Are you claustrophobic and don’t like the confined space of a traditional sit-in kayak?
Or, you are worried about getting out of the kayak if it decides to capsize.
Then, sit-on-top kayaks are your answer.
They are popular amongst beginners specifically and other people in general for having a wide cockpit. This enables them to get in and out of the kayak without much trouble.
In addition, as they have a higher center of gravity, they have better primary stability which indicates the ability of a kayak to remain stable on flat waters moving straight.
This is not all, they are virtually unsinkable due to the enclosed design of their hull. Plus, they are also more likely to beat traditional kayaks on storage options.
However, when it comes to sit-on-top kayaks, they come in a lot of different types and price ranges.
The design of a kayak determines what you can do with a kayak and more you can do with a kayak in terms of activity and storage is going to determine the price of the kayak.
However, if you are a beginner or an occasional kayaker, it is important that you get your hands on entry-level kayaks. This is because, as of yet, you don’t know how much time you are going to spend on the kayak, how and whether you are going to advance your hobby, and whether you are going to like it or not. Therefore, it is not wise to spend 1000 dollars on something that you are not sure about.
For this piece, we have tested quite a number of products and asked for reviews of owners to bring up with kayaks that are not only cost-effective but also efficient and durable.
Table: Comparing 10 Best Sit-on-Top Kayaks Under 300
If you have decided the price range, you can look for specifics like seating capacity, weight capacity, and storage ability of the kayaks.
These attributes are largely going to determine your usage. For example, if you are a couple and want to spend some quality time together on a kayak, you need a kayak with a seating capacity of two persons. The same goes true if you want your kid to be on board with you.
Similarly, if you are a heavy individual, you do need to keep an eye on the weight capacity of the kayak. This should also include the gear you are going to keep with you on your excursion. Therefore, if you are going for a solo kayak, make sure that it has a weight capacity in excess of 400 pounds.
In the table below, we have enlisted some of these attributes for each of our picks for easy reference.
Going ahead, we will be discussing each of our picks in more detail with its ins and outs and pros and cons to help you make a better decision.
|Intex Explorer K2 Kayak||400||2||No||Inflatable|
|Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10||250||1||Yes||Solid|
|lifetime Lotus kayak||250||1||No||Solid|
|Sevylor Quikpak K1||400||1||No||Inflatable|
|Intex Excursion Pro Kayak||400||2||No||Inflatable|
|Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak||130||1||No||Solid|
|Sun Dolphin Camino 8 SS||225||1||No||Solid|
|Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100||275||1||No||Solid|
|Best Choice 6ft Kids Kayak||121||1||No||Solid|
|Aquaglide Rogue Kayak||400||2||Yes||Inflatable|
1. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak – Beast Inflatable Sit-on-Top Kayak
Intex is the name to be reckoned with when it comes to inflatables. The company is offering a wide range of inflatables ranging from spas to kayak. The quality and craftsmanship provided by this company are as good as they get. Therefore, whenever you are out on the market, browsing for some inflatables, make sure it has the “Intex” label on it.
Thanks to its safety profile, Explorer K2 is the most reliable inflatable kayak you would find on the market. Intex has utilized heavy-duty vinyl in the construction which resists wear and tears offered by the underwater bodies and prevents punctures. Its inflatable I-Beam design further adds to the strength of the kayak by making it rigid, solid, and compact.
The kayak has a seating capacity of two individuals and provides comfortable seating for both. Seats are inflatable and come with backrests to ensure the comfort of individuals. There is plenty of leg space for the person sitting on the rear seat. But the individual at the back seat may feel a little congested. However, there is always an option to exchange the seats if that is the case.
There isn’t any dedicated storage compartment on this kayak but the cockpit provides plenty of space to stash your gear. The 400 pounds weight capacity is more than enough to accommodate all the necessities you need on the water.
Read Full Review: Intex Explorer K2
2. Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10 – Durable, Reliable, And Comfortable
Sun Dolphin started manufacturing small boats back in the 1990s from a small home-based company. The consistent delivery of quality products now ranks this company as the leading manufacturer of recreational products.
The kayak we have at hand right now is one of the best 10 foot sit-on-top kayaks that are available in the market. Sun Dolphin has utilized rugged high-density polythene in the construction of this kayak. This material is rugged, solid and the best part is that it resists UV radiation. Therefore, even if you leave it in your backyard under direct sunlight it would not sustain any damage.
The kayak features an open design that allows easy entry and exit. Moreover, it provides a large area for seating which keeps the user comfortable throughout.
In order to maximize user-comfort, it comes with protective thigh pads that prevent the cramps in the thighs and legs. Therefore, if you were in search of an affordable yet comfortable kayak, this one’s for you.
When it comes to storage, this kayak provides an ample amount of space and compartments for that. The rear of the kayak features a dedicated storage compartment where you can stash your gear. On the top of the compartment, there is a bungee network for the stuff that does not fit in the compartment. Even if all the space is not enough, you can attach a portable accessory carrier to store all the remaining equipment.
3. Lifetime Lotus Kayak – A Kayak That Aces The Stability Test
If there was a competition to determine which kayak is the most stable, this boat would definitely have brought that home. This 10-foot-long kayak is a beast when it comes to stability and it is because of its well-thought-out design.
The kayak is streamlined from the front, but is wide from the back and has a wide body. This design increases the area that is in constant contact with the water which keeps the boat steady.
Therefore, and we have tested it, no matter how harsh the conditions are, this boat would stay steady. It would not wobble or flip and would stay on its intended path regardless of the conditions.
Beginners might find it hard to maneuver at first but it would get handy as time passes. This is for me makes this kayak the best sit-on-top kayak for beginners.
Moving on, the construction of the boat is sturdy and has been carried out by using polythene. It is a flexible material that does not sustain damage if it comes in contact with underwater objects. However, it does not resist the UV, which is why you would need to store it in suitable conditions. With the proper care and a bit of regular maintenance, this boat still has the potential to last years.
Since it has an open design, water will always make its way up to the cockpit of this kayak. However, this is not something you should be worried about as it features scupper holes to drain that water. All you have to do is to unplug the holes and water will get out on its own.
Read Full Review: Lifetime Lotus Kayak
4. Sevylor Quikpak K1 – Get A Tube-Like Experience With Kayak
Wouldn’t it be fun if you can switch between a kayak and a towable tube? this kayak gives you the ability to do just that. This kayak features a unique design that is not only comfortable and practical but also gives you the ability to make it a towable tube with its solid attachment point at the front.
You can tie the handle of this kayak with a rope and connect it with a big boat to enjoy a thrilling tubing experience.
However, if you want to sail peacefully, lay back and paddle through the water while enjoying mother nature. In either case, this kayak would not disappoint you with its performance.
This kayak has 21-gauge PVC construction which is a rugged material. Unlike most inflatable material, this material does not bend or mold when you put pressure on it. Moreover, it has a tarpaulin bottom which has the ability to withstand the abuse of water and underwater bodies.
The combination of both materials makes it solid and reduces the chances of punctures.
In addition, in order to make it more reliable, the company has designed multiple air chambers. This in case one of them gets punctured, which is unlikely to happen though, the kayak remains afloat and takes you back ashore safely. Therefore, when it comes to safety you can rely on this kayak blindly.
Moreover, the open design of the kayak provides an ample amount of leg space. Long story short, there is no way you would get tired even if you sit on it all day long.
Unlike most of the inflatables, there is a proper dedicated storage area available on this boat. You can stash your stuff into it and then cover it with the network of rope.
If you need to have accessibility to some of your stuff, you can store that in the cockpit. The point is, even though it is an inflatable kayak, it provides much more storage areas than some of the compact ones.
Moving on, the stability of this kayak is unmatchable when you compare it with other inflatables. It is because of the wide body of the boat which keeps in contact with water and does not flip or wobble. Therefore, take it out on a windy day or sail on it on calm water, this kayak would not disappoint.
5. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak – Inflatable But As Rugged As Solid Kayaks
Intex has a lot of experience in manufacturing inflatables and they never disappoint with their products. The product on the other hand is an inflatable fishing kayak designed to meet the needs of anglers at an affordable price.
Intex has used polyester to design the core and to protect it from sunlight and abrasions they have laminated it with PVC. The protective covering reduces the chances of puncture and maximizes the life of the boat. This makes it the best sit on top kayak for dogs because it won’t get punctured by their paws.
Moreover, the length to width ratio is optimum which prevents the wobbling and flipping off the boat. Therefore, even if you want to go out on a windy day, this kayak can become your best companion.
The kayak does not feature dedicated storage compartments but has storage space in the bow and stern. You can stash all the stuff in there and tie it using cords to stainless-steel D-rings it has. The kayak allows up to 400 pounds which is enough to store your fishing and camping gear.
For anglers, it features two-rod holders attached to the sides of the rear seats. The holders are deep; therefore, you can leave the rods in there without worrying about them falling in the water. The only issue is the person sitting at the front would not have access to these. However, you can work around it by passing the rods to the person sitting behind you.
6. Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak – A Reliable And Safe Kayak For Kids
Kayaking is fun but it can be dangerous, especially for the kids. There is always a risk of flipping or falling down into the water. By reducing and virtually eliminating these risks, Lifetime has designed a kayak, especially for kids. The kayak has an exceptional safety profile which allows the kids to sail over without any distress.
The kayak is 6 feet long and features a wide design that keeps the kayak stable. Its wide body ensures constant contact with the water and does not let the kayak flip upside down. Therefore, even if your kid wants to stand on it, the kayak would not have any problem with it.
In case, the kid accidentally falls into water, the company has made one end sloppy and has attached steps with it. The kids can use this swim-up step to climb up the kayak again without needing help for anybody. However, to further ensure the safety of your kids, as should be a normal practice, whenever you leave the kids on any kayak, make sure the water is not rough and the kid has his lifejacket on.
The kayak features construction from heavy-duty polyethylene which is a durable and resistant material. It has the ability to withstand the wear and tear water has to offer, which makes them durable and strong.
The boat does not feature any seat and the kids have to sit on the polyethylene which is kind of a bummer. However, the kids, you would agree, do not really care about comfort, all they want is fun and this kayak provides them that.
Footrests play a key role in making the person stable while sitting on the kayak. Therefore, the company has designed several footrest positions so the kids can take get maximum foot support. It keeps them stable and makes sure they do not fall off from the kayak.
7. Sun Dolphin Camino 8 SS – Packed With Nifty Features To Make Kayaking Delight
Sun Dolphin 8SS is a sit-on-top kayak with a plethora of features to make your voyage delight. It features an open design that allows easy entry and exit from the kayak. Moreover, the open design provides plenty of leg space which keeps you comfortable while you are on it.
The bottom of the seat is not padded and you have to sit directly on the polyethylene. The backrest, however, is well padded which provides comfort to the back and does not let you tire up. The combination of open design and padded backrest would keep you comfortable no matter how long you ride it.
The material used in construction is polyethylene which is a rugged but flexible material. It has the ability to withstand the abuse the water and underwater bodies have to offer. However, this material does not resist the UV-radiation, therefore, you would have to store it in the absence of direct sunlight. Proper care and maintenance can add years to the life of this boat.
Moreover, the steering of the kayak is pretty simple and straightforward because of the streamlined front. All you have to do is to push two or three strokes down the water against the direction you want it to move.
Basically, if you are looking for a stable and easy-to-maneuver kayak on a low budget, this one is it.
Moving on, the boat provides an ample amount of storage area in the cockpit and also has a dedicated area for it at the back. You can store all of your stuff in the back and tie it with the bungee cords that come with it. The kayak lacks a dry storage compartment, so you would have to purchase a waterproof bag separately to keep your electronics.
8. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 – Worth Every Penny You Spend On It
This next entry on our list for the best sit-on-top kayak under 300 is just above our cut-off limit but is too good to be left out for just a few bucks. The extra amount of money that you would pay for is totally worth it considering the quality of features it has to offer.
First of all, the material utilized in the construction of this kayak is high-density polyethylene which resists the UV-radiation. Therefore, even if you store it under direct sunlight its durability and total life would not reduce. Moreover, it is a solid and rugged material and can withstand abuse. The point is, once you spend a little bit of extra money for getting this, it would be there with you for years to come.
I have taken it out in both windy and calm conditions and I have found it to be pretty stable. The stability is because of its wide body and streamlined front which keeps it steady and on track.
Even if there are tides in the water, this would not go off the path. Moreover, because of the streamlined, all you have to do is to push a stroke in order to change its direction. This for me makes this kayak one of the best whitewater sit-on-top kayaks.
The kayak also offers plenty of storage space and dedicated storage compartments. There are two dry storage hatches where you can keep the stuff you do not want to get wet. You can stash the remaining stuff at the front and back storage areas and tie them with bungee cords.
Even if that is not enough, there is plenty of space in the cockpit of the kayak. The point is you can run out of things to store but not the areas for storage.
Moving on, the seating on the kayak is pretty comfortable with backrests and plenty of leg space. The bottom and backrests of the seats are well-padded to ensure maximum comfort.
You will like that this kayak is self-bailing as it has scupper holes in the cockpit. Therefore, you would not have to flip the boat over to remove all the water. Just remove the scuppers and the water drain out on its own.
This kayak has handles on the sides of the kayak with T-handles at the front and back of the kayak which ensure easy transport and carriage of this kayak.
9. Best Choice Products 6ft Kids Kayak- Where Kids Can Have Non-Stop Fun
You cannot ask the kids to stop jumping on a boat but you can get them a kayak that stays stable despite hopping. Therefore, if you are looking for a kayak that stays stable regardless of the movement on the deck, the next entry is our pick for the best sit-on-top kayak for kids.
This kayak from Best Choice Products features a deep and wide design that keeps it stable and does not let the kids fall into the water. The deep cockpit allows the kid to grab the walls of the kayak in case they tend to fall down. Its wide body maintains maximum contact with the water and does not let it go off the path.
In addition to safety, the company has poured a lot of thought into making this as comfortable as possible. The seating area is spacious and allows free leg movement. In addition, it comes with a backrest which provides maximum comfort to the kids while they are on it.
The material of the construction is pretty solid and can withstand the little bit of abuse water has to offer. In addition, it resists the UV-radiation, which allows you to store it in your backyard under direct sunlight. A material like this guarantees durability, so your kids can have maximum fun with it.
In case you plan a picnic with your kids and want to stash stuff in the boat, it would not disappoint. The boat has a dedicated rear storage compartment where you can store the stuff you do not want to get wet. The remaining gear can be stored in the front and can be tied with the bungee cords that come with it.
10. Aquaglide Rogue Kayak – For The Individuals Who Thrive On Thrill
If you are tired of slow-moving kayaks, this next entry is for anybody who thrives on the thrill.
Commonly, if a kayak has to have good speed, it needs to lose its stability. However, in this case, it is not something you should be worried about as the speed does not come at the expense of stability. The design provides the speed but keeps the boat stable and steady at the same time.
The body of this kayak is not as wide as other kayaks on our list and also does not feature a streamlined front. The narrow design helps to increase the speed of the boat and the absence of a streamlined front makes it stable. Therefore, you get to enjoy the maximum speed and keep yourself steady at the same time.
The design of the kayak is for two individuals and the company has made sure both of them stay comfortable. The seats were padded and both of them come with cushioned back support. Moreover, there is plenty of leg space for both individuals. Therefore, this makes this the best tandem sit-on-top kayak.
The open-back design also enables you to climb up the kayak in case you dive in or accidentally fall into the water.
This open-back design is a blessing in many ways but when it comes to storage it is no less than a headache. The storage area is also at the back and when the water comes in and out, it is bound to wet your stuff. Therefore, you can only store the stuff in a waterproof bag and tie it at the back of the boat with bungee cords.
Ultimate Buyer’s Guide For Best Sit On Top Kayak Under 300 in 2021
The industry producing recreational products is flourishing with leaps and bounds. Every day, we see a new product with better specifications and material of construction.
On one hand, the variety allows the people to choose from several options, but on the other hand, it can confuse the new buyers.
Therefore, in order to lessen the confusion, in this section we will outline some of the major features you need to look at in any kayak.
1. Construction Material - Determines the Durability of Kayak
The first thing you should look at before purchasing anything, let alone the kayaks, is their construction. Several attributes of the products are dependent on the material of construction including durability and ability to withstand abrasions.
In kayaks, you would usually see two materials in the construction, polyethylene, and PVC. Polyethylene is good for the manufacturing of solid kayaks because of its flexible nature. It is a solid material, but as it comes in contact with underwater bodies it can mold itself to prevent damage. Therefore, it makes the best material for the construction of kayaks.
However, there are several grades of this material, some are UV-resistant while the others are not. The benefit of UV-resistant grade is you can store it under direct sunlight in your backyard. For the other grades, you would have to dedicate a special area in your apartment or house. As the quality of grade increases, you would see a significant increase in price as well. Therefore, in the end, it is up to you and the amount of money you can spare for the product.
Moving on, the construction of inflatables usually utilizes PVC which is also a strong material. It resists the wear and tears water has to offer and prevents the puncture. However, this material is not UV-resistant and when it comes in contact with direct sunlight, it can lose the pressure. To cope with this issue, companies are laminating it with nylon which protects it from sunlight. However, with the lamination, the price of the product increases.
2. Design Of The Kayak - Attributes Different Characteristics to Kayak
The design of the kayak determines the stability, speed, and how easy is it to maneuver. You would see two typical designs on the market, one includes a streamlined front with wide bodies, another one is a narrow body with no streamlined front.
The one with the streamlined front is usually more stable because of its wide body. The wider body maintains maximum contact with the water and keeps the boat steady. However, because of the increased surface area, the speed of the boat decreases.
The one with a narrow body design provides a higher speed because it does not have a large contact area. However, the speed comes at the expense of stability as there would not be more areas to keep the kayak stable.
3. Seating - Determines Your Comfort On Board
The type of seat you want in the kayak should depend on the purpose you are getting the kayak for. If you are getting a kayak to spend a peaceful evening on the water then any kayak seat would do it for you.
However, if you are purchasing it for fishing you would have to pour a lot of thought into it. Fishing demands patience, but one can only be patient if he/she is sitting in a comfortable seat. Therefore, make sure you choose a kayak that has a well-padded seat and back support.
In the former case, you don’t have to spend much time on the water so the quality of the seat does not really matter. Therefore, instead of focusing on the seat, you should look for other features including stability, storage, and speed of the boat.
The point is, if you want to get the best kayak you would have to straighten up your priorities. Usually, kayaks that come at a low price range, there is usually a compromise of one feature for the other. Therefore, make sure you know what sort of kayak you want before making the purchase.
4. Storage Compartments - Gives You Ability to Store Stuff
If you are going on a camping excursion or are taking on a fishing trip, the storage ability of a kayak is important. You need this to store your gear and camping equipment.
When it comes to storage, you need dry storage compartments where you can keep your valuables like cell phones or wallets. These also safely store your tackle and any food items that you may have on board. For this, look for kayaks that have dry hatches and compartments. However, these compartments are small and can’t store all of your stuff.
In addition to the above, if you have material that is not damaged by water, there are storage areas designed for such material. However, look for kayaks that have cords to secure this material for you. Such areas are usually at the front and rear ends of the kayak.
If you are an experienced kayaker, you would know how important these factors are in your overall experience. However, if you are a beginner, you may intend to make a decision on the fly and later on realize your mistake. Therefore, before getting a kayak to make sure you have looked at all of these features. These minute details might not seem important, but trust me you would realize their importance once you step out on the water.
FAQs about Best Sit On Top Kayak Under 300
Sit-on-top kayaks are popular among different people for different reasons. For some, this may be how easy they are to get on and off them. For others, it would be their better primary stability.
In terms of price, sit-on-top kayaks depending on their material and intended usage may cost you from under $100 to a few thousand dollars.
However, for beginners and occasional kayakers, it is better to have some low-budget options. In this piece, we have included some of the best low-budget kayaks you can get your hands on. Our list includes different options and these include inflatables, fishing kayaks, recreational kayaks, and kayaks for kids.
As said earlier, determine your budget and what you intend to do with the kayak. After that, you can go through all the options and determine which best suits you.
To help with this process, later on, we went through some of the features you need to keep in mind when buying a sit-on-top in our buyer’s guide.
This was all from us for now. Keep visiting us for the best of kayaking and fishing.