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How to Sit In an Inflatable Kayak Comfortably?

How to Sit In an Inflatable Kayak Comfortably?

You’re ready to hit the water in your brand new inflatable kayak.

Just one problem: you’re not sure how to sit in one. Is there some appropriate position you should assume while sitting in your kayak? Is there a “right” or “wrong” way to do it?

Furthermore, how do you get into and out of a kayak to begin with?

Let’s find out, shall we?

Where Should You Sit in an Inflatable Kayak?

room for inflatable chairs

That depends on the style of the kayak.

Some inflatable kayaks look similar to hard kayaks–they have an enclosed shell with a hole in the middle. In these types of kayaks, it’s easy to see where to sit; the opening in the middle of the kayak is for you. 

This opening will have room for an inflatable chair, which should be included with the kayak and will allow you to have some support for your back.

Some inflatable kayaks are more open, similar in style to a canoe. These kayaks may not have inflatable chairs or designated sitting areas, so you may have more trouble knowing where to sit.

In these cases, it’s best to sit in the middle or toward the back of the kayak. There should be enough room for your legs to extend out comfortably. They may even come with a footrest for added comfort.

Some kayaks have room for more than one passenger. These may have designated spots for you to put any included inflatable chairs, which you and your passengers will sit in. Sitting areas in these kayaks are often adjustable, and seats are not always included.

If you are one passenger in a multiple-passenger kayak, sit in the middle or back seat. If you can reposition your seat, move it toward the middle or back of the kayak. Keep your gear in designated areas. 

Be careful not to overload your kayak, whether for one or multiple passengers. Having too much gear will not only crowd you but may also increase your chances of capsizing.

Sit only in the designated areas in your kayak. Don’t sit on the kayak’s top or sides, and don’t stand up in it. Doing these things may cause imbalance and may even result in injury.

How to Sit in an Inflatable Kayak Comfortably?

sitting in an inflatable kayak

Sitting in an inflatable kayak is much like sitting in a regular kayak, except the inflatable version will feel softer. For this reason, you may find an inflatable kayak to be much more comfortable.

That said, the sitting position may seem a little uncomfortable whether you’re in a hard shell or inflatable kayak, especially after long periods. It may also feel less comfortable in choppy waters or during rainy or windy weather. 

No matter how comfortable you are in your inflatable kayak, you will probably experience some stiffness or soreness, especially if you’re out on the water for long periods of time or dealing with rough conditions.

How you sit in your kayak can affect your overall comfort and possibly reduce the soreness you experience later on.

Should Your Knees Be Bent in an Inflatable Kayak?

bend your knees if this is comfortable

When sitting in your kayak, you will probably be more comfortable if your knees are slightly bent. You could even put a pillow or cushion underneath your knees to help with overall comfort levels.

That said, you don’t have to bend your knees if this is more uncomfortable for you. Ultimately, the best way to sit in a kayak is whichever way you are most comfortable. 

You may want to experiment with not bending your knees, bending them only a little, or bending them at more of an angle to see what works best for you.

Also, you may have a harder time bending your knees in a small kayak with an enclosed area for your legs. Many inflatable kayaks are open, more like canoes, but some have the more classic design of hard kayaks. These may have very little space, so they won’t allow your knees to bend very much.

So, it will depend on your kayak’s style and your comfort whether you decide to bend your knees or not. Give it a try, if possible, as bending your knees will likely make you more comfortable, but if it doesn’t work for you, that’s okay.

Should Your Legs Be Straight in an Inflatable Kayak?

keeping your legs straight in an kayak

So, we talked about bending your knees, but what about keeping your legs straight? Can your legs be straight while you’re in a kayak?

They can be, yes; but they don’t have to be.

You may find that keeping your legs straight is easiest, especially if you’re in an enclosed kayak–this is because there may not be enough room to bend your legs very much.

But keeping your legs straight will likely cause some discomfort, especially across your back and abdomen. Keeping your legs straight, especially for a long period, is a less natural position, particularly if your kayak has no backrest or chair.

You don’t want your body to be too rigid, as rigidity won’t allow for enough freedom of movement and may make paddling harder.

If you need to keep your legs straight, you might want to bring a cushion or something to use as a backrest.

Again, experiment with sitting in different positions to find out what works best for you. Whatever is comfortable, sit in that position.

You will probably be most comfortable if you shift positions from time to time. Perhaps try keeping your knees bent part of the time and keeping your legs straight at other times.

What is the Best Way to Get Into an Inflatable Kayak?

Getting in and out can be the hardest part of using an inflatable kayak. You might find it helps to watch a tutorial video like the following one first:

How to Get In and Out of an Inflatable Kayak from a Bank, Pontoon, Dock or Jetty

Then, follow these steps:

  1. Sit on the bank or dock: Your kayak should be in the water right next to the bank of dock–tied off, if possible. Sit right beside the kayak, next to the spot where you want to sit once you’re inside the kayak.
  2. Place your feet in the kayak: While still sitting on the bank or the dock, bend your knees and lift your feet into the kayak. Keep them just in front of the spot where you plan to sit.
  3. Place one hand on the far side: With your hand that’s closest to the kayak, reach across the kayak and put your hand on the far side to stabilize it.
  4. “Crab walk” into the kayak: Keep one hand on the far side of the kayak and one hand on the bank or dock, lift yourself up, and “crab walk” into the kayak. Allow your feet to shift forward as your backside moves into the kayak.

To get out:

  1. Place one foot behind the other: Spread your feet and position one of them slightly behind the other. This will help to stabilize the kayak as you lift your body out of it.
  2. Place both hands on the bank or dock: Turn your body so that both your hands can reach the bank or the deck. Keep them firmly in place.
  3. Lift yourself out: Lift your backside out of the kayak and slide it onto the bank or the dock. Lift your feet out one at a time.


When sitting in a kayak, it’s best to find the most comfortable position for you. You may have to experiment with positions like bending your knees or keeping your legs straight, and it may help to shift from one position to another over time.

deborah reasoner

Saturday 6th of August 2022

Mine seems to recline when I want to sit up straight because of back issues