Have you ever gone out for a relaxing paddle in a kayak, only to return with an aching back, sore bum, and stiff legs? For many people, one of the most neglected parts of their kayak is a comfortable seat. Many kayaks come with a low quality, thin seat – which leads to pain and less time kayaking!
To solve this issue, aftermarket seats have been designed to increase comfort and provide back support. There are a wide variety of kayak seats to pick from, which can make it a challenge to select the right one for you.
I’ve taken a look at the some of the best kayak seats available and included a buyer’s guide to help you decide on the most comfortable seat for your kayak and body type.
Quick Answer: 5 Best Kayak Seats
- Best Overall: Surf to Summit GTS Expedition Molded Foam Kayak Seat
- Best Budget Pick: Leader Accessories Deluxe Kayak Seat
- Best for Fishing: Surf to Summit Drifter
- Best for Touring / Back Support: Skwoosh Expedition Kayak Seat 20″ High Back Support
- Best Compact Seat: Surf to Summit GTS Sport Sit-On-Top Kayak Seat
5 Most Comfortable Kayak Seats
What to consider when choosing the best kayak seat?
Kayak seats can vary significantly in construction materials. There are two main materials used in kayak seats, Gel and Molded Foam padding.
Gel is super soft and squishy and makes an extremely comfortable kayak seat to sit on, especially for hours at a time. It’s similar to the material used in mouse pad wrist-rests. The downside of gel is that it has a tendency to break down over time, and will need to be replaced eventually.
Molded Foam padding is not as soft and plush as gel; however, a high-quality foam seat can last for years and put up with abuse, saltwater, and heavy use. Thermo molded foam is often found in modern kayak seats, this type of foam is heated and molded to achieve a specific ergonomic shape. Foam seats will typically have water drainage grooves built-in, which keeps your rear end from getting soggy!
If you’re a casual kayaker, and only want the most comfortable kayak seat, then a gel seat is the best option. If you’re looking for a seat equipped to handle more serious kayaking and last a long time, then molded foam is the way to go.
Support / Comfort
The most comfortable kayak seat for you is largely going to depend on your body type. Taller kayakers will need a higher seat back than shorter ones. Also, if you tend to get a sore back easily, a seat with good lumbar support will allow you to kayak longer without any back pain.
A firm, high seat back is ideal for longer kayaking trips, as many people tend to slouch over when paddling for prolonged periods. This type of seat will keep your posture correct, and allow you to relax into the seat when you’re fatigued.
A short seat back can be useful for smaller kayakers, or kayakers that want a more maneuverable set up. Shorter backrests allow you to paddle without becoming encumbered by any excess material. Also, if you kayak in tight spaces, you may find that a taller seat will get in your way.
Some cool features to look for in a kayak seat are bottle holders, detachable packs and bungee storage areas on the back of the seat. While not crucial, many seats offer these extra storage options, which allow you to keep important items close by. We all know you can never have enough storage options on a kayak.
Not all kayak seats will fit every type of kayak. Recreational kayaks, fishing kayaks, touring kayaks, and whitewater kayaks all have different dimensions available to install a seat.
All the seats above are compatible with sit-on-top kayaks; however, sit-in kayaks may need specific sized seats. Before purchasing any seat, check your kayak’s measurements, and make sure the seat will be compatible.
Attaching the seat to the kayak should be a fairly simple process. There are usually 4 clips which attach to the D-rings on the kayak’s hull. If your kayak doesn’t have these D-rings, or they are not in the right location, installing some D-rings with a drill is a fairly straightforward process.
I’ve loved being in the outdoors for as long as I can remember. I grew up fishing, canoeing, and camping throughout the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. It’s what lead me to start this site and share my passions for fishing, diving, kayaking and more. Nowadays you can find me writing about my passions or (preferably!) preparing for my next outdoor adventure.