Are you looking for the best lightweight fishing kayak & worried about which kayak is better sit on or sit in? While choosing the right type of kayak, out of many consideration factors, the seat is a must priority for your recreational kayaking or any other water activities.

I cover here the whole idea from the different angles as to why you need a traditional sit-inside kayak or modern sit-on-top (SOT) kayak based on seated deck or cockpit & full kayak structure.

Understanding about sit-on-top (SOT) & sit-inside kayak

Most commercial kayak manufacturers produce these two-seat type kayaks. In the sit on top, the cockpit deck is up the water level; on the other hand, in the sit-inside kayak, the cockpit is below the water level. 

A sit-on-top kayak is inflated with an air chamber mechanism that offers great kayaking, especially when the water is cold. There is zero fear for capsizing or filling with water. Whenever capsizes, a kayaker can quickly flip it to return to the paddling mode.

On the other hand, in the sit-in kayak, kayakers can easily paddle & faster headways to wandering in nature.

Are you beginners in kayaking?

There are some technical or specialized terms in the kayak industry. As a beginner, to understand clearly about sit-on or sit-in type kayak, we need to clarify some jargon first.

    Hull: Hull means the top physical kayak body shape.

    Bow & stern: The front side of the seat is bow & backside is stern.

    Rocker: The lengthiness curvature of kayak body.

    Beam: The lower cross-section of the rocker is known as a beam. 

    Spray deck or spray skirt: It is used on the desk to prevent water from entering the boat.

Why two types of seats?

Both sit-on-top & sit-in are especially helpful to meet the different kayaking purposes. 

Sit-on-top is dedicatedly for an amateur photographer, fishing & underwater diving popularly known as recreational scuba diving, etc.

And sit-inside kayak is for recreational paddling or kayaking, exploring the undiscovered natural beauty.

Which type of seat do I need?

Depends on needs, you can easily identify to pick the kayak. But it isn’t as simple as you assume because the shape & size are a must considerable matter. Whether you choose the specific hull shaped kayak-Flat, V-shaped, Rounded, or Pontoon, there may not available all types the kayak seats.

Manufacturers design now multiple-beam profile kayak based on a scientific experiment. Flat-bottom kayak’s beam gives super stability & less speed but rounded or more chin-up beams less stable & high speed.

 The comparative study of sit-on-top (SOT) & sit-inside kayak

Based on the kayakers’ point of view, I discuss here the ins  & outs of essential issues. Both sit on & sit-in kayak has merits & some demerits. It’ll be wise to take decision analysis by comparative study.

  • Seating position

In a sit-on-top kayak, the paddler has only an ‘L’ type seating position. Here backrest & footrest is very available.

On the other hand, in sit-in kayak –there are different seating positions available. In sit –inside kayak thigh bracing can be straightly & leg stretching is sometimes painful for the longer people.

  1. Paddling

Paddling stroke heads the kayak to the desired location. Hard stroking puts an extra strain on the shoulders & it is painful. So, sit-on-top kayak makes your recreational kayaking a bit of experience.

But, there needs less paddling in a sit-inside kayak. As this is the narrower body & it moves smoothly.

  1. Compatibility 

The sit-on-top idea is the modern kayak or canoe mechanism. The concept of foot paddling or small motor is easily used in the sit on position.

Sit inside kayak allows faster paddling keeping a hand with kayak body.

  1. Stability

The stability of kayak on the water bed is one of the primary requirements for happy kayaking. Jerking makes the kayaker uncomfortable. Both the rocker & wider makes the kayak stable. To meet the center of gravity, a sit-on-top kayak is wider & it gives extra stability.

On the other hand, the body of the sit-inside kayak is narrower, so it is not so stable.

  1. Security

In the sit –on top kayak, not capsizable sealed-hulls tactics are used. It allows greater security & flipping when emergency arises. On the other hand, in the sit-inside kayaks, the deck is spacious & so difficult to flip in normal mode when capsizing or filled with water. 

Advantages of Sit-on-top kayak-at a glance

  • Very easy to enter & exit.
  • Sit- in-top requires the wide body to maintain the proper center of gravity. Wide body gives more stable.
  • Flipping is easy here. If the unwanted bad sea or water bodies capsize the desk, flip it quickly & start kayaking again. 
  • Paddlers sit-on out of the water surface. Thus there is no fear of hypothermia by cold water body or cool weather.
  • It relieves you from challenging movement of the limited disabled persons. 

Drawbacks of sit-in-top kayaks

  • Due to the higher surface of the seated location, the kayaker feels less than of center of gravity, and thus s/he can’t fully control of the kayak’s maneuverability or paddling stroke with the desired turning when the adverse conditions of sea or water bed arises.
  • Unless you use to shade, kayaker faces direct sunlight or gust of wind; thus, it may disrupt the faster kayak paddling stroke.
  • Vertical angular paddling makes it slower than paddling from sit-inside kayak.

Advantages of Sit-in kayak-at a glance

  • Faster & easy paddling helps to go a long distance.
  • Here, the full body merges in the desk. Thus not only paddle but also the gravity of the attached leg plus body can control the paddling easily.
  • In warm conditions, it gives comfort because the cockpit directly attached to water.
  • It protects from heavy wind & direct sunlight.
  •  The desk is a large size, so more storage of recreational types of equipment are available in a sit-in kayak. 

Drawbacks of sit-in kayaks

  • Substantial wave fills the desk quickly though spray skirt prevents water but not fully.
  • Tandem kayaking with two persons is limited here.

Finally, we get the aforementioned excellent tips & ideas from the vast well-researched sites & real-life experience. Out of those -Wikipedia, Wikihow and KayaksZone etc. are notably mentionable sites. So, keep trust in leading authority sites about proper kayaking essentials & make an accurate decision whether to pick sit-on-top or sit-in kayak.