Solo canoe outfitting

I just got one of the very last wenonah argosy’s I need to get some foam outfitting for it to kneel.

I’ve seen some folks with big closed cell foam pads to kneel on that don’t appear to be the kind sold for kayak outfitting.

Not sure where you can get this for less than the cost of kayak outfitting.

I am hoping for a 3x3 sheet?

try this
If you want one big sheet of foam to fill most of the hull bottom that you can take out this stuff from Harbor Freight works and is about as cheap as you can get:

It comes in a set of 4 square pieces, each 25x25" and is sometimes called “puzzle mat” because the squares join together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Not sure about less cost, …

– Last Updated: Mar-24-15 5:04 PM EST –

... except for stuff like that mentioned by Pete. If you don't mind paying a bit more, the big black kneeling pad sold by Mad River is pretty darned nice. It has a rough, "almost sticky" layer of fabric surrounding the pad material itself. It's much less slippery, to both bare knees and pants, than any other material I've seen. It's softer than the kind made for standing on, but whether that's good or bad will depend on your preference. The pad sold by Cooke's Custom Sewing is pretty good, and also is softer than industrial floor pads, but I haven't checked the price in ages.

Oh by the way, the Mad River pad, like other commercial drop-in pads, is about three feet long but isn't three feet wide. However, it's wide enough for your maximum knee spread, and the pad does not need to not run up the sides of the canoe because it's not going to slip. For pads that size which can slip, a few traction strips on the floor of the boat at your knee locations solves that problem.

I like drop-in kneeling pads, partly because you can position your knees anywhere, but some people prefer shaped knee pads glued to the floor of the boat. I've only used them when test paddling other people's boats, and can't provide specific advice on them.


T pad

– Last Updated: Mar-25-15 6:16 AM EST –

I glued flat kneepads into my Yellowstone Solo – ½ inch closed cell foam. You’ll find them on-line. The only time that I find them uncomfortable is in summer when I’m paddling in shorts and the foam can get gritty or slippery. I have the Bell version of this t-pad that I use in the summer.

Mine is cloth covered and very comfortable – especially on top of the glued in pads. You can see the glued in pads here.

I can also put bags and straps in this boat, although I rarely paddle it anywhere that I would need them. It's nice to have the knee pads permanently installed though - one less thing to lug around.

Wife uses a section of thick yoga
mat from Walmart (~$18) that goes gunnel to gunnel in her Blackhawk, stays in place and lots of flexibility in knee positioning. R

knee pads
I also glue individual knee pads in. I cut them from closed cell sleeping pads, I like 5/8" when I can find it. Glue in pads make one less thing to bring ,carry, and forget. Also better if you do carrys. I leave a space between them to ease my feet sliding under the seat and back.

keep your paddle wet,turtle

glued in pads

– Last Updated: Mar-25-15 10:33 AM EST –

Most whitewater open boaters use glued-in knee pads cut from minicell foam which shapes well and does not absorb water. These are good if you do not tend to move around in the boat much.

Here is an example of a set of contoured knee pads:

The thick bolster is intended to be positioned on the inboard side of the pad and serves to prevent your knees from sliding inboard if you like to have them positioned well out in the chines of the canoe. This is especially helpful if you have a canoe with a relatively rounded bottom where your knees are always wanting to slide down toward the center of the hull. This type of pad can also be shaped to fit your knee by sculpting out a shallow cup on the flat and a semicircular relief on the bolster.

You can also use flat minicell foam and make your own knee pads:

By using multiple thicknesses of foam on the inboard side of the pad you can create a relatively level surface for the pad that helps keep your knees positioned outboard in the same way the bolster does.

Minicell shapes easily using sandpaper or surface forming tools like this one which can be found in nearly any hardware store:

You can cut the foam with any sharp knife. If you want to cut along curved lines a coping saw (or band saw if you happen to have one) works well.

The inexpensive puzzle mat will also work for glued in pads but one side of the mat is textured and it is a bit thinner than optimal. If you want to get a good glue bond between the textured side and the hull, or another piece of foam, you will need to smooth off the texture using a sander or a Surform tool.

Use a good waterproof contact cement to glue pieces of foam together and to glue the pads to the hull. Although many types will work, the overwhelming favorite of whitewater boaters is DAP Weldwood. Make sure it says "flammable" on the (red and black) can. There are some water soluble contact cements which will not hold up. Foam absorbs the contact cement readily so use at least two coats, if not three, on the foam.

Freestyle paddlers and other boaters who like to move around a lot in the boat will usually want a large, flat padded surface. You can buy the nylon covered T-shaped pads or an even nicer pad like these from the Bag Lady:

They are pricey, however. The puzzle mat might not look quite as nice but works just about as well. Fit the squares together and push the mated pieces down flat inside the hull where you will kneel. Let the foam adapt to the shape of the inside of the hull, then trim the foam so that the cut edge will just fit in beneath the inwales of the boat. The foam will be held in under a bit of pressure and will usually remain in the boat even in the event of a capsize.

thanks for the links
I am pretty used to shaping minicell for my own kayak seats, footbraces, kneepads, and other uses. However the cost to square foot ratio I want for a canoe seemed cost prohibitive, the austin kayak link looks pretty doable, thanks a ton.

I started with strap ons, but they were
uncomfortable and sometimes painful.

They rarely stayed in place, especially when walking in water in the river.

The straps were often uncomfortable or painful on the back side of the knee.

They often slid down when walking.

I have a couple of the old Bell strip kneeling pads that I like best - they give enough cushion and don’t slide around on slippery wet hulls.

The large T pads take up too much room under the seat and impeded foot insertion and extraction when kneeling, though were more comfortable on the tops of the feet when kneeling.

Inexpensive knee pads–my preferences
I don’t care for curved or cupped pads for flatwater canoeing because they inhibit changing one’s seating and kneeling positions.

I don’t care for flat minicell because I find minicell to be more slippery when wet than neoprene or ensolite-type sleeping pad foam.

I don’t like thick pads because they raise my center of gravity too high and blunt the tactile feedback too much from the water under the hull to my kneecaps.

My preferred foam is raw (no fabric) 3/8" neoprene. Here it is installed in my Hemlock SRT:

However, neoprene can be hard to find and somewhat expensive in small quantities.

Hence, I have used $10 rolls of 3/8" military sleeping pad foam in several flatwater canoes from this source:

Here is that foam installed in my Bell Wilfire:

I have always installed with contact cement. The ensolite will fray faster than neoprene, but still it can last over a decade and is easy and cheap to replace, even from the same original $10 roll.

Of course, you can spend $30 to $100 for the same foams pre-cut from a “name” source, some with unnecessary fabrics on top, which are mostly a waste of money in my Scottish opinion.

I glue all my pads in with clear silicone caulk. If properly done, they stay attached. When you sell, which I do a lot, the silicone will come off totally with a little work.


fwiw…I’ve had a good experience with an
OC-1 pedestal. Either buy one or cut one from a large pad of closed cell foam…but add a layer of softer stuff from kayak outfitting. Make it large enough at first, then tweak it down to comfort. Making it tall enough, to begin with…but making a sort of “U–U”-shaped bulkhead to rest the knees on with foam to rest shins on is nice…and is much more comfortable than having our older inner thighs constantly split apart.


back in the
day but times change…see here:

I have a pair of stepped Padz in the pipe.