Perception Saddle in Probe 12II

I bought a used Probe 12II whitewater canoe this spring that has a Perception saddle in it. I’ve heard it adds anywhere between four and 12 lbs to the weight of the boat; can anyone confirm the weight? It’s uncomfortable and I can’t move around and stretch between rapids because of the bulkhead. It also has a completely superfluous little seat on the very top that, if you sit on it, it’s like being a huge scoop of ice cream on a very small cone, right before it goes splat. I’m thinking of switching it out for a basic foam pedestal or saddle and thigh straps over the winter. Is there a market for used Perception saddles? Anyone want to make an offer?

feet back, lean forward
and stretch. I have 2 Perception saddles and I like them, though only ones in use at the moment, as we converted a boat to tandem. Though the bulkhead limits forward movement, I’ve spent 7 hour days on that saddle quite comfortably.

I just pick my butt up, shift my legs a bit back, and lean forward to stretch. I love the little compartment, good for running contraband across those border rivers, and that little seat is wonderful for working on your brace.

I know a guy who might be interested in it. I will check with him.

The Perception Saddle was always a love it or hate it affair, and since it has been out of production so long, there are relatively few of its fans remaining.

The disadvantages are its weight and the fact that you can’t easily customize it. For many, it forces the knees to be closer together than desirable.

On the plus side, it does offer some “dry” storage capability, although it doesn’t seem to hold as much inside as you would expect looking at the outside. It does add some rigidity to the boat when braced against 2 thwarts.

I happen to have one unmounted with the attached Yakima foot braces. Comparing its weight to a relatively compact minicell pedestal with a somewhat shorter set of Yakima footbraces, I just got a 7 lb difference. With a somewhat more robust minicell pedestal, I would guess the difference would be more like 6 lbs.


– Last Updated: Jul-27-10 6:47 PM EST –

Get yourself a mini cell foam pedestal & a dry bag to hold whatever gear the Perception saddle would/could hold.
I'll bet you'll be a lot happier & more comfortable too.

I personally hated those Perception saddles.

Ex Probe 12 II paddler

But Where Will You Keep Your Hammer?
A friend of mine, a far better paddler than I, has the Perception saddle in his Whitsell Pyrana.

One February afternoon I helped him haul out of the Quabog at which point he opened the hatch and removed a five lbs. sledge hamer. Noting my incredulous stare he shrugged. “In case there was ice.” his only comment.

The Whitsell is a big heavy boat so the weight of the saddle and whatever you stow in there isn’t that big a difference.

Personaly I find the knee hooks to close to center and the saddle less than comfortable never mind the weight.

I vote put in a minicell saddle and send the perception to the recycler.

Thanks for feedback
I was thinking for fun I could install the Perception saddle in the Curtis Ladybug just to see what CEW says about it at his next “Boats on the Beach” discussion.


Nolan used the Perception saddles as standard outfitting in the Piranha and his other boats. But they were also in his own personal boats.

And he could do just about anything that could be done in a whitewater OC-1, including hands rolls, using that thing.

I’ve heard that
but I’ll never be that good.

so, do you still have it? or is it gone?
how much are you looking to get for it? and what kind of shape is it in? does it have a hatch at either end or just the one end?

depending on price i am definitely interested…

i’m one of the few that actually prefer the perception saddles over the newer foam…

i would be able to pick up…

have it, still in use
I will probably switch it out in a couple months.

yo twilight

– Last Updated: Aug-02-10 6:11 AM EST –

I live in Litchfield cty. ct.. I could sell you my spare saddle for what I paid (FREE) if you wanted to pick it up. It's just sitting in the shed.
Near new shape, screw plate in front.
same as the one in this shot, but no padding on the saddle.

new “twist” to this story (entrapment)
Update: I’ve arranged to trade the Perception saddle for a regular foam saddle, after receiving a very timely offer.

This past weekend I was standing up in the boat to get out and stretch my saddle-stressed ankles. I was in a calm eddy on a rocky creek below a II-III rapid, in a pool because the shoreline has steep dropoffs. The bow was balanced between two rocks. I should know better… but the bulkhead on that saddle holds you down like a child in a car seat. You can’t just stand up, you also have to back up.

As I stood and shifted my weight back, the bow unweighted. Next thing I knew I was in the pool, sitting on a submerged rock with the canoe upside down on top of me. My left leg was wedged tightly above the knee between the gunwhale, thwart, and horn of the saddle. And, it would not move. It wasn’t apparent how to back my leg out the way it went in, and my range of motion was limited due to how I was situated in the creek. Except for the rock under my butt, the pool was too deep to stand up in, especially with a canoe attached to my thigh.

It was comical/awkward, but also kind of scary to think this type of entrapment might happen during a real swim in a rapid.

After about five minutes trying to straighten my knee without success, I relized I might have to loosen the thwart to get out. I was with a friend, practicing at a rapid near a popular paddling take-out/hiking area. As we discussed him going to the cars for a multi-tool, I felt something shift and was able to get my leg free.

I have outdoor rescue and wilderness first aid training, and I knew if I could relax the muscles, my leg would probably slide right out. That didn’t happen until I was distracted by making Plan B.

So, the next day I was happy to get an email with an offer to trade for the saddle. Done deal!

those perception saddles
have personality. Sounds like yours was a real bastid.