Seating -- Web or Bucket?

I’m preparing to order a new solo – one of those long, sleek beauties in which I will approach hull speed (in more wildest dreams!). My boats all have web seats. Other than kneeling when I was much younger, that’s the only thing I know. But the manufacturer promotes adjustable bucket seats for this sort of boat (web seats are optional, however).

I’m not convinced. My tired, old butt is (usually) comfortable on web or cane. I have my doubts about sitting for hours on hard plastic, no matter how cleverly contoured. Yes, I know you can purchase a cushion, But why have a bucket seat if you’re just going to plunk a cushion on top of it?

I’d be grateful for insights from any canoeists-of-a-certain-age who have dealt with this issue.

Plastic bucket seats…

– Last Updated: Dec-31-07 4:33 PM EST –

Do not breathe like web or cane seats.
Think sweaty rear end, sitting in a plastic bucket seat, in the Summer heat.

A nicely done cane seat looks nice, as opposed to a hunk of plastic.
Cane or web is more comfortable to me; especially on long trips.
Bucket seats create a pool of water to sit in (even with drain holes) when it rains.

Yes, you need to be more careful with cane seats.
I've replaced one cane seat the past 20 years; a result of turning the canoe over carelessly & a tree limb tearing a couple of pieces of the cane.

I have some boats that are over 10 years old that have their original cane seat; still in serviceable condition.

Some cane/web seat are better for kneeling than some bucket seats.

Easier to change position to heel a canoe over to one side in a cane/web seat.

Try all 3 before you buy if possible.

Just my opinions,


Always Preferred Cane, Myself

– Last Updated: Dec-31-07 6:42 PM EST –

Same reasons as Bob stated and just made a boat "Look" more like a canoe. But a few years ago I severed my femoral artery and have to use a substantial pad on my boats with cane or webbed seats to keep my leg from going numb frequently. Even so, with cane and webbed, it's a problem.

My Sawyer, on the other hand, had a bucket seat with footbrace. The only padding was a thin, cheap piece of ensolite foam glued in. There was not enough padding to even "Call" it a pad, but I could sit in the seat for hours with more comfort than well-padded cane seats. Much more comfortable and for a mediocre paddler like I, notably more efficient. So, if it were I, it would be tractor seat, but different strokes for different folks!

I prefer the bucket seats in my Sawyers.
I paddle seated and use the footbrace.

I can paddle them five or six hours a day with pretty good comfort.

I don’t find the web seat in my royalex Bell Wildfire to be as comfortable.

Enjoy your new boat, whichever seat you choose.


– Last Updated: Jan-01-08 8:22 AM EST –

My Wenonah Voyager has a sliding bucket seat and it is more comfortable than the nylon web bench seats in my other canoes. I've gone for 2.5 hours without getting out and stretching, and that's enough time for me to cover about 10 miles on flatwater. If this new canoe is meant for fast travel and work-outs; I think you will like the bucket seat used with a footbrace best. But Bob had a point about sitting in water. If you paddle in rain be sure you aren't sitting on the back of your raincoat. If your paddling style is more leisurely, without using a footbrace, and you are more into kneeling and leaning the boat, the bucket won't be the best option and probably neither is the slider. The bucket keeps you centered in the canoe. One more consideration is your lower back. If you are the type that absolutely needs lower back support when paddling be aware there are very few options with floor mounted sliding bucket seats. I'm aware of only one special order backrest that will fit and I haven't tried it. I usually use a crazy creek for lower back support when on bench seats in my other canoes for hours. But my lower back seems to be fine without support when on the bucket seat in the Voyager for similar time spans.

We started with bucket seats back in
1973, and found them quite comfortable. We were lucky that they were just at the right height for kneeling, and that was comfortable also.

We have webbed seats on our '2003 tandem, and they are OK. However, I noticed they are made a tad wider than those offered as replacements. My hip and pelvic bones are fairly wide-set, and I don’t find the off-the-shelf web seats wide enough. If you opt for web seats, consider getting wider ones. Piragis has them, even drop seats with webbing.

How about a blend of the two?

I prefer a racing-style carbonfibre bucket myself.

Yup, that’s me
Thanks, Moose. You’ve got me pegged. :wink: I’ll cut ‘n’ paste your advice for future reference.

buckets for me
I have both cane and bucket seats. The canted/ contoured MR cane seat is installed in one boat that will not easily accept a wenonah slider but I like that contoured seat. Also serves as a thwart for portaging and a brace for poling.

All my other boats have buckets because it helps hold you in place and reduces some of the lower back discomfort. Also helps transfer your efforts into the paddle as less motion is wasted. I find a bucket very comfortable with no cushioning. The cushioning can be 1/4" closed cell foam sleeping pad with holes to accomodate you pelvic bones.

Would the cane seat be adjustable?

The bucket is probably mounted on a sliding pedestal. Trim is critical, so make sure whatver you get you can easily adjust the hull’s trim in an empty boat.

Not being able to adjust trim in a solo is like buying 'one size fits all" leather shoes.

Buckets work for me.

That caned and contoured seat looks shown in the previous post looks quite attractive and comfortable if you don’t go with the bucket.

How neat to be able to custom order options! Enjoy

Ed’s special seats
I’ve tried them in some canoes & they are very comfy indeed. Do note though that they “center” the paddler in the boat. That’s fine for pack canoes and perhaps ‘sit and switch’, but not so cool for those like me who like to move their butt from side-to-side while heeling. Not as nasty in that regard as plastic buckets, but not to my liking. RK

More good
advice & info. The contoured cane looks cool. I’m probably have a senior moment, but what’s the “MR” in MR cane seats?

That would be Mad River.

Of course!

Back Support For Bucket Seats
Wenonah makes a seat back that works very well with bucket seats. I let it go with my Sawyer. Worked really well for this 47 year old back! WW

Just to clarify
The Wenonah backrest for bucket seats works with side mounted bucket seats (either slider or fixed), but are not recommended for the bilge mounted pedestal type sliders that are in Wenonah’s solo canoe line.

Have used both and prefer buckets
I own a ‘few’ canoes (tandems & solos) and except for my kneeling solo (B/G Wildfire) I’ll be happier by far in a bucket. A bucket will center you, or your paddling partner who might otherwise be moving around, upsetting balance. In a solo you are trying to approach hull speed in, a bucket IS the only way, along with the mentioned footbrace. It can be trimmed in motion, and locks you in, and usually in far more comfort than any web seat could. Some here worried about a wet butt in rain, which can be aleviated by a simple drain hole. I’ve also noticed on trips with lots of rain and wearing any kind of nylon or Goretex rain pants, my butt tends to slide around more than I’d prefer with web seats in rough H2o, which messes with my stability. After one trip I swore I’d put a bead of something like Seamgrip down each strand of webbing to counter the sliding affect of my rain pants on the wet webbing. I always pad my buckets out with a Wenonah bucket seat peal & stick pad (maybe 1/5th") and raise the rear slide rails about 1/2" higher than the front, which a lot of racers do, and it really sets you in a better position. I’ve never felt a need for a back support this way, but Wenonah makes a nice one made just for buckets that is quite nice. Why anyone would want to sit in a solo on a bench over a form fitting bucket that essentially cradles your butt with all day comfort is beyond me. I’ve used both size buckets from Wenonah, and prefer the smaller size composites they used to supply solos with, though the larger size would probably offer up more all day tripping comfort. In my experience after a while most cane seats sag, and web can be slippy in wet conditions with rainwear on.

Buckets for me
I’ve spent long days in canoes equipped both ways and the bucket seat is more comfortable for long distance work when you are seated. Some of my team like foam paddling on the seat to eliminate the bone to plastic pressure. Those in the middle two positions of the Minnesota IV are on wide web seats and they require much thicker padding to eliminate the pressure from the frame of the web seats. We paddle almost 8 hours on the first day of a 3 day event and those in the buckets are certainly no worse off than the two on the web seats.

For speed work, the buckets are essential to holding your butt in place and transmitting the power from your body to the boat. You won’t find a bench seat of either web or cane in any racing canoe used seated.


Bucket seat question…

– Last Updated: Jan-02-08 9:59 PM EST –

Don't buckets get rough to sit on once you empty them out and turn 'em over?...and how do you get them to stay put? Epoxy?

I can't believe I got to degenerate this thread ...and after so many helpfull posts...get a pad for a plastic bucket seat, one made from sisel so it sweatty bottom and the cheap of plastic.

because the darn buckets hurt

– Last Updated: Jan-02-08 11:36 PM EST –

Hate them..
some webbed seats are not good either. Sciatica. The contoured webbed seats are better.

Whats best is what is most comfortable for the wearer not the watcher.

Have had very good luck with cane. Dont varnish the underside, it will deteriorate that way.

The best seat is no seat. A kneeling thwart graces most of our boats.

It can be used on the pedestal seats
I designed & manufacture the Wenonah/CVCA backband. The backband mounts to the rear tube that the bucket is riveted to, and in the pedestal configuration that tube is cut off too short to be used. If you rivet d-rings to the back edge of the seat itself you can use the backband. I provide the kit to do that (with instructions). I should get that changed in Wenonah’s literature (although it is a pain for them to have multiple versions of the same accessory).