Both hardshell and inflatable kayaks can be categorized into two different styles:
Sit-on-top kayak (SOT) and
Sit-in kayak (SIT)
The two designs differ drastically from one another, and each suits a different purpose.
The differences between sit-on-top vs. sit-in kayaks
The most apparent distinction between sit-inside and sit-on-top inflatable kayaks (& hardshell models) is that SIKs have an enclosed cockpit that positions the paddler inside the boat at or below the water level. In contrast, SOT kayakers sit on top of the kayak above the water’s surface.
This fundamental divergence of design affects every aspect of their use and purpose.
The sit-on-top model is the most popular design among beginners and recreational kayakers becaus