how much weight can my seat hold?

I have a trip planned for next week and my “little” brother who weighs 300 lbs is coming along. I have an 18 ft wenonah champlain that will be coming on the trip. I am worried that his weight may break the tractor style seat or the aluminum tubing that supports it.Does anyone know if this will be a problem?

Thanks, mr green

I am only guessing, but I think it will
be a problem.

But there is a simple solution.

Just reinforce the support using a big block or pieces of high density foam directly under it.

If you don’t have any of the foam, make a center support with a block of wood, or blocks of wood, (some 2x4 chunks), and make sure they are securly in place with duct tape or equal.

I would also make sure if you use a wood support to make sure it has a large bottom so all the pressure won’t be in one place on the hull.



should be ok per website
Wenonah’s web site says “Good uses for this design? We recommend it highly if two or more of the following conditions apply: big people, big loads, or big waters. This canoe hauls two large people, a week’s worth of equipment, plus an arsenal of fishing gear, and it still has reserve buoyancy for waves.”

That certainly sounds like it encompasses a 300-lb person, and the photo makes it look like the seats are supported by two transverse metal pieces which would argue strength. I assume you plan to have him ride in back? With the sliding seat up front, the weakest link might be the pin that holds the seat in its chosen position.

Nonetheless, JackL’s reinforcement suggestions are good and if you have the materials readily at hand, you might go ahead and do it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t worry about it.

No "plopping"
I have weighed 250 lbs and we have the same seats in our Spirit II and have had no trouble as is. One thing would be to make it clear that “plopping” down on the seat is a no no. My wife doesn’t share my generous weight but she has a knee replacement that makes it hard for her to gently lower herself into the bow seat sometimes. When she plopps down from just a few inches it makes me take a hard swallow as I see how much stress it applies to the whole picture. A support of some kind sounds like a good idea.


What ever you do, don’t put him in the

You will not be a happy paddler with a bow heavy canoe.

Can you say “zig” and “zag” ?



It can be
I have repaired two of my bow seats from just the load you mention, about 300# plopped down as the previous poster mentioned.

On the sliding front seat the weak point is the hole drilled in the rear crossbar where the front-to-back tubes for the sliding seat fasten to the crossbar. With the seat in the rear position most of the load is concentrated on these two points where the tubes joint, and its the weakest point of the crossbar. On both of my tandems, this tube broke right at the hole.

The replacement tube i installed is much heavier gauge and slightly bigger diameter. I did not drill the replacement, but epoxy puttied the two tubes together.

Both are still working.

I would hesitate to put a support from the seat bar to the bottom of the hull. You will have 300# keeping the bottom of the canoe from flexing. if its the Ultra-Light layup the 300# will be pressing down on the foam core of the hull in a very small area. If you go this route make the support out of a big block of stiff closed cell foam to spread the load as Jack L mentioned.


Foam it
I have broken the Cross bars and the angle bracket

that they hang rom n occasion. Three hundred pounds is about 55 pounds more then what caused Randy’s failure. I agree with Jack and Bill. Brace it then even if it does fail your brother can keep paddling.

take it out
Does the seat come out easily? If so, maybe you could take it out and replace it with something else that would be more comfortable for him and where weight wouldn’t be a problem. Possibilities are a cooler, a crazy-creek-type chair, a stack of square boat cushion/pfds tied together, or a custom construction of 2x6 boards. The boat looks pretty stable so you could probably get away with a little more height than the standard seat, although you probably don’t want to add much since he is presumably a novice. You can use duct tape to hold it in place if he’s careful in the act of sitting down - once seated, his weight should hold it in place.

I asked Wenonah that question
I’m a big guy and have asked Wenonah that question. They said that the rear seat should be fine, but said it wouldn’t hurt to add extra rivets for strength.

I didn’t ask about the sliding bow seat, as I figure I’ll never use it.

thanks for the advice
I was going to have him paddle stern for sure seeing that i am 170 lbs and would never stand a chance of turning the boat with him in the front. I checked my garage and found a tackle box that will fit under the seat perfectly.

300 pounds and rivets just don’t sound good in the same sentence. maybe i’m wrong.

Rivets have not been the problem in any of my Wenonahs. Even when the cross tube broke, the seat fell down at the rear to the bottom of the canoe, the front of the slide rails were still attached to the aluminum side brackets and they were still riveted to the hull. I have had the side angle brackets start to tear at the bend from too much seat weight,but the rivets have never failed. Some over the years have started to loosen on the thwarts and have been replaced, but none have ever sheared off,or pulled thru the kevlar. Wenonah may well be using a rivet of better quality than you find at Home Depot or Ace Hardware.



you’re probably right
i’ve trusted my weight to a mast fitting that was riveted. but, then again, racing is a bit of a crap shoot.

i’ll defer to you, though.


Wenonah seat hanger problem
I have several Wenonah canoes in my fleet, all different models. I also weigh a bit more than 200 LBS. I never had a problem with any of their seats. I did however have a problem with their seat hangers, the aluminum type, it ripped /cracked and seat dropped an inch or so. This occurred only on one canoe, a canoe I had used for many years on several long trips. The hanger is easily repaired; drill out the pop rivets, unscrew the seat and install the new hanger in reverse order. The advertised weight carrying capacity of a canoe is in most cases a useless number, OT talks about 1200 lbs for some of their canoes but lets be realistic. The real question is how close to gunwale can you stand the water line, keeping in mind that heavy loaded canoe get harder to handle. On long trips(15 days+)I run my tripping tandem (Wenonah Casacade) at around 600 lbs it actually improves its stability with some weight. I am sure that your Vagabond should be running fine with 300-400lbs.