In most cases, the sit-in kayak is regarded as the quintessential and original method of kayaking. When you think about the sport, your mind will typically go to the enclosed hull and low to the water position.
Their popularity is well earned, and their wide variety, suited to any recreation, makes them fitting for all.
Sit-inside kayaks are built to cater to many different styles of water sports, ranging from casual recreational kayaks to much more intense whitewater kayaks. Whatever it is you fancy doing on the water, there is a perfect kayak for you.
Buying a new sit-in kayak is always an exciting prospect. There are so many to choose from, and they all offer a wide range of features and extras.
Deciding on what is just right for you is a process that is fun and full of choice. Read on for my selection of some of the best on the market at the moment.
Pelican – Argo 100X
- Item Weight: 36 Pounds
Short & Stable
Perception Flash 9.5
- Item Weight: 43 Pounds
Speed & Storage
- Item Weight: 46 Pounds
Ease of Transport
- Item Weight: 39 Pounds
Solo & YOLO!
Rip-stop Polyester/PVC Tarpaulin
- Item Weight: 36 Pounds
Fast but not Furious
BKC SK287 Angler
- Item Weight: 55 Pounds
- Item Weight: 98 Pounds
7 Best Sit-Inside Kayaks on The Market
When shopping around for your next sit-inside kayak, it is important to know what you will be needing from it. For long days out or multi-day trips, ample storage space, and a comfortable ride are best.
For whitewater kayaking, a short, lightweight, enclosed cockpit kayak will be preferable. There is something for every budget.
I have gone through the kayak markets with a fine tooth comb to bring you a selection of what I consider to be some of the best sit-in kayaks out there right now.
I have included kayaks that will be suitable for beginners, the more advanced, kayak anglers, paddlers of recreational kayaks, and everything in between. The only thing you won’t be seeing is a sit-on-top kayak in this list.
1. Pelican – Argo 100X
A perfect boat for beginners to get out there and learn their strokes on the water. The accessible and lightweight design makes this a kayak that will make learning easy and cruising as simple as pie. The open deck and durable design will be perfect for recreational paddlers.
The twin-arched multi-chine hull provides fantastic levels of primary stability. The hull has three peaks running along the base of the boat from front to back.
The multi-chine rails provide ridges along all three peaks. This shape pulls water along under the kayak, improving speed and giving multiple points of contact with the water.
The ten-foot kayak is super lightweight, coming in at an impressive 36 lb. The plastic hull is filled with additional floatation in the form of plastic blocks, which not only keep the craft on top of the water but also lower the overall weight.
Getting this sit-in kayak in and out of the water will be easy, even for the smaller person.
Plenty of storage areas are provided by the Pelican Argo. The cockpit has enough space for all sizes of paddlers with enough room for a few extra bits of cargo. The back of the sit-in kayak deck features a mesh-covered storage well.
The front of the boat has dry storage built into the hard shell for those bits of cargo you can’t afford to get wet.
- Length – 10′
- Width – 28″
- Weight – 36lb
- Capacity – 275lb
- Construction – RamX Plastic
Pelican – Argo 100X
The Price of “Pelican – Argo 100X” varies, so check the latest price at
2. Perception Flash 9.5
If you’re looking for shorter kayaks that give you the stability and pace you need for a good day out on a lake, then the Perception Flash is a perfect choice for you. It is ideal for both fishing and recreational paddling alike.
Open deck design and molded fishing rod holders make the Flash ideal as a fishing kayak. There is plenty of space on the built-in dashboard to keep tackle, hooks, and spare lines whilst you leave your rods in place in the holders.
You can rest assured you won’t be tipping the boat as you move around to reel in your next catch in the spacious cockpit.
Paddlers of all sizes can comfortably sit inside the padded seat. Adjustable foot braces allow any length of rider to get right into the zone comfort seat. Simply adjust to the required distance and paddle away.
The small size is perfect for smaller paddlers but has the weight capacity to hold larger ones.
The kayak features paddle holders for safe placement when your hands may be busy landing your next catch. The kayak is missing out on bungee rigging due to its short kayak length but does have a great dry store just behind the cockpit.
- Length – 9’6″
- Width – 28.5″
- Weight – 41lb
- Capacity – 325lb
- Construction – Polyethylene
Perception Flash 9.5
The Price of “Perception Flash 9.5” varies, so check the latest price at
3. Perception Sound 10.5
If you like the look of the Perception Flash but need a longer kayak with more storage space, then the Sound would be a solid option for your next new kayak. It has a great length and a narrow width which provides plenty of space but still keeps the nice streamlined speed and control of a slim craft.
Like the Flash, this is a great sit-in for kayak fishing and as a recreational kayak. The large open cockpit and open storage areas provide all the space you need to move around and easy access to whatever luggage you have.
Being able to move around without the restrictions of being inside the hull makes reeling in fish a breeze.
Adjustable footrests accommodate all sizes of paddlers, and the padded seat provides all the comfort you could want from a long day out on the water.
The front of the seating area boasts a good-sized dashboard with mounts for Perceptions Solo Mount dashboards. The hull also has rod holders, like the previous model, so you can paddle whilst your rods are safely stowed.
Despite its large size, the kayak doesn’t weigh all that much. At only 46lb, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to load and unload to a roof rack. It has two molded-in handles on the bow and stern for ease of transport alone, or with a friend.
- Length – 10’ 6”
- Width – 29.5”
- Weight – 46 lbs
- Max Capacity – 335 lbs
- Construction – Polyethylene
Perception Sound 10.5
The Price of “Perception Sound 10.5” varies, so check the latest price at
4. Sevylor Coleman Colorado
Transporting your sit-in recreational kayak can be a real chore and may be a reason you are hesitant about buying a new craft. The simple answer to your transport, and also storage problems, is an inflatable kayak.
They take up very little storage space, can be inflated and deflated in seconds, and are super easy to transport.
Take a trip out with a friend in this best tandem kayak. The two spacious seats have more than enough room to take two out for a paddle on your local lake. The super durable PVC construction delivers stable kayaking and a high weight capacity.
A flat bottom hull is a change from the sit-inside kayaks we have looked at before. It is suited very well to adverse water conditions and can tackle whitewater on rivers and the chop of the ocean incredibly well. It is very resistant to capsizing due to its stable bottom.
The durable kayak comes with a lot of features that make kayak angling much easier. Along the side of the inflatable kayak are paddle clips to keep your oars out of the way when your hands need to be busy.
Mesh pockets line the inside of the kayak to keep your gear stowed away. The top of this ocean fishing kayak hull comes with rod holders for ease of casting.
This is one of the top kayaks for both calm lakes, and some of the more adverse elements rivers may throw your way. If you want a sit-in kayak you can take out with a friend, then look no further than this durable and easily transported inflatable kayak.
- Length – 10’ 6”
- Width – 39”
- Boat Weight – 32 lbs
- Max Capacity – 440 lbs
- Construction – 18-gauge PVC
Sevylor Coleman Colorado
The Price of “Sevylor Coleman Colorado” varies, so check the latest price at
5. Advanced Elements Advancedframe Kayak
For the solo paddler who needs ease of transport and a sit-in kayak that can be easily carried, the Advanced Elements solo kayak will tick all the boxes.
It is lightweight, slim, durable, and easy to maneuver. It has one of the highest star ratings of all the kayaks we have looked at, and for good reason.
Advanced elements have designed a sleek and lightweight sit-in kayak that is inflatable and yet still stable. The streamlined profile is built to cut through waves and chop with ease, making your day out fast and effortless.
Sit-in recreational kayaks are made to make paddling as little effort as possible.
The entire interior of the Advanced Elements sit-in is taken up with your legs. You can use this to use your legs and thighs to maneuver the lightweight kayak through the water with exceptional control.
Having your legs so tight inside the sit-in adds secondary stability to your paddling. It has the tracking and rigidity of the best sit-in kayaks.
The storage space you lose out on with the lack of cockpit space is made up by the bungee rigging across the front of the kayak length. Bungee cords strap down any luggage you may need to bring.
The lack of space doesn’t make this a great choice for a touring kayak. The small size is suited for ocean kayaks though.
If you’re worried about the durability of an inflatable kayak, you should rest assured that this recreational kayak can stand the test of time.
It has thick PVC and rip-stop polyester along the base. The hull is made up of seven different cells, so even if one gets punctured, the rest will keep you afloat. This is s a solid bit of gear.
- Length – 10’ 5”
- Width – 32”
- Boat Weight – 36 lbs
- Max Capacity – 300 lbs
- Construction – Rip-stop Polyester/PVC Tarpaulin
Advanced Elements Advancedframe Kayak
The Price of “Advanced Elements Advancedframe Kayak” varies, so check the latest price at
6. Brooklyn Kayak Company SK287 Angler
The added width to a kayak makes it more stable in the water but does take away from speed and tracking. For the fastest and most streamlined sit-in kayak, you want the most kayak length and the least width you can manage whilst still accommodating the padded seat and rider.
The SK287 is built for cutting through the waves at a quick clip; it is the best kayak for anyone looking to put some serious miles into their boat.
Despite the kayak’s incredibly narrow profile, it is still highly suited to being a touring kayak. You would think that a sit-inside kayak with so little width wouldn’t have storage space, but this is quite the contrary.
There is space for gear on both the front and the rear of the kayak deck. Bungee straps sit just in front of the seat whilst dry stores are positioned both in front and behind.
Brooklyn Kayak Company has produced one of the best sit-in kayaks for the all-around advanced rider. At the cost of some stability, this sit-in kayak comes with everything a rider may need for any kind of sit-in kayaking.
The narrow kayak comes with multiple storage spots, built-in rod slots, and a number of extras.
With this sit-in kayak, you also get an adjustable aluminum paddle, which isn’t included with most of the other recreational kayaks we have looked at. Along with a paddle for control, the SK287 also has a rudder.
The use of a pedal drive rudder adds a lot of control to the extremely long kayak improving the ability to maneuver even in adverse weather conditions and rough water.
- Length – 14’ 11”
- Width – 21”
- Boat Weight – 44 lbs
- Max Capacity – 330 lbs
- Construction – Roto Molded single piece/High-Density Polyethylene
Brooklyn Kayak Company SK287 Angler Touring Kayak
The Price of “Brooklyn Kayak Company SK287 Angler Touring Kayak” varies, so check the latest price at
7. Lifetime Kayaks Cruze 100
At the budget end of the scale, we have the excellent sit-in kayak from Lifetime. For a very reasonable price, you can get out there on the best sit-in kayak for your money. This lightweight and fun craft is perfect for slow-moving rivers and casual sea waves alike.
For the best recreational kayaks, you want a good stable hull, decent storage space, and the ability to maneuver and row with ease. This does all these perfectly.
The sit-in kayak’s base has a sharp bow for tracking through the water, a flat base with chine for stability, and a tracking skeg at the back to keep your direction.
The highly adjustable seat is able to host most sizes of riders along with multiple choices of footrests. The wide seating area should be able to hold most sizes of the rider making this a perfect choice for a family where multiple different paddlers will be using it.
The weight capacity of this recreational kayak is very average, and it only comes with some very basic storage. Simple bungees adorn the front, and a single waterproof container sits behind the rider.
You won’t be able to fit camping gear, but you’ll be okay to bring some refreshments and food.
- Length – 10′
- Width – 30”
- Boat Weight – 46 lbs
- Max Capacity – 275 lbs
- Construction – Plastic
Lifetime Kayaks Cruze 100
The Price of “Lifetime Kayaks Cruze 100” varies, so check the latest price at
A Buyers Guide For Finding The Best Sit-In Kayak
When perusing the many, many options of sit-in kayaks, it’s best to go into the process armed with at least a little knowledge of what separates the good sit-in kayaks from the great.
There are a few elements that will really make all the difference, and knowing what you’re looking for before you start looking will save you time and money.
For beginners, finding a stable kayak is everything. You won’t be as comfortable on the water as the more intermediate riders and will need your kayak to keep you stable. As a rule, the wider the sit-in kayaks shape, the better the balance.
If you’re really struggling, it may be a good idea to try sit-on-top kayaks before you hop into sit-in kayaks. These kayaks are much more stable and will help you get your confidence up.
Make sure your sit-in kayaks have the dimensions for your needs. Bigger kayaks can fit more people in, have more luggage, and have more weight capacity.
They are also harder to maneuver, so bear that in mind. It is all well and good having a massive vessel, but if you can’t handle it, it’s useless.
Sit-in kayaks have a plethora of optional modifications ranging from fishing extras, like fish finders, to clip-on navigation systems. Work out what you want from your sit-in kayak before you splash out on mods.
Know your luggage load and body weight before shopping. Most kayaks can easily carry even a heavy person, but once you start loading them up, they can get weighed down. Remember that wet cargo weighs a lot more.
I’ll save you a google search later.
Are Sit-in Kayaks Dangerous?
All watersports have an element of danger to them, but as long as you take the necessary precautions, such as floatation devices and proper training, you should be fine.
Can You Fish From A Sit-In Kayak?
Sit-In Kayaks are an amazing way to fish, you can get to spots you never normally would, and they have all the storage and capabilities to hold rods and all your fishing kit.
A Final Word From Me
Sit-in kayaks are an amazing way to enjoy nature and get a bit of exercise in. Although now we have another option of sit-on-top kayaks too. It’s interesting to note their differences while comparing the sit-in vs sit-on kayaks. I enjoy the sit-in option more!
I recommend everyone gives it a go. Try hiring one out before you commit to buying; I guarantee you’ll fall in love.
Stay safe, paddlers!