The best kayak seats are often not the ones that come with your kayak. Unfortunately, even if you’ve found the kayak of your dreams, the seat will likely leave you wanting more.
The best kayak seat should not only keep you comfortable, but also make you feel supported, keep you dry, and allow you to sit for hours on end without complaint from your back or your booty. With any luck, your arms will tire long before your bum.
We’ve done the hard work of rounding up the best kayak seats for 2023, so you can sit back and relax as you read about which seat is best to, well, sit back and relax while you paddle.
Quick Answer: Top Kayak Seats
|Pactrade Marine Adjustable Padded Deluxe Kayak Seat||Neoprene, Polyester, EVA Foam, PE Plate||$||View on Amazon|
|Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Back||UV inhibited polyester, closed cell EPE foam padding||$$||View on Amazon|
|WOOWAVE Kayak Seat||Polyester, EVA foam||$$||View on Amazon|
|Skwoosh Paddling Cushion||Pressure relieving fluidized gel, mesh top||$$||View on Amazon
View on REI
|GTS Sport Sit-On-Top Kayak Seat||Fabric, EVA foam, PVC plastic foam||$$$||View on Amazon|
|Surf To Summit Outfitter Series Kayak Seat||Molded foam and fabric||$$||View on Amazon|
|Sea Eagle Deluxe Inflatable Kayak Seat||Inflatable||$$||View on Amazon|
|Crack of Dawn Apex 1 Deluxe Kayak Seat||Thermal molded foam||$$||View on Amazon|
|Harmony Gear Standard Sit-on-Top Seat||UV-resistant nylon covered foam||$||View on Amazon|
|Yakpads Cushioned Seat Pad||Elastomer gel-filled padding, lycra-faced neoprene||$$||View on Amazon|
Types of Kayak Seats
There are a few different varieties of kayak seats to choose from, and it’s best to know the different types before deciding which one is best for you.
Basic Kayak Seat
Basic kayak seats are just what they claim to be, basic. They are going to be some of the cheapest models out there, and are a great option if you’re just looking to upgrade from the seat that came with your kayak to something more comfortable.
Deluxe Kayak Seat
Deluxe seats offer more by the way of comfort, padding, and support. These perfectly padded kayak seats are made for those who want to stay on the water for longer, or who are experiencing back pain and need more lumbar support.
High Back Kayak Seat
Another option for those looking for more lumbar support is a high back kayak seat. With a higher backrest, they offer maximum back support for both your back and bottom and are a must for taller paddlers and kayakers who are planning long tours.
Inflatable Kayak Seat
Inflatable kayak seats are newer to the market, but are quickly becoming a favorite due to their feathery weight and convenience. They are also some of the only seats that will work with an inflatable kayak. That being said, although extremely comfortable, many inflatable seats lack the support that is needed for longer trips.
10 Best Kayak Seats of 2023
To help make your choice that much easier, here’s a complete round up of the 10 best kayak seats of 2023 for the most comfortable trip on the water.
Pactrade Marine Adjustable Padded Deluxe Kayak Seat
Weight: 8 lbs | Size: 12″ x 17″ x 14.5″ | Material: Neoprene, Polyester, EVA Foam, PE Plate | Attachment: Snap hooks
Topping the list for the best kayak seat is this ultra-comfortable design from Pactrade Marine. Popular amongst paddlers for its non-slip surfaces and high backrest, this is a great pick for taller kayakers or those looking to take on some rough waters.
The padded kayak seat is also well-liked for its affordability, durability, and adjustability, though heavier paddlers may find that the straps do tend to slip when wet. There’s no need to worry about numbness or discomfort – the EVA foam interior will keep you comfortable, even during long trips.
Another notable feature of this deluxe kayak seat is the detachable backpack that can be used for extra gear storage or snacks. Although the seat is compatible with both SOT and SIK, paddlers should note that the backpack is only accessible for sit-on-top kayaks.
Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Back
Weight: 1.74 lbs | Size: 23″ x 15″ x 2″ | Material: UV inhibited polyester, closed cell EPE foam padding | Attachment: 4-way adjustable mounting straps
Another top contender for the best kayak seat is this one-of-a-kind design from Ocean Kayak. With a high backrest, this foam kayak seat is perfect for tall paddlers, and the unique wrap-around shape gives you additional side support.
You’ll stay cool and dry with a superior ventilation system, and the UV-resistant nylon guarantees durability. Other features of this padded kayak seat include adjustable straps and reflective logos for enhanced visibility.
It works with both sit-on-top and sit-in kayaks, but one of the drawbacks of this kayak seat is that it is specifically designed for Ocean Kayaks. It will fit various other models as well, just be sure to check the specs to make sure it will fit yours before buying.
WOOWAVE Kayak Seat
Weight: 3.64 lbs | Size: 12.2″ x 17.7″ x 15″ | Material: Polyester, EVA foam | Attachment: Adjustable snap hooks
One of the best kayak seats for long trips is this versatile design from WOOWAVE. Not only does it work for both SOT and SIK vessels, but it can also be fitted for paddleboards, canoes, and fishing boats.
This generously padded kayak seat is extremely comfortable, with EVA foam and a high backrest that provides excellent lumbar support.
Paddlers also love this cushy seat for its waterproof storage pouch that can be attached to the back. Other popular features include adjustable straps with copper hooks and non-stick surfaces, not to mention its reasonable price tag.
In addition, this foam kayak seat is extremely lightweight, which makes for easy installation and removal.
Skwoosh Paddling Cushion
Weight: 2.15 lbs | Size: 16″ x 13″ | Material: Pressure relieving fluidized gel, mesh top | Attachment: No installation required
Those looking for a little extra cushion on their bum will love this no-nonsense padded kayak seat. It may look simple in design, but its gel and foam interior makes for an extremely comfortable experience.
The exterior of the cushion is made of highly durable nylon, so there’s no need to worry about water damage. The non-stick bottom will keep the seat in place, but paddlers should note that there are no straps or other safeguards if you capsize. If it does happen to get away from you, it will at least float on top of the water.
This is one of the best kayak seats for those looking for something small and easy to store, and it’s also incredibly lightweight, making it easy to take in and out of your kayak.
You can use the cushion on its own, or on top of another seat for additional padding. Although this padded kayak seat is great for relieving pressure in the back and bottom, those looking for more lumbar support may want to choose a seat with a backrest.
GTS Sport Sit-On-Top Kayak Seat
Weight: 2.7 lbs | Size: 14″ x 14″ x 13″ | Material: Fabric, EVA foam, PVC plastic foam | Attachment: Adjustable snap hooks
Comfort and support are the names of the game with this padded kayak seat from Surf To Summit. With its enhanced thermo-molded foam padding and high backrest, paddlers of all sizes will be able to conquer long trips with ease.
The four adjustable straps will ensure that you stay put during your paddle, and thumb-operated tension locks allow for easy readjustment during your trip.
Though marketed as an SIT design, this foam kayak seat will also fit a lot of sit-in ‘yaks. If you do choose to use it with a SIK, you will, unfortunately, lose the benefit of having access to the sewn-in cargo pack on the back.
Surf To Summit Outfitter Series Kayak Seat
Weight: 2 lbs | Size: 14″ x 16″ x 13″ | Material: Molded foam and fabric | Attachment: Adjustable snap hooks
Surf To Summit makes a second appearance on our list of the top 10 best kayak seats with this sturdy Outfitter Series seat. This is a great basic option for those looking to upgrade to a more comfortable seat for their sit-on-top kayaks.
Although basic in design, this padded kayak seat offers exceptional lower lumbar support at a reasonable price point. The durable seat is made from plastic, foam, and fabric, compressed and molded into a shape that will keep you comfortable for hours on end. It’s also made to withstand plenty of use and abuse, so there’s no need to worry about wearing this model out quickly.
The foam kayak seat is equipped with four adjustable straps to keep you in place and a zippered storage pouch on the back for your snacks or gear.
Sea Eagle Deluxe Inflatable Kayak Seat
Weight: 3.5 lbs | Size: 14″ x 12″ x 19″ | Material: Inflatable | Attachment: No installation required
If you’re in the market for an inflatable kayak seat, Sea Eagle makes some of the best.
It’s often hard to find a seat that works with inflatable kayaks because you don’t want to puncture the material. This deluxe kayak seat solves that problem, allowing you to upgrade to something more comfortable and supportive.
Made of thick, canvas material, the cushy seat is leakproof and offers additional storage space with a pocket in the back. You’ll get a boost in height of about 5” inches, and with 14” of back support, even taller paddlers will stay comfortable.
Although this seat is a great choice for inflatable kayaks, paddlers should note that it will not work with hard-sided models.
Crack of Dawn Apex 1 Deluxe Kayak Seat
Weight: 2.69 lbs | Size: 20.5″ x 16″ x 19″ | Material: Thermal molded foam | Attachment: Adjustable snap hooks
For those looking to cruise in comfort, the Apex 1 from Crack of Dawn is perhaps the best kayak seat you’ll find.
Popular with paddlers mainly for its comfort, this deluxe kayak seat is made of thermal-molded foam, making it as durable as it is cozy. It also has a great ventilation system that will keep you cool and dry while you row.
This foam kayak seat is one of the thickest you’ll find on the market but weighs less than three pounds. With a 19” backrest, it offers amazing lumbar support for kayakers of all sizes, and the strap system is extremely versatile with eight different ways to latch on.
This padded kayak seat is also extremely affordable, making it a no-brainer in our book.
Harmony Gear Standard Sit-on-Top Seat
Weight: 1.6 lbs | Size: 15″ x 10.5″ x 13.5″ | Material: UV-resistant nylon covered foam | Attachment: Adjustable snap hooks
Another great basic option for sit-on-top models is this lightweight kayak seat from Harmony Gear. It’s soft and supportive, fully adjustable, and one of the most inexpensive options on our list.
This padded kayak seat features a skid-proof bottom to keep you in place, anti-corrosive hardware, and adjustable straps. The nylon exterior is extremely durable and lightweight, making installation and storage a breeze.
Kayakers love the ergonomic design, and some report top-notch lumbar support, even after hours on the water. The seat is slightly less padded than some of the other models on our list, and it definitely has its nay-sayers when it comes to comfort and support. That being said, it is a good replacement for worn-out or sun-damaged seats.
Yakpads Cushioned Seat Pad
Weight: 1.40 lbs | Size: 12″ x 16″ x 12″ | Material: Elastomer gel-filled padding, lycra-faced neoprene | Attachment: Adjustable stabilizer straps
Turn your existing model into the best kayak seat around with this cushioned seat pad from Yakpads. Designed to fit over the top of most kayak seats, this high-backed gel cushion will leave you with a more comfortable set-up so you can row with ease.
Made with elastomer materials, the padded kayak seat will keep you comfy and help eliminate pressure points while you paddle. It provides both rear and lumbar support and is easy to install and adjust. The bottom features non-slip material, and the pad fully insulated to keep you at the perfect temperature while you’re on the water.
This is not a viable option if you’re looking for an entirely new kayak seat, but rather is a great alternative to spruce up your existing set-up.
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Why You Need a Comfortable Kayak Seat
A comfortable kayak seat may be the only thing between you and a successful tour. The best kayak seats are the ones that will allow you to paddle for hours on end without getting sore.
Forget about numbness or heading in early due to other aches and pains. A good seat can also help wick away moisture, prevent chafing, and give you excellent lumbar support.
There’s a lot that goes into finding a comfortable kayak seat, from size and style to padding and shape.
This is why we have compiled the above list of the 10 best kayak seats for 2023, along with a few tips for choosing the perfect seat for you.
Key Considerations for Buying a Kayak Seat
When you’re in the market for the best kayak seat, you’re obviously going to want to pick something comfortable. But a lot goes into making the coziest cushion around, so be sure to do your research and don’t just pick something pretty.
Read on for some key considerations you should factor in before buying a kayak seat.
The seat’s fabric type is more important than you might think. It will affect the seat’s long-term durability, breathability, water resistance, and your own comfort to boot. The best kayak seats are usually made from one (or a combination) of three fabric types.
Nylon: Nylon is perhaps the most common, and best fabric used for kayak seats. It’s lightweight and inexpensive, but it’s real star qualities are that it is UV resistant and water repellent. Strong and durable, a nylon kayak seat will likely last you a lifetime (or close to it anyway).
Polyester: Nearly in the league with nylon for its durability, polyester fabric is another sturdy option for kayak seats. It’s soft, adding to the comfort aspect, and it won’t chafe thanks to its wicking technology. It absorbs moisture and will keep you dry, making it a great choice for warm-weather paddling.
Neoprene: Although it is not the most popular fabric for kayak seats, Neoprene is a great choice for those who tend to get wet while paddling. This makes it ideal for sit-on-top kayaks, or for paddlers taking on rough waters. It’s made from the same material as wetsuits and bathing suits, so it can handle saltwater like a champ.
This is the big leagues in terms of comfort in kayak seats, so listen up. The padding in your seat is going to determine how comfortable you stay during your tour. And although you may be tempted to go for the thickest, most padded kayak seat you can find, overstuffing = overheating.
That being said, you won’t want to forego padding altogether. The best kayak seats will give you a generous cushion without overdoing it. Below we’ve broken down the most common padding types.
EVA Foam: This is one of the most common types of foam kayak seats out there due to its reasonable price tag and relatively long lifespan. It’s not the most durable on the market, however, and those who paddle often will eventually see some compression. EVA foam kayak seats offer good ventilation so you won’t overheat during your tours and they are definitely a comfortable option for those looking to upgrade.
Thermo-molded Foam: Another comfortable option for paddlers looking for the best kayak seat is one made with thermo-molded foam. These are some of the cushiest seats out there, but kayakers touring in warm weather should be wary, as these are not great in the heat.
Pressure Molded Foam: This is the only foam kayak seat that promises not to compress, making it perfect for frequent paddlers who spend a lot of time on the water. The pressure molded foam is both durable and comfortable, albeit not the best in hot weather.
Gel: Gel kayak seats are often considered some of the most comfortable. They boast superior weight distribution and support, and won’t compress over time. Gel seats can overheat in warm weather, so be sure you find one with a good exterior fabric that will keep you cool and dry.
Size and Style
There are a few things to consider when thinking about the size and style of your new kayak seat.
First of all, you’ll want to make sure it fits your kayak. Some seats are made specifically for sit-on-top or sit-in kayaks, and some are made to fit only certain models.
When it comes to fitting the person sitting in it, you should keep a few things in mind. The kayak seat should be wide enough for your bottom and long enough to support your thighs without going past the knee.
Taller paddlers should find a seat with a high backrest, and if you need more focus on the lower back, choose something with good lumbar support.
The shape of the kayak seat and its padding will also vary. If you’re hoping to maintain a good posture while you paddle, look for more contouring in the padding. Some seats offer side support, which can be a saving grace for some but a hindrance for others who need to move around a lot, like anglers.
Your back is just as important as your bottom when it comes to choosing the best kayak seat. You should aim for a seat that covers as much of your back as possible to achieve maximum lumbar support and comfort. You should also look for a seat that is adjustable so you can find the angle that suits you best.
Straps are also an essential part of staying comfortable, so make sure you choose a kayak seat with adjustable attachments. Corrosive-resistant hardware is likewise important if you cruise in saltwater.
Most kayak seats come with straps that offer a universal fit, but as mentioned above, you’ll want to make sure that they work with your specific kayak.
As an added feature, some of the best kayak seats offer additional storage. This usually comes in the form of a small backpack or pouch on the back of the seat that you can use for gear or snacks.
This comes in handy and can be a good investment if you are short on space in your kayak. If you have a sit-in kayak, make sure that the seat sits up high enough for you to access the extra pouch.
Price is often the deciding factor when choosing the best kayak seat for each individual. Luckily, there are good options at every price point, with the average cost coming in around $60-$80.
Keep in mind that if you do choose to go for the cheapest option you may have to replace it sooner than one of the more expensive ones, which will likely end up costing you more in the long run.
Hopefully after reading this rundown of best kayak seats, you have a pretty good idea of which one will serve your purposes best. Because remember, there’s nothing more valuable than being comfortable out on the water!
Looking for more kayak advice? Check out these guides:
- 10 Best Kayaking Shoes for an Amazing Day Out on the Water
- Top 10 Best Lightweight Kayaks [2023 Reviews]
- 10 Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1000 [2023 EDITION]