Did you know that having a comfortable and supportive kayak seat can make a huge difference in your kayak session? Many kayakers turn back early not because their bodies are tired, but because their backs are aching or their bottoms are sore. If this sounds like you, then it might be time to invest in a new kayak seat. With so many models, features, and different materials though, finding the best kayak seat can be a huge challenge.

Here at The Adventure Junkies, one of our major goals is to find the best gear on the market. In this guide, we’ll show you what features to look for in a kayak seat. We’ll also share with you the top models that made it to our list this year.

 

THE BEST KAYAK SEAT – QUICK ANSWER

  1. Surf to Summit GTS Sport
  2. Swoosh Expedition
  3. Ocean Kayak Comfort Tech
  4. Yak-Gear Manta Ray
  5. Surf to Summit GTPS Expedition
  6. Surf to Summit Elevated
  7. Saturn Deluxe Molded Foam
  8. Vibe Deluxe Cushioned
  9. Seattle Sports EZ
  10. Harmony Standard

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide to Kayaking

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST KAYAK SEAT

PICTURE
KAYAK SEAT
BEST USE
BACK HEIGHT
STIFFNESS
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
KAYAK SEAT
BEST USE
BACK HEIGHT
STIFFNESS
PRICE
RATING
Surf to Summit GTS Sport
Overall
Mid
Medium
$$$
4.8
Swoosh Expedition
Overall
High
Medium
$$$
4.7
Ocean Kayak Comfort Tech
Overall
High
Soft
$$
4.5
Yak-Gear Manta Ray
Sport Performance
High
Medium
$$
4.7
Surf to Summit GTPS Expedition
Sport Performance
High
Firm
$$$
4.6
Surf to Summit Elevated
Fishing
Low
Firm
$$
4.8
Saturn Deluxe Molded Foam
Fishing
High
Medium
$
4.7
Vibe Deluxe Cushioned
Budget
Mid
Firm
$
4.3
Seattle Sports EZ
Budget
Low
Soft
$
4.9
Harmony Standard
Budget
Mid
Medium
$
4.5

 

 

KAYAK SEATS 101

 

3 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST KAYAK SEAT

 

1. SUPPORT AND COMFORT

Kayak seats come in various back lengths and structural supports. Generally, the higher the back, the better support and comfort it will provide especially for long paddles. You’ll want a seat specifically with lumbar or lower back support to protect your spine over the long run.

Sometimes, kayak seats with high backs can be limiting for kayakers who need to be agile and able to navigate through tight spaces or caves. If this sounds like your kayaking style, opt for a kayak seat with a flexible frame and lower back.

The amount of padding in a kayak seat also affects its comfort level. Thicker cushioning tends to be more comfortable, but can soak up water and takes longer to dry. If you find yourself constantly shifting in your kayak to relieve soreness, then you’re probably due for a more cushioned kayak seat. The best kayak seat will offer a balance of softness and support.

 

2. FEATURES

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.

Ideally, the backrest should have a mesh panel so that humidity and moisture have room to escape. If your seat gets too wet, you might chafe or find it uncomfortable to sit for a long time. Besides, nobody likes a soggy backside. You’ll want the back to offer support but still remain breathable. All fabric should be water resistant or water repellent, especially if it’s covering foam.

You might also want a kayak seat that comes with adjustable straps so that you can adjust the angle of the backrest easily to suit the type of kayaking you’re doing on a specific outing.

Other fun and practical features that some kayak seats come with are pockets, which are perfect for fishermen, and bottle holders. These really aren’t essential, but they do come in handy.

Of course, the kayak seat should also be comfortable with your life jacket. This guide on Canoe and Kayak Magazine shares that “the first sign of a rookie kayaker is someone who isn’t wearing a life jacket or is wearing one that doesn’t fit properly.”

 

3. USE

There are many different types of kayaks, and several will require their own specific kayak seats. Before buying a kayak seat, you’ll want to double check that it’s compatible with the make of your kayak.

Sit-on-top kayaks typically accept most makes of kayak seats. Meanwhile, sit-in kayaks, fishing kayaks, touring kayaks, sea kayaks, whitewater kayaks and other performance-focused kayaks might need seats with custom dimensions.

If you’re confused on what type of kayak to buy, the experts at REI have put together a guide on choosing the right one for you. No matter what type of kayaking you plan to do, you’ll need a comfortable seat for the best setup to get all the benefits of the sport!

For this guide, we’ll be focusing on universal kayak seats that will fit most sit-on-top kayak models.

 

ideal kayak seat to have

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/cturtletrax

 

KAYAK SEAT REVIEWS

 

1. BEST KAYAK SEATS FOR OVERALL

SURF TO SUMMIT GTS SPORT

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Smaller paddlers in search of a kayak seat with support and cushioning

BACK HEIGHT: Low

STIFFNESS: Medium

PROS: Universal and customizable size, comes with pocket on the back, durable, adjustable strap system

CONS: Taller or larger paddlers will want a higher back, might not fit all sit-in kayaks

 

 

 

SWOOSH EXPEDITION

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Kayakers who need a very supportive seat for long session expeditions

BACK HEIGHT: High

STIFFNESS: Medium

PROS: Comes with gel seat cushion, wide and fully adjustable lumbar support, padded backrest with size wings, supports all sides of the back, bag on back of the seat

CONS: Bottom padding could be softer, back might be too high for petite kayakers

 

 

 

OCEAN KAYAK COMFORT TECH

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Kayakers looking for a seat that suits just about every size and ability of paddler

BACK HEIGHT: High

STIFFNESS: Soft

PROS: Built-in ventilation, side panel back supports, adjustable straps, reflective logos, extra cushioning on the back, durable fabric

CONS: Seat padding a bit too firm for long paddles

 

 

 

 

2. BEST KAYAK SEATS FOR SPORT PERFORMANCE

YAK-GEAR MANTA RAY

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Endurance-sport kayakers needing a seat that will stay comfortable under duress

BACK HEIGHT: High

STIFFNESS: Medium

PROS: Suits just about every type of kayak, non-skid bottom, built-in gutters to flush out water, adjustable straps, perfect for long trips, durable

CONS: Smaller paddlers might find seat too big and might restrict movement

 

 

 

SURF TO SUMMIT GTPS EXPEDITION

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Kayakers needing a firm and supportive seat for long paddles

BACK HEIGHT: High

STIFFNESS: Firm

PROS: Six point adjustable straps, drainage system, bungee back to store items, no-slip bottom, great support

CONS: Could be too firm and rigid for leisure paddlers

 

 

 

 

3. BEST KAYAK SEATS FOR FISHING

SURF TO SUMMIT ELEVATED

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Fishermen needing a seat that leaves a lot of room for movement

BACK HEIGHT: Low

STIFFNESS: Firm

PROS: Elevated seat lets fishermen see further, extra cushioned, zippered pouch on back, raises you out of water

CONS: Minimal back support, extra height may cause instability

 

 

 

SATURN DELUXE MOLDED FOAM

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Fishermen needing plenty of storage space for gear

BACK HEIGHT: High

STIFFNESS: Medium

PROS: Large zippered pouch on back comes with two rod holders, no-slip seat bottom, great value for money, adjustable straps

CONS: Does not come with seat cushion – will have to pair it with extra

 

 

 

 

4. BEST KAYAK SEATS FOR BUDGET

VIBE DELUXE CUSHIONED

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Kayakers on a budget needing a supportive and adjustable seat

BACK HEIGHT: Mid

STIFFNESS: Firm

PROS: Adjustable straps, comes with storage pouch, simple, versatile

CONS: Not as durable as other seats on the market – might wear out quickly for long-term kayakers

 

 

 

SEATTLE SPORTS EZ

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | LeisurePro

BEST FOR: Kayakers who need a simple yet comfortable seat

BACK HEIGHT: Low

STIFFNESS: Soft

PROS: Simple, easy to adjust, will suit just about every make and model of kayak, ventilation system, durable

CONS: Not ideal for kayakers in need of extra features or back support

 

 

 

HARMONY STANDARD

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Kayakers needing an all-around seat for great value

BACK HEIGHT: Mid

STIFFNESS: Medium

PROS: Side support, adjustable straps, non-slip bottom, great value, durable

CONS: Thin cushion on bottom might be uncomfortable for long paddle sessions

Top 10 Best Kayak Seats of 2017 – Best Kayaking Gear Articles – Kayak Accessories and Gadgets – Kayak Products and Ideas for Men and Women – Packing Lists for Kayaking Trips

About The Author

Adventure Sports Junkie

Chantae Reden is a journalist based in Perth, Western Australia specializing in travel, action sports, scuba diving, and adventure. Her writing has been featured in a variety of publications including Travel + Leisure, Boating Magazine, Backpacker Essentials, and many more. You can find more adventures and advice on her blog, Chantae Was Here.

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