Hi everyone, I’m new here, and just getting started in canoeing. I recently sold my kayak and bought a gently used Old Town Pathfinder. I’m excited to get it on the water, and I’m looking forward to taking my daughters paddling with me in the coming years.
I’m looking for options to use the canoe solo, while still being able to make it comfortable for my girls. Essentially, I’m looking for a portable seat that I can have in the middle of the boat when I’m fishing by myself, but that is easy to remove so I can throw a foam mat down and let my girls sit and play when we’re together.
I’ve considered getting a folding stool, something like a hunting stool, that I can use, but I want to make sure it will work (I know, the best way to find out is to try it). However, if someone has advice to save me experimenting, I’ll certainly take it. I’m a big guy, 6’4" and 270lbs, so it needs to be pretty substantial. Thanks!
To sit and paddle solo being a larger guy like I am you need a slightly behind center seat or you need to sit in the bow seat backwards and then add something like a 5 gallon bucket of water to the other end for ballast. Having the canoe trimmed level is a really big deal in a canoe if there is any wind at all.
I took out the seats made a center seat location, added some flotation to each end and still have enough for two small kids to come along sitting or kneeling in front of me.
What you will find is the canoe is too wide sitting at that location to paddle easily with a single blade and I went with a 260cm kayak paddle and it is a breeze to paddle.
I added a seat with seat back and it can come in and out with wing nuts and if I wanted to put it all back as a tandem I could in about an hour.
Here is a video I found of a pathfinder where the guy added a center seat. He didn’t mention he removed the carry yoke and the seat he bolted in replaced the yoke for strength in the center. IMO he left the seat too high but in doing so the seat does strengthen the canoe across the gunwales in the center. I don’t know how much strength you get when you drop it down where it should be for stability or how much strength the factory made drop in seats provide. In my case I made and moved the thwarts around as well and have one right behind the new seat.
You can also see he is using a 250cm kayak paddle and he mentions in the video a 260 might have been better.
Mine when I lock the seatback down it is below the gunwales and makes for better loading car top.
Here is the video.
Old Town Pathfinder Review - Solo Seat test and FIRST BASS! - YouTube