Capacity

It’s also important to have emergency supplies on hand when you’re on the water. If you only intend to paddle for a couple of hours here and there, then storage capacity isn’t very important. However, if you hope to spend days out on the water someday, it’s worth paying attention to capacity.

Pelican Sentinel 100X Check Amazon Price Sit best on top kayaking for beginners The Pelican Sentinel 100X was designed for fishing purposes. However, this means that the kayak is broader than many other designs and thus more stable for beginners.

It is designed for calm, flat sea, like lakes, sheltered bays and slow-moving rivers. The kayak is 9’6,” 30″ long, and weight only 44 pounds.

This lighter weight makes transport to and from the water easier. It is equipped with four handles (two on the bow and the stern and two on the gunwales) to make the transport a bit easy.

The Sentinel 100X has a stable flat multi-chin hull.

The large open cockpit is suitable for paddlers of all sizes and feet can be adapted to fit large and short paddlers.

The Emotion Spitfire is a smaller, shorter-long kayak. The most suitable for flat-water lakes and ponds, slow-moving rivers and sheltered coastal bays, but also mild whitewater.

In the open storage area at the star, there is plenty of room for a cooler or dry bag, and a small beverage holder is located right before the seat.

Multiple legs help you with a slightly curved knee, a comfortable position, and the seat can be adjusted to a more upright or reclined seat.

The Spitfire is 8 feet long and 31.5 inches wide and weighs just over 40 pounds. It has a weight of 240 pounds and four handles for easy transport (bow, stern, and either gunwale).

This kayak has not many ‘extras,’ but one of the more stable designs on the market. It is smaller and lighter than some of the other designs in this list, which make transportation easier.

Another beginner’s kayak is the Lifetime Tamarack Angler for on-the-water fishing. This, like the Pelican Sentinel, gives new kayakers an extra stability to paddle.

This 275-pound sit-on-top kayak has two six” stern and center storage hatches. These provide further storage space for dry goods and fishing.

The kayak is 10 cm long, 31 cm broad and 52 pounds weight. It has two flush-mounted rod holder just behind the seat, and a top-mounted rod holder on the right rod.

The Tamarack Angler has a padded seat and an adjustable seat back to help you find your most comfortable location as you spend longer out in the water.

It also has several footrests, which allow it to comfortably accommodate all-height paddlers.

Although the Escape 12 Riot Kayaks is designed for flatwater fisheries, it has a range of features that beginners will appreciate. First of all, this is our only kayak with a rough rudder.

This timer will help you to keep track of windy or strong currents (if you eventually graduate to mild ocean paddling). However, whilst learning the basics of sit-on-top kayaking, it can be reversed.

You can easily hook your seat back on the water and adjust it to your preferences when you’re ready.

If you want to fish kayak after having some experience, this kayak has several holders of fishing rods.

The Escape kayak measures 12 feet, 30 centimeters and weight 72 pounds. In the middle of the kayak there is also a sealed hatch at the stern for dry storage and an integrated console with bottle-holder.

The Lifetime Kokanee is our only tandem sit-on-top kayak for beginners. It has a maximum weight of 425 pounds and a length of 10’6″ by 36 inches.

Compared to other two-person kayaks, the kayak is a lightweight 76 pounds. The closed storage hatches are found at the bow and stern of the kayak, with each paddler able to access their own one.

Storage spaces in the bow and stern provide extra equipment storage. These locations have bungee cords to keep your belongings dry in case you jump in and decide to take a swim.

One of the Kokanee’s special features is an optional third jump seat located in the center of the kayak. You can take a child (or a pet) with you on your kayaking trips if you install this.

There’s no other sit-on-top kayak as stable and as roomy as the Malibu Kayaks X-13 on our list. A large open storage area with bungee cords can be found at the stern.

When in dry storage, there are two doors for access: one large and one even larger. You can secure additional gear like a second kayak deck bag to the stern hatch with bungee cord above it.

This kayak has adjustable footrests that allow it to be used by people of various sizes. The X-13 has a maximum payload capacity of 450 pounds.

In total, the kayak is 86 pounds and 30 inches wide and 13.8 feet long. As your trips grow in length, you can speed up by using a V-shaped hull instead of the standard beginner kayak hull.

This sit-on-top kayak, designed for shorter kayakers, is the ideal Lifetime Daylite 80. At 8 feet long, 29 inches wide, and 36.5 pounds, the kayak is small and easy to transport.

One of the smallest people on our list will find it easier to get in and out of the water because of how light the sit-on-top kayak is. To make transportation more straightforward, there are four handles for carrying (one on the bow, one on the stern, and one on each gunwale).

When storing or getting ready to paddle, this kayak’s folding seat can be raised or lowered depending on your preference. It’s a simple task to put together this chair because of this design feature.

The seat is adjustable to fit your preference, and the footrests can be adjusted to keep you locked into a more ergormal paddle position.

Also available are bungee cords that can be used to keep a dry bag or cooler secured in the large stern storage area of this kayak.

The Perception Pescador Pilot 12 is a superb choice for novices who comprehend the significance of getting started with a good kayak. This kayak has a 12’5″ long design and is known for its stability and forgiveness.

The Pilot 12 includes a mesh back raised aluminum seat frame. The seat’s mesh back offers extra ventilation and ensures that you stay cool even in hot weather.

The kayak can hold up to 475 pounds, and is 33.5 inches wide. You can drive it with your legs instead of your arms because of its pedal drive system.

The deck space and pedal and oar lockers of this fishing kayak are intended to provide a more comfortable fishing experience compared to a vessel that has to be rowed.

Picking this design may mean that you need to explore the best kayak carts, wheels, and trolleys for 2020.

Perception’s Tribe 11.5 is the best-selling kayak for paddlers of beginner and intermediate skill levels. The total weight of the board is 52 pounds and it measures 30.25 inches wide and 11’6″ long.

This kayak is designed to carry up to 350 pounds and has an aluminum frame seatback for better comfort while in the water.

Its optimal settings are flat lakes, sluggish rivers, and even protected coastal waterways where wave action is minimal.

Paddlers of varying heights can have the footrests of this kayak adjusted to meet their needs.

It’s also possible to use bungee cords to attach your kayaking gear to the bow and stern compartments, which feature open storage areas.

It features a storage hatch for items that shouldn’t get wet, like cell phones, which you can access while paddling. On the other hand, if you’re going to bring your phone, we strongly suggest that you conduct research on the best kayak deck bags.

The Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K. 120 is a superb option for beginners wishing to purchase a kayak that will last for many years.

This is a well-made and long-lasting model that will give you the freedom to experiment with different types of kayaking as you grow your skill set.

The A.T.A.K. 120 is an empty 12 feet long, 35 inches wide, and 86 pounds heavy. These additional pounds add a little more heft when transporting to and from the water, but they also add to the overall stability of the boat.

This kayak can accommodate you and many of your favorite kayaking accessories because it has a 400-pound capacity.

When you start kayaking overnight, a large, closed storage hatch in the bow also provides dry storage.

Another great feature of this kayak is a raised aluminum seat frame. In future, if you decide to fish for tactical kayak, this seat will give you a better viewpoint to observe barriers to the water or fish.

Check the Pelican Sentinel 100X Amazon. The Pelican Sentinel 100X is our top choice for a best sit on top kayak for beginners because of its size, stability and lightweight design. Getting your kayak to and from the water is one of the hardest things for a beginner to kayak.

Since the kayak weighs only 44 pounds, however, this will not be a problem. Even if it’s still too much for you, you can easily carry it with your wheelchair, even before you reach the water.

Even when there is light wind and wave action, the multi-chine flat bottom hull of this kayak stays extra stable. The pontoon hull we mentioned in our purchasing manual is similar to the hull design.

A unique feature is the removable storage compartment behind the Sentinel 100X’s seat. This room provides a dry storage area for food, extra clothing, etc. You don’t want to get wet during the paddling process.

However, it can be removed in order to create more open storage in the stern. This is ideal for fishing when a cooler or tackle box is often stored behind the seat.

The Sentinel finally provides fully adjustable foot braces instead of multiple footrest positions. This allows you to fully adapt your seating position so that it is suitable for a greater range of paddlers!