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BEST SIT-IN KAYAK SEAT CUSHION – INTRO
Kayak fishing in the summer, or any other time of the year, can be detrimental to your back if you don’t use the right type of cushion! Here’s a short guide to help you pick the best sit-in kayak seat cushion for your kayak fishing outings!
Not familiar with kayak seat cushions? You can learn more by checking out our Ultimate Guide!
Best Sit-In Kayak Seat Cushion – Overview:
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This post is meant to serve you as a guide all about kayak seat cushions, so you can learn more about them and understand why they are such a GREAT addition for kayak fishermen of any level of skill or experience! For ease of reading, I’ve divided it up into a few sections.
In the first section, I discuss why you need a kayak seat cushion and what it can do for you. Is this where we get into some of the basics of kayak seat cushions – what they are, what they are made of, how they work, and so on!
Next, I’ve jotted a step-by-step guide on how you can use your kayak cushion and how to keep it safe from damage. This will turn you into an “old pro” and you’ll quickly become familiar with the best ways to use your cushion to provide you the most comfort!
After that, I’ve included a mini-guide on what to look for when buying kayak seat cushions. You’ll learn a lot here about the cover materials, and the difference between open and closed-cell foams. You’ll be able to separate the best kayak seat cushions from the rest with ease!
Next, you’ll see a link and a mini-review of my favorite kayak seat cushion. This is just my opinion, but I think a lot of you will like it just as much as I did. There are only great models out there as well, but I think you’ll understand why I like this particular model once you’ve read about my experience, which I mention below.
I’ve summarized my thoughts in the “My Experience” section. This is where I have included a short “pro and con” list – aimed at helping you glean my opinion in a very efficient manner.
So now that I’ve clarified the layout, it’s time to get started with the guide!
Best Sit-In Kayak Seat Cushion – Basics:
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Sitting in a kayak on the factory-installed cushion isn’t the most pleasant feeling. For one thing, sweat and heat can get the better of you, which is why so many people opt to replace their kayak cushion with a more premium one!
Kayak seat cushions are designed with three primary objectives. Firstly, they aim to reduce the amount of moisture they absorb. This is meant to enhance their longevity and prevent the foam from getting damaged.
Secondly, kayak seat cushions act as your personal barrier against heat and cold. They stay warm in the winter and keep you cool and ventilated in the summer. Simple thermal insulation can provide this feature.
And finally, kayak seat cushions are more comfortable than whatever cushion you’re currently using! Since you get to choose the firmness, size, and material of the cushion, you take your kayaking experience up a notch.
The combination of these factors results in you staying comfortable for longer periods of time and thereby being able to stay on the water for extended periods and reel in more fish!
Side Note: If you are reading this post, you like convenience. See if installing a kayak rack for dock kayak storage is a good fit for you!
How to Install a Sit-In Kayak Seat Cushion:
Sit-in kayak seat cushions require no specific “know how” for proper installation. Simply pop them on top of your kayak seat, and you’re good to go. However, there are a few things you must keep in mind when using a kayak cushion seat. Here’s how you can use a kayak seat cushion:
- Kayak seat cushions can be used under your butt or behind your back.
- When using behind the back, you can try sewing them into the cover of the backrest.
- When using underneath yourself, then you can just use them on their own.
- But keep in mind that some seat cushions will be too thin and not provide much elevation.
- If your kayak seat cushion is too thin, you can try stacking it on top of your existing cushion.
Kayak seat cushions also require a lot of care and maintenance. Here’s how you can lengthen the lifespan of your seat cushion:
- Do not use the cushion without the cover, as the cover provides a lot of protection, such as UV protection.
- You can remove the cover to wash it separately, but keep the foam away from sunlight.
- Do not subject the cushion to impact or tearing, as this will ruin the porosity of the foam.
- Never try to rinse the cushion with running water, since it’s not entirely waterproof.
- The best way to clean a cushion is to wipe the cover with a damp cloth.
Best Sit-In Kayak Seat Cushion – Important Features:
Open Cell vs. Close Cell Foam:
The first and foremost thing to consider when buying kayak seat cushions is the type of foam inside. Kayak seat cushion foams come in two styles: open-cell and closed-cell. Open-cell foams, as the name suggests, have pores inside them that provide both loft and softness. These are great at regulating air, which is something you’ll want on a hot summer’s day.
Closed-cell foams are a bit more compacted, with little to no pores inside them. These do not provide an adequate amount of ventilation. However, consider the fact that these don’t absorb water as well. It means that the water from the lakes won’t go inside your cushion! And your own sweat won’t damage these foams.
The third type of foam you can try is EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate). This is the same foam used to make gym flooring and other floor mats. It’s a denser foam that falls in the closed-cell category. You may prefer this for use in the winters, as it has a high resistance to low temperatures.
Deciding on a soft and comfortable cover material is highly crucial for kayak seat cushions. The cover should regulate heat well and wick away moisture from the center. And it must be soft. Otherwise, it will scrape your back if you’re using it as a backrest.
When it comes to the cushion covers, nylon is the most popular choice. The reason for this is that vinyl covers are more water-resistant and lesser prone to tearing. So they’ll last you longer. But they don’t provide an adequate amount of airflow, which can cause you to sweat more.
If you want maximum airflow, then go for the polyester cushion overs. What’s best about polyester is that it can survive in every type of climate. And the surface can be treated for UV and salt protection.
Another great option is non-woven polypropylene. This material has exceptional durability. It’s extremely colorful, and the best part is that it’s environmentally sustainable. It’s made from recycled plastic, and can itself be further recycled.
This is directly related to the type of foam you are using. Cushion seats for kayaks can range from 2.5 inches in thickness to as little as just 1 inch thick. I tend to think thicker is better – and so does Mrs. Scott!
Cushion seats with 2.5 to 1.5-inch thickness are preferred for open-cell foam. 1.5 inches is the thinnest open-cell foam seat you can get. Below that, you will find the close-cell foams, from 1.5 inches thick to 1 inch thick or even less than that.
It should be noted that a thicker seat will be softer, whereas a thinner seat will be firmer. Firmer seats allow for more support to the pelvis and are recommended if you have spine problems. Softer seats provide minimal support, but a lot of people don’t mind that.
Size of Cushion:
Most people choose the cushion size based on the size of their bottom. But in a kayak, you also need to consider how much space you have in the cockpit.
A majority of the cushion sizes range from 12 inches to 14 inches wide. The best way to decide on a size of cushion is to measure the size of your kayak seat. The cushion shouldn’t be more than 1-inch wider than your seat.
When you’re buying a cushioned seat for yourself, you want it to perform well both in hot and cold temperatures. Heat can cause the cover of your cushion to degrade, and the foam inside can start to sag or sink. On the same note, the cold can make your cushion hard, leading to an uncomfortable seating experience.
Side Note: Want even more comfort while you sit? Use a Kayak Paddle Holder to give your hands a break!
Buy The Best Sit-In Kayak Seat Cushion:
In all my experience as a kayak fisherman, I’ve never come across anything as comfortable as the sit-in kayak seat cushion that I have showcased above. It’s my go-to for kayak seats! I prefer it mainly for the level of waterproofing and thermal stability.
If you’re the type of person who likes back support, then you’ll love this particular model. It’s been designed to provide excellent spinal support when you’re rowing or fishing. The foam inside is a Softek closed-cell foam.
As I’ve already mentioned in the previous section, closed-cell foam is the best at waterproofing and support. If you don’t have any special needs, the closed-cell foam will be just right for you.
However, you will find that this cushion is quite thin, approximately 0.8 inches. This is by far the thinnest kayak seat cushion I’ve seen. It does provide excellent cushioning, however.
The best way to use it, that I found, is to stack it on top of your existing cushion. This way, I got a decent amount of loft, enough for me to see where I’m going – I feel like doing this “sits me up high enough” that I can get good power on my paddling strokes as well!
Moving on to the thermal qualities of the cushion, this product is designed to withstand extreme temperatures. It’s resistant to hardening and getting cold in the winters. This is great for those January kayak fishing outings where it seems to be just me and the birds on the water!
Along with that, you get a very thin layer of thermal foam that insulates the cushion against heat. So even if your seat heats up in the summer, your cushion will stay cooler for longer. The included handle is also a nice touch – it makes carrying the cushion just that much easier!
When I first used this particular sit-in kayak seat cushion, I immediately noticed a difference. The seat wasn’t warming up in the heat, and I wasn’t sweating too much. When I removed the cushion from the seat, it had amazingly resisted both deformation and water.
The only thing I didn’t like was that this cushion was a bit too thin. I don’t prefer my cushions this way. I worked around this by using it on top of my existing cushion! This created a “best of both worlds” situation and I would suggest that you give it a try for yourself!
If you want to get an idea, here are my thoughts:
- Uses insulated thermal foam.
- Keeps you warm in the winters and cool in the summer.
- Does not absorb moisture and splashes.
- Highly resistant to hardening or sagging.
- Supports the spine and promotes good posture.
- Too thin. Little to no elevation.
- May be too firm for some people’s tastes.
So that concludes the guide! I hope all the information I provided helped you a lot in choosing a sit-in kayak seat cushion. And I hope you now know how to pick out the best seat cushions for your fishing kayak!
If you ask me, the model that I have linked to above is one of the best kayak seat cushions on the market – a position that it has held for quite some time now! It’s strong, supportive, and can survive almost all the elements. It’s just a bit too thin, but you can elevate it with little effort by using the “stacking” method we’ve described above.
Have you ever tried to sit in the “stock” seats that come with your fishing kayak? Did you notice how painful that became after just a short period of time? Did you know that sit-in kayak seat cushions even existed? I am seeing them more and more on the water! What has your experience with seat cushions been like? Be sure to post on the Comments board below. We read and reply to every comment and LOVE interacting with the kayak fishing community!