Best Sit-on-Top Kayak Seat

Investing in a Kayak is a great way to spend time enjoying endless hours of fun. If you have purchased a Kayak I'm sure you will agree that they are a great idea, regardless of whether you are just starting out, or if you are at an advanced level. 

When you go kayaking you may find that your legs begin to go numb and you start experiencing pins and needles, ultimately taking the fun out of the experience. As soon as you start experiencing these issues you find that you are no longer enjoying exploring and paddling. 

Instead, your attention diverts to the discomfort of seating pains as well as leg numbness and lower back pains. Without the correct kayak seat, you may be unable to paddle as efficiently. 

Thankfully, you can purchase a kayak seat individually from your kayak.

Below, we have listed the best sit on top kayak seats available on the market today. Different types of seats are suitable for different kayaks and it is important that you purchase the right seat for you. 

The Top Five Best Sit on Kayak seats

We are focussing on the seats only and not the pads. All of these seats have straps to keep them in place while you are paddling. 

If you are uncertain as to whether any of the following seats are going to fit your kayak we would recommend you contact the manufacturer beforehand to confirm. An alternative option would be to visit your local paddling store. 

Below, we have reviewed our top picks of the best sit on top kayak seats. 

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Best Sit-on-Top Kayak Seat - Reviews

Our first pick is this seat from the brand Surf to Summit. The four straps have brass snap attachment clips that can be adjusted and clipped onto your kayak. Although this is primarily designed for sit on top kayaks, it will fit many sit-in kayaks too. 

At the rear, there is a useful built-in pack that can be used to store your essentials. 

This is the best pick for those who suffer from back pains as the thermoformed foam panels provide you with extra support and comfort. Even if you are sitting in the seat for long periods you are likely to experience maximum comfort whilst you are sat down. 

This seat is lightweight and has a tall back too for improved comfort.

This padded adjustable seat is suitable for the majority of sit on top kayaks. It is a good quality seat that is made from Neoprene and 600D Polyester.

This seat has four straps, two for the rear, and another two for the front. Each one has a copper hook which then clips onto the kayak. These straps are adjustable with a universal fit. 

The non - slip surface keeps you in place, even when you are paddling strongly. If you do find yourself confronted with a lot of water you do not need to worry about slipping around.

This is a lightweight seat that also comes with a detachable carry bag, which gives you extra space to store any kayak essentials or necessities.

This seat is suitable for a range of kayaks, although it is from the brand Ocean and is therefore suitable for ocean kayaks too.

This is a padded seat that has four adjustable straps to suit different preferences in regards to comfort. The seat is also UV protected which helps to protect it from any potential damage that can be caused by the sun. The logos are reflective too which is particularly useful in low light situations, as they help to make your kayak visible.

Weighing around 2 pounds this is a lightweight option for easy portability. 

There is also a ventilated system built into this seat which helps to prevent sweat build-up and it has been designed with a high back for improved comfort. 

This is an adjustable seat that has been designed using extra thick padding for comfort and the anti-slip bottom keeps the seat in a stable position when you are out on the water. If you plan on paddling for a while you may want to add more padding to the bottom. 

The seat is made from nylon and there are also four straps with clips that hold you in place whilst you are sat in the kayak. The contoured padded backrest provides reliable support and comfort.

This is a versatile seat that can be used in both kayaks and paddleboards, although if you do use one of these alternatives, you will need to ensure that there are fastenings to keep the seat in place. 

This seat also comes with a detachable zipped backpack which is super convenient and gives you extra room to store some additional gear. 

This is an adjustable kayak seat that also comes with four straps, this is great for personalizing the seat to cater to your own comfort. They can be tightened to suit your liking and body shape too. 

Made from Oxford cloth and foam this is a very good quality kayak seat that is going to provide you with great comfort and support.

This is a portable option that can be folded away easily when it isn’t being used. It is lightweight too which makes it much easier to carry around. It is supported and should fit on the majority of kayaks on the market. 

This seat is available in the color black and gray with marine grade solid brass snaps, which are super durable and unlikely to rust or corrode after contact with seawater. 

Best Sit-on-Top Kayak Seat - Buyers Guide

In this guide we aim to give you an understanding of the best sit-on-top kayak seats available on the market, highlighting each of the different features that make these products stand out from their competitors. 

What is a kayak seat and how do they work?

There are many different types of kayak seats available on the market and it is important to choose the one that is best suited to your needs and preferences. 

If you purchase a kayak with a seat included you are very likely to have one of the two following options. 

Your kayak will come with a single backrest, in some cases, you may receive padding to sit on too. These are typically shipped with kayaks in a lower price bracket. 

You will have a foldaway all in one padded seat. This type is going to protect your backside and the lumbar area of your back too. 

Users who invest in budget kayaks often find the seats uncomfortable and commonly complain of discomfort and pains that are caused by these seats. This can even occur when seated for short periods.

If you are happy with your kayak but are looking for extra comfort, then a good quality kayak seat is going to be very helpful. We would recommend you purchase some type of padding or cushion if you don't currently have any sort of seat in place, as this will give you a little more comfort. 

Of course, before choosing your seat you will need to ensure that your kayak has the attachments that are needed to correctly attach the straps of your seat. 

Will a sit-on-top kayak seat work with a sit-in kayak or a paddleboard?

Some sit-on-top seats can be very versatile and this type of seat is more likely to work with different types of kayaks and SUPs too. 

Although paddleboarding is predominantly a stand-up sport, it is nice to transform your board into a kayak if you want too. This isn't necessarily going to create the most durable or maneuverable kayak but it is likely to suit this intended purpose. 

If there are attachments near a seating area then you are likely to have some sort of luck in doing this. 

Do I need to upgrade my kayak seat, pad, or cushion?

It is worth upgrading your kayak seat if you find that you become uncomfortable quickly or if you do not feel in complete control of your kayak. Also, if you do currently have a seat in place that has poor quality padding then it is worth upgrading to one that is more comfortable, particularly if kayaking is something that you are going to be taking seriously. 

What to look for before upgrading your kayak seat

Before investing in your kayak seat, we would recommend you considering the following factors to ensure that it is suitable for your needs. 

Lumbar Support

If you are someone who enjoys spending a lot of time on the water a kayak seat with lumbar support is going to be important. This will help to take some of the pressure off your spine when you are sat down, just like an office chair or car seat with lumbar support would. Likely, It is also going to make your experience whilst kayaking much more enjoyable. 

This is also going to be hugely beneficial for those who suffer from back pains in particular. By helping you to sit in a more natural position for the duration of your time in the kayak, this can help to prevent the occurrence of further back pains. 

Breathability

A breathable seat is going to remain relatively dry or dry quickly when you're out on the water. This is because breathable materials allow the water to drain right through it, for example, mesh is an effective breathable material. 

A seat made with breathable fabric is going to provide you with more comfort if you are fishing or using a sit on top kayak which is going to be exposed to splashes from the water, as you aren't going to find yourself sitting on a wet seat. 

The Use

It is necessary to consider how you will be using your seat before upgrading. Do you want a seat with a rigid frame that enables you to sit higher on your deck for fishing? Maybe you're more likely to be in a sit-inside kayak and therefore you will want a low profile seat.

Regardless of the length of time that you intend on spending on the water, preferably you will want a seat that can be adjusted to suit your paddling style. An adjustable seat is also a good choice for fishing as this enables you to adjust the seat to the most suitable and comfortable position. 

Some people may choose to modify their vessels by creating their own seats. For example, this may be using a seat from another boat. 

The size and compatibility

It is useful to know the measurements of your kayak so that you are aware of what is going to fit before choosing your seat. The size of the seat can also be a good indication as to how comfortable it is going to be. For example, you may not find a narrow seat to be very comfortable. However, a wide seat may be too big to fit into your kayak. 

It is worth double checking the size of your kayak to ensure that you purchase one that is the right size because otherwise, you may end up investing your money into one that is too big or too small. 

Cost

You will find that different kayaks retail for different prices too, this may impact the one that you end up purchasing as they can retail within different price ranges, some being a little more expensive than others. 

How can I make my Kayak seat more comfortable?

Making your kayak seat more comfortable is quite easy and can be done by simply adding extra padding. There are various products available for kayaks that are intended to make your experience more comfortable. These include foam seat pads or even custom foam seat pads which you can make yourself. 

Adding a foam or gel seat pad under the top of your seat can be helpful if you are going to be sitting for a long time. It is necessary to check that your seat is waterproof because one that isn't is going to absorb water leaving you sitting in a wet seat, which can make you feel uncomfortable, particularly if you are sat for a lengthy amount of time.

If your existing seat doesn't have a back you could possibly add one and attach it with straps, secured to the D rings on your vessel.

Seats that are comfortable for fishing

When it comes to fishing, you will need to consider the comfort of your seat when you're sitting, relaxing, or waiting for the fish to bite. Paddling to your fishing hole will also need to be comfortable too. 

Raised seats can give you a better viewpoint and you may find this useful for fishing. Seats for fishing kayaks tend to have sturdier frames than a recreational seat does. 

Some seats will feature mesh backs and bottoms. This makes it easier to drain the water, whilst also making it more comfortable as you do not have to sit on a wet seat for your duration of time on the water. 

Swivel Seats

Swivel seats can make getting in and out of your kayak or canoe much easier, and it can also make paddling easier too. With some boat seats, you will be able to add a swivel mount which will transform your kayak seat into one that is much more convenient and can rotate to whatever direction you choose. 

To add a swivel seat to your kayak you will need to install a mounting base first. This should sit across your vessel perpendicular to the sides.

The base can add stability and distribute the weight and should ideally be purpose-built or made using a flat piece of wood. This is particularly useful for swiveling.

The base is also going to give you a platform that is slightly elevated and this will make it easier to install the mount and seat. 

Once the swivel seat has been mounted, you should find that you can swivel to 360 degrees. This makes it much easier and more convenient to move around when you are on the water. It is particularly useful for fishing or when you need to grab some gear from behind your seat.