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Best Sit-On-Top Kayaks For 2024

by Assessor

Best sit-on-top kayaks

The best sit-on-top kayaks come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, and are manufactured by a range of brands. Below you’ll find our articles about these more specific types and brands of sit-on-top of kayaks. Each goes over what to consider when purchasing this type of kayak as well as a roundup of our selection of top models.

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Shopping for a used sit-on-top kayak?

Maybe you’ve come across what seems to be a great deal on a used sit-on-top kayak on Craigslist? That’s no surprise, given that sit-on kayaks are wildly popular and durable and therefore extremely abundant on buy-and-sell websites like Craigslist, Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace. This can be both a blessing and a curse: you’ll find plenty to choose from—both good and bad.

Wondering how to make a good investment in a used kayak? Your first step is to research the specific attributes of the used sit-on-top kayak you are considering. Our Paddling Buyer’s Guide provides an exhaustive database of every kayak on the market, making this the ideal place to start.

If you decide your Craigslist sit-on-top kayak is a solid candidate to meet your needs, consider the following advice to make a good used kayak purchase:

  • Buy the right used sit-on-top kayak for your paddling preferences by researching the particular model in advance. Your goal is to determine whether or not it truly meets your needs. Consider the type of water you’ll be paddling; remember, depending on where you plan to paddle certain sit-on-top kayaks will be better than others. Be aware that most sit-on-top kayaks are only safe to use on calm, sheltered water. If you want something more seaworthy, consider a sit-inside touring kayak.
  • Take the time for a detailed visual inspection. Give the used kayak a once-over, looking for obvious damage to the hull (bottom), deck (top) and outfitting (seat, back rest, foot pegs, etc). Scratches aren’t a problem on most sit-on-top kayaks (they’re usually constructed of super-durable rotomolded polyethylene), but watch out for deep gouges that extend more than ⅛th of an inch (3 mm) into the plastic. Obvious warping in the hull is a problem to avoid, too, since it will negatively impact glide and maneuverability on the water.
  • Try to determine how the kayak was stored. A sit-on-top kayak that was stored outdoors and exposed to the sun for long periods of time will undoubtedly be subject to fading due to UV radiation (which also weakens the kayak’s structure) and damage due to excessive snow loading or precipitation.
  • Taking the kayak for a test paddle is the best way to find if the sit-on-top kayak works for you, in terms of performance, handling, comfort and fit.
  • Remember, sit-on-top kayaks are extremely popular, so perhaps the best advice is to be patient and know that there’s no harm in waiting to find a perfect match.
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For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used kayak, read our article How To Buy A Used Kayak.

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