The seat that you get with a kayak is, in most cases, a very basic one. It does not focus on your comfort and will often wear out if you use it regularly. That is why most people opt to replace the seat as soon as possible.
Believe it or not, there are many small details that you have to think about before investing in a kayak seat. Comfort, although an important factor, is not the only one that you need to consider. If you want to get the full advantage of investing in an aftermarket kayak seat, make sure you check out the following few aspects.
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The fabric used for the cover is an important factor to consider as that is the part that you can touch directly. Usually, kayak seats are made using three types of fabrics, neoprene, nylon, and polyester.
The best thing about neoprene is that it is completely waterproof. In fact, this is the material that you find mostly in swimsuits and sportswear. It is also quite durable. If you are using a sit-on-top kayak that will have to tackle water splashes frequently, getting a seat with a neoprene cover is the best way to go.
Nylon is another fabric that is commonly used as a kayak seat cover. It is durable, inexpensive, and offers decent protection against water. Furthermore, its water-repellent nature means you will not have to keep sitting on a wet seat if it gets splashed.
Polyester is a type of synthetic fabric that is sometimes used for kayak seating. Its durability is decent but falls short when compared to nylon and neoprene. In addition, it is not water-repellent. However, it does absorb water and moisture, which can help keep your clothes dry.
By padding, we mean the material under the seat cover. Where the job of the cover is to cater to how the seat feels to your touch, the padding material contributes to your overall comfort when sitting down. Similar to cover type, you can find different seats with different materials used for padding.
- EVA foam
EVA foam is a lightweight material that is extremely durable despite its affordable price. Its best feature is how it never overheats. However, if you sit on EVA foam padding for too long, the material starts to compress, which can be hard to handle.
- Molded foam
Molded foam padding is a better option if you want to paddle over long distances. It improves your blood circulation and gives you a comfortable experience even if you sit on it for a long time. But during summer, it might not be the best choice since it tends to overheat.
- Gel padding
If comfort is what you are after, gel padding is the way to go. However, its mediocre durability is a major concern, and you might have to replace it once it starts wearing out.
Size of the Seat
You also need to think about the size of the seat. Kayaks these days come in many different sizes, which means your seat might not fit your specific kayak. Before buying a kayak seat, you should take a moment and measure out the interior of the cockpit. This would give you a rough idea of the measurements.
However, measuring the cockpit is not enough in most cases. You also need to think about your body measurements. The size of the seat must match the distance between your knee and hips. Even if it matches your bottom, unless you get some breathing space on the inside, you will not be able to paddle for too long.
The backrest of a kayak seat also caters to your comfort. Without a comfortable backrest, rowing for large distances can get extremely tiring. However, comfort is not the only factor here. The best kayak seats come with a backrest that ensures you maintain a steady posture while sitting.
Most kayak backrests support only half your back, focusing more on the lower back part of your body. If it is too large, it will restrict your paddling motion. Ideally, a person who is six feet tall should go with around 12- to 18-inch backrests. If you are shorter than that, you can go with backrests under 12-inches.
The kayak seat must have decent breathability if you want a comfortable experience while rowing in the summer. A breathable seat will ensure optimal airflow to keep the temperature of the seat cool. If you like summertime kayaking, this is a must-have feature for your seat.
Breathability not only regulates temperature but also allows the seat to dry faster if it gets wet. For sit-on-top kayaks, this is an absolute must as you have to deal with water splashes continually. Without a breathable seat, you will not be able to enjoy your kayaking trip fully.
Some kayak seats nowadays give you the benefit of extra storage. This can be quite useful if you have a small kayak with limited space. However, this is not a must-have feature so take it with a grain of salt. But it does give you a better value because of the extra utility it brings.
If you use your kayak for fishing, this might be a necessary feature for you to store all the necessary kayak fishing accessories. The extra pouches or pockets that you get with your kayak seat will let you store small items such as lures or tackles. Some seats even come with extra rod holders which can be quite useful for an angler.
As you can see, choosing a kayak seat is not as simple as it seems. With so many different elements to consider, you really should take your time before investing in one.
However, with our helpful guidelines, you should now have little trouble figuring out which elements you should think about when choosing a seat for kayak fishing.