I have an Old Town Penobscot and canoe a shallow, 2.3-4 mph flowing river with several rocky bottom areas. I would like to get some seat backs for support. Are the wooden web seats ( https://crab.secure-host.com/extrasport/oldtowncanoe/catalog.php?fr_sw=0§ion_id=4) a poor choice for rolling a canoe? Would they crack the wood if they got stuck in a rock during a roll? Or would the foam stadium seats be a better recommendation? Is there a distinct difference in comfort between the two seats? Any recommendations?
I wouldn’t be concerned about rolling your Penobscot or any consequences of having the OT brand seat backs in place during a roll. I own a Penobscot and also own a set of web seat backs. Since our family moved on to solo canoes years ago we rarely use the old Penobscot anymore and never did end up using the seat backs very much when we were using that boat more frequently. From my observation very few people end up using seat backs in canoes – the exception seems to be those folks who always sit (as opposed to those who kneel most of the time) and use a double bladed paddle. Those folks tend to use seat backs, but many of them graduate to back bands rather than the seat backs you’ve mentioned.
For my use a seat back and a back band are a waste of money and don’t fit my paddling style. That being said if you go ahead and get the seat backs I think you’ll find the “Sitbacker” brand to be more comfortable. I’ve heard people (mostly fishermen) say they like ‘em.
As an aside if you’re going down a river where the current is strong enough to make you feel you might fall out of your canoe (what many newbies call “flipping”) you’ll want to be kneeling rather than sitting anyway. Kneeling is far more stable than sitting. It should be noted that seat backs are pointless when you’re kneeling. BTW, the best posture for your back is kneeling. Sitting just causes too much stress on the back muscles – muscle stress = back pain.
My two cents – others may disagree – okay by me. -RK
Ya know,I was wondering myself…I have an Old Town with the wood/ web seat. After looking at reviews etc, I decided to go with the removable wood/ web seat back made by Essex (pretty sure they make them for everyone, including Old Town). Anyway, I found them on the web for $49. and got one. They are surprisingly comfortable!! They’re light, look nice, and all around a great upgrade for the wood/ web seats.
There are 2 types, one that folds down, and one that actually removes and slides into rails underneath the seat. I got the removable one, couldn’t be happier.