I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I am a kayaker, now. The thought of that just makes me laugh for some reason because I remember being terrified in canoes and kayaks growing up, trying to hold my breath the whole time! But, believe it or not, we have ended up with three this summer. Before this, I was strictly a stand-up paddle boarder (which I still really enjoy). Anyways, my hubby and I did quite a bit of research before we took the plunge (lol).
We decided to go with the sit-on style...mostly because spiders can get in the hull of the sit-in ones and I didn't want to deal with that! They really are each so different and have their own pros and cons. Here are the three we got:
Lifetime sit-on 8.5 feet (red - This was the first one we got. Believe it or not, it barely fit in our car, but it did fit! It stays rather steady on the water and is pretty secure aka no one has fallen off of it! It's pretty easy to get in and out of the water using the handles at each end. The front bungee area never gets wet (unless splashed) so it's a great spot for our cooler. The seat tends to come undone from time to time if I lean back on it. Also, water can come up through the overflow holes by the seat, since it is open.
Sundolphin sit-on 8 feet (blue)- We haven't had as much time to play with this one, but one thing that is certain is that it is definitely more difficult to get in and out of. That is mostly because the base is not flat like the one above. It rocks more in the water, which seems like it is going to tip easier, but that is just because of the shape of the bottom. If I'm not paddling in the water, I start going crooked. It's much easier to be out, just sitting in the one above. However, this one goes much faster due to the shape. The seat is also built in to the body, which is nice. It is a little hard on my spine, but it also sticks out quite a bit so I think a little pillow would fix that. To me, it seems like it is designed just like their sit in kayaks, but it doesn't include the roof over the legs. Also, there are no holes on the bottom, so water doesn't come in that way. Finally, it has a little storage container behind the seat...I think it's for fish?!
Lifetime sit-on kids (teal) - My mom picked this one up for when my nieces came to visit, and it was a hit. They loved it and the paddle is smaller (and lighter) which they were keen on. It has a max weight limit and I am close to it, so I tend to get more wet in the seat area (this one has overflow holes like the first one listed above). Overall, it still works for me, especially when there are a bunch of us out on the water...but it's perfect for the kids! In the back, it has little hand grips and a flat area for them to hang on and ride. We didn't get to fully experiment with that part of it, but I look forward to it next visit!
As far as accessories go, the Lifetime kayak we got included a paddle. The Sundolphin did not, so we purchased it separately. It is a generic/no brand paddle from our local sporting goods store. My husband thinks it is easier to go faster with it because the ends are more curved than the other paddles we have. I think it is a little heavier though, and prefer the other ones if we are going to be out for awhile!
We also got a set of waterproof, floatable phone cases (how I was able to get some of these pics)! They work so well and I can even take pictures through the case. We thought goggles were also a good idea and I need to put them in the "cargo space" just in case we happen to drop something and we need to do a deep dive search, haha!
If you're looking for a kayak, I hope this post helps you! As always, #GetSatiated.