The older kayaks have backbands that look like nothing more than jerry-rigged luggage straps. Do I have to spend $50 to get one for my ww kayak? OR does someone have a handy and cheaper alternative? Do they really support the back?
You could try this
You can probably rig something from a length of 2" wide tubular nylon webbing.
If you can find a length of Lexan plastic or something similar that is a bit less than 2" in width, or can be cut down to that width, you can warm the plastic and shape it into an appropriate curve, then slide it into the tubular webbing so that it maintains its shape.
I have not made a kayak backband this way, but I have used this technique to make contoured knee and thigh straps for whitewater open boats.
There is a guy on eBay selling something like this! I think it is molded plastic. He’s calling them back rests. I wasn’t sure if they were ok for WW kayaks though.
Does any more experienced paddler than myself know if their functionality is improved more than marginally by more sophisticated design and higher price point?
Voice from the past
I owned a number of the old school boats back when and some didn’t have backbands. Instead, the stern foam pillar came further forward, up against your butt. You could fashion something similar out fo closed cell foam.
Backbands in performance boats are intended to maintain your position in relation to the footpegs without impeding torso rotation or layback, not supply back support.
Hard core sculptor
That will be me, getting the closed cell foam and shaving it off with the sharkskin (?) file, customizing my outfitting like I know what I am doing! ;) Great information though, about what a back band is meant to do.
You can do a lot with some minicell foam, a bread knife and dragonskin (foil for shaving foam).
adhesive and a question
Assuming one went that direction, what is the adhesive of choice for attaching the foam to the foam bulkhead behind it? Do you have to do any scoring?
Is there any advantage to the “give” of the bungee-d band style seat?