Last updated on August 13, 2018
A day on the water can drastically change with the best kayak seat. It can go from an uncomfortable afternoon to a perfect day on the water. All sit on top kayak seat reviews agree that a comfortable kayak seat is one of the most important purchases you can make, especially for long trips.
We have put the time into research the best sit on top kayak seats. Here are our top seats reviews.
How To Choose The Best Kayak Seat – Buying Guide
The best kayak seat is a combination of many things including comfort, storage and stability. Also makes a great gift for a kayak enthusiast.
The right amount of padding is a critical factor of the best kayak seat. If there is too much padding it can be just as uncomfortable as not enough. The key here is to find the right balance while giving enough support for moving around and shifting your weight. You may move around quite a bit or not at all depending on your paddling style, we recommend factoring this into your buying decision.
Depending on what you’re using your kayak for you could need a varying amount of support. This comes by way of straps that secure your kayak seats to the kayak. Each kayak seat has a different amount of support and carrying weight that it can handle. Look for a kayak that has great stability in straps and a wide base and back to support your body.
What makes the best kayak seats great is the additional storage options it provides. Ranging from packs on the back of the seat to a special space underneath this can make all of your snacks within arms reach.
What Is A Kayak Seat? How Do They Work?
A kayak seat is the part of your kayak that you sit on. Most often the ones that come stock in your boat are not made of the highest quality materials and can get uncomfortable with prolonged use. These kayak seats are also oftentimes the first part of your kayak to get worn out. Luckily you can buy these kayak seats as aftermarket accessories that will work to upgrade your kayak.
Kayak seats can be easily uninstalled and removed to trade in a newer higher quality seat. This is very easy and quick to do making it an appealing option. This is a great way to make a cheaper kayak work much more efficiently for you.
Upgrading your seat is incredibly beneficial to both your comfort and your health. Having a more supportive backrest that comfortably fits you will help to properly align your body and fight against back pain.
How to Choose Seats For Kayaks
There are many different considerations you will have to make before deciding on the best kayak seat for you. This largely depends upon the type of boat you have as well as your own personal preference. Those with specific back problems or alignment issues will need a seat of much higher quality. This will also depend on your body shape and how often you sit.
It is important to consider the features you are looking for in the best kayak seat. Most kayak seats are made to be adjustable allowing you to move it into a variety of different positions for maximum comfort. Also, some kayak seats offer quite a bit higher of backs providing exceptional back support to you. It is wise to consider how you plan to use your boat in order to decide on the most ideal seat for you.
Know Your Boat
You may not realize this but not all kayaks require the same type of seat. Often times the size of your seat will vary based on how wide your boat is. While most kayaks all require the same size boat, it is wise to look through your kayak before starting your search. Be sure to see the width of your boat as well as to consider whether your boat is a sit in or a sit on top style. While some seats will be able to accommodate both types of boats most often these will require different types of seats. Knowing what you are looking for before you start your search for the best kayak seat will help to save a lot of time.
Think About Your Body Type
Your body type and shape will go a long way in determining the best kayak seat for you. We suggest you take some measurements of your body while you’re in a sitting position. If you currently have a kayak you can use it as a base of what you like and what you don’t. For example, if you need a taller seat all you need to do is add a couple inches to the dimensions of your current seat. If you find that your lower back gets sore while you paddle look for a seat that has extra padding in this area.
The base of the seat will also need to be tailored to your body shape. This part can affect everything from the alignment of your spine to how your arms interact with the paddle. Extra padding can be great for heavier people but not be the best for lighter ones.
Taller people will also need a taller backrest. This part of the seat is usually around 12 to 18 inches tall. Taller people will want kayak seats closer to the full 18 inches. But this can actually be bad for shorter people. Their shoulder blades may be affected by the tall stance of the seat back. The curvature of the seat is designed for larger people and will put pressure on places it shouldn’t.
Heavier set people will also want to look for pressure-molded foam. This means the foam will be slightly more firm which will give support where you need it to. Softer materials will simply compress too much and may even lose their resiliency.
This is one of the most important aspects of any kayak seats. If you plan on paddling for any extended time (more than an hour) you will really notice the difference between a high and low quality seat. If the seat isn’t perfectly tuned the muscles in your back will create friction which can lead to discomfort.
If you are around 6 feet tall you will want a seat around the 18 inch range. You can base the height of your seat on this approximation. We suggest going for the tallest seat you’re comfortable with. This will give you the ability to slightly recline it while still having the most support possible.
Decide On Your Budget
Kayak seats can range widely when it comes to price. A cheap one can cost as low as $25 while the best one possible will be around $280. The price varies so greatly based on the materials, construction and company. Higher end materials will obviously cost more to work with and add to the overall cost of the seat.
Generally you will want to look for a seat in the middle of this range. We recommend preparing to spend between $40 – $60 on your seat. While we understand you may have tighter budget restrictions cheaper kayak seats typically are far less durable and will end up costing you significantly more in the long run. The difference in these types of seats can mean a lot in terms of long term comfort.
Before deciding on the best kayak seats for you it is wise to consider all of the different features available to you on the market. As the popularity of this sport has boomed and stayed high over many years, manufacturers are becoming wise to what features consumers are looking for. This makes it a great time to buy your seat.
Popular features to look for in kayak seats include contours that conform to the shape of your back, water channels that funnel water away from your body and even gell on the base. Most kayak seats also come with some sort of pack or carry case attached to the rear of the backrest. Some specialty kayak seats can also come with rod holders and water bottle holders. These are usually found on touring kayak seats that are made for long kayak trips.
Before deciding on the kayak seat that is best for you, it is best to consider what you plan to use your kayak for. Recreational kayakers who use their boat every now and then for half day paddles can have their choice of a plush kayak seat. On the flipside, touring kayakers and those who use their boat for fishing will spend much more time sitting in their boat. This type of paddler will likely need a seat that is a lot more durable and form fitting.
You will also want to pay attention to the climate that you are going to be using your kayak in. Warmer climates will require different technology than colder climates. This is because of the number of clothes that you are likely to be wearing during your paddle. It also has to do with the temperature and likelihood you will be sweating. In hotter climates where you are likely to be sweating a lot you will want a vented seat that will work to wick water.
Seat Foam Types
You will want to consider the type of foam that is used to make your seat. While you may not realize the difference at first glance, the different types of foam determine the quality level and work in different ways to make you comfortable. When it comes to kayak seats, there is generally three different styles of foam that are used.
Gel kayak seats are very desirable to paddlers as they are comfortable, squishy and feel quite nice when sitting. Unfortunately, this honeymoon phase doesn’t last too long as this type of seat does not age gracefully. You will soon find that the gel begins to break down and can become quite messy. For those that plan to only use their kayak occasionally this is still a strong option. You will find that the comfort on this type of seat is incredibly plush and pleasant.
Pressure Molded Foam
This type of foam material is the ideal go-to option for those who use their boat often. This type of material specifically excels in one area: durability. With a long life span you will get the most bang for your buck out of this type of seat. This is especially ideal for those who have dogs or are using their kayak for long days fishing or anywhere else they will experience a lot of wear and tear with.
The downside of a high density pressure molded foam is that it does not offer as plush of a seat as other seat types. This will mean that there is not as much give to your cushion which will give it a hard feeling, especially before breaking it in.
This type of foam is specifically ideal for those who require more support or have alignment issues. This foam can be molded to fit the shape of your back. This excels in performance helping to promote proper blood flow during longer paddles. While the foam may be firm it offers exceptional support which will work to keep you comfortable even with long use.
This is the most common seat type today. A product of higher quality upgrades this seat type used to be quite rare in stock kayaks. Much similar to the pressure molded foam this foam type is heated and molded to match the curvature of your body. This helps to add additional support to your body which will make you a lot more comfortable. The difference in feeling will be easy to feel as you will find your legs tingling less and experience better blood flow.
Just as the difference in foam makes a difference to the comfort of your feet so does the type of fabric used. This is specifically important in warmer climates where you will be paddling in a simple bathing suit. You will want to avoid an uncomfortable fabric that will chafe against your skin.
With outdoor gear you will find that there are a couple different types of fabric that are commonly used. Most often in marine setting such as kayaking you will encounter nylon, polyester and neoprene being your main types of materials used. In terms of kayak seats most manufacturers stick solely to either polyester or nylon.
This type of material is a popular choice, especially amongst hardcore paddlers who use their kayaks frequently. This type of material is incredibly durable which will allow it to hold up well against long term use. Nylon is a preferred fabric in water activities as it is a water repellent fabric. This helps it to stand up to general wear and tear and water and sun damage much better than other fabric types. The durability and longevity of this material make it a real front runner in kayak seat fabrics.
With that being said, there are drawbacks to a nylon seat. The biggest downside it is not moisture wicking. This means that it does not help to keep you cool during longer paddles or on warmer days. This will cause you to be incredibly uncomfortable on hot days.
This fabric doesn’t have the same durability that nylon has but should not be overlooked. Polyester fabric has superior wicking capabilities. This helps it excel with kayaking as you are likely to experience a bit of sweat due to the awesome workout. This is specifically ideal for those who live in warmer areas. Polyester is also generally a lot softer of a fabric. This is desirable for those who will have their bare skin touching the seat.
Q: Do Sit-On-Top Seats Work With Sit-In Kayaks Or Paddle Boards?
A: Sit on top seats will be compatible with most kayaks. Most kayaks have areas that you can attach a brand new seat too. This will be in the form of clips that the new seat can attach to. The straps are what make the seat adjustable and allow you to make it comfortable for you.
Paddleboards may not have the areas that are needed for the seat to attach to. Kayak seats get their support from the straps and clip systems as well. This means that if you don’t have clips or something to attach the kayak seat to it won’t be able to support the weight of your body when you lean into it.
Q: Should I Upgrade My Kayak Seat, Pad or Cushion?
A: This is a personal question. You know your body the best. If you find yourself uncomfortable at any time during your kayaking trips you should consider upgrading your kayak seats. If you can paddle for long distances without noticing your seat you have no reason to upgrade.
Some kayak seats also come with added features that your stock or current seat may not. Most come with at least 1 water bottle holder built into the side of the seat. This gives you quick access to your drink at all times during your trip. Some even come with rod holders that have been built into the side of the seat so you don’t have to reach or stretch when fish are on your line.
Q: How Do I Attach My Kayak Seat?
A: Companies have refined this process to take less than a couple minutes. Kayak manufacturers know that their customers may already have a seat that they’re comfortable with using. Nearly all modern kayaks will have multiple clips that allow you to simply unhook your current seat and swap it with the new one. It may take a bit longer to adjust the straps so you’re sitting comfortably. But this entire process can take less than 10 minutes to complete.
With that being said, some brands only make seats for their own specific boats. These are rare and uncommon but it’s best to check the write up about the compatibility with other kayaks.
Another issue is different styles of kayaks. Sit on top kayaks are very different from the sit inside style. Sit on tops will have an easier time switching out the seat. They are more open and spacious when compared to more traditional style kayaks. Sit inside kayaks may be harder to get at the clips that hold the seat in place.
Q: Will Having A Kayak Seat Make A Difference?
A: Often times those who take to kayaking do so for long periods of time. Whether you are out for a couple of days camping trip or spending a long hours out fishing having a supportive and comfortable seat will make all the difference. This is especially important for those who work office jobs and find themselves sitting a lot throughout the day.
While you may not be convinced that purchasing new kayak seats will make a difference, consider the difference between a hard wooden chair and a comfortable office chair. Not just extra padding but the support you will get will be unparalleled.
Not only support but many high quality chairs are equipped with a specially designed system that helps promote air flow through the seat. This will work allow free movement of air between you and your seat and help to prevent sweating. For those who are spending long hours out on their boat, this can be incredibly welcomed.
Q: How To Secure Kayak Seat?
A: Securing a kayak seat to your kayak is pretty self explanatory. You will have to loosen the straps almost the entire way before attaching the clips. This will give you room to position and reposition the seat before sinching them down. Once you have it relatively close to where you want it we suggest getting in the boat and seeing how that feels. You can then tweak the length of the cables as you see fit until you get your ideal position. You may have to adjust it a little more when you’re on the water, but this will be easy. Most companies understand that this is something that is necessary so they make it as easy as possible to do on the fly.
Q: What To Avoid When Buying?
A: The size of the seat is an important consideration. You should avoid getting a seat that has drastically different measurements than your current one. This may make the seat not fit properly in your kayak. You can get one that is taller than the one currently installed – this will give you much better support – but not one that is wider. This will obviously make it hard to position properly and may even bend the bottom of the seat.
Globo Surf Overview
If you spend money on one thing in regards to your kayak, make it your seat. An uncomfortable seat can ruin your whole weekend and take a toll on your body. Look for a seat that has enough padding to make the trip comfortable while enough stability to ensure you don’t move around in rough water.
Love kayaking? Have a seat on our list? Let us know how you like it in the comment section below.
New to kayaking or have a kayak on our list? Let us know how you like it in the comment section below.
Globo Surf Kayak Seat Review