Best Lightweight Sit-On-Top Kayak Review (Specs, Features & Performance)

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Sit-on-top kayaks are the most popular among kayakers, paddlers, or anglers because of their open design. People who do not like confinements like them more than other types of kayaks.

But there are thousands of sit-on-top kayaks out there. Which one to buy? Read this review to find the best sit-on-top kayak for yourself.

What is Sit-On-Top Kayak?

Sit-on-top kayaks have a closed cockpit, and a person can quickly get in and out of them. Due to their user-friendliness, these kayaks are very popular. These kayaks are designed in such a way so that a user can feel the highest comfort.

They are much wider, and when sitting on them, you will never feel confined. Fishing gears are easily accessible in them, which means you will enjoy every second of your fishing, kayaking, or paddling. The best feature of sit-on-top kayaks is – they are self-bailing.

Another great thing is, they contain scupper holes in the cockpit. As a result, water can easily drain out through them.

With so many great features, people are now showing much interest in buying sit-on-top kayaks. But they have one drawback- while paddling, you will get wet for sure.

Our Top Pick:Pelican Sit-On-Top Kayak – Sentinel 100X
Editor’s Choice:Lifetime Tamarack Paddler Sit-On-Top Kayak
Best for Long Kayaking Session:Pelican Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak – Basscreek 100XP Angler
Best for Fishing:Riot Kayaks 12” Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak
Best for Recreation:Pelican Sit-On-Top Kayak – Sentinel 100X – Recreational
Best for Comfortability:Perception Tribe Sit-On-Top Kayak for All-Around Fun

6 Best Lightweight Sit-On-Top Kayaks – Review

Few qualities characteristics make a kayak of good quality. Stability, maneuverability, storage capacity is a few of them. Let’s take a look at the below reviews of different sit-on-top kayaks.

Top 6 Lightweight Sit-On-Top Kayaks & Comparison chart 

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1# Pelican Sit-On-Top Kayak – Sentinel 100X

Kayak Dimension:114″ X 30″ X 13.25″
Weight:19.96 kg
Pelican Sit-On-Top Kayak – Sentinel 100X

According to the world’s leading kayak fishing magazine “Kayak Anglers,” the Pelican Sit-On-Top Kayak – Sentinel 100X is one of the best kayaks available in the market in terms of speed. At a brilliant speed, this kayak can go through whitewater securely and effortlessly. You will also have a comfortable kayaking experience in any water condition with this kayak.

It is specially designed for beginner paddlers. For this reason, the manufacturer has made it with a lightweight and portable feature. Also, its beautiful design makes it an ideal kayak for both men and women. The kayak comes with a multi-chine flat bottom hull that confirms stability when reeling fish or casting lines. It is also available with the most comfortable seating system; a paddler will never feel stress when sitting on it for an extended period.

The kayak is made of RAM-X materials with exceptionally durable lightweight polyurethane that ensures the kayak’s longevity. Moreover, this material is hard to break and easy to carry, which means in terms of durability, this kayak is a champion. It is manufactured following a unique formula to receive a product with the best possible stability, maneuverability, and speed.

Your safety will never be questioned on this kayak because it has foam blocks inside the kayak for additional floatation. Overall, it is a compact 9.5ft kayak built for anglers or fishers looking for stability and a comfortable seating system.

What we liked most:
  • An ideal kayak for all skill level paddlers
  • Storage compartments are removable
  • Maximum accommodate weight of 275 lbs
  • Twin sheet thermoforming technology
What could be better:
  • You may not enjoy fishing with this kayak

2# Lifetime Tamarack Paddler Sit-On-Top Kayak

Kayak Dimension:120” x 31” x 14 “
Weight:23.59 kg
lifetime tamarack angler sit-on-top kayak

When the discussion comes about reliability, no other kayak can beat the Lifetime Tamarack Padler Sit-On-Top Kayak. This is a brilliantly designed kayak that is full of extraordinary features. It is promised to provide stress-free kayaking with excellent stability. With all the excellent features, you will enjoy the kayaking session with a 5-star rating at an affordable price.

Firstly, the kayak is constructed with HDPE. This material is well-known for its lightweight and UV-protected feature means the beautiful olive color will never fade away. Also, being lightweight, it is easy to carry. It is a versatile kayak because of the various footrest places. As a result, paddlers of any size can fit into this kayak quite comfortably. It also features a modifiable expanded seat back and pad; you can adjust your seat as per your requirement.

The bow is sharp to give you the required speed and tracking. Moreover, to ensure more excellent stability, the bottom is entirely flat. Amateur kayakers struggle to get stability on the water, and this feature will help them. Furthermore, for tracking, the kayak comes with a tracking skeg. As a result, a beginner can keep tracking smoothly.

For comfortable transporting, this kayak has front and rear T-Handles. Additionally, with ample space, this kayak will be a great option for beginners.

What we liked most:
  • HDPE construction
  • 2 flash mounted fishing rod holders
  • Front and rear shock cord straps
  • Self-bailing scupper holes
What could be better:
  • Over time, the seat loses its quality

3# Pelican Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak – Basscreek 100XP Angler

Kayak Dimension:120″ X 30.5″ X 16″
Weight:22.68 kg
Color:Olive Camo
Pelican Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak – Basscreek 100XP Angler

The Pelican Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak – Basscreek 100XP Angler is specially designed for fishing and to answer the needs of the most demanding fisherman. It is an all-rounder kayak that performs well in both speedy and slow rapids. The kayak has much space, stable on the water, safe, and a combination of efficiency and user-friendly features.

It is a bit wider kayak compared to other sit-on-top kayaks, and because of the wide design, the kayak stays stable and steady on the water. The kayak is 30.5” wide and 120” long, which is a perfect size for all size kayakers. The wide-open cockpit will allow you to enter the kayak comfortably. Also, it doesn’t show any unstable characteristics on rough water. When fishing, stability is a much-needed feature, and it is ensured with the multi-chine flat bottom hull.

To carry it easily, it has 2 retractable carrying handles, and its lightweight feature makes the kayak an easy to carry unit. This kayak’s storage option is brilliant, and you can keep all your essential fishing gear in it without any hassle. It has a quick lock hatch, 4” day hatch with a storage bag, and storage platform secured with a bungee cord where you can securely store all your gears for a fishing trip.

This kayak will work in freshwater and saltwater. It’s made of very durable plastic to give you long-term service. It is advisable to wash the kayak before you go from saltwater to freshwater.

What we liked most:
  • Combination of speed and efficiency on calm water
  • Suitable for the most demanding fisherman
  • The wide design ensures stability
  • Ample space to store all the necessary fishing gears
What could be better:
  • It is not designed for rough water

4# Riot Kayaks 12” Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

Kayak Dimension:144” X 30” X 15”
Weight:32.66 kg
Riot Kayaks 12” Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

The Riot Kayaks 12” Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak offers more space for anglers to utilize their fishing gear. Any determined fisherman or skilled craftsman will love this kayak’s performance undoubtedly. The combination of performance and stability will let you feel relaxed and take care of your every belonging on the water.

Its interior and exterior are made of polyethylene that allows you to maneuver the kayak on any water type smoothly. It weighs a little more than 68lbs and can resist unexpected movements and will not tumble over. The kayak is sturdily built so that it can accept a nice amount of weight without any hassle. The seat is comfortable enough that you will not feel any stress sitting on it for an extended period. Moreover, the seat stays in its position and doesn’t budge, promised to deliver you optimum security.

We all want a safe and smooth ride on the water, and to ensure a secure fishing session, it is equipped with a unique pilot radar system. Plastic is used to manufacture the pilot radar system, protected with glass. As a result, the system has become robust, yet lightweight allows you to operate it effortlessly. You will not face any problem sailing your kayak in windy weather because it has a low windage openwork design that blocks a reasonable amount of friction due to wind.

Your smaller fishing equipment will be taken care of by the front hatch. You can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while fishing since it has a cup holder in the cockpit’s center. Fishing equipment weight gets distributed evenly throughout the kayaks that show its great stability feature.

What we liked most:
  • Equipped with 5-rod holders
  • Efficient storage capacity
  • Pilot radar system
  • Durably build
What could be better:
  • Storage compartments are not designed with water-resistant function

5# Pelican Sit-On-Top Kayak – Sentinel 100X – Recreational

Kayak Dimension:114″ X 30″ X 11″
Weight:18.96 kg
Color:EXO Neptune white
 Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak - Sentinel 100X

Among many lightweight recreational kayaks, the Pelican Sit-On-Top Kayak – Sentinel 100X – Recreational kayak is popular among many customers because of its lightweight and paddle-friendly feature. Pelican is a top-rated manufacturer in the kayaking industry and is renowned for manufacturing premium quality kayaks. And this Recreational sit-on-top is also no exception.

The maximum accommodation capacity of the kayak is 275lbs. The kayak features different footrest positions, and you can effortlessly alter your foot points as per your requirement. The inner carpet doesn’t slip and provides a soft area for feet, and it is an excellent spot for your furry friend. Oval mounted seating system offers an additional dense cushioning, and the extra high and width backrest confirms comfortability.

Although it is a compacted boat, it offers plenty of storage space. There is a storage option at the front side and back portion of the kayak, and with a bungee cord, belonging can easily be secured in both places. The Pelican Sentinel 100X – Recreational kayak comes with a 30L detachable storage section. There has a perfectly sized case that assists you to load your fishing gear at ease. There is a fast entree hatch placed at the case base so that makes easy entrance possible while paddling.

The kayak is also available with a molded bottle holder, and convenient carry handles at the kayak’s front and back. It weighs only 18.96 kg, so this kayak easy to carry and store.

What we liked most:
  • Extremely functional kayak
  • Easy to use
  • Convenient to carry with easily accessible handles
  • Provides superb stability on the water
What could be better:
  • Slow speed compared to other kayaks in its class

6# Perception Tribe Sit-On-Top Kayak for All-Around Fun

Weight:20.87 kg
Kayak Dimension:12’/ 365 cm width 32”
 Perception Tribe 9.5 | Sit on Top Kayak

The Perception Tribe Sit-On-Top Kayak for All-Around Fun is designed for an everyday paddler; that is why it has premium seating options. Moreover, this kayak is an all-rounder with brilliant stability and maneuverability for making fun on the water. Besides, it offers a lot of storage areas. Combined with all these features, it is one of the lightest sit-on-top fishing kayaks.

Rotomolded high-density polyethylene is used to manufacture the kayak. Thus it can withstand every situation. It shows stable characteristics of sow-moving water. The great thing is that the seating system’s padding is ventilated, which also stretches out front or back for personalized support. With multiple footrests, you can choose the most comfortable position.

Built-in buoyancy has made it one of the safest kayaks available in the market. Also, it features a skid plate that can easily be replaced for extra safety when dragging your gear-loaded kayak to the water. The backside tank of the kayak is capable of storing larger bags and coolers. Additionally, it has a small dry hatch in the center of the kayak and 4 carrying handles.

All in all, it is a durable kayak suitable for flat water.

What we liked most:
  • Adjustable backrest
  • 6 scupper holes for removing water
  • Offers plenty of storage area
  • Built-in-buoyancy aids extra safety
What could be better:
  • No place to hold the paddle.

Lightweight Kayak – Hurricane Kayaks

Buying Guide – How to Buy the Best Lightweight Sit on Top Kayak

How to Buy the Best Lightweight Sit on Top Kayak

Similar to all other products, dozens of sit-on-top kayaks are available in the market. All kayaks are not made for all water types. As a result, you shouldn’t buy the best lightweight Sit-On-Top kayak without considering a few factors.

Kayak Type

Before buying a sit-on-top kayak, the very first thing that you will need to consider is – the kayak design. A sit-on-top kayak with medium width and length will be an ideal choice if you decide to go kayaking in calm water. More extended width and length kayaks are challenging to turn, and they are speedy too.

Additionally, kayak boats for solo and team are not similar. A tandem sit-on-top kayak will be right for you when you decide to go for a kayak with a team. At the same time, you will find a dedicated sit-on-top kayak for solo kayakers in the market.

Water Type

You will get the best experience from sit-on-kayaks while kayaking on freshwater. Also, you will have an enjoyable kayaking session when paddling on flat water. However, there are a few questions that you have to get the answers to.

  • How far do you want to go?
  • How long do you want to kayak?
  • How much stability and comfort do you want from your kayak?

Furthermore, your kayak selection will entirely change if you decide to kayak at sea.

Additionally, it would be best if you look for a kayak that comes with safety features. Sit-on-top kayaks struggle with strong wind and high tides. So, when kayaking at sea, select a kayak that has a length of more than 12ft.


Sit-on-top kayaks come with 3 seat types: basic, deluxe, and premium. The basic seat type comes with an affordable price tag and best for those people who are tight on their budget. You can pass a comfortable extended kayaking session with a deluxe seat type, and they will not cost you more too. Also, the backrest of this seat type offers better support and control. The premium seat type of sit-on-top kayak is the best seat option without any debate. They came with adjustable features in the backrest and equipped with leg lifters.


Most sit-on-kayaks are made of polyethylene. It is a lightweight material and durable enough to provide long term service.

Durability is a critical factor of a sit-on-top kayak. It is because any leakage or damage in the kayak can lead your life to danger.

So, the kayak’s durability has to be tested. Don’t sweat your forehead thinking about difficulties like stones because a sit-on-top kayak’s bottom is equipped with a skid plate to save the kayak’s bottom.

Additional Features

Kayaks are available with different features, and these features can make your kayaking experience enjoyable on the water. Carrying handle is such a feature that allows sit-on-top kayak users to carry the kayak from home to the shoreline. With this feature, a person can easily lift them than normal kayaks.

Also, carrying necessary equipment is normal while kayaking, and keeping this point in mind, most sit-on-kayaks come with a storage option behind the seating place. Additionally, some kayaks have a storage tank at the bow.

Since water can get into sit-on-kayak when kayaking on sea, scupper holes are common for a sit-on-top kayak. Water can go out from the kayak through the holes. Scupper holes can be found in the footrest area, underneath the seat, and in the rear storage tank area. However, keeping the holes open is unnecessary when kayaking in the river, but keep them open mandatorily when kayaking on the sea.

What are the Pros and Cons of Sit-On-Top Kayaks?

Every product has pros and cons; sit-on-top kayaks are also no exception. Sit-on-top kayaks are suitable for beginners because they are practically unsinkable. Also, because of the cockpit’s unavailability and holes, it comes with an affordable price tag.

Let’s look at the more detailed discussion on the pros and cons of sit-on-top kayaks.


  • Inexpensive, thus it is suitable for amateur and beginners.
  • A sit-on-top kayak user can easily get in and out of the kayak because they have an open cockpit. A paddler feels much comfortable in a sit-on-top kayak compared to other kayak types.
  • Made of polyethylene material, which means sit-on-top kayaks will never sink even when it flips over. This means if the bogie is unavailable in the water, your fishing gears and equipment will go into the water due to potential damage.
  • Great for a calm river.
  • Extremely stable, which makes them an ideal option for fishing.
  • Self-bailing scupper holes are among the most significant advantages of sit-on-top kayaks that allow water to move out from the cockpit. This way, carrying a bilge pump is entirely unnecessary in sit-on-top kayaks.


  • They are not an ideal option for rough water.
  • Sit-on-top kayaks are not meant to provide benefits to professional kayakers. Their functionality is limited and skilled kayakers will not show interest in buying a sit-on-top kayak.

Frequently Asked Question

Question: Are sit-on-top kayaks safe?

Answer: Flipping over is the most significant danger for any kayak. Since sit-on-top kayaks don’t flip over and are nearly unsinkable, they are safe.

Question: Is a sit-inside kayak faster or slower compared to sit-on-top kayaks?

Answer: A kayak speed depends on the hull design, not on the kayak type. The hull shape will determine the kayak boat efficiency and speed through the water. However, the sit-on-top kayak beam is wider than the sit-inside kayak, making them relatively slow on the water.

Question: Can you use a sit-on-top kayak on a river?

Answer: A sit-on-top kayak may not show similar characteristics in both lake and river. It means a kayak can show good performance in a river but may not perform well in a lake. Depending on the water type, you should buy a sit-on-top kayak.

Question: Is a long or short kayak better?

Answer: In general, long kayaks are faster, while short kayaks provide more stability, and they are easy to turn as well as is a bit slower than long kayaks. Both are better on specific water types.

Last Thoughts

If you are a novice in kayaking and seasoned paddlers, I believe the above listed best lightweight sit-on-top kayaks will fulfill your requirements on the water.

Which kayak boat have you selected from the above list to make your next kayak adventure enjoyable? Share your comments in the below comment box.

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