I was tired of the Hobie Outback seat in pre 2015 Outback models. I just turned 38 and stand 5’11”, 210 lbs. After a few hours of fishing, I began to notice increasing lower back aches, and at times, a wet behind. After reaching out to several friends in the kayak community and researching online, I finally decided to install a Jackson seat on my 2013 Outback.
Here are step by step instructions on my no-drill installation.
What you’ll need:
- Jackson seat (older black version or grey Elite)
- Pre 2015 Outback seat
- Self sealing pipe insulation polyethylene (should fit 1/2″ pipes)
- Self sealing pipe insulation flexible rubber (should fit 3/4″ pipes)
- Black duct tape
Cut off 4 2″ sections of both the polyethylene and flexible rubber pipe insulation. Insert the 4 polyethylene sections on each of the 4 “legs” of the Jackson seat frame. Once secure, wrap the polyethylene sections with the flexible rubber sections for added support. Once all 4 sections are secured, wrap each with black duct tape (for added UV protection and strength). You may need to adjust the location of the pipe insulation on the rear of the seat frame. You’ll see photos below.
I fumbled around a bit on this next step and initially, intended to zip tie the seat frame to the pre-installed pad eyes on the Outback. But after a few trial runs sitting and standing, I felt the pad eyes would eventually give way, given the amount of stress on them while seated. Here’s where your old Outback seat comes into the picture.
Cut off both carabiner straps and set them aside. Be sure and give yourself about 8″ or so when cutting, in case you need to make adjustments later on.
Carefully measure the distance from the pad eye and poke a small hole in the carabiner strap. I used a small pair of scissors then rounded out the hole with a small screwdriver. Then slowly remove the existing bolt and nut on the seat frame that holds the straps together.
Align the hole you just made on the carabiner strap with the hole already on the Jackson seat frame and secure the nut and bolt back into its original place. Once tightened, simply latch the carabiner onto the pad eye, just like the old Outback seat.
Here are a few completion photos.
In the photo below, you’ll notice how I had to adjust the location of the rear pads.
I will likely end up adding some thick foam underneath the rear legs of the seat frame for added support. I have not taken it out fishing yet so I cannot comment on its performance but here are some of my initial thoughts:
- Much more comfortable
- Not sitting in water
- Improved sight
- Under seat storage
- More leg room
- Higher center of gravity
- Mirage Drive position adjustment
- More difficult to reach rudder control
Overall I am very happy with how it turned out and only cost me a little over $100. Happy kayak modding!