Check Out My Canoe Kneeling Mat

I recently purchased a new-to-me solo canoe— a Curtis Lady Bug. The only thing I would change about it would be to lower the seat an inch or so. Doing so would be a process while simply raising the floor would accomplish the same thing, but be less of a process. I didn’t want to glue knee pads into it, as I don’t want to permanently muck up such a pretty boat.
Instead of glueing knee pads to the boat, I made a kneeling mat (which I wanted to do anyway) and glued knee pads onto the mat. Higher floor = lower seat.

I had several “jigsaw” fatigue mats I had purchased from Harbor Freight. They’re stained and scarred but this is only a prototype. If you look at the pics, you’ll see that only the inside half of the kneeling pads are glued down (with contact cement.) This allows the kneeling mat to easily curve along the inside of the canoe, yet also allows the mat to store flat. The gutter between the kneeling pads keeps my water bottles from rolling around. I extended the bottom kneeling pads back enough to glue them down over the seams. The mat is basically one piece. The underside seams (and also hidden under the kneeling pads) are taped together with Gorilla Tape. You will also notice that I glued extensions to the mat that cover the insides of the gunnels. The boat is just light enough that I can carry it on my shoulder. The padding on the inside of the gunnels makes it a little more comfortable to do so.

Finally, you’ll notice the curved edges at the front and back of the mat. It’s for a canoe. It deserves a few curves!

I was able to paddle last evening with the mat installed. It worked great, so far. It does add 2.2 lbs to the boat, though. No biggie.

Lowering your seat lowers your center of gravity. Raising the surface upon which you kneel raises your center of gravity. The difference in stability can be significant for some.

When made did it, I thought that might be the case. As it turned out, it felt a just little weird—for about 30 seconds. After that, all was good. It’s a little over an inch thick, although my knees are sinking down into the foam a bit.

I may still eventually lower the seat and do away with the knee pads (while keeping just a single layer mat.) At this point, though, I’m not sure why.

Nice work. It’s good to see you fine-tuning and using your new boat.

Just FYI I usually bring an extra foam pad or two that I can put on top of the seat so I can fine tune or change my seating position a little bit since it seems to help reduce/delay knee pain after prolonged kneeling. I have one inflatable seat pad that I like because it lets me easily adjust seat height by about an inch.

My whitewater boat is a Dagger Impulse. It’s not the greatest canoe in the world, but good enough for me AND I only paid $100 for it. Unfortunately, it came with the most uncomfortable saddle you can imagine. I can tolerate it for almost three hours, and then I’m done. I suffered with it for about a year before draping a Klymit Cush inflatable sit pad over it. Now I can paddle all day in perfect comfort in that boat. I tried it on the front edge of the Lady Bug seat but it moves around too much. I’ll eventually figure out a way to keep it in place. Until then I have a butt size section of a Thermarest Ridgerest that’s been staying mostly in place and has been working fine. As it is, though, while I’ve been able to paddle frequently since getting the new boat, it’s only been for about 90 minutes at a time. I don’t know how the Ridgerest will feel during longer days.

Here’s a link to the amazingly comfortable (but weirdly long) Klymit Cush. I’d bet it would be wonderful if I were a sitter and not a kneeler (until I figure out a way to secure it.)

TomL- BTW, what seat pad are you using?

@ScottFree said:
TomL- BTW, what seat pad are you using?
Pics show my inflatable seat pad. I don’t think they are sold any more. The only inflatable pad I’ve seen that’s available now is the one offered by Wenonah.
The klymit pad looks very nice. Another option if you’re looking for something that stays in place is to use padded underwear meant for bicyclists. I have a couple of Cooke Custom Sewing pads too and they attach very securely but aren’t as plush as the inflatable pad.