I have started looking at sit on top kayaks. Several have looked promising. Though I just realized, in most of them the lowest point in the boat is where your butt goes. I normally travel in a canoe and any extra water can mostly be bailed out and the remaining is just at your feet.

So if I have a sit on top kayak, how do I prevent sitting in a puddle of water most of the time?

  • 2
    For the ones we researched, they all had drainage holes, you can get seats and back rests for them as well, which sites you a bit higher. On a calm body of water I've never experienced a wet butt :) so will you be looking at coastal / current driven water?
    – Aravona
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 8:21
  • @Aravona we are inland, so mostly lakes and rivers. Rivers up to class one rapids. Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 10:08
  • a bit more rough than what I do, but have you considered simply something like wetsuit shorts? 3mm should be flexible enough then if you get wet, well, you're gonna at least stay warmer.
    – Aravona
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 10:25
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    @Aravona I am considering a bike kayak combinations like the bike canoe thing I have already been doing. I am not sure wet shorts would be good for the bike part of the trip. Normally I wear "dry on the fly pants" for both bike and canoe segments, only changing shoes at transition. I wear long pants and shirts for sun protection. Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 11:35

4 Answers 4


You're going to be sitting in a certain amount of puddle regardless.

A spray skirt/deck on a sit in kayak will reduce the effect but even that has its limits. Only wearing a full dry suit or dry trousers and cag will fully mitigate this. The sacrifice you make in exchange is that if it's too warm for full drys you're going to be sitting in a puddle of your own sweat instead.

At the end of the day you need to accept that kayaking is a wet sport, you can never come out completely dry, but wearing some proper waterproof gear will help.

For your purposes you're probably better off either changing your shorts as you swap from bike to kayak and back or getting tri-shorts that are suitable for all activities even when wet.


In answer to your title question (and for the purpose of future readers): Use a spray skirt for SIT IN kayaks.

enter image description here Further reading: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/spray-skirt.

For your purpose of sit on top kayaks: @Aravona's comment is the way to go. Get a seat so that you sit above the water. Of course, the seat itself will be a lot more comfortable as well

Further reading: https://kayakguru.com/best-sit-on-top-kayak-seat/


Answering my own question based on recent experience.

As Aravona says in their comment many have drain holes in the seat area. I bought a sit on top, kayak with drain holes in the seat.

I took it to the lake and, put it in the water at the dock. I weigh about 180 pounds, and the kayak is rated at 350 pounds. I carefully got myself in the kayak and kept my feet completely dry. But when my butt hit the seat, water shot up through the drain holes and soaked my back side. Also When I paddled harder, it seemed like more water came in. I didn't really dwell on it, but I think the bottom of the seat and the drain holes in the seat are at or near water level when I am in the kayak.

I don't know if it was my entry style (sat down to hard?) or if it is a design issue with this particular style kayak.

I was wearing dry on the fly, long pants. Even gettting out of the kayak at the dock, I kept my feet dry until I stood up and the water from my soaked butt, ran down and soaked my water shoes.

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    Anywhere water can get in, it will get in. Drain holes under your bum are just asking for trouble!
    – Separatrix
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 7:55

I'm surprised no one has mentioned a Farmer John. They're like overalls made out of wetsuit material. The reason I sometimes wear one is for safety in BC's frigid waters - if you fall in, you want to have something that keeps your core warm. That's also their weakness in summer - they get hot.

Anyway, they go all the way up to your chest and they should keep water away from your butt - it can only get there through your ankles or from the top. Don't get something that goes too far up to your neck, covers your arms or is really thick - you are going to get too hot.

If you get a skirt, make sure you familiarize yourself somewhat with exit procedures to follow when you flip over. And don't practice that by yourself. Friend of mine won't go near a kayak since he took a course which had you flip over and in which he was mistakenly issued an advanced, tight-fitting, skirt which he had great difficulty getting to disengage from the kayak. All the other beginners got more forgiving models. It sounded like he didn't get out until the instructor realized he hadn't flipped back up and helped him.

  • It's called a long john in the UK, I use one myself, but he's asking to stay dry, wetsuits are all about keeping warm when wet.
    – Separatrix
    Commented Feb 12, 2020 at 9:26
  • why would it be wet if you don't go swimming? wet suits are called that because they let water in when you immerse, mostly through the neck, not because their membrane is not waterproof. your butt can be sitting in a puddle, water won't come thru there. Commented Feb 12, 2020 at 10:59
  • Because kayaking is a wet sport, unless you're in a big sea kayak in perfect conditions you're going to get wet. Neoprene is not entirely waterproof.
    – Separatrix
    Commented Feb 12, 2020 at 11:00
  • I thought that a spray-deck (skirt) isn't used with a sit-on-top. How do you use them together? Commented Feb 12, 2020 at 15:47

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