You want to be able to spend ALL day on the water right?
Well, you can’t. At least, not if you have a crappy seat in your kayak!
However, with the right kayak seat, you’re back—and yes, your butt too—will feel great no matter how long you’re out there paddling!
Quick Top 5 Kayak Seats:
*Keep reading for full reivews below
Benefits of a Kayak Seat Upgrade
- Added Comfort
The main reason you’d invest in an aftermarket seat is to upgrade your level of comfort on the water. Most factory seats are just thin pieces of material that can barely call themselves padded. After upgrading, though, you’ll feel like you’re sitting in your recliner at the house, except instead of TV, you’re getting a front row view to beautiful horizons.
- Back Support
A lot of factory seats just don’t provide you with the proper support you need for your back. You can do damage to your back without proper lumbar support—especially if you’re sitting in your kayak for extended periods of time. Also, if you’ve had any kind of back injury in the past, then good back support is vital.
- Increased Stability
If you’re seat sucks, you run the risk of it not holding in place correctly. I’m sure you know how important stability is! You want a seat that will help keep you seated firmly in the center of your kayak, so you don’t roll it.
Seat vs. Seat Pad
When you’re looking to upgrade your seat, you need to make sure you know the difference between a full replacement seat and a seat pad. Seat pads, while they do add to your comfort, they don’t do anything else regarding support.
Add a foam pad to any seat for an instant upgrade!
Seat pads are a great little kayak hack, though. You can add a gel or foam seat pad to any kayak seat for an instant comfort boost. This is also a great option for sit-in kayaks if you want to be a little bit higher up.
Top 3 Best Kayak Pads:
How do you choose a good kayak seat?
- Comfort/Padding and Cushioning
You need to make sure you’re getting a seat with plenty of padding. While the best kayak seats will always havepadding on both, some seats only have a padded bottom, and some only have a padded back. Padding isn’t just about comfort, though. Having extra padding can help keep you warm in the cold, as well as provide your legs the proper circulation.
- Material/Durability and Quality
A good kayak seat will be built to last. Since your kayak is going to be toughing it out through water, thesun, and long cardrives the material your seat is can make a huge difference in the longevity of the seat. Ideally, you want a seat that is UV resistant. This will prevent it from fading from extended exposure to the sun. Also, you’ll want it to be waterproof because no one wants to sit in a soggy seat.
The length of the backrest should be able to support your height. If you buy one that’s either too low or too high, you’re not going to receive the proper support you need.
- Extra Storage
A great feature that you’ll love in a kayak seat is storage pockets. These are usually reserved to pockets on the backside of the backrest. You can never have too much storage in a kayak, so being able to keep important things like a first aid kit or a small tackle box within arms reach is awesome.
Sit-on-Top vs. Sit-in Seats
I’m sure you’re aware of the type of kayak you have (sit-in or sit-on-top), so keep that in mind when you’re shopping for a new kayak seat. Most aftermarket seats are going to be designed for your sit-on-top models, but with a little modification, you can make them fit into your sit in kayaks. Usually, to make a SOT seat work fora SIK, you just need to screw in some pad eyes to anchor the seat down too.
How to Install an Aftermarket Kayak Seat
Most kayak seats are made to be easily upgraded, and the process is simple:
- Unhook and remove your crappy seat.
- Place your new comfy seat in your kayak, making sure that the bend is firmly up against your kayak.
- Clip your new seat in and tighten down the straps
The Best Kayak Seat
Do you want a kayak seat that’s going to deliver all day comfort? Then the GTS Expedition is for you. It’s 2” thick seat bottom, and 18” tall backrest will have you comfortable no matter how long you spend in your kayak—even if you have a bad back!
If fact, it’s foam backrest was specifically designed for spinal support and wrap around lumbar stability. The six-point rear attachment systems mean you don’t ever have to worry about the seat slipping around while you’re on the water, and its built-in mesh bungee pouch can store a ton of your gear.
- Designed with a drainage system to keep excess water off your butt
- Tall foam backrest with a THICK seat pad
- Excellent spinal support and lumbar stability for all day comfort
- While the six-point attachment system is great, you’re more than likely going to have to add eyelets no matter what kind of kayak you have
The Leader Deluxe Kayak Seat was made to be comfortable during long kayaking trips. It’s 18” fully padded back not only provides great comfort but awesome support as well.
Easy to install, just hook its four straps in place, tighten the adjustable straps, and you’re ready to go. Although there’s more padding in the back area than the butt, it still provides enough support to spend hours on the water before your butt starts going numb.
- The seat in designed to fit your body's contour
- 18” high back with extra padding that lets you paddle for hours without back pain
- Easy to install and fits most kayaks
- Adjustment buckles are easy to reach while you’re paddling
- Not UV resistant, so you may experience fading after a few seasons
The Ocean Kayak Comfort has a nice high back that provides excellent back support no matter your size. Its four-way mounting straps make it super easy to install in any kayak, and it’s reflective logos with help you located your kayak if you ever fall out in the dark.
Plus, it’s made from UV resistant nylon making it extremely durable. The clips make it easy to adjust, even while you’re out on the water.
- Easy to install in most kayaks
- UV resistant to help protect it from fading
- Reinforced high back that provides great support
- The butt padding isn’t that great
If you’re big and tall, the Manta Ray Kayak Seat will allow you to sit comfortably the entire time you’re on the water. Thanks to its 19” tall, 1” thick, back you’ll have plenty of support.
The seat has a non-skid bottom that helps you remain firmly in place—even in whitewater. The best part about this seat by Yak Gear is the 1 ½” thick EVA foam bottom. As a bonus, it has built in water gutters, so you won't ever have to sit in a puddle of water.
- This seat has two built in D-rings that you can attach accessories to
- 19” high back and a 1 ½” seat pad make it super comfortable
- Water gutter helps drain water from your seat
- While the comfort of this seat is A+, it lacks features that would justify its price
The Deluxe Cushioned Kayak Seat is a great upgrade to your factory seat. 18” high and will proved plenty of support as you’re carving through waves. It’s four adjustable straps make it very easy install and adjust on the fly.
Since it’s UV resistant, you don’t have to worry about sun damage or fading. And they pulled out all the stops when they added a detachable storage backpack to the seat. Since it’s water-resistant, it’s ideal for gear like your first aid kit or snacks.
- UV resistant to protect it from sun damage
- Comes with a detachable storage backpack that is water resistant
- Extra high back for all day comfort
- The seat doesn’t drain and isn’t waterproof, so expect a wet butt should you take on water
The Sport Edition by GTS, this seat will mold the body of any paddler. Extremely comfortable with built-in backrests and structural support. Plus, you’ll keep your butt dry thanks to the water channeling grooves.
This seat was designed for more active paddlers, standing only 13” tall, you’ll get the back support you need, without being hindered by a high back while you’re flying through rapids. The back has a built-in zipper compartment that’s great to keep items you need to have with arm's reach.
- Lycra foam body that molds to your body
- A water-channeling design to help keep water off the seat
- Made for active paddlers
- The seat pad is only ¾ “ so after a few hours on it, you’ll start to feel it
Are you looking for a substantial upgrade to your factory seat, without having to break the bank? The Pactrade seat is a great blend of features, comfort, and affordability.
It’s four straps mounting system will attach to any kayak with ease. Thanks to its non-slip padded slip surface; you don’t have to worry about sliding causing you to lose balance and flip your kayak.
- Adjustable from and rear seat make it easy to set up
- Comes with a detachable backpack that can fit a bunch of your gear
- Padded seat and 17” backrest that provides excellent support
- Neither the seat nor the backpack is water resistant so if you take on water, be prepared to stay sitting in a wet seat for awhile
Top Three Best Seat Pads
This seat pad is the best accessory you can buy for your kayak hands down. It adds instant comfort to any kayak seat that lasts all day long. Instead of your typical foam, this seat pad is made from lightweight pressure relieving fluidized gel. This gel allows the seat to be extremely comfortable while only being ⅞” thick.
Not only will it fit most any kayak seat, but it's lightweight and great to use as a seat on shore. It’s completely waterproof, and it will float if you roll your kayak, and thanks to it’s 3’ lanyard tying it to the kayak, you don’t have to worry about it floating away. Its non-slip bottom keeps you firmly in place even in whitewater rapids.
Another gel filled model that provides a high amount of comfort for your butt. Its thin design helps you maintain a low center of gravity, increasing your stability. This is great when you’re in choppy waters or fishing since any but of stability helps.
While this is just a seat pad, YakPads do make an easily detachable backrest add on if you ever wanted some back support. You can either use the lace it comes with to attach it to your kayak seat or if you don’t already have a seat, it comes with a non-slip grip that will hold it firmly in place
This high density, extremely thick, foam seat was made for white water rapid kayaking but can add comfort to any kayak. If you want to install this seat pad to your kayak permanently, it has a tough grip adhesive that will hold it to your kayak.
It’s 1.25” thick, which is perfect if you want to get a little bit higher up in your kayak. If your idea of comfort is thick, firm, and rigid, then this will be a good fit for you.
Want up to date kayak tips, tricks and reviews?
If you intend on riding comfortably in your kayak all day long, then you NEED a kayak seat upgrade. Sitting on your stock kayak seat vs. in one of the best kayak seat pads doesn't even compare.
What's your favorite kayak seat? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below!