Best Kayak Seat Reviews
Do you enjoy hitting the water with a kayak from time to time? From fishing and recreational paddling to taking on white water rapids, a kayak seat position can be preferable to some. Perhaps you even convert your paddle board with an add-on kayak seat to get a different level of comfort on the go!
Whatever your reasons, you need to know what are the best kayak seats out there for the maximum amount of comfort. Trust us, not all kayak seats are the same. There are a lot of components that affect the comfort and style of a kayak seat!
Lucky for you, we have done the research to save you the hassle. Dive into how you choose a kayak seat and all the little extras that can make your paddle session more enjoyable. Here are the 15 best kayak seats you can get your hands on now!
GILI’s Top Picks: Best Kayak Seats
How to Choose a Kayak Seat
Choosing a kayak seat does not need to be stressful. There are some key aspects that you need to consider and look out for when shopping for this accessory. From seat style to appropriate support and ventilation, browse with these points in mind and you are halfway there to find the best kayak seat for you!
One seat does not fit all. So do not be fooled into thinking that you can buy any old kayak seat. You need to look at what type of vessel you have, and then go from there.
There are four different styles of kayak seats available:
- Universal kayak seat
- Solo piece and twin set kayak seats
- Lawn chair kayak seat
- Inflatable kayak seats
These all relate to sit-in or sit-on-top type kayaks. These are the most important differentiating points when it comes to choosing a kayak seat.
Sit-In vs Sit On Top Kayaks
Sit-in vs sit-on top is a timeless debate when it comes to kayaking. It is difficult to say which is best as they each come with strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, it comes down to what you want to achieve from your paddling experience.
*Note: a sprayskirt is a waterproof cover that fits around the paddler’s waist and is attached to the kayak deck. They are used to prevent water from entering a sit-in kayak, typically seen in white water paddling and in rough conditions.
Universal Kayak Seat
A universal kayak seat is not as universal as you may initially think. This seat style is made up of a back and base connected like a clamshell. With adjustable straps that fasten on the kayak, you can adjust the pitch of the backrest.
These seats are typically designed for sit-on-top kayaks. If you are trying to fit a universal seat to a sit-in kayak, be sure to check the height of the backrest. This could be restrictive when using a sprayskirt as well.
Solo Piece Kayak Seat
Also called a twin set kayak seat, a solo piece comes as two separate pieces: backrest and base. This is useful when fitting a seat to a sit-in kayak as you can have a smaller-sized backrest that fits the kayak perfectly. With the seat being in two pieces, you can mix and match to find the perfect set-up to suit you regarding breathability, material, and padding.
Instead of using adjustable straps, these seats are secured with velcro and double-sided tape making them more of a permanent attachment. It’s a simple addition to your setup, but it beats sitting on the hard shell of the hull!
Lawn Chair Kayak Seat
Sometimes referred to as the ‘deck chair set up’ and often seen amongst the kayaking-anglers, the lawn chair kayak seat sits high and gives a more traditional chair-type support.
Typically, these seats are made from a metal frame with a fabric seat and back. They are a great option for anyone with mobility issues, ie. bad knees. Some can be adjusted in height and even swivel to give more range when fishing. Though it is important to remember that the higher you are sitting, the less stable the kayak will be when paddling.
Inflatable Kayak Seats
Finally, there are inflatable kayak seats available. These are generally only paired with inflatable kayaks, though there is nothing stopping you from using them on a solid kayak if desired. This is typically the cheapest option available.
The whole point of a kayak seat is to give you the extra support needed to paddle for longer, making the session more comfortable and enjoyable. Good support comes from two aspects: the seat shape and the padding.
A fundamental feature that is the foundation of comfort and support. Seat shape correlates to the user’s own physical shape:
- Center of the backrest should support the lumbar region of the spine
- Backrest should be adjustable to get the best angle to support the lower back
- Lower side flanks add stability but allow the torso to move freely when paddling
- Base of the seat needs to be wide enough for the paddler, but also shallow to support just above the knees
- Ideally, the seat should be positioned to allow the knees to fall below the level of the hips, reducing the strain on the hip flexors
Sometimes less is more. While kayak seat padding tends to be a personal preference, we do think it is best not to overload the seat with foam. Instead, strategically placed padding often works a lot better, giving you more support and a more comfortable ride.
The backrest needs to be rigid enough to provide decent support. However, it is also required to have some flex to allow ergonomic movement when paddling. Experiment with your setup. It will take time to find the perfect balance of padding in your kayak seat.
The materials that make up the kayak seat are very important. Durable materials are needed to keep up with your greatest aquatic adventures while also providing excellent comfort.
Manufacturers use a whole range of materials and there is no saying which is best, it depends on what your specific needs are. Comfort level, durability, and breathability are all factors that are directly affected by the materials used. Here are some of the most common materials used in kayak seat construction:
Another key aspect to consider when purchasing a kayak seat is the breathability – no one wants to be a sweaty betty while paddling! With good ventilation on your kayak seat, you will reduce overheating, heat rash, and blisters.
So how does ventilation work? It all comes down to the materials and construction of the seat. Breathable mesh layers help evaporate moisture and wick away sweat/water, keeping the paddler cool and dry.
We get it. Cost does come into it and is something that can sway a decision when buying kayaking gear. It is important to remember that if you buy cheap then you will probably have to replace it a lot sooner. Sometimes it is worth paying that extra $50 to get a product that is going to last you longer.
There are some decent mid-range kayak seats around now that are great for those on a tighter budget. Or you can try your luck at finding a high-end secondhand kayak seat. This is great for the environment and you may end up finding a bargain!
Kayak Seat Conversion Kits For Paddle Boards
Kayaking is getting more and more accessible for adventure-seekers. If you have got a stand-up paddle board then you can easily convert it into a kayak, giving you an alternative way to enjoy the water!
This is a simple task with a kayak seat conversion kit. These typically come with:
- Kayak seat that clips onto d-rings with adjustable straps
- Kayak blade to make the paddle into a dual-bladed kayak paddle
These kits pack neatly into small storage bags and take minutes to install. Did you know? The GILI SUP to Conversion Kit kayak seat is compatible with all GILI Paddle Boards.
If you are opting for a SUP to kayak conversion kit then you may also want to consider grabbing a paddle board anchor as well. This is handy if you want to take a break and enjoy the view for a while.
Best Kayak Seat Reviews & Recommendations
We have done the research so you don’t have to. We have rounded up the best kayak seats available on the market now. Here are the full details, reviews, and top recommendations to help you find the best kayak seats for your tribe.
Best Overall: Leader Accessories Deluxe Padded Kayak Seat
Firstly, we have the Deluxe Padded Kayak Seat from Leader Accessories, the overall best kayak seat. This is a sit-on-top kayak seat but is also compatible with sit-in kayaks and inflatable paddle boards. It is made using a combination of 210-denier polyester and EVA foam padding.
You can expect great durability and a high level of comfort when using this kayak seat. The foam is carefully distributed using panels giving the backrest an ergonomic finish. There are also four fully adjustable straps to give you a broad range of fittings.
It is no wonder why this kayak seat has been chosen as our Best Overall. Comfort, versatility, and durability make this one of the best kayak seats available.
Best Lightweight: Surf to Summit Outfitter Series
If you are looking for something lightweight and minimal, then look no further that Surf to Summit’s Outfitter Series. This kayak seat provides a good seat cushion – note, it is not compatible with pre-moulded kayaks. It is easy to install and compactly packs away, not getting in the way of all your other adventure gear.
Even though the backrest is low, it still provides adequate back support and comfort for most paddlers. After all, this is a lightweight option. You can’t have it all!
Best For SUP: GILI Detachable Kayak and Paddle Board Seat
Are you a stand-up paddle boarder wanting to expand your horizons? Check out the Detachable Kayak and Paddle Board Seat from us here at GILI Sports. This kayak seat can be taken aboard and stowed under the bungee cords of your inflatable paddle board, and is easily attached mid-paddle.
Made with superb quality and care, it’s hard to beat this as a kayak seat. Converting your stand-up paddle board into a kayak gives you the best of both worlds. Because this seat is made from high-grade neoprene, it is breathable and comfortable in the water.
Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat
Ocean Kayak’s Comfort Plus Seat offers generous back support with its tall height and wing design, perfect for a full day on the water. The closed-cell EPE foam seat padding makes this one of the most comfortable kayak seat options on the market. Again, this kayak seat has four-way adjustability that allows you to finely tune it to body type and kayak design.
This is a good option if you desire maximum comfort. But remember, you need to also have a model from Ocean Kayak to make sure it fits!
Sea Eagle Deluxe Inflatable Kayak Seat
This inflatable kayak seat from Sea Eagle is a good option for any recreational paddler with an iKayak. It is a comfortable seat that sits super high, giving you an excellent vantage point for exploring rivers and lakes. This seat is a good upgrade on the current kayak seat included in inflatable kayaks to consider.
As long as you are not planning to go on massively long expeditions, this inflatable kayak seat from Sea Eagle should serve any iKayak owner well.
Surf to Summit GTS Expedition Molded Foam Kayak Seat
Another Surf to Summit kayak seat makes the cut and this one is the more heavy-duty model. The GTS Expedition kayak seat is designed with long expeditions in mind. The materials have been thoughtfully designed to give the maximum amount of comfort. It also comes with a mesh back pocket for storing water and other essentials.
If you are a strong paddler then you may not notice the extra weight of this seat. This is something to consider if you want to go for this expedition kayak seat.
Pactrade Marine Adjustable Padded Deluxe Kayak Seat
Pactrade’s Marine Adjustable Padded Deluxe Kayak Seat is another good choice for those on a budget. Keep in mind that this is only suitable for sit-on-top-type kayaks, so you are limited in usage. The 600-D polyester and neoprene exterior is tough enough to keep up with any adventure.
Despite the ‘non-slip’ bottom, there have been reviews suggesting that this does not perform as it should. You may need to modify the bottom to make it extra secure while in use.
Cascade Mountain Tech Folding Fishing Kayak Seat
Want to stand out from the crowd? While technically not designed for kayaks, this folding stadium seat does a pretty good job! It is a creative solution to give you a boosted seat on your kayak while also having a job on land – versatility at its finest!
You may need to be resourceful with bungee cords to fasten this seat in place. But trust us, once you have got this bad boy set up, the rest of the kayak fishing community will be green with envy!
We love this alternative option as a kayak seat. It is quirky and unique. It also gives good back support and an elevated position that is great for fishing from your kayak.
RELIANCER 2 Pack Deluxe Padded Kayak Seats
RELIANCER’s Deluxe Padded Kayak Seat set is ideal for dual kayak users looking for a bit of extra comfort in their lives. This pack comes with two identical kayak seats that are made from breathable materials designed for water sports. They are designed for sit-on-top kayaks as well as inflatable kayaks.
You may need to add some additional grips on the base of the seat to keep them in place while paddling, depending on what type of kayak you have. Once you’ve got them set up to suit, then there will be stopping you and your partner in crime!
Ocean Motion Ergo-Fit Sit-On-Top Kayak Seat
The Ergo-fit Sit-on-Top kayak seat from Ocean Motion is a premium seat option perfect for someone that wants sturdy support. It is thicker and stiffer than other brands, so won’t suit everybody. However, the high backrest does provide full support from the lower to the upper back.
If price is no issue for you, then this kayak seat from Ocean Motion is well worth the consideration.
NRS Star Fishing Seat for Inflatable Kayak
NRS’s Star Fishing Seat is designed with inflatable kayaks in mind. You can also fit it to your paddle board using the D-ring attachment points on the deck. This is a comfortable and breathable seat that will give you the ideal elevated position needed for fishing days. It is lightweight and takes up little room, allowing for more space for other gear.
If you are an angler who likes casting from a kayak, then this could be the best option for you. It is also ideal for gentle and recreational paddling across lakes.
Harmony Gear Kids Kayak Seat
Got little ones in your pack? You need to make sure they are comfortable too! Harmony Gear’s Kids Kayak Seat is designed for the little ones, with a skid-resistant bottom that fits most tandem kayaks. Simply unfold and set in place, and then you are good to go.
This is a great option for families who head out for long trips on the water in their kayaks. Give your kids the same level of comfort you want.
Kayak Seat Add-Ons
Check out these extra kayak seat add-ons and kayak seat cushions to maximize your comfort while out on the water. These pads fit in your pre-molded kayak seat.
Yakpads Cushioned Seat Pad
Yakpads’ Cushioned Seat Pad is specially designed to accommodate the paddler and give a more comfortable ride. The gel pad does not restrict any movement and moves with your body. It is also suitable for both hot and cold weather.
This seat pad add-on is a good lightweight option to make your existing kayak seat more comfortable. With this, you can extend your paddling for hours without getting a hint of back ache!
Skwoosh Kayak Gel Pad for Kayaks
Simple, yet effective. This gel pad from Skwoosh is a minimalistic option to give you that extra layer of comfort on the bottom of the seat. And what more? You can even take this gel pad into the office! Two-in-one!
This is only a seat gel pad, which won’t help support your back. But it really does a great job at making the seat more comfortable underneath!
Lixada Kayak Seat Back Rest
If you are looking for just an extra bit of back support then consider this kayak seat backrest from Lixada. This is a comfortable design made with durable materials, so you can get the most out of it.
This is only an add-on. If you want the most comfortable kayak seat, you will need to purchase a full seat to get the best results.