Kayak or canoe with back support

I am a newbie hear and I am looking to buy a kayak (SOT) or maybe canoe. No telling how many post have been made similar to mine. I have been seriously looking at the Manta ray 12 and Tarpon 120 kayaks, but I am slightly wondering if I need a canoe. One of my biggest concerns is a comfortable seat with good lumbar (lower) back support. I have sat in a few (Cheaper Pelican) that were not very good at all that would kill my back. I will be fishing creeks and lake shores only. No serious stuff. I am 47 213# and in good health but I do not want a real heavy kayak or canoe to load. I also want the most bang for my buck. So what are some comfortable fishing Kayaks or canoes out the that do a really good job for a good price with seats that are comfortable for hours? Any suggestions would be appreciated.



both have good seats
Both those fishing kayaks have great seats. You can add a lumbar support as well if the stock seats are not enough. I’m not sure who makes them but I have seen snap in lumbar supports somewhere…

You can add seats
Surf to Summit makes some, as do a number of other companies. They can be added with the meager effort of a snapping a couple of clips to nearly any SOT.

That said, Wilderness Systems and Native both make SOTs with extremely comfy seats.

Just know that you don’t have to limit your search to kayaks that come with built in seats in order to have one.

  • Big D

Another question
I went to a local sporting goods store and looked at the Pelican SOT kayak for $379 and figured that would be “good enough” to do what I want. Then I sat in it and came to the conclusion that after a couple of hours in it I would not be able to walk and a fishing trip would involve the chiropractor. If I buy a seat at around $100 I might as well spend a few more bucks and get a better kayak. There is a place that rents and sell different stuff so I need to make a trip there and try some stuff.

What do you guys that have both think of smaller canoes verses a SOT? I know it’s been asked here hundreds of times. Is the wind much of a factor with a canoe verses a SOT? I could get to my stuff easier with a canoe I imagine.


Canoe vs. SOT
Really a matter of personal preference. I think SOT’s are just about the ideal personal fishing tool. Al_A thinks the same of solo canoes.

They are each good. There is a lot to like about canoes. They are easy to load. There are only slightly more difficult to learn to paddle well than an SOT. The wind does push them around a bit, but not nearly as much as something like an inflatable pontoon boat or small raft.

For SOT’s, I like setting them up, I find them comfortable, I think they’re easy to adjust your position in them, and I find them very easy to control and especially easy to learn to use. I also think they are a little bit more forgiving than a solo canoe in initial stability, but that depends on the canoe and the user a whole lot.

Really, it’s six of one, half dozen of the other. Pay your money and take your choice.

Steer clear of the Pelican kayaks. The ones I’ve seen did not appear to be durable or well made. You’d be better off with a gently used version of a ‘pedigreed’ fishing kayak than a new Pelican in my opinion.

  • Big D

Go with the Manta Ray 12
the new models with the Native name on them have very nice seats with adjustable back support. I have the MR14 and it is great except the carry weight.


I have a Tarpon 160 and several other kayaks to go with my bad back. The Tarpon 160 is the most comfortable boat I’ve ever paddled including all my canoes. I can sit in it all day and still move around fine at the end of the day. I cannnot say that about any other boat.

Can you rent them first to see which fits best?

Tarpon 160 is a beast
One of the heaviest solo SOTs out there.

Like D said…
I believe that a good solo canoe is a much superior fishing craft compared to a kayak, since it can do about anything a kayak can do, and do some things better (like carrying more gear and more fishing rods and carrying them inside the gunwales). Canoes are slightly more affected by wind, which in my opinion is about the only thing where a kayak is superior. On the other hand, there are a number of good solo canoes that are lighter in weight than nearly any kayak.

Seating is a personal thing. Personally I find the lower seating in a kayak, with legs out in front and body often somewhat reclined, to be much less comfortable than the bench type seating in a canoe. But few canoes come with backrests. I think this can be a good thing…it allows you to customize the canoe seat to fit your body. There are a number of aftermarket backrests and seat cushions available, but the problem is that you won’t know which ones work best for you without trying them, and experimenting can get expensive. I’m currently using the Sitbacker canoe seat, which has backrest and cushion combined. I’m happy enough with the backrest, not quite so happy with the cushion. I am still intending to rebuild my homemade backrest and go back to using it and a Thermorest type self-inflating cushion, which was the most comfortable combo I’ve ever used.