conversion to solo paddling

Hello everyone,

Presently I have a Mad River 14’6" tandem canoe. I have found that I paddle solo most of the time. In which case I simply paddle the canoe backwards and sit in the front seat turned around. I still have to put something in the front to offset my weight so the canoe ride level. Even with that I find I can get through most of the riffles better if I kneel towards the middle of the canoe to keep the ass end from dragging (not enough counter weight and I guess I have a big but).

Anyways I am wanting to either install a center seat or some sort of kneeling pad/seat. I really like the way it handles while I am kneeling, so something like that would be great,I think.

Just wanting some suggestions from some people who really know what they are doing. I paddle the Upper Current and Meramac Rivers in MO while fishing. Thanks for any help.

Solo seat
I added a solo seat to a Wenonah 17’ Jensen and it worked pretty well. I removed the center thwart and added a cane seat from Piragis Northwoods. I had a local metal shop make a pair of aluminum brackets to hold the seat at an angle. Cost $10-15 for the brackets. There are some temporary seats that hang on the gunnels. Piragis has a couple and there is one here on P-net at:


Same Canoe, Same Rivers
You have the Explorer 14TT or former St. Croix, correct? I paddle mine the way you do. You could get two more seat drops (those arch supports) and drop in another seat. Would be very easy to do with this boat. I think if I did this to mine I would put the front of the seat about 1’ back from center and remove the yoke. I think you would then need to put in another thwart (or just cut down the yoke and use it) forward enough to comfortably get in and out. Another solution that I used on another canoe is to drill holes in the gunnels about 2’ aft (Front hole 2’ aft)of center. Get two 1x1 pieces of wood and cut to width. Then you can drill holes in these two pieces of wood to mount your bow seat on. When you want to paddle solo, it will take about 20 minutes to remove bow seat, put seat drops in solo position, put 1x1’s in position, and screw the bow seat on these. Hope that helps. WW

I “Second” Pat’s reccomendation on Piragis’ seats. Got my new catalog and was drooling over the new countoured cane seats myself. WW,131.html

If you like to kneel, you’ll probably want to install the center seat with the front edge lower than the rear to match the angle of your thighs when you’re kneeling.

I have a small tandem that gets used tandem and solo, with and without large dogs, and couldn’t afford to lose the space that a fixed center seat would take. I ended up adding a kneeling thwart which has worked very well for me. I use a small cooler with padding on the lid as an improvised saddle when my knees need a break.

A whitewater saddle would be another option, but it does lock you into one position.

Kneeling thwart
How about installing a kneeling thwart? Placed about 12" behind the center thwart with the canoe facing bow forward(your balance spot may vary) you can kneel when soloing and still have the use of a tandem.

what about this?
What do you guys think about doing this.

This seat:,122.html

This power rocker seat bracket:

This knee pad:,1944.html

I guess I’ll have to relocate or add one or two thwarts. Also does anyone know where to find the Power Rocker?


– Last Updated: Jan-12-05 12:24 PM EST –

Looks nice, but I'd stay away from the contour for a solo seat if you like paddling "Canadian" style with the canoe heeled.

Opinion …

– Last Updated: Jan-12-05 1:14 PM EST –

I'd buy wooden(arch style)seat hanging kit, and flat(non contoured)style seat, with seat material(cane or webbing)to match the seats currently in your canoe. I'd cut down the hanger so that the front edge of the seat hung 1 inch lower than the back edge. I'd try that for comfort, and if I didn't think it was suitable for the kneeling position I wanted, I'd cut off another 1/2" and try that. If you want to be conservative; cut off 3/4", and then go to 1" if not suitable. I'd give the 25 dollar kneeling pad by Bell a try. Want to get real plush; try the Bell t-shaped kneeling pad. Either Bell pad could be used in other boats. If I didn't like that, and wanted more padding for my knees, I'd permanently mount some 1 1/2" closed cell pads, cut to size I wanted. In some boats I have I use a removable kneeling pad. In other boats I've permanently mounted knee pads. Depends on the boat & how much kneeling I plan on doing.......... Whichever way you go; take your time & you'll probably be happier with the results.


Yoke Seat?
I have the same boat you have and one of the options I seriously considered was a product I found on the net in my endless search for stuff to buy. The problem is I don’t remember where I found it. It had a cane seat combined with a yoke. Sounded like a great solution. Any ideas on where to find it? I stopped pursuing it because I’m selling my 14TT and buying a Wenonah Prospector! God Belss. Dwayne

Found it!
Check this out!

If I were keeping this boat I’d buy one of these. God Bless. Dwayne

portaging yoke
in the 14TT. The portaging yoke doubles has a thwart. Correct? So if I removed it and replaced it with a seat/yoke combination, would I loose strenght in the boat. I’m no engineer and new to canoeing so my lingo is not up to speed.

Bell kneeling pad and fishing
The $20 Bell kneeling pad that advised is also great for laying on floor in the stearn while trolling. It is perfect for providing resistance to keep the rod handle from slipping forward and lying somewhat flat instead of more upright. For me, it serves two purposes.

Wilderness Web where are you?
WW can probably answer that one. He advised on buying this boat to start with. I didn’t see a problem with it because I’d be mainting the yoke in its current position and essentially adding a thwart with the aft seat support? Dwayne

kneeling thwart
I really like the kneeling thwart in my Bell Morningstar. It is inexensive, looks nice and is comfortable. I’ve had to put my canoe up for sale and plan to get some pictures of it. When, I do I will email you a picture of Bell’s kneeling thwart. I think its better than a full seat because it takes up less room and is still comfortable.


Yokes & Thwarts
Yes, the St. Croix has two seats and a center yoke, no extra thwarts. The three seats should work well enough to give the hull strength. As I said, you could shorten the yoke or buy a thwart and bolt it in for a little extra support. I really like that seat/thwart combo from Mad River, I may have to get me one of those! Take care. WW

Like Bob said, that Bell T-shaped kneeling pad is nice, I have one myself. Even when you’re not kneeling, it pads your heels and you can set things (like a tackle box) on it and they won’t slide arround. WW

Why do seats have to webbing or cane
From Australia, Hello Everyone

I am watching this thread with interest because I have a new Mad River Explorer 14TT arriving from the USA hopefully in a week or so.I have been thinking about sacking the webbing seats and installing plastic roto moulded seats in their place. I intend to use a locally made seat which has a very comfortable contoured shape including a fold down backrest.I had one of these set-ups in the canoe which I have just sold and I could paddle for hours without any strain on my very touchy 50 year old back. My hope is that the forward seat will remain in a fixed position but the back seat will be able to be moved forward to near the centre with some sort of quick release setup so that it isnt all to complicated and doesnt require too much gadgetry.The other consideration is keeping the weight down to a minium of course.If any one has any bright ideas I would love to hear them. I will be using this canoe solo most of the time and occasionally with my wife and our dog. We are into fishing and photography and I am hoping to start doing 2 to 3 day trips in the near future.We are all very excited about the arrival of the new canoe and looking forward to getting it out on our favourite rivers.


Cairns North Queensland

Contoured seats …
The only canoe I ever had that had contoured seats was an Old Town Discovery 174. When it rained, the seat caught water & you ended up sitting in a pool of water. That happens even with the newer seats with drain holes; just to a lesser degree. There is not much flex in rotomolded plastic seats; I find the web, or cane seats more comfortable. Also, during the summer months, I like the air circulation you get with web, or cane seats. I think the rotomolded seats are a pain to set up to use for kneeling when compared to the web, and cane seats. Finally, I like the look of the web, and cane seats, as opposed to a big block of plastic. But to each his/her own…


why modify?
enjoy the comfort and better tracking by paddling “backwards” (in a symetrical canoe is it really backwards?) from the bow seat and slide up to the center when you need to negotiate technical bits. it’s how i do it in my 16 foot prospector…