Cushion for bad back?

I’ve suffered from a ruptured disc and sciatica for years and my back and butt are on fire within the 1st hour of a paddle. I have tried inflatable cushions, foam, all kinds of stuff but I have a Eddyline Rio and the cockpit is pretty tight and none of these solutions work. Does anyone have a suggestion for a cushion that works well and gives good support in a small space?

Not intending to be snarky, but have you considered a canoe? I’ve paddled solo canoes and solo sea kayaks and find that I can shift my feet and butt around to find a more comfortable position in a canoe, not so much in a kayak. And there are several canoe seats with back rests that work well for some people.

I do understand, though, that a sea kayak will allow you to paddle in conditions that I wouldn’t consider in a canoe. One exception is a partially decked canoe, such as a Clipper Sea-1 or similar.

I wish you luck in your quest.


If there are adjustments to the front of your seat that raise/lower your thigh area try different positions to see which is best. If there is not an adjustment, you can use a rolled up towel or get creative to test different leg positions while seated. If this works and you want a long term solution, used closed cell wedges (probably homemade) to do the same. Good luck!

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My Eddyline Samba and Fathom LV both came with back bands, but they were supported by a pillar attached to the seat. I found that setup very uncomfortable below the small of my back so I removed the pillar in both boats and reconfigured the back bands. Also padded a problem area in the seat.

I used to have some butt pain but once I started doing piriformis stretches daily, it resolved.

Hope you can find a solution to make you more comfortable.

I found kayaks sitting flat on the floor to be torture and went back to canoes.

You can use a back rest on your canoe seat. I often wear a back brace in addition. Canoes allow a certain freedom of movement. I like a drift boat even better for getting up and moving around and stretching.

I have the same problems with my back and legs. The best seat I have ever found is the Phase 3 in Wilderness Systems boats. I have it in a SOT and a sit inside. Unfortunately, you have to buy a boat to get one.

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I use one of these lumbar support pilloows (not exact model) in my car, but not sure how/if it would fit a kayak seat. Oh, and it’s a back preserver, not a life preserver. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

No. I love my kayaks and how quick and responsive they are. Not a option for me.

Thank you. The seats do adjust, my back is just so bad after 32 years of working at UPS that my back will probably never recover. I just need some kind of thin padding solution as I’ve tried inflatable cusions but they always turn out to be too big and when you deflate them a little, they don’t work,

Probably not going work for me as you couldn’t pry me out of my beloved Eddylines. But thanks for taking the time to answer.

I do the exercises also, but although they help overall, still not enough to keep me out of pain after 32 years of working at UPS. I’ll try out the suggested Fathom mods and see how they work. Thanks.

What canoes have you tried? I paddle a Wenonah Advantage it is very quick & responsive. It is only 30 lbs so it is easy to get in and out of the water. I have been paddling for years, but a couple years ago I changed to kneeling due to back problems and I feel like kneeling gave me my life back, my back is better than it has been in decades! When I paddle completely upright as much as I can and it sure builds core muscles. Paddle Board may work as well.

Keep trying!

I have an Enduro Riot 12 kayak. It is a wide cockpit which allows a freedom I have not experienced in other kayaks.The seat is pretty thin but I can raise the seat up at the front to support my thighs and have the backrest up to its fullest height, away from the small of my back. I was an ITU nurse :uk: and of course twenty years of standing for 12 hours a day has taken its toll, with lower back pain and sciatica. I manage around three hours on the west coast of Scotland before I beach and take a stroll. I wish you all the best. Stay safe has become the new ‘Have a nice day!’

Thank you for taking the time to answer. I’m glad you have gotten a measure of relief from paddling your Enduro. I just could never give up my Eddylines which are so fast and nimble. I’ll just have to probably keep buying different cushions until I meet the “magic” one. I wish you great paddleing.

Just my personal opinion we have an Eddyline journey. Their seats are HORRIBLE. .

I’m not sure if this would work for you or not, but core work and good posture may help.
A lot of times, even the slightest slouching will put pressure on your discs.

I came from cycling, and many people who suffered with saddle pain and soreness would often replace their lower profile seats with cushy gel saddles.

But they would soon find out it really didn’t help much. At the same time Tour De France cyclists would spend 6 hours a day riding on basically a hard, low profile carbon torture device and wouldn’t have any problems.

The key is that they are seated in a position that doesn’t put pressure on their butt and backs. They tend to lean forward and redistribute their weight.

Same is true with kayaking–

Have a look at a racers posture and you’ll notice the forward lean and strong abdominals.
It really makes a huge difference.
It did for me once I adapted to it.



I am fit and have good posture. Was a ballet dancer until 30. I work out and keep in good shape. I ruptured a disc in my back 32 years ago and staying fit and having good posture only helps so much but thank you for taking the time to answer, glad this works for you.

In my experience almost all kayak seats require modification. My longtime solution for this, and assorted other fixes, is the closed cell foam Ridge Rest sleeping pad. It does not absorb water, has just the right cushioning resistance, is highly flexible and resilient, can be adapted as you go - one size or position
is rarely comfortable for long periods, floats, weighs next to nothing, is infinitely cuttable and foldable, and costs only $20 for the 72" x 20" size. WAY cheaper than buying a ready-made aftermarket seat that may or may not work, and doubles as a ground pad, padding and cushioning for cartopping, etc etc. Can be used for patching, Ductape sticks to it like a champ, can be compressed to jam into small holes to stop leaks. Emergency flotation, can be rolled into a paddle float. I’ll stop there, but all in all, basic and essential equipment for any boat, car, house…

I just like these, not connected with the company, not a shill for Amazon or any other entity.

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@saleroso Do you use it as your sleeping pad too? Does it fit into a typical kayak hatch?

I cut a section from a ThermaRest RidgeRest sleeping pad for my seat pad. Improved seat comfort considerably. So much so I also use it on the seat of my Concept rower. While it’s oversized for the rower, it’s much better than the foam seat pad I bought for the Concept.