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How to make kayak seat more comfortable using 6 effective methods


by Thomas Moore

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Comfort in a kayak is very important, especially if you intend to take a long trip on the water. You won’t enjoy your time on the water if your seat is uncomfortable, and it may even be painful. A bad kayak seat can have a very bad effect on the health of the back.

If you are uncomfortable in your kayak and you are looking for a solution, this article will be helpful for you. I will describe how you can make a kayak seat more comfortable by applying six methods. This easy adjustment will make your trip more enjoyable and safer for your back.

In addition, at the end of this article, you will find seven criteria for a comfortable kayak seat. This criteria will help you choose the perfect seat to buy in the shop.

Let’s start with the reasons why you should make a kayak seat more comfortable.

Kayak seat - how to make kayak seat more comfortable

Reasons to upgrade your kayak seat

The level of comfort you feel while kayaking has a direct impact on the quality of your swimming experience. Comfort also has an impact on your overall well-being and the health of your back. Many people forget about it and do not think about it, and as a result, in the future they may face some back problems and discomfort while swimming.

Here are the reasons why you should make your kayak seat more comfortable:

  • You will be less tired and therefore be able to swim longer distances.
  • You will keep your back in good condition and you will greatly reduce your back pain or even get rid of it.
  • You will be able to balance your kayak better while paddling.
  • Seats for kayaks are inexpensive to buy, and you can also use them at any kayak.

Many people seem to ignore the need to change the seat on their kayak, or they don’t consider it until the previous one breaks. Because it’s not too expensive, it’s a vital piece of equipment.

The new seat design is a basic but efficient solution to improve the comfort and safety of outdoor activities. It may be simpler and less expensive than you imagine to make adjustments to your kayak seat. Kayak seats can be a game changer for you, and you will have a completely different experience on the kayak.

So, I strongly advise you to either replace your kayak seat with a more comfortable one or make some adjustments to the one you already have.

The modifications I’m referring to will be described below.

6 effective methods to make kayak seat more comfortable

Kayaking can be improved in a number of ways and on many different budgets. Here are a few methods:

1. Use a memory foam seat cushion

The first method for improving comfort in a kayak is to buy and use a seat cushion. Some of the seats are an orthopedic memory foam cushions. They fit easily into your existing kayak seat, and additionally, they are comfortable and simple to operate.

This method is one of the most comfortable because the orthopedic foam seats conform to your exact body shape, giving you proper support. What I like most about these seats is that many of them have a little space for the coccyx, which adds more comfort. You can see an example of such a small space in the picture below.

You can see an example of the little space for the coccyx in the image above.

2. A simpler solution is to cover the seat with basic foam

This second method on our list is the most basic way to make your seat more comfortable. You can use simple foam to place above the seat instead of a memory foam seat cushion.

This simplest method will give you more comfort because it’s not only a soft material but also very flexible, so you can easily fit it on every kayak. In addition, you can cut it, and that way it will perfectly fit your seat. It is also very light and water-resistant. So don’t be afraid to accidentally drop it in the water.

3. Optimize and improve your lumbar support

After a long time in a kayak, you can start to feel discomfort and even pain in the lumbar zone of your back. Well, there is a solution for this too.

To reduce discomfort while swimming in the lumbar zone of your back, I highly recommend the use of special back pads that support your back. With these special pads, you will enjoy your time in the water much more.

They are a lumbar cushion that supports the particular contour and natural curvature of your back, reduces tension, and shields you from lower back problems. The lumbar cushion provides support while avoiding unneeded pressure on any muscle groups or vertebrae because it fits flush against the small of your back.

Yakpads Cushioned Seat Pad is an example of one of these cushions. Most of these cushions attach quickly and fit any kind of kayak seat.

Also, there is another really cheap option instead of buying the lumbar cushion: modifying your kayak seat. You can make a lumbar cushion out of a pool noodle by cutting it into different pieces. Then, when you have your support cushion ready, you just have to attach it to your kayak seat.

4. DIY – Make your own kayak seat

The great thing about making a kayak seat for yourself is that you will be able to personalize it and make a lot of adjustments so it will fit your body perfectly. And also, it will be much cheaper than buying a seat in a store.

There are so many methods to make your own comfortable kayak seat. For example, you can use PVC pipes and pool noodles. With these supplies, you can make a backrest for your back.

First, you need to measure a piece of PVC pipe that you will attach across the kayak. Then put a pool noodle on this piece of PVC and 3-way connectors on each side of the pipe. With these 3-way connectors, you will be able to make the backrest higher. To do this, you will need to make the second piece of PVC pipe with the pool noodle and attach it to the top using the previous 3-way connectors.

Then, when you have your construction ready, attach it to the kayak. At the end, you should have something like this:

DIY backrest for the kayak
DIY backrest for the kayak – Source

I’ve included some videos with additional ideas for making your own kayak seat below.

5. Use kayak seats with the high back

For better head, neck, and lumbar support, the high-back kayak seat has a higher backrest. Additionally, it preserves a flat sitting position, which reduces the sensations of numbness, tailbone pressure, and hemorrhoids.

Also, this seat will be very convenient for anglers. This seat helps you sit in a position where you can observe what is going on in your surroundings.

6. Use some hacks

Raising your kayak seat is one of the hacks you can use to increase comfort and make paddling easier in a kayak. 

Many seats are low by default, and I have a few disadvantages. It is very difficult to get up on your feet from such a low position. And additionally, it’s more difficult to get ample leverage while paddling.

So if you raise the seat of the kayak, you can solve these problems. There’s already a little bit of a benefit there; when you raise your seat, underneath it, you will have a little more storage space for your personal belongings.

Also, I have to say that the height of the seat has a direct impact on the balance and stability of the kayak. The higher your seat, the less stable the kayak. And because the lower your seat is, the better your stability is, you don’t need to raise it too much.

Below, I’ve included some videos with some ideas on how to raise your kayak seat.

6 criteria to look when you buying a kayak seat

If you’re looking for a new kayak seat and you’re not sure what aspects are the most important in a kayak seat, in this section you will find them. Below, I will describe what you have to look for while selecting a seat for the kayak. This criteria will help you choose the most comfortable and durable kayak seat.

Let’s start with this criteria:

  • Every seat is different, and every body shape is different. As you know, every kayak seat is different, and some will be better than others. And every one of us has a different body.

Don’t be afraid to get the seat and sit on it in the shop, and then evaluate the seat for your body shape to see if it fits you or not. That is important because you won’t probably do a demo on the water. Also, don’t forget to check the lumbar support.

  • New kayak seat is better than the old kayak seat. If you are looking to buy a new kayak seat, it is better to select one that was manufactured in the last year or the last two years. The new ones will be made from better material, have upgraded backrest support, and be more durable.
  • Check the material from what is made of the seat. Stainless steel or aluminum are the best materials for kayak seat frames. They have an incredible resistance to saltwater, which is important. And also, these materials are strong and lightweight.
  • A high backrest is better. The high-support backrest gives you the most comfort and support. It will permit you to spend more time on the water and will make your trip more enjoyable.
  • Check the material, the breathable material is better. The breathable material lets air flow through. This is especially important if you are paddling on a hot summer day and are not just stuck on a foam pad. That’s how we get that comfort.
  • Verify the simplicity of position switching. Some manufacturers include the ability to change the position from low to high and vice versa. So, as I wrote earlier, the height of the seat is a factor in the comfort of the kayak seat. So check the ease of changing the position; this will add comfort while you’re paddling or pedaling, if your kayak has pedals.

And finally, now that you know the criteria for a comfortable seat for the kayak, they will help you select the perfect one for you. And also, you know some methods that can improve the paddling experience, make it more enjoyable, and make the kayak seat more comfortable.

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Written by:

Hi, my name is Thomas, and I am a kayaker with over a decade of experience. I enjoy this outdoor water activity and also enjoy writing posts for this blog that help people learn more about kayaking.

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