Best Sit-On Top Kayaks of 2021

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I personally prefer a good sit-on top kayak for a couple of reasons. They are personal reasons, but reasons non the less. I will tell you my reasons as we go through this review.

We are going to take a look at what I would consider to be the best Sit-on top kayaks of 2021.

Criteria for the Best

What am I looking for?

There are certain things to look for when deciding what the best kayak is. So we are going to look at:

  • Durability
  • Stability
  • Transportability
  • Customizable
  • Comfort
  • Budget or Cost

We are going to look at how durable these kayaks are. No one wants to put out good hard-earned money and then have to buy a new one in a year or even 5 years. Unless of course, we just want to upgrade or want a new one.

Stability is a major one for me. I have no desire to go swimming just because I adjusted my seat. I like to feel stable in my kayak. So we are going to look at the stability factor.

We have to be able to transport our kayak. It doesn’t do us any good sitting in the garage. So we are going to look at the weight and what it takes to get it to the lake or river.

How hard is it to customize the kayak and what does it already come with. We have to be able to bling it out.

Comfort is another biggie. If it isn’t comfortable for you, you will not use it. Nothing worse than getting off the lake or out of the river and not being able to walk. Us older folks need to be comfortable.

Last but not least is budget or cost. I am not shooting for the cheapest here. Although, budget is always a concern. Let’s face it though, you are going to pay a bit more for the best.

Okay, let’s get to it already. Are you excited to learn what I think is the top picks of 2020?

Why a Sit-on Top or SOT Kayak

While the reasons I have a SOT are strictly personal for me, I thought I would share them to give you food for thought.

  1. They are easier to get on when launching and easy to get off of when done.
  2. They are easier for me to fish off of, and generally provide easy access to storage and stuff.
  3. Customizable! While the fishing kayaks come with a lot, you can add more.
  4. They can be very versatile.


My research has been a long process. Trying to narrow down the best sit-on top kayaks is a challenge. There are so many options and there is so much to consider.

I am going to break this down a bit and separate my choices into a couple of categories.

Basically, a lot of your Sit-on Top kayaks are versatile enough to use in many applications. Although, there are those that are best suited for one application or the other.

Sit-on Top Kayak for Recreation

The recreation category is a big category.

While I consider all kayaking to be recreational, the term is generally used for basic kayaking done by families or individuals randomly without a definite purpose. Such as just having fun on the lake or river on the weekend.

So the best sit-on top kayak of 2021 in my opinion for this purpose starts with the Pelican Sentinel 100X.

I chose this model for a couple of reasons.

  1. It had great reviews on Amazon and YouTube
  2. Easy to transport
  3. Versatility
  4. Budget Friendly
  5. Ample Storage

The Pelican Sentinel is a one-person kayak that is manufactured in Canada. It is easily transported due to the light-weight construction and the molded side handles.

While it is dubbed as a recreational kayak, it can easily be used for fishing as well.

Its construction makes for a durable kayak and has built-in flotation (foam blocks) for extra stability and safety.

Specs. for the Pelican Sentinel

Length – 9′-6″

Weight – 47lbs

Capacity – 275lbs

Check out this video for a great walk-around of this great little boat.

The few cons that I found were the same as some other kayaks I researched. The paddle is sold separately, but that just means you can get one suited to you.

The Exoshell that is shown in the video is not water tight. So, make sure your gear is in a dry bag before hitting the water.

There are so many options for this category that I am going to leave you with this one for now. You can also check out my review for the Ascend 10T. Also, a great little boat, I own an older model the D10T, and it is made in the USA.

I am going to start reviewing some of these kayaks on an individual basis, that way I am not boring you with extremely long posts, LOL

Sit-on Top Kayak for Fishing

This category is flooded with awesome sit-on top kayak models. These range in prices from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars.

The Hobie line is at the top.

My pick for 2021 is the Hobie Mirage Compass

Hobie is notorious for building a quality fishing kayak and this is no different.

While the Hobie is in the higher price range, you are paying for quality and a wealth of standard upgrades compared to other kayaks. Hobie is also manufactured in the USA.

Specs. for the Mirage Compass are:

Length – 12′

Weight – 87lbs (fully rigged with standard equip., seat, pedal drive and rudder system). Fitted weight without stuff is 68lbs.

Capacity – 400lbs

The Hobie Mirage has a lot of Pros.

It comes with a breathable, mesh seat that can also function as a beach chair when removed. It is also adjustable to suit your comfort.

All Hobies come standard with the MirageDrive pedal system. This one also has the retractable fins and can also be upgraded to the drive that offers reverse and the bigger fins.

It has the Hobie H-track system to attach accessories easily on either side.

Molded side handles for easier loading and carrying. Also, has bow and stern handles

Comes standard with a built-in transducer mount and includes thru-hull cable plugs. So you can add your fish finder.

This kayak also checks off the stable and durable boxes in my checklist above.

It is also very versatile. While I really like it for fishing it can also be used for recreational purposes other than fishing. The flip-up fins make it doable for shallower waters, so you can still enjoy rivers as well as lakes and island touring.

Check out the video below for a great walk-thru demo of this awesome kayak.

The only con I found with this kayak is really the weight. If you are alone and not super strong it is going to be a challenge to transport. You will certainly want to have some kind of cart to get it to the water. I would recommend the Hobie Fold n Stow Kayak Cart.

Sit-on Top Inflatable Kayak

Inflatable kayaks can be a great solution to weight management and transportability.

My top pick in this category is the Driftsun Rover 120

The Driftsun is a versatile, durable kayak that checks off many of my criteria boxes. The only real exception is being able to bling it out. Let’s face it. It is inflatable, and adding gear could really compromise the structure.

It is, however, budget friendly, comfortable and easy to transport.

It has a great many reviews on Amazon and rated at a 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Specs for the Driftsun Rover 120

Length – 8′-6″

Width – 32″

Weight – 22lbs

Capacity – 300lbs

This kayak generally comes with the two-piece aluminum paddle, Dual-action hand pump, rear tracking fin, adjustable EVA padded seat w/ high back support and a handy dandy travel bag.

This kayak sports a rocker profile ideal for maneuverability and stability and can handle up to class 3 or 4 rapids. It is just as handy on flat water.

The construction is composed of high-pressure drop-stitched floor, and reinforced layered PVC. Both adding to the stability and durability of the kayak.

It has a removable rear skeg. It makes for great tracking in flat water, but can be stored for whitewater use.

Lastly, It has 7 self-bailing plugs.

It only takes about 9 minutes to inflate, which makes it great for getting your day started.

Also, if you find that you would like to have a little larger capacity with more space, Driftsun also offers a two man inflatable with all the same bells and whistles.

Wrap it Up!

Okay, so I purposely only gave you my 3 top options for 2020. There is a huge selection of Sit-on Top Kayaks on the market. I chose the three I chose for specific reasons stated above as my favorites.

My intention is to start reviewing different makes and models of kayaks individually. Had I tried to review them all here this post would have turned into a book, LOL.

So I hope you found my reviews helpful and informative. Keep coming back to see what I have reviewed next and what I think about them.

Until Next Time!

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8 thoughts on “Best Sit-On Top Kayaks of 2021”

  1. My family and I are keen outdoor people and we love to be by a river or a lake.  We have never owned our own kayak but your description here is very tempting.  As we look to the future, I can only see kayaking becoming a more popular sport as it is something that is only typically done in small groups so “social distancing” is built in.

    Durability and stability are also very important for us, particularly my son who at times, struggles with co-ordination.  Do you have any suggestions as to how he might improve this in the context of using a kayak? The video on the Pelican
    Sentinel was really helpful and helped to clarify my understanding of their kayak. But I have to say that I thought your assessment of the Hobie Mirage Compass was spot on. Thank you for the information and happy kayaking!

    • Trevor, 

      Thank you for stopping in. Kayaking is a great way to spend time with the family and exercising social distancing.

      As for helping with coordination, I feel you. I have found that it gets better each time I go out. Start simple and don’t try to take on too much at one time. Having the prope paddle is key. Check out my post about how to get the right paddle

      Also, make sure the life jacket fits properly. Too bulky will only get in the way, so proper fitting is essential.  

      I hope ou give it a try. I think you guys would enjoy it a great deal.

  2. Hello dear, thanks for sharing such great information to us all. I was actually doing some research when I saw your post online. Your website was easy to navigate and easy to understand. Your description of each item, makes it easier for the readers to form an opinion, thanks for the info.

    • You are welcome. I hope I was able to help you make a decision about the type of kayak you would like to try.

  3. I used to love canoeing; but I have never been kayaking. I always assumed that I wouldn’t enjoy it because it looks so uncomfortable. But these Sit-on-top style kayaks look like something that I could enjoy, and be more comfortable on.

    Would you suggest this style of kayak for an over-50, female beginner? I might use it for fishing, but it would probably mostly be for the pleasure of it, and the exercise.

    Thanks for the great review.

    • Tracy,
      Absolutely! I personally use a sit-on top style and I am over 50. I love my kayak and hope to upgrade to one that is a little more suited to fishing some day. Climbing in and out of a kayak was never anything I wanted to try. It is way easier to get on a sit-on top type kayak.

  4. Hi Annette!

    Me and my family like going out a lot! Unfortunately, I don’t really have many opportunities, but when we do I like to have a really good time! The three kayaks that you mentioned really called my attention and I really liked all the information. I still have somethings to figure out. However, I would really like the Pelican Sentinel 100X.

    Thanks for all the information.

    • Kayaking is a great way to spend time with the family and enjoy nature. Thank you for stopping in and spending some time with me. I hope you get a chance to try it out and if you do, please come back and share your adventure or look me up on Facebook at


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