For solo canoe paddling which was best knee pads or kneeling pad. Do kneeling pad absorb a lot of water over the day and are knee pads just made for paddling? If y’all can recommend some brands to look at that will be a big help. Thanks


super. usem loose on 1-2-2+ water. no strain no discomfort at 70 years in Wenonah Solo at 6’4"

Asics knee pads
Are what I wear. They are made for wrestling or volleyball but work great in the canoe for kneeling.

One advantage of wearing your pads is if you take a fall on slippery rocks your knees have some protection. The neoprene also adds some warmth on colder days.

No they don’t absorb water

– Last Updated: Feb-27-16 7:31 PM EST –

You can make your own out of minicell workshop flooring
The best are from the Bag Lady at waterworks
Bell and CookecCustom Sewing used to have good pads
If you are doing FreeStyle pads that you wear are too constricting and most of us use a full size three by four foot pad. Keeps your feet warm too

“Your Mileage May Vary”

– Last Updated: Feb-27-16 11:39 PM EST –

What's best depends on what you are doing and your own peculiarities of comfort.

Glued-in knee pads are what most whitewater paddlers use. They give you the most solid connection to the boat of any method, especially the contoured knee pads. Those that like them wouldn't use any other method, even on flatwater.

Kneeling pads (mats) that cover some portion of the floor allow complete flexibility in where you put your knees. You aren't "locked" in place, but the connection to the boat can be pretty good. To make that connection better, I sewed some foam blocks onto my whitewater pad to prevent forward slippage, and that really solidifies my knee-to-boat connection on powerful forward strokes (the seat prevents slippage backward on reverse strokes).

Some people swear by wearable knee pads. I myself can't stand them. Lateral support can't be as secure when you make the point of support taller, unless of course that cushion is part of the hull and does not move (as is the case with glued-in pads). If your style of paddling doesn't suffer on account of that lesser stability, you might love wearable knee pads too.

One other thing that's good to know. *No* pad material creates high friction with a wet Royalex hull, and sometimes not with a composite hull, except the glue-in pads of course. If you use a drop-in pad (mat), it helps to put friction strips on the floor of the boat. I put three lengthwise strips on each side, and it eliminates all pad slippage. Others use a stiffer pad material and make it run up the sides of the boat, from gunwale to gunwale. A stiff material crammed-in that way stays where you want it (pads of that style are extremely heavy though, or at least all the ones I've seen are heavy, adding several pounds of weight to the boat).

Kayamedic named a few brands. One additional brand is Mad River. Their pads are very "cushy" (more so than regular foam mats) and have a very tough, textured surface that almost feels "sticky", though in actual fact, it's not (these are much more slip-proof than foam mats, but they are kind of heavy).

Gunwale to gunwale pads
made out of that puzzle shaped squares of minicell flooring are quite light but bulky… Nevertheless when we have to fly with our paddle and pad, that is what we use.

You usually wind up with a fraction of a pad that you trim to fit under the gunwale.

The disadvantage is they squeak annoyingly and get sand imbedded in them. Not unlike glued in pads.

If you want heavy I have a homemade FreeStyle pad with carpet backing on the bottom, a thick minicell pad and topped with a real weight killer… Jersey covered neoprene. Its great for a little grip when you want it and allows for a little slide… If that is what you want.

For tripping I usually hate to carry anything extra and glue in sheets of half inch minicell.

depends on what you want to do
I have occasionally used knee pads in canoes owned by others who did not want to glue in pads. I personally don’t feel they offer very much connection to the boat and don’t much care for them.

If you don’t want to permanently attach kneeling pads, a large drop in pad is better IMO than knee pads worn on your legs. If you use a closed cell foam like minicell they will not absorb water. I have also sometimes used just loose rectangles of minicell foam and that works OK if you aren’t moving around much.

Loose pads or big drop in pads are one more thing to come out of the boat if you capsize in moving water. Many will tie in large T pads so they won’t float away, but having things tethered to a capsized boat in current is not the best thing either.

For maximum control in current, glued in pads are best. These don’t allow the freedom of movement that freestyle paddlers like to have, but they can be customized to the shape of your knees. Maximum control is achieved by having your knees out in the chines of the hull. The curvature of the hull in narrow solo canoes or the bow of tandem canoes may make your knees continually try to slide inboard. Contoured knee pads with a thick bolster on the inboard edge will resist this tendency for the knees to slide inboard.

are primary. A thinking thread.

Before manuvers, mine are on the sides: ‘Maximum control is achieved by having your knees out in the chines of the hull’

So move knee pads outward.

So how have I arrived at an unglued state ? Putting in on the Rio with new hull/new pads (3) there were no trials before so unglued pads stayed unglued.

I am delighted with convenience for movement into comfort zones, not locked into knees go here and that’s all. Like adjustable stems with trekking bars on long distance cycle frames.

A sub whitewater use, a more relaxed approach and thus easier on the ol’ knees.

What I do

– Last Updated: Feb-28-16 4:18 PM EST –

I paddle flat and gently moving water in my solo canoe. I glue 2 cutout pieces of closed cell foam in with silicone calk which is removable. I prefer pads that are attached so I don't forget them. I leave a space between them to ease moving my feet in and out from under the seat. I recently increased the pad thickness to 5/8 to more cushion my knees. One closed cell sleeping pad will do lots of canoes cheap.

I have the old Bell version of this…

– Last Updated: Mar-01-16 5:02 AM EST –

Very comfortable - nylon on closed cell foam. This is probably all you need, and you can move it from boat to boat.

Depending how much contact you want to have with the boat, combinations of knee pads and straps can get increasingly complicated:

Flat pads glued into my Yellowstone Solo – D-rings for straps, but the straps usually aren’t in the boat.

Contoured knee pads in my Mohawk tanden – knee straps only.

More substantial contoured knee pads in my whitewater solo with a pedestal and 3 point knee and thigh straps.

Northstar samples ?

– Last Updated: Mar-01-16 8:51 AM EST –

Your Yellowstone sets up like the Rendezvous and Wenonah Solo here with Bill's/Outfitters bags in the open areas.

unfixed NRS pads moving from that Y chine position to variable keelward pointsin the unglues state gives significant knee pressure relief with the idea that in motion pads move with knee motions when
big deal.

water under a mobile pad allows knee-pad-hull motions as would a vehicle shock absorber

NE Spring leaps open !

I Kneel…
…but don’t Use Knee Pads due to the circulation impairment they exacerbate on older legs. I’ve found that a “Combo” approach works best for me, and is inexpensive. I like these flat pads that I get from ACK:

They are not as thick as the contoured pads Pete is talking about and won’t keep your knees in place like the contoured pads. BUT, they make it easy to change position frequently, which is important to me.

More often than not, I also use a second, larger pad on top. I have an older blue, Bell pad that you can still find on E-bay. If I’m doing an overnight and will be spending a lot of time on these old knees, I have a discount store closed cell foam Yoga pad that works very well. Also less slick than the “Puzzle mat” closed cell foam.

If money is no object, though, I would look at that “Bag lady” pad that Yellowcanoe mentioned. I looked at it and fondled it (LOL) and ooooh, it feels really nice! Cook Custom Sewing also makes a nice one. As these knees age, I might be upgrading myself?

You know, for 25 years I paddled canoes with my butt in the seat, kneeling only when things got “Hairy.” Then, due to a trauma to my right femoral artery, I was forced to kneel as I can sit for only a few minutes at a time. I WISH I had started kneeling sooner, as it improves boat control so much more than sitting in a seat. Good luck!

The big T-shaped pads are pretty comfortable and provide a soft surface for the tops of the feet.

But I have always been a little bemused that folks will spend hundreds of dollars to shave a few pounds off their canoe and then think nothing of dropping a 2 pound pad in it.

Well, I don’t usually carry the lt wt.
boat with the pad in it anyway. A royalex WW boat with glued in pads, yes!

It’s a poor analogy
I use thick pads for my wooden daytrippers as the ribs of the canoe hurt and but to think I use the same pad on my 31 lb canoe used in Woodland Caribou which involves portaging is certainly not the case

The tendency is to think that paddlers are paddling the same sorts of water that we do

It’s been a long time since I set up a river shuttle

fwiw…Pedestals can work really well…
in conjunction with kneepads…IF you develop the skill to know how to shape the transitioning from where your butt turns into your thighs and make it high enough so it’s comfortable on your knees, ankles and feet.

T BagLady

– Last Updated: Mar-01-16 10:33 AM EST –

The BagLady makes two Grade VI pads. A small "Figure Eight" shaped one that snaps around the seat for portage and the larger rail ro rail unit for those who like to move arounf in their boat, paddle bare footed, etc.

Both are 1/2" foam with neoprene wet suit material on top for comfort, ToughGrip on bottom to stick where placed.

I wish we could come up with a different term. People think of it as having 100% of your weight on your knees, which is wrong. With a properly set up seat, you can have 0 to 100% weight on your knees with a slight shift of position. I almost never really “kneel”. I usually have 10-20% weight on knees, but it constantly changes. I also take advantage of the versatility of this setup to totally sit with my legs out front at times. I once paddled with a back doctor, who said the classic “kneeling” canoe position is the best for your back.


You can order the foam
Cut your own to fit. By laminating you can create any thickness. Easy to create your own perfect pad for less money.

The knee pad neoprene has a nylon coating. Cut it to fit.

What About The Backs of Your Toes?
Might have to buy quite a few of them pads, since I paddle bare foot and do need rash guards for my toes?