Sun Dolphin Excursion Sit-In Fishing Kayaks Review

April 4, 2018

Sun Dolphin Sit In Fishing Kayaks review

Thinking of embarking on a fishing adventure? Then a fishing kayak has to be at the top of your fishing equipment list. Your gear determines how much you’ll enjoy it, so pick wisely. 

Ideally the kayak you invest in must allow for a comfortable expedition. You’re likely to spend most of your fishing time sitting as you patiently wait for the fish to bite. This means a sit in kayak which allows for easy sitting AND paddling is best.  

If you’re not sure where to begin a Sun Dolphin fishing kayak might be the answer to your problem. In this article we’ll outline why the brand’s kayaks are worth considering plus a few recommendations about which one you should invest in. 

About Sun Dolphin:

Ask any serious fisherman and they’ll tell you that Sun Dolphin is the ultimate go to when you want to purchase a sit in kayak. If you’ve never heard of them: The brand claims to be the world’s leading maker in recreational kayaks - sit in kayaks included. And many fishermen agree. 

All their kayaks are designed and assembled in the USA which is proof of their products’ quality. Below are some reasons why Sun Dolphin is worth considering when purchasing your sit in kayak:

  • Affordable: This is probably one of the best aspects - affordability. Not only do you get quality products but they are reasonably priced as well.
  • Customizable: Sun Dolphin doesn’t believe kayaks are a “one size fits all” purchase. It understands that different customers who have different fishing needs. For this reason they offer a variety of sit in kayaks with varying sizes that will match different skill levels.
  • Variety: Not only does it offer sit in kayaks but also sit on top depending on your preference. Apart from kayaks they also design paddle boards and pedal boats.

So, no matter your need, browse their product lists and you might find what you’ve been looking for all this time.

What is a Sit in Kayak?

Before we go any further let’s discuss what exactly a sit in kayak is. This is basically a kayak with an enclosed cockpit. As a result you keep your legs inside as you paddle and fish. The typical kayak will usually come with the following features:

  • Armrests
  • Footrests
  • Backrest
  • Cup holder

Benefits of Sit in Kayaks:

Considering the endless fishing kayak options at your disposal you’re probably wondering why you should pick a sit in kayak, right? Let’s briefly discuss some of the advantages. 

Provides Protection:

Since you’ll be seated in an enclosed cockpit your lower body is sheltered from any harsh weather elements such as strong winds. 

Keeps You Warm:

Believe it or not sit in kayaks will provide you with some degree of warmth. And yes that’s very necessary  - particularly if you’re venturing into cold water areas. Since your lower body is protected from winds it means you’ll be much warmer. 

Keeps You Dry:

Sit in kayaks allow paddlers to drape “skirts” around their waists to cover their legs. Not only are you kept warm but you’re kept dry as well. Your legs are protected from any splashes of water that are bound to happen. Some manufacturers even go as far as having waterproof compartment designs to keep water out.

More Spacious:

Generally most sit in kayaks have large cockpits so you won’t feel cramped in a small space. Apart from having enough space for you there’s plenty of room to store your equipment as well. Sit in kayaks generally have more storage space because they have more storage hatch areas. 


Unlike other types of kayaks, sit ins are more versatile because they’re available in more than one design; The following two being the most popular:

  • Recreational sit in kayaks: These are both wider and shorter plus they have extremely large cockpits. As a result they’re not only slower but lighter and easy to move around. So if you’re not concerned about speed then you can opt for this type.
  • Touring/Sea kayaks: This type is longer and narrower. Also they’re generally faster than their recreational counterparts. The only downside is the cockpit is slightly smaller meaning you may not have as much room to maneuver.


Because you’ll be sitting inside the kayak as opposed to standing automatically makes it a more stable option. Sitting ultimately lowers the center of gravity so it’s less likely to tip over.

Considerations Before Purchasing a Sit in Kayak:

Now that you know the benefits of owning one, we’ll look at what you must look for before buying one:

  • Size: If you want to sit comfortably for hours it’s important to pick the right size. The larger it is, the easier it’ll be to either enter or exit the kayak. Besides, the bigger it is the more likely it is to have more storage room.
  • Paddle length: Still on the subject of size, the length of the paddle is also important as it’ll make the difference between difficult or easy angling. Longer paddles will make it difficult to angle and maneuver in different directions. However if the kayak is longer then they’ll work just fine.
  • Comfort: Your fishing adventure is only as comfortable as the cockpit area. This means opting for a cockpit with enough space will ensure you enough room to maneuver. Also, make sure the seating area is padded for increased comfort. And if you can adjust the seat, even better.
  • Material: The materials used in the construction of the kayaks will greatly determine how long it will last. If you don’t want to replace your kayak in the near future, opt for one made of polyethylene. This type of plastic generally has a longer shelf life plus it has better resistance against water, sunlight and impact. What you must know is the material also affects the weight, price and how efficiently the kayak travels on water.
  • Durability: Make sure you pick a kayak that’s resistant to abrasions or punctures. A cost effective option would be to purchase one that’s easily repaired when damaged. Kayaks made of composite are very easy to fix.

Now simply read our reviews and pick your favorite.

Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 Review

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Excursion Sit-in Fishing Kayak (Sand, 10-Feet)

Here we have one of the more durable options - The Excursion 10 kayak is built to last. This is due to the materials used in its construction; rugged high density polyethylene.

There are two main prerequisites if you decide to opt for this model. First, you must be planning on going lake or river fishing because it’s best suited for these scenarios. Secondly, you must be embarking on this adventure on your own because it’s a one person kayak.

Key Features:

Why this Excursion 10 is top of our recommendation list is because of its sturdy design. It’s pretty lightweight which makes angling much easier. Because it’s lightweight, it means it’s easy to carry to and from shore.

You’ll have enough room to relax in this sit in kayak because it features a very large cockpit. This means there is ample storage to accommodate your fishing gear. It comes with plenty of fishing rod holders to easily store your equipment; there’s even a paddle holder. 

Unfortunately the only major downside is, although the seat is padded some users may still find it slightly too hard for comfort. But it’s nothing an additional inexpensive cushion can’t fix. On the upsides of the seat is that it is adjustable. While on the subject of comfort, you’ll find foot braces inside the cockpit which you can also adjust according to your preference. 

This model is worth considering if you want a kayak that tracks and paddles with ease. And the best part is it’s pretty stable so you don’t have to worry about capsizing.

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Excursion Sit-in Fishing Kayak (Sand, 10-Feet)


  • Very stable
  • Plenty of leg room
  • Ample storage space
  • Durable 


  • Seat slightly uncomfortable
  • Plastic handles flimsy

Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 SS Review

Sun Dolphin Excursion SS Sit-in Fishing Kayak (Olive, 10-Feet)

The Excursion 10SS fishing kayak is also great for lake and river fishing. Like most Sun Dolphin kayaks it’s also made with UV stabilized Fortiflex high density polyethylene. Not only is the design rugged but it’s a very durable unit.

Key Features:

It’s pretty easy to control thanks to the swivel which makes tracking in a straight line easier. The seating area is both large and comfortable so you won’t be cramped. Your thighs will be kept protected for the duration of the fishing expedition thanks to the thigh pads. 

You can adjust your foot to suit your level of comfort with the foot braces available. Carrying your boat around will be simple enough thanks to the comfortable carry handles. These handles are also retractable so they’re kept out of the way when not in use. Because the kayak is lightweight, carrying is a breeze.

You’ll find the storage compartment conveniently stored next to your seat so you can easily access your equipment. You can easily store your fishing rods in the two flush mount holders provided. With a maximum weight capacity of 280 lbs. you can tell it’ll accommodate a sizable amount of gear along with you. 

However if speed is your priority this model isn’t for you. The non-slim design makes it travel a lot slower than other models because it’s not designed for speed. This also means it’s not ideal for longer distances. 

Though it has plenty of leg room, if you’re on the taller side this design may not work for you. You’re likely to scrape your legs as you try to get inside.

Sun Dolphin Excursion SS Sit-in Fishing Kayak (Olive, 10-Feet)


  • Comfortable seating area
  • Plenty of room
  • Affordable
  • Easy to manoeuvre


  • Slow
  • Not for tall persons
  • Unsteady 

Sun Dolphin Excursion 12 Review

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Excursion Sit-in Fishing Kayak (Sand, 12-Feet)

Like the other Excursion models it’s also made of durable material to guarantee longevity. However though it features a rugged design it’s still lightweight meaning you can carry it around hassle free. It’s also ideally suited for use at rivers or lakes. 

Key Features:

One feature you’ll appreciate is that it tracks and paddles with ease, offering maximum stability. So you don’t have to worry about tipping over if you pick this model. The cockpit is relatively large giving you enough room to store your items. For your comfort the seat is both adjustable and padded. You can place your drink or water in the water bottle holder located on the kayak. 

So what’s different about this kayak? 

What sets it apart from the other two kayaks is this model comes with a portable accessory carrier. You can use it as an extra storage compartment. The other two kayaks won’t accommodate taller persons so if you’re tall - particularly over 6 ft.- then this is for you since it has plenty of leg room.  

The only major drawback is it doesn’t come with a paddle but it’s not a deal breaker because you can purchase that separately.

Note: The plastic used in its construction is slightly thinner than the other two models. However it’s still a durable unit. It has a weight carrying capacity of approximately 390lb and it’s less likely to displace water when loaded. 

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Excursion Sit-in Fishing Kayak (Sand, 12-Feet)


  • Tracks great
  • Stable
  • Reasonably priced
  • Comfortable seat


  • Not for rough waters
  • Plastic too thin

Final Thoughts:

As these Sun Dolphin reviews show sit in kayaks are must haves for your fishing adventures. Just make sure you pick one that makes angling simpler regardless of your skill level. Ideally whether you’re a novice fisher or pro you must be able to control it with ease. This means investing in one that tracks and paddles easily without exerting too much effort.

Taking that into consideration, the Excursion 12 is probably your best bet. Not only is it easy to maneuver but it’s quite stable. You just need to stick to the calmer water when you pick this one. Also, it has plenty of room for your fishing equipment and you - legs included.  

With that said, are you ready for your Sun Dolphin order? If you have more questions, just leave a comment below. 

4/5 (1 Review)

About the author 

Richard Dravick  -  I created this site to help people who like myself enjoy kayaking and fishing. Kayaking allows you enjoy all the great themes of nature that are around us everywhere and combining this with fishing can create some of the most memorable times in life.
Please let me know if you have enjoyed these reviews and if you have thoughts on what you would like to see for future reviews so that I can keep the content fresh.

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