10 Best Kayak Seats: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

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Nothing beats a perfect day out on the water in a kayak, either fishing or simply touring the scenic route. Alas, many kayaks don’t come with comfortable seating, which can put a major dampener on the outing.

However, you can make your fishing or leisurely kayaking experience all the more enjoyable, fruitful, and comfortable by buying a high-quality kayak seat. You've come to the right place, as we have found and reviewed the top 10 best kayak seats.

A great kayak seat should clip securely onto your kayak while providing a soft surface and supportive backrest. They should be easily folded up and stored away, and many have secure compartments for keeping valuables safe while on the water.

Preview

Product

Primary Material

Dimensions

Check Price

Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Back (Black)

Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus

UV-inhibiting nylon, EPE foam

23 x 15 x 2 inches

Leader Accessories Black/Gray Deluxe Kayak...

Leader Accessories Deluxe

Molded foam

20 x 18 x 15 x 12 inches

Expedition Kayak Seat 20' High Back Support...

Skwoosh Expedition

Fluidized gel, 600 denier polyester

13 x 20 x 1 inches

Yakpads High Back Cushioned Seat Pad, Gel...

Yakpads Cushioned

Lycra-faced neoprene, elastomer gel

16 x 12 inches

Pactrade Marine Adjustable Padded Deluxe...

Pactrade Marine

Neoprene, 600D polyester, EVA foam

21.65 x 18.50 inches

Vibe Kayaks Deluxe Padded Kayak Seat Deluxe...

Vibe Kayaks Deluxe

Molded foam

18 x 19 x 12 inches

GTS Sport Sit-On-Top Kayak Seat, Universal...

Surf to Summit GTS Sport

Lycra foam laminate, thermoformed foam

13 x 25 inches (seat back)

GCI Outdoor SitBacker Adjustable Canoe Seat...

GCI Outdoor Sitbacker

Polyester, powder-coated steel

12.2 x 16.5 x 17.9 inches

SATURN Deluxe Molded Foam Kayak Seat with...

SATURN Deluxe

Thermo-formed foam

18-inch high back

GTS Expedition Molded Foam Kayak Seat - No...

Surf to Summit GTS Expedition

Thermo and pressure molded foam

18 x 21 inches (back) 16 x 18 inches (seat)


The Importance of Comfort While Kayaking

If you’re going to set aside a day or even a few hours to go kayaking for exercise, leisure, or fishing, the experience should be worthwhile. A hard, uncomfortable kayak seat with no back support can cause you to slump and slouch, resulting in pain during and long after the trip. You may experience lower back, sciatic, and upper back pain to put you off kayaking outright.

What’s more, an awkward seating position can make paddling difficult and straining on certain muscles. A sturdy, comfortable seating position puts you in better control of the kayak, helping to gain more speed and maneuverability. A comfortable kayak seat will make the long wait of fishing far more enjoyable and pain-free, upping your chances of a catch.


Kayak Seat Buying Considerations

Seat Type

consider your kayak type (sit-on-top? Sit in?), your comfort needs (trouble with hips or back?), trip duration (day trips or a few hours?), and your budget. Determine whether you need basic, deluxe, high back, sit-in, inflatable, or extra-cushioned.

Fabric Material & Padding Foam

what kind of trips are you taking? Marine? Freshwater? All-day fishing in the summer heat? Look for cover/exterior fabrics with UV protection, breathability, sweat-wicking, and durability over many hours, such as:

  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Neoprene

 Look for filler materials for extra comfort, such as: 

  • Fluidized gel for cooling and cushioning that won’t bunch up
  • Pressure Molded Foam that won’t compress over time
  • Thermo Molded Foam with rivets for drainage

Lumbar Support

do you need extra lower-back support or a lumbar roll to prevent lower-back pain and tightness? Look for adjustable lumbar support rolls or padded panels at the lower back.

Adjustability & Height

can the seat be adjusted in size to fit yourself and other potential family members or guests? Does the back support come up high enough for leaning back and relaxing?

Size & Compatibility

what type of kayak do you have and does it have sufficient anchor points compatible with your chosen seat? Is it a universal kayak seat, or is it only compatible with certain brands and models?

Seat Attachments & Storage Options

is it simple to attach to your kayak with adjustable straps?  Does it compress, fold-up, deflate, or become compact for simple, travel-friendly storage?

Price & Warranty

what’s your budget? Is there a warranty to protect you against faults or premature wearing?


10 Best Kayak Seats Reviewed

1. Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus

Our Top Pick

Primary Material

UV-inhibiting nylon, EPE foam

Attachments

Brass swivel buckles, stainless steel springs

Dimensions

23 x 15 x 2 inches

Weight

1.74 Lbs.

Warranty

-

Our top pick for the best-rated kayak seat is the Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Back. This is a basic kayak seat at a super-low cost, designed for sit-on-top kayaks. In saying that, many customers who left an Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus review noted that it worked excellently for their sit-in kayak. While it has a reasonably high back, it's better for shorter and lighter anglers and paddlers, as the back support isn't sufficient for very tall or heavier people. It would be great for kids or smaller adults.

The Comfort Plus is made from UV-resistant nylon to protect the seat from sun damage, with built-in ventilation to prevent overheating while on the water. Attachment is easy, with four adjustable straps you can hook onto your kayak’s loops with the brass swivel buckles. The straps are adjustable so you can get the perfect angle for your size, technique, and comfort preference.

Because of the low cost, you’re not going to get super-cushy seat padding, so it’s not ideal for very long trips or those with hip issues. However, it’s easy to fold up and stash away between bouts of fishing or leisurely paddling. This would be perfect for small budgets, kids, teens and small adults, and shorter trips on the water with less need for extra cushioning.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • UV-resistant
  • Adjustable
  • Hi-Vis logos
Cons
  • Not great for tall people
  • Not padded enough

2. Leader Accessories Deluxe

Best kayak seat for back support

Primary Material

Molded foam

Attachments

4 straps, brass buckles

Dimensions

20 x 18 x 15 x 12 inches

Weight

2 Lbs.

Warranty

-

Next up, our pick for the best kayak seat for back support, the Leader Accessories Deluxe Kayak Seat. This sophisticated seat is compatible with any sit-in or sit-on-top kayak as long as it has sufficient loops for the four straps with brass buckles to attach to. The webbed straps are easy to adjust to get the perfect backrest angle and seat position.

This is a step-up from the Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus in terms of padding, with deluxe molded panels on the back and seat. However, some users have noted that while the seat is supportive, it's not "cushy."

Horizontal molded foam panels along the back provide a little extra lumbar support with a curved top to support the upper back. The 18-inch height is excellent for taller, larger paddlers who need sufficient back support for long fishing and scenic trips.

We love that this comes with a detachable storage bag that can be attached to the back of the backrest. This is great for keeping delicate or sharp fishing gear safe, as well as stashing phones, snacks, and cameras.

If aesthetics are a factor for you, you’ll be pleased that you can pick from black, grey, or black and grey color choices. What’s more, there's a bundle available that includes a seat and a detachable fishing rod holder with a mesh storage pocket.

For the quality and user features provided, the Deluxe Kayak Seat has a very fair price. It would be great for all paddlers and anglers, (even those with a tall frame), and those in need of a zippered storage solution. If you need great back support but aren’t too fussed on a super-soft or cushy seat, definitely check this model out for your sit-on-top or sit-in kayak seat.

Pros
  • Molded back support
  • Tall back
  • Detachable storage bag
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Small seat
  • Seat not cushy

3. Skwoosh Expedition

Best rated

Primary Material

Fluidized gel, 600 denier polyester

Attachments

4 straps, corrosion-resistant clips

Dimensions

13 x 20 x 1 inches

Weight

3 Lbs.

Warranty

-

The Skwoosh Expedition is the best-rated kayak seat for sit-on-top kayaks, with a high 20-inch backrest ideal for tall paddlers and anglers. This is an excellent choice for all-day trips as it has a 1-inch thick seat made from fluidized gel for comfortable support. What’s more, there’s an adjustable lumbar support pad that can be repositioned via a velcro strap to hit the right spot on your lower back. Plus, the back is reinforced with two fiberglass battens to prevent sagging or bending.

This high-end sit-on-top kayak seat features two built-in water bottle holders for easy access to hydration and an extendable bungee pocket for safe storage. Attaching the Skwoosh to your kayak is simple, with four adjustable straps and corrosion-resistant clips (great for marine kayaking).

If you’re a tall paddler with back issues, the Skwoosh Expedition would be worth the higher price tag for your sit-on-top kayak. It’s easy to fold up to stash away neatly and helps to keep your kayak tidy with handy storage spots.

Pros
  • Tall backrest
  • Bottle holders
  • Adjustable lumbar support
  • Bungee storage pocket
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Seat not soft enough

4. Yakpads Cushioned

Best kayak cushioned seat pad

Primary Material

Lycra-faced neoprene, elastomer gel

Attachments

2 adjustable straps

Dimensions

16 x 12 inches

Weight

2.7 pounds (shipping)

Warranty

-

At number four, we have the best kayak cushioned seat pad; the Yakpads cushioned seat pad. This universal kayak seat is compact and sleek, with two adjustable straps to secure the back pad to your kayak. It works with sit-in and sit-on kayaks and folds up into a low-profile, easy-to-store unit.

The Yakpad is made from functional materials such as non-skid material on the base to stop the seat from slipping or sliding. This, along with the firm elastomer gel padding, gives you ultimate control in your kayak as you maneuver and paddle. What’s more, the cushioning gel keeps you protected from a sun-baked, hot kayak. However, if you're looking for a super-comfy seat with thick cushioning, this may be too thin and hard for you. 

Because the padded filling is made from gel, it will never become bunched or lumpy inside the coating. This is excellent for longevity and durability season after season. The high back makes this great for everyone, including taller anglers and paddlers looking for moderate back support on the water.

If you need a compact, easy-to-use, universal kayak seat that won’t interfere with your paddling style, this could be the one. If you tend to fish or tour during extreme weather and you don’t need built-up lumbar or butt support, check this simple-yet-smart model out.

Pros
  • No bunching
  • Fits all models
  • High back
  • Easy to store
  • Insulated against heat and cold
Cons
  • A little hard 
  • Not thick enough

5. Pactrade Marine

Best sit-in kayak detachable seat

Primary Material

Neoprene, 600D polyester, EVA foam

Attachments

4 adjustable straps

Dimensions

21.65 x 18.50 inches

Weight

2.9 Lbs (shipping)

Warranty

-

Our pick for the best sit-in kayak detachable seat is the Pactrade Marine adjustable padded deluxe detachable kayak seat. While this affordable seat is designed for sit-on-top kayaks, it works for most sit-in kayaks too, if you can find a way to attach it. It has four adjustable straps with sturdy buckles.

If you’re a tall paddler with a sit-on-top kayak and the need for decent back support (including the upper back), you should consider this. The generously-sized back has four horizontal contoured panels along the lumbar and a raised top to support the upper back. The bottom of the seat features a non-slip material promising to remain steady as you move. However, several customers have noted that the seat does slip and slide on the bottom of their kayak.

The Pactrade detachable seat comes with a removable backpack for storing fishing gear, lunch, phones, and cameras. This is a great little extra considering the low cost of the seat. This would be an excellent seat for touring, leisurely paddles, and slow fishing days on the water with lots of waiting and reclining expected.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Detachable backpack
  • High back
  • Contoured back
  • Non-slip
Cons
  • Slips on kayak surface
  • Backrest softer than seat

6. Vibe Kayaks Deluxe

Best kayak seat for the money

Primary Material

Molded foam

Attachments

4 straps, brass buckles

Dimensions

18 x 19 x 12 inches

Weight

3 Lbs.

Warranty

-

The best kayak seat for the money is the Vibe Kayaks Deluxe seat, a similar model to the Pactrade seat above, but at a lower cost. This is best for sit-on-top kayaks and especially for those with the need for generous back support. The 19” W x 18” H backrest allows for even taller folk to lean back comfortably, with paneled lumbar support and padded upper back panels. This would be excellent for touring and leisurely fishing with plenty of downtime.

Two rear and two front straps are UV-protected to prevent wearing and breakage even after hours of sun exposure. The four straps are easily adjustable to get the perfect angle and to fit with your sit-on-top kayak’s attachment loops.

A great addition is a detachable backpack for safely stashing phones, cameras, and food when on the water. It’s also great for storing delicate, easily-lost fishing gear. This would be an excellent gift for a new or seasoned kayaker or angler who could do with lumbar support and a better way to store their gear on the water. The affordable cost means you could kit out the whole family.

Pros
  • Detachable storage pack
  • Adjustable straps
  • Large backrest
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Breakable plastic parts
  • Seat could be softer

7. Surf to Summit GTS Sport

Best sit on top kayak seat

Primary Material

Lycra foam laminate, thermoformed foam

Attachments

Four adjustable straps, brass buckles

Dimensions

13 x 25 inches (seat back)

Weight

2.7 Lbs.

Warranty

-

The best sit-on-top kayak seat is the Surf to Summit GTS Sport Kayak Seat designed for sit-on-top kayaks. This is on the higher end of the price scale, but with materials, comfort, and design features to match.

The back and seat are made from panels of thermoformed foam, with strategically-placed rivets to provide lumbar support. The back is extra-wide, curving around each side to provide comfy leaning and lounging during paddle breaks.

The seat is slightly smaller, (Surf to Summit describes it as being designed for smaller people), but can work for most average people. Like many other kayak seats, customer reviews state that the seat is too hard for their liking, and extra padding is needed for superior butt comfort.

Two adjustable straps at the front and back allow for sturdy, stable placement and adjustable angles. This would be an excellent choice for kids, teens, or smaller adults venturing out on leisurely tours or relaxed fishing, with a need for extra back support.

Pros
  • Wide back support
  • Contoured seat and back
  • Detachable zipper pack
  • Sturdy straps and buckles
Cons
  • Cushion too hard
  • Small cushion

8. GCI Outdoor Sitbacker

Best high back kayak seat

Primary Material

Polyester, powder-coated steel

Attachments

-

Dimensions

12.2 x 16.5 x 17.9 inches

Weight

2.9 Lbs.

Warranty

Limited lifetime warranty

We’re changing tack a little here, with a chair-style model that gets the title of the best high-back kayak seat. The GCI Outdoor Sitbacker is a very affordable option for sitting comfortably in canoes or certain sit-in kayaks with the right-sized cockpit. This model does not have any straps or buckles, so it can’t be attached to a sit-on-top kayak.

The back is a full, chair-style back with a powder-coated steel frame and a padded lumbar section for extra comfort when seated. The seat and back are attached by two adjustable straps you can use to adjust the recline angle. The seat itself is thick and supportive for long bouts of sitting. However, it’s a little fragile and prone to ripping at the seams (a payoff from the very low cost, unfortunately).

The great thing about this seat is that it can double as a fireside camp seat, dock fishing seat, or seat for outdoor events and festivals. It folds up easily and can be carried with the built-in shoulder strap. Consider this affordable seat if you’re a fan of canoe fishing, camping, and travel.

Pros
  • High back
  • Soft seat cushion
  • Versatile
  • Adjustable recline
Cons
  • No straps for attachment
  • Seat fabric rips

9. SATURN Deluxe

Best kayak fishing seat

Primary Material

Thermo-formed foam

Attachments

4 adjustable straps

Dimensions

18-inch high back

Weight

6.6 Lbs. (shipping)

Warranty

-

The Saturn Deluxe Molded Foam Kayak Seat is our pick for the best kayak fishing seat. It offers excellent padding thanks to the detachable seat cushion, which not only adds extra softness but adds height for getting the right fit in your kayak and for enjoying unencumbered paddling. You can detach the seat cushion and use it as a fireside or outdoor event portable cushion.

This seat is designed mostly for sit-on-top kayaks but could work with a sit-in kayak as long as the back fits in the cockpit, and there are suitable attachment points for the straps. The high, 18-inch back offers excellent support for the upper back and neck, while paneled pads add extra lumbar support.

An excellent detail is a detachable backpack, including two plastic molded fishing rod holders with velcro straps to secure your rods. This is great for anglers who want to securely fix their rods to their seat as they sit back, relax, and wait. The backpack can hold lunch, water, devices, and smaller fishing gear.

For such a generously-detailed fishing kayak seat, the Saturn is very reasonably priced so you could easily get one for yourself and one for a fishing partner. While it's excellent for fishing, it's just as great for touring or leisurely weekend paddles.

Pros
  • Detachable seat cushion
  • Detachable zipper pack
  • High back
  • Adjustable
  • Rod holders
Cons
  • Seat prone to slipping
  • Pack can’t be worn as a backpack

10. Surf to Summit GTS Expedition

Top of the range

Primary Material

Thermo and pressure molded foam

Attachments

6-point rear attachment

Dimensions

18 x 21 inches (back) 16 x 18 inches (seat)

Weight

2.7 Lbs. (shipping)

Warranty

-

Last but not least, the luxurious, top-of-the-range kayak seat, the GTS Expedition Molded Foam seat by Surf to Summit. This super-padded seat is made from thermoformed foam, with a layered construction of soft and hard materials. 

This provides strong back support as well as a soft, cushioned surface. Note that it is designed for sit-on-top kayaks and is unlikely to work with sit-in models due to the 6-point attachment system (you would have trouble finding attachment points). The back is generous in size at 18 inches high and 21 inches wide, more than enough for tall, broad adults.

The seat is extra padded with 2 inches of soft foam and rivets to allow for drainage of cockpit water. This is an excellent seat for all-day fishing and touring as it gives superior back support and saves you from a sore, numb butt.

Even better, the attachment system has been designed for strong and steady seating, with no slippage on the bottom of the kayak. The 6-point rear attachment system allows you to get the perfect lean angle while securing the seat exactly where you want it without slipping forward as you paddle.

At the back of the backrest is an expandable mesh pocket with adjustable bungee cords to keep your belongings locked in tight, even if you capsize. This would be ideal for anglers with back and hip issues who require a soft seat and ample back support. The price is high, but so are the quality and longevity.

Pros
  • Non-slip seat
  • Thick seat with drainage
  • Bungee back pocket
  • Excellent back support
Cons
  • Not for sit-in kayaks
  • Expensive

How to Attach a Kayak Seat

Attaching your kayak seat is very simple, as it's just a matter of connecting the straps to your kayak's eyelets or buckle loops. Attach the two straps on the sides of the backrest to the eyelets out the front. Then, attach the straps at the back of the backrest to the eyelets toward the back of the kayak. This means that the backrest is suspended and supported from both ends.

Sit in the kayak and adjust the position of the seat, so it is up against the cockpit of the kayak. Use the adjustable straps to change the angle and tightness of the backrest to suit your height and natural sitting position.

 Check out this YouTube video for a thorough step-by-step demonstration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you sit or kneel in a kayak?

You can do both! Kayaks are generally designed for sitting most of the time. However, if you need extra speed, strength, and maneuverability in tougher conditions, it can help to kneel for a small period.

How can I avoid back & butt aches when kayaking?

The best way is to invest in a cushioned kayak seat with decent back support so you can sit straight without slumping. Also, try to adjust your seating position to see if it relieves or prevents pain by changing your knee and hip angles.

Do sit on top seats work with sit-in kayaks or paddleboards?

It depends on the dimensions of the seat and the kayak itself. If you are using a spray skirt with your sit-in kayak, a detachable seat is unlikely to work. As long as you can maneuver the straps to reach the eyelets, and they can fit inside the kayak’s cockpit rim, it’s possible to use a sit-on-top seat in a sit-in kayak. 

Are all kayak seats universal?

No, some seats are made for specific brands, models, or sit-in or sit-on-top kayaks only. Be careful to read all the specifications when purchasing.

Which kayak has the most comfortable seat?

The SunDolphin Aruba 10-foot Sit-in kayak is a highly-rated model with a padded seat that can be adjusted for different heights and sizes.


Conclusion

A great kayak seat can help to maximize your time out on the water, keeping you comfy for longer. Our list of the ten best kayak seats features something for every kayak type, every budget, and every comfort preference. Our top pick is the Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Backan affordable kayak seat for sit-on-top kayaks. But if this doesn’t float your boat, check out the other nine awesome options to find your best fit.