Best Kayak Seats Reviewed [Top 10 In 2019 With Buying Guide]

You’ve done your research, you’ve read buying guides, and you’ve finally purchased the kayak that is ideal and suitable for your needs. You take it out to the water, and you are having good fun, praising yourself for having chosen the perfect kayak and then …. urrgh! You notice a sharp pain disturbing your spine and neck. It’s only been 40 minutes paddling, and your shoulders and back are killing you.

Discouraged, you have to turn your vessel around and kayak back to shore, feeling more and more uncomfortable with each stroke. If this is your scenario currently or you’re trying to avoid such a situation, then it is time to get one of the best kayak seat to balance your new kayak.  

For those who wants to jump straight to our final verdict, here are our top picks.

best value

  • High back height
  • Fits most sit-on top kayaks
  • Rugged construction to withstand exposure to weather and water
  • Adjustable rear and front strapping

Popular

  • High back height
  • Quick-dry materials
  • Fits most sit-in kayaks
  • Check Circle
    Gel saddle cushion pad

Having a complementing comfortable kayak seat can make all the difference in your paddling session. With the right one, your day out on the water can change from being uncomfortable after a few minutes to being a luxury for hours.

For long trips mainly, a kayak seat is among the essential purchases. In essence, a softer model with excellent support will intensify your kayaking experience to high levels.

However, buying the right one can be very difficult as you have to choose among different specs, features, designs, and brands. In this best kayak seats review, we are focused on helping you decide which universal kayak seat features will best suit your needs. Let’s get started!

Top 10 [Table of Comparison]

We have designed a comparison table below for your easy reference. However, it is important to note that the positions are in no particular order of importance. 

ProductSpecifications & FeaturesOur Rating


Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Back
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Back Height: High

Dimension: 23 x 15 x 2 inches

Material: UV-resistant nylon

4 way adjustable mounting straps

Reflective logo

4.9/5.0



Price: $

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Surf to Summit GTS Sport Sit-On-Top Kayak Seat
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Back Height: Mid

Seat Dimension: 13 (L) x 24 (W) inches

Seat Cushion: 14 (L) x 14 (W) x 3/4 (H) inches

Material: 600D fabric + EVA foam

Adjustable straps

Great for smaller paddlers

4.8/5.0



Price: $$


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Leader Accessories Deluxe Kayak Seat
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Back Height: High

Seat Dimension: 18 (H) x 20 (W) inches

Seat Cushion: 12 (L) x 15 (W) inches

Material: Molded foam

Adjustable webbing

4.5/5.0



Price: $

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Pactrade Marine Adjustable Padded Deluxe Kayak Seat
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Back Height: High

Seat Dimension: 21.7 (L) x 31 (H) inches

Material: Neoprene + 600D fiber + EVA foam

Adjustable front and rear straps

4.5/5.0



Price: $

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​Skwoosh Expedition Kayak Seat 20" High Back Support with Lumbar
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Back Height: High

Seat Dimension: 20 " height

Cushion Material: Fluidised gel seat

Cushion Thickness: 1 inch

4 adjustable straps

4.3/5.0



Price: $$

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Ocean Kayak Comfort Tech Seat
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Back Height: High

Seat Dimension: 2.5 x 15 x 27 inches

Material: UV resistant nylon

4 way adjustable mounting straps

Reflective logo

4.6/5.0



Price: $

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Vibe Kayaks Deluxe Padded Kayak Seat
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Back Height: Mid

Back Dimension: 18 (H) x 19 (W) inches

Seat Length: 12 inch

4 way adjustable straps

4.1/5.0



Price: $

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Yakpads® Paddle Saddle With High Back by Cascade Creek
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Back Height: High

Seat Bottom Width: 16 inch

Seat Top: 12 (H) x 16 (W) inches

Cushion Material: Elastomer gel-filled

4.4/5.0



Price: $

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YakGear Manta Ray Deluxe Kayak Seat
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Back Height: High

Dimension: 19 (H) x 15 (W) inches

Thickness of Cushion: 1.5-inch

Cushion Material: Eva foam

Great for all types of kayaks

4.0/5.0



Price: $

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Harmony Standard Sit-On-Top Seat
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Back Height: Mid

Seat Back Height: 13.5 inch

Cushion Material: Nylon covered foam

4.0/5.0



Price: $

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10 Best Kayak Seats Reviewed

1. Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Back

best kayak seat

The Comfort Plus model is a great accessory designed by Ocean Kayaks. You can sit and paddle comfortably on the water for a whole day once your kayak is sporting this kayak seat.

This model is simple to install and it is a durable option, offering generous padding in both the back and the seat. If you’re looking for a kayak seat upgrade, this ocean model is one of the best quality and yet affordable solution.

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2. Surf to Summit GTS Sport Sit-On-Top Kayak Seat  

If you just purchased a sit-on-top kayak, then you most likely need a kayak seat. Instead of sitting inside the kayak like sit-in models, sit-on-top models require you to sit directly on the seat to paddle.

The GTS Sport model is a rugged and compact kayak seat made by the Surf To Summit Company. It has a smart design, thick padding, and heavy-duty fabric, which gives it a durability and comfortability.

This model is our top recommendation for smaller paddlers who need an extra support system for their lower backs while on a sit-on-top kayak. However, the height of this model ensures that it is not a bad fit for kayakers of any size.

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3. Leader Accessories Deluxe Kayak Seat 

The Leader Accessories Deluxe Kayak Seat, like its name, is a luxurious seat which will undoubtedly be appreciated by experienced kayakers. This model makes it possible for paddlers to spend quality time in their kayak without having to worry about back pain or soreness.

This worry-free luxury is as a result of the sturdy design of this model. The seat's shape is such that allows it to contour comfortably to the body form of a user, ensuring the maximum comfort of the paddler.

Moreover, the seat enhances weight distribution in equal proportions, so the user doesn’t have to move around on the seat constantly before feeling comfortable.

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4. Pactrade Marine Adjustable Padded Deluxe

This Pactrade Marine Deluxe kayak seat easily ranks as the best 10 in our list. This is because it includes everything to provide users with maximum comfort while kayaking and more. It is primarily meant to provide support for sit-on-top models.

The neoprene outer layer of this seat together with the 600 Denier polyester makes this Deluxe seat well-equipped to withstand constant exposure to the water and other weather elements. In general, this Pactrade model is a great seat for paddlers who spend much time in their kayaks.

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5. Skwoosh Expedition Kayak Seat 20” High Back Support with Lumbar 

This Skwoosh Expedition Kayak seat with its high back lumbar support and its gel seat is ideal for long trips kayaking. This model features a gel cushion which is fluid-like, ensuring that users record zero discomforts while paddling. Yet, the back lumbar support guarantees that the fluidity of the seat does not compromise firmness.

The backrest of this seat is contoured in such a way that it molds a user's body form. You can stow essential gear and kayak accessories on this seat as a result of its in-built bungee net. Adding to the bungee net are two installed insulated holders for water bottles, further proving that this kayak seat is just the best to have on for kayak touring trips.

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6. Ocean Kayak Comfort Tech Seat  

If your budget allows you to spend a bit more than average, the Ocean Kayak Comfort Tech Seat is an ideal option which provides a significant boost in comfort and back support features.

Compared to the previously reviewed Comfort Plus, this Tech model has a higher back, more rigidity, and breathable fabric which guarantees that users are dry and comfortable even on long-distance paddling.

Designed for sit-on-top models, this Tech seat features a customized ventilation system, a taller backrest for enhanced support, reflective logos, and a pack nylon fabric that is resistant to UV rays.

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7. Sun Dolphin Bali SS 6-Foot Sit-on-Top Kayak 

One of the more top-quality and budget-friendly kayak seat is the Vibe Kayaks Deluxe Padded model. It has an impressive backrest, is very comfortable, and guarantees easy installation.

This stylish seat ensures that users do not feel sore and uncomfortable even after a full day of paddling. It has several adjustable strappings so you can fasten it according to your body type. The seat will also easily fit into any kayak with deck loops or rings. If your kayak lacks these, you can buy new rings.

The Vibes Deluxe is very spacious and comfortable, offering maximum comfort to an average-sized paddler. Moreover, this seat provides secure storage for your belongings.

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8. Yakpads® Paddle Saddle With High Back by Cascade Creek

Just like most standard Yakpads, this model is highly functional, and it protects its users from back pain. As it is inevitable that water will enter your kayak while you’re paddling, this kayak seat is designed with quick-dry materials to enhance maximum paddling comfort. You can easily adjust it to best suit your preference and comfort level.

While some other kayak seat pads might bunch up or slide around during paddling movement, nothing of such is recorded with the Yakpads seat pad. If you need an extra cushion for your sit-in kayak, then the gel-saddle cushion on this model is a formidable option

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9. YakGear Mantra Ray Deluxe Kayak Seat 

If you assume that Yak-Gear is a company which understands the exact wants of its users, then you'd have guessed right. The YakGear Mantra Ray seat can be used on different kayak types including sit inside, sit on top, and even on some canoe models.

Based on your ideal body and riding position, you can adjust the 19" adjustable high back. With this kayak seat, you'll be able to paddle for more extended periods, and you’ll never have to suffer uncomfortable days on the water due to your seat. 

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10. Harmony Standard Sit-On-Top Seat 

When you notice that your kayak seat becomes uncomfortable after paddling for only a few minutes, you know it's time for an efficient kayak seat upgrade, and the Harmony Standard might be the ideal solution.

This Harmony Standard Sit-On-Top seat pad is a supportive and comfy seat that is suitable for virtually all the sit-on-top kayaks available on the market. This seat is ergonomically designed to guarantee ultimate user comfort, such that a user is never bothered about safety and stability. 

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Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Kayak Seat

It would be best if you were sure that the kayak seat you are picking is the best option for you. Before you make the purchase, it is vital that you first consider some key factors which include:

Know Your Kayak

Before you start your shopping expedition, it is crucial that you have an awareness of the type of kayak you are purchasing a set for. Is your kayak a sit-in or a sit-on-top? Knowing the answer to this question is essential. If not, you might end up buying a seat that cannot fit into the kind of kayak you have.

Though some seats like the YakGear Mantra Ray can work for both types, the vast majority do not.

Comfort

Once you’ve narrowed down your search based on your kayak type, the next thing you have to be on the watch out for is the comfortability of the kayak seats. Though this is a prominent factor as it is the sole reason you are purchasing one in the first place, the comfort offered by different kayak seats are not the same.

Considering the numerous models on the market with different specs and features, we have reviewed the top 10 kayak seats above for you to assist in choosing your ideal option.

Padding and Cushioning

Vital to the comfort of a kayak seat is the cushioning and padding in it. The most popular type of seat padding is the EVA foam which is lightweight, yet affordable, and durable.

You should also check for the size and thickness of the padding on the seat. It is preferable to purchase a seat with seat padding that has just the right amount of padding to be comfy and supportive, without sacrificing firmness.

It is also important to note that the thickness of the padding affects the stability of the user while on the kayak. Excessive thickness can affect the user’s center of gravity. Take note of this while reviewing a kayak seat for purchase.

Stability

Apart from the foam thickness, another factor that determines the stability of kayak seats is the straps which fasten the seat to your kayak. Look for models with clips and buckles that can securely fasten the seat to the kayak such that the user is stable on the seat while paddling.

Fabric Material

Equally as important as the interior of the kayak seat is the covering and outer layer of the seat. The most commonly used fabric coverings are nylon and neoprene. The fabric material is essential to determine the durability of the seat.

The nylon fabric material is resistant to wear and tears. Therefore, seats made with fabric material like the Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Back are incredibly durable and also budget-friendly.

However, one negative aspect of a nylon-covered seat is that it might have breathability issues. For this reason, you might ideally want to go with a fabric-covered seat with a customized ventilation system such as the Ocean Kayak Comfort Tech Set

On the other hand, the huge plus of a neoprene fabric covering is water resistance. With a kayak seat constructed with neoprene fabric such as the Leader Accessories Deluxe model, you don't have to worry that water leaks will damage the foam. This makes neoprene-coated seats an excellent option for sit-on-top kayaks.

When considering the fabric of a good seat, also factor in the skid resistance. Is the high-quality material merged with non-slip features? For instance, the above-reviewed neoprene-covered Leader Accessories model also guarantees non-slip resistance such that users don’t have to continually readjust or even slip off when the seat becomes slick with water.

Storage

This factor is an added plus on only the best kayak seats. Storage space on the seat is useful, especially if you have essential accessories, small-sized gear, electronics, or food that you'll love to carry paddling with you. Most of the above-reviewed models include small bag pockets, holders, or bungee nets for storage purposes.

Backrest

Apart from comfort, the backrest of the kayak seats should offer rigidity that can adequately support your back. Hence, the backrest area should not be too padded to ensure that your back has the needed reinforcement. If you specifically need back support, then you need to look for kayak seats that feature contour.

Uv Protection

The surface of your kayak seat needs to be protected from UV rays always regardless of its construction material. UV-Protection ensures that the seat doesn’t wear or fade prematurely. So, before settling on your seat, it will be profitable for you to check on this factor.

Installation

You need to find out if the seat is easy to install or not. This factor affects your safety and convenience. You don’t want to purchase a seat with a too-complex installation setup. Also, you don’t waste to waste money on a seat that compromises your safety and comfort.

Thus, it is advisable that you purchase a kayak seat designed with handy clips or swivel buckles that enhance easy installation. Furthermore, take note of the material used in constructing these fasteners. The connecting seat straps should either be made from top-grade aluminum or brass to ensure it is resistant to corrosion.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a sit-on-top kayak seat work for a sit-in kayak?

Though sit-on-top kayaks are compatible, it is recommended that you only purchase a sit-on-top kayak seat for sit-on-top kayaks and vice versa. It is usually specified if the seat is sit-on-top, sit-in, or compatible with both, and you should take note of this. You will not want to purchase a seat pad that can’t fit into your kayak.

 

2. Is upgrading my kayak seat necessary?

This is a personal question that only you can answer as you know your body better. If you notice that you’re often uncomfortable after paddling short distances, then you most likely need an upgrade. However, if you can paddle long miles without suffering from aches, then it is unlikely that you need an upgrade.

 

However, it might be the case that you want to enjoy some of the extra features on a kayak seat which your current seat doesn't have. Some of the features include storage spaces, water holders, or even rod holders, all of which give you easy access to needed accessories.


3. How do I attach my new kayak seat to the kayak?

Most standard seats include clips and buckles that enable you to secure them easily. You should note that some kayak brands only manufacture seats that can fit with only their brand kayaks. Though this is rare, still ensure that the seat you intend to purchase has universal compatibility with kayaks from other brands.

FINAL VERDICT

If you spend money on something extra for your kayak, let it be your seat. An uncomfortable seat can completely ruin what should otherwise have been a perfect kayaking experience. The best kayak seat has adequate padding to ensure comfortable paddling and enough stability to prevent you from moving around your seat while paddling.

Our top pick, the Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Back, impressively combines the features of a great kayak seat. It places a high priority on the user's comfort, and its construction guarantees long-term durability. This review rates it 4.9 stars of the possible 5.


4.9/5.0
Our Rating
Douglas Keister

I am an adventure fanatic that loves nature and adventure sports like kayaking, camping and water sports. I have been doing this for almost 10 years now and have learned quite a few tricks. With my experience, I hope to provide you with the most reliable and accurate information for your next adventure.

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