Pygmy seats

I wonder how many Pygmy kayak paddlers have gone for a different seat than the one supplied?

A friend
built a Pygmy, still uses the OEM inflateable seat, and complains loudly. But he has not gone to the trouble of making a new one.


pygmy seat
I put in one of the redfish blanks added hip braces and it’s great. The cockpit is so huge that the therma rest makes any kind of edge control really tough.

In my Tern I use a Redfish seat and a Snap Dragon backband, works well.

In my AT14 I still have the pad but use the stock backband from the Caribou… and that’s OK…

I am still using
the thermarest that came with the kit. I have added a foam pad under my thighs that I carry from boat to boat. I find it very comfortable. I also altered the back band with the addition of some hip braces that I copied from some pic’s on Now if I twitch the boat twitches.


I love my Arctic Tern 17 but…
I immediately added an NSI touring backband and a plastic Kajak Sport “ergonomic” plastic seat I purchased from Newfound Woodworks. Both very comfy. Pygmy claims the thermarest and plastic backband is very comfy…I admit I never tried it. I just looked at it and said “nah” and went with what I’ve described.

they’re nice to have around
for emergency paddling but I wouldn’t use one for an actual seat. Carved minicell.

People I know…
Take the pads on expeditions and use them on top of their normal seats…

Built one,bought one…use the oem one
Discovered (real quick) that the minicel foam -no matter how carefully cut and formed, simply placed my torso (I’m longer in torso than leg and weigh 230#)just above the ideal center of gravity. So far-and this is but the third paddle going for maby two hours max each time-I haven’t had a problem and I have discs gone in the back. However; I do have a larger and sturdier back brace than the oem one and the sheerwater design full footbrace made a whale of a difference in leg position.

Replaced the Thermarest cushion
with a Spirit Line molded seat. The canvas edges of the Thermarest rubbed the skin on my outer thighs raw. I cut off the “wings” on the Spirit line seat, and cut minicell foam hip pads to fit in the Pygmy std. wooden hip brace supports. I still use their standard backband (with the canvas Pygmy cover!), but I may change over to something else at some point.

I carved a foam seat…
…for my Coho and installed a Snap Dragon backband. Much better edge control. Much, much better. I never found the OEM seat the least bit unconfortable. In fact I could sit in for 5 - 6 hours at a time without complaint. The carved foam seat is way better, though.

Before commiting to carving that seat I built one from some ala Bnystrom’s suggestion at his website. It was really easy and a big improvement in control. That’s what I’m using in my Tern 14 now.

Still use the stock seats

– Last Updated: Jul-15-05 12:53 AM EST –

I've been paddling my double around for over three years with the stock Thermarest seats with no complaints from myself or any of the many people who have paddled in the boat. Most people have commented on how basic the seats look or given them a sideways glance, but after spending some time in the seat, nearly always comment on how comfortable they are. I did cut some minicell wedges that I slide underneath the front of the seat pads that elevate the front seat edge by about an inch -- this has stopped any leg numbness that was felt by a few people.

I've no plans to change the seats in my double. I might however, consider changing to a more tighter fitting seat if I owned a Pygmy single...



Thanks much guys…

– Last Updated: Jul-15-05 8:21 AM EST –

I am almost sure I will go for a new back band. The seat feels quite comfy but I have only sat on it so far, no paddling yet. Good idea, though, to keep the seat for camping.
I definitely see a need for cockpit bracing. It is a huge space in there. After over a year in the QCC700, I feel like I am sitting in my Roman bathtub. The view forward and aft, though, is pretty. You gotta love the glassed mahogany!:-}

Go to
and scroll the pictures and you’ll see the set up that someone came up with for hip pads. That was the design I copied for my Coho. Pretty simple really and if you switch to a different back band it will be even less work.


Minicell and backband
If you think the cockpit is a bathtub, you need more support for edging. ThermaRest alone is just padding, not a kayak seat.

Take the time to carve a minicell seat and add a good backband. I didn’t like my first carve job and actually bought more minicell and started all over again. It was worth the effort and money.

I took LeeG’s advice and assembled TWO 3" thick blocks, cut so that the blocks fit together to the hull floor shape (V). I also added thigh supports. I then glued the 4 pieces together with Gorilla Glue and carved the cured assembly.

Coho thigh braces
on the Coho I made for a 5’9" friend it took some substantial thigh braces and carved seat to make it fit him.

That’s why the Shearwater/Merganser/Bluefin deck design is so good. The entire coaming sits on a recess, not just the back. This automatically provides for thigh bracing that is angled in and not up. Also for a coaming that doesn’t have a peak in front. The keyhole coaming stack on the CLC kayaks has a thick stack of plywood making up the thigh braces, 6mm+18mm+4mm, which true to form for the design is an unnecessary amount of wood and still requires a thick wedge of minicell since the underside of the deck at the thigh brace position slopes UP. With the Mergansers coaming recess the thigh braces are only glassed 4mm and they angle into the cockpit requiring only a 3/4" piece of minicell. Although for my taste they need to be moved back a notch.