webbed seats or not?

My Old Town Discovery came with plastic seats. I’m thinking of replacing them with webbed seats, but not sure if I’d benefit from it. Webbed seats look more traditional, but the plastic seats will no doubt last forever.


Are you looking for tradition or…

I personally like the tractor style seat with a foam padding.

I have several webbed seats that I took out of canoes and replaced with tractor style.

Jack L

I am sorry but tradition in a Disco
is an oxymoron. Discos are petroleum products.

So fiddle with it away. Whatever makes your bottom comfortable.

Web seating is a logical first step and you ought to be able to hang it so the front is a little lower than the back for comfort.

I’ve never seen a Disco with a tractor seat… interesting concept.

Hate those plastic seats
I would definately put in the nylon web seats. There are times you want to shift your weight towards the gunwales–not practical in molded seat. When it’s hot, that plastic gets hot, and it doesn’t breathe. I just don’t like those plastic seats.

Once I rented a Disco for a solo trip. I paddled it from the front seat, stern first, because the trim worked out better that way. A couple days sitting backwards on the molded plastic seat did little to make me like those seats.


your point is?
Yes, they are petroleum products. So tell me, when you go canoeing, do you portage your canoe to the lake as to not use any petroleum?

yes. I do portage my canoes.

– Last Updated: Dec-21-14 9:30 PM EST –

It just struck me as odd that you regard your Disco as traditional. The supplied plastic seats are designed for easy mass installation by the mass retailer. The hulls are shipped stacked.

No sense of perspective evident.

Webbed seats for me
I like having the ability to kneel. In fact, I kneel almost all of the time when paddling. Webbed seats are ideal for kneeling, though to make them ideal they should have a slight forward slope, rather than being exactly level. Incidentally, installing a foot brace AND putting a slope on the seat makes for rock-solid, yet comfortable control when sitting, while still being ideally set up for kneeling.

For plain ol’ sittin’ while you paddle, consider a contoured webbed seat which has a curved, downward drop to the seat rails in the center. It’s the same idea as a contoured plastic seat, but to me, is more comfortable and a lot more versatile because they still allow some side-to-side variation in where your butt is planted (and such seats are still perfect for kneeling).

As far as whether seats will last forever, it’s unlikely you’ll ever have to replace webbed seats. If you do, they’ll still be making them when the time comes, I’m sure.


– Last Updated: Dec-23-14 7:20 AM EST –

Tradition is in the eye of the beholder. Many Mainers consider driving four wheelers and snow mobiles "traditional uses" that should be preserved in the the Allagash country. Seems odd to me - but to them it is perfectly reasonable. They have been using four wheelers and snowmobiles for a generation.

The disco is actually a fairly traditional canoe design built using a modern material.

Consider cane. It isn't as durable, but it looks lovely and it is very comfortable. It doesn't hold water the way webbing does. Learn to step on the frame, not the cane, and they will last a long long time.

Are all webbed seat makers using nylon
or are any using polyester? Polyester is available in comparable strength and dimensions. It does not soak up nearly as much water as nylon, and it does not stretch nearly as much as nylon when wet. Polyester is much less susceptible to UV damage than is nylon.

Have any webbed seat makers quietly switched to polyester webbing? If not, why not?

Incidentally, I agree with Jackl about tractor seats. We had them in our old Moore, and with just a bit of added padding, they were comfortable for both kneeling and sitting. Proper adjustment of seat height and angle is necessary, but so is it with webbed and cane seats. If tractor seats are set right, and are compatible with paddler’s rear ends, they provide control that the wood framed seats do not.

I dont really consider my Disco as a traditional canoe. A wood-canvas canoe is, to me anyway.

I just think the webbed seats make a canoe look more like a canoe.

Web or cane seats…
are certainly what comes to mind when most people think of a canoe seat. I’d say that makes them the traditional style of canoe seating.

I also think you’d be noticeably happier with a web or cane seat in every way as compared to a plastic throne.

Here’s a good source for quality components:


I “Second” Ed’s

– Last Updated: Dec-22-14 11:00 AM EST –

Also, getting rid of those "Clunky" plastic seats. But, I prefer cane to webbed, just my personal preference.

I might add, that Ed's has a "Cleaning out the closet" section where I usually get my seats. It's just the seats, thwarts, et al that they are a little over-stocked on. Right now they have some of the fancy contoured seats for under $25:

plastic not necessarily more durable
It is not uncommon for those those molded, plastic Old Town seats to break. The plastic cracks and breaks where they are suspended by the machine screws. I have seen these first hand and have known of a lot of people looking for Old Town replacement seats.

Some people find those seats comfortable and others find them hideously uncomfortable. They are heavier than wood-framed seats and the molding prevents you from sitting on the seat backwards, if you should want to do this.

If you find the seats comfortable, don’t object to the weight and appearance, and don’t foresee the need to ever sit on them backwards, there is probably no benefit to changing them, unless they break. Personally, I would get rid of them.

Switch them out…
Webbed or cane seats are simply far more versatile, in addition to being lighter. You can put various removable seat backs on them much easier. You can stow things underneath them. You can raise them, lower them, tilt them. You can turn around and sit backwards on them.

I use my canoes as fishing platforms, and don’t usually kneel though I will in squirrelly whitewater. I built my own adjustable, instantly removable seat backs to fit on the cane or webbed bench seats. Moved the seat forward a few inches on my solos. Raised it an inch or so because I like the more comfortable seating position and the slightly higher vantage point. I strap an auto battery box full of all my fishing lure boxes under the seat. My rods are stowed with handles lying on the sides of the bench seat (some guys I know built little bungee cord things onto the bench seat to strap the rod handles down but I haven’t).

No way I’d have a canoe with the molded seats.


– Last Updated: Dec-25-14 3:48 PM EST –

cause skin problems.

In bicycling, we sit on ischial tuberosities...one small bone area each side in your glutes. Bicycling is not noted for body comfort.

But...but with comfort bicycle seat shaped like a tractor seat with foam covered the total butt ski area exposed to stress goes waaaaay up with the stresses from jiggling around pedaling or paddling, pulls epidermis apart. Your butt is covered with small open wounds not bleeding but allowing entry of viri, bacteria and plastic chemicals.

No doubt some of you have encountered butt itch or even butt rash from webbed seats...caused by linear feet of knife edged webbing chafing skin.

A gel pad would cause more skin damage than a hard seat.

Visually, think your skin drops unsupported over the plastic knife edge, you wiggle, knife edge cuts into the drop over area, no problem !

There is a third webbing choice:


not sure if I’d agree on this one.

I’d have to say it may depend on the person. I can see if one was sliding around on a webbed seat, it could cause a rash. But, if you were moving around that much in a canoe, you’d probably end up swamping the canoe and get a rash from icky water.

The webbed seats I had in several
canoes were very slow to dry. Ergo if you sat on them you got your pants wet and with the friction caused by the forces on your body when you paddle, yes you can get chafed or get like the equivalent of diaper rash.

For that reason and the quick fail of webbed seats ( with no warning) as they age, my experience with webbed seats is less than positive.

I still have some boats with them but at the beginning of each year poke the webbing hard to see if it will fail.

Interesting experience…
and I wonder if this might be related to the climate in your part of the country. I’m in Wyoming - very dry - and my seat webbing has held up very good on my boats. I do hit them hard with 303 upon acquisition and then re-apply once or twice per year depending upon use and exposure. Not sure that would help in your neck of the woods. My logic is protection against the harsh sun at the elevation I live and paddle at.

We dont have much sun
both seats failed upon snagging a snag… And went totally…No warning.

Plus the boats are inside.so below zero happens gradually .High temps are may be 80.

Nothing happens till a stress is put on the old webbing…then it all goes.

My biggest question is why rub a petroleum product into the seat of your pants?

PS I have much better luck with cane but haven’t ever seen a Disco with cane seats

dermatitass !
well, the cutting into epidermal layers allowing various beasties and chemicals entry is the deal. Does this affect you ? I dunno but in writing suggest that IF you have butt itch or red spots, acne, staph infected hair follicles causing terminal sexual dysfunction and bladder cancer AND these easily shrugged off annoyances happen after sitting on a webbed seat then consider the seat webbing as a probably cause not the time of day.