While kayaks come in a huge range of shapes and sizes, they all have one factor in common; you have to sit in or on them. This makes the kayak seat arguably one of the most critical parts of the kayak. Its design and fit are responsible for the vast majority of your comfort and maneuverability while you are in your kayak.
With this in mind, it's not surprising that there are a multitude of kayak seats available, in a range of different styles and offering a variety of different fits. Picking the perfect one for you can get a little difficult if you don't know what to look for, so to help out we've put together a buying guide to give you all the information you'll need to make the right choice, and reviews of some of the best seats on the market!
Quick glance at the best kayak seats available in 2019:
Saturn Deluxe Molded Foam Kayak Seat - Editors Choice
Kayak Seat Buying Guide
Types of Kayak Seats
Kayak seats come in a range of styles, offering everything from a mild improvement in comfort to increased storage and mobility depending on their design. Before picking a kayak seat, it's advisable to have some idea of what the different designs of kayak offer and if they are suitable for your boat. To help out, we've listed the most common forms of kayak seats and an overview of the benefits they offer.
Basic seats are often padded cushions that sit in or on your kayak to provide you with extra comfort. If you are plan to go on longer paddling journeys or are just having trouble getting comfortable in your cockpit, the extra padding of a basic seat might be all you’ll need to avoid any aches and pains when you are out on the water.
A step up from the basic seat, the term "deluxe seat" is often used to describe kayaking seats that have a more substantial amount of padding than a basic seat and offer additional back support. If you are having trouble with back pains while paddling or find you are not secure enough in your cockpit, a deluxe seat might solve your problems. Before purchasing a deluxe seat, though, make sure it is compatible with your kayak. Depending on the height of the backrest, some deluxe seats will not fit correctly on a sit-on kayak.
High Back Seat
High back seats are often used by anglers, as they provide better support if you are sitting still for an extended period, and has a better position to cast from. Exceptionally tall paddlers may also find that they get better back support and cockpit fit from a high backed seat. As with the deluxe seat, it is always best to make sure your kayak is compatible with the high back seat before purchasing one.
Inflatable kayaks definitely win in convenience when it comes to kayaking. Easy to store, easy to move, and contrary to popular belief, easy to handle in the water. One of the few complaints about inflatable kayaks is that they don’t offer the support and comfort of a proper kayak seat. Thankfully, there is now a range of inflatable kayak seats on the market so you can enjoy the convenience of an inflatable kayak without sacrificing your comfort.
What to Look for in a Kayak Seat
Before you head out to buy a new kayak seat, it's always a good idea to consider what you will need from that seat. If you have a good idea of what are looking for (extra comfort, extra stability, more storage), it's far more likely that you be able to find the kayak seat that does precisely what you want. To make things clearer, we've listed the most common benefits of getting a kayak seat.
Added comfort is ideal for touring, fishing, and recreational kayakers who want to spend a significant amount of time out on the water without any discomfort. While a recreational kayaker might be fine with the added padding of a basic seat, fishing and touring kayakers will benefit from the added back support of a deluxe or high back seat.
The stability of your seat and cockpit position is essential in kayaking activities where you use the torsion of your lower body to maneuver your kayak, such as whitewater kayaking. By adding to the stability of the kayaker’s cockpit, deluxe and high back seats let the kayaker edge the kayak into tighter turns with greater ease.
Extra storage is particularly crucial to kayak anglers, as having extra storage space on their seat allows them to keep more of their fishing gear within easy reach. Extra storage compartments are most often seen on high backed kayak seats since they have the most additional room for storage to be added.
Best Kayak Seat Reviews
The Saturn Deluxe molded foam kayak seat is our choice for best kayak seat because it is versatile, durable, and ticks all the boxes in terms of comfort, stability, and extra storage. The best thing about the Saturn is that its benefits apply to nearly all types of kayaking! It offers the comfort and back support needed by touring and recreation kayakers, the extra storage for kayak anglers, and the added stability prized for whitewater kayakers.
The updated model now comes with a detachable cushion to lift the seat higher, which is ideal for smaller kayakers. It also comes with rigid, ergonomically sculpted 18-inch tall back support to help combat back pain on longer paddles. The extra padding on the back and rear of the Saturn help to both keep it comfortable and increase the kayaker’s cockpit stability, making it ideal for taller whitewater kayakers.
For kayak anglers, the Saturn comes with a sizeable detachable zipper pack with two substantial plastic fishing rod holders incorporated into it. Built to keep your fishing rods securely in place, these rigid rod holders have velcro fastening straps to give you the peace of mind that your rods will stay safe no matter how bumpy the river gets.
The Saturn Deluxe molded foam kayak seat is an excellent all-rounder choice, offering a variation of tangible benefits that apply to a range of kayaks and kayaking activities. It provides increased comfort, stability, storage, and is ideal for a ‘yaker with a variety of different kayaks or just a desire to try out all the available kayaking experiences.
The Surf to Summit Outfitter kayak seat is designed with durability and comfort in mind. The foam padding in the base and seat is compression-molded under 60 tons of pressure and baked at 400 degrees. This process permanently bonds the fabric to the foam and ensures the seat lasts considerably longer than similar seats made using a "cut and sewn" method.
The Surf to Summit Outfitter is reasonably basic in its design, with no added storage and little in the way of extended back support. It does, however, offer a significant boost to the comfort and stability of most sit-on kayak models, making it ideal for recreational kayakers who want to spend more time out on the water.
If you are looking for a simple kayaking seat that is going to add to the comfort of your recreational kayaking experience,while also increasing the stability of your seating position, then the Surf to Summit Outfitter is an excellent choice. If you are looking for more features, such as extra storage, then you might need to look elsewhere.
The Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus is a fantastic seat for touring and taller kayakers looking for extra back support. Made of durable, UV resistant nylon, the Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus has a four-way adjustment system that allows it to adapt to almost any body shape, providing you with excellent upper back support and a noticeable increase in stability and comfort.
The Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus only has one major drawback, though; it is explicitly designed to fit Ocean Kayak model kayaks only. While this obviously isn't a problem if you own an Ocean Kayak, this could prove to be a concern if you own another brand of kayak. You might want to check that its fitting system matches up to the one available on your kayak before you purchase it.
If your primary reason for buying a kayak seat is to get extra back support, then the Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus is ideal. With the four-way adjustable fit and excellent support for your upper back, the Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus will allow you to spend the whole day out on the water without risking any back pain. The main downfall is that it’s specifically made to fit Ocean Kayak kayaks. Double check it fits your kayak before buying it.
One of the main issues with fitting a more comfortable seat into an inflatable kayak is that their rigid components run the risk of damaging the kayak’s hull. Their non-inflatable nature means that they cut down on the easy-to-store and easy-to-move nature of inflatable kayaks, which is one of their main draws.
The Sea Eagle Deluxe Inflatable kayak seat solves all of those issues. It offers excellent back support, significantly increases comfort, and packs away just as quickly and neatly as an inflatable kayak. Allowing you to sit 5 inches off the floor with 14 inches of back support, the Sea Eagle Deluxe Inflatable kayak seat also comes with a small storage pouch on the rear of the seat. Once you're done being out on the water for the day, the Sea Eagle Deluxe Inflatable kayak seat easily detaches from your kayak and, due to its size and depth, can be used as a standard inflatable seat, ideal for kayak camping!
The Sea Eagle Deluxe Inflatable kayak seat is ideal for combining the convenience of an inflatable kayak with the added stability and comfort of a kayaking seat, something that isn't feasible with standard kayaking seats. While it can be used as a chair outside of the kayak, it doesn’t sit well with rigid kayaks and works best with inflatable kayaks.
The Pactrade Marine adjustable padded deluxe kayak seat is designed to take everything the water can throw at it without tearing, degrading, or fading. Made of durable 600D polyester and neoprene, which are both resistant to tears and punctures, the Pactrade seat uses multiple padded EVA foam cells to keep your seat and lower back comfortable.
As an added extra, the Pactrade Marine seat has a detachable backpack attached to the rear of the seat. While this does make it easier to access important kayaking gear and is a convenient way to carry gear around outside the boat, the backpack is only accessible if the seat is mounted on a sit-on kayak.
Beyond its durability, the Pactrade is relatively basic, offering adjustable back support with additional stability provided by its four secured mounting straps and making sure you stay stable with its non-slip surface.
The Pactrade Marine adjustable padded deluxe kayak seat is ideal if you are looking for an adjustable, comfortable, and supportive kayak seat for your sit-on kayak. The addition of a detachable backpack makes storage easier, especially in smaller kayaks, and can be used to store kayaking gear on land. Its main downfall is that the backpack is only accessible with sit-on kayaks, leaving it unavailable for you to use with sit-in kayaks.
The Skwoosh Expedition kayak seat is an excellent seat for those looking to getting a little more comfort and a lot more back support on longer kayak expeditions. The seat cushion is made of 1 inch thick waterproof gel, so you don’t have to worry about it absorbing any water that creeps over the side. The reinforced back of the seat has two plastic battens to keep it as solid as possible and, at 20 inches tall, supports both your upper and lower back. The seat attaches to your kayak with four swivel clips that have been treated to be corrosion resistant.
The Skwoosh Expedition kayak seat also comes with a few additional features, such as a rear mounted bungee net to stow your gear and two built-in insulated water bottle holders. It should be noted that while it is possible to fit the Skwoosh Expedition kayak seat into a sit-in kayak, the rear netting and bottle holders can only be accessed if it’s mounted on a sit-on kayak.
The Skwoosh Expedition kayak seat is ideal for those paddlers who are looking to take a sit-on kayak on a longer expedition, but want consistent back support and comfort on their trip. The waterproof gel seat cushion, with its batten reinforced high back, will keep you comfortable and stable on the longest paddles. The built-in bottle holders and storage netting on the rear of the seat make it easy to access water and vital kit, however, they’re inaccessible in sit-in kayaks.
Our Pick - Saturn Deluxe Molded Foam Kayak Seat
The Saturn Deluxe molded foam kayak seat is our choice for best kayak seat as it combines comfort, durability, support, and additional storage in a manner that no other seat on this list does. Other kayak seats might be better suited to certain types of kayaking or kayaks, such as the Ralvox Premium kayak seat for whitewater kayaking, or the Sea Eagle Deluxe Inflatable Kayak Seat for an inflatable kayak, but the Saturn Deluxe is a fantastic all-around seat that can make any kayak significantly more comfortable. It’s adjustable to make smaller kayakers feel just as comfortable as taller paddlers. The extra storage zipper pack with rod holders is great for anglers, while its increase in stability does wonders for whitewater kayakers. Overall, it’s easy to see why The Saturn Deluxe is our winner!
Let us know about your favorite kayak seat in the comments below!