Comfort is key when it comes to long distance kayaking, and one of the key factors to achieve maximum comfort and stability in a kayak is getting the right seat.
If you’re an avid kayaker, you understand the importance of feeling supported and safe whilst on the water, and the more comfortable the seat is, the more you will enjoy your time kayaking!
Factors that affect comfort of your seat include the back tilt position, the tilt of your hips, your knee and foot positions, and the height of the seat. Some people prefer the seat to be tilted further back, others prefer it further forwards – it’s completely up to you with regards to how much you want to tilt your seat.
Adjustable seats allow you to have a flat seat, or tilt it up for more thigh support, which will change the tilt of your hips. In general, the higher the seat, the more comfortable you will be, but the less stable you will be due to the increased risk of tipping or rocking the kayak. Additionally, straightening your legs can adjust your foot and knee position and give you a little more torso rotation in the body, which can improve your forward speed and fitness, but equally will make you less stable.
Ideally, to practice good paddling technique, you should not be leaning back against the seat, except when resting, so this is something to consider when setting up your positioning in the kayak. Depending on your height and weight, you should find a seat and position that provides you the most comfort and support for your travels.
Another way to increase the comfort of your kayak seat is to add cushioning or lower back support, especially if you are travelling long distance. Cushioning needs to be breathable and durable, and most that are available to buy in the form of foam or gel pads. It will come down to personal preference when deciding which you want to use. Foam is light and easy to stick to your kayak, and can provide comfortable padding to your back, knees, and legs.
Most seats have straps and buckles that enable to adjust the seat to your preference, and tighten or loosen it on the kayak, to hold your body in a more fixed position. For those of you who suffer with back or leg pain when kayaking, changing your seat can eliminate this pain by supporting you in all the right places, and correcting your paddling position.
When deciding on a seat for your kayak, test it! Sit in the seat for as long as you will be kayaking for, and get a feel for the comfort (or discomfort) that you are feeling. Make sure you have the best seat for your body type, paddling technique, and preferences. Providing yourself with the right amount of padding, and a comfortable seat adjusted to your preferences, will make the world of difference to your kayaking experience.