In this post, I’m going to show you how to choose a kayak seat. You’ll see what the major factors you should be looking for.
When it comes to kayak seat, it’s all about comfort and the proper support on your back. (You can check out this article: Can you go kayak with a bad back.)
I learned a lot from my previous experiences, I know what features are often overlooked or not considered by beginners.
Also, I know that every kayaker has different needs. Someone might care more about comfort, the other might focus on their budget. That’s why I’ve put this guide together. I’ll show you the feature you should consider when choosing a kayak seat.
At the end of this post, I’ll give you my “editor’s choice” on kayak seat. You could check it out and make your own judgment base on all the knowledge you’ve learned.
What is the best kayak seat?
The perfect seat doesn’t exist?
When your kayak isn’t equipped with a fine kayak seat, you might suffer some pain and not be able to enjoy the beauty around you. That’s why choosing a right seat is really important. It will amplify your kayaking experience to the next level.
I’ve seen a lot of reviews out there talking about the “best” kayak seat but those reviews did not help me choose the one I need.
In my opinion, there’s no point in trying to get a perfect kayak seat because there are too many disciplines and you can’t find one that ticks all the boxes. You should focus on what kind of features that you really needed.
Seat pad or cushion?
There are some products like Skwoosh Kayak Gel Pad or Yakpads Gel-filled Paddle Saddle which can give you more comfort during the paddle session. But I won’t recommend this kind of product due to they often don’t have enough attachment point to the kayak.
It makes them hard to hold in place. Some of them might have the non-slip bottoms design but again, they don’t offer enough stability which against the idea that choosing a seat to give you more support. You might find yourself spending a lot of time to adjust those cushion.
How to Choose a Kayak Seat (basic)
Before you browse hundreds of products in Amazon, here’re some general factors you should keep in mind first.
- Size of your kayak
- Style of your kayak
- Your Body type
Size of your kayak
Fitting is a big factor when choosing a kayak seat.
Measure your seat well and get a sense of how wide a seat your kayak can accommodate. So that it will not be too large nor too small to fit in your kayak. Make sure to properly measure a kayak cockpit(especially for sit-in kayak) to acquire length, width and circumference dimensions to avoid the wrong size for a kayak seat.
Style of your kayak
Make sure you know what kind of seat your boat requires. No matter you have a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak, you’ll need a different seat for each type. Some seats will work for both types, but many will not. (Nowadays, most seats are adjustable but I will recommend you buy the one was invented for its type.)
(Like the Kerco Angler-x kayak seat is made for the sit-on-top kayak.)
Your Body type
Seat needs to fit the boat and you.
If you’re a taller person, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a full-size seat, with a back that extends at least 12-18” from the seat. If you’re on the shorter side, you’ll want to stick with 12” and under backrests.
Also, Every kayak seat has a weight rating for the person who will sit on. Make sure that you do not go beyond the weight rating of the particular kayak seat.
Money does matter.
Kayak seats can cost anywhere from $25-$250. I recommend spending at least $40-$50 on your new seat, even if you’re on a tight budget. In my experience, seats that are cheaper than the $40-$50 range are not worth your investment, since they need to be replaced so quickly. Not mention the non-ergonomic design might end up hurt your back.
How to Choose a Kayak Seat (advance)
Next thing you should look for are;
A kayaks seat material is an important factor. A good material seat will last longer and keep you comfortable on the water.
- Neoprene Fabric
Neoprene Fabric has good stability and flexibility at different temperatures.
- Molded Foam
Molded Foam is a little bit sensitive to the temperature, so if you plan to do a lot of daylight peddling you should avoid choosing this material.
- EVA Foam
EVA Foam is a lightweight foam with strong and durable properties.
Polyester is extremely strong and is usually used for making outdoor clothes for extremely harsh climates. **Though not used to create the entire kayak seat this is usually layered over.
Kayak seats come in various back lengths and structural supports. Practically speaking, the higher the back, the better the support. A good kayak seat should have the lumbar or lower back support to protect your spine from soreness.
So, just go for the higher one?
Not really. Although kayak seats with high backs can offer better support, sometimes it will limit the agility for kayakers. It’s not suitable for those who need an agile navigate through tight spaces. If this sounds like your kayaking style, you should be looking for a kayak seat with a flexible frame.
Just like a sofa, the thicker cushion in the kayak seat tends to be more comfortable but it can soak up lots of water and takes more time to dry up. If you find yourself constantly shifting in your kayak to relieve soreness, then you definitely should choose the one with a thicker cushion.
Kayak seats are typically made from foam cushioning, neoprene, mesh, rubber and other materials that are durable yet flexible. Though the specifics usually do not matter too much, there are a few key features you’ll want to look out for when choosing your new kayak seat. These features are not “must” but it’s good to have.
- Mesh panel – It makes your seat dry up faster. You’ll want the back to offer support but still remain breathable.
- Adjustable straps – Allow you to adjust the angle of the backrest to suit the type of kayaking you’re doing on a specific outing.
- Additional Pocket – It’s always good to have extra space for your gear especially if you’re a kayak fisherman.
Kayak seat comparison chart
Kayak Seat Name Materials Seat back Note Price
GTS Elite Molded Foam Kayak Seat black molded foam padding 18”L x 21”W Sculpted 18'' tall back portion of the seat offers maximum high back support $$$$
Ocean Kayak Comfort Hybrid Seat Back nylon pack cloth 16" Can be permanently affixed to your boat at the crease to prevent sliding (straps not included) $$$
Docooler Deluxe Cushion Kayak Seat polyester and neoprene 20.28 * 17.72in High backrest design brings additional comfort.
$$$$= Over 150
$$$ = Over 100
$$= Over 50
Kayak seat recommendation
After seeing my stander of choosing a seat, you probably notice that I am pretty picky about my kayak seat. I think it’s worth spending some time do the researches than just read some random reviews.
Ok, here we go.
My recommendation of kayak seat would be the Docooler Deluxe Padded Kayak Boat Seat. It was originally invented for a sit-on-top kayak. If you own a sit-in kayak, it might need some minor modifications to your kayak but I won’t suggest you do so.
It’s not the most high-end kayak seat as you see in the comparison chart. The price is around $40-$50, you could check the price on Amazon.
This Docooler Kayak seat is made from heavy duty deluxe 600D polyester and neoprene material for durability. You will definitely feel comfortable and safe with this kayak seat at hand due to this material.
Its backrest thickness is about 2.5 to 3 cm and the padded base thickness is about 1.9cm. The high backrest design offers your back additional support.
Your kayak must have 4 pad eyes to attach this seat. The front and back straps with four stainless brass snap hooks can be used to fix the seat in place sturdily.
Check out the size to see if it fits your kayak.
I have to say, this seat is simply amazing with its’ price range. I Purchased it for my kayak last summer and it opens up a whole new level of comfort. It provides the perfect support to my back which makes those long trips paddling much easier. And it’s super easy to install, you don’t even need any tools. The only flaw I found is that the straps material are a little bit flimsy but it’s not a big deal.
And the official website did mention it can fit on a children’s kayak but I never do that before.
Time to wrap up. I hope you find this blog post helpful. If you have any further question, leave your comment below. I’ll try my best to answer it.
Thanks for reading. Happy kayaking.