As paddlers, we all know that nothing ruins a kayaking trip quicker than an uncomfortable seat. If you want to make your kayaking excursions so much more pleasant, the seat is the first thing to upgrade. By providing cushioning comfort and back support, the best kayak seat makes a world of difference in how comfortable and enjoyable your paddling experiences are.
To help you find the perfect replacement seat so you can enjoy more time out on the water, the reviews below take a look at the most comfortable kayak seats on the market. The best kayak seats are a combination of many things including comfort, support, and stability. For advice on how to pick the right seat for your kayak, be sure to scroll further down and peruse our buying guide.
How To Choose A Kayak Seat – Buying Guide
Type of Kayak
Before you order a kayak seat, it’s very important to ensure it’s compatible with your kayak. Most kayak seat replacements are designed for sit on top kayaks and some brands only make seats for their own kayaks.
The good thing is that most aftermarket kayaks seats feature multiple adjustable straps and buckle designs that make them adaptable to any type of kayak. However, most replacement kayak seats require you to purchase an accessory kit in order to install them as sit-in kayak seats.
Type of Kayaking
Choosing the ideal kayak seat replacement comes down to the type of paddling you enjoy. Whitewater kayaking requires a comfortable, supportive, stable, and non-skid seat that will stay in place as you tackle whitewater rapids. If you enjoy kayak fishing, there are fishing kayak seats with rod holders attached.
Your body shape and size will also determine which one of the best kayak seats you should pick. It goes without saying that you should fit comfortably in your kayak seat. Beyond this, your body will also determine whether a high back seat for kayak or a seat with lower back support will suit you best. If you’re tall, you will need tall kayak back support. If your body needs lower back support, you should go for a kayak seat designed to offer this kind of lumbar support.
Prolonged sitting on a non-padded kayak seat is very uncomfortable and can leave you with a sore behind. For this reason, the upgrade should have a cushioned kayak seat and backrest. Most importantly, the amount of padding should be generous enough to provide a soft cushioned surface to sit on and rest your back on.
When it comes to kayak padded seats, there are three different types of padding kayak cushion seats use. A gel cushion seat for kayak or a thermo-molded foam padded seat is the best when it comes to comfort. Pressure molded foam is the most firm and durable foam padding. Because of this, it’s the perfect padding if you kayak often or are looking for a fishing kayak seat.
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A supportive backrest is essential for a comfortable kayaking experience. Due to this, back support is one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a kayak seat. The best kayak seats feature high back panels that are rigid enough to provide excellent back support and keep back issues at bay.
On top of this, a high back kayak seat should allow you to adjust the backrest to your desired angle. It’s also great if the back panel is ergonomically designed to conform to your body.
Most of the best kayak seats are made of high-denier polyester or nylon, as these fabrics are resistant to rips, punctures, and degradation by UV rays. Nylon is the front runner in kayak seat fabrics because it’s lightweight yet water repellent and incredibly strong and durable. Polyester, on the other hand, is soft and has superior wicking capabilities. This makes it a great kayak seat fabric for warm weather kayaking.
In order to provide a comfortable, supportive, and safe seating experience, a kayak seat should be stable once installed on the kayak. It should hold in place without sliding around. To ensure the kayak seat will be able to support the weight of your body without slipping, choose a kayak seat equipped with at least four attachment straps. Seats with non-slip bottoms are also incredibly stable even when wet.
Beyond a padded seat and kayak back support, some of the best kayak seats come equipped with extra features you might find handy depending on the type of paddling you enjoy. The most common feature is a pouch attached to the back of the seat to provide handy storage space for items you need within easy reach. Some touring kayak seats have water bottle holders, while some specialty kayak seats for fishing come with fishing rod holders.
Since kayak seats can be as cheap as $25 and as expensive as $280, it’s a good idea to set a budget before you start shopping. This will help you find the best seat for a kayak that will provide the comfort and support you need without breaking your budget. The best thing is that you don’t have to go for the most expensive seat. Most good kayak seats are in the $40 – $70 price range.
Q: Do Sit-On-Top Seats Work With Sit-In Kayaks Or Paddle Boards?
Yes, most kayak seats for sit on top kayaks are also compatible with sit in kayaks and even standup paddleboards. Such versatile sit on top seats have multiple adjustable straps and clips that make them adaptable to sit inside kayaks and paddle boards. As long as your sit inside kayak or SUP has hooks, you can attach a seat meant for a sit on top kayak on it.
Q: Should I Upgrade the Seat, Pad or Cushion of My Kayak?
Whether to replace the entire seat or upgrade only the pad or cushion will depend on how good the current kayak chair is. If you love the back support the current chair offers but find the padding wanting, the easiest way to make the kayak seat more comfortable is to get a good cushion for kayak seat. If the whole chair for kayak is uncomfortable though, it's best to upgrade the entire seat.
Q: How Do I Attach A Seat To My Kayak?
To attach a seat to your kayak, all you have to do is clip it onto the hooks on your kayak then tighten the straps. If your kayak doesn’t have eyelets, you can buy and install them.
Q: Will Having A Seat For My Kayak Make A Difference?
Absolutely yes. Whether you are cruising around for two hours or spending long hours fishing, having a supportive and comfortable seat will make all the difference in how comfortable and enjoyable your kayaking experience will be. A comfortable and supportive seat will allow you to paddle longer without discomfort or back issues.
Q: How To Secure A Seat To My Kayak?
The best way to secure a seat to a kayak is to tighten the straps gradually until the straps are taut and the backrest is vertical yet slightly curved. This will ensure that the seat does not shift around when you're paddling.
Q: What Is A Kayak Seat? How Do They Work?
A kayak seat is a lightweight and adjustable seat designed to be used on a kayak. Kayak seats attach to a kayak via straps and clips and provide the support and comfort needed when paddling.
Q: How To Choose Seats For Kayaks?
The best kayak seat to go for comes down to the type of kayak you have, the type of kayaking adventures you enjoy, and your personal preference. The most important thing is to ensure the seat you choose is stable, supportive, and comfortable.
Q: What To Avoid When Buying?
A flimsy seat that won't hold in place or a heavy seat that will make your kayak unstable are no nos. You should also avoid too much seat padding as it can upset the center of gravity on a sit on top kayak.
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If you can only spend money on one thing in regards to your kayak, make it the seat. An uncomfortable kayak chair can ruin all your kayaking trips and take a toll on your body. Look for a seat that has enough padding to make the trip comfortable yet enough stability to stay in place even in rough waters. All the best kayak seats featured in the kayak seat reviews above meet this criteria.