High back vs low back

-- Last Updated: Jul-26-04 5:58 AM EST --

I am pondering upgrading to fiberglass and comparing prices. A boat that interest me due to price has one drawback and that is the low back rest strap. I am used to the Sealution high back and wonder at the support of the low back. Any suggestions. The boat I am looking at is a formula Serenity

Low is best
There are good reasons that most of the better quality, higher performance boats on the market come with low backbands. I high backband will chafe as you rotate your torso during the paddle stroke and will get in the way during entries and rescues. What you need is support for your hips, not your back.

Nothing is even better…

A high quailty
low back band will give you pleanty of support. As others have said it has advantages for self resues, and rolling. With that said most of the back bands that come with the kayak are junk. So plan on doing a upgrade for a after market back band.

Use correct PFD
I am not your normal kayaker as I have a severe lower back problem. I do not think I would be able to kayak without my highback seat. I have to have it in a slightly reclining position.

If you decide to go with a high back then get a PFD designed for it such as Lotus’ Deepwater which has a mesh back. I do not find that this combination limits torso rotation.

For most, reclining is VERY bad
and will cause back problems, not help them.

Upright, with some rotation, with minimal support for hips (NO La-Z-Boy seats!!!) is the way to go.

I hope your high back seat and leaning back do not further aggravate your condition. It may be working for you, but is bad advice for others.

It is hard to explain good position and outfitting to those who have only padded with fully padded high back seat. Night and day.

any recommendations?
This was a topic I was meaning to look into so I’m glad it was brought up. I am currently paddling a Perception Sonoma 13.5 and it has a higher backband which, while fairly comfortable, greatly limits any sort of layback in my rolls. Also I think more lower back support would be more comfortable than higher. Any suggestions? I’m hearing that Snap Dragons are good. How about NRS or any other company? Plus how much work is this switch going to be from a technical standpoint?

never mind!
I did a search function and found a ton of threads on back bands and Perception seats which has given me something to think about. I think I’m going to keep the seat as its the new one and it’s pretty good but the back of it is gone and I’m going to replace it with probably a Bomber backband or something along those lines. Plus I need to get a bunch of minicell and finally outfit my boat to me after a whole year!

ok, maybe a couple more questions…
I’m looking to get a nice backband as well as some minicell foam to outfit my boat. I’m not really sure what pieces I need. I checked out NRS’s site and they sell outfitting kits. Is that what I want or should I get them piece by piece. Also it looks like NRS has their own backband for sale. Anyone know if it is any good?

Two recommendations:
for touring/sea kayak backbands - go IR (Immersion Research) or NSI (North Shore Inc.).

From IR - the Reggie 2.0:


From NSI - The whitewater or even mini whitewater (same size as IR band). Skip the big one with the adjustable lumbar gizmo):


Been very happy with my IR, and now others who like the NSI even more.

Foam? Yeah, cut/carve/shape your own after looking at what several otheres have done. Adapt to your needs. Revise until you’re happy.