Is there anything better than being able to head out onto the open water and paddle your cares away? There is something very freeing about pitting yourself against the relentless force of a river or the sea. It is great exercise and an excellent way to de-stress.
It is a great way to be at one with nature, but, unfortunately, also pretty hard on the butt. Kayaks are highly practical craft, but they are not really built for comfort. And, if you decide to take the sport seriously, this could become an issue for you.
Remember hours spent on the hard school bench and your bum going numb? Now imagine riding that same bench while it is on top of a bucking bronco. Kayaking is not all that different.
You might sit for hours on a hard “bench.” OR you might end up being tossed around by tumultuous water on the same hard “bench.” Either way, it can be hell on your rear-end.
Kayak seats or cushions will do a lot to soften the blow. You get to spend longer kayaking on the water, without having to worry about your paddle becoming a pain in the butt.
There are a lot of options out there – some good, others no better than sitting on a piece of cardboard. In this post, we go through our top picks for the best kayak seats, cushions and pads.
What Are the Best Kayak Seats & Cushions
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Who says that kayaking has to be an uncomfortable? The best kayak seats have extra padding to make it extremely comfortable and to provide the optimal amount of support for you. If you are looking for the most comfortable kayak seat, this option should make it to the top of your list.
It is also durable and is made out of nylon cloth that will not fade easily in the sun. The fabric has reinforced stays to ensure that it doesn’t rip apart easily, no matter how much punishment you give it. The four-way adjustability means that every body type is catered for.
It clips to your kayak easily and quickly and is held secure by brass clips augmented with springs made of stainless steel. This is a model that has been built to last.
The logos glow in the dark if they have been exposed to the sun during the day, making you more visible in the twilight and dark hours.
- Luxuriously padded to keep you comfortable even on longer trips
- Fade-proof fabric
- Made to last and rip-resistant nylon material
- Fabric not damaged by water – fresh water or salt water
- Dries out quickly
- Stays have been reinforced to help improve their durability
- Clips in easily and can be removed just as easily
- Brass clips ensure that the seat is held in place
- Strong stainless-steel springs help to ensure the perfect fit no matter what type of kayak
- Can be adjusted to fit just about anyone’s body type
- The logos are reflective and glow in the dark, improving how well you can be seen.
This is an excellent kayak seat upgrade that can be fitted to most models. It has a total of four straps to ensure that you get the ultimate in adjustability. This model is for those looking for more than just a simple kayak cushion and looking for a better experience overall.
It has been designed with the contours of the body in mind and will fit them well. The shaping provides extra padding where you need it most and ensures that both your butt and your back are comfortable.
You get to spend more time out on the water without having to worry about a sore back or butt without worrying that the kayak seat is going to get in the way or weigh you down. Choose this option and you will be out on the water in style and comfort.
- Comes in three stylish colors – Plain Black, Black/ Gray or Gray, piped with Black. Choose the one that suits you best.
- Conforms to the contours of the human body perfectly
- The connecting snaps are made of brass that is marine grade. There is no need to worry about these snapping unexpectedly or rusting over time.
- There are two straps in the front and another two in the back so that you can customize this sit in kayak seat to exactly fit your kayak.
- The webbing is completely adjustable
- Made from durable fabric that will resist fading over time
- Just enough foam to create that extra bit of comfort, without adding too much bulk or weight overall.
These are the perfect sit on top kayak seats to add hours of enjoyment and make longer trips just as comfortable as short jaunts. You no longer have any excuses about not tackling long distance kayaking so you had better start putting your back into it.
The straps are made of durable, fade-resistant nylon with reinforced stays that will take a lot of wear and tear. They can be adjusted four ways to make sure that you get the best possible fit. Your body will stay perfectly upright and comfortable.
Everything about this design speaks to maximum utility and durability. From the reinforced stays to the clips made from solid brass and the springs made from stainless-steel. It will maintain its shape for many seasons and provides additional comfort where you need it most.
These kayak seats are designed for the sit-on-top models from Ocean Kayak. It features luxurious padding, ventilation system to help keep you cooler and a back seat with extra height to provide even more support. The logos are highly reflective, making sure that you are easy to see by others on the water.
There is a caveat here, though. If you have back problems, this is not the best kayak seat for you to use.
- Plenty of padding
- Well-ventilated to keep you as comfortable as possible
- Logos are reflective
- The back is higher than standard to give extra support
- Fade-resistant, durable nylon with reinforced stays
- Four ways to adjust the mounting straps means complete comfort
- Durable brass fixtures and stainless-steel springs
This kayak seat cushion is completely adjustable and features a detachable bag or back pack behind the seat. This useful feature gives you a place to store your lunch, juice, etc.
It will fit most canoes and kayaks with a sit-on-top design. It is recommended that you check the dimensions of the seat first to make sure it will fit your model.
The seat is padded with soft and durable EVA foam with a PE plate to make kayaking a lot more comfortable, even over a longer distance.
The covering and straps are made from 600D polyester that is fade- and tear-resistant. This fabric ensures that it will last well for several seasons.
The backrest is comfortable, and offers firm support – perfect if you want to be able to really work out hard. The seats are non-slip even in the wettest conditions.
We like the look of the seat – the design is stylish and contemporary. If we had to nitpick, though, we did wonder why there was no reflective logo or anything that would make the user more visible to others on the water. Still, that is a minor niggle, not a major problem.
- Easy to adjust the straps on both the front and back. It will fit a range of sit-on-top design models.
- The seat is comfortable and padded. It is non-slip meaning that you can always maintain the optimal position.
- The detachable back pack is a nice detail that comes in extremely handy.
- Made of high-quality materials to ensure the maximum useful lifespan.
If you are interested in a more permanent solution, this is the best option. The manufacturers have made things as simple as possible for you. All you have to do is to remove the adhesive backing and secure it in place.
You don’t have to worry about getting the right glue, foam or sanding anything. This seat is perfect for use in sea or whitewater kayaks. It is recommended that you check out the position without removing the backing to determine where the optimal spot to place it is.
This seat helps to provide comfort and support in the roughest of water conditions. It helps keep you maintain a posture that maximizes your ability to engage and brace your thighs. If you are more likely to paddle in calmer waters, choose the “Mild” option for more comfort.
The foam is sturdy and has been molded into place using heat. It also looks pretty cool – it has a design that features flames. We know that this does not make any difference in terms of performance but it looks awesome.
This is a great solution if you need your seat to be able to absorb as much shock as possible.
- Lycra foam laminate
- Easy to install. Peel off the backing and adhere it in the cockpit
- Will be a permanent addition
- Excellent support for difficult water conditions
- Durable and molded using heat
- There is a softer, more comfortable version available for less trying water conditions
- Helps you maintain optimal posture and balance
- Made in the United States
These are not full kayak seats at all, but rather a cushion to help keep your butt more comfortable. It differs from the other models in that it has no back but is literally just a cushion. What makes it unique is that it offers a gel-filled product, rather than simply foam.
This increases the comfort of those using it a good few times over and will give you a lot more cushioning than you would expect considering how thin it seems. The manufacturers have achieved the perfect balance between utility and comfort.
It will not throw off your center of gravity but gives the support you need.
The bottom features a none-skid surface and there are loops at the back and front to allow this to be secured perfectly. Users describe it as having the same support as dense foam and as having a durable nylon cover.
It is advisable to check the measurements before ordering as it is not the widest option on the market. Those with a bigger butt might not feel that it offers enough support.
On the downside, if the seat does get wet, it is going to stay that way for the duration of your paddle. However, once it is allowed to air again, it will dry out pretty fast.
- Gel-filled for better comfort.
- Will not throw off your center of gravity.
- Fits most kayaks.
- Easy to secure.
- Dries out very well.
- Cover is high-quality spandex that is tear- and fade-resistant
- The underside is designed to be non-slip, further ensuring that your butt stays in the right position.
If you love the YakPads saddle cushion but also want more support for your back, this could be the right option for you. This seat features the same gel-filled comfort that you have grown to expect but also has a back rest that is easy to attach to your frame with snap buckles.
The manufacturers recommend that you use the high backrest if you have a recreational kayak. They recommend the low backrest if you have a touring kayak.
What sets this model apart is that it is thinner than many other options on the market, while still offering an optimal level of support.
The seat features a non-slip bottom and three fasteners to keep it in place. It will provide comfort for a good few hours but don’t expect miracles here. It probably will not be enough if you are going to spend the whole day on the water.
We do recommend that you check the measurements properly before ordering one of these – they do not fit all models.
- Gel-infused seat for extra comfort without added bulk
- There are straps to secure the backrest to the kayak in addition to the standard fasteners for the saddle
- Durable construction
- Non-slip bottom
- Easy to keep the saddle secure
- Dries fast when aired out
- High-quality spandex cover is fade- and tear-resistant
- The backrest is made of the same gel-infused material
- The fabric that joins the back rest to the saddle is a durable mesh that will take a lot of abuse.
This model looks very different to the ones that we have reviewed up to this point. It is designed for Dragon boat paddlers and has gel pads in the optimal location for relieving the pressure points of the bones.
At half an inch thick, it doesn’t look like much, but it is designed this way to maximize pressure relief without significantly impacting your core of gravity.
These allow you to paddle with greater ease and with greater efficiency. You do not have to worry about the pad shifting because it has a non-slip bottom. It is fully waterproof and will float if it does end up in the water.
The carry loop makes the cushion easy to carry when not in use. Featuring quality craftmanship from the USA, this carries the certification of the International Dragon Boat Federation. It is competition-ready and will help you get the most out of every performance.
- Lightweight. At just seven ounces, it is not going to weigh you down during a competition.
- The gel used in the pad is highly effective at reducing pressure and helping you to maintain a comfortable position for a lot longer. You will be able to row without changing position too often, making your movements a lot more efficient.
- Put it in position and go, there is no need to tape it down or secure it in anyway thanks to the slide-proof bottom.
- The cover is completely waterproof and highly durable.
- Made in the United States.
This is a good option for those who are on a tighter budget. It looks pretty high tech and features a contoured design and massage points. These are designed to reduce the pressure placed on your rear and ensure that you can row for longer in comfort.
This is light-weight and will fit in most models of kayak. To be on the safe side, check the measurements before buying it. The cushioning is provided by EVA foam with a total thickness of 0.71 inches.
It is not going to offer perfect support for those long all-day trips, but it will cushion your butt and help to absorb some of the impact of the paddles hitting the water.
It weighs just over four ounces, making it useful without adding too much weight.
We would have liked to see straps that allowed you to attach it to the seat. This model doesn’t have any way to secure it once on the water. That could be an issue if you are tackling rough water.
However, for the price, we would be willing to put up with this slight issue.
- Weighs 4.4 ounces
- The contoured design provides more targeted support
- It will work with most kayaks
- The massage points are great for pressure relief
- It is a little thinner than the other models we have looked at
- There is no way to secure it in the kayak but it does have an anti-skid bottom
- It is better for shorter haul trips
- If you are a heavier person, it may not provide adequate support
- It comes in at a really great price
If you are looking for a great balance between padding and weight control, this is a good option. It looks deceptively thin but wait until you try it out. The TekPad gel bladder inserts relieve pressure so that you can stay in one position for longer.
This allows you to paddle for longer periods of time without getting a sore butt. The advantage of the thinner cushion is that it won’t have much of an impact on your profile. The gel makes it highly effective at relieving pressure, though.
You can use it by itself or on top of a seat – it is your choice. If you are gearing up for a longer haul, this is a lightweight cushion that can easily be carried with your equipment.
A loop holds it in place securely and the anti-skid surface makes sure it won’t move/
The durable fabric will stand up well to both fresh and salt water and can be rinsed off or wiped down to keep it clean.
- Gel inserts are highly effective at relieving pressure
- The cushion is surprisingly thin and so won’t upset your center of gravity
- Can be used in conjunction with a seat if you prefer
- You can tie it down to secure it. In addition, it has a non-skid surface on the bottom to ensure it stays where it is supposed to.
- Durable and capable of withstanding a range of conditions and temperatures.
- Fabric is resistant to salt and fresh water.
- Low maintenance.
Best Kayak Seating
Key Takeaways for selecting the best kayak seat
There you have it – a range of options to make your next kayaking trip more comfortable. We made our selection based on effectiveness, comfort and overall utility. There are many other models available, but these will give you a good starting point.
We looked for established brands that had good ratings. When it comes to comfort here, only the best is good enough. A great cushion or seat will allow you to maximize your paddling experience. You get the best possible workout, and a more comfortable experience overall.
And, while some of these options come in at under an inch thick, it is amazing exactly how much of a difference they can make. All you need is a little bit of padding to get some really amazing results.