All You Need to Know About – Sit On Top Kayaks


Sit on top kayaks are a great way to get on the water for the whole family. Whether you want to venture out on the sea or make the most of the rivers near you, then a sit on top kayak is one way to make the most of this.

A sit on top kayak is a rotary moulded plastic boat that can be used either on the sea or the river. There are various sizes depending on the number of people you want to carry. The most popular size is a single seater which can range from 8 up to 14 foot. The average length for a single person kayak is between 8.5 – 10 foot If you’re looking to take two people then a 12 foot double kayak is for you.

Why choose a sit on top kayak?

Safety – The number one factor that is important when on the water! The great thing with sit on tops is that they are very safe. Unlikely sit in kayaks there is no fear of being trapped inside if the kayak rolls over. Instead, if they do capsize, the kayaker falls off (wearing a buoyancy aid) and swims back to the boat. They are very easy to turn upright again, as they don’t fill with water!

Unsinkable – With wide open cockpits, sit on top kayaks are very stable. Combined with an air filled inner cavity of the boat, they are visually unsinkable. Therefore, they are an obvious choice for the whole family.

Comfortable & User Friendly – One big advantage of a sit on top kayak is comfort. People with larger body types, limited flexility or long legs will likely find a sit on top less confined versus a sit-in style. They are very stable, easy to get in and out of and there is no feeling of confinement. All sit on top kayaks should always be sold with a canvas seat to help give you lots of support and comfort when you are paddling.

Storage – Because sit on tops are so buoyant, you can always pack an extra bit of equipment. This is ideal if you want to take clothing, food, drink and even the dogs! You can make the most of the dry hatch storage compartments, elastic bungees and space between your legs.

Versatile – The great thing with a sit on top kayak is that it can be used anywhere. Whether you live by the sea or have a network of rivers near you, then you can take a kayak on anything.

What is it made from? – To put it simply, sit on top kayaks are made from plastic! A high density compounded polyethylene offers the best possible blend of stiffness, impact resistance, and UV stability. This allows brands to make lighter boats, that perform better, and last longer. Using the best possible plastic is only the first part of the story, making the most of that plastic’s properties comes next.

Simple shapes can have a huge impact on the end product. Some can act to help ‘trap’ plastic in certain areas of the kayak, building up thickness where needed. Some can add corrugation to a shape, aiding stiffness in high load areas.

Fixtures and Fittings – When you look at a sit on top kayak, there are various fixtures and fittings of more of less importance depending on how you plan to use the kayak.

Many models will comes with a hatch, so you can store food, drink, clothing when you’re out paddling. Most kayaks will have many metal rings located around the rail of the kayak, they are perfect for attaching a kayak seat and any other accessories.

It is important to look for quality fittings, for example stainless steel components are best for maximum strength and corrosion resistance. When you look to the front of a kayak you should see some plastic moulded foot rests, there are usually multiple options depending on how long your legs are. It is key that you are able to sit comfortably in the boat and be able to put your feet on the footrest with your legs bent. This will give you the best performance.

Another key fitting to look for is a paddle holder, these are a scooped out of the plastic on the rail of the kayak and have an elastic hook to keep the paddle in place. These are ideal when you’re having a break after a long paddle.

Hull Shapes – There are many different hull shapes on the market, depending on what brand you look at. The two hull shapes that we predominately see in the Tootega line up are:

Planing ‘C’ – The double concave hull provides lots of initial and secondary stability, boosting confidence from your very first trip. The keel and channelling have been designed to aid tracking during flat water paddling. Additional volume at the rail boosts stability yet further, whilst improving handling in rough water.

Hybrid ‘C’ – The hybrid hull blends the best of our surf inspired planing ‘c’ hull with features designed to make every paddle stroke more efficient and to improve tracking, even in choppy or windy conditions. Continual rocker through the entire hull length provides a smooth and responsive paddling experience, reduces hull ‘slap’ in choppy conditions.

Kayak Seat – A kayak seat is one of most important items to buy with a sit on top kayak. This can be the difference between being comfortable and in pain after a long paddle. Usually made from a canvas, they are anchored to the boat by 4 clips attaching to the the stainless steel D-rings situated around the rail of the kayak. This give rigidity to the seat and gives you the most support for your back.

Tootega Kayaks Tootega is the main brand we stock at Fluid Lines and are one of the premium kayak brands on the market.

Whats sets them apart?

  • Strong, stable and manoeuvrable kayak models
  • Quality fixtures and fittings. All metal components are stainless steel
  • Custom inserts. They use corrosion resistant brass inserts to attach key components to their kayaks.
  • Made from high density compounded polyethylene that offers the best possible blend of stiffness, impact resistance, and UV stability
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Made in the UK

The most popular Tootega models are:

Tootega Pulse 85 / Pulse 95

An exciting and dynamic kayak. The Pulse is a single seater kayak perfect for exploring the coastline, or going for an adventure on your local river. Comes in two sizes 85 (8.5 foot) and 95 (9.5 foot).

Tootega Pulse 120

Taking it’s base DNA from the highly successful Pulse 85 & 95, the Pulse 120 tandem has been tweaked to give it a graceful and well balanced tandem form.

Tootega Kinetic 100

Perfectly bridging the gap between touring and beach play, the Kinetic 100 gives you the freedom to explore the water however you want.

If you would like advice about which sit on top kayak it right for you, then please contact us by phone on 01206 545533 or by email on

Fluid Lines are an independent, family run snow and water sports shop based in Colchester, Essex.

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