Grade VI gear

Is Grade VI gear still made? At Raystown I saw a neat kneeling pad that folded down the middle. I have also heard references to Grade VI packs…yet my Googling has been for naught.

Any leads?


Charlie “the Chli Man” Wilson knows
… somethin’ or other

Grade VI no longer being made,but
I understand that some, but not all, of the Grade VI pad specs were to be made by The Bag Lady sometime this year, however am not sure if they are available yet. Charlie would likely have a better idea.

Grade VI Gear
Sue Audette, “the Bag Lady”, is currently gearing up to produce that folding, triangular, kneepad.

She makes spray decks and the Grade VI Portage Strap for Placid boats, and we’ll have a couple new thwart bags opn line soon.

Thanks Charlie.

– Last Updated: Oct-26-07 9:08 PM EST –

That pad was what caught my eye. looks like just the thing for OC-1 in my MR-Freedom Solo.

I will check back.


PS: I really am not shilling for Placid Boatworks, but having asked two questions since R-Town and having both answers say "via PBW" it looks suspicious.

The Bag Lady…
And does Ms. Lady have a website? I’ve been trying to replace a Grade VI thwart bag for about 10 years!

bag lady

The Bag Lady. Sue Audette 860-456-4906. email at Nobody does it better than the BAG LADY. …

and I was too lazy to go read the phone
number off my canoe bag(its raining)

The website is down per my computer so the phone call may be more efficient. Or my computer is not efficient

Jim, I got the Grade VI
kneeling pad you saw at R-Town…it is extremely well made and much better than the simple bell pads. It dose cost more money but you get a lot more product. Nothing on the net about it can be found except this review from Paddler Magazine. But be forewarned it was written buy Someone we know and he may have paned the review in order to keep from being black balled forever. But in my eyes it is an excellent product, very well thought out.

Duckheads Forever!

Other pads

– Last Updated: Oct-28-07 5:38 AM EST –

Also note that Dan Cooke is now making foam canoe pads, he had them at the Midwest Freestyle Symposium. I bought a few as replacements for my aging Bells. Dan’s new pads are available in dimensions similar to the Bell “T” and the long out of production “Kneeling Bed” patterns but even thicker and more cushy than the Bells (or the Grade VI). The CCS pads are not as heavy or as cumbersome as the Grade VI, but are wider and I’m afraid I’ve gotta say much more pleasant on the knees. Like the Grade VIs ‘they ain’t cheap’.

When it comes to the comfort of my aging knees – I pay the ransom…

FWIW, curiously the kneeling pad of choice among the young (and not so young) and nimble Freestylers at MFS continues to be the ‘puzzle fit’ mats sold at home improvement stores as shop floor-mats and kid’s toy stores as play-mats. A person can buy a few of those ugly (but functional) things and custom fit a canoe for any amount of coverage one wants on the cheap. They ain’t too purdy or as comfy but they serve – and they don’t cost the equivalent of a good production wood paddle either. It always strikes me as curious to see a cheap puzzle mat in a top-of-the-line 3K+ Loon Works solo… …just reporting what I observe… RK

we dont have any money left
One of the neat things about the puzzle pads is that they break down for easy storage and flying. Sometimes we fly with paddle and pads and have a boat waiting(the same as left home).

It all depends too on your outfit. Pads covered with a nylon jersey (ala Cooke and Bell) are nice for people wearing normal pants. The amount of slide is just right.

However the cheap grabby pads are better for the leotard and lycra clad folk. Moving around on a nylon covered pad in lycra is a little like sliding on ice and can result in a bad looking move when you slide on your keester.

I know, men in tights!

The grabby pads are secure for learners. Once you get into comp the sounds of knee vs pad (eek eek eek) are distracting and can lead to boat bobble too. Competitors depend on a controlled slide except for tandem. We need to be pretty well locked in for moves where the body extends way over the side. The cheapie pads are really the best for tandem.

Once again Kim…
…I’ve learned from one of your posts. Sounds like the Cooke/Bell pads will do nicely for non-competing folks like myself and my wife, but at some point I imagine our daughter might find the puzzle mats a better choice. Thanks (again) for “splainin’” it to me. Randall

Only know of one
competitor that uses the eggcrate stuff and likes it. I have used the stuff for the last year or so and and glad I have been able to dump them; the price was nice, though. They really tear up bare skin and are nosiy. I am really enjoying my new Cooke full bed pad. I also liked my Grade VI, but it delaminated after some hard use. It is still okay for my river stuff, but not too good for FS weight shifts anymore with the face fabric buckling and puckering.

sorry charlie
but whatever was IN the Grade VI pads is wonderful for touring. I took out the innards and glued them to my tripping boat.

The pads are doing better than the boat after 12 years of three week a year use.

Seems like I recall it was EVA foam

CHARLIE! I was looking for you on line and found you here. How are you doing? It’s Sue Lauther. I used to cut material for you in Champaign and we paddled on New Years down a cold river - I in my kayak! I’m just checking in and remembering you. Sue (I was with Mike Cherry who made T-Shirts for you.)