Canoe Seat Backs

What is everyone’s impression regarding canoe seat backs? The traditional looking ash with web or even cane seat backs? vs. the nylon padded sit backer styles, etc. I’ve never tried the ash/ web style, are they comfortable? They look nicer than the nylon ones in my opinion…but it’s all about the comfort. I’d like to hear what people say about this.

I use a Sitbacker brand seat on my Old Town Pack canoe sometimes. It turns it into a floating barcalounger.

Well, maybe not THAT good, but it is pretty comfortable. Not a very performance oriented configuration, but for an easy float down a lazy Central Illinois river, I find it to be more comfortable than just using the factory cane seat. If I’m going to go through a riffle or small drop, I usually get on my knees for a moment to get better contact with the boat, then get back in the seat when the “excitement” is over.

I use one when my trip will be more than a day and when I plan on fishing. Have bought Sitbackers, Crazy Creek, Wenonah, Seal Line, et al and the cane seat backs have MUCH more support and are more comfy than the others. I have a friend (Vic) who takes it one step further and puts a thermarest seat pad to pad his. WW

seat backs
Two issues to consider with seatbacks in general; one applies to the Sitbacker, in particular: 1) If you paddle where there are ever deadfalls or low bridges, you need to be absolutely, positively sure that you have the ability to quickly release the seat back so that you are able to lean back all the way. To be unable to do so is a very easy way to get dumped, get injured or both. Nasty. 2) A seatback that includes a thick bottom cushion (and the Sitbacker has about 2 inches of padding) is going to raise your center of gravity by that much (minus any compression.) Two inches is a lot, so be ready to deal with the result, either by lowering your seat by that amount or learning to live with a boat that will handle (and certainly feel) differently with and without the Sitbacker installed. I’ve settled on an old Crazy Creek chair for use on my Nova Craft seats. It provides good lumbar supprt, a thin bottom cushion and easily-accessed quick-release buckles for the back. For my Wenonah buckets, I’d just about given up finding a good seat back when I spotted the wood and aluminum Cushgear at Rutabaga. I have not sprung for one yet, but it does look comfy and very well made.

We rigged a kayak backband that
enables me to bail out or lean back in an emergency. It’s removable for cartopping. Safe, comfortable, light, fits in the paddle bag. I sit and can’t kneel, so I also have footbraces. We lowered the seat and I can use a 1/2" thick pad without raising center of grav too much.

Lean forward
I was always taught to lean forward when going under low branches. Less chance of getting your face scraped up, plus if you need to you can go face down on the bottom of the canoe

Those are too very good considerations mentioned…particularly the height difference. The Sitbackers are comfy, but in the canoe I’m thinking about a back rest in (Old Town pack), I dont want to raise my sitting height any further. I dont want to lower my seat, because alot of times I kneel, and right now the seat is a nice height where I can kneel with my butt resting on the seat, and my legs under the seat. If it were lower I dont think i could get my feet back out from under the seat in the event of a roll over.

The seat back would only be used on large lakes when I’m using my double bladed paddle…but would be nice for leaning back while fishing. Looks like the ash/ web seat back is what I’ll be leaning toward. Does anyone know how they mount on? Do they fold flat or just pop off for transporting? Most importantly, is there any where on the web that has good deals on them? Old Town wants over $100 bucks…that’s a little crazy given the Sitbackers are 38 bucks.

Never use dem me’self…
Ah’ kneels 98% o’ de time an’ they just git in de way.


Chosen Valley Canoe Accessories

– Last Updated: May-18-09 3:47 PM EST –

Scroll down to the "Adjustable Seat Back".

Lightweight, padded, made by good folks.


PS: I like a cushy backband, Here are pics of the latest versu=ion of my home-built.

Look around for other options./…
We looked at all sorts of canoe seats, for back support. Ended up buying some “stadium seats” for 1/3 of the price of a actual canoe seat. Works great, velcroed some straps to attach to the seat, and saved a ton of money. Other bonus is I can easily remove them, to use at a football game, or to put in the kayaks (Horible lumbar support in our yaks!) and they make great camp chairs around a fire at night. I think we paid around $9 for them. Take a look at the other parts of the store, I’ve found that anything in the boating, canoeing, or kayaking section costs 3x as much as the same product in sporting goods, housewares, etc!


Coleman plastic crap
Coleman used to make these plastic ones that were great. They only provided back support and they were light and easy to remove, they out lasted the crazy creek chairs by about double because they were more sun resistant. I think they were about $10 a each and they looked like absolute junk, but they were better than the cane ones or anything else I’ve tried.

Please let me know if you see them so I can try to buy two more.

I use wenonah backbands
they are better than the chair type seats because the straps that hold it tight get riveted to the gunwale.They release with a side buckle. They are very supportive and comfortable. I have tried three others before these but now the search is over for me.