Seat shape vs. backband

I’m in the process of building a new seat for my P&H Outlander since the factory seat is a bit too narrow for me and rubs against my hips too much for any extended paddling of 30 minutes or more. Btw, the Outlander is for sale in the classified section if someone wants it, as I think I want a larger cockpit in the long term, but in the meant time I want to get the most out of this great boat, in terms of learning to handle it.

What I’ve done so far is take out the original suspended seat (an easy two bolts removal) and I shaped-up a foam seat. The problem with the foam seat is that it is not deep enough and I tend to slide off its back towards the rear of the cockpit and find it too tyring to maintain good erect posture for long. There is no back support. The original seat had deep areas for my seat bones and thus pushed me forward pretty well and back support was not really needed (in fact it felt good not to have back support as I could rotate better).

So, my question is, based on your experience, should :

  • build the foam seat with additional foam to provide support to my butt similar to the old seat? Just 3-4 inches on the rear but below my lower back.

  • should I add a relatively low backband to keep me in position and keep the seat low profile?

  • build a foam back support? I’m not convinced a foam back support is a very good idea, because I suspect it would interfere with my upcoming learning to roll attempts much like a recreational kayak’s stiff back does.


Redfish Seat
The redfish kayaks pre-scultped blank seat is a good starting point.

Then, glue on a 2-4" high section on the back to act as a butt stop, so you don’t slide off the back of the seat.


That’s pretty much what I came-up with

– Last Updated: Jun-13-08 3:21 PM EST –

Bought a $20 3" foam block off from REI and carved out most of it to get a low seating position.

I also put a 3" high piece behind it, which positions the seat pad where it neds to be in the cockpit and serves as a stop for me to not slide back. But I found that my tailbone does not like it - I carved out a lot from the center and still it hurts after a while. I need to only leave the sides up and remove the center entirely it seems, which means I need a beefier piece that goes higher to push both sides of my butt forward and leave the tailbone alone... I guess I'll try my wife's Yoga blocks on both sides to see how it feels next time I go in

That's why I was thinking of a simple backband to do the pushing and looking for some thoughts on which one to do...

Unrelated, but I also should put some foam blocks between the original seat suspension points and the hull so that these suspension points do not get in my pants' pockets - I could not get out of my kayak once I got back from my paddling yesterday as they got in my pockets and held me down. Pure chance I did not need to do a wet exit with these: would have at least ripped my pockets off, and at worst it is a serious life threatening situation, being held under water by your pockets in the cockpit -;(

From a complete newbie

– Last Updated: Jun-24-08 10:02 AM EST –

I just bought a sit in used at a deal I could not pass up, but I am home sick and have never even paddled a kayak. (Carolina 14.5)
I used to race formula cars and we made our seat with a two part liquid that made foam. You mix up a small amount of the material and pour it into a plastic garbage bag. After a minute or so, you place it into the bottom of the car-kayak and sit down holding yourself in your ideal paddling-driving position. We used 8-10 ounces mixed to make the seat bottom first and our seats were in a cockpit approx. 30" wide and went to our knees. This would give us a deep seat for lateral support.
To get it out of the cockpit, we usually had to slice it down the middle at a long angle, so that when re-inserting, one side fits on top of the other. The material trims easily with a hack-saw blade and knives, so that it is tight in the cockpit but you can get it in and out. You can relieve it enough so that you are confident you can get out quickly if on fire-I mean underwater. You then repeat for the back of the seat.
We covered the foam in good quality duct tape. A few guys covered theirs in gore-tex, or for kayaks you could use the material that covers some wet suits.

Just an idea. E-mail me if you need to know more.

That sounds interesting
I installed a Harmony backband now and the boat became very comfortable to paddle for a few hours at a time. I ended-up with a fairly thin foam seat cushion but I feel the need for thigh support on the sides and under. So, I might take your idea and shape some supports rather than a complete seat for now as what I got seems adequate.

Are these things heavy? Does not sound like too heavy to me if you only use 8 oz for the foam and some gets cut out later…

If you can share the product brand/type more specifically, I’d be interested to find out this.

Cool idea

I always thought that something like this should exist. Something similar to what they use to make custom foot beds for ski boots.

Please share the brand/source and other info.



from a physical therapist’s
point of view: I’ve done this many times with wheelchair seat backs - medical speak calls it “foam-in-place”.

What a great idea!


I bought mine locally
…at a auto paint supply store, that also also sells fiberglass products for marine repairs. A quick Google search for type a-b foam came up with this.

It looks like the stuff I used. I looked briefly in my garage for it, but could not find it.

Thanks - 2 lb type?
Did you use the 2 lb type or one of the others?

I would get the 3 lb
I just picked up what they had on the shelf, so I do not know what I used. A 12x12x12 block weighs 3 lbs. That is a lot of foam. The seat would probably vary from .5" to 3" in thickness. The back for a kayak would be 8-10"? The seat could be 10 to 24" depending on how much thigh support you want. The would seat would probably weigh 1-2 lbs.

I will make one if I think it will make me more comfortable, but remember, I bought my kayak Sunday and have never paddled it or any other kayak.

Search for two part polyurethane foam
Here is one link of many.

Here is a link with some tips and a picture if you scroll down.