Kneeling comfort

I’ve been kneeling on an old foam Army sleeping pad [we called it something different in the Army ;)]. It works well, but slides around a lot. I need something more permenant and, ideally, more elegant. I’m thinking of just rubber cementing it in so I can still pull it out if I need to or want to. I’m also considering a set of those peel n stick foam pads that all the on-line paddling shops sell. My other problem is foot/ankle support. A rolled up towel works okay, when I remember to bring it. I could use a more elegant solution for that too. Maybe a pool noddle, halved long-wise, glued in behind the kneeling pad. Or, again, the peel n stick commercial foot support. Those look like they are too low to provide much support though.

Anyone have any comments? What works for y’all?

What works for me:

– Last Updated: Jul-06-12 12:51 PM EST –

Personally, I don't like the idea of gluing a kneeling pad into the boat. I sometimes get a lot of dirt in the boat, and a permanent pad would get a whole lot dirtier than a drop-in one. A drop-in pad can easily be rinsed off "on the go" too, giving me a clean surface to kneel on even if the boat is dirty inside. Also, I can switch from one style of pad to another, depending on paddling conditions.

I use various commercially made kneeling pads (Bell and Cooke's Custom Sewing). I found that they tend to slide, and installed a set of traction strips on the floor of the boat where the pad sits. I use three or four strips, oriented lengthwise, on each side. I figure lengthwise orientation of the strips will allow water to drain beneath the kneeling pad a little better than crosswise orientation. I've never had a pad slip since I've installed the strips. The first time I tried this, I used the "exterior" traction strips from 3-M, but they are so sharp and abrasive I had to "break them in" first by grabbing each end and sliding them back and forth around a sharp corner on some scrap steel. It took a lot of grinding to "dull them down" enough that they wouldn't tear up a kneeling pad. Since then I've used the indoor strips which have a rough-molded plastic surface instead of embedded "bits of rock" like the exterior strips. They don't stick as well but they haven't come off yet either.

I can't help you regarding the ankle support. I don't use any.

I just recently adopted a new trick. During severe maneuvers where a lot of power is applied in the forward direction, my knees tend to slip forward on the pad. In the past I reduced this problem by "painting" the top surface of the knee-contact areas with "plastic dip" that's used for putting a soft, colored coating on steel tool handles. My latest thing is to sew a canvas sleeve to each knee-contact location, and slide a 10" piece of pool noodle into the sleeve. It works great. The pool noodle is firmly anchored to the pad right in front of the knee, and the knee won't slide forward at all, no matter what. It accomplishes the same thing as thigh straps, but for people who don't paddle such severe whitewater that they truly need thigh straps.

I usually carve some lower shin and

– Last Updated: Jul-06-12 12:46 PM EST –

ankle blocks, glue velcro to em' and attach to a larger, hull floor foam pad that I extend underneath either a pedestal or seat..with larger velcroed area(for adjusting) for the blocks to stick to. Just match the shape to your ankle angles and you can fall asleep while in the canoe..;-)
BTW, those longer, wavy-shaped light-density foam blocks that shops use to plop kayaks on are sold and often fit the shape of one's lower legs. The longer contact-area one gets with the foam...usually the more comfortable. Then you're not putting any pressure on your ankles/feet for a tight fit, as needed in WW performance.

A bunch of things
First. Tell us the inner material of your boat. Royalex is usually a problem and even home workshop flooring jammed under the gunwles tends to slide.

Workshop flooring is sold in packs of four…the puzzle piece shapes. Put the squares together and trim so the edge is right against the gunwales.

Alternatively you can use contact cement to glue pads you carve out of the same material in. The cost for two knee pads would be about ten bucks. Workshop flooring is minicell without the paddle glamor and price.

I use Cooke pads in my wood ribbed boats. The Bell ones do not wear as well in the same boats and knees have been known to grind through them.

I eschew peel and stick because sooner or later and edge lifts and they unstick quickly as sand works in. I do glue minicell in to tripping boats as I dislike portaging with a separate pad.

Some folks glue pool noodles to the same workshop flooring for ankle support. Some are comfy with the top of the foot flat on the pad.

The cost of four flooring pads. $20 and the noodle 99 cents.

Great idea
Thanks KM. Yes, my canoe is Royalex. Royalite really, but same difference.

Since you mention it, the pad I’m currently using doesn’t extend far enough back for my feet. That might help with comfort too. I think I’ll still want the ankle support. I usually paddle barefoot or wearing Vibram FF’s.

To be clear, do you recommend gluing with contact cement instead of rubber cement? I was thinking that the rubber cement would hold well enough, but still come out easily if and when I want to remove the outfitting. Conact cement is more permanent, isn’t it?

First you need to get you’re seat angle and hieght taylored to your demontions so the approiate % of your weight is on your knees when relaxed(10%?) then you only load your knees when you want.The term “kneeling” is greatly misunderstood.

Second-I like thick(5/8) glued in kneeling pads. I glue them in with silicone calk so there is no perminant damage to the boat.


We use removable Voyageur knee
pads that are ~30 inches long, and are sewn into a material that grips the Royalex boat bottom very effectively.

But I googled all around to see if anyone was still selling them, and neither Harmony, nor Piragis, nor REI is carrying them anymore.

If anyone knows what I am talking about, and where they might still be available, please raise your hand.

Buy cheap military surplus ensolite pads and cut them to your taste and glue them in with silicone. If you don’t like them,rip them out and throw them away. You can find a selection of colors and thicknesses. If you find a source for the 5/8 green kind, please let me knoe-I’m running out.


My Solution…
is to wear wrestling knee pads. They are neoprene and have nice cushions for the patela. Check out Dicks, Sports Authority, etc.

Besides the cushion benefits for the knee they provide they also add a little safety edge should you take a tumble on a rocky shoreline. They also add a little warmth during the cold paddling season.

Nice thick yoga or exercise pads from
Wall Mart have been working for us. Use them full length for kneeling wife and her fglass Blackhawk, with 1/2 large swim noodle foot supports, that seem to grip the soft foam pad ok. Also may split the pad and use part of it (or part of another) cross ways gunnel-gunnel in front of her seat for full width padding & grip in that area. I split my pad to go around & under my tractor pedestal seat on WenVagKUL. Like to have the whole boat bottom padded for quiet ops and keeps other stuff from slipping around, and off the bottom. Pads also good for beach stretch/nap stops or under sleeping bags for overnights. Just thoughts, R