Center Seat Yoke combo

I’m rebuilding this old fiberglass canoe. Got the vinyl gunwales, thanks for the tips. Newest question…

I want to add a center seat and am building it out of wood with webbing because those are the materials I’ve got. I plan on building a yoke into the seat but have a question. If I hang the seat 2 inches from the gunwales and the canoe is about 11 inches deep… where will my head go during portaging? How do these seats work on any canoes with less than super deep hulls?

Thanks for any common sense. I need a clue.


I designed a foam seat with forward
wings serving as a portage yoke, for my 13’, 11" deep Mad River Compatriot. (1973, don’t look it up.) The seat was held in place by the center thwart, which I moved back a few inches for balance. The seat worked well for paddling in a kneeling position, and as a portage yoke. I could sit on the back of the seat also, but this meant I had to swing my long legs over the thwart.

Obviously this also adds flotation, without adding much weight.

Check Mad River’s solution
What they have is a seat hanger with a slot for a yoke. You simply remove the yoke when not portaging. They also have a couple of clamp on yokes.

You should be able to use the photos as a design source.

Hope this helps.

Thanks, everyone
Well, after paying close attention to the same stuff that JackL was thinking about, I end up agreeing. It’s either a removable seat, a removable yoke, or a webbing yoke such as Mohawk’s. That Carriyoke idea of Mad River’s looks like a great solution for me. I’ll suck it up and find friendly connectors and I’m pretty sure I can build that into the front end of a sliding center seat setup. All is good. I love this boat fixing thing.

Thanks for all the thoughts and advice, folks.


All I’ve tried are uncomfortable at best, a literal PIA at worst. I have a Mohawk “Strap” yoke on my 39lb Solo 14 and figure with painters and add-ons the canoe weighs 42lbs. I wouldn’t want to use the strap on more than 50 lbs, because on long carries it starts to get uncomfortable with my little Solo 14. I have two tandem boats that I frequently paddle solo by paddling in the bow seat facing the stern. I’ve done this with various boats for years. I put a bit of weight (I’ve always used a pack with extra clothes and first aid kit) in front to trim the boat. This works better if the canoe is symetrical, but I have used this in an asymetrical hull too. If you place your bow seat a little closer to center, this will work. That way you don’t HAVE to mess with a third seat. Besides, IMHO I feel I get better control of the boat being a bit further back of center. Of course, that may be because I’ve done it that way more years than I’ve paddled true solo boats. Good luck with your project. WW


– Last Updated: Aug-05-05 1:15 PM EST –

For a typical canoe seat, not pedestal. Make the seat a little beefier, then make a backrest that folds down on top of the seat with yoke pads on it.

Take a look at my remedial drawing:

EDIT: If you want to buy, check out: