Canoe Seat Opinions

I recently acquired a Disco/Guide 119. For the solo, quiet water paddling I do with a little fishing and easy river trips thrown in it works great for me. Being an older geezer (72) I find it fairly easy to handle for loading and unloading. I use both a double bladed kayak paddle and a regular canoe paddle depending on what I am doing. I prefer sitting to kneeling for paddling.

While I don’t consider the molded seat quite as obnoxious as a lot of people do I am still not completely happy with it. I can find a comfortable position in it but I can’t sit that long in one position. I need to shift around a bit. Old bones and muscles don’t handle being stationary too long very well. So I am looking to replace the seat with a wood and cane or wood and web seat. I might also move it forward slightly although I am not sure about that yet. The canoe seems to handle fine for me in its current location.

I have been looking at the seats on the Ed’s Canoe web site and there is too much to choose from so I am seeking opinions on the different seat configurations. I realize that people’s opinions and preferences in a seat can vary greatly and no one would be more wrong or right. I just want to hear comments on what people think about the various seats. I am trying to decide between a plain, straight configuration, the contoured configuration and the bucket seat configuration. In the straight and the contoured version I am also trying to decide if I need the additional width of seat offered in the 40" contoured seat vs the 32" contoured seat. Either can be trimmed to fit between the gunnels at the point where the seat will mount. Not sure whether to go with cane or web either although aesthetically I like the cane.

Any comments or opinions are welcome.

Ed’s cane bucket seat, just installed my fifth in a new Wenonah.

I just sold my Kay-Noe, same boat, same molded seat. I found that a 1" closed-cell foam seat cushion (stadium seat cushion) went a long way for comfort.

Hey Bill, I agree with greyheron that you might just try a cheap stadium cushion first. Mine is a cheap hunter’s insulation pad that has lasted for many years…see pic. You will almost surely use it even if you replace your seat. I’m not familiar with your boat but it looks like you may need seat drops (also called hangers or spacers) too…is that right? Ed’s sells a kit with four 4 inch spacers plus hardware for a little over $20. I’ve used cane and webbed seats and also contour and they are all fine. I’d recommend a webbed seat since they require no maintenance and in my experience are a little more comfy than cane…but get cane if you want it and oil it annually. In either case you may still appreciate a pad on top of the seat. I’d also keep it simple and get a straightforward flat seat since that will allow you to move around…buckets are intended to hold you in one spot. If you are happy with the way your boat handles I would recommend strongly against moving your seat forward…that will change the handling. If you just measure across your widest fasteners you’ll be able to tell if you need a 40 inch wide seat. I doubt it given that the boat is less than 33 inches at widest point per the specs (right?) and the seat is well aft of the widest point.

Thanks for the comments. Yes I know I will need hangers to get the seat at the right height. Interesting thought on straight vs contoured seat. As far as width of seat I know I don’t need 40 inch frame width. But the 40 inch seats have a wider seat area, 21 vs 14 inches. That was my only reason for interest in the 40 inch seat.

A wide seating surface allows you to slide over toward one side of the boat. A bucket seat will tend to keep you centered. For paddling with a double blade you will probably want to remain centered. You may well also wish to remain centered for paddling with a single blade, but some folks might prefer to slide over toward the paddling side to heel the boat, which reduces the waterline length and makes it easier to pivot. Some folks with shorter arms and torsos might also prefer to sit closer to the paddling side when single blading to make it easier to reach over the gunwale.

Gee. I kind of hoped for more opinions on this. I guess kayaks have taken over the world.

Be patient – you posted during a holiday weekend. May get more responses in the next few days as people get back home and off the water.

Point taken. I can’t imagine why people would be out paddling on a holiday weekend. :stuck_out_tongue:

There is a lot of personal preference that goes into seat selection. So, a lot just depends on you, your butt, and your style of paddling.

Personally, I like to be able to heal the boat and I move side to side to do so. I don’t like seats that try to keep me in one place: not the bucket, not a tractor seat, not molded, and not seats rigged with a fixed back band. I like flat and wide seats. I’ve never had a seat with a 21” pan, so no comment there.

I go with webbed seats for their durability, and, I think they are a little more comfortable than cane. The cane looks nice and isn’t too hard to replace. If wet enough, the cane stretches, but shrinks when it dries. After enough use, the varnish on the seat frame wears. Webbing gets in the way if you want to varnish the seat, so cane is easier to refinish.


Nobody on this forum can tell you what style of seat you would find most comfortable, any more than they could tell you what type of shoe you would find most comfortable.

I can say that the majority of folks seem to find the bucket seat sold by Ed’s to be pretty comfortable. I have one in one canoe and like it, but then I find plain, flat seat frames to be pretty comfortable as well. The bucket seat will tend to keep you centered, as has been said, which may or may not create an issue for you.

For myself, I have never liked the contour seat frames that much. They don’t seem to be more comfortable than flat seats, and they limit the amount of heel space beneath them if you want to kneel. But you might be different. I have seen a number of contour seat frames break right where the curved portion of the frame meets the straight ends, so I think the bent frames are a bit weaker.

As for cane versus webbed, the webbed seats will probably last longer. Eventually, cane seats will need to either be replaced or re-caned. Re-caning is not that difficult. Again, for myself, I would probably give the edge in comfort to cane, although the difference is not great. I do prefer the aesthetics of cane.

Be aware that both cane and nylon webbing will sag when wet, then shrink back when dry. The sagging can sometimes be enough to create pressure points at the edges of the wood seat frame. Either cane or webbing will expand in proportion to the length/width of the material when wet. So seats with larger seating areas are going to be prone to a bit more sagging.

Thank you for some insightful comments. I did not expect anyone to tell me what seat configuration I would like best. I was just looking for opinions from people who have used the various seats so that I could apply those opinions in deciding what mattered most to me.

You brought up a couple of considerations that had not occurred to me. Thank you again.