No one likes a sore behind! If you’ve ever spent significant time in a canoe, then you know how annoying and uncomfortable those hard built-in seats can be. The lack of back support combined with the hard-bodied materials can quickly lead to a stiff back and an aching rear end.
Whether you’re out fishing, doing a multi-day canoe trip, or simply going for a leisurely paddle, a comfortable canoe seat or cushion is one of the best upgrades you can add to your canoe.
Canoe seats vary widely, from simple foam cushions to ergonomic reclining seats that take seconds to install and remove. Most are fairly affordable, and also double as seating for stadiums, camping, or anytime you need a comfortable seat on the go.
I’ll break down some of the best canoe seats on the market; explain some of the features to keep in mind, and hopefully help you pick the best seat for your canoe or rowboat.
Quick Answer: 6 Best Canoe Seats & Cushions
- Best Seat with Backrest: GCI Outdoor SitBacker Adjustable Canoe Seat
- Best Canoe Cushion: Skwoosh Gel Pad
- Best Drop in Canoe Seat: Spring Creek Drop in Canoe Seat
- Wood Seat/Bench: Old Town Web Canoe Seat 34″
- Budget Pick: ALPS Mountaineering Weekender Seat
- Also Consider: Crazy Creek Canoe Pad III Cushion
Top 6 Canoe Seats – Reviews
How to pick the right canoe seat or cushion?
With so many different types, sizes, and designs, finding the right canoe seat or cushion for your craft can be a little confusing. Let’s break down what you need to know to find the ideal canoe seat.
A seat’s dimensions are an important consideration to keep in mind when picking out a canoe seat. You’ll want to make sure the width of the seat or cushion is less than the width of the canoe’s bench, otherwise, it won’t fit properly.
Also, consider the seat’s weight capacity. Most weight capacities range from 250 to 300 pounds, so if you’re a bigger guy or gal, make sure the seat will hold your weight.
Additionally, keep in mind the indented user. If you’re planning to use the seat as an add-on for kids or smaller passengers, then you can get away with a smaller seat than one for larger adults.
A canoe seats padding type and thickness are also important factors to consider. Most seats are between a ½ inch and an inch thick, with varying degrees of plushness.
A thinner seat will help keep your center of gravity lower, which increases stability on the water. They won’t be quite as comfortable as a thicker plush seat, so you’ll need to balance comfort with firmness. If you get pain in your tailbone or sitz bones from prolonged sitting, then a comfortable seat is a must.
The major difference between canoe seats and cushions are the backrests. Depending on your canoeing style, backrests providing extra lumbar support can be a lifesaver.
If you spend long periods of time in a canoe, like when you’re fishing, using a trolling motor, doing a multi-day canoe trip, or just paddling for a prolonged period, having a backrest is key. It will allow you to lean back and relax your back muscles, which can get sore from maintaining a paddling stance.
If you frequently use your canoe in fast-moving water, then a seat with a backrest is not ideal. You’ll need to keep your center of gravity low, so a cushion would make a better choice. These cushions also double as pads to rest your knees on when you’re kneeling on the deck.
Mounting a canoe seat or cushion to your canoe is generally fairly straightforward. Most models feature built-in straps on the seat bottom, allowing you to cinch the seat tight to the canoe. Whenever you’re paddling, make sure to tighten the seat properly – if it’s too loose, the seat will shift around and make your paddling much less efficient.
Some cushions don’t come with built-in mounting straps, so make sure to pick up some type of rope or cord to tether them to the craft.
There a few extra features to keep in mind that can increase the functionality of your canoe seat.
Storage Pocket: Some seats feature a small storage pocket on the rear of the backrest. These pockets are great for stashing snacks, water, fishing gear, or anything else you want to keep within arm’s length.
Flotation: Several cushions can also double as flotation devices in a pinch. While you should always wear a personal flotation device when you’re on the water, these can be handy for a variety of tasks.
Versatility: Beyond just keeping your rear end comfortable while paddling a canoe, most canoe seats also double as seating for kayaks, rowboats, as well as for bleachers and other sporting events. Because they’re easy to attach and remove from a canoe, you can easily swap them out to other watercraft in seconds.
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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.