Best Kayak Seats for Back Support & Comfort

Suffering from back pain while kayaking? We’ve got you covered. These are the best kayak seats, offering unbeatable back support and comfort.

Best Kayak Seats

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Why trust us?

If you’ve ever experienced tingling feet, numb legs, or lower back pain while kayaking, you might want to take a look at your kayak seat. Rigid plastic is rarely comfortable, and even a padded seat can cause discomfort if it’s not the right shape for you.

Although you might think a padded kayak seat is a luxury accessory, paddling with an uncomfortable seat can be a real pain in the backside and limit your enjoyment.

We’ve reviewed the best kayak seats on the market. For more information, check out our buying advice.

Our Top Picks

If you’re in a hurry, here are our top picks. Or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews.

Best Overall: Surf to Summit GTS Expedition High Back Seat

Surf to Summit GTS Expedition High Back Seat

The best companion on an extended kayaking trip, the Surf to Summit GTS Expedition High Back Seat is our top pick.

Using its triangular strapping design, you can attach this model to almost any type of kayak. This system is simple to set up and stops the seat from slipping. Four clips attach to the deck of your kayak, and thanks to its six adjustment points, getting it in the perfect position is hassle-free.

That said, you will need to install durable d-rings to attach the seat if your kayak doesn’t have them.

This kayak seat is designed with comfort and quality in mind. It features a two-inch thick seat EVA foam cushion with channels that allow for drainage—no sitting in a soggy puddle while you paddle. Meanwhile, the 18-inch high molded backrest hugs the spine and offers an excellent balance of comfort and back support.

Moreover, the GTS Expedition has a durable 600 denier top layer throughout, making it tough enough to withstand scratches, scrapes, and the usual effects of weather. We also like that you can attach a gear storage pocket to the rear of the seatback, giving you a convenient place to store a water bottle and wind jacket.

There’s one drawback to this durable and comfortable kayak seat, and that’s its high price tag. That said, it’s one of the best kayak seats out there. So, if you struggle with back pain while kayaking or you’re looking for a super comfy ride, you might find it’s worth spending out on this top-of-the-range kayak seat.

Reasons to buy:

  • Comfortable foam padding
  • Contoured shape
  • Great back support
  • Allows water drainage
  • Fits most kayaks
  • Option to add a storage pocket (not included)

Reasons to avoid:

  • High price tag

Best Value: Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus

For anyone looking for a comfortable kayak seat that’s a little lighter on the wallet, the Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus doesn’t disappoint. This high-back padded seat offers plenty of back support and cushioning.

Like the GTS Expedition, this model attaches to most kayaks using four corrosion-resistant swivel-spring clips. Attaching or removing the seat between uses should only take a few seconds, so you won’t lose any time getting set up. Once attached, you can adjust the seat position using four sliders on the straps.

At 14.5 inches, the seatback isn’t quite as high as the GTS Expedition. However, it still provides sufficient back support, even for tall kayakers. The EPA foam padding also offers some extra comfort. However, you might prefer a kayak seat with thicker padding on the bottom on longer excursions.

Additionally, the entire seat is made with UV-resistant nylon fabric, so it won’t be affected by prolonged sun exposure as other models may be. This material is very durable but breathable, making paddling in hot weather more comfortable.

We also like that the Ocean Kayak logos on this model are reflective. Although that’s not necessary for the daytime, it’s a valuable feature for nighttime paddles and tunnel crossings.

Reasons to buy:

  • Great value for money
  • Quick to install
  • Adjustable
  • Features reflective strips

Reasons to avoid:

  •  The seat padding is somewhat thin 

Best Cushion Pad: Skwoosh Mesh Paddling Seat Cushion

Skwoosh Mesh Paddling Seat Cushion

Don’t need a high-backed kayak seat or extra back support? The Skwoosh Mesh Paddling Seat Cushion is a compact cushion that you can slip into any kayak.

Although this model doesn’t offer any back support, it’s designed to make you sit slightly higher up and relieve pressure on your bum. The cushion is made with a fluidized gel that responds to the shape of your body. Therefore it should help stop your feet from going to sleep while you’re out paddling.

Because this seat is low profile and features a non-skid bottom, you can put it directly onto your kayak’s plastic seat. And, as there are no straps to attach and adjust, you’ll be ready to get on the water in seconds.

If you own more than one kayak, this is probably the easiest seat to switch between them. It also has a folding design, making it simple to store and transport. Plus, it has waterproof outer fabric and welded seams. That’s a real bonus as it’s easy to wipe clean or air dry after use. There’s also less chance of mold or foul odors developing while you store it.

Reasons to buy:

  • Fits most kayaks
  • No straps or setup required
  • Fully waterproof
  • Fits to your body

Reasons to avoid:

  • Pricey (considering there’s no back support)

Best for Fishing: Skwoosh Big Catch Kayak Seat

Skwoosh Big Catch Kayak Seat

Offering additional storage for your rods and tackle as well as excellent back support, the Skwoosh Big Catch Kayak Seat is a practical addition to your fishing trips.

The seat has a vertical rod holder on either side so you can store your fishing poles while moving. It also has a holder for pliers or other tools on the seatback with bungee cords.

Similar to the Skwoosh Cushion, the Big Catch has a gel bottom that molds to the shape of your body. This allows you to enjoy hours on the water, rod in hand, without aches or pains.

This model is also adjustable, and its two-point attachment system lets you secure it to most kayaks. However, it would have been nice to have a couple more attachment points to ensure the seat doesn’t shift while paddling.

Reasons to buy:

  • Great back support
  • Lots of storage space
  • Adjustable
  • Easy to set up

Reasons to avoid:

  • Would be better with more attachment points

Best for Kids: Harmony Gear Kid’s Kayak Seat

Harmony Gear Kid's Kayak Seat

When you’re ready to start taking your kids kayaking, you’ll want to ensure they have the right gear to enjoy their time on the water. If your kids are uncomfortable in the kayak, it won’t take long for them to get restless!

The Harmony Gear Kid’s Kayak Seat is designed for kids up to 85 lbs. Its two-inch thick seat cushion provides plenty of padding. Meanwhile, the high seat back offers support while paddling and something to relax into during break times.

Because this model doesn’t attach to the kayak – there are no clips or fixtures to secure it in place – making it super quick to set up. The strapless setup also makes it easy to put this kid’s seat into almost any kayak, including sit-on-top kayaks without any attachment points. Or switching it from the front to the duffer position in a tandem kayak without getting off the water.

This model has a non-slip strip on the seat’s base to hold it in place. However, if you want a seat that fits more securely, this might not be the best for your child.

Although it doesn’t have any attachment straps fixing it to the kayak, it does have two adjustable side straps linking the seatback to the cushion. These thick webbing straps allow you to adjust the tension and angle. We like that these adjustment points are accessible while the seat is in use.

Reasons to buy:

  • Easy setup
  • Padded seat cushion
  • Adjustable
  • Suitable for most kayaks
  • Compact packed size

Reasons to avoid:

  • No secure attachment points

Kayak Seat Buying Advice

close up of a kayak seat

While kayak seats might be simple accessories, there’s more to choosing the right one than first meets the eye. Obviously, it needs to fit your kayak and be wide enough to comfortably sit in for hours.

But, the best kayak seat should also provide the right amount of back support. In addition, it should be made from durable materials and breathable enough that you don’t sweat a pool of water.

To help you figure out which type of seat is best for you and your kayak, we’ll outline the essential features to look for while shopping.

High Back, Low Back, or Cushion?

What type of kayak seat will be comfortable for you? Typically, high back seats offer the most back support. So, if you often have back pain while kayaking or you’re planning to paddle long distances, a high back seat might be a wise choice.

High-back kayak seats are also popular with recreational paddlers and beginners. They offer more support while you work on maintaining your paddle posture and give you something to lean on when you need to take a break.

However, high back seats won’t fit under a spray skirt. For this reason, people who paddle sit-in kayaks in choppier waters or cooler temperatures might have to use a low seat back instead.

Another thing to consider is whether your current kayak seat already has sufficient back support. If so, you might just want a little extra padding under your bottom. In that case, a gel or foam cushion could be a convenient addition to your current setup.

Padding Type

Another important feature to consider is what type of padding the seat has and its thickness. You might think the thickest seat would be the most comfortable, but that’s not always true, especially when paddling in hot weather.

That’s why many manufacturers use EVA foam in their kayak seats. Although it’s not the most durable type of foam out there, it’s breathable, comfortable, and has a reasonably long lifespan.

Comparatively, pressure molded foam and gel-padded seats are longer lasting as they don’t compress over time. However, they don’t have the breathability of EVA foam, and you might find yourself sweating more.

Size and Fixtures

Is the seat the right size for your kayak, and is the attachment system compatible? Because seat pads, like the Skwoosh Mesh Paddling Seat Cushion, don’t attach to the kayak’s hull, they fit most sit-in or sit-on-top kayaks.

Although all the kayak seats in our list should fit most types of kayaks, remember to measure your kayak’s cockpit before buying. Also, if you’re looking for a seat that attaches to the hull, you’ll need to check that your kayak has D-rings in the right places.

Likewise, if you’re looking for a seat for an inflatable kayak, you might be limited to anti-slip fabrics instead of attachment straps.

We also recommend comparing the seat’s width and height to your hip and back measurements. That should give you a good idea of whether it will fit you.


A kayak seat made with waterproof materials might seem like the obvious choice, but that depends on how you use it.

Because waterproof materials tend to be less breathable, a fully waterproof seat might not be the best choice for people who paddle in warm climates. Instead, you might be more comfortable in a seat made with breathable mesh fabrics.

Waterproof or not, the best kayak seats are made from durable fabrics such as heavy-duty nylon or polyester that can withstand scrapes and exposure to the sun and water. We, therefore, recommend looking out for materials with UV resistance and water-repellent treatment.

When it comes to buckles, clips, and sliders, make sure you choose a kayak seat with corrosion-resistant and rust-resistant fixtures. Manufacturers often use stainless steel or plastic because saltwater won’t damage these materials. 


If your kayak already has plenty of storage, extra pockets and attachments might not be an essential feature. However, seat pockets are a real game-changer if you have a lot of gear to carry or can’t access your hatches from the cockpit.

Like the Skwoosh Big Catch, fishing kayak seats usually offer the most storage, including attachment points for rods, tackle, and tools.


Ultimately, the price tag might be what sways your choice. So in our top picks, we’ve included seats that suit various budgets. Fortunately, it’s possible to find kayak seats like the Ocean Kayak Comfort Plus, which offers comfort and performance for an affordable price tag.

However, the cheapest kayak seats on the market are likely less durable, and you may need to replace them more frequently than a higher-priced kayak seat.

The Verdict

Now that you’ve read our guide to choosing the best kayak seat and seen our reviews of the top five on the market, you should have a clearer picture of what is right for you. 

After carefully considering each model, it was clear that one kayak seat was a few steps ahead of the rest: the Surf to Summit GTS Expedition High Back Seat.

Its contoured shape, high seat back, and EVA padding make it one of the most comfortable kayak seats out there. But its clever drainage and attachment system makes it our top choice, despite its higher price tag.