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Kayak seat buying guide

Love kayaking for long hours? Then you must know the significance of a comfortable seat in the kayak. Kayak seats are a crucial part of the canoe. It provides comfort to your body when paddling for long hours.

There are many factors to consider before purchasing the seat. You need to consider its size, material, kayak size, and whatnot. Gathering all the information on several characteristics can become a challenging task, and you may even end collecting the incorrect details.

A buying guide provides you with all the information on different characteristics of the product at one stop. This saves your valuable time, and you don't need to look for various resources for all the information.

With this guide, you can quickly strike out the best product from the available options in the market and invest your money in a suitable one.

Let us first deepen our knowledge about the product.

What are Kayak seats? Why do you need them?

Your experience on the water when you are sailing or fishing or engaging in any water sports depends on your boat's seats. Being mindful about the seat you purchase to be installed in your kayak will determine your comfort, style of seating, performance, etc. The perfect kayak seats are as important as the ideal kayak boat itself.

As the name suggests, kayak seats are where you sit in your boat. More often than not, the ones that come already installed fail at giving you all the comfort and performance you would want from a day in the water. They also get worn out very quickly, so you need to find seats that are of high quality and durability to get your money's worth.

Be it a better backrest or more seating space or other features that help with your kayaking position, researching to buy kayak seats to find the one that caters to all your needs is the best decision you could take.

Why is this buying guide necessary to read?

You may think that selecting a kayak seat is as easy as shooting a fish in the barrel. Just select the right size, and you may believe that you are all ready to paddle for long expeditions. But wait a second. To choose a suitable seat, you need to deem about its material, size of kayak, durability, water-resistance, and many other additional properties.

Gathering information on all these performance varying factors can become an arduous task. However, this buying guide presents all the necessary information with crucial FAQs to guide you in selecting the best product.

Let us get into every detail of the different characteristics of the product.

Types of Kayak Seats

Built and design of seats, their features, compatibility with your kayak boat, all differ in a different kind of seats that the market has to offer. You can choose from the array of choices based on what suits you best.

  1. Basic Seat

The most basic model in the market, this type of seat is cushioned for comfort which comes in handy, especially if you are planning for a long day of rowing. The incorrect posture without adequate support results in all kinds of injuries, which can be prevented with the padding that the basic seat has to offer.

  1. High Back Seat

Sitting for long hours in your kayak while you wait for your trout to be caught can prove quite a hassle if the seating isn't right. High back seats are kayak seats specially designed for anglers. They provide you with a higher backrest and better positioning to catch fish while being the most comfortable you can.

  1. Deluxe Seat

Deluxe seats are quite similar to basic seats but with extra layers of padding for enhanced comfort and better back support. Sit-on kayaks can give you back-aches, and other pains and deluxe seats can save you that difficulty. The built of deluxe seats, however, causes it to not be compatible with every kayak. Ensure that the one you choose fits your kayak.

  1. Inflatable

Inflatable kayaks are known for being convenient for everything that a standard kayak is not – storing, transportation, etc. However, the seating arrangements that come with an inflatable are not the best. But now, kayak seats for inflatable kayaks are made available to allow you increased comfort and support that you are looking for to make the boat the absolute best option for you.

Things to Consider When Selecting the Appropriate Kayak Seats


A kayak allows you limited space, which must be used to accommodate the rider/s and also storage space and room for legs. Keeping this in mind, size becomes a significant factor that must be considered when looking for the perfect kayak seats.

It is not necessary that the seat has to be mostly big to be comfortable. It rather depends on your size. If you are on the bulkier side, you might consider buying larger seats; otherwise, a standard-sized seat will work fine.

Especially the backrest causes issues when it comes to size compatibility with the kayak. Some backrests are more obtuse or more full for more comfort and support. Make sure that the seat you choose is fitting to the dimensions of your kayak seating availability.


The material of the kayak seats will determine their durability, comfort, reaction to different kinds of water, stability, etc. You need to ensure that you choose the material that is right for you. The fabric that covers the seat must be comfortable enough while also sturdy to withstand wear and tear.

Sometimes, in warmer climates, you may go boating and swimming in your swimsuits. The material should be soft enough so that your bare skin rubbing against it does not cause harm.

There are mainly two choices that remain popular for fabric material of seats:

  1. Nylon

This material is known for being durable and extremely resistant to wear and tear. It does not get worn out and remains a popular choice for avid paddlers. It is a water-repellant fabric, which makes automatically makes it an excellent choice for watercraft material. Seats with nylon fabric are protected from water seeping in which could ruin the padded cushions.

However, water repellence goes in two ways. This means that the fabric is not breathable and does not wick away moisture like sweat. So, when you are sweating due to continuous paddling under the sun, nylon fabric will not be very comfortable to be seated on.

  1. Polyester

While polyester cannot match the durability and damage resistance that nylon possesses, it helps negate the one downside that makes nylon less preferable – moisture wicking. It is incredibly comfortable when it comes to this attribute, making it a popular choice among kayakers for kayak seats.

Especially if you plan on going paddling in the warm season under the scorching sun, this fabric is a perfect choice. It is soft so you can paddle in your bathing suit without the fear of chafing your skin. The only trade-off here is durability.


Nobody wants to turn down the opportunity of being more comfortable in whatever they are doing, especially in strenuous activities like rowing for hours, or fishing in an idle position for very long. The comfort of the kayak seats you choose is, thus, an essential factor that you need to keep in mind.

Many seats have varying layers of padding that enhance comfort. The material and number of layers of this padding determine the comfort level. Too much cushion is almost as bad as little cushioning. So choose the optimum volume of filling that allows you to be comfortable for paddling and sitting alike.

Another thing you need to take into consideration is shifting weight and positions. The paddling style will ascertain how easy it is for you to change your position and shift your weight.


When you paddle, you need your body power to transfer to your arms. The position of your body and its stability in that position supported by the seat is essential for performance. Thus, seat stability is another factor you need to consider when purchasing kayak seats.

Stability is ensured with the backrests' width and angle. Several deluxe and high back seats provide you with adequate support and stability to make paddling more robust and reduce back pains and injuries.

Some seats also come with straps that allow you mobility while providing additional support to stabilize your weight and keep the kayak in smooth sailing. Appropriate kayak seats, thus, have stability provisions in terms of wide backrests and straps.

Back Support

When you choose kayak seats, back support becomes an important consideration that needs to be factored in. Not only does it play an essential role in overall stability, but it also is crucial in preventing injuries and back-aches.

Comfortable backrests mean that the seats are adequately supporting the body weight when you are paddling for hours on end or waiting idly for trout. Especially in movement, the back of the seat should be padded enough and covered adequately with soft material to prevent uncomfortable traction.

For notably taller people, longer backrests are essential. Several seats come with mechanisms that allow reclining the backs for additional comfort support. These are often very popular and sought after for obvious reasons.


Buying a durable seat with material and shape that supports the longevity of life and resist against damage from sun and wear and tear is crucial for cost-effectiveness. Also, it saves you the hassle of replacing the seats every few occasions. High quality is desirable in anything you buy, and it is high quality that will ensure the durability of your kayak seats.

Especially if you are an avid boater, choose seats that provide padding that does not compress easily and material of fabric to be nylon. Warranty of seats, especially if you buy expensive ones, are essential as they hold the manufacturer accountable for any damage that may reduce the seat's life.


Setting a price range for making any purchase is wise, so you do not get overwhelmed by choices and end up with something you cannot afford. With all the options of kayak seats that swarm the market, it will not be very tricky to find the perfect seat that fits your budget.

Kayak seats range from $25 to as high as $250. But to get high quality, it is not essential that you have to buy the most expensive option. Do not, also, spend below $30-$35 as it will be low-grade material that will require frequent fix-ups and will not be worth it.

By doing your research and looking into reviews of all the options that you narrow down in your affordable range, you can end up with the perfect seat that is comfortable and provides adequate support and durability.

Type of Seat Foams

The type of padding that your seat offers will determine the price, stability, and support, comfort, and overall performance. You, thus, need to give serious consideration to the type of foam your kayak seats use to ensure that you have good quality lumbar support and durable performance.

  1. Gel

These seats are known for comfort and convenient positioning of the body. They are squishy and preferable among occasional paddlers. They are, however, not very durable and do not work well under extreme pressure and high speed. After only a few rides, the gel begins to crack, and it can be quite challenging to manage.

  1. Pressure Moulded Foam

If you are an avid paddler, this type of foam is the perfect option for you. It is exceptionally durable and resistant to most wear and tear. Even if you plan to go boating with your dog or use it very often, this type of foam is tough to compress and remains new and comfortable for very long.

Even though it is not very squishy and cushiony, this type of foam makes up for it in other aspects like spine alignment for back issues and enhanced posture for increased performance. The trade-off for plush comfort is immense back support.

  1. Thermo Moulded

These types of foam are also known to provide comfortable back support as they are molded according to your back curvature. They are relatively more comfortable in cushioning as compared to pressure molded foam and provide equivalent back support. Thus, they are quite sought after.


Kayaking means that water is an essential part of it. So, your seat must not allow water penetration as that will ruin the seat cushioning and overall durability of the seat. If the fabric used is not naturally water repellant, waterproof coatings are often used.

Along with waterproofing, the seats should have water grooving stations that don't allow water to accumulate. Instead, it keeps it flowing for your convenience. All waterproofing features are, thus, essential considerations that need to be kept in mind to make a sound decision about kayak seats.

Adjustable Strap

Straps that come with the seats provide you with support and stability. However, they must come with adjusters so that the balance does not compromise mobility required for smooth paddling. Adjustable straps allow you to be secured to the chair while being comfortable enough to shift positions while remaining secure and safe.

Adjustable straps allow for kayak seats to be compatible with almost every kayak boat. They are essential for in-water safety and support to prevent injuries. They are crucial to make your fit on the chair comfortable as well as entirely secure.

Your Body Type

A significant consideration when purchasing kayak seats is your body type and build. Depending on your body structure, certain aspects of a standard-sized chair may not be the best choice. You must take your measurements sitting down to ensure that you end up with the most comfortably sized chair you could find.

If you are taller, you would require a more extended backrest for adequate support. If you are bulky, a wider backrest is ideal. The increase in dimensions according to your body shape and structure, will enable you to be more comfortable and secure in the chair.

The type of materials also plays a critical role in selection. The type of foam will make a huge difference depending on your weight and paddling style combined. The seat base should be wide enough to be comfortable and allow your back to be aligned to the backrest. Opt for extra padding, preferably made of thermo-molded foam, if you are heavy.

Boat Type

The type of kayak you own should be compatible with the kayak seats that you purchase. Ensure that you take accurate measurements of the seating area's dimensions so that you are not stuck with an ill-fitting seat. The type of boating should also be factored in a while, making a decision.


Some chairs offer storage space within the seats. This might prove extremely useful if you have extra equipment that your kayak does not allow much space for. Especially for fishers, extra storage in the speed can provide for a convenient room for fishing gear.

Mostly, all high backed seats have extra storage options in seats. Even if not for equipment, additional space can be used to accommodate food baskets for a long day of boating, extra pairs of clothing, or shoes that could come in handy, first aid kits, etc.

The storage space should be easy to secure, especially if you choose to lock in food or electronic gadgets. Waves may gush into it and spoil your belongings if the securing of such storages is not tightly sealed and preferable waterproof.


Your kayak seats are an investment that you wish would get you your money's worth. In case you purchase an expensive seat, and the performance is not found to be satisfactory in aspects of durability, comfort, support, or material, you want the manufacturer to be held accountable. This marks the importance of a warranty.

A guarantee and warranty also indicate that the company believes in the quality of the product, and it is a safe bet to purchase it. It is a good sign if your kayak seats have warranties or guarantees so you can be spared of additional expenses if the product does not fair well.


It is essential that factor in the use of your kayak – if you plan to paddle in rough waters or smoothly sail in calm water, if you are looking to go fishings or continuous rowing, and if you are planning to use the kayak for other recreational water sports. These will help you prioritize the needs you want in your kayak seats.

If you are planning to fish, you would want a seat that is comfortable for idle sitting and angling. Paddlers may prefer mobility-enabling seats that are durable against wear and tear and not very plush.

The climate being warm or relatively cold will also help you decide which type of material you want, its moisture-wicking capabilities, etc.


Last but not least, the breathability of the material of the seat is essential for comfort. If your seat is made of nylon, ventilation is at its lowest, and moisture is not wicked. Especially if you plan to go kayaking in summers, ventilation in your kayak seats is essential.

The polyester material is widely popular because of its breathability and ventilation. However, do not compromise ventilation for waterproofing. Breathable material coated with waterproofing is your best bet.


1. How to clean your kayak seat?

Its cleaning is the easiest of all, all you need is a soft brush to clean the seat using a little lukewarm water and detergent. For rigid stains, don't ever use bleach, you can go for putting a little vinegar and water to clean the stains.

2. What is the process of removing and storing the kayak seat?

A kayak seat can be removed after your successful kayaking trip. All you need to do is keep it in a dust-free environment or bag for an extended life span. Moreover, do ensure that there are no water droplets on it as it will cause the seat to wear out eventually.

3. What is the function of a mesh panel on a kayak seat?

A mesh panel is extremely important to help in quick drying up of the seat. Not only this, but it also keeps the back support breathable, which is a good thing in a kayak seat.

4. What is the right way to attach a seat to my kayak?

While some companies have a definitive process to follow, others have kept it easier for the customers. You just need to unhook the previous seat and add your new one. The best part is that the entire process takes less than 10 minutes.

Final Verdict

Whether you are kayaking for fun or going on a fishing expedition, a comfortable seat always comes in handy to provide proper support to your body. All you need is to select the best option for your kayak.

In this guide, you will get all the essential pointers that will aid you in funneling down the best product. Invest your money in the ultimate seat and take advantage of its long life and comfortable material. / - © Copyright 2020