The 8 Best Kayak Seats of 2020: Buyer’s Guide

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If you’re planning an epic paddling adventure and looking for the best kayak seat on the market, you’ve come to the right place! Without proper support while exploring the water you’re likely to get a stiff back or hips, sore and numb legs or sharp pain in your lower back. All of these things can be prevented by investing in and using a supportive and quality seat to keep your body comfortable for a day on the water.

Because kayak seats come in a wide variety of sizes and structural supports, it can be overwhelming to decide which is right for you. The best seat depends entirely on your needs on the water, and your intended uses of your kayak. To help you navigate the market and choose which kayak seat is right for you, we’ve gathered 8 of the best products available and a simple buyer’s guide to explain the features, styles and more.

Here is everything you need to know about kayak seats for your next paddling adventure:

Top 5 Comparison Chart

Leader Accessories Black/Gray Deluxe Kayak Seat (Black/Gray)
Pactrade Marine Adjustable Padded Deluxe Kayak Seat Detachable Back Backpack/Bag Canoe Backrest
Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Back (Black)
Expedition Kayak Seat 20" High Back Support with Lumbar Roll and Nylon Gel seat Bottom for Kayaking Comfort
GTS Sport Sit-On-Top Kayak Seat, Universal Sit On Top Kayak Seat, Surf To Summit Kayak Seat, Kayak Seat Cushion
Leader Accessories Deluxe Seat
Pactradade Marine Adjustable Deluxe
Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus
Expedition Kayak Seat
GTS Sport Kayak Seat
High Back Kayak Seat
High Back Kayak Seat
High Back Kayak Seat
20'' High Back Kayak Seat
13'' or 14'' Mid-Height Kayak Seat
210-D Polyester Exterior
Neoprene and 600-D Polyester Exterior
Durable Polyester and Nylon Exterior
Polyester and Nylon Exterior
600-D Fabric Exterior
EVA Foam Interior
EVA Foam and PE Plate Interior
Closed Cell EPE Foam Padding with Built-In Ventilation
Waterproof Fluidized Gell Seat Cushion Interior
EVA and Lycra Foam Laminate Interior
3 Pounds
2.8 Pounds
1.7 Pounds
3 Pounds
2.7 Pounds
Corrosion-Resistant, Marine Grade Solid Brass Snaps
Snap Hooks
Brass Swivel Buckles
Corrosion-Resistant Swivel Clips
Solid Brass Attachment Clips
4-Way Adjustable Mounting Straps
Adjustable Front and Rear Mounting Straps
4-Way Adjustable Mounting Straps
4-Way Adjustable Mounting Straps
4 Multi-Adjustable Front and Rear Mounting Straps
Storage Bag
Detachable Backpack
No Bag
Bungee Gear Net and 2 Bottle Holders
Built-In Zipper Pack
Black / Grey
Black and Grey
Black
Black and Blue
Grey and Black
Leader Accessories Black/Gray Deluxe Kayak Seat (Black/Gray)
Leader Accessories Deluxe Seat
High Back Kayak Seat
210-D Polyester Exterior
EVA Foam Interior
3 Pounds
Corrosion-Resistant, Marine Grade Solid Brass Snaps
4-Way Adjustable Mounting Straps
Storage Bag
Black / Grey
Pactrade Marine Adjustable Padded Deluxe Kayak Seat Detachable Back Backpack/Bag Canoe Backrest
Pactradade Marine Adjustable Deluxe
High Back Kayak Seat
Neoprene and 600-D Polyester Exterior
EVA Foam and PE Plate Interior
2.8 Pounds
Snap Hooks
Adjustable Front and Rear Mounting Straps
Detachable Backpack
Black and Grey
Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Back (Black)
Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus
High Back Kayak Seat
Durable Polyester and Nylon Exterior
Closed Cell EPE Foam Padding with Built-In Ventilation
1.7 Pounds
Brass Swivel Buckles
4-Way Adjustable Mounting Straps
No Bag
Black
Expedition Kayak Seat 20" High Back Support with Lumbar Roll and Nylon Gel seat Bottom for Kayaking Comfort
Expedition Kayak Seat
20'' High Back Kayak Seat
Polyester and Nylon Exterior
Waterproof Fluidized Gell Seat Cushion Interior
3 Pounds
Corrosion-Resistant Swivel Clips
4-Way Adjustable Mounting Straps
Bungee Gear Net and 2 Bottle Holders
Black and Blue
GTS Sport Sit-On-Top Kayak Seat, Universal Sit On Top Kayak Seat, Surf To Summit Kayak Seat, Kayak Seat Cushion
GTS Sport Kayak Seat
13'' or 14'' Mid-Height Kayak Seat
600-D Fabric Exterior
EVA and Lycra Foam Laminate Interior
2.7 Pounds
Solid Brass Attachment Clips
4 Multi-Adjustable Front and Rear Mounting Straps
Built-In Zipper Pack
Grey and Black

8 Best Kayak Seats Reviewed

1. Leader Accessories Deluxe Kayak Seat 

Leader Accessories Black/Gray Deluxe Kayak Seat (Black/Gray)

Review

The Leader Accessories kayak seat is an 18 inch high back seat featuring marine-grade brass straps and a molded foam padded design for maximum comfort while paddling. Additionally, the four straps are great for securing it to your kayak, and it’s available in multiple color choices to best suit your preference and personality.  

The back of this seat, besides being 18 inches tall, is also 20 inches wide, providing exceptional back support and comfort throughout the day. Additionally, there is a strip of padding that runs along the area supporting your spine, providing exceptional lumbar support to reduce back aches. Furthermore, it includes a detachable storage bag for convenient and simple storage, transport and portability.

PROS

  • Detachable Storage Bag
  • Two Front and Two Rear Straps Adjust to Most Kayaks
  • Available in Four Color Choices
  • Made of a Comfortable Molded Foam
  • Provides Added Lumbar Support
  • 18 Inch High Seat Back

CONS

  • Lacks D-Rings On the Kayak
  • Could Feature More Cushioning in the Seat
  • Not Ideal for Larger Riders

2. Pactrade Marine Adjustable Padded Deluxe Kayak Seat 

Pactrade Marine Adjustable Padded Deluxe Kayak Seat Detachable Back Backpack/Bag Canoe Backrest

Review

The Pactrade Marine kayak seat is an 18.5 inch high back seat featuring a detachable backpack to store accessories. This added benefit is great for convenience on the go, and easy transport to and from your favorite kayaking destination. Featuring a non-slip contoured seat that reduces slipping, this seat is great for a variety of adventure types. Additionally, the adjustable front and rear straps provide a universal fit to all kayak styles, and it’s designed with a ventilation system to keep you cool and comfortable even on the warmest days spent paddling.

Along with a durable, comfortable and convenient build, this seat also features four easy to use snap hooks for added attachment. Made of a flexible, durable and reliable neoprene 600D polyester material and an inner EVA foam layer, this seat is designed to withstand use in a variety of marine environments and to join you for many adventures to come.

PROS

  • Adjustable Front and Rear Straps
  • Universal Fit for All Kayak Styles
  • Four Easy to Use Snap Hooks
  • Non-Slip Contoured Padded Slip Surface
  • Lightweight Carrying Backpack
  • 18.5 Inch High Back
  • Durable Neoprene and EVA Foam Build

CONS

  • Some Reports of Hooks Corroding in Salt Water
  • Seat Cushion Could be More Comfortable
  • Straps May Require Adjusting During Use

3. Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat

Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus Seat Back (Black)

Review

The Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus kayak sea provides quality support due to its high back and side wings that cradle your back while allowing you to move freely. This type of design is great for a quick adventure on the water, or a long day spent kayaking. Featuring ample seat padding, this kayak seat helps to provide a soft and smooth ride. Additionally it adds more cushioning than many other seats on the market, making it one of the most comfortable models available. 

This kayak seat features heavy duty clips with stainless steel springs for a durable and secure fit. It also has four-way straps providing stability, along with a durable build of UV resistant nylon material and a ventilation system to help you keep dry and cool throughout the day.

PROS

  • Four-Way Adjustable Straps Fit Most Kayak Styles
  • Ventilation System to Keep Rider Cool and Dry
  • UV Resistant Material
  • Heavy Duty with Stainless Steel Springs
  • Durable Build and Secure Fit
  • Ample Seat Padding for Comfort
  • Lateral Wings for Added Back Support

CONS

  • Some Customers Felt the Seat was too Firm
  • No Specific Lumbar Support
  • Loops and Straps Could be More Durable

4. Swoosh Expedition Kayak Seat

Expedition Kayak Seat 20' High Back Support with Lumbar Roll and Nylon Gel seat Bottom for Kayaking Comfort

Review

The Swoosh Expedition kayak seat features a comfortable fluidized gel seat cushion with welded construction, and one of the tallest backs on this list, standing 20 inches high and providing support for even tall kayakers. This kayak seat has a wide and fully adjustable lumbar support, and a padded backrest with side wings cupping your back to ensure your comfort throughout the day while paddling. Additionally, the attached bag on the rear of the seat is great for storing accessories, personal belongings or kayaking gear.

To provide a universal fit, this seat has four adjustable straps to ensure custom securing and the corrosion resistant swivel clips are durable and provide longevity. The two built-in water bottle holders are an added benefit, and great for keeping beverages near by at all times. It’s easy to install to ensure worry-free set up and adventuring, and the 1’’ thick low profile cushion is great for added stability on the water.

PROS

  • Two Built-In Beverage Holders
  • 20” Tall Seat Back
  • Comfort Fluidized Gel Seat Cushion
  • Four Adjustable Straps for a Universal Fit
  • Corrosion Resistant Swivel Clips
  • Adjustable Lumbar Support
  • Low Profile Cushion is Great for Stability

CONS

  • Low Profile Seat isn’t for Everyone
  • Back may be too Tall for Short Riders
  • More Cost Intensive

5. Surf to Summit GTS Sport Kayak Seat

GTS Sport Sit-On-Top Kayak Seat, Universal Sit On Top Kayak Seat, Surf To Summit Kayak Seat, Kayak Seat Cushion

Review

The Surf to Summit GTS kayak seat has a 12.5 inch tall back with a generous lumbar support that has thermoformed foam panels providing a very thick padding. This adds both comfort and support during your paddling adventure, and helps to prevent any body pains or aches from improper support on the water. This kayak seat features padding that will contour to your body for maximum comfort, and a heavy-duty 600D fabric for both durability and longevity. Additionally, adjustable front and rear straps make securing the seat to your boat a breeze, and the large built-in cargo pack is great for holding gear or belongings.

The lycra foam laminate on this seat is made to withstand the marine environment, and the enhanced molded in water channeling grooves are great for keeping your dry and comfortable all day long. This seat features a durable and convenient build that’s great for a day spent paddling on the water.

PROS

  • Water Channeling Grooves
  • Excellent Locking System
  • Four Adjustable Securing Straps
  • Large Built-In Zipper Pack
  • Heavy-Duty Fabric Reduces Cracking, Fades and Wear
  • Generous Lumbar Support

CONS

  • Shorter 12.5’’ Back isn’t Ideal for Tall Riders
  • May Not be Ideal for Sit-In Kayaks

6. KERCO Angler-x Adjustable Kayak Seat

KERCO Angler-x Adjustable Sit on Top Kayak Seat w/Back Pack Extra Thick Seat Pad

Review

The Kerco Angler-x is an 18 inch high back and molded foam seat featuring an anti-slip bottom for better grip and stability. It’s 21 inches wide which provides exceptional back support, and helps to prevent body aches and pains during your day on the water. This durable nylon seat features four adjustable straps and marine quality anti-corrosion clips for simple securing, and a detachable zipped pack for holding onto your belongings or paddling gear.

Along with a durable and supportive build, this seat is also designed to fit most kayaks and canoes. The extra thick sitting pad is great for added comfort, and the softness is ideal for long paddling adventures. To ensure worry-free purchasing, this product comes with hassle free customer service that is guaranteed by the manufacturer.

PROS

  • 1.5’’ Thick Cushion for Comfort
  • Four Adjustable Straps for Securing
  • Marine Grade Anti-Corrosion Clips
  • Anti-Slip Bottom for Added Grip
  • Designed to Fit Most Kayaks and Canoes
  • 18’’ High Back
  • 21’’ Wide Back Support

CONS

  • May Not be Ideal for Sit In Kayaks
  • Zipper on Back Pouch Could be more Durable
  • May Require Adjusting During Use

7. Ocean Kayak Comfort Tech Seat

Ocean Kayak Comfort Tech Seat for Sit-On-Top Kayaks

Review

The Ocean Kayak Comfort Tech provides quality support with a 16 inch back and comfortable foam padding seat. This kayak seat features heavy-duty clips and four-way adjustable straps providing stability while riding. The durable UV resistant nylon material is designed to withstand marine environments, and the ventilation system is made to help you keep dry and cool even on the warmest days. Additionally, the reflective logos are great for added visibility on the water.

Along with an adjustable and convenient attachment to your sit-on-top kayak, this seat is reinforced and designed to provide you with additional back support while enjoying a paddling adventure. The brass swivel buckles are durable and excellent for attachment. Furthermore, this kayak seat is one of the more budget friendly options on this list without compromising quality or function.

PROS

  • Four-Way Adjustable Straps for Securing
  • UV Resistant Nylon Material
  • Heavy-Duty Brass Swivel Clips
  • Comfort Foam Padded Back
  • Ventilation System to Keep You Dry
  • Reflective Logos Add Visibility

CONS

  • Some Reports the Seat is too Firm
  • May Require Adjusting During Use
  • Lower Back Height isn’t Ideal for Tall Riders

8. Yakpads Cushioned Kayak Seat Pad

Yakpads High Back Cushioned Seat Pad, Gel Seat Pad for Kayaks, Portable Seat Cushion for Outdoor Watersports and Recreation - Cascade Creek (High Back)

Review

The Yakpads has a 12 inch tall back with a gel saddle cushion designed for sit-in kayaks. This kayak seat is all cushion and because of the gel padding will not wear down over time. It’s a thin, low seat cushion that preserves your low center of gravity and thus your stability on the water. The back secures to your kayak with simple click buckles ensuring a hassle free attachment. This high-backed paddle saddle is designed to offer maximum comfort and lumbar support while you’re exploring on the water. Additionally, it’s fully insulated against hot or cold seats to prevent unnecessary discomfort on the go.

This kayak seat is designed with adjustable stabilizer straps to ensure an easy to secure attachment. It can even be used outside of your kayak in a canoe, stadium sporting event, in the car for added comfort and more. The gel used in the cushion of this seat is made of elastomer materials which are similar to that used in bicycle seats for comfort. This design is great for eliminating pressure points, and it’s firm but flexible nature is ideal for comfort while paddling. Additionally, this seat is built to accommodate kayakers of all skill levels and body types, including children.

PROS

  • Comfort Gel Saddle Cushion
  • Low Center of Gravity for Stability
  • Durable Design
  • Simple Click Buckles for Hassle-Free Attachment
  • Fully Insulated Against Hot and Cold Seats
  • Adjustable Stabilizing Straps
  • Versatile for Use Outside the Kayak

CONS

  • Not Made for Sit-on-Top Kayaks
  • May Not be Ideal for Lengthy Adventures
  • Some Customers Want Thicker Seat Cushion

Choosing the Best Seat for Kayaking: Buyers Guide

Generally speaking, the higher the back of your kayak seat, the more support and comfort it provides. Purchasing a high back seat with lumbar or lower back support will help to protect your spine and to prevent discomfort while paddling. However, a higher back can limit your flexibility and may challenge you in tight spaces. 

Additionally, you may want a seat with more padding to increase your comfort level. Thicker cushioning can create a less stable kayak and can soak up water, taking longer to dry. The right kayak seat offers a balance of both softness and support, with durable and marine grade features to keep it secure during an adventure. 

Here are some key things to keep in mind when choosing which kayak seat is right for you:

Seat Safety and Comfort

Kayak seats secure to your kayak providing additional stability and security.  Several of the seats featured on this list offer a slip-resistant bottom for added grip and stability, and some may have a safety harness to secure you to the kayak. A secure attachment of your seat ensures your seat stays in place to keep you safely on top of the water, and it keeps you riding comfortably throughout the day.

Most kayaks either have a formed area to sit or a very minimal seat design. The kayak seats we have recommended here come with either a foam or gel cushion and are ergonomically designed to provide maximum comfort. Additionally, many feature added lumbar and back support to help prevent body aches and pains, especially during or after long kayaking adventures.

The key things to remember in regards to kayak seat safety and comfort are:

  • Adjustable and Secure Attachment

  • Marine Grade Snaps or Buckles

  • Slip-Resistant Bottom

  • Gel Cushioned or Foam Seat

  • Added Lumbar or Back Support

  • Winged Seat Backs

Ease of Use and Stability

A kayak seat creates a more comfortable and slip-resistant sitting area, and it should offer a hassle-free set up experience for the user. These seats listed in our review list are easily installed and secure to your kayak without hassle to ensure you can get on with your paddling adventure as soon as possible. By choosing a seat with adjustable straps and easy buckles or clips, you’ll set yourself up for a successful excursion on the water.

Along with an easy attachment, many of the seats on this list come with straps that secure to your kayak which improve the stability on the go. Depending on the seat, different amounts of support will be provided and add to your experience. Seats with a wide base and high back support which are strapped to your kayak provide the greatest stability.

Seat Storage

Several kayak seats provide additional storage with backpacks, pouches or bungees that are either secured or detachable. Additionally, some of these options are waterproof to ensure ultimate protection for your gear inside. Others have bungees that you can secure your items to the seat.

Kayak Seat Purchasing Considerations

When you begin your search for the best kayak seat for your individual needs the following considerations should be included:

  1. Type of Kayak:

Some kayak seats are designed for use primarily with a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak while others are designed to be used with both. Know which kayak style you’re purchasing for to prevent having to return the seat or invest in another.

  1. Personal Preferences:

If you have specific back problems, you’ll likely want a higher quality seat that provides additional support. If you are taller or want more back support you may want a seat with a taller back, and if you are a larger individual a wider back and seating area will be desired. Oppositely if you’re smaller you may want a seat with a shorter back to ensure your comfort throughout the day. Heavier set people will also want to look for pressure-molded foam.

  1. Cost:

The cost of a kayak seat can range from $30 to $300. The cost varies based on materials, design, features, and the company making the seat. You can find a well designed, quality kayak seat around $50. A quality seat will be durable and in the end likely save you money versus buying a cheaper seat which will wear down and require replacing.

  1. Features:

There are a few important features you will want to consider in purchasing your kayak seat: 

  • Backrest with a mesh panel to allow moisture to escape.

  • Seat fabric should be water resistant or repellent, especially if it is covering foam.

  • Adjustable straps allow you to adjust your angle based on your circumstances and situations.

  • Storage area for your personal items.

  • Padding and cushion vary for each seat. Because your level of comfort is dependent on the correct support you should choose your seat wisely. A seat with a thick cushion that provides you support without becoming soft is ideal. 

  • Lumbar support for anyone who will be on the water for extended periods or if you have any back problems, makes a kayak seat with a quality lumbar support essential.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can all kayak seats be used in both a sit-on-top and sit-in kayak?

Some sit-on-top seats are versatile enough to work with most kayaks. However, the opposite is not necessarily true. Before purchasing, make sure to research if the seats you are interested in are designed for the kayak you are going to be using.  

Kayaks are typically designed with an area where you can attach the seat you’ve purchased. The seating area on your kayak should have clips for your new seat to attach. Using the straps and connecting mechanisms on the seat allows you to attach it to the kayak.

Kayak seats get their support from the clip and strap systems, meaning if you don’t have an area in which to clip the seat it will not be able to support the weight of your body. If your kayak does not have areas to clip your kayak they can be installed. You should consult a dealer or someone with experience installing clips to ensure you don’t damage your kayak.

How do I attach and secure the seat to the kayak

Most newer kayaks will have multiple clips or areas to connect your seat to the kayak.  You will need to adjust the seat’s straps to allow you to sit comfortably. Loosen the straps as far as they will go and then attach the clips. This will give you the most room to position and reposition your seat before securing.  

Once you have it approximately in the position you want it, you should get into the kayak to determine your comfort level. You can then adjust the straps until you have the ideal position. Once you are on the water you may need to make a few more adjustments.

The following video does a nice job of showing you how to attach your seat:

Will kayak seats work in an inflatable kayak?

Yes, as long as you choose the correct design for your type of kayak. Whether you have an inflatable or hard body kayak won’t matter.

Would it be viable to place this over my existing seat in my sit-in kayak? My current seat is very uncomfortable and I am looking for more cushion.

In most instances, yes you will be able to do so, adding additional cushion.  The Yakpads Cushioned Kayak Seat Pad is designed for this specific use and might be a consideration. You should be aware that this will raise your center of gravity and may not be as secure depending on your existing seat.

Final Thoughts

The relative cost of a kayak seat when weighed with the increased enjoyment, comfort, physical support and stability makes it a very inexpensive upgrade for your kayaking experiences. Look for the seat with the features you desire, with enough padding to make your trips comfortable and adds enough stability to ensure your safety in rougher waters. Use this guide to choose the best kayak seat for your next paddling adventure, and to get you one step closer to a comfortable ride!

Are you looking for more kayak guides? Check out these Seaside Planet articles that we think you’ll love:

Has this guide helped get you one step closer to your next paddling adventure? We would love to hear about it! Join the Seaside Planet Community and share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

The 8 Best Kayak Seats of 2020: Buyer’s Guide
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