Chatham 16 adjustments

Hi all

I have a question about getting myself more comfortable in my Chatham 16 (poly). I have been out a few times in it and my legs seem to be falling asleep. Anyway, The way it came from the store has the seat pretty far back so that if lean back into the backband you are basically leaning into the combing, with a backband padding. It looks like moving the seat forward will alleviate that problem of the backband being only padding, but what else can I do to help with the falling asleep legs? Might changing position so I can lean a bit farther back help with that, or is there a better solution people have found? Thanks!


Put a pad under your legs just in front
of the seat. You can also try a partially inflated paddle float to see if that works.

What year is your Chatham? If it has the grey seat this is supposed to help prevent your feet from falling asleep. Something about preventing pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Did you try moving the seat yet? It’s only attached by velcro.

Grey seat
Solved my problem with numb legs immediately and completely. With the original black seat in under an hour the legs were gone. I can now basically paddle for as long as my arms will go with no problem with the sciatic. have done several 10 hour continuous paddles since changing seats.

As far as the back band is concerned, make sure the nylon strap is properly threaded through the backband. Mine was not, and it was very uncomfortable until I fixed it.

the only luck I ever had was to change
boats, went from a swifty to a tampico to a scirocco. The way I see it, if you have to add padding under your legs while paddling you’ve got the wrong boat, in addition to issues w/dumping and putting life & limb @ risk.

I hope moving your seat works out for you, much cheaper than buying a new boat.

good luck.

yeah, what year?
Do you have the fabric covered seat or the smooth,gray seat? The smooth gray one with the thigh supports is more comfortable but all this assumes you have experienced kayaking WITHOUT numb legs. If this is your first kayak then there’s more than one thing to fix besides the seat, your posture/conditioning is the other.

the first year production had a very narrow aluminum seat frame that was changed later. The consequence being that most everyone slid the frame all the way back to reduce the sharp edge on ones thighs which encouraged putting the seat and back band all the way back, which shouldn’t be the case.

I had to pay for a new aluminum seat frame but I’d suggest harassing Necky into giving you a present production version, the original frame is a BAD design. Even with the wider seat frame it’s more comfortable moved aft to clear ones thighs. The important thing is to not move the seat or backband aft, just the seat frame IF it intrudes on your thighgs.

But if you have a present production version of the seat frame and have already tried the grey seat then go buy a Redfish seat and install it. Or buy a 3"x2’x2’ block of minicell and make your own. One of the nice things about these aluminum seat frames is the opportunity to put the BEST seat in the kayak. A custom one.

The other thing is whether your legs/thighs get stuck by the metal clip around the adjustable back band strap. I find it protrudes down into the thighs way too much and can be thrown out with the adjustment mechanism. Just attach the back band to the aluminium seat frame like kayak back bands have been attached for eons. Having a backband that can be adjusted while sitting in the cockpit is pure marketing.

It’s like having a pump in running shoes.

The problem here is that this will lower the back band an inch and if you aren’t familiar with sitting up in a kayak you’ll have even less back support.

wrong outfitting, not wrong boat

black seat
I think the kayak is a 2005… I got it in august from a shop that had it too long for their taste… it might even be a 2004. Its a black fabricky seat. I have kayaked quite comfortably in the cockpit of my dagger sitka in the past- it had the standard dagger seat and a gelfoam pad as well.

thanks for all the responses!


I think 2005 was the first year for the newly improved grey seat. The black was on 2004 and earlier. Go out and get a new seat! Did you get a good deal on the kayak??

good deal
Yep! In fact I sort of felt bad about the deal… once I keep my legs awake, I am good to go!


other option
Sounds like the grey seat may do ti for you.

But there is a Blog post that talks about how to do customizations to your boat that might be an interesting read. I found it intriguing enough that I bookmarked it. My first modification may be to install the bilge pump inside the cockpit, similar to what he shows.

nahh, buy a 2’x2’x3" block of minicell

You’ll make an even better seat. If you have the old narrow seat frame you may need to replace it to fit the grey one or cut the grey seat,not sure.