How Do I Choose A Kayak Seat?

How Do I Choose A Kayak Seat FI

Kayak Seat:

You might be wondering if you really need a kayak seat.

Let me tell you something:

Yes, you do. There are a lot of benefits that you can get from using one.

Whether you have sit-inside kayaks or sit-on-top kayaks, you need a good kayak seat for back support. Whether you’re sea kayaking or whitewater kayaking, it may well help you last on the water a whole lot longer.

There’s no doubt about the need for a comfortable kayak seat.

But the real question is…

How Do I Choose A Kayak Seat? Decision-making on this is made really hard by the variety you can find on the market.

There are inflatable kayak seats, a padded kayak seat, etc. Or deluxe kayak seats with four adjustable straps. And lots more.

Online reviews about the best kayak seats on the market are really helpful. You’ll find out which seats have the features that you need. Or which ones offer more benefits than what you’ll pay for.

In this article…

We’ll tear apart each factor that you need to consider when choosing the right kayak seat for you. We’ll also tick off what makes a supportive kayak seat.

Boats steady?

Then paddle on…

How Do I Choose the Best Kayak Seat?

In order to last on the water longer, you’ll need a comfortable seat to keep you company. But it’s more than just looking for a padded seat with back support.

These are the aspects that you need to look into:

  • Size of your kayak

Measure your original seat, or your cockpit if you have a sit-in kayak. You don’t want an overcrowding kayak seat or one that’s too small. Both won’t give you the maximum comfort.

For example:

I have nothing against the Pactrade Marine seat but their sizes usually don’t fit in sit-in kayaks. To prevent yourself from 

  • Style of your kayak

They may look alike…

But different kayak types have different styles. A fishing kayak has so many features that aren’t present in a sit-on-top kayak. Well, that one’s an obvious example but you get it…

There are kayak seats that are custom-made for a specific type of kayak. Such as the Sea Eagle Deluxe inflatable kayak seat. It’s specifically made for inflatable kayaks.

But if you can’t find your boat’s soulmate…

… no worries! Most kayak seats on the market have adjustable straps. They’re easy to install especially if your kayak already has eyelets.

  • Your body type

We’re not judging, but – not all of us are lean. And we may go paddling a lot but sometimes we eat a lot too. Whatever’s your body type – or your appetite – you do you.

But this I must say:

Fitting your kayak seat to your body type is just as important as fitting it to your boat.

  • Materials

There are materials that are most commonly used by manufacturers in making these kayak seats.

For the exterior:

It’s either neoprene fabric or polyester. 

Neoprene fabric is flexible and weather-resistant. It’s also durable and doesn’t get damaged easily by abrasive surfaces. But it’s not water-resistant.

Unlike polyester, neoprene fabric is usually used for the entire kayak seat.

On the other hand, polyester is a water-resistant material. It prevents your foam from getting soaked. Plus, it can withstand any climate.

As for the interior padding:

We have either EVA or pressure molded foam.

EVA foam is more lightweight and durable. It also isn’t as water-absorbent as other types of padding.

While molded foam is vulnerable to high temperatures. It’s cheaper, though. And another advantage is that it’s pressurized so it doesn’t compress. So if you’re not planning on paddling under heat, this material should be fine for you.

There are other brands, like the Skwoosh Expedition kayak seat, that have nylon gel seat padding. Gel seats are paired with non-slip material to keep you stable so you don’t have to worry about that.

In short…

It’s your choice. Consider the overall environment of the site where you go on kayaking. 

  • Supportive kayak seats

Kayak seats differ in dimensions, especially the height of the backrest. The higher the seat, the better. At least for me, that is.

But what’s really better…

There are kayak seats made for maximum lumbar support. It’s not just extra padding. The shape and the design of the seat are made to add protection to your lower back and it works wonders.

  • Comfortable kayak seats

Thicker padding may sound like the best solution for this but that’s not always true. Foam can get soaked up and that’s a major inconvenience even when you’re already out on the water anyway.

But aside from that…

Portability is a factor of comfort. In this area, an inflatable kayak seat towers over the rest. If you want something carried easily and don’t mind that it’s not as durable as the other, this one’s for you.

  • Features

The best kayak seats on the market naturally have the padding, the lumbar support, the backrest, and even the affordable price. That’s so last season for them.

So what’s the competition?

Additional features are the game-changers in this industry.

If you’re looking for the best value for your buck, look for seats with adjustable straps like the Ocean kayak comfort plus deluxe seat.

Or additional storage that sometimes comes in a detachable backpack like the Pactrade Marine adjustable padded deluxe kayak seat. It may also be in the form of a rear-mounted bungee net. These are very convenient for kayak anglers.

Other seats even offer a fishing rod holder, if you need to accommodate your fishing gear. If you’re bringing drinks, Skwoosh has insulated water bottle holders.

There’s a lot to choose from and they upgrade all the time.

  • Budget

Important note:

Don’t judge a seat by its price. Not all the expensive ones are the best and not all the cheap ones are the worst. This is actually what makes deciding really hard. So when in doubt – just ask!

There are a bunch of top kayak seat reviews online. Just read up, find out what best suits your needs – and budget – then go for it!

Just watch out!

You might be too enamored by the elastomer gel-filled padding and mesh bungee pouch that you’d read in the description. You might be buying more than you need.

Yes, they’re all quite useful. But they serve specific purposes. 

For example, what do you need a detachable waterproof bag for if you don’t bring electronics with you when you go paddling?

What features should I look for in a kayak seat?

We have to talk about this because…

I don’t want you to settle for the basic kayak seats. You’ll find them cheap, which is good. But if you’re already decided on buying a kayak seat, go for the best ones!

These are what you can find in most of the deluxe seats on the market:

  • Back rest

Back support is the main point of a seat. One of the bests in this area is the Ocean Kayak Comfort Deluxe kayak seat and its high backrest design. Especially for taller paddlers.

The reviews I’ve read about it made me expect a lot. In all fairness, they didn’t disappoint.


If you can go to the store personally, test it, and see for yourself what works best for you. I suggest that you watch your own back.

If you have problems with it, if it’s limiting your kayaking hours, then take time to test the back support of the seats that you can find.

  • Seat cushion

Take note:

The extra foam padding shouldn’t only be on the back rest. The seat pad has to have enough too. Your posterior can only survive so much pressure. The kayak seat should give it as much importance as your back.

Ocean’s Comfort Tech seat is specialized for this feature.

EVA foam is the most common on the market. It’s usually layered with PE plates. This combination 

  • Size

Most seat brands are available only in one size. It’s fine for sit-on-top kayaks. You’ll just have to adjust the straps to fit your body type.

But if you have a sit-in kayak, make sure to watch out for the size of the kayak seat before you buy it. Check the dimensions in the product description and measure out your kayak as well. Give it a little allowance too just to be sure that the seat could get through your cockpit opening.

  • Ventilation

This is one of the advantages of EVA foam padding. It has a built-in ventilation system to prevent your back from sweating. That adds to your back’s protection.


Posture is the number one thing. But back pain can also be prevented by keeping your back dry. A well-ventilated seat can help with that.

It doesn’t matter what kayak you use. If it’s a sit-inside kayak, then you need the ventilation to reduce your sweating. If it’s a sit-on-top kayak, then you’re definitely risking being soaked so you need this feature.

  • Durability

They say…

Your gear’s serviceable life depends on your maintenance of it. No offense to “They” – but I believe that it depends more on the durability of the product itself.

A durable seat doesn’t have to be expensive. There are cheap brands in the market that have padding, buckles, straps, and other features that can survive paddling wear and tear.


How Do I Choose A Kayak Seat

How Do I Choose A Kayak Seat

If I wasn’t crystal clear…

Your kayak’s seat is not enough. You need to upgrade it with a quality seat that will allow you to last longer out there on the water. 

A little additional support can add hours to your day.

If you already have one, I hope this article has helped you decide if you need a new kayak seat.


Is your kayak ready for a makeover?

Related: Best Kayak Seat – (2024)

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