anyone use the nrs backband?

I’m considering upgrading the backband on my boat (Perception Sonoma 13.5) as it is a high touring seat which limits any sort of layback on rolls and makes re-entries difficult during self-rescues. From reading past threads, it seems that people like the NSI Anatomical backbands, Bomber Gear wicked backbands, as well as the Snap Dragon backbands. I’ve been looking at the NRS backband and I’m intrigued. It looks really comfortable and frankly I just like NRS as a company. All these backbands are similarly priced (~$40-50) and I guess I’m looking for some pros and cons to these.

If anyone has or has tried the NRS backband in particular I’d be really interested in some feedback. Thanks!

IR Flex Capacitor
I put an Immersion Research Fex Capacitor in my white water boat and have been happy with it. I was going to put one in my sea kayak as well as a replacement for the Phase 3 seat back, but I finally found a comfortable position for the Phase 3

IR Reggie 2.0 (haven’t seen/tried a Flex).


NSI Whitewater or Mini Whitewater (same size as Reggie).

All are decent and good for touring. IMO the “touring” bands are too big.

For a bargian, watch eBay. Perception and Dagger branded versions of the Reggie (and a touring model) show up often - and go for half or less what a new IR goes for. None there now, of course!

I remember seeing some on ebay earlier in the year. I guess I’ll try to be patient and keep my options open for now. The NRS backband looks to be a lower “whitewater style” backband which obviously is my preference over the high back style.

Tom Bergh offered my wife the option of an NRS or Bomber backband to replace the stock NDK backband in her Explorer. Knowing Tom, this indicates that he feels the NRS is a good backband.

My wife chose the Bomber and is very happy with it. It is a better backband than the Bomber band in my Elaho (4 years old).

I’ve read the cam buckles can rust pretty easily. Search old posts.

NRS band doesn’t look that interesting (I only see one model) and at 6.5 x 17" seems a bit big. I only have 16" between my seat posts. Their band’s just a thermoformed PE foam/fabric laminate pad with web strap sling. They’re made for NRS by Surf to Summit who mostly does SOT seats and pads. S2S has it on their site, and shows a back view which makes it look a little better:

I like the more solid bands that don’t just act like soft fabric slings. I want something there for support, not to settle back into or have wrap around me, but that’s a personal preference. S2S makes the best SOT seats - but don’t like that sort of arrangement even on an SOT. I much preferred the bare plastic seatback/seatpan on my Tarpon 160. Full mobility - no chafing. Don’t need no La-Z-Boy huggin’ me while I’m trying to paddle! Would not want to do 20+ miles with gear like that, but for shorter more casual paddles - whatever’s comfy I guess. Different strokes…

MIKCo’s options may just reflect what they stock - and there of lots of reasons shops carry certain gear. Usually part of a broader line offered by a distributor. Most shopes can’t pick and choose one or two items form every manufacturer (too many suppliers is a pain), or offer a dozen choices of one type of product (too many SKUs), etc.

I’m sure the bands work well enough, but I don’t recall seeing either being talked about as top backband options for a while (bomber used to come up more).

thanks for the good comments
My interest in the NRS band was more from a company loyalty standpoint than the actual aesthetics of the band. I’m open to any and all good backbands when I actually think about it. I guess then I should re-phrase my question because inevitably my pocketbook will be the determining factor. I haven’t seen too many ebay backbands (Reggie’s) recently, so does anyone know of a good source of affordable backbands? I guess “best band for the money” would be my goal. IR, NSI, Bomber, Snapdragon, un-branded… so many choices!

The Bomber band in my wife’s boat does not have the metal cams of earlier models and is quite nice.

I think the NRS back band is a new item.

The best (IMHO) I’ve seen are IR backbands.

They’re not that expensive
Don’t price shop - get a good one. $10-15 bucks either way won’t kill your wallet, but buying a cheapo band might kill your back!

The IR is worth the price. I suspect same for NSI. Think I paid around $40 for mine - and was one of the best things I’ve bought.

RE: Ebay, sorry! There was an IR that went yesterday - but I didn’t see it! Went for $21.98

don’t worry about the cheopo bands
I would end up buying a good band but if bomber vs. nsi vs. ir are comparable, I obviously would want the cheapest of the bunch.

I can’t believe I didn’t see that ebay one either! I had been looking for backbands on ebay for a while now. A Reggie would have been great to have.

So you’re still shopping on price.

My point was - Don’t. Not for differences that small on something that key to comfort. Go for the one you feel will be best - not cheapest out of a few that appear OK - this isn’t a government contract, and that approach only work if there is no difference or you don’t care what you use.

There is a difference - but who knows which will be best for you? I’m with wilsoj2 regarding IR - and know a couple very happy NSI (not NRS) owners.

Good luck with whatever you get.

An easier solution.
One of the first modifications I made to a Sonoma 13.5 was to reduce the seat height so I could lay on the rear deck for rolling, sculling, and bracing. Just take the plastic insert out of the seatback and cut it level with the cockpit rim. (I think I trimmed off about 2.5 inches.) Works great, and still very comfortable and supportive.

Other useful modifications for the Sonoma: tons more padding under the thigh braces, more front flotation, sealing the rather conspicuous gap in the hatch cover seal (where the ends of the seal strip butt together), a stainless eye-bolt on the rear deck in place of the existing plastic loop (good for security and a tie-down point), and a small fixed skeg glued to the stern to improve tracking and reduce weathercocking (use Goop to hold anything to the Airalite plastic). The Sonoma is really a nice little boat for mild water, and for catching waves.

that’s a great idea dave!
I’ll definitely try that out. The height is the problem with the backband (for all the reasons you mentioned) because as a whole it is very comfortable. I’ve already added a ton of minicell to the thigh braces for a better fit and I have split float bags in the front as well. I still need to seal the hatch gap as I’m still sponging away a significant amount of water every time I get done with roll practice. I’m working on some small hip pads as well for a little nicer fit. As for the skeg, that’s an interesting idea and I’ll have to keep it in mind. I actually love how quickly the Sonoma turns and would hate to limit that. Of course it does tend to weathercock but I just figure in the long run it will make me a better paddler!