Retro-fitting Tempest 170 seat

Hey folks!

I have a Wilderness systems Tempest 170 that is about 5 years old. I want to investigate getting a more comfortable seat rather than putting up with the original seat. I just love the boat, but have never been comfortable in the seat, especially for my back. I am 6 feet, 2 in and 190 lbs.

I would love to hear suggestions you have.

Thanks Everyone!


Rip out the back band and get foam
I think NDK sells foam supports for those who do not like a back band, but I’ve also made them from two yoga blocks.

What I like not in a seat is no back support, just a little extra foam piece at the rear of the seat for sacroiliac support.

What part?
What part in particular about the seat bothers you? I paddle a 170 but mine is from 2007 so while I have the Phase 3 seat, it’s not the “AirPro” one with mesh which I really don’t like.

WS is supposed to have some of the best/most adjustable seats out there so I was curious which part bothers you. If you just need more paddling, you can add that. I find that I’m most comfortable when I raise the front of the seat up and inch or two so that my butt is the lowest point.

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I’m curious too
As the T170 is my long distance/rough water boat!

I replaced the seat in my T170 Pro with a foam seat I carved long ago when I attempted to move the stock back a couple of inches. Turned out that the stock seat install had been botched so badly that it couldn’t be moved without a ton of work. It is a well designed seat and I was loathe to mess with it. I had had excellent experience replacing seats with foam, though, so I carved one.

Never looked back. I have spent up to 9 hours at a time in this without unreasonable discomfort. I set the stock backband so that it just hangs back there and only touches my back when I learn way back against the coaming. It doesn’t touch me when I paddle.

After carving a dozen or so foam seats I have come to believe that I can make a butt ugly seat but I can’t make a bad one. Every single foam seat that I have made, including “Frankenseat”, my first attempt, has improved comfort and my paddling performance. Just do it. You’ll like the results.


Hi Jon, Any chance I could get a pic? I need to do the same, can’t get shins in for a butt-first entry. Any thoughts as to how seat height impacts overall balance are appreciated. I think it’s the back-band that really keeps me from getting in butt-first but it’s attached to the seat cradle, and my effort to move it back proved not enough for my shins (and I’m only 5’11). Wound up trimming that flange/lip on seat back in the process so now it doesn’t seat well anyhow. Particularly interested in how you handled the back (slanted bulkhead). Thanks so much for any advice, or a pic to work off of.

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I recently saw a Tempest 165 for sale that had a 2019 Dagger ConTour CFS Seating System. Looked great and appears to be very adjustable.


I took most of these photos this morning and hope they will help.

The distance from the hull to the surface of the seat is 5/8” measured through the drain holes in the foam. I’m not sure what the height of my butt cheeks are off the hull in the stock seat but it can’t be much different. Even if the stock seat is lower I can’t feel the difference. Height is no issue.

I lined up the seats using the position of the seat hanger bolts so that you can see the differences. I took a few photos and chose the one below because it doesn’t accentuate the change like the others. One of them made the rearward movement look huge, which it isn’t. I don’t even know how to measure the actual difference. Suffice to say that I can get out feet first now and I couldn’t before without pain and abrasions.

The next photo shows how the seat is secured in place. I built out two-piece cheek plates that exert force down onto the edges of the seat to keep it in place. There is some Velcro on the seat bottom and the hull but that is just an artifact from when I was testing and refining the shape of the seat. The outer piece fits outside of the bolts and the paddler interface to the inside. Both fit very snuggly into place and mate well. A bit more shaping is done on the skeg side to accommodate the cable.

I am using the original seat hanger bolts to attach the back band.

The back of the seat has been shaped to mate with the slanted bulkhead. I could shape it more if I wanted more rearward movement.

The seat mates up to the bulkhead without exerting undo force

If I felt that the thigh risers added any value for me I would have created a longer seat which is something that I have done on several seats that I have carved. When I owned a Zephyr Pro I had the original equipment seat and found that I was most comfy and that I could drive my legs more effectively with the risers completely relaxed so I didn’t bother. YMMV. If you find you need something up there just extend the seat by gluing and shaping an extension block.
Here is a photo of a seat in an Arctic Tern where I added thigh supports using pieces of scrap foam. Looked cool but was totally not useful for my purposes. Might have made it easier to sell?

With regards to the backband I really don’t use it except when I’m not paddling and leaning back resting. It is adjusted to ease the pressure from the combing against my back when resting or rolling and just sort of hangs back there when I paddle. If I found that it was hampering entry or exit I would just remove it and maybe make a back block that fit snugly between the top of the seat and the underside of the rear coaming.

Jon, You are a prince among men! Thank you so much, this helps immensely!

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Thanks! It’s hard to really screw up with minicell foam. You can make an ugly seat but bad seats are hard to create. They can always be tweaked.

Photo of two good seats. One of them is ugly and named Frankenseat because it is made of six scraps of foam. It was a wonderful seat that I kept around for years as a loaner. The last person I loaned it to wouldn’t give it back.

I replaced the seat in my Epic with a foam seat from Redfish Kayak, very happy with it. Not sure I have the skills needed to carve one myself, I’d probably end up with an asymmetrical Quasimodo seat.

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