Best Kayak Seats
With summer right around the corner, you might start having dreams of getting out on the water in your kayak again. If you find your lovely dreams turn into a nightmare because of how uncomfortable you are floating along the water, have no fear because GearWeAre is here to help you ensure you have the most comfortable time you’ve ever had on a kayak this summer.
It’s not a secret that most kayaks are incredibly hard and the seats can be insanely uncomfortable. That’s why there’s a whole world of kayak seats out there that are designed specifically to provide kayakers with a much more comfortable experience on the water. You will find below the 10 best kayak seats on the market today and a comprehensive guide on what to look for as you begin your search for a much cozier (and pain-free) summer.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 3 hrs of research
Has many different applications
Comfortable and sturdy construction
Will stand up by itself
Folds up nicely
Top 10 Picks
1. Cascade Mountain
Has many different applications
Comfortable and sturdy construction
Will stand up by itself
Folds up nicely
Some people thought it was too heavy
This is going to look a lot different than other options you’re going to see in our buying guide today. This is because this is actually designed for use in stadiums as a way of protecting your bottom from the uncomfortable seating at sporting events. Because this is a very versatile seat, however, it can be used in your kayak to bring you comfort during your kayaking tours. It should be noted that there are two versions of this product – one with a steel frame and an ultralight style that comes with a shoulder strap.Read more
If there is one thing that this product has going for it, it is its versatility. It is actually made for use in stadiums so you don’t need to sit on uncomfortable bleachers for hours on end. Don’t be fooled, even though ‘stadium’ is right in the product name. You can use this in your kayak or on the ground or even on a stand-up paddleboard.
Though this product is a bit heavier than other options you might see on our list, you should take this weightiness as a testament to the seat’s overall strength. This is a very durable and sturdy product. Many current users love that it’s not floppy like some other options and that it can stand on its own.
Some users found the steel to be a little on the heavier side, but it does fold down which makes it incredibly portable and worth the investment if you’re someone who spends a lot of time outdoors. The ultralight version does have a shoulder strap, however, so it may be worth considering that style if you prefer an even easier way to tote your chair.
This product has an extra-large seat when comparing it to some of the other options on our list. It measures 20-inches wide, providing people with bigger bottoms some much-needed comfort.
The frame is made from high-quality steel which adds to its overall lifespan. The seat portion is made from a Cordova canvas for additional durability.
2. Ocean Kayak Comfort
Easy to use
Dries quickly if it gets wet
Affordable price tag
Not as padded on the bottom as some other options
Taking the number two spot on our list is this option from Ocean Kayak. This product has more of a traditional style than the first product on our list. It has a reinforced stay which is designed to provide users with even more back support and the straps on the sides of the seat are adjustable so you can find just the right fit for your water adventures.Read more
This seat has a number of different straps on the sides that will allow users to adjust and fine-tune the seat to just the right specifications. This adjustability not only provides versatility in the product but also allows users to find the custom fit that works for them.
This item is going to last you a long time. This is due in part to its UV-resistant construction that will ensure the sun isn’t going to fade the product or take a toll on its longevity.
This is a very lightweight option that is super simple to tote around with you wherever you need to take it.
How much do you appreciate ‘back support’? Well, with this item from Ocean Kayak you sure will be able to. Thanks to its tall back, this item offers all users a generous amount of back support, making it perfect for anyone who is struggling with “yak back.” It features extra padding for even more cushioning than what you might expect.
Ocean Kayak designed this item to provide users a soft and padded ride. It’s made of a durable nylon material that has a built-in ventilation system in place to help add breathability.
3. Pactrade Marine
Easy to set up
Detachable day bag
Stays in place
The bottom could use more cushioning
Not as versatile as other options
Our next addition is made from durable materials, is easy to install, and provides the user with great comfort. While it isn't a product that you would bring to the football game, it serves its purpose very well in almost all canoes and kayaks.Read more
The back of this item is not stiff enough to stand up on its own, making this a less than ideal product for paddleboarding or bleachers. However, it’s a great option for just about any sized kayak and canoes. There is also a detachable bag that hangs on the back of the chair. This bag measures 10” by 13” and is 4.5” wide. It’s a great place to store accessories and snacks.
Reviewers have been impressed by the overall durability of this item. It features snap hooks that make installing it simple. For some styles of watercraft, reviewers have made holes in the seat bottom to permanently attach it. The Pactrade Marine features snap hooks that make installing it a breeze.
While there is no specific included strap for carrying this product, it is still easy to transport. It weighs less than three pounds. Many reviewers leave it in their watercraft, but you could switch it between kayak and canoe if desired.
As with most items, reviewers wish for slightly more padding under the butt, but for many, this is sufficient. The material is non-slip and the item tends to stay in place. The front and back have adjustable straps to get the right fit.
The exterior of this item is made of neoprene and 600D polyester. Inside the cushion, you’ll find EVA foam and polyethylene.
4. Kerco Angler-X
Zipper on included pouch has a reputation for breaking
Questionable customer service
Even though this option is marketed towards anglers, there is no reason that someone else can't enjoy it for a long day out lounging on the water. The Kerco Angler-X is slightly more padded than similar styles on the market and features small grippy circles to keep you from sliding around. The high back and dura foam interior provide great comfort.Read more
This item is best used on the water. It is designed specifically for kayaks and canoes. It is not our most versatile option, but it excels in comfort. This item also comes with a removable pouch that sits on the back of the seat. This pouch is a great place to keep cellphones, sunscreen, snacks, or any other accessories that you need out on the water.
The strong straps, most likely made from nylon, are fully adjustable and provide a secure fit. The metal clips function well will not corrode. There have been no complaints about the durability of the seat, however, there have been some issues with the pouch. Multiple users have had the zipper of the pouch break. Despite Kerco’s claim of great customer service, it seems they are difficult to get ahold of.
This item is lightweight, weighing just about three pounds. There is no specific shoulder strap but it is not difficult to transport.
This is where this product really shines. It offers great back and hip support and features slightly more padding than other models. The high back allows you to fully relax. The seat also has small grippy circles that make it non-slip.
The materials used to make this item are Kerco molded dura foam and nylon. The anti-corrosion clips are made from metal.
5. Leader Deluxe
The high back provides great support
Marine-grade brass clips
Multiple style options available
Does not have anything to keep from slipping out of the chair
The seat is not wide enough for some
If you are looking for a comfortable addition that gives the option to permanently attach it to your boat or to switch it between watercrafts, this is a great choice. The webbing and brass clips are made out of high quality and durable materials. There have been slight complaints campaigning for a wider seat, but not enough for us to keep this treasure from you.Read more
There are two front straps and two back straps that allow you to adjust this item to fit just about any kayak. You will be able to enjoy extra storage space with the back pouch. The back pouch attaches with plastic squeeze clips. As for color choices, there are a couple of combinations of black and gray, or all black, or even an option with built-in fishing rods.
The adjustable webbing straps are very strong and the marine-grade brass clips are durable and can handle themselves out on the water. There have been next to none complaints about the durability of this item.
Seeing as how this product is not as versatile as some of our other options, it does not feature a carrying strap. It weighs only about two pounds. If you wish you change it from boat to boat, it is very easy to install.
The high back provides great back support. However, this makes the difficult when walking along your boat, if you need to straddle the seat. There have been some complaints about the cushion of the product not being soft or wide enough. The width of the bottom is fifteen inches wide.
This product from Leader is made from molded foam. The durable nylon webbing straps and marine-grade brass clips are high-quality. There is no specific non-slip agent, which may be a deal-breaker for some.
6. SKWOOSH Classic
Great for bony butts
Won’t slip around when you’re on it
Not as thick as it could be
This option from SKWOOSH looks similar in style to other products we reviewed, but with some stark differences. Let’s take a peek at just what sets this product apart from others on our list.Read more
This product can be used in a number of different ways. Though it is designed for use in kayaks, you can use it anywhere you need a little extra support for your bottom – motorcycle, vehicle, home or even your office. Get creative!
The high-quality construction of the SKWOOSH Classic makes it a great choice for someone looking to get a lot of return on their investment. Though this product does require more of an investment than some of the other options on our list, you will fall in love with the fact that it is a durable product and will provide you with a lot of use for your money.
Have a small space you were hoping your new cushion will fit into? This product from SKWOOSH is actually foldable and compact so this will be the perfect companion for you.
This item is designed to help reduce loading on your skeletal structure during use. It also will help with circulation and in relieving any pressure on your bottom. This will lead to a very comfortable ride for you.
SKWOOSH designed this product out of a special gel material that has no memory when any pressure is applied to it. This means that after you’ve been sitting on it for a while, it will go back to its regular shape. The fabric is non-skid as well which means you won’t be sliding around in your kayak or have to deal with an annoying seat that just won’t stay put.
7. Sea Eagle Deluxe Inflatable
Easy to inflate
Some complaints about the seat losing air
This product looks a lot different than any of the other options you’re going to see on our list. This product works great in Sea Eagle brand kayaks, but it can be used for other brand name kayaks as well.Read more
Though this item is designed specifically for use in kayaks, we suppose you could use it in other situations as well. If you have certain inflatable stand-up paddleboards, you can use the Sea Eagle Deluxe on it. We always recommend checking with the manufacturer and checking the measurements to ensure the product will work as you’re intending it to.
There were some questions as to the overall durability of this product. A few current users mentioned that the seat loses air gradually throughout the day.
This is an inflatable option. It folds down to be 14-inches by 9-inches by 4-inches, making it quite easy to stick into your bag and take with you to the water.
If you’ve ever sat in an inflatable chair before, you’ll know what to expect with this product in terms of comfort. There isn’t much by way of strategic padding but it is still comfortable enough.
We were unable to find the exact materials used in the construction of this item. But if we had to guess, given that it is inflatable, we would say it’s made from vinyl.
8. Ascend Entry
Extremely comfortable for long paddles
Can only be used in sit-on-top kayaks
This product from Ascend is designed for use in sit-on-top kayaks. It’s incredibly adjustable in design and we think anyone who owns a sit-on-top kayak is going to love this comfortable addition to their gear.Read more
As we mentioned above, this seat option is explicitly made for sit-on-top kayaks. This takes away from the overall versatility of the product, but we do think it is still a worthwhile seat to consider.
Everything about this product screams “HIGH QUALITY.” We love the heavy-duty materials used in the construction of this item, including the fabric, straps, and snaps.
Though there is no carrying bag for this product, we still think it’s easy to take it around with you.
This option is incredibly comfortable. There are several different ways that users can adjust the position of the seat in order to ensure they are provided with a superior and customized fit for the ultimate comfort.
This product is made from a comfortable neoprene material that is water-repellant to help keep you comfortable as you kayak. The materials used are also non-slip so your seat won’t be sliding around while you paddle. The hardware of this seat is made of UTX Duraflex, one of the world leaders in the world of buckles and accessories for sporting goods.
9. Surf To Summit GTS Sport
Great for people with back problems
Easy to adjust
Comes with a zipper pack for the back of the seat
Could have additional cushioning on the bottom
Here we have another option designed for sit-on-top kayaks. Surf to Summit, the manufacturer behind this great product, is known for its outdoor gear accessories for kayakers, paddlers, motorcyclists, and cyclists alike. This particular seat is a great option for several different reasons. Let’s take a closer look.Read more
As mentioned above, this product is designed specifically for use in sit-on-top kayaks. It’s best used by kayakers who are a bit smaller in size.
The moment you use this product from Surf to Summit, you will be able to easily recognize how durable and sturdy it is. You won’t have a problem with this option wearing out on you anytime soon.
At just 12.5 inches tall, you will not have a problem toting around this product with you at all.
If you struggle a lot with back pain while kayaking, this particular product is going to be a great option for you. The backrest on this seat has a ton of structural support, perfect for someone who needs some extra support for their lumbar spine. The foam panels of the seat will provide comfort for your bottom and will conform to fit your particular body shape.
This item is made from a durable 600 denier material in all the areas that need some extra protection (like the back of the seat). Surf to Summit also outfitted this product with an EVA foam for additional cushioning for your back and bottom.
Intuitive to install
Great for people who want to convert their SUP into a makeshift kayak
May not work with all paddleboards
The final product on our top ten list comes from iRocker, a company well known for its outdoor adventure gear like inflatable paddleboards and related gear. This particular option is a little different than all of our other products we’ve reviewed so far. We’ll tell you why below.Read more
This product is actually is not specifically designed for kayaks at all, although you can attach it to your kayak. It is designed in such a way that it allows people who use stand-up paddleboards to turn their SUP into a makeshift kayak. But we loved this product so much, we had to include it on our list anyway.
There are no concerns at all about the longevity of this product. It is made of high-quality materials that will not break if used properly.
This seat will fold down flat when not in use, making it incredibly easy to carry around with you.
This item is designed to provide users with an exceptional amount of back support. If you find yourself aching after a day of paddling, you will want to get yourself the iRocker to help alleviate some of that back pain.
This product is made with a thick neoprene material for comfort and durability. Users will find that the hardware for this seat is impressive as well.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Seats that can be used for more than just on your kayak provide more value.
Outdoor gear is expensive. A kayak can easily run you a few hundred dollars or even a few thousand if you’re looking for something on the higher end. It only makes sense that you would want to ensure the gear you’re buying for your adventures can be used in more than just one way. For example, some of the seats on our list are actually designed to be “stadium seats” for use in the bleachers at a baseball game, for example. You might ask yourself, “why would I buy a dedicated kayak seat to use only for kayaking a few times a year when I could buy a more versatile option that will get much more use?” That is the question, hypothetical GearWeAre reader. Many of the seats on our list can be used as much more than just a boating chair. If you have the means, however, you may wish to purchase an item that is designated for kayak use only and that’s fine too. We only wanted to provide our readers with a comprehensive list of a variety of different options.
Protect your investment by ensuring your new product has a long lifespan.
Durability is a huge concern with products these days. You don’t want to spend your money on a new seat for your already expensive kayak (or SUP) if the hardware is just going to break off after a couple of uses. In order to determine the overall durability of these seats, we scoured through thousands of reviews and educated ourselves on the importance of high-quality materials. The products that have scored a spot in our top ten list are all made with the best materials on the market and have been reviewed positively by thousands of current users. We are certain that you will love any of the options that you choose provided that it has a spot in our buying guide.
Give your back a break with a lighter and more portable kayak seat.
Portability is another consideration we gave a lot of thought to as we created this buying guide. As outdoor adventurists ourselves, we know how easy it can be to overpack for day or overnight trips. Once you start packing the essentials – flashlights, waterproof clothing, food, drinks, hatchets, knives, etc – it doesn’t take long for your pack to start to weigh you down. We wanted to provide our readers with a number of different styles of options that were not only supportive, comfortable and durable, but portable as well. We know how important your space is when you’re doing any kind of outdoor activity, so toting around a humongous unforgiving seat is probably the last thing you want to do. Many of the items on our list are designed to be space-saving. Some will fold down flat for easy storage in your vehicle or backpack while others have carrying straps or handles for easy toting. You must ask yourself how important it is to you that your new chair has straps for portability. If this is non-negotiable, it will greatly reduce the number of products you have to choose from.
Protect your back - and bottom - with the most comfortable options on the market.
Gone are the times of long hours spent sitting uncomfortably in your kayak. Sure, you can still use your kayak without a seat attached to it, but why would you do that to yourself if you can enjoy the wonders of the outdoors AND be comfortable at the same time?
Comfort can be a tricky criterion to determine when you’re not physically able to sit on the seat and test it out like you would if you were shopping in a brick and mortar store, though. The good news is that there are a number of ways one can determine the comfort of a seat without being about to physically sit on it. We determined the comfort level based upon a few different factors.
First of all, we looked at the materials used in the construction of each product. You can learn more about this particular factor in the Materials section of our review. We also scoured through hundreds of customer reviews in order to determine the overall comfort level of each product on our list. Sure, you could be trustworthy and take the sellers word for it but we prefer to look through reviews from current customers to see if the seat lived up to their expectations in terms of comfort.
Another aspect that we took into consideration when looking at the overall comfort provided by each of the ten products was how supportive it was for your back. If you are one of the unlucky millions who suffer from chronic back pain, you know how important it is to set yourself up for a good day by ensuring you have an adequate amount of support wherever it is you will be sitting. Now, not all of these items on our list are great for back support, but there are a number of them that are phenomenal.
Generally speaking, the materials that your new kayak seat is made out of will determine just how comfortable the product is overall. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common materials.
Nylon is a great material choice for anything that is designed for outdoor pursuits (thinking clothing, backpacks, etc). Nylon is typically able to handle abrasions well and day-to-day wear and tear is no match for this fabric. It dries fast and is able to manage moisture quite well.
EVA stands for ethylene-vinyl acetate and it is a foam material. EVA is resistance to UV rays and can withstand a number of different weather effects. This foam is designed to recover quickly from compression which will help it bounce back to its original shape through repeated uses.
Elastomer gels are often used in the construction of bicycle seats. If you’ve ever poked and prodded and squishy bike seat in the store before, chances are it was made with an elastomer gel.
Neoprene is a synthetic rubber material. It is often used in diving garments like wetsuits. This type of material is incredibly durable and resistant to solvents. Its water- and weather-resistant which makes it a great choice for use in a kayak seat.
Polyester is a strong and flexible material that will dry quickly if it were to get wet. It’s also inexpensive to manufacture meaning that seats made with this material may not be as expensive as others.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Many of the kayak seats in our buying guide are completely adjustable to your specific size requirements. Getting used to adjusting the straps may take a bit at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to adjust your seat on the fly in no time at all. Having an adjustable seat will help to ensure you get the most comfortable and supportive ride every time you get out on the water.
Some of the options on our buying guide come with zippered pouches that attach to the back of the seat. These pouches will help provide you with some much needed additional storage space. You will be able to easily access the gear, food or beverages in the storage pouch as it is attached right to the backrest of your seat. Talk about convenience!
Other Factors to Consider
One of the best reasons you may wish to invest in a kayak seat is to be able to reap the supportive benefits that they provide. Sitting in a kayak all day can be very hard on your back so if you’re one of the millions of people who struggle with chronic back pain, you may wish to consider a seat that provides some form of lumbar support. This is especially important if you spend quite a bit of your time on the water. Having support for your low back can help to take some of the pressure from your spine, making your kayaking experience much more comfortable and enjoyable. You want a cushion that will provide you with just enough support and padding for your bottom, too, though. There’s no reason you should get off your kayak at the end of a day on the water and not be able to feel your cheeks or deal with lingering hip and joint pain afterward.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How does this product work?
Typically, the seat you purchase will come with the hardware required to attach the seat to your kayak. There is a multitude of different attachment styles that can be used, so your best bet is to do the research required beforehand to see how exactly your new cushion will attach to your kayak.
q: Can I use this on my stand-up paddleboard?
In some cases, yes. The iROCKER Inflatable Paddle Board Seat, for example, is designed for use on stand-up paddleboards. You may be able to rig a regular seat for SUP use if fancy yourself a bit of MacGyver but that may be dangerous if it is executed incorrectly.
q: Will having a seat even make a difference at all?
Yes! When kayakers hit the water, they often spend all day out there. Some people even go on kayak/camping trips where they spend their days on the water and only get out to set up camp for the evening. In situations like this, having a supportive and comfortable place to rest in is of vital importance. If you’re a bit skeptical about spending more money on another outdoor gear accessory, think about how different it feels to sit in a hard wooden chair and a softer, padded desk chair. Many of these products also provide users with extra storage compartments and breathability systems that will make sitting for long periods of time much more comfortable.
q: What is “Yak Back” and how do I avoid it?
Yak Back is a common condition that frequent kayakers may have. Typical symptoms of Yak Back include numbness in the legs, leg cramps, discomfort in the hips, discomfort in the butt, and pressure or pain (or both) in the lumbar area of the back. You may be in the midst of your paddle and be overcome with the urge to change your position or stand up to relieve some of these symptoms.
Will having a kayak seat fix yak back? Probably not. But it can help to alleviate some of the symptoms and will sometimes help to defer the symptoms for a little while longer. The best way you can tackle yak back is by implementing an exercise and stretching regimen that is designed to help strengthen your core and low back muscles.