Kayak outfitting: Seat -- change it?

-- Last Updated: Jan-30-06 7:43 AM EST --

Here is a popular and informative link provided by pnetters (thank you) that I plan to use for my kayak outfitting plans for my Prijon.


The write-up emphasizes changing out the kayak seat, stating that a customized minicell seat plus backband will improve overall comfort, get a paddler lower in the boat for stability (but cautions about too low for paddling efficacy). It also saves weight. I had intended to use my current plastic molded seat and just minicell a seat top (which would actually make me higher in the seat).

What do you suggest, simply thin mincell pad the current seat and contour for fit, or replace the entire seat (on the Prijons with adjustable seat it is merely a matter of removing the screws -- not cutting out the seat permanently). Has anyone removed their entire seat, and does the minicell seat get moldy or odorous when wet? Finally, back band-- I recognize the advantages for torso rotation freedom -- but has anyone tried the minicell backband rather than the sling backband. Many articles seem to tout this method, more like a back support, but I cannot even think how that would work and where to secure the minicell backband to the kayak.

Thanks : )

Check this one out…

your prijons …
of the 3 model prijons you own, whith model is your favorite ???

Overall favorite, all things considered,
the Capri.

My experiences…
with a T-165 went full circle.

Pulled the seat assembly and started carvin’ foam. Wanted to get lower in the boat and I really like the comfort of a minicell seat.

New seat put me 3/4" off the hull floor. Incredible stability in the boat and no paddling interference.

As my Tempest is a poly version, removing the seat assembly also left me with no cheek plates to affix a backband to. Carved a foam back rest that was affixed to the rear bulkhead. Very comfortable set-up for paddling… until I went to roll the boat. Didn’t like the fixed backrest even after changing the height a couple of times.

The real culprit here was the rear combing height and my seating position. I had originally moved the factory seat assembly aft a few inches to make it easier to get my long legs in the boat and this was now working against me with the foam outfitting. To get comfortable with a lay back, I had to move the seat further foreward than I wanted as I was running out of room for my feet.

Re-installed the factory seat assembly in the aft position and I now enjoy the boat a lot. It wasn’t the fault of the foam, more an issue with my being nearly too long for the T-165. I believe I could make it work with a composite 165 if using the front bulkhead for a footrest instead of rail mounted pegs.

I have a cedar strip Night Heron that I carved a foam seat for using one of Joe Greenley’s blanks as a starting point. I sit 1/2" off the hull floor and the rear combing is lower than the T-165. I’m further forward of the rear combing so lay-backs shouldn’t be a problem (haven’t rolled the boat yet).

I installed a Snapdragon WW band in the stripper and I think I really prefer this over a stationary foam back pad.

I’d strip out your seat since its a bolt-in affair and experiment with various seat heights and back pad positions. You’ll learn a lot just by feeling the changes while executing your paddle strokes.

No worries for me with foam seats getting smelly or anything like that. Mine is glued in but has a small channel to allow water to pass fore and aft.

You don’t have anything to lose with some experimentation so go for it. You can easily return to the factory set up.

BTW, I made my seat 20" long to help support my long legs at the thighs and I’m really glad I did that.

PLeasant waters and a comfortable butt to ya!


Patrick at Onno has contoured
seats you might want to check out.

Thanks everyone.
And especially to Holmes for the long and very interesting reading. Very helpful for me to live through your trials. One question: if I do remove the factory seat and carve some minicell, should I affix it to my polyplastic boat (I was planning to use Dap Weldwood, as sing mentioned to me), and if I do – even using a small amount just to keep[ it in place-- how do I get it off if I change my mind and want to remove it? Sounds like you did this, Holmes. Thanks

I just placed…
a few glue patches (I used Weldwood also), towards the outer edges of the trial seat where I could easily reach them with a flat scraper for removal.

Just slide the scraper under the seat and you can sever and lift the contact spot. Kinda like cutting a meatloaf!


the capri is…
the capri is a very nice lake kayak !!! :slight_smile:

Reading John Dowd’s Sea kayaking: a Manual for Long Distance Touring (5th edition), and he cites a study that found one inch lowering of the seat will double the kayak stability! This is from a hydrodynamic study, not opinion. He also states that a longer kayak is faster than shorter, but not by as much as one would think, especially at slower paddling speeds where the coefficient of drag from the longer waterline offsets (ie negates)the advantage of the narrower profile of the boat. Hmm. Interesting stuff. So, even a preficient advanced paddler might consider a seat change to lower profile (ie closer to deck) if going on known rough waters. Hmmm.

Seats 'R Us
Having a hosed up lower back that limits my time to next Ibuprofen dose in a conventional touring seat/backstrap setup to 90 minutes, I’m now embarking on the seat quest.

I’ve removed the seat from my Impex Diamante, and have a Necky Extrasport/Extra comfort seat on order.

It LOOKS like a pretty much bolt in job, with the possibility of some narrowing of the seat pad, and redesign of the seat back support strap attach points.

I also have some good thick closed-cell stiff foam packing material I may experiment with if the Necky seat doesn’t work out.

My biggest loss will be the inability to use the spray skirt, if that proves to be the case, due to the higher seat back.

But, if I can actually enjoy being in the boat longer, I’ll consider that a small price to pay.

I’ll try to post some pix, or at least have them available to E-mail if anyone is interested.

Stay tuned!


Check out Brian Nystrom’s webshots
I have followed Brian Nystrom’s technique to install a foam seat in a Kevlar Arctic Hawk that worked out to be a fantastic setup. Here is the link:


If you look at his other galleries, which he has quite a few, you will see other great tips and techniques for customizing your boat that not only look good, but actually work much better than the factory setups. I have done several of those as well.

I am now getting ready to install a VCP foam seat that they sell that not only has a smooth molded seat with “skin” on it, but also has attached hip pads that “fold up” onto the sides of the hull to snug you into your boat much better by removing all that loose space.

I highly recommend either option of carving your own or buying the VCP one for about $60 or so. Brian also has examples of foam seat backs in his galleries for you to look at too. I no longer use sling-based seat backs but always go for the foam ones as they don’t hang up on your gear climbing back into the boat and are more supportive for long paddle days.

Hope this helps.