Help! Sore Bums

We really enjoy our canoe (Bell Northstar) but the cane seats really hurt your bum after 1-2 hours. What can we do to help with this withuot adding height with a cushion? If a cushion is the only answer what kind is the best.

Thanks for any help

You might switch 'em out
for a contoured cane or web seat. The web seats will out live the cane, and sag far less in the process. I believe Bell has 'em, if not they can be replaced with anyones contoured seats.

A plug for Eds Canoe
I recently bought a contoured seat (wide solo model) from Great service, great workmanship, and very comfortable.

If you do not want to go the route of replacing the seats you can atry Crazy Creek-type seat pads/backrests. Be forewarned though that most of the ones available will raise your seated heigth 1.5 - 2 inches. One option might be the Skwoosh seatpads, but I have no experience with them.

If you are a D-I-Y type and can sew, e-mail me and I will provide some pics of what I am doing for my Bell Magic.



seat pads
The closed cell foam pad seat covers from Granite Gear, Cooke Custom Sewing and, if memory serves, Ostrom, are all pretty thin. Some can be had with underseat storage attached that serve the same function as a thwart bag and others are just the pad w/straps. All would probably work well. The thing about flat cane seats is that they really don’t need much of a cover to make them acceptable. However, you are certainly correct to avoid raising your COG more than the absolute minimum, a problem with most of the gel pack seat covers that are out there.

sure cure for sore bums

(of course for some, the cure is worse than the disease)

It doesn’t take much cushioning
It sounds like there’s some good advice here. All I can add is that it really doesn’t take much extra cushioning to make a world of difference.

In my rowboats, I sit very low with my legs outstretched, which seems to make the seat very “hard” after not much time on the water, at least for a skinny guy like me. I find that a worn-out bath towel folded into quarters makes a fine seat pad. That’s why I say you probably don’t need a thick cushion to get the relief you need.

Paddle more
you can make your seat as soft as your bottom, or make your bottom as hard as your seat. With more time in the boat I think you will find the seat becomes most comfortable without any padding to slide around.

Have tried a few, and they all will
provide you with some degree of comfort.

The air seat bottom works best for me, as it can be adjusted to minimize the amount of lift from the seat.

The air seat bottom also seems to provide the best overall support for the seat area.

I have one of these, and this is probably the best deal going for a seat, if you could also use a backrest.

The high back is very comfortable, although it is best with a mesh or minimal back thickness pfd.

Good luck, and Happy Paddling!

Learn to pole…
That way you can alternate between paddling and poling. This method doubles my paddling range on FL. gulf coastal waters. Being somewhat gimped-up from 50+ years of injury accumulation I find this works best for me. Try it.

Air Chair vs Thermarest
The Crazy Creek air chair (at least the canoe version I bought from Campmor) does not have any foam in the inflatable portion. Sitting on the air cushion without foam has a more “tippy” feel compared to sitting on a thermarest style seat pad. My favorite seat pad is a thermarest style “Canoe Seat” by Cascade Designs. It has straps to fasten to a bench seat, but no backrest.

Cane seats are beautiful and traditional
but for long distance paddling and time in the seat you can’t beat the comfort of a tractor style seat with a waffel pad glued in.