Has kayaking been giving you back aches after being out on the water? Maybe the solution is a better seat. Any water sports enthusiast knows that long excursions out on the water can be detrimental to your back and shoulders. This is because kayaking puts pressure on the back and arms because of the constant movement. Another reason your kayak may be uncomfortable is the seat it came with is not offering enough support.
This means a good kayak seat can be the difference between not wanting to go kayaking to being able to enjoy every minute of your time on the water.
While manufacturers put a lot of work into making their kayaks, the seat is often neglected when it comes to comfort. The seat is made with the thought that all people weigh the same, have the same posture and height. This is far from the truth. They also lack good padding, which is very important for comfort.
Should I Upgrade My Kayak Seat?
You definitely should if you value comfort and functionality and your current seat is not adequate. We recommend you upgrade from the factory seat as soon as you can and get a better option that will be more comfortable and help you enjoy your time on the water more. How many times have you gotten a backache or numb legs after a short time in your kayak? A good seat can make all the difference and make your time in your kayak much more enjoyable. Many seats cater to different types of kayaks on the market. The following tips will make your search easier and shorter when looking for the right seat for your favorite kayak.
Tips That Will Help You Pick the Best Kayak Seat:
Know Your Kayak - There Are Different Types of Seats for Different Kayak Types
Kayaks have come a long way from their invention many many generations ago. They were made purposefully for hunting and fishing. With time and advances in technology, kayaks have been modified for recreational uses, professional sporting, and military use.
Before purchasing any seat, it’s important to know what kind of a seat your kayak requires. Each make is constructed differently hence requiring a particular seat though some seats can work on almost all kayak types. Kayaks come in two basic styles.
Sit-on-top kayaks feature an open top for easy entry and exit. They are an improvement of the traditional design. They are stable and secure to paddle and quite safe even for children and beginners. They are meant for use on lakes and ponds where you won’t experience strong waves or rough water.
They come in hard-shells or inflatables. You can purchase them with single seats or double (tandem) seats. You will get a minimal amount of padding in your seat when you buy this type of kayak that won’t do much for comfort or posture. The good news is that kayak seats can be purchased separately.
These kayaks are sleek and more efficient than the sit-on-top types. They are designed so that you sit inside the cockpit of the kayak with legs under the deck.
Sit-in kayaks are designed for recreational or touring use. Recreational kayaks are broader and shorter with big cockpits. Touring or sea kayaks are longer and narrower with thigh hooks thus offering the user more control in rough waters in the sea. The cockpits are smaller but are easy to get in and out.
Due to the differences in designs, kayaks seats tend to vary depending on size and height to suit the various makes. A chair that will work for a sit-in kayak may not offer functionality or fit when used in a sit on top kayak.
Types of Kayak Seats:
There are five types of seats available in the market.
Basic seats give the bare minimum comfort without any added benefits. They are found in recreational kayaks that are used for short periods of time. They are what you get when you purchase the kayak from the maker but you can find basic kayaks seats available for sale as well if you want a basic seat. With this type of a seat, you get a padded seat that won’t do much for your comfort and posture.
A deluxe kayak seat has a wide range of sitting positions with ergonomic settings which make these seats more expensive than the basic ones. A deluxe seat offers more comfort during extreme activities. They can be fitted on both recreational and sporting kayaks.
3. Tall Back
This seat provides excellent support for the back and neck. For tall kayakers, this is the ideal seat. It offers more support and back comfort than the normal seat. The sizes run from 38 to 50cms.
This is a seat designed for a fishing kayak. If you go fishing frequently, this is a more functional option that allows you to cast fishing lines in all directions as it swivels. The chair sits high on the kayak as well so that you have the widest range of motion.
If you prefer a seat that is very lightweight and portable, consider getting an inflatable seat. The seat easily folds for storage and can be inflated quickly to give you a comfortable seating area as you enjoy your water activities.
Size and Comfort Level:
You should never compromise on comfort, in fact, comfort should be the first thing to look for in a good seat. Size matters very much in a kayak seat. This is especially true if you have a smaller or longer torso than average. If you are tall get an adjustable seat that can be adjusted to suit your body height comfortably. A large size chair will give you more wiggle room when cruising allowing for better circulation to the legs to prevent them from going numb. If you have a small frame get a low back chair that offers more back support while conforming to your body size.
A well-cushioned seat will go a long way in making sure you get maximum comfort when on extended trips. The ideal cushion should be thick but not too soft. The padding at the bottom and the back should add support and comfort for the user. It should come with strong straps that attach to the kayak for safety and to prevent the seat from slipping. A well-padded seat will make kayaking in distant waters much more enjoyable and help with support and circulation to the legs to avoid numbness.
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While measuring the dimensions of the seat that can fit into your kayak, consider how far you would like the chair to extend. Think about support for your back, shoulders, and thighs. Get a well-padded seat in all these areas. It's important to note if one part of your body is not well supported the other regions are likely to become sore as well.
If you have back issues, thicker padding will help to alleviate pain during longer excursions on the water. A seat that conforms to your body type and weight will work to give you better support. For taller people, a full-size seat with a back extending 18 inches will accommodate your extra height. If you are small in size or the kayak is meant for children, 12 inches or less is more than sufficient.
If you are on the heavy side, you will love a pressure molded foam seat. It is more durable and will carry your weight without sacrificing comfort. We found that polyester foams wear down easily while force molded foams are more resilient. Gel cushioning is gaining popularity with its ability to conform the users body to give maximum support.
Kayak Seat Materials:
Kayak seat materials determine the structure of the seat and comfort levels your chair will have. Learning about the various elements that are used in the making of seats will enable you to make an informed decision. They include:
Have a Budget:
Kayak seats can cost anywhere from $30 to $250; we recommend spending at least $50 on a quality seat. A seat in this range will have better padding and will last longer. We found out that seats cheaper than $50 are not worth the money your saving as you will need to replace them frequently which means you will be spending more money in the long run.
There are so many distinct features that set apart high- end and low-end models, but to put is simply it all boils down to comfort and durability. The more expensive models will have thicker padding and offer better pressure relief than the cheaper options. They are made of quick dry materials.
The high-end seats boast a pressure molded foam that is more comfortable and durable to last for years. Expect to be replacing the kayak seat frequently if you go with the cheaper models. The fabrics won’t stand up to UV damage as well as day to day wear and tear.
Best Fishing Kayak Seats Reviewed
1. Yakpads Gel-Filled Paddle Saddle - Best for Sit-In Kayaks
Next time you are out in the waters, bring with you the Yakpads Gel-Filled Saddle that will make your excursion more comfortable if you have a sit-on top kayak. This is an excellent choice for people who need lots of cushioning. The gel-filled backrest will ensure you keep good posture that is required for longer rides to reduce the chance of cramps and pain. The comfort you will experience with this seat is unbelievable; it conforms to the user’s body providing the right amount of cushioning to the back and thighs. The gel filled seat won’t raise your center of gravity though. We can assure you that your body will be protected even in rough waters. A backache will be a thing of the past once you get this seat.
The Yakpads Gel-Filled Saddle comes with lines and fittings attached to the saddle that will secure it firmly on the kayak reducing any chance of it slipping when in chop or waves. The loops are sturdy enough and can withstand high tension to ensure your seat stays securely positioned.
The Yak pad comes in two sizes:
- A high seat that fits seats of 8-17 inches high
- A low seat made for seats 6-8 inches high
The high seat is great for tall people while the shorter version is suitable for shorter kayakers and children. This seat can be used on both recreational and touring sit-in kayaks.
2. Vibe Kayaks Sit-On-Top Deluxe Seat - Best Seat with Built-In Storage
Vibe Kayaks Sit-On-Top Deluxe Seat delivers comfort and style while offering a good cushioning for a whole day of kayaking. It’s fitted with strong multi-adjustable front and back UV protected straps. The four straps are secured with marine grade brass snaps that latch on the kayak making sure the seat stays in place and fits most sit-on-top kayaks.
The seat has a height of 18 inches and has large back width which offers extra ergonomic support and comfort. This seat is designed for use in a sit-on-top kayak and can fit most models. It’s the best seat for sea kayaks where you find extreme conditions.
The seat comes with a storage pouch that is water resistant. You can carry your lunch or wallet with you on the water in this wax coated bag without fear of your valuables getting soaked. We do recommend a waterproof bag for your phone or other electronics though.
3. Ocean Kayak Comfort Tech Seat - Best Value
If you are willing to invest a bit more, Ocean Kayak Comfort Tech Seat will give you a lot of value for your money. The seat offers a high back support system and comfort features. Its compatible with nearly all sit-on-top kayak models.
This Ocean Comfort seat offers more cushioning with a high back that supports you, so you won’t get tired quickly and can concentrate on enjoying your day on the water. The breathable material will keep you ventilated and dry on those long sessions out in the water. This is a good option for those with back problems. You will get more support from the thick padding. It provides pressure relief, and with a thickness less than two inches, it will keep your center of gravity low which is crucial for stability and safety.
This particular model has four straps that are adjustable to make sure you are safe on the seat all the time. At a height of 24 inches, we love this added back support which taller anglers require for a comfortable day on the water.
You will find your body breathing better when on the seat. The fabric has a built-in ventilation system that allows the exchange of air to keep you cool all the time. Thanks to this comfort model, you won’t be dripping with sweat when on this chair. Versatility comes to mind when we think of the Comfort Tech seat. It will fit in all kayak models and designs. So much thought was put in the making of this product to make it adaptable.
4. Surf to Summit GTS Expedition Kayak Seat - Best Seat with Back Support
As the name suggests, this seat is made rugged and rough to withstand the tough expeditions. This is a popular choice because it's affordable and adaptable to many kayak brands. If you are unsure of what seat to buy, this Surf to Summit GTS Expedition Kayak Seat is a safe bet.
Made with molded foam, the seat is long lasting and durable. It is also comfortable due to the right amount of cushioning at the bottom and the back. Kayaking becomes more fun when you are comfortable thanks to this well-padded unit. This seat will provide extra support for the back and lumbar region.
It’s an all-purpose seat that works on both sit-in and sit-on-top types of kayaks. With the four straps, it can be modified easily to suit the design of the kayak its installed in. The point latch system ensures the seat is secured to the kayak to avoid any accidents associated with loose chairs. There is a storage pouch at the back that is water resistant. You will be able to carry a few personal items without worrying about water damage.
Surf to Summit has made this seat super durable with commercial style grade compressed foam that will hold on longer without tears. The compressed foam binds the fabric to the foam which prevents the materials from falling apart. The flexible foam will remain comfortable even after years of use.
5. Brooklyn Kayak Company Sit-On-Top Full Kayak Seat - Best Universal Seat
This is the ultimate seat that can fit all types of canoes in your home. It’s a well-made seat that offers comfort and functionality. The fact that is adaptable to all kayak models, it makes sense to purchase one if you have both types of kayaks, you will be saving a few coins by not buying different seats, instead of a good comfortable chair that is versatile and will cater to your needs.
The Brooklyn Kayak Company Sit-On-Top Full Kayak Seat offers comfort at the bottom, and the full reinforced back protects your back by providing support and good posture. This will leave with no worry of back aches or cramps as you enjoy your being in your kayak on the water.
The UV resistant nylon is durable and will last for many seasons. Brooklyn kayaks seats come with marine grade brass straps, 2 in front and 2 for the back that are used to secure the seat to the kayak. These straps are what is used to modify the seat to fit either sit-in or sit-on-top kayaks.
There are many kayak seats in the markets, and we know that narrowing the list down can be a lot of work. That is why we have made this list to help you select the best kayak seat. If you own a sit-in kayak, consider the YakPads Gel-filled Paddle Saddle. It’s an excellent choice that Is both functional and comfortable for a sit-in canoe.
The Vibe Kayaks Sit-on-top Deluxe Seat will work great for your sit-on-top kayak. If you are roughing it out in the wild t he Surf to Summit expedition seat is a great choice. It’s a tough seat made for strong rapids and waves.
We love the versatile Brooklyn seat that can be used on virtually all kayak types. It’s a great value for the money without sacrificing comfort.
The best kayak seats offer maximum comfort and are designed to be durable. They will also have adjustable straps so that you can use to extend the chair back as desired and secure it firmly with no slippage.