Canoe Seat Buying Guide

Posted by Comfykayak on Apr 7th 2024

Canoe Seat Buying Guide

Who would have thought that we here at would be selling canoe seats regularly? Had we known that when we launched our store back in 2010, we might have reconsidered the name. But the demand is always out there and in the past several years we have been supplying canoeists with prodigious quantities of canoe kneeling pads.

So what to look for in a canoe seat?

It's going to depend entirely on what type of canoe you have and what existing seats you have. In terms of adding a seat, typically your canoe will come with two seats for front and back so you're talking about a third in the middle. For this purpose, the Snap-In Center Canoe Seat offers a quick and simple solution for larger canoes with a middle width between 34 and 37 inches. No screws, rivets, nuts or bolts, just snap it in and you're off! It's cousin, the Drop-In Canoe Seat enables you to fit it to narrower and wider canoe widths, between 34 and 40 inches, using clamps and tightening rods, but still no drilling! For its cousin, the Canoe Seat Yoke, you will need to do some drilling to install the receivers on the gunwales, but the great thing about the Yoke is that it doubles as the ultimate canoe carrying device, just flip it and flip your canoe and off you go!

Snap-In Center Canoe Seat
Drop-In Canoe Seat
Canoe Seat Yoke

As a replacement seat, an aesthetically pleasing Web Canoe Seat is always popular with canoeists and while it requires a fair bit of work to install, it can serve in the middle, the back or the front. Oh and its cousin the Web Seat Back, comes with a sturdy wooden and webbing seat back for a relaxing ride with firm back support.

For all these options, if you are someone with back or hip pain or even if you are just planning on sitting in your canoe for long hours, adding a cushion or pad to the seat bottom or the seat back is always a good idea.

You could even double up. The Bucket Comfy Canoe Seat is designed to fit on top of an existing canoe seat which has space between the struts which attach the seat to the cane. Typically this will be the type of seat without a seat back to begin with. Available with 1" of Comfy foam, this is a great way to turn your strut-attached or web canoe seat into a more comfortable ride. 

Moving into canoe seats which offer a seat back for back support but attach not through the struts but with straps which wrap around the seat itself, we have many variations on a theme. For your best price point you'll want to check out the Standard Canoe Seat, or for a little more the Standard Canoe Seat with Pocket. If you want more upper back support you will want to check out the High Back Canoe Seat or its twin the High Back Canoe Seat with Pocket. All four of these seats come with 'wings' meaning the seat back stretches out to about 22 inches for a more wrapped-around feeling.

Bucket Comfy Strut Attach Seat
Comfy Style High Back w/Pocket
Venta Performance Canoeist Seat
Next up we have the Comfy Style High Back Canoe Seat and the Comfy Style High Back Canoe Seat with Pocket. These have no wings and so a narrower, no-frills seat back but they come standard with 1" of Comfy foam on the bottom -- your own seat will thank you. They will also double as a camp chair on your picnic bench or just about anywhere. Built on the same design, the all new Venta Performance Canoeist Seat sports breathable fabric to allow water to pass through so that your seat stays drier. Finally, the Sitbacker Chair comes at a higher price point but offers thicker foam on the seat bottom, a middle slot for water drainage and a sturdy metal frame to hold the seat back upright, plus a cushion pad in the middle of the seat back to provide comfort and support for your back. 

We'll leave you with a few TIPS:

  • First, for seat back which are held forward by webbing that has a slider, remember to periodically tighten the slider to your comfort level. The more weight you are putting against the seat back, the more often you will need to readjust the seat back. It's an easy thing to forget, but if you get in the habit, you'll be less likely to be in the market for another canoe seat anytime soon.
  • A Comfy Canoe might be as much an oxymoron as a Comfykayak. Any time you are sitting in one position for two, three or more hours, your back is going to get sore, starting with your lower back. So remember to take breaks often and while you're on those sandbars or docks or put-in/put-out ramp sites, take five minutes or more and do some stretching of your back muscles. It may not take the soreness away immediately but you'll suffer less later.
  • Any seat which has a seat back held upright/forward with webbing that has sliders, remember to periodically reset the slider to your comfort level. The more weight you are putting against the seat back the more often you will need to reset the webbing length. Remembering to do so might save you the trouble of looking for a new seat sometime soon. 
  • And again, especially if you suffer from pre-existing back or hip pain, consider adding a cushion or pad on the seat bottom or seat back or both for greater comfort, especially for those long trips.
  • If you are a pain sufferer, it might be a good idea to take your pain meds before your outing, unless it is a stronger med which could impair your awareness or cognitive abilities.

We hope this brief guide will help you locate the canoe seat that is right for you!