Back Band for Canoe?

I am toying with buying a back band for my canoes. I just want a little extra support once in a while. I have no problems adding hardware to my boats to accommodate switching it between boats. I saw this online but am wondering if a SOT will work the same in a canoe.

I really don’t like the cane seat back rest set up, have had them in the past and gave them away. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


What sort of seat, Doug?
CVCA makes these for tractor seats

Sometime I saw a belt type back support that went under your thighs.

I take it you have a footbar?

Different Canoes
All webbed seats, god how I hate cane seats! I need to move this from canoe to canoe hence my mention of installing hardware to accommodate its addition as I need it. Not going on my WW boat but for my tripping boats yes! No foot brace of any kind outside the kayaks where I don’t need it.


I have used stadium seats
As I had a lot of them laying around from watching the kids play football. The old style folding seats are great for a little while. I have a soft folding one I like because it has a flap with pockets that hangs behind your calves.

The seats I have for my one and only SOT are kind of floppy, they rely on the kayak to give it shape. Yak Attack makes ones specifically for canoes that is a little stiffer and the bottom seat is canoe seat sized instead of a big long pad. I’ve never used it.

If you are sitting
in anything you paddle seated you need footrests.

Otherwise with every stroke you make your back is forced to try and keep yourself on the seat. Try paddling with a slippery pair of pants on and keep your feet in the air…

You will experience better the reason for your back hurting… With every paddle stroke that places a force rearward there is a tendency for the body to pull forward off the seat.

Feetpegs counter that force.

I always advice foot support first, back support second.

Canoe foot pegs?
Excuse me while I hijack the thread a second

Do you mean like kayak foot pegs on a rail? So you sit in the seat with your legs out in front of you? I am having a hard time picturing this. I alternate between kneeling or sitting with my ankles crossed. Without tractor seats having foot pegs in front of me is not going to keep me from sliding backwards. Got any pictures?

Surf to Summit
Performance back band is what I use on my Penobscot. I like it a lot. Along with the foot bar I installed it makes paddling a breeze.

Forward attachment to gunnel loops and rear attachment to a thwart positioned just behind my center seat.

Although it goes on and off with ease, I leave it on and simply fasten it flat to the seat for traveling.

You don’t slide backwards with

– Last Updated: Mar-09-14 1:01 PM EST –

every paddle stroke. You slide forwards. You need footpegs when sitting to develop maximum power without back strain.

Paddling physics does not differentiate canoe from kayak.

Google Wenonah Footbrace and Harmony Foot pegs.

Paddling with your ankles crossed is the least desirable from a power and stability standpoint. Yes I know people do it and its their business.

You don't need pictures. Google Newtons Third Law.

Now when you have that foot support installed, if you tend to drive the boat by pushing off with your legs, that's where the backband comes in quite handy.

Well obviously crossed ankles isn’t a

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power position, but it is a nice way to relax, maintain control, and soak in the reason for being on the water. I don't have balance problems For power I switch to kneeling.

Your smartazz Newton's third law comment wasn't particularly useful.

Googled Harmony foot pegs and got all kayak links, so that's two worthless pieces of advice.

Now the Wenonah footbrace, that was helpful because now I see what you're talking about. So a bow paddler doesn't need them, and when paddling my fiberglass and my aluminum canoes they have cross bracing in the floor which do the same thing, I can see where the footbrace would be useful in a Royalex boat if it didn't interfere with being able to kneel. Footpegs on the other hand would mean you would be stuck in one position like in a kayak but with your legs splayed even further. I guess you would need to lower the seat also? Which would make it difficult to switch to kneeling? Without seeing what your describing it sounds like you have to decide whether you want to paddle kayak style or being able to kneel. Does the footbrace interfere with kneeling?
If I'm not picturing the pegs right and anyone's got pictures I wouldn't mind a link. If all you got is smug smartazz comments feel free to (edit)

canoe foot brace
Kim has it right. When you paddle the thrust you develop with the paddle is transferred to the boat thru your points of contact with the hull. Your butt is the main contact point. As you pull back on the paddle your butt and the canoe move forward towards the paddle plant in the water. The foot brace keeps you firmly in place on the seat and helps in the energy transfer. At a lilydipping pace there is a low energy transfer. At race pace there is a lot of thrust being transferred. A tractor seat and a footbrace is the best combination for energy transfer. Without the footbrace your body stiffens up to keep position on the seat and you get lower back pain.

When I paddle in a canoe without a brace I immediately notice how loose I am relative to the canoe. A royalex hull with slick plastic seats and no foot brace is the worst. Wooden seats are an improvement depending on how well you sink into the frame and the friction provided by the webbing, lacing, or cane.

A footbrace can be kayak style pegs with the rails attached thru the hull or a crossbar attached to side rails thru the hull; or a simple length of dowel attached to the seat frame with cord. The adjustable Wenonah and the carbon fiber racing footbrace are the best.


Let’s Try This Again
I just want a back band to lean against to rest on, not while I’m paddling hard. I’m not putting foot rests in, I’m not planning on depending on it while paddling. Point taken? Just a rest thing. Just wondering if this SOT seat would do the job. Jeez, I’m not modifying every canoe, just an added piece of comfort gear!

You obviously don’t understand physics

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I wouldn't use my SOT seat in a canoe, strap angles and the bottom are all wrong. But this is probably what you're looking for (from Yak Gear, I posted the wrong name earlier.)

Doug you can try a Crazy Creek
Chair. The last time I was in Campmor there even was from Crazy Creek a canoe chair.

CVCA back band
I have tried everything and love the support that the CVCA band offers. It is very lightweight and the design is simple. They make a good product. My canoe has wood gunwales and a bench seat. Here is a little write up on how it is attached and what it looks like:

Footbrace: I find it is an essential item to add to the canoe if you do any type of sit/switch paddling.

that’s where getting to where you can
saw yourself a good pedestal with a comfortable backing makes for a nice paddle doug. Of course this is just my experience…I’m 5’9". The thin, softer foam layered over the main foam is what makes it all comfy. Cut the rear of this thing really long so that it’ll fit under a extremely lowered cane/web seat for a tight “secured” fit(I also cement on a sort of “hook” at the end that hooks around the seat for added hold)…you’re right anything with the front crosspiece made of anything solid is not comfortable no matter what angle it’s put at(personal…again).

As you can visualize it takes a whole foam block…~$100+/- to begin with.


Quick comments
I think you would have less need for a foot brace with a tractor seat than with a bench seat because the contour of the seat helps hold you in place, but for real paddling power, a foot brace helps a lot if sitting.

Most people don’t ever kneel with tractor seats, but I suppose if you’ve got enough clearance underneath for you feet, it can be done.

I had solo canoe with a bench seat which I originally set up for sitting. I realized right away I needed a foot brace to keep from sliding forward every time I needed to exert a lot of power. Soon after, I raised the seat and tilted it forward for full-time kneeling comfort and switched my paddling style to kneeling. I left the foot brace in place and it didn’t get in the way at all, because it was much farther forward than where my knees would go when kneeling. You see, I put the bar out in front of me to brace my feet against it with my legs outstretched (that’s the normal setup), so the floor area where one might cross their ankles when sitting or place their knees when kneeling stays clear.

After I switched to nearly 100-percent kneeling, the final benefit that I didn’t expect was that with the seat sloped forward and the foot brace still in place, I could still sit on the seat and use the foot brace, but now I was really “locked in” better than before. I couldn’t slip forward because of the foot brace and couldn’t slip backward on account of the sloping seat. I bet you’d get the same effect with your tractor-style seat.

This is what I have in my Voyager

My seat sits very low in the canoe and I also have the adjustable foot rest. The canoe reminds me more of paddling a kayak than a canoe.

I have a new Royalex solo
That I don’t have much seat time in it and what I do have was all in a small lake screwing around with freestyling. I already know I want to adjust the seat for kneeling and thinking about covering the floor in front of the seat with foam. I did notice the first time I paddled it I was looking for the little ridges in the floor like I have in my aluminum and my fiberglass boat. I don’t have tractor seats. Mostly I paddle non-white water. I will have to think about a footbar.

Thanks Guide.

More thoughts, ideas

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I was in a super hurry when I posted earlier and somehow, maybe from another post (?), got the idea of tractor seats stuck in my head.

Anyway, if you put a slope on the seat for kneeling and if you have a Royalex boat, you will find that some of the standard name-brand kneeling pads tend to slide around, especially once the inside of the hull gets wet. I installed a few rows of shower traction strips on the floor of the boat, and that solves the problem of the kneeling pad slipping around. Naturally the traction strips work best at the locations where your knees push the pad against the hull, but that's a small area so I ended up with three or four lengthwise strips on each side, about where my knees go.

I also have trouble with my knees slipping on the pad itself during powerful strokes, and so I painted the knee-contact areas with that "liquid plastic" stuff that people use to coat tool handles. That helps a lot. I think one brand is called "Plasti-Dip" or some such thing, and for normal use, you open the can and dip the handles of pliers etc. right into the liquid material (that description should make it possible to figure out what material I'm talking about, just in case you haven't heard of it before). I just smeared the stuff around on the kneeling pad using a crappy paint brush (it soaks into the thin cloth covering of the pad, so I needed a few coats).

I just bought a new kneeling pad at the Mad River booth at our local springtime paddle show, and it's a very dense pad (that's a good thing - your knees don't "poke through" as easily) and it has a very rough, almost sticky surface on both sides. I'm hoping it works well. I'm told most people buy these pads so their dogs are more comfortable in the boat, but I'm thinking it will be the best kneeling material I've used so far. We'll see.

Naturally there are all sorts of materials you can use for padding the floor, but I figured it couldn't hurt to pass along a description of my problems and solutions.

Since that first solo boat I mentioned in my other post, I've never gone back to having a foot brace because any time I need control of the boat I kneel. A foot brace would still be handy though. Nowadays when I sit on the seat to relax and rest my knees, I put my feet up on the thwart, because sitting on a sloped seat without any foot bracing at all isn't such a good thing, except when not even paddling.

Here's one final thing in answer to another of your earlier questions. You've probably figured this out by now too, but whether using foot pegs or a standard foot brace (a bar that crosses from one side to the other), you don't need to splay your legs out at all. With legs extended and your feet on the bar or pegs and close against each side of the hull, your knees are down, out of your way. It's just like sitting in a kayak except that it works just fine even if the seat is high off the floor. Still, most people who sit in a canoe put the seat two or three inches lower than what people do who kneel.

Second the crazy creek
suggestion. Some are sized for canoe seats. Cheap, adjustable support and easily moved from boat to boat… Seems to hit all your needs