backbands vs hard seatback

hi all …i’m a bit confused about backbands, exactly what they are and their use?..i tried using archive to find past articles but not much luck xplaining them vs hard seatbacks …can sumone enlighten me as to why they think they’re better and why don’t companies use them more? thanx

Backbands are preferred over hard(tall) seatbacks by active paddlers because they stay out of the way. If you’re paddling actively you’re sitting up straight or leaning forward, you’re rotating your torso, you’re leaning and edging, and you’re letting the boat move under you. All of those things are harder with a rigid seatback than with a flexible band around your lower back. If you need to lean back for boat trim or rolling, a backband won’t get in your way.

If you’re more concerned with comfort than boat control, and are more interested in fishing or birdwatching than the actual paddling, a higher seatback might be more comfortable for you.

Backbands aren’t more common because showroom comfort sells more boats than on-water performance.

some of the differences
I will refer you to Brian Nystroms webshots album for a picture of a back band in kayak.


Now for seat backs…

What you are seeing in the pictures is that the back bands are flexible material (fabric and foam usually) and the seat backs are hard material (usually plastic covered with foam and fabric).

Like the others have mentioned it really comes down to paddling style and personal preference. Seat backs offer more support for relaxing like a Lay-Z-Boy, but there is a reason why they are called ‘lazy boy’ chairs. The support of a seat back and hinder torso rotation and leaning backwards in a kayak.

You can always start with a seat back then put in back band if you want a change. I personally don’t like either and opt for a foam back ‘column’.

You can see a picture at Sea Kayak Georgia’s website.

You probably don’t need more options at this point but I thought I would mention it anyway.

another option

– Last Updated: Apr-05-08 8:52 PM EST –

is paddling with nothing behind your back at all (i.e. neither a back band, nor seat back, nor foam column, etc.) - that's what Rebecca, my wife and partner swears by.

Rebecca found the seat that came with her QCC to be uncomfortable. I velcroed a Sealine kayak seat cushion to the seat pan and installed a nice back band.

However, at the end of the day Rebecca much prefers paddling without a seat back or a back band.

Encourage you to experiment and go with what works best for your style of paddling. I myself am of the back band persuasion.

I have been looking at those recently. If I am fishing or lily dipping, I tend to lean back but when paddling I tend to lean forward. I use a back band on 2 of my boats and one fishing SOT has a deep seat well with nothing needed. Are the columns more comfortable and do they really help rotation?