Caribou Seat Question

-- Last Updated: Aug-31-14 9:29 PM EST --

Hi Folks,

As mentioned in an earlier thread, I am trying to "restore" an older CD Caribou. I bought the boat new around 1998/99. It has seen a lot of use and abuse, and I was ready it write it off, until I priced a new one. So... I'm working on bringing it back to life.

FYI, I am 58 years old. I paddled somewhat extensively between around 1994 and 2002, when my first child was born. Coast of Maine, Long Island Sound and many lakes and rivers, with my wife, including a few overnights and some moderately rough conditions. But we are not serious kayakers like some of you, just having fun messing about in boats.

I posted a few pics of the beginning of the project here. Please be kind, as I said, I'm just a guy, not pretending to be anything special.

My question is this: I have considered replacing the fiberglass seat with a foam seat. The stock seat bolts to a tab glassed into the side of the cockpit. Sits a little high, has a strap backrest. I think if I use a foam seat, like the "Happy Bottom" seat from CLC, it may lower the COG a bit. That said, one thing I have learned over the years is, often the designer had it right....

Any thoughts on whether to use the stock seat (which is in ok condition) or replace it with a foam seat that glues to the hull?


a lot of personal preference I’m sure
I have a '99 Caribou. Just had it out on the ocean yesterday after putting a new layer of gelcoat along the bottom of the end of the stern. Just that little strip on the keel line that gets a little extra wear, and eventually the structural material starts to show.

The seat sitting against the bottom attached to that tab attached to the cockpit rim attached to the deck - it adds structural integrity to the kayak. The flat panels of the bottom maintain their shape and stiffness, and it adds support to that deck area where you’re lowering and lifting yourself in and out of your kayak.

The Caribou has quite solid stability. For me, it requires a little higher coordination to hold it on edge than something that edges a little easier, probably just because I have kayaks with lower stability. I’m sure if I use it exclusively for a short period, I’ll be tuned right back into its stability profile. As someone who likes to use my edges, I wouldn’t want the stability any higher. It’s definitely reassuring in rough water as designed. But that doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t want to seek out higher stability by lowering center-of-gravity. Among sea kayaks, it’s already nice and stable.

As someone who likes to rotate as much as possible in the seat, I don’t tolerate foam well. I keep the blood flowing by engaging my lower half. Foam/cushioning doesn’t allow me to do that. So for me, foam proves uncomfortable and limiting. If you don’t engage your lower half the same way, I’m sure foam is more comfortable. But the foam inserts that sometimes come with a kayak that attach to the seat have all been removed from mine. And I replaced the one foam seat I got on a used kayak with a glass one. There are very, very few kayakers who rotate their butt in the seat, so I would expect many to enjoy cushioning. I will say that if you are rotating on the seat, that is part of an improved skill set. And if you then jump in a boat where you cannot, it’s frustrating.

Bou Butt…
I don’t know if my 2002 seat is the same as yours but I never had an urge to replace it. I always thougth the Bou to be super stable and I had to work to capsize it.

Early on I did replace the CD backband with a NSI and have always been very comfy. The NSI’s cover recently wore out and I was able to replace just the cover.

makes sense
Thanks, that all makes sense to me. Just thinking through options while I have it all apart. Funny, I just added a layer of glass to that same spot on mine yesterday, along the keel from the back of the skeg trunk aft. It was worn pretty deep.

Thanks for the response. BTW, as I am replacing the backband, which NSI did you use?

I have this one in black. Not sure if you need the adjustable lumbar plunger as I set mine once and forgot it. I connected the standoffs to the back edge of the seat pan (some drilling necessary), some folks don’t use the standoffs if they like to do lay back rolls.

Best backband I ever had.