Kayaking is an exciting adventure to participate in, but there’s nothing as disappointing as spending hours out on the water in an uncomfortable kayak seat.
What’s more, the back pain afterward can be unbearable.
Fortunately, you no longer have to endure the discomfort and back pain once you upgrade your kayak seat. The best kayak seat provides excellent back support and allows you to maneuver the boat comfortably.
Read on to learn more about what to look for in a kayak seat and some of the best kayak seats with fantastic reviews for back support.
Why Should You Replace Your Kayak Seat?
Standard kayak seats can be too rigid and uncomfortable when paddling for hours.
If you’re not sure whether you should replace your kayak seat, here are a few reasons to consider investing in a new seat.
Paddling for hours can be excruciating, especially if you have a back injury. Standard kayak seats may not provide enough back support and stability.
A quality kayak seat offers vital support to your back as it’s well-padded and has adjustable straps that you can loosen or tighten, depending on your needs.
Replacing your kayak seat will allow you to have better control over the kayak’s movements. You’ll no longer have to worry about a sore back or being sweaty, and you can now focus on maneuverability.
Modern kayaks have additional storage space to store items like keys and phones in a convenient place.
The Best Kayak Seats in 2021
Some of the top-rated kayak seats include:
- Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Back – Our Top Pick
- WooWAVE Kayak Seat – Best Value For Money
- Surf to Summit Outfitter Series Kayak Seat – Best Compact Seat
- Skwoosh Expedition Kayak Seat – Best For Long Kayak Expedition
- GTS Expedition Kayak Seat – Best Seat For Sit-on-top Kayaks
- Welugnal Backrest Boating Luxury Adjustable Kayak Seat – Best Budget Kayak Seat
- Ocean Motion Ergo Sit on Top Kayak Seat
- Pactrade Marine Adjustable Detachable Kayak Seat – Best For Rough Waters
- Saturn Deluxe Molded Foam Kayak Seat – Best Sport Fishing Kayak Seat
- Sea Eagle Deluxe Inflatable Kayak Seat – Best Inflatable Kayak Seat
Comparison Table: Best Kayak Seats in 2021
|Picture||Specs||Where to Buy|
Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Back
|Size: 23″ x 15″ x 2″|
Back Height: 14″
Weight: 1.74 lb
Material: Durable nylon
WooWAVE Kayak Seat
|Size: 19 x19 x 3.2″ |
Back Height: 12″
Weight: 3.04 lb
Material: EVA foam, polyester
Surf to Summit Outfitter Series Kayak Seat
|Size: 19″ x 19″ x 3.2″|
Back Height: 15″
Weight: 2 lb
Material: Layered foam, fabric
Skwoosh Expedition Kayak Seat
|Size: 20.75″ x 18.75″ x 2.5″ |
Back Height: 20″
Weight: 2.9 lb
Material: Polyester and nylon
GTS Expedition Kayak Seat
|Size: 34″ x 21″ x 2″|
Back Height: 18″
Weight: 1.74 lb
Material: EVA foam, 600D fabric
Welugnal Backrest Boating Luxury Adjustable Kayak Seat
|Size: 12.6″ x 15.7″ x 2″ |
Back Height: 14″
Weight: 3.4 lb
Material: Polyester and EVA foam
Ocean Motion Ergo Sit on Top Kayak Seat
|Size: 32″ x 19″ x 3″|
Back Height: 19″
Weight: 3.3 lb
Pactrade Marine Adjustable Detachable Kayak Seat
|Size: 31″ x 20″ x 5″|
Back Height: 18″
Weight: 8 lb
Material: Neoprene and 600D polyester
Saturn Deluxe Molded Foam Kayak Seat
|Size: 20.5″ x 18.1″ x 8.4″ |
Back Height: 18″
Weight: 6.6 lb
Material: Molded foam
Sea Eagle Deluxe Inflatable Kayak Seat
|Size: 14″ x 21″ x 19″|
Back Height: 14″
Weight: 3.5 lb
Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Back – Our Top Pick
The Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat is our top pick and is best for anyone looking for a seat shape that wraps around the torso to provide support from the sides. Moreover, the California-based manufacturer is famous for inventing the sit-on-top kayak. So you know this seat is from a reputable brand.
Paddling enthusiasts planning to spend a whole day on the water will love this seat as it provides ample back support with its 14 inches back height. Traditional kayak seats tend to have little to no padding, making them uncomfortable to sit on for long hours.
The Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus features foam padding for comfort. Its in-built ventilation promotes airflow, ensuring that you don’t have a sweaty back during your adventure. Furthermore, this kayak seat has 4-way adjustable mounting straps that provide seating comfort and a custom fit for any body type.
Another great aspect is the solid construction. The seat is made from UV-resistant nylon fabric for added durability.
The seat has reflective safety logos that illuminate in the dark after being exposed to sunlight.
On the downside, the Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus seat is only designed to work with Ocean kayak models. You can’t use it with any other kayak brand.
- Has a durable construction
- It comes with adjustable straps for a customized fit
- Provides extra padding for lumbar support and backrest
- Easy to carry
- Features in-built ventilation to keep you cool and dry
- Fantastic customer rating online
- It has a separate convenient storage bag
- The butt pad could use an extra cushion
- Straps are not made from metal brass
- Designed to fit Ocean kayak models only
- Seat Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 inches
- Back Height: 14 inches
- Weight: 1.74 pounds
- Material: Durable nylon
WooWAVE Kayak Seat – Best Value For Money
If you are looking for a quality kayak seat that is reasonably priced and designed for back support, you should check out the WooWave Kayak Seat.
The manufacturer uses durable EVA foam for the seat’s interior and high-quality 210D polyester for its exterior. In addition, its thick foam cushion supports long-term water sports.
It also features 4-way adjustable reinforced rear and front straps to ensure the seat is placed depending on your needs. You’ll love its high back design that is in line with ergonomics, while its anti-slip design keeps the seat in place when you’re out on the water.
The WooWave Kayak seat has been designed for quick and straightforward installation. You’ll only need to fasten the connecting snaps of the straps on the attachment point and make the necessary adjustments. Its upper straps support the position of the back panel.
You can install this seat on different kayaks, fishing boats, canoes, and other vessels.
Other features include a waterproof detachable back storage bag with plenty of space for your items.
There’s also a money-back guarantee and free replacement for 12 months.
- Made to fit all body types due to its universal form-fitting feature
- Ergonomic back support
- Designed for kayaking, fishing, and canoeing
- Simple to install and remove
- It comes with an anti-slip seat design to keep the kayak seat in position
- It’s affordable
- It can be used with any kayak
- Some users felt that the clasps were cheaply designed
- Seat dimensions: 19 x19 x3.2 inches
- Back Height: 12 inches
- Weight: 3.04 pounds
- Material: EVA foam, polyester
Surf to Summit Outfitter Series Kayak Seat – Best Compact Seat
The Surf to Summit Outfitter Series Kayak Seat isn’t your basic kayak seat. It boasts quality construction that involves a process of layering foam, fabric, and plastic compression that is molded with tons of pressure.
That process bonds the fabric to the foam permanently to ensure durability. Its extended back support works for recreational kayakers who love spending time out on the water. The kayak’s ample stability and comfort mean you can use it on sit-on kayak models.
There’s an extra storage pocket on the back for your small items like keys and phones. Moreover, this kayak seat is backed by a lifetime warranty
- Excellent stability and comfort
- Works with any kayak
- Durable construction
- It has a four-point adjustable attachment system for customizable comfort
- It comes with a lifetime warranty
- Lacks upper back support
- It doesn’t have extra storage
- Not the cheapest option
- Seat dimensions: 20 x 13 x15 inches
- Back height: 15 inches
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Material: Layered foam, fabric
Skwoosh Expedition Kayak Seat – Best For Long Kayak Expedition
The Skwoosh Expedition Kayak Seat is excellent for anyone looking for more comfort and enough back support for long kayak expeditions.
For durability, the manufacturer adds a fluidized gel cushion and Air Flo 3D breathable fabric. Staying on a kayak for a whole day as a tall person can be uncomfortable, especially if the backrest isn’t high enough to provide support. The Skwoosh Expedition Kayak seat is 20 inches high to provide enough back support.
Its backrest is reinforced with fiberglass, and the adjustable lumbar support cushion keeps your back in the best position for long hours.
Find four adjustable straps that allow you to fit the seat to your kayak, depending on your needs. These straps have corrosion-resistant swivel clips that are resistant to rust when exposed to sun and water.
Other features include a two-bottle holder on both sides and a bungee storage net on the back for your small items.
- Simple to install
- The seat offers ample back support
- Durable construction and waterproof gel cushion
- It comes with inbuilt insulated water bottle holders.
- Bottle holders and rear netting not accessible on sit-in kayaks
- The seat cushion is thin
- It might be expensive for those on a budget
- Seat dimensions: 20.75 x 18.75 x 2.5 inches
- Back height: 20 inches
- Weight: 2.9 pounds
- Material: Polyester and nylon
GTS Expedition Kayak Seat – Best Seat For Sit-on-top Kayaks
The GTS Kayak Seat is another top-rated kayak seat with excellent reviews online. It features a blend of thermoformed EVA foam and 600-denier fabric with a polyethylene sheet for durability.
What’s more, the seat has a counter-molded design with an 18-inch backrest and a two-inch bottom seat to provide enough lumbar support. The seat’s construction also offers ample padding and stability for those days you want to spend the whole day paddling.
Unlike other kayak seats with a standard four-point adjustment system, the GTS Kayak Seat has a six-point adjustment system that allows you to customize the fitting. Additionally, you can easily access gear storage thanks to the mesh bungee pouch.
- Durable construction
- Provides the perfect mix of comfort and support
- Designed for long paddling expeditions thanks to the thick seat padding
- The comfort grooves also act as draining channels
- Ranked as one of the most comfortable kayak seats as the high backrest provides spinal support
- It has a six-point attachment system for maximum adjustment
- The mesh bungee pouch provides a convenient storage space
- It may be heavy for some paddlers.
- The deep ridges may be uncomfortable for some users
- Seat dimensions: 34 x 21 x 2 inches
- Back height: 18 inches
- Weight: 3.7 pounds
- Material: EVA foam, 600D fabric
Welugnal Backrest Boating Luxury Adjustable Kayak Seat – Best Budget Kayak Seat
Designed for sit-on-top kayaks, the Welugnal Universal Kayak Seat is one of the budget-friendly options in the market.
The kayak seat is lightweight as it’s made of quality 600D polyester exterior and EVA foam. Reclining your seat and relaxing on your kayaking adventure is something standard seats don’t offer.
Thankfully, the Welugnal Backrest Kayak seat has tight adjustable straps that don’t come loose when you recline your back. Its back support allows you to adjust the seat to the proper position.
Another feature is the waterproof storage bag at the back that provides storage for small things like phones and keys.
- Excellent back support
- Lightweight and durable construction
- It comes with a waterproof storage bag
- You have to wash the seat after use in saltwater to avoid corrosion.
- Seat dimensions: 12.6 x 15.7 x 2 inches
- Back height: 14 inches
- Weight: 3.4 pounds
- Material: Polyester and EVA foam
The Ocean Motion Ergo Sit-on-Top Kayak seat is another excellent choice for anyone looking for a comfortable kayak seat.
Its 2.5-inch padding ensures that you have ample comfort and support for extended periods on your kayak. In addition, the rigid back support is structurally reinforced to reduce back pain and fatigue.
Most seats fitted on sit-on-top kayaks bottom out after using them for some time. However, the Ocean Motion Ergo Sit-on-top has firm foam to ensure the seat stays in place even when used by heavy people.
The kayak’s seat neoprene material is durable, and its anti-slip feature enables the seat to remain firm when you’re kayaking in rough water or on those days you forget to strap your kayak seat in.
Another impressive feature is the ease of installation. You only need to attach the nylon straps to the existing points of the kayak to set up the seat. The best part is that the straps are adjustable, which means you can get the seat to your desired size.
On the downside, the kayak seat’s cushion can be too firm and uncomfortable for some people. Also, the connectors are made of brass and can corrode in saltwater.
- Durable neoprene fabric cover
- Quality construction and designed for heavy people
- Simple to install
- Excellent cushioning and anti-slip feature
- It comes with an extra storage bag
- The brass connectors can corrode when used in saltwater
- The dense foam may be uncomfortable for some users
- Seat dimensions: 32 x 19 x 3 inches
- Back height: 19 inches
- Weight: 3.3 pounds
- Material: Neoprene
Pactrade Marine Adjustable Detachable Kayak Seat – Best For Rough Waters
The Pactrade Marine Adjustable Detachable Kayak seat boasts of solid construction and can withstand any discoloring, degrading, and without breaking.
It’s made from neoprene and durable 600D polyester, making it puncture and tear-resistant. In addition, this deluxe kayak seat has multiple cells of padded EVA foam to make the lower back more comfortable and position the seat in place.
Furthermore, the Pactrade Marine Kayak seat comes with a removable backpack that you can attach to the rear of the seat.
Apart from its durability, the Pactrade Marine Adjustable Detachable Kayak seat also has four mounting straps that provide an adjustable backrest with extra stability. These straps ensure the seat remains stable. In addition, the zippered pouch gives you additional storage for your small items.
Although this kayak seat was designed for sit-on-top kayak models, you can easily adjust it to fit in sit-inside models.
- It’s high back to accommodate tall paddlers
- Padded and contoured in the right places
- Has adjustable straps with metal clips
- Durable material
- It comes with a detachable backpack
- You cannot access the backpack on sit-in kayaks
- Not enough seat padding
- Seat dimensions: 20 x 5 x 31 inches
- Back height: 18 inches
- Weight: 8 pounds
- Material: Neoprene and 600D polyester
Saturn Deluxe Molded Foam Kayak Seat – Best Sport Fishing Kayak Seat
If you’re looking for a kayak seat that combines durability, support, and comfort in one, you should check out the Saturn Deluxe molded foam seat.
Unlike some kayak seats specifically designed to fit particular brands, the Saturn Deluxe kayak seat can be used with any kayak. Furthermore, its rigid back support and detachable cushion add comfort to this kayak seat.
The widened rear attachment straps help with solid positioning. Its unique construction that features deep molded center panels and contrasting black molded foam padding gives this kayak seat a high-end look.
Saturn includes a sculpted 18 inches back support to provide lumbar support for those long kayaking days.
The molded foam kayak seat also has a detachable pack with two fishing rod holders. What’s more, there are inbuilt fishing rod securing straps that wrap around the pole and velcro to provide quick access.
- Features rigid back support and a detachable cushion
- It comes with rear attachment straps for solid positioning
- Designed for tall people as it has a high back support
- Extra features like inbuilt fishing rod holders and zipper closure
- Some users found the seat too rigid.
- Seat dimensions: 20/5 x 18.1 x8.4 inches
- Back height: 18 inches
- Weight: 6/6 pounds
- Material: Molded foam
Sea Eagle Deluxe Inflatable Kayak Seat – Best Inflatable Kayak Seat
The Sea Eagle Deluxe Inflatable Kayak Seat features 14 inches of back support and is about five inches high to ensure you’re comfortable. You can detach the seat and pack it away after your kayaking expedition.
It’s easy to transport this kayak seat as it only weighs 3.5 pounds. The best part is that you can use this kayak seat as a regular chair when camping.
- It comes with a new design for superior back support
- Designed for inflatable kayaks
- Provides up to 14 inches of back support
- Durable and comfortable
- Easy to store
- It has a rear pocket for extra storage
- Some users had issues with the seat portion staying inflated.
- Seat dimensions: 14 x 21 x 19 inches
- Back height: 14 inches
- Weight: 3.5 pounds
- Material: Canvas
Buying the Best Kayak Seat: Ultimate Buyer’s Guide
Research shows that spending too much time on a seat without enough back support can lead to lower back pain. Regular seats fitted in most kayaks are basic and are not well-padded to support your back.
The best kayak seat allows you to enjoy the full experience, whether it’s fishing or exploring the next bay.
However, it can be overwhelming for any first-time buyer to choose the right seat.
This detailed buyer’s guide lists some of the critical factors when purchasing a kayak seat.
Some kayaks are fitted with seats that are stiff and provide little back support. Unfortunately, sitting on these seats can lead to back pain and fatigue, especially if you spend a long time paddling.
It’s essential to check your preferred seat for padding when shopping for the best kayak seat. Also, avoid seat pads when comparing the kayak seat options available. That’s because they may not support your bottom adequately.
You also need to choose a comfortable seat depending on the amount of time you spend out on the water. For example, if you are a recreational paddler, a basic seat with extra padding will do the trick. However, if you are a touring or fishing kayaker, you’ll need a comfortable high back or deluxe seat with added back support.
Additionally, the right seat needs to have adjustable straps to provide a comfortable fit. The Ocean Kayak Comfort plus has a four-way adjustment system that makes it easy to fit any body shape, increasing back support, comfort, and stability.
Another critical factor that will affect your comfort is ventilation. Having a sticky and sweaty back isn’t fun and can lead to sweat rash or overheating. The kayak seat you choose should have enough ventilation to keep you dry and allow moisture to evaporate, thus keeping you cool.
Find a Kayak Seat Style That Fits Your Needs
Kayak seats come in different styles. You’ll find some with extra padding for comfort and others with increased storage on their design.
You need to understand the various seat designs, what they offer, and if they are compatible with your kayak.
Some of the common types of kayak seat styles include:
- Inflatable Kayak Seats
Inflatable kayak seats are easy to store and handle in the water. There are a variety of inflatable kayak seats like the Sea Eagle inflatable kayak seat that are durable and comfortable.
- Tall-back Kayak Seats
Tall back seats are also known as high back seats. They are a popular option with anglers as they provide ample support for those long days spent on a kayak.
These kayak seats are also great for tall paddlers as they provide ample back support.
- Basic Design Kayak Seats
Basic design seats work well for general kayaking and have padded cushions that sit on or in your kayak to provide extra comfort.
The Size of Your Kayak Seat
A kayak seat’s comfort levels won’t matter if it can’t fit in your kayak.
You’ll need to take the measurements of your kayak and match them to your preferred seat. Check if your kayak has features that allow you to strap in a seat.
Check the Kayak’s Seat Construction
The best kayak seats should be comfortable and durable to withstand environmental elements like harsh winds, sun, and water.
Here are some of the materials used in kayak seat construction.
EVA foam is typical on most kayak seats as it’s less dense, making it lightweight. In addition, most manufacturers will combine EVA foam with polyurethane to ensure the seat doesn’t lose its support and cushioning.
Nylon and Polyester
Both nylon and polyester are polymer-based fabrics. They are combined to form a mesh that provides enough ventilation to keep you cool. Moreover, seats made from nylon and polyester provide ample support and comfort.
Neoprene is a flexible material that provides enough support. Most kayak seats are made from neoprene due to their flexibility in a wide temperature range.
Although neoprene isn’t waterproof, it dries up quickly. You should note that saltwater may damage this material. Experts recommend washing down the kayak seat after use.
Although canvas isn’t a popular option in performance kayak seats, you’ll find it in some fishing kayaks. This is because the material is rigid and can withstand the elements.
Kayak seats with molded foam provide better ergonomics as they contour the body. They are also durable and comfortable.
Buy From a Reputable Brand
You need to purchase your kayak seat from a renowned brand as this guarantees quality. In addition, some of these brands offer a money-back guarantee, while others are willing to replace your kayak in case of any issues.
A few of these brands include Skwoosh, Leader Accessories, Sea Eagle, and Surf to Summit.
Ease of Installation
The right kayak seat won’t be challenging to install. Most manufacturers have easy-to-follow setup instructions.
Some seats only need to be hooked to your kayak, and you’re good to go.
Extra space is an added advantage for any kayaker. Most kayak seats will have an additional storage compartment that you can easily remove and put back. A few seats have a pouch that you can use for small items like keys and phones.
Other features are good to have as extras but are not a requirement.
Some of these include:
A backrest with a mesh panel keeps you cool by allowing moisture to escape.
Additional pockets are great for your items.
A kayak seat with adjustable straps makes it easy to adjust the seat based on your body type and comfort needs.
The best kayak seat should have a warranty as this shows the manufacturer is serious about the quality standards. Most kayak seats manufacturers will either replace your seat or return your money in case of any defects.
Price of the Kayak Seat
Having a budget in mind is critical when shopping for a kayak seat. It’s best to purchase a seat that you can afford.
Avoid going for the cheapest options as most are poorly constructed, have low-quality materials, and often need replacing. You can also look for pre-owned kayak seats if you’re not in a position to buy a new one.
Tips to Maintain a Kayak Seat
Buying a new kayak seat is exciting, but there’s nothing as disappointing as having to replace it within the year.
Below are some tips to help you maintain your seat and ensure it lasts long.
Rinse the kayak seat with fresh water after every use, as saltwater can damage it.
Use a soft fabric and brush when cleaning your kayak seat. Most seats are made of nylon, and cleaning them with a hard material may leave scratches or damage the material.
You can use some warm water and a mild detergent for stains. Vinegar also cleans resistant stains. Avoid using bleach on the kayak seat as it will leave unremovable stains.
Air-dry the seat before storage.
Most seats are removable once you’re done kayaking.
Dry the kayak seat before storing or transporting it as water can cause the seat to wear down over time. Store your kayak seat in a bag separately and ensure the environment is dust-free for durability.
Avoid exposing the kayak seat to the sun as this affects the color and weakens the material. In addition, constant exposure will lead to deterioration.
Kayak seats are designed differently. Some have adjustable straps, while others don’t. There are kayak seats with extra padding and storage options, and a few don’t have these features. You’ll need to choose a kayak seat compatible with your kayak and has the features you need.
You can make your sit-in kayak seat more comfortable by padding it up. Adjusting the knee/foot position, adding inflatable thigh support, and adjusting the back tilt position are other ways to make your kayak seat more comfortable.
You can upgrade the kayak seat by getting a more comfortable option. When upgrading your kayak seat, always check to ensure that your preferred seat provides excellent lumbar support it;’s made from a breathable material and is compatible with the type of kayak you have.
You can change your kayak seat, especially if you’re experiencing constant discomfort and back pain. The right kayak seat should have enough cushioning and support your back, whether you’re a recreational kayaker or an angler.
Rinse your kayak seat after every outing to remove any salt and grime that can cause corrosion. Experts also recommend using mild soapy water and a soft sponge to clean the kayak thoroughly a few times a year.
Modern kayaks have different areas or clips that you can use to secure the seat to your kayak. Loosen the straps and then attach the clips to have enough room to place your seat. Once you connect the seat, you can adjust the straps to your desired comfort levels. You can make more adjustments once you’re on the water.
A kayak seat can make or break your kayaking experience.
Finding the best kayak seat doesn’t have to be complicated and daunting. We have listed some of the top-rated kayak seats with excellent reviews. A quality kayak seat can help support your back and ensure you have an enjoyable trip.
Choose one depending on the type of kayak you have, your current needs (comfort, stability, or storage), and your budget.