Kneeling Canoe Paddlers

I kneel most of the time when paddling. Heck, it feels unnatural now when I sit for even brief periods of time. I hate messing with kneeling pads and hate the idea of gluing pads in all my boats. Just wondered if anyone has ever found any padded pants or pants with pockets on the knees that you could put ensolite in? I’d even thought of football pants with the other pads removed? That’s not much of a stretch from the the old wool baseball pants I used decades ago. They were the best paddling pants I’ve used; too bad they don’t make 'em anymore. Thanks in advance.

hardware store
Go buy some kneeling pads like the construction workers use.

I use Voyageur kneeling pads that happen
to pass through windows in my triple saddles.

As a primarily ww paddler, I prefer to have my knees located firmly in one place. Back in the 70s, I sometimes used strap on knee pads, but never found them satisfactory.

Is gluing knee cups in place really a problem?

Well TW,
About last January I purchased from the myriad of offerings by Sierra Trading Post several pairs of work trousers. A few of the usual Carhartt models, and a pair of some “tactical” pants in navy blue. These SWAT-trotters intrigued me, not just for their very affordable price of $20 (after internet discounts) and utilitarian expanse of pocketry, but also because they came in a heavy-weave rip-stop nylon, which I thought might be good for when I’m bushwhacking through dew-dampened blackberry and multi-flora rose thickets in search of that elusive stone marking a beginning to Hopewell’s Folly.

Turns out they’re just too darn rigged-out (as in pocket overkill) for my own personal needs, with all sorts of flaps always catching inconveniently, never ripping but often stopping me in my tracks. One thing of interest, you might note, though I myself have not had cause to take a knee and shoot out a sniper’s eye in yonder church steeple, is that they came with closed-cell foam kneeling pads, and also the knee pockets within which to slip them. I have not had cause to try the pants with the pads in place, so I’m unable to say as to whether or not they provide kneeling comfort. Can’t remember the brand, but I suppose there are “tactical” apparel surplus outlets throughout our Rambo-unctious land, if not the internet. (Barre Army-Navy in Vermont comes to mind as an online seller.)

They might serve you well for your said purpose, unless looking like a prayerful DEA agent while floating amongst a meth’d-up Breaking Bad on the Current crowd is invitation for perforated fashion reprisal.

Well, maybe you can get 'em in that no-sea camo?

Second thought, better save that shade for the emperor.

Hmmm, Thanks!
Will look for those. Maybe looking like FBI or Homeland Security might make some of those nuts act a little more sober (LOL)?

I guess installing knee pads isn’t that big of a deal, I just was looking for something different. Will check out the construction knee pads and see if I can find some of those tactical pants. Thanks!

Seen deez in Home Dippo

– Last Updated: Aug-29-13 8:09 PM EST –

de utter day. Looks like dems might last fer most o' a season.... unless ol' Dead Eye CWDH shoots dem off yer knees wit his'ems Doris Day issued Que Sierra, Sierra Tradin' Posthole tractorool britches-mounted blunderbuss.


If you have a surplus store,…
the ACUs (digital pattern) have a pocket for knee pads.

Buy a pair of Rail Riders
They have double seamed knees. My husband always disintegrates the top seam. He called them Knee Pockets… I am tempted to slide foam and see if he notices.

5.11 Stryke Pant
Has knee pockets for foam inserts.

You can find them 20% off list if you Google around.

google wrestler’s knee pads …

– Last Updated: Aug-29-13 10:47 PM EST –

...... what you want is an orthopedic knee pad designed especially for working on your knees ... just like a wrestler does so do you when knee paddling . When selecting size (S,M,L,XL) , suggest you go for the looser fit rather than the tighter fit , more comfortable . Such pads/braces are best worn directly against skin rather than over clothing .

Check out "McDavid's Wrestler Knee Pads" (scoll down page) ...

Advise you avoid any construction type knee pad at all cost unless no other choice . I've worn everyone ever made on my job sites and they all suck !!

It's not the knee pad (soft or hard cap) , it's the way they attach to the leg/knee ... always moving , always irritating , always re-adjusting fit ... irritates the hell out of the soft tissue on back of knee/leg .

I used to wear
what I think were old school basketball knee pads long ago. Then when I started tripping a lot I glued in large flat sections of 3/8 inch foam and that worked well. Now I just go bare. You do get used to it. I don’t like knee cups because I find them too confining. I like to change positions from time to time.

I outfitted my boat …
with the gray interlocking shop pads. Recently on sale at Harbor Freight for $8. 1/2" minicell. I glued on the edges to each of the four pieces then cut them to fit under the gunwales. I didn’t glue them in, but assemble them each time I paddle. Takes a couple minutes to snap them into place, then I can move all about pain free. Couple of pictures here:

Padding goes better on the hull
I’m another whitewater-head, so even my flatwater boat has a saddle and knee cups - I just find that more comfortable, probably because it’s what I’m used to. Before I went that far, I used to toss an old piece of an ensolite sleeping pad in there. That was comfortable enough, but it slid around once things got wet between it and the hull, and there was no way to avoid stepping on it when getting in and out.

Knee pads always seem to bind and chafe behind the knee - the ones OU keeps on hand for canoe class students to use seem to only get used the first day.

I suppose you could try a pair of those neoprene knee support sleeves that drug stores sell, though most of those have a hole where the kneecap goes. Maybe cut the back out of it, to eliminate the chafe point, then glue the resulting piece onto the front to close up the kneecap hole? :slight_smile:

Sometimes we have to fly
with knee pads and paddles (not boats) to quietwater FreeStyle events.

The interlock workshop flooring works well trimmed so that the edges jam right up under the rails. No sliding of the pad at all.

And they break down to carry on a plane. The downside is that if you have multiple boats you have to have a set for each different boat…at least the edges.

Not a fan of pads in pants. Your knees can still slide against fabric and the pads wind up where they are of no use. And that sort of non control is not what you want.

Try carpet grip on the bottom of whatever pads you now have.

Thanks, All!

– Last Updated: Aug-30-13 12:16 PM EST –

I never thought about the padded pants sliding around, but unless the pants are tight at the knee, I guess they may? As I change positions often, the kneeling pad sometimes gets hung up when I'm moving feet out. Plus, when it's rainy or you get some water in the boat, it slides around. I might just bite the bullet and install knee pads or cups in all my boats? The wrestling knee pads look like they'd work well too?

Thanks for all the ideas! Headed to work for the next 4 days, so you'all have a great Labor Day weekend!

Knee padding…

– Last Updated: Aug-30-13 12:46 PM EST –

Construction type knee pads = PITA. Won't stay in place; always slipping up or down or sideways. The straps cut off circulation if cinched too tight.

Pads into knee pockets in pants = PITA. If you shift positions in the canoe & you do; the pads will rotate with the pants & the pads will not line up in an ideal contact position with the hull. The pads can & do wrinkle when wet & become uncomfortable, or painful.

The orthopedic/elastic supports will either cut off circulation if too tight, or roam about if too loose.

Tried all those things when I was into caving; they were more trouble than they were worth. Also tried ACE bandages. Also a PITA.

Anything that fits together like a jigsaw puzzle will come apart like a jigsaw puzzle; unless you make some special adaptations to the jigsaw parts, so they'll adhere to the hull instead of coming apart & roaming about. Might just as well put in permanently mounted kneeling pads, or kneeling cups.

Check out Cooke Custom Sewing; look at their small knee pad; as opposed to the large size model that extends back under the seat.

I think Mohawk has some small (1'x 1' squares) that are in their outfitting section that work ok, and are't overkill if they're permanently mounted.

Or, just do without & "endeavour to perservere".


Oh, I most certainly…
…have issues with Doris Day, and especially that bus she blundered off of into a Moroccan Hitchcock holiday from hell! Someone should’ve told the woman, “Mind 'Jo own business, pretty lady!”

No wonder Jimmy was left all a’stutter.

What I do
I glue cut out sections of 5/8" camping closed cell foam I buy in a sleeping pad form cheap. I use clear silicone caulk for glue,which can be pealed off if you want to remove the pads and leaves no damsge to the boat surface.Cut it in 2 sections with a crack in the middle so water can flor bow to stern.



– Last Updated: Aug-30-13 3:17 PM EST –

after teaching people some 15 years with those "come apart" jigsaw pieces, I haven't seen a gunwale to gunwale application come apart and wander yet.

There are downsides to workshop flooring. Bare skin to bare mat the mats squeak if you move. If they get wet you slide a lot. They do tend to hold sand.

CCS mats are great. But they can also go amok especially in a Royalex boat . They do have a grip surface below and do better than other mats.

However that might not be a problem in the future.

My overwhelming preference is . . .
. . . flat knee pads glued onto the hull bottom. In my experience, 1/2" textured raw neoprene (no nylon surface) is the best. Anything thicker and you lose the water contact feeling through your knee bones. I’ve also used a lot of 3/8" black or tan ensolite from sleeping pads. However, the neoprene is more durable and has more bounce and rebound than the ensolite.

The shape of the flat pads is a matter of preference. For a tripping canoe I use two rounded squares with a space in between for water to slosh through. The space also allows a kneeling paddler to slide feet under, or out from, the seat easier than over a rubber surface. For a freestyle canoe I use a bigger single sheet of foam to climb further up to the rails and to extend further forward for bow pitching.

I don’t like cups on a flatwater canoe because they are inconsistent with position changes. Cups make a lot more sense in a thigh-strapped whitewater hull.

I certainly don’t want anything that comes loose and could float away in an upset, especially in multiple pieces. Nor do I want to carry some big honker loose mat if I’m portaging.