How do you raise a kayak seat? 9 ways to make a seat higher?

How do you raise a kayak seat? 9 ways to make a seat higher?

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I’ve often wondered how to raise a kayak seat to get more comfort and a better view over the water when kayaking. I looked this up and tried to find a solution to adjust and make my kayak seat higher.

In my search for the right method, I’ve found 9 ideas for lifting up the seat in your kayak that are suitable for any budget – from the extremely cheap idea all the way up to the more premium options out there for raising your kayak seat. 

This article talks about the pros and cons of raising your kayak seat for sit on top kayaks and covers 9 different ways you can raise your kayak seat.

There are multiple ways you can add extra height to the seat in your kayak. This is a list of 9 methods to raise your seat, starting with the cheapest and easiest, right up to the more expensive, complex methods:

  1. Stadium cushion – strap a few together
  2. A kayak non-slip pad – click for our recommendation
  3. A Lawnchair
  4. A padded Stadium seat
  5. Get a premium padded kayak seat with extra thick bottom padding – click for our best picks!
  6. Create a custom seat-raiser using plastic piping
  7. Combine option 1 or 2 and option 6. 
  8.  A folding boat seat + option 6
  9. Purchase the raised seat your kayak brand provides.

How do you raise a kayak seat? The pros and cons of extra height

There are many benefits when it comes to raising your kayak seat. 

But there are also things to be careful about when you decide to invest time and money in modifying your kayak sea to get a few inches higher.

Below is a table that highlights the pros and cons of lifting your kayak seat, we explore each more in detail below.

Keeping a dry buttYou might need a longer paddle
A more comfortable position.You may become less stable
A better view of what’s aroundSome solutions require physical modifications
Easier to cast if you’re fishing
Pros and cons of raising your kayak seat.

The pros of making your kayak seat higher

Adjust your kayak seat to keep a dry butt

While paddling, especially in rougher conditions, you get splashed and this water can end up in your sit-on-top kayak. For some, this is ok for those who don’t mind when water comes into the kayak over the sides of the hull.

But for others, staying dry can be a priority when kayaking. Staying dry might be important when you are:

  • In colder conditions.
  • Are kayak fishing and are out for a while on the water.
  • Are touring for a few days and you want to keep yourself and your clothes dry for the trip.
  • You just hate getting wet and feel uncomfortable (perhaps kayaking isn’t the best sport for you!)

A raised kayak seat is great for all of these circumstances. If you can raise yourself between 2-4 inches off the bottom of the kayak cockpit, you’ll stand a much better chance of staying dry. 

You’ll want to make sure your paddle has drip rings though because this might be a cause of getting wet too. Click here to read more on choosing what kayak paddle to buy. 

Heighten your kayak seat for a more comfortable position.

We cover this in more detail in our article on choosing the best kayak seat for a bad back (click to read)

But in short, raising your kayak seat is a great option for avoiding hip flexor pain and lower back pain. 

The angle your legs are positioned is much more comfortable and less stressful on the hip flexor muscles. You are sitting in more of a regular position and angle to how you would normally sit in a chair. 

Raise your kayak seat for a better view of what’s around

Being elevated in a kayak provides a better view of what’s around you, and importantly, what’s in the water below you. 

If you venture into shallower water, then being higher up will help your angle of vision – there is less glare from the light reflecting off the water and you can see underwater hazards more clearly. 

Often, people kayak fishing will want to fish right by a bank or sandy shelf to target certain fish – if you’re sat higher up you’ll see any shallow hazards nearby better. 

You also have a better view of fish if the water is clear – pair that with some polarised sunglasses and your vision will be enhanced.

Heighten your kayak seat to make it easier to cast if you’re fishing

A raised kayak seat means you free up some space to swing your arms.

If you’re fishing, you cast in many different positions, so having additional free space under your elbows will help you target specific areas when casting. 

Many people also modify their raised seat with easy to reach tackle boxes and storage crates. 

A kayak resting on the beach with an example solution to the question: How do I adjust and make my kayak seat higher?
A fishing kayak with a padded seat that has not yet been raised up.

What’s the risk with raising a kayak seat? The Cons

You might need a longer paddle if you’re seat is higher up

Because you’re higher up, you’re further from the water. The distance that is the height of your seat is taken away from how deep you put your paddle in the water. 

So if you raise up a few inches, you’re effectively removing that amount of paddle from the water. So when you go to paddle, you’re actually not getting the grip in the water you once had, and your propulsion through the water is affected.

If you want more information on choosing the right length paddle and what kayak paddle to buy, click here.

You may become less stable when a higher seat changes your center of gravity

Lifting your seat 4 inches off the bottom of the cockpit also raises your center of gravity. 

What this means is you become less stable – because your weight is distributed further from the base of the kayak. 

It’s recommended not to raise your kayak above 4 inches or so because you become too unbalanced. And to only heighten your seat in a wide, stable kayak – the width on the water’s surface helps to create a stable surface, so the additional tilt you will get from being higher up is reduced by the width of the kayak.

Some seat-raising solutions require physical modifications

Are you a DIY whizz? If not then completely modifying your kayak might be beyond your ability or motivation. 

If that’s you, and you want an easier solution, click here for an article about which kayak seat is best for a bad back – it suggests easy ways to raise up your seat without having to modify your kayak. 

How do you raise a kayak seat? FAQs

How do you raise a kayak seat? How do I adjust and make my kayak seat higher?
Easy ways to raise your kayak seat.

Can you put an elevated seat in a kayak?

Yes, you can put an elevated seat in a kayak, but be careful you don’t go too high! 

Elevating a seat is best in wide, stable kayaks. Fishing kayaks often have elevated seats, but these kayaks are often very stable to allow for the frantic movements that are sometimes required to cast into specific areas and haul a catch into the boat.

Can you put a stadium seat in a kayak?

Yes, you can put a stadium seat in a kayak – people have done it. You will just need to make some modifications to your kayak, which could include drilling into it and attaching pipe rails to attach the stadium seat. 

So if you’re confident to do so, there are many how-to videos out there on google to take you step by step through attaching a stadium or boat seat to your kayak. 

Fishing kayaks with elevated seats

The most popular use of an elevated seat is typical with fishing kayaks, for a few reasons:

  • Better sight over the water, and surrounding area
  • More room makes it easier to cast
  • More comfortable for long sessions fishing
  • Easier to stand up from an elevated seat. Many fishing kayaks are stable enough to let you stand up in them to fish.

What fishing kayak has the highest seat?

This is a useful selection of angling kayaks that have the highest seats. Some of the seats in this selection are raised by 6 inches! This is possible due to the overall stability of the hull in the water. 

Many of these kayaks allow you to stand and cast too. 

How do you raise a kayak seat? Summary. 

So we’ve covered 9 ways that you can alter the height of your kayak seat, raising you up a little to give you a better view, help with casting and maneuverability, and keep you dry in your kayak.

Best of luck to you if you decide to modify your kayak and attach a stadium seat or boat seat – there is plenty of resources out there to guide you. 
If you want the easier approach for a comfortable, raised seat, click here for an article about which kayak seat is best for a bad back that raises you up too.