In general, SOT kayaks have two different types of seats you can buy: cloth seats or a framed seat. There are plenty of how-to videos on converting cloth seat kayaks to a frame seat, but in general if you have a strong desire for one seat over the other you are going to base your kayak purchase decision on it.
The most common (translated:cheapest) option is a cloth seat that is removable and interchangeable. These are fairly universal as long as your kayak has the pad eyes riveted around the seating area to attach it. can range from a $36 Vibe Padded SOT Seat, which is an inexpensive solution to get you out on the water, up to and beyond with a $200 Surf to Summit GTS Expedition seat with included fishing pack which will encapsulate your behind in memory foam for the duration of your extended fishing trip. As with most things, you get what you pay for.
The majority of entry level kayaks will come with pad eyes for the cloth seats, but most major manufacturers sell top-tier product lines with cloth sets so it is not automatically an indicator of poor quality. My Trident 15 is a top-tier line from a major manufacturer and up until recently the entire Trident line had cloth seats.
A few advantages of cloth seats are:
- Less expensive
- Adjustable support
- Wide array of options
- Lower center of gravity
A much newer option is a framed seat. These are typically offered on higher end kayaks (translation: more expensive) and provide far more back support
These seats are, all things being equal, much more comfortable than their cloth counterparts. A cloth seat gets it’s stability from opposing tension on 4 cloth straps holding it to the kayak. A frame seat has it’s own inherent stability gained from an integrated frame.
This type of seat has far better back support and typically sits higher off the floor which reduces leg and backside numbness. Depending on manufacturer, these seats also have the option of different seating heights as well. My Native Watercraft Slayer 14.5 pictured above has a high and low seating position. The low position is the most stable, offers the least wind resistance and is best for traveling from one location to another. The high position, while marginally more unstable, provides a clearer view of surrounding water if sight fishing and make standing up much easier.
One disadvantage to these seats however, is that they are not interchangeable or typically able to be upgraded. My cloth seat I use in my Ocean Kayak Trident 15 was the same seat I had in my Perception Pescador 12. I bought a more expensive seat since I have back problems, and when I upgraded kayaks I was able to take my seat with me. If I were to trade my Native Slayer 14.5 for a Hobie Pro Angler I cannot take my seat with me since they was not interchangeable. Also, kayaks with frame seats tend to be heavier by design as well.
A few advantages of frame seats:
- Better back support
- Reduce pressure/numbness
- Multiple positions
- Easier to stand from
- More comfortable for prolonged periods
Both types of seats have their advantages. If I am going out in the open ocean with boat traffic and rough chop or launching from the surf, I take my OK Trident because of it’s lower center of gravity and lower overall rigged weight. If I am going out in calmer conditions from a boat ramp or other sheltered water I take my Slayer 14.5 because it is simply more comfortable for my back problems.
There is no right answer to this question, and you have decide on your own priorities when making your purchase. These are simply some points to think about when you are shopping around. If you can find a store that does demo days, get in a few of your top contenders and see how they feel.
In Virginia Beach, Wild River Outfitters offers demo days locally! Registration is required, but if you are thinking of dropping the cash for a NEW kayak I would strongly suggest trying it out before you buy it.
Either way you decide, you won’t regret your decision to get into kayak fishing! Check out this site or our like our social media pages on the right side of this page for tips and tricks to get you started.
If you are local to Hampton Roads we’d love to hear from you and invite you to on of our outings! Beginner or veteran alike, all are welcome. Join us and find out:
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