Best Canoe Seat Reviews 2023

Canoes usually offer one of the most stress-free and enjoyable ways of experiencing the outdoors, but most times, the rigid bench seats that are commonly attached to most canoes can make canoeing for long distances quite unpleasant. Canoe seats, in a variety of construction materials, affect stability and comfort. If you’re keen on canoeing with comfort and in style, then you should get the best canoe seat available for your canoe. We know that choosing the right canoe seat from the large available collections may be daunting, but that’s why we’ve sorted through them and have shortlisted 5 top brands that make some of the best canoe seats around. Although we've only highlighted 1 canoe seat from each of the brands, feel free to check other seats from them if the need arises.
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Our Top Choice
Essex Industries Ash Canoe Seat
Essex Industries is highly regarded by canoe lovers because it manufactures quality yokes, thwarts, canoe seats and backrests that are built to withstand normal wear and tear.
Beautiful cane seat. Durable and neat. Dries quickly. Mortise and Tenon joint. Resists the elements. Transparent varnish is UV-protected. Made in America.
Only plastic back seat attachments available for this seat.
10 x 34 x 40 inches; 3 pounds
Attach with screws
Clear; walnut
Best Value
ALPS OutdoorZ Weekender Seat
ALPS OutdoorZ has remained relevant to outdoor enthusiasts because for more than 20 years; it’s continued to provide them with durable and performance-oriented outdoor gear..
Lightweight. Fully functional and versatile. Back mesh pocket. Well-padded foam for comfort. Seat can be mounted anywhere with webbed straps on the bottom.
Doesn’t recline to different positions.
Backrest; webbing straps
Padded closed cell foam
16.5 x 16 x 1 inches; 1.3 pounds
Attach with straps
GCI Outdoors SitBacker Canoe Seat
GCI Outdoors comes to mind any time we think of premium quality chairs. Right from your backyard to the campground and even on the water, it’s got you covered.
Back rest with customized reclining. Folds easily for storage and transport. Split contour seat. Lumbar cushion.
It might not fit some oversized canoes.
Backrest; shoulder strap
12.2x16.5x17.9 inches; 2.9 pounds
Buckle straps to bench
Black; hunter green
Mad River Web Canoe Seat
For over 40 years, Mad River has innovatively designed and served the canoe industry with standard canoes and accessories that are of high quality while remaining affordable for everyone.
Great feel and appearance. Highly comfortable. Improved durability. Price-friendly. Weather-resistant. Comes with storage pocket and shoulder strap for convenient carrying.
Doesn’t dry as quickly as traditional cane seats.
Bench; Webbed seat
Info not provided
Cut to width; attach with screws
Wise High Impact Plastic Canoe Seat
Wise is a global leader when it comes to serving sea lovers with boat interiors and seating options that make the time spent on the water more comfortable and pleasant.
Folds easily for storage. Foam pad in a closed cell. Sturdy plastic frame. Attached unique seat bracket. Especially large capacity; can handle more than 250 pounds.
Backrest doesn’t recline fully for more comfort.
Backrest; no straps
12 x 15 x 7 inches; 0.4 pounds
Attach with seat bracket
Army green

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Watch Our Canoe Seat Review

What is the Best Canoe Seat?

Are you an avid canoeist? Then you should know the importance of comfort and stability. If you’ve read the buying guide properly, choosing the canoe seat that would provide you with the necessary support and comfort will be a walk in the park.
Our Top Choice
The Essex Industries Ash Canoe Seat is a traditional cane seat that has a large, comfortable sitting area of 10 x 13 inches and features the mortise and Tenon woodworking joint which gives it a strong and neat appearance. If you’re bothered about the effect of water on cane, don’t hesitate to check out this propylene weather-resistant Webbed Canoe Seat by Essex Industries.

Essex Industries Pre-Assembled Ash Canoe Seat, Made in USA

For more than 35 years, Essex Industries has been known to equip canoe builders and vendors with superior cane and ash canoe seats, fittings and accessories. Its reputation for delivering products that are guaranteed through typical wear and tear has grown over the years and it’s become quite popular amongst canoe lovers. Essex Industries also boasts of a well-trained staff that certifies that its canoe yokes, seats, thwarts, backrests and accessories integrate standard materials and processes that ultimately ensure that the products last for a long time.

If you’re buying a new canoe seat or you’re looking to replace an old one, you’d definitely want a canoe seat that’s comfortable, holds up better and stays supportive even when wet. The above qualities can be found in the Essex Industries Ash Canoe Seat. It measures 10 inches wide and has a comfortable seating area of 10 by 13 inches that gives you enough room to maneuver. There are very few canoe seats that have the ability to improve the appearance of a canoe, but this ash canoe seat is one of them as it was constructed using the famous mortise and Tenon woodworking joints. This strengthens the canoe seat in addition to improving its appearance. It’s also coated with a clear vanish that’s resistant to UV rays which prevents the seat from degrading due to exposure to sunlight.

When you’re out canoeing, getting wet is certain and more often than not, the seat gets affected too. Now sitting on a wet seat can be uncomfortable and may reduce the quality of your canoeing experience. You can avoid that fix by choosing this cane canoe seat which has the knack for drying quickly.

Since variety is the spice of life, here are more canoe seats by Essex Industries:
  • The Essex Industries Ash Walnut Canoe Seat – A webbed canoe seat that’s durable and can withstand most weather conditions
  • The Essex Industries Ash Cane Canoe Seat – It comes assembled and without finish. It’s weather resistant and features the mortise and Tenon woodworking joint
  • The Essex Industries Ash Canoe Seat – Cane – Which comes with a walnut finish. It’s assembled via the mortise and Tenon joinery and is built to last
Best Value
The ALPS OutdoorZ Weekender Seat features a big back mesh pocket for holding snacks, glasses and other small gadgets, a well-padded foam for increased comfort and a backrest for the ultimate back support while canoeing. For hunters who’d like a lighter seat to take hunting and keep them from away from the ground, take a look at the ALPS OutdoorZ Terrain Seat.

ALPS OutdoorZ Weekender Seat with Back Mesh Pocket

ALPS OutdoorZ, which is a part of the popular ALPS Brands, ensures that outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the better part of being outside by designing and creating products that are capable of pushing the limit. Having been in production since 1993, ALPS has continued to remain relevant by finding a way to make outdoor gears lighter, stronger and better. From hunting packs and camp furniture to tents, sleep systems, seats and stools, ALPS ensures that these products boast of the finest and most reliable construction materials. ALPS OutdoorZ products are also fully functional and allow those with a passion for outdoor activities to have the best outdoor experience possible.

If you’re in search of a stress-free seating option for your canoe that can be easily attached/detached from the canoe, the ALPS OutdoorZ Weekender Seat is a functional, reliable and durable option. It features a well-padded foam that offers comfort and protection from the hard surface of the seating area of the canoe. If you're also tired of canoeing for miles without leaning your back, this seat comes with a back rest that gives your back support while canoeing. Made from one of the best construction materials available, the seat’s front is covered with a 600D polyester material while the back is covered with the durable Realtree® Xtra™ fabric.

How does this work? All you have to do is attach the webbing straps located at the bottom of the seat around the canoe’s seating area and voila, you can sit away. The straps also ensure you're kept in place and there's no risk of coming loose while in transit. It also has a pair of adjustable straps by the side that allow you to adjust the seat to your preferred sitting position.

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, then you’ll love the ALPS OutdoorZ Weekender Seat. Why, you may ask? While many other canoe seats are specific to canoes and other water equipment only, the ALPS OutdoorZ Weekender Seat can be detached from the canoe and used in many other activities on shore. It can also serve as a camping, hunting or stadium seat.

What makes this canoe seat functional is that it comes with a storage mesh pocket at the rear which can hold a lot of small objects such as reading glasses, small camera, snacks, pills and any other small equipment you take for a canoe trip. It weighs 1.3 pounds, making it lightweight and easily portable. It also comes with a pair of carrying handles, in case there's need to haul it elsewhere. Offering a wide sitting area, the dimensions of the seat are 17 x 33 x 0.5 inches and it’s suitable for canoes with the appropriate width and length.
The GCI Outdoors SitBacker Canoe Seat features a powder-coated steel construction with a durable polyester fabric covering and a lumbar cushion which make it comfy, sturdy and guarantees that it supports up to 250 pounds. If you're an outdoor enthusiast looking for an easily foldable and portable seat for any adventure that involves long distance walking, check out the GCI Outdoor PackSeat, which is one of the best travel chairs out there.

GCI Outdoors SitBacker Canoe Seat – Available in Black or Hunter Green

When you think about GCI Outdoors products, what comes to mind is innovation and ease of use. From its rockers and recliners to spectator seats and canoe seats, GCI Outdoors ensures that its products are relatively easy to use and are designed with the most recent patented technologies that would make any outdoor activity a stress-free and relaxing experience. It also prides itself in having a highly skilled team of professionals that ensure that consumers’ expectations are surpassed and their outdoor experiences are enhanced by the high quality and feature-rich products that have found its way into the outdoor industry.

Most times, a lot of people don’t spend quality time while canoeing and this is due to the fact that they’re using the wrong type of canoe seat. You can hardly blame them, especially those with complaints of a bad back. Well, if you fall under that category, you're in luck as the GCI Outdoors SitBacker Canoe Seat is the perfect solution. It comes with a backrest that features the BackComfort™ Technology which allows it be reclined to any position when the need arises. Yes, you read that right, a canoe seat with a backrest that reclines!

The primary function of a canoe seat is to provide you with a comfortable sitting area while canoeing and this canoe seat does just that. The seat frame features a steel construction that’s powder-coated and its padded seat (16.5 inches W) has a durable polyester covering. It also features a lumbar cushion for extra spine support. If you're one of those plus-sized canoeists that think its only wood that can hold your weight while canoeing, the GCI Outdoors SitBacker Canoe Seat stands to correct you. It provides the required comfort for those that weigh up to 250 pounds and remains sturdy even underneath all that weight. You can also store your sunscreen, reading glasses or sunshades in the storage pocket.

This canoe seat can also be used as a stadium and camping seat as it features a shoulder strap with the Single-buckle Auto-Fold™ Technology which allows it to be easily opened, closed and carried to any destination. It also features Portage Lock™ technology that ensures the seat is closed properly while carrying. It attaches to a canoe bench via a double buckle bench attachment that keeps it firmly attached and prevents it from coming loose during transit. Weighing 2.9 pounds, it can be easily carried to and from the canoe to protect it from the weather hazards. When opened, its dimensions are 12.2 x 16.5 x 17.9 inches and with its split contour seat, it’s suitable for most flat and molded canoe benches.

So if you’re an avid canoeist and you wish to spend longer hours on water without having to worry about your back, this high quality, extremely comfortable, easily foldable and transportable canoe seat with limitless reclining positions and a limited lifetime warranty is exactly what you need.

Depending on your color preferences, this seat is available in either a hunter green or a simple back.
The Mad River Web Canoe Seat has a webbed seating panel which gives it a great feel and appearance while offering the required comfort while canoeing. Its exterior is also varnish-coated for improved durability. For a traditional cane canoe seat with a natural finish, take a look at the Harmony Cane Seat by Mad River. It’s also lightweight and dries quickly.

Mad River Canoe Seat with Webbed Seating Panel

Mad River is one of the few brands that have continued to break grounds in the canoe industry by manufacturing and supplying canoeists with a variety of high quality canoes and functional accessories that are consistent in quality and in affordability. Most of its products, including its canoe seats, have earned it several accolades and most importantly an increasing base of devoted consumers. Not content with resting on its laurels, Mad River ensures that it cements its position as a world beater in the canoe industry by launching an initiative that’ll ensure that only products with the most advanced designs and superior quality are manufactured.

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it’s that no one would like to make a canoe trip and return with a sore side, or would you? So, why not install the Mad River canoe seat that offers the required comfort that would prevent a sore bum while canoeing.

This canoe seat has a polyester webbed seating panel that’s more comfortable and durable than the traditional cane seat. No matter the kind of weather you’re exposed to while canoeing, this canoe seat remains reliable. The webbed seat isn’t easily destroyed by rain or sun and you can be rest assured that it won’t give way or displace you while in transit. While the webbed panel gives it a strong feel, the northern white ash frame of the seat and the natural finish give it a nice appearance. It’s also coated with varnish to make it more durable, so be prepared to have this canoe seat for a long while.

If you're looking to replace your old canoe seat, this seat should be at the top of your list. It’s 32.5 inches wide, 9.5 inches long and 0.75 inches thick. If your seating area is well below these dimensions, all you have to do is trim to fit by either taking a measurement of the old seat or measuring the dimensions of your canoe’s seating area.

Here are more canoe seats from Mad River that you might like:
  • The Mad River Canoe Stained Web Seat – It features a cane frame with a synthetic polyester webbed material for improved durability. It is a standard bench that can fit most canoes
  • The Mad River Canoe Stained Cane Seat – It measures 41 inches and has a cane seating panel. It has a northern white ash seat frame and its exterior is coated with varnish to make it more durable
The wise canoe seat has a sturdy plastic frame and features a foam pad in a closed cell which prevents water from getting into it while canoeing. It also has a unique seat bracket which guarantees a steady mount. Do you need an advanced boat seat instead of a canoe seat? Then take a look at the Wise Folding Boat Seat, which is constructed with heavy-duty marine grade vinyl that’s protected against both mildew and UV rays.

Wise High Impact Plastic Canoe Seat with Special Seat Bracket

Wise is a leading manufacturer and supplier of canoe seats, boat interiors and other water-related accessories and has earned quite a name for itself by delivering top quality products and services. Hunters, canoeists, boaters and even anglers have come to rely solely on Wise for products that ensure the time spent in the wood or on water is not only comfortable, but memorable and enjoyable too.

The type of canoe seat used may be the difference between a good and bad canoe experience. If you’ve been having a bad canoeing experience, even to the point of cancelling your canoe trips, it’s time to get a good canoe seat, and the Wise Canoe Seat is as good as it gets. The frame of the seat is made from an extremely tough molded plastic which makes it highly durable. The foam pad comes in a closed cell and this prevents any form of moisture from getting into the foam.

This canoe seat is quite easy to mount and doesn’t require any form of expertise. It comes with a unique metal seat bracket that’s located at the front of the seat. This metal bracket is c-shaped and all you have to do is slide it beneath the existing canoe seat frame to keep it from falling over. Once secured, the outcome is a fairly steady seat that doesn’t tip over and provides you with the required comfort. Please note that if the seat bracket doesn’t hold properly, you have the option of attaching it with bolts and nuts.

When you’re done and you’re coming off the water, you can easily fold this canoe seat for either storage or transport. It only weighs 0.4 pounds, so it’s lightweight enough to be easily carried around.

Although a canoe is quite different from a boat, you can check these out if you want to see what kind of boat seats Wise has to offer:
  • The Wise Standard High Back Fishing Boat Seat – It features a high back design for back and shoulder support and is available in 7 colors
  • The Wise Economy Low Back Seat – With highly compressed foam pad and available in 11 colors. It’s mildew and UV treated and its frame is covered with embossed vinyl
  • The Wise Molded Fishing Boat Seat – It comes with marine grade cushion pads and a frame that’s made from high impact molded plastic. It’s available in 11 colors and comes with fasteners for easy mounting

How Do I Choose the Best Canoe Seat?

There are many canoe owners that don’t go canoeing anymore. Why? Because each time they board their canoes and glide swiftly across that lazy river, they end up with a sore back side. They miss out on that recreational paddling, wilderness touring, whitewater canoeing and even the occasional fishing day-trips they used to enjoy due to that stiff back and sore bum gotten from spending several hours on the hard bench they make use of. If only they knew that a good canoe seat could prevent all that and allow them to enjoy their favorite outdoor activity.

Well, now you know. If you're one of the people in the above description, you know better now. A canoe seat is as important as the canoe itself as it allows you to travel long distances or spend quality time on water without causing pain and discomfort to your body parts. This is because it brings comfort and stability. Canoes often already come with seats, but more often than not, they’re uncomfortable and you may choose to manage it that way because it accompanied the canoe. Well, canoe seats can be replaced, especially if they’re uncomfortable and prevent you from having a good trip on water.

When choosing canoe seats, there are certain things to consider. First, you need to know the dimensions of the seating panel of your canoe. This will prevent you from getting an oversized or undersized seat. You should also know the weight capacity of the seat, to prevent it from collapsing due to too much pressure. There are several designs of canoe seats and their construction materials vary. Great attention should be paid to details and these fine details can be the difference between getting the wrong or the right canoe seat.

At the end of the day, what we want is for you to keep having a comfortable, memorable and enjoyable trip each time you get on your canoe. Due to the fact that we couldn’t do full product reviews for all the brands we thought were outstanding, we've decided to mention 3 more products that could get the job done with regards to ensuring you have a smooth and comfortable ride:

Granite Gear Stowaway Packs provide the ideal storage place for important items that you want to take on your trip, yet keep out of water‘s reach. It also features a firm plastic bottom which prevents the bag from sagging when it’s fully loaded and it can also act as a fillet or cutting board.

Vbestlife Backrest Boating Seat which may also may be used in a kayak or canoe. It’s durable, lightweight and comfortable. It’s constructed with neoprene+600D polyester material and comes with an easily detachable seat bag that can be used to hold your personal belongings while on board.

Carlisle Snap-in Center Seat is a different type of canoe seat that fits tightly and snugly. It can either support an adult or 2 kids as it has a carrying capacity of 300 pounds. It’s made from durable ABS plastic and can be easily attached and detached.
If you can afford a canoe, then purchasing an accessory that could improve the quality of your trip shouldn’t be a source of worry. Generally speaking, canoe seats are price-friendly and you can get a solid canoe seat for as low as $30. Depending on the brand, they may go for as high as $60 but that’s still favorable, especially when compared to the cost of the canoe.

Don’t be misled with the option of settling for a cheap canoe because if the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is. A lot of people have abandoned their beautiful canoe just because they decided to pair with the wrong canoe seat in a bid to save cost. False economy, wouldn’t you agree with us?
Choosing the right canoe seat may not be easy as it sounds because there are literally so many to choose from. Different designs and sizes suit different purposes and to make it simpler, we've listed a few things you should look out for:
  • Design
  • Material
  • Size
  • Weight capacity
  • Attachment mode
Construction and Design
As stated earlier, different designs of canoe seats will suit different purposes. For example, if you intend on spending long hours on your canoe, the design of your canoe seat will differ greatly from someone that wants to take his/her family canoeing. Some canoe seats are deigned to function as an additional seat in the canoe so they may not necessarily offer the comfort required. These types of seat may nevertheless support a large weight and thus be useful if you intend to take a passenger on your trip.

Imagine having to spend up to 6 or 7 hours on water in one position, without any support for the back. Ouch! That’d result in one unhappy and very sore canoeist. This leads us to another set of canoe seat designs. Some other canoe seats put comfort before looks and are usually ideal for canoeists that take longer trips or spend more time on the water. This type of seat usually comes with a backrest for either back or back and shoulder support. They may or may not recline, but those that do recline may feature the smart recline technology or have adjustable straps for the purpose.

The rest of the canoe seats may not be that comfortable, but at least they’re aesthetically pleasing and may improve the general appearance of the canoe. These seats make for great replacement of damaged or old seats and are usually durable and can resist the weather. They aren’t usually great for long trips because of the lack of backrest, but they’d serve you properly and for a long time too.

There are different materials used to construct canoe seats and ultimately, the choice of the right material depends on your canoeing demands. Some canoe seats are made from cane and they have a wooden frame. These canoe seats are quite durable and beautiful. They’re usually finished with varnish or coated with paint to reduce the effect of UV-radiation and water on them. You may also come across propylene webbed canoe seats with wooden frames. These seats are more durable than the traditional cane seats and are weather resistant. What this means is that the elements would have no devastating effects on them. The only drawback is that once they get wet, they take time to dry unlike the cane seats that dry easily.

In your search for the right canoe seat, you’ll definitely come across seats that are made from molded plastic. These seats may not be all that beautiful, but they’re usually comfortable and if we’re being honest, that should be more important than how they look. They’ll stand up to years of vigorous and regular use and won’t be damaged by water because the foam padding is enclosed in a hard cell. You may also come across canoe seats that have metal frames and are covered by either vinyl or other types of nylon materials. These metal frames are quite strong and durable. They also provide the required comfort and are aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Performance and Ease of Use
Installing a canoe seat doesn’t require much expertise but the time taken will largely depend on the design of the canoe seat. Cane and webbed canoe seats usually come pre-assembled and ready for immediate installation but sometimes, depending on the length and width of your canoe’s seating area, you may have to trim it a bit to fit. That’s why it’s necessary to know the dimensions of your seating area so that you can measure against the canoe seat’s dimensions before purchasing it. After it’s been trimmed, you can now place it on the seating area.

Other designs of canoe seats come with straps or buckles at the rear for attaching it to the canoe. These seats are already assembled and the straps/buckles will enable smooth attachment to the canoe and ensure they’re held in place. Some straps are also attached at the side of the seat and this can be used to recline the seat to any position for extra comfort while canoeing. There are also seats that come with special mounting steel brackets which will slide on the existing frame of the canoe’s seat. Sometimes, the brackets may not hold so additional bracing with bolts and nuts may be needed.

Buying a canoe seat without considering the weight capacity may lead to seat giving out under pressure. Depending on the material of construction, some seats may support up to 300 pounds while others will support less than 200 pounds. Generally speaking, webbed and cane canoe seats will support more weight than the other designs of canoe seats. Unless you’re purchasing a canoe seat to strap on an existing seat, it’d be wise to check how much weight it can support before buying it.

To avoid degradation by the weather elements, it’s advisable to detach your canoe seat from the canoe after use. Not all canoe seats detach easily, but if yours does, taking it inside after canoeing will help prolong its life span. Its mode of storage will ultimately depend on the type of canoe seat. Some fold all the way down for storage, while others may not easily fold. The weight of the seat will also determine how easily portable it would be. Lightweight canoe seats (between 0.5 to 3 pounds) can easily be carried and transported while those that weigh more than 15 pounds may not always be easily portable. Some may come with carrying handles too, which will help when carrying it to and from the canoe.

Lastly, there are seats that are more functional and versatile than others. Let’s say you were taking a trip to the middle of the river just to take some pictures and maybe read. You’d need an additional storage pocket for holding your camera, reading glasses and sun shades too. Well, there are canoe seats that come with such pockets. They can hold several small gadgets that are needed off shore. Also, there are some canoe seats that are versatile – can be used outside the canoe. For example, they could be used as stadium seats, camping seats or for sitting when on shore. If you're an outdoor enthusiast, you may have to consider this seat, instead of buying multiple seats.

Get the Best Canoe Seat of 2023!

Now that you have all the information you need, why don’t you go ahead and make that purchase of the best canoe seat for you, knowing that your next trip would be made in comfort and style.

Our Top Choice
Essex Industries Ash Canoe Seat
Best Value
ALPS OutdoorZ Weekender Seat
GCI Outdoors SitBacker Canoe Seat
Mad River Web Canoe Seat
Wise High Impact Plastic Canoe Seat