Kayak, Sit in or on?

Windward

Super Anarchist
4,660
725
Looking for a second kayak for lakes and calm waters.  We have one sit in 10 ft plastic cheap kayak that works well.  It is light and sturdy, and that is a priority.

Lifetime sells cheap (dare I say disposable) kayaks at walmart if you can find them for $200 for a sit in.  Seems ok.

I've never tried a sit on version.  Are they reasonably stable?  I would guess so.   I see a lot out and about.

Aside from wetter, is there any downside to a sit-on?  I like the fact that the paddling angle is easier without a gunnel in the way.  I'm always banging my thumb on the sit in version.

 

Ishmael

52,468
12,268
Fuctifino
Looking for a second kayak for lakes and calm waters.  We have one sit in 10 ft plastic cheap kayak that works well.  It is light and sturdy, and that is a priority.

Lifetime sells cheap (dare I say disposable) kayaks at walmart if you can find them for $200 for a sit in.  Seems ok.

I've never tried a sit on version.  Are they reasonably stable?  I would guess so.   I see a lot out and about.

Aside from wetter, is there any downside to a sit-on?  I like the fact that the paddling angle is easier without a gunnel in the way.  I'm always banging my thumb on the sit in version.
I like to take a good camera on board, which is considerably easier/dryer on a sit-in. They must also be more stable, with the lower seating position.

 

KC375

Super Anarchist
3,299
1,743
Northern Hemisphere
Looking for a second kayak for lakes and calm waters.  We have one sit in 10 ft plastic cheap kayak that works well.  It is light and sturdy, and that is a priority.

Lifetime sells cheap (dare I say disposable) kayaks at walmart if you can find them for $200 for a sit in.  Seems ok.

I've never tried a sit on version.  Are they reasonably stable?  I would guess so.   I see a lot out and about.

Aside from wetter, is there any downside to a sit-on?  I like the fact that the paddling angle is easier without a gunnel in the way.  I'm always banging my thumb on the sit in version.
Sit in paddles better, lower center of gravity, often narrower so more efficient, adjust the pegs so your knees wedge under the gunnels and you are one with the kayak. You can play in waves and surf in a sit in that you can't in sit on.

I would not count on either keeping stuff dry ....that's what drysacs are for

 

weightless

Super Anarchist
5,607
583
Is there really a significant difference in speed in boats for recreational users? Sure this is fast:

330px-Silke_H%C3%B6rmann.jpg


But...

 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,805
3,077
Edgewater, MD
Looking for a second kayak for lakes and calm waters.  We have one sit in 10 ft plastic cheap kayak that works well.  It is light and sturdy, and that is a priority.

Lifetime sells cheap (dare I say disposable) kayaks at walmart if you can find them for $200 for a sit in.  Seems ok.

I've never tried a sit on version.  Are they reasonably stable?  I would guess so.   I see a lot out and about.

Aside from wetter, is there any downside to a sit-on?  I like the fact that the paddling angle is easier without a gunnel in the way.  I'm always banging my thumb on the sit in version.
My spouse is a park ranger who managed a large park in Maryland. She purchased several of the Wal-Mart boats for rentals. They split at the construction seam. I would avoid these. If you're trying to save money, buy a better brand of boat from the used market on Craigslist or Facebook market place.

 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
44,269
9,611
Eastern NC
Is there really a significant difference in speed in boats for recreational users? Sure this is fast:

330px-Silke_H%C3%B6rmann.jpg


But...
Yes

I am far from an expert kayaker, nor am I a peak athlete, but I had an Eddyline mod-V kayak which was a little bit above the level you'd toss a rank beginner into (I tend to do stuff like that) and once I learned to steer it, I could easily go twice as fast and infinitely further, and be more secure in a chop if need be, than more ambitious & athletic people (like our friends teenage grandkids) in the tubby 12-footers and sit-on-top ones.

It was not the easiest to get into of all the sit-ins I tried but it was far from the most difficult, in fact it was easier than many of the beginner ones my wife tried out.

The sit-on-tops are more difficult to paddle IMHO, you're sitting higher up with less leverage and less bracing points to secure your body.

FB- Doug

 
Yes, but which one do you want when you flip? It seems like the sit-in is a safety liability unless you can Eskimo roll it. Slow to exit upside down under water and very hard to empty and get back in unless you're standing in less than 3 feet of water. You can just climb back on a sit-on-top, no matter how deep the water.

 

weightless

Super Anarchist
5,607
583
FWIW, I rented an earlier version of this years ago. I'm not sure I'd call my paddling skills "intermediate" but I found it pretty easy and efficient to paddle in the ocean in trade wind conditions. Renting before deciding might be helpful.

image.png

 

Training Wheels

Anarchist
865
52
On my boat
Yes, but which one do you want when you flip? It seems like the sit-in is a safety liability unless you can Eskimo roll it. Slow to exit upside down under water and very hard to empty and get back in unless you're standing in less than 3 feet of water. You can just climb back on a sit-on-top, no matter how deep the water.
^^^ This!

 
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KC375

Super Anarchist
3,299
1,743
Northern Hemisphere
Is there really a significant difference in speed in boats for recreational users? Sure this is fast:

330px-Silke_H%C3%B6rmann.jpg


But...
Well there is recreational

OIP.BMY7a8Dv1fwGjbSuX2JPBQHaHa


and there is recreational

ks0034a.jpg


If I can't have my knees wedged into the hull with a bit of pressure on the pegs ...kind of like skiing with your boots unbuckled...you can do it.

Beyond that there are a bunch of shape issues to consider with generally fewer choices in sit on. In a sit in you can have a high volume one that floats like a cork and rolls back up effortlessly or you can have one with an edge that let's you grab the water and play but is bit harder to roll back up. The yellow one above would be fun to play in but not so great for covering long distances.

If I already had a sit on I'd probably go for more of a touring as more complementary (easier longer distances with actual pay load).

Top-10-Best-Sea-Touring-Kayaks-in-2019.jpg


 
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KC375

Super Anarchist
3,299
1,743
Northern Hemisphere
Yes, but which one do you want when you flip? It seems like the sit-in is a safety liability unless you can Eskimo roll it. Slow to exit upside down under water and very hard to empty and get back in unless you're standing in less than 3 feet of water. You can just climb back on a sit-on-top, no matter how deep the water.
So learn your roll. It's really not hard (especially if you have a competent coach guiding you). If you end up in a really dodgy conditions you are much better off in a sit in if you know your roll. How many sit ons do you see playing in white water?




 

Training Wheels

Anarchist
865
52
On my boat
To do the Eskimo roll, you also have to have the skirt in place, which I see a lot of people paddling around without. You can get thigh straps for a sit on top, so you are locked in. Personally, we got rid of our kayaks a long time ago and went to SUPs. We rarely use our dinghy anymore. 

 

hdra

Anarchist
653
145
This has gotten a bit off the rails into kayak anarchy.... for poking around on flat water on a lake with family/friends, not doing whitewater, kayak camping/voyaging, etc, buy what's cheap and available and go have fun with it!

 
Is there really a significant difference in speed in boats for recreational users? Sure this is fast:



But...
The boat definitely matters. There's lots of slow plastic barges out there. I have a 20 y.o. workhorse of a sea kayak that's 17 feet by 2 feet. It's a joy to paddle and I can carry over my shoulder. I'm not an expert paddler but it's so easily driven due to hull shape that I'm barely trying as friends in wider, shorter boats are struggling. Doubly so in wind and chop, which this slices through. Also good for cavern diving if you're in a pinch... and yes, all of that fit inside my boat :)

B9z0P8K.jpg


 
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Alex W

Super Anarchist
3,326
316
Seattle, WA
Yes, but which one do you want when you flip? It seems like the sit-in is a safety liability unless you can Eskimo roll it. 
Paddle float re-entry is easy to learn and pretty efficient.  Re-enter and roll is even faster, but takes more practice and skill. 

Sit-in kayaks should have good bulkheads to prevent taking on much water when rolled and/or floatation bags.  With those they pump out quickly even when fully swamped. 

For most paddlers a 23” beam 14’ wide kayak offers a good amount of performance without being too ungainly.  That’s also a size where it is easy to learn how to roll the boat and other skills if desired. Dagger Stratos is a well designed lower budget model. 

 




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