recommendations for kneeling pads

We had a great paddle on the Sugar River earlier today. Instead of all kayaks, hubby and son paddled their kayaks and I took my daughter in the canoe. I ended up kneeling in the middle for a little while just to try it out. It was actually kind of fun, but obviously I’d need a kneeling pad if I was going to do it for any length of time.

What kind of kneeling pads do you guys recommend?

Kneeling pads
The new ones from Cooke Custom Sewing (available at Rutabaga) are the best I’ve ever used. They are thick and have good resistance to slipping. You can glue in minicell foam, but I actually like the feel of the Cooke pad better.

On the high end, Cooke’s Custom Sewing and Bell Canoe Works sell heavy foam pads designed for canoeing, with nonskid backs and fabric tops. I’ve got a couple of cheap pads sold for gardening or housework which work OK but eventually get slippery. Foam tiles, excercise mats, or other high-density foam are all possibilities.

I used…
I used a Bell t pad for a number of years.

This year at Canoecopia, Cooke Custom Sewing had a discount on their t pad. I had some mad money available, and had

some friends at Canoecopia. They picked one up for me; I now prefer it to the Bell.

Fairly expensive, but very good quality.

Divide price by number of years you’ll probably use it, and the sticker shock won’t seem so bad.


Workman’s pads
I’ve used a variety of pads. In my tandem boat, I mounted a pair of the U-shaped pads made for knees. They had self-adhesive backing and may have held well, but they eventually got knocked off. I frequently used the boat for tripping and shoving gear into the boats knocked the pads off. They were comfortable, but the disadvantage of mounting pads in the center of your tandem is that the pad will be in the way when you are not using them.

I’m satisfied using workman’s pads that you get at the hardware store. Rather than mount to the boat, you wear them. Looks real geeky. But, it’s easy, and when you don’t need them, they aren’t in the way. Look for ones that have a rubberized, non-skid tread on the outside. If you move from seat to seat or boat to boat, the pads go with you. If you go for a swim, the pads go with, so you won’t lose them like you might the Cooke pad.


Cooke & Bell T pads
Both have grommet where a short length of para cord can be attached to the pad; then attach para cord to closest thwart. No need for loss.

Cord does not have to be so long as to present much risk of entanglement. If entanglement is a real concern; mount small D ring into bilge of canoe for an attachment point for para cord. Length of cord between D ring & grommet would be mere inches.


I’ve used the 40" Voyageur pads with
non-skid surfaces for about a decade. They slide through the window in my triple saddle, right where they need to be for solo work. I think now they are available as a “Mad River” accessory in some retail and internet stores. They’re about 8" wide, fine for whitewater, but too small for freestyling.

A second for the workers kneepads
I bought a pair at Lowes for about $16 which work well. Make sure to go with ines that have a grippy outer surface rather than ones with a hard, slippert surface.


Thanks everyone!

The Bell T pad is nice…
BUT, it turned my bare knees into hamburger real fast. If you paddle in shorts beware the open knit covers- they will have your knees raw in no time (or at least they do mine). The Voyageur non-slip pads are nice too. Most recently I’ve made my own from a camping closed-cell foam pad. It’s nice and big and cheap.

I’m cheap
I spend my money on boats-not pads.Get some cheap surplus ensolite sleeping pads,cut into pieces like you want and glue them in with pure silicone caulk-works great and pad and glue are removable.


Bag Lady and Grade VI stuff
Sue Audette, the Bag lady, will soon be making the Grade VI KneePad Pro, the folding, trapezoidal, TuffGrip bottomed, Wetsuit topped, EVA pad that works.

Ring her up!

projected date?
Is she close to knowing when she will be starting to make these? You’ve mentioned a couple of times that she will be doing them and I’m looking forward to seeing the product. Knowing her reputation they should be really nice.

EVA foam
There are good choices today, each with +s and -s. Some are gargantuan, some are 'way too small, some soak up water, some move around or flop out, and most cost plenty $, which makes a bad decision or a lost pad something of a setback. May I suggest doing what we all used to do: cut a sleeping pad to fit exactly gunwale to gunwale. Store it flat or rolled side-to-side rather than end-to-end when not in use and its own tension will keep it in place. (It needs to fit snugly but that’s easy to accomplish with ordinary shears.) It soaks up no water. It stays put whatever you do. It pops out when you’re home and rinses clean in a flash. It doesn’t mildew, rot, wilt or get hot in the sun. It floats like a cork. It weighs pretty close to nothing. It costs pretty close to nothing. If it isn’t sufficient padding, a little contact cement can double the thickness easily, wherever you like. (Do that in the canoe so the curve is preserved.) You can fiddle and fool with it indefinitely and inexpensively until you know what works best for you, then buy a commercial pad that does the same. Or don’t.

Almost everyone these days thinks he/she can’t sleep on the ground without a fat self-inflating foam-filled air mattress. At the very least a compound, contoured, textured, layered, sanctified glow-in-the-dark pad. Most over the age of 30 have at least one simple 15mm closed-cell foam pad he/she used to sleep on happily but hasn’t touched in years. Take advantage of this historic transition moment and rescue/reuse unloved closed-cell foam! Not Ensolite (which has probably all turned to goo by now anyway) but clean dry stiff EVA foam. It’s a miracle material.

I should say that my solo has glued-in-place pads that were installed by Mad River 25 years ago and still work perfectly. The glue hasn’t lasted but the pads have. If they ever do wear out, though, I’ll want something that doesn’t move when I swing the boat over my head or swamp. To the best of my knowledge, that means either glue or gunwale-to-gunwale. (Velcro is an option but it won’t last long and you’ll want to position the bumps where you won’t put your knees; sooner or later your knees go everywhere.)

ditto but off to Home Depot
for workshop flooring.

Those puzzle piece thingys made out of closed cell foam. If you are a parent you might want to to to Toys R Us and get the complete 26 piece set and steal four letters of your choosing.

Assemble four, trim so they butt up against the gunwales and off you go…Plus they pack small.

Weigh nothing…

Not quite as cushy as Cooke or Grade VI but I use them when I need to supply the boats and equipment and they work for people who dont need to move around.

Puzzel piece pads for freestyle
You can get 4 grey ones at Lowes for $17 if you don’t like psycodelic colors.If you take 2 and mate them and then mate another centered on the mated seam to make a “T” shape.You can glue them together if you want, they make a good cheep removable freestyle type pad.It is a good material to use to cut up for glue in pads also as it is thicker than most sleeping pads.


How is the material @ lowe’s in regards
to gripping? I bought piece of mini-cell an inch thick & found once it gets wet it is slick as snot. I like your idea I just want to make sure I am not sliding around.

Lowes stuff
I don’t have extensive experience with it yet,but I saw people using it at the freestyle symposium and the person using recomended it.I have found that pads that don’t slide in a composite boat sometimes slip in a royelex one.