Pakboat Quest--Seat

Hi all, I have a Pakboat Qest 13.5. Boayant, tracks well, very lightweight 32 lbs +/-. By the way it was a bear to assemble and I just keep it that way. Like many I have lower back pain. This boat has a back band which doesn’t keep me upright enough comfortably. It seems like the only seats you can buy are for sit-on-tops. I’ve tried putting a small cushion in front of the back band- Any other suggestions?



seat back
I have a Pakboat 135 too. I find the seat very comfortable, especially the back band. I have some questions.

Do you have the backband adjusted snugly enough to support your lower back?

Are you over-inflating the seat bottom?

You usually don’t want a tall seat back in a sit inside kayak because that will interfere with proper paddling technique. Leaning back on a tall seat back actually invites more back pain and shoulder and arm problems. You need to be able to rotate your torso to paddle effectively and without stress on your joints. Good technique can help keep your back from getting strained or stiff.

Do you know if the seat in your Quest is set low enough? Some of the first ones that they shipped had the rear cross brace on the seat frame set too far back, making the seat about 2 or 3 inches too high, which tends to make the boat a little twitchy and also makes the backband too low on your back. There is an easy fix that lowers the seat sling so your butt is lower which makes the backband fit in your lumbar region better. I have photos of how to do modify the connections to move the seat frame forward.

Did you get the “optional” foot peg assemblies in the Quest? Having the footpegs to brace against helps support you sitting upright in the boat.

You can also replace the backband in the Quest with an aftermarket backband, but those are usually even narrower.

I also posted a series of photo instructions for assembling the Quest that might help when you have to put it together again. It gets easier each time.

more owners on
I think there are a few more owners of Quests who regularly post on the folders forum at (under the “Pakboats” strings). You might get some additional feedback there.

are some excellent images on Flickr you posted, thank you. I’m looking at one for sale in my area and would like to hear about your likes/dislikes on this kayak. I had a Pakboat Puffin 12’ about 5 years ago and regret selling it as it was a good performer. Thanks much!

Puffin vs Quest

– Last Updated: Jul-13-16 9:48 PM EST –

I have a Puffin solo as well as the Quest. It's an older Puffin but I upgraded it with a new deck, one made for the Arrow that PB made for a short while. I had to lengthen the deck by 3" by adding a splice in the middle of the bow section, but it was worthwhile because it adds a nicer coaming, rubber carrying handles, a paddle holder and a cool graphic, a black arrow on bright red.

The Quest feels much more like a touring kayak than the Puffin, being 23" wide and almost 2 feet longer. There is better body contact in the narrower boat and it is faster and can be edged much more so than the somewhat plump and roomy Puffin. Having the rigid footpegs (rather than the inflatable foot brace in the Puffin) allows you to paddle hard and get it up to speed more easily.

If you liked your Puffin, I think you would be more than pleased with a Quest. Assembly is basically the same but a little more challenging because it sets up tighter -- you have to kind of wrestle the flex joint keel assembly until all the ribs are placed. There are a few more details to keep track of, like the locking mechanisms at the top of each rib where they snap into the gunwale bars.

I recommend transporting the set up boat on padded J-racks. I've hauled it short distances directly on the roof rack but that tends to displace the deck support bars and you have to inspect the frame carefully when you unload it before launching. Not a huge inconvenience since you have to peel back the stern deck to inflate the 6 sponsons ( I wish they had staggered them instead of aligning them, or, better yet, used the long flexible inflation tubes with mouth valves on the ends, like they do on the seat bottoms). It would be nice to be able to inflate and deflate without having to peel off the skin several feet. I hope PB changes that in their next touring boat iteration.

The Quest compares favorably in performance with my Feathercraft Wisper, which costs about 4 to 5 times more (though I got my Wisper used for $2200). I think that's a pretty good endorsement.

PB still seems to have a few of the 135's in stock. And there are a few kicking around used for sale. I wish I had snagged the one in Michgian with a rudder and all accessories for $750, which is nearly $200 less than I got mine from PB.

If you are searching, the boat need not be nearby -- it fits in a duffel bag that can be shipped for about $35. That's one of the added benefits of them, which is good since they are not all that common in the market. I bought both the Puffin and the Wisper from private parties without ever seeing them before I paid. Obviously, I can't guarantee that you would have the same good luck from a private buyer but in my experience most folding kayak sellers have been pretty straight up. Just make sure you get photos of it assembled AND dissembled, of course.

Quest 13.5
Thanks very much for the questions and suggestions. I didn’t quite understand what you said about how the seat is situated–might you post those pictures? As far as the back band goes. when I really cinch it up it binds on my sides. I have trid kayaks with taler seat backs and it really helped, but I want to try some more on the Quest, as otherwise it is cool. Another thing that happned, BTW, is that the bungies got damaged, I suspect a combination of sun and of the tie down when I carry them… I’m going to have to replace them.

Thanks again,


references on seat height in Quest

– Last Updated: Jul-15-16 12:10 PM EST –

Here is a link to the thread where Simon (Siravingmon), a Quest owner in the UK, first explains the lowering of the seat. His is the 4th post down.

Then he chimes in when I post a later thread about my first experiences with the Quest with further information and some photos. In this string, Simon's is the 14th post on the first page -- you may want to read through our following conversation on the seat and on setting up the boat.

I can send you photos of how we drilled out the rivet in the rear seat sling support (just takes a hand or powered drill and bit) and then used easily obtained stainless steel hose clamps from the hardware store to make that support moveable forward. It allows you to adjust the drop of the sling seat which then changed where the backband hits you and adds to hip and butt comfort. Pakboat did change this problem with the seat in later models. If you get the serial number off the boat skin (should be along the side at the stern end) and call them they should be able to tell you if yours has the early high seat or is one after they noticed and corrected the connector position. I think what happened was in early production the factory reversed those seat support bars that slip into the assembly connected to the sling -- they put the connectors on backward so the seat ended up too high.

Here is a photo of how Simon replaced the Quest seat with a Snapdragon backband. I have the same backband in another of my kayaks (a handbuilt skin on frame) and can attest to how comfortable it is despite being so narrow. It is nicely padded and fits snugly in my lumbar and hip area.

Yes, feeling "squeezed" by the Quest seat is a problem if it is tightened too much.

Your tendency to want to lean back may be related to having relative inflexibility in your hips and/or tight hamstrings. I have noted that tendency in several friends that I take kayaking even though they are very fit individuals. One thing I have noticed is that some people who bicycle a LOT seem to be inclined to have difficulty maintaining an erect posture in a kayak cockpit and tend to want to lean back on a supportive seat. So I wonder if the body structure that bicycling and other sports creates might make it harder to adapt to paddling in some ways. For my two friends (both avid bike tourers) who have been most troubled by this when using my kayaks, we have adapted them by using small inflatable back pillows that I bought -- these have nylon fabric covers and velcro straps that allow them to be strapped around the backband and create an infinitely adjustable cushioned spacer.

Unfortunately, the company that makes these handy ones I have doesn't make them any more but I see several versions on line that are still available. Just make sure you get one that is waterproof and has some kind of fabric cover and straps to hold it in place. I would look for one that is not too wide. You just want it to cushion and space across the middle of your back so that the Quest backband doesn't have to be tightened so much as to squeeze your sides.

cushion from Sealine
Spotted this thigh support cushion from SeaLine that might do the trick: