Are Kayak Seats Universal? (Read Before Purchasing!)

If you are new to kayaking or are buying one for the first time, you are here looking for answers to some of your questions. Maybe you have a kayak, but the seat is damaged or uncomfortable and needs replacing. Before buying a new kayak, a kayak seat to replace the old one, you need to look into a few things.

This article will tell you what you need to know before purchasing a kayak seat. We will also tell you how to know which one to buy and the right fit for you. Keep on reading to learn more about kayak seats!

Are Kayak Seats Universal?

Not all kayak seats are universal, but there are a few types. You can adjust universal kayak seats to fit any body type. Additionally, you can fix them into almost any type or brand of a kayak. 

There are various types of kayak seats, even universal ones. the most common type of universal kayak seat is the universal clamshell. It is a fold-flat style seat in which the base and back are joined at the back end of the base. 

Universal clamshell seat backrest has straps attached to a kayak’s hull for support. They are generally comfortable for most people. 

Regardless, it is important to know your kayak dimensions, required seat attachments and the best material for you.

Know Your Kayak Dimensions

To get the right kayak seat or your kayak, you need to measure the cockpit properly. You will have to find out its length, width and circumference. All you’ll need is a measuring tape.

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You will measure the length from one end of the cockpit opening to the other longitudinally. to measure the width, you will measure horizontally across the cockpit.

To measure the cockpit, you will start by marking one point on the outside rim of the cockpit. Then, you will place the start of your measuring tape at that point and circle it around the rim once. Wherever the start of the measuring tape meets the other end of it, that’s the circumference. 

Once you’ve got your kayak cockpit dimensions, you will have to find a kayak seat that could comfortably fit in it. 

Kayak Seat Attachment Types

There are two types of kayak seat attachment that are the most common. You can either get a kayak seat with straps or a clip-on. It is also important to know which is compatible with your kayak and which is more comfortable.

The straps type of attachment is quite straightforward. All you have to do is strap it to the interior of your kayak and make sure it is tight. In comparison, clip-on attachments need to be clipped to the rim of the cockpit and the bottom of the cockpit.

Many people prefer strap attachments because it’s usually cheaper and feels more sturdy. However, some premium kayak seat options come with clip-on attachments. 

Kayak Seat Material

Kayak seats can be made of various materials, but the most common ones include gel, foam and polyester. Some kayak seats will have a combination, and some can be made of one thing. However, there are also inflatable kayak seats made of plastic.

Kayak seats made of foam are pretty comfortable, but they soak up water and stay wet for some time. But, kayak seats made of gel are also comfortable and do not remain wet. Polyester seats do not absorb the water, and you can wipe it off. 

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If you don’t mind getting wet and need comfort, you should get a padded foam seat. But if you rather not deal with a wet seat, we suggest you go for a gel seat with a polyester or plastic top. 

If you want the cheapest option, you should get an inflatable kayak seat. Inflatable kayak seats could be good for a temporary replacement, but if they’re comfortable for you, then even better.

Sit-In Vs. Sit On Top Kayak Seats

Before choosing a kayak seat, the last thing to decide is whether you want a sit-in or sit on top seat. There are a few key differences between the two types of seats.

A sit-in kayak seat has a much lower center of gravity, more stability and makes it easier for the paddler to turn, remain upright and paddle through rough seas. You can use them in very narrow kayaks, which require much less effort to propel forwards. It also allows the paddler to use a shorter kayak paddle, greatly reducing the effort needed to paddle and maneuver.

A sit-on-top kayak seat is convenient in the event of a capsize because the paddler can get right out of it easily. A sit-on-top kayak seat fits much wider and open-top kayaks, which is good if you’re kayaking for shorter periods for fun. It’s great if you prefer wider kayaks to hold you and your dogs on board!


To conclude, some kayak seats are universal, but there are options. You can find universal kayak seats, but there are multiple factors to consider before choosing one, so it is not completely simple either. 

You need to gather kayak seat dimensions, find the best kayak seat attachment, choose the material you like best, and lastly, you also need to think about your budget! A universal kayak seat will generally be cheap, inflatable, or made of foam or polyester, and it would have strap attachments.

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If you are going through all that effort, you might as well invest in a good kayak seat that will last longer for yourself. There are many amazing kayak seats out there, universal or not, and the options are endless! You don’t always have to opt for premium seats to feel comfortable; some people find inflatable kayak seats pretty comfortable.

We aimed to answer a question and inform you on how to choose a seat that you can use for a long time. Hopefully, this article was very helpful, and you are now choosing the right kayak seat for you!

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