It’s summer, and you’re all ready to grab your kayak and go out on the lake. Then you remember why you didn’t use it much last year: the seat was too uncomfortable! Kayaking is a lot of fun, but if the seat is less than ideal, you may not use it as often as you’d like. To help you kayak longer and have more fun, let’s take a look to find the best kayak seats.
Before you choose the softest and most comfortable-looking kayak seat, it’s important to remember that not every seat will work for everyone. For the best chance at one that’ll fit you perfectly, first consider your needs and your existing kayak.
What To Consider When Choosing A Kayak Seat
It’s a little tough to choose the right kayak seat, but let’s look at the top features, aspects of your kayak to keep in mind, and what will suit your needs the best.
- Know Your Boat - This may seem obvious, but be sure you know what kind of seat your boat requires. Do you have a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak? Each one will need a different type, with only a few seats working regardless of the kayak. Measure your seat too so you know how wide any possible seat could be as well. This will ensure that when you get the properly padded seat, you won’t need to squeeze it in to make it fit.
- Your Body Type - Consider how far up your back you would like your chair to extend. You might want support behind the shoulders, or strong lumbar support to help your back. Definitely get some back and hip padding with plenty of cushioning if you have back problems. Even if you don’t though, it’s beneficial to have support that will keep you stable while you enjoy kayaking. Before you pick out a seat, try to measure your legs too so you can estimate how wide of a seat you’ll need. The fit should be snug but still comfortable too. Remember that, in the end, you have to balance the comfort you want with what your kayak is able to accommodate. You may want the most comfortable option, but if it doesn’t fit, it isn’t right for you.
- Height and Weight - If you’re on the taller side, remember that you’ll need a seat back that extends from 12-18 inches. Those of you who are shorter will be fine with just 12 inches or under backrests. Heavier kayakers should also have something that’s got pressure-molded foam, since fills, gels, and other traditional foams tend to pack down fairly quickly. If it’s pressure-molded, it’ll be more resilient and highly likely to last through the years. Finally, if you have bony hips, go for thicker padding. This’ll reduce pain and discomfort over long paddles.
- Your Budget - Proper seating can cost anywhere from $25-250, but try to go for something around $40 or $50. Anything less expensive will need to be replaced quickly, and won’t be worth it in the end, even if you’re trying to save money. More expensive seats thankfully have thicker padding, better body cradling, and pressure-point relief so the entire buying experience will be more comforting. They’ll also last longer with that pressure-molded foam and rugged fabric. You can even buy warranties for any seat to ensure your purchase is protected if you have the money right away.
- Padding/Cushioning - If you want a comfortable ride, consider the actual padding and cushioning you’re sitting on. You want something like a firm mattress: comfortable but not too soft. The best picks will give you good padding on the bottom, giving your legs proper circulation no matter how long you stay seated. This will be a huge help when you end up in unfamiliar areas, or if you ride longer than you’re normally used to.
- Durability - Be sure to buy something that will last throughout the seasons. That means looking at the material the actual seat is made of and trying to find something durable, UV-resistant, and still strong.
- Stability - Small shifts on your kayak can sometimes be enough to topple you, which is why you don’t want a seat that will mess up your balance or be weighed oddly. Your preferred seat cushion should have comfort with ideal balancing so you won’t be toppling over.
There are a huge variety of seat cushions available, but the most common types of seat cushioning have self-adhesive and strap-on qualities. They’re meant to fit perfectly to your seat while remaining completely stable while you paddle.
Best Kayak Seat Reviews
There are so many possible options you can chose for your kayak seat, but I’ve narrowed them down to the top five. Pick the one that’ll fit both you and your kayak the best when you go out on the water.
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Best Kayak Seat Overall
If you’re kayaking for long periods of time, this is exactly the seat you should be looking for. The padded back adds so much comfort, especially if you have back problems, while the UV resistant nylon ensures the seat is completely durable. Those heavy-duty clips will fit most Ocean Kayak models, so you don’t need to worry no matter what kayak you’ve got. Use the adjustable straps to be sure it fits perfectly too, both in any kayak or with any body type. Sporting couch-like comfort, the Ocean Kayak model even has reflective logos that will illuminate in the dark so you don’t need to worry about safety at night.
When you need a seat back for a sit-on-top model, this is one of the best options. It’s got tons of padding, along with a built-in ventilation system that keeps you comfortable, reflective logos for night visibility, and a taller seat back for even more support. The UV resistant nylon pack makes sure that you’ll keep it for seasons to come since it always molds back, with the four-way mounting straps keeping it perfectly in place too. When you’re out on the water then, you’ll have complete stability.
Pactrade makes an adjustable seat with rear straps to add to the stability of the seat and keep it in place. The non-slip surface ensures that when you’re on the water, you won’t slide around if some water happens to get in your seat. This seat is great for those of you who need extra storage since it’s got a detachable backpack included as well, large enough for all your accessories and even some lunch! The neoprene and foam inside are meant to keep you comfortable, no matter how long you end up paddling.
This deluxe seat is molded perfectly to fit your body’s contour with two straps in front and two straps in the back to be sure it’s completely adjustable for both you and your kayak. With these straps, it can accommodate almost any kayak. There’s lots of helpful support too, padding your butt and back for an easier and more enjoyable time paddling whether you have back issues or not. The webbing is adjustable as well to provide you with the most comfort possible.
YakPads High-Back Gel Paddle Saddle
This paddle saddle has a high back as a part of the gel-filled cushion, helping you stay on the water for as long as you’d like without hurting your back or butt. The gel is even thin enough not to mess up your center of gravity, and won’t throw off your stability when you’re out paddling. Use the quick snap buckles to attach it to your kayak with ease while you go out touring comfortably or paddling with a little more gusto.
When it comes to the best option out there for the best kayak seat, YakPads High-Back Gel Paddle Saddle has to be the clear winner. It may not work well for sit-on-top kayaks, but compared to the other top picks, it has very high stability and is able to attach to many types of kayaks without a problem. For sit-on-top kayaks, the Pactrade Marine Adjustable Padded Deluxe Kayak Seat is a great option thanks to the support, but still doesn’t have as much comfort as YakPads. If you’re looking for a kayak seat that supports you, remains comfortable over time, and will fits well in sit-in kayaks, YakPads just might be your best option.