Canoe seatbacks

Dear board,

Well today I finally broke down and picked up a used Nova Craft 17’ Prospector. The boat is in fine shape especially considering it didn’t cost me much.

The seats are nylon web but I am wondering about added some kind of seatback to them and I was hoping that some of you folks could give me some feedback about what you use?

I am considering something like the LL Bean Sitbacker or the Crazy Creek Canoe chair mostly because those are the only two I’ve managed to find.

If you use either of them or know of another alternative I’d like to hear from you.

Thank you,

Tim Murphy AKA Goobs

Seat backs are ok for lilydipping and
relaxed fishing. But we’ve never felt the lack of them. First, we started out mostly kneeling, and when you’re kneeling, you don’t miss a seatback. When sitting, resting against a seatback will inhibit the torso rotation that you need to cover miles.

So, if you aren’t going very far, very fast, seatbacks may make sense. But if you plan to cover a bunch of miles whenever you’re out, they may be a hindrance more than a help.

I have a couple for relaxed paddling,
and there are basically two types,

with the first being a slide on backrest that has no additional seat bottom,

and the second having both a seat cushion to sit on and a backrest.

An extra inch of seat height can make a difference many ways, so I’d suggest starting with a slide on backrest.

I know lots of people like them, but efficient paddling requires an upright torso posture and good torso rotation.

I am concerned that seat backs encourage one to lean back against them, and they do limit torso rotation, which is something even most experienced paddlers don’t have enough of.

I don’t know if I agree that most
experienced paddlers lack torso rotation. If a ww stroke is properly short in the water, there almost can’t be a whole lot of visible rotation.

When you watch Bob Foote demo a torso rotation drill on Drill Time, you’d think torso rotation was GOD. But when you read his description of his basic stroke, and watch him when he isn’t being Mr. Rotation Disciple, you see that his rotation is rather brief, quite focused.

Exaggerated rotation in canoeing just works the torso like a bellows, with a lot of internal friction.

another website
Congrats on the new canoe. The NC Prospector is very highly regarded and should serve you well.

If I needed a canoe seat back (or any new canoe part), I’d check Ed’s Canoe out.


Kneeling is far and away the most ergonomic way to paddle. When you’re kneeling, your back keeps its natural curvature and you can spread your weight between your knees, legs, and seat. When your sitting, all your weight is on your tailbone and your back is scrunched up. Kneeling also gives you MUCH better control of the canoe and enhances stablity as well. You can get a fancy kneeling pad, but a cheap yoga mat or sleeping pad for less than $10 works as well.

Seatbacks and rivers…
For safety and maneuvering reasons I have a backband that squishes down if necessary. Like when I need to get under a low branch.