Outfitting Advice for Class II?

I’ve been looking for several months, but it took until just today for me to get a Yellowstone Solo that was affordable AND within reasonable driving distance. Yippee!!

The boat will be used almost exclusively on the Middle Yough (as it’s practically in my back yard.) In case you don’t know, The Middle consists of easy Class I & II.

So, how far do you guys go when outfitting for such a river? I assume float bags are a good idea. Are a saddle and thigh straps overkill? Seat or not, I am always on my knees so the seat is only something to lean against. It seems a saddle might be more comfortable. Thoughts?

I use a minicell saddle, and I position
the center thwart so that it holds the saddle down AND provides support to the tops of my thighs. Pad the thwart. Put in some knee cups, and possibly knee wedges to support your thighs from inside. You may be able to get along without thigh straps or toe braces. This is more likely to be the case for bigger, taller paddlers. Smaller paddlers may rattle around too much unless they use thigh straps and toe braces.

I don’t think I would ever need float bags on the Middle Yough, but there are other supposedly class 2(3) rivers like the Nantahala where I would want the bags. To give you some perspective, in over ten years of soloing my Mad River Synergy, I flipped just once and near swamped just once. So at a class 2 level, with occasional class 3, float bags are insurance but may not actually do anything much of the time. Nice place to stuff gear, over or under, though.

Good outfitting can be important even in class 2 because you may come to enjoy wrenching yourself into and out of eddies. And there’s a possibility that, with some buddies to cover you in the harder spots, you might want to try the Lower Yough at a civilized level some time.

I’d 2nd a saddle if you don’t mind the $

– Last Updated: Dec-21-09 8:12 PM EST –

I find the Yellowstone solo an odd boat to try and set the seat up for kneeling. For my fit, I simply don't like the YS for WW kneeling. I can go into why if necessary. But, getting that seat out of the way would be a whole other kneeling experience in that particular boat.

As for thigh straps, probably not necessary. As for air bags ... yea ... without a doubt. You'll take a lot more chances playing and swimming (and therefore learn more in less time) if you've got it bagged.

Not a total newbie

– Last Updated: Dec-21-09 8:29 PM EST –

I'm not new to boating. I used to run the Lower in a big ol' MR Explorer and then a Dagger Encore. All that was a very long time ago. About seventeen years. It's hard to believe how designs and skill levels have advanced since I've been away. Back then, I think I knew of only one guy who could roll. Now it seems like it's a prerequisite. Now that I'm older, I'm really looking forward to some peaceful alone days up on the Middle. I do realize, though, that sooner or later, someone is going to talk me into running the Lower. I know a YS is far from ideal, but I also know that it can be done--and I ain't to old yet for try'n. :)

So- I'm probably going want the outfitting anyway. Although, if I don't, I'll have a good excuse to avoid the peer pressure. That's only partially a joke. Whitewater just isn't something that's calling to me. Peace, quiet and alone are. Hmmm. Maybe I am getting old. :)

sorry if I misunderstood
Usually folks of your level of experience have strong opinions about thigh straps and air bags, whatever they may be.

Hope to see you at the Yough.

I put thigh straps and kneepads in mine
but left the seat. I use it mostly as a flatwater boat and like to be able to sit on occasion. I have 60” bags, but rarely use them.


My WW boat is a Encore, so things haven’t changed that much.

Good luck

I second that…

– Last Updated: Dec-22-09 12:18 PM EST –

I agree with eckilson.
I'd definitely put in some knee pads.
I'd definitely consider some thigh straps, but would go with a set that could be removed if I didn't plan on using them.
I'd definitely get some air bags, if for no other reason than if you capsize, they will assist you in boat recovery, and the canoe would be less likely to taco on obstacles than if it was full of water, without flotation. I'd permanently install eyelets for a lace kit for the flotation, but would remove whatever lacing I used, if the float bags weren't being used. I have a "thing" about foot entrapment in fast moving water, and attempt to avoid it in any possible way. Thigh straps which aren't being used, and a cage made of lacing for air bags which is not being used are great places to get a foot,or a leg caught if a fast/awkward capsize occurs.
I wouldn't put in a saddle that was permanently mounted. Might consider one that could be removed when not being used. That is not that difficult or expensive to do. That way you keep the option of using the canoe with the seat.
I've done that kind of outfitting, and was able to remove the seat & install a saddle(or vice versa) in under 25 minutes.
I've found that raising the back of the seat & lowering the front of the seat in my Wildfire allows me enough room for my size 13s, and provides a stable enough platform for kneelling, especially with knee pads in place.
A seat pad by Cooke Custom Covers is a great addition to the seat; it can be positioned to pad the front edge of the seat for more comfort when kneeling.



– Last Updated: Dec-22-09 1:54 PM EST –

Whatever experience I may have had was a long time ago. I know I liked a saddle and thigh straps for the Lower, and was all set to start ordering outfitting for this new boat when someone told me it was overkill. I'm going to install bags--especially since I already have some that are close enough in size. I think I'll hold off on the saddle until I've actually paddled it a bit.

I think that maybe I'm just so excited to have a boat again that I just want to add all the other toys. :)

BTW--if you paddle the Middle Yough on the weekends, you probably HAVE seen me. I'm usually the guy taking photos on the left at Flipper.

Welcome back
Yellowstone is a great boat, but I’m guessing that within a year your fleet will include a WW boat - maybe another Encore. You know what happens when we catch the WW bug. Wetsuits might shrink, but not the number of boats in the fleet.

If you think you’ll want to go the saddle/thigh straps route, you might want to send an email to Mike Yee up in CA (http://www.mikeyeeoutfitting.com/). He sells complete, custom systems for very reasonable prices. His outfitting is the cream of the crop if you want to go that route. Great guy to work with/purchase from, too.