It seems all of the major kayak manufacturers have moved to the stadium style seating on a number of the new fishing kayaks. Hobie is no different, bringing the Hobie Vantage seat to the 2015 Outback. I’ve seen guys sitting comfortably in their new kayaks, and I’m pretty envious of all the new raised seating options, but I’m in no position to buy a new kayak, especially not at the prices of the new Outback.
I personally have a 2006 Hobie Outback, which has a smaller tank well than the 2007 and newer models. As such, the Browning Turkey Hunting Chair mod found on a number of forums does not work on this hull, the legs do not fit into the tank well causing the seat to be unsupported in the back, and the seat too high to be useful. Extensive modification of the chair legs would be required to make this modification work.
A better option for the older Hobie Outback is the Jackson Elite Seat, which fits right into the 2006 Hobie Outback with no modifications required other than some installation straps. The straps I used were taken from a dog harness I purchased at the dollar store which kept costs way down. The seat fits into the hull with no rubbing or odd pressure points, the majority of the weight is carried in two small channels behind the existing seat mold, perfectly sized and spaced for the 1″ tube frame of the Jackson seat. The back of the seat contacts very lightly on the edges of the tank well, and the front legs fit in between the sides of the seat area in front.
In the rear 2 straps were attached to the frame of the seat back using clips and webbing from the harness, with standard metal clips to attach to existing points in the rear of the Outback. The clips did have to be sewed into the webbing.
In the front the Elite seat comes with a plastic clip suitable for 1″ webbing. The kayak has a small plastic hook installed in the middle of the seat area that I took off, and reinstalled with a piece of 1″ strap underneath. Now to install the seat the two slips are attached in the back, and the front strap is looped through the plastic clip on the seat and tightened down.
I added some pipe insulation around the seat legs to help prevent wearing on the kayak or the seat and to keep it tight on the front legs within the molded Outback seat.
Total added height to the seat is about 5″, which appears to be lower than the current Hobie Outback, and is well within a safe level for the a kayak this stable.
Spring is coming, and I’m looking forward to me new higher, more comfortable seat to chase those early season smallies.