Bad Back

I have a bad back and can not sit up straight without support. I can not afford a new canoe. Are there any suggestions about adjusting a regular camping type of canoe so that I could have support for my back?

Low back pain

– Last Updated: Nov-06-04 11:46 PM EST –

I too, appreciate support. This may not work for you but I found a folding stadium type chair works pretty good for me. This one has no frame but I have seen some that do. Mine is nylon covered closed cell foam. It has three panels if laid flat. 2 of them wrap around the canoe seat and use fastex buckles to sandwich the seat. The third panel is supportd by 1" wide adjustable web straps that hold up the back panel. For me, this forces me into good posture and also helps retain heat which is good also. Cost about $8 at Target. Check out aftermarket canoe seats at larger paddling retailers if you need a ridgid backed chair.

Wenonah seat and backl
Wenonah makes two kinds of seat/backs; one for a bench type seat and the other for a tractor type seat. They are both padded with the seat portion strapping around and under the seat and a back that folds is held up by support straps that attach to the front of the seat.

I have both types and find that the bench seat type is easy to rig (you could use a Crazy Creek seat, commonly sold by camping goods stores. as an alternative).

Unfortunately I still haven’t figured out how to use the support straps to brace the back of the tractor seat type. Be sure to have your dealer demonstrate how to set it up on an actual tractor seat if you buy one! (And let me know!!)


Spring Creek carrys several seats
with rigid type backs. I sympathize with ya…

Canoe seats
Here’s are links to three.,117.html

Scroll down the OT page for several seatback types.

I have found the rigid seatbacks to be superior to the folding chair type. Great for fishing or when you need a break.

After switching to canoes from kayaks due to back problems I appreciate your challenge. I am unable to sit in normal chairs due to the pressure it puts on a disk. The solution for me was to install a ww saddle in my canoe. ( Thanks Halfapaddle g).I can happily paddle for hours with no back pain.The increased stability of my boat is a huge plus, but I have never used a regular seat in a canoe. Mohawk makes a nice saddle if your interested…good luck, Kim

Seatpad/Backrest Experience
We’ve had the Wenonah seatpad/backrests on the tractor seats in our canoe for over two years. We have not had trouble with the backrest straps - they just clip around the ends of the front seat support bar. We do have trouble in that the backrests don’t stay up by themselves, so whenever you get into the canoe, you have to raise the seatback.

But they are a relevation in canoe comfort and performance. Even with footbraces, you get sore trunk muscles from trying to translate the off-center force from paddlestrokes into moving you forward, instead of twisting you around. But with a backrest you’re locked in like in a kayak seat, while still being able to paddle unrestricted.

I can understand why traditional canoeing, with high seats or kneeling, did not clue into backrests, but with this type of gear available it’s hard to understand why canoeists refuse to adopt such an obvious and wonderful advance.

I rigged a Voyageur backband in my
canoe. It stays in position, but can be pushed down if I need to bail out backwards. My former seatback was rigid and could trap me in the brush and branches. I also have Yakima footbraces and change the adjustment to change position and give my back a break. If you can kneel, it is sometimes easier on the back. Changing positions helps me stay comfortable.

Saddle Solution…
Back pain varies so much based on the injury etc., and it’s difficult to know what works and what doesn’t. Lower back pain is often exacerbated when you sit with knees at or above your waist, so kneeling can often help and allows you sit upright as opposed to the uncomfortable hunched over. Kneeling also provides an increased level of stability to the canoe. Maintaining that kneeling position can be difficult without support so the solution has been a foam saddle.

As Kim stated earlier in the thread, both she and I have had great success with the use of Mohawk saddles… there are many others out there that would work just as well. You might consider giving it a try …or if you’re doing physical therapy for back pain…ask your therapist or Dr about which position might work best. It’s been a great and comfortable solution for me with lower back pain.

my back pain solution
This may not be the answer you are looking for, but it has opened up a new world for me. When my back pain became too great when canoeing, I learned how to pole. I like it so much better than using a paddle that I rarely even pick up a paddle any more. Not only is it less painful, but it is less tiring also.