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Canoe seat pads

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I have a canoe with webbed seats (and another on the way) and a couple Wenonahs with tractor seats. I’ve just given away the boat with the composite tractor seat; that’s not why I gave it away, but that seat in particular was the least comfortable seat I ever used. It just did not conform to my anatomy. At 6’4” and 170-lbs in high school I was still a 34” waist. That composite seat was too dainty.

I plan to get a CCS for my Northstars, and maybe ask if he’ll make a wide one for the center seat in my Polaris. Or perhaps there’s a wide off the shelf pad for much cheaper. But so far I’ve pretty much always paddled it from the center seat with kids distributed in the boat, not yet with another adult.

That leaves the Wenonahs. The molded plastic tractor seat is way more comfortable that the composite, but I still will want a pad for longer days or overnight trips. I’d had several thoughts along the lines of cutting up an old wetsuit, buying kneeling pad material and cutting out a piece to fit, doing the same with a yoga mat, etc.

Some store bought options include:




Some of those do double duty as something to sit on at camp. What solutions have y’all come up with, or am I just too delicate and need to harden up?
 
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Our buckets seats all have Ridgerest padding contact cemented to the seat pan.

On deeper or more curvaceous pan seats I make the Ridgerest pad from two pieces; trying to instant stuck contact cement a single piece of Ridgerest with the cup and curve of a deep pan is damn near impossible. This is a high back bucket; a single piece would have been nigh impossible. I make a paper template of the pieces and cut the shapes from Ridgerest.

PA160008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Successfully insta-stuck in place I put binder clips around the edge of the curled down seat pan to assure the Ridgerest stays held firmly in place. And then put some sandbags on top and walk away.

PA160010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That seat pan had drain holes, so before the contact cement went on I made corresponding holes in the Ridgerest pad.

PA160006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Beyond a bit of puddle prevention drainage those holes help with perfectly aligning the Ridgerest for the insta-stuck installation. There are a few push pins holding the Ridgerest down while I brush on coats of contact cement.

Another weird high back seat, an IQ system. That IQ seat had adjustment straps and thwart attachments as well as drain holes, and needed additional cut outs and slices in the Ridgerest.

PB081346 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

BTW, if anyone has a Mad River IQ bucket seat laying about they want to sell please let me know. Some of the IQ stuff was funky kludgy, but that is still the most ergonomically comfortable bucket seat my ass, and lower back, has ever met.

All of our bucket seats have contact cemented Ridgerest. That padding solution seems common with racers and marathon paddlers on a bucket seat; good enough testimonial for me.

P4170013 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

On our wood bench seats, cane or webbing, I like some padding as well. Not glued in place; I run two slightly loose webbing straps around the seat rails to secure the pad so the wind doesn’t loft it into the lake when my ass isn’t holding it down.

PA220006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That pad can be a piece of Ridgerest

PA220011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Or almost any closed-cell foam. I wanted to provide some take-home seat padding on OOSOBO for the users to keep. They weren’t getting one of our inflatable stadium pads, or even some precious Ridgerest. But I had plenty of old ensolite pad, drainage holes optional.

P1080006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

On a flat bench seat, used without a bit of cant angle or a chamfered front rail edge, some padding at the front rail edge is a comfort boon.

My favorite pad in that application is a Thermarest “stadium” pad.

PA220008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The trick with those is to open the valve and release “almost” all of the air, until your sitz bones have good contact with the seat. Left fully inflated that pad is way too bouncy/wobbly; mostly deflated the remaning air in pad slightly cups my ass and thighs, and even mostly deflated I can reach behind me, ope the valve for a Pfffttt second and change the pressure points. I can do that Pfffttt a couple of times before the pad has fully deflated, and on a rest stop open the valve, let the pad reinflate and start over for a few more Pffftt releases.

That seat-pad-under-straps can be really handy around camp as well.

I’m a well known comfort wuss and my boats are set up with padding damn near everywhere a body part touches. YMMV.
 
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How about one of these
Skwoosh
COMFORT CUSHIONS
Free Shipping within the USA
I have a Skwoosh canoe pad.....

For years I suffered with "butt pain" on longer days. I'd be fine for 4 - 6 hours but the last couple would get increasingly painful.

I used a variety of improvised padding for years, all types of foam layers but they were not working that well and raising my sitting position higher than I liked.

The Skwoosh pad with a single 1/2" piece of foam (a cheapo seat pad from Crappy Tire) helped a lot. Combining that with a new contour seat really made a difference. Still have a bit of sore ass on the days when I paddle non-stop for 8+ hours.

At one time I considered getting a custom pad made that had a bit more gel than the swoosh, there are people out there who make custom gel pads for wheelchair use, they tend to be quite heavy but I assume that a pad meant for someone who spends all day, every day sitting would be fairly comfy.
 
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“How removable is the contact cemented Ridgerest pad?”

If installed properly –three coats of contact cement on the Ridgerest, two on the seat pan, the last ones allowed to almost dry, hit both surfaces with a heat gun, press and pray for alignment – not easily removable, at least without a lot of scraping and sanding

DSCF2279 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That is the seat pad in the Monarch. I really wish I had sprung for a new Ridgerest pad, not used an old, already decrepit one. Making the template, cutting out the foam, contact cementing, aligning, clipping the edges, weighting in place and etc is a decent amount of work.

But I’m not scraping and sanding that aged one off now. Lesson learned; if I find a Ridgerest or similar waffled pad on sale I’ll bite. It won’t last long cut into various seat pads.

I use a piece of Ridgerest as wind chair butt insulation as well, which before bed gets slid under the sleeping pad in my tent for pokey thorny protection and extra insulation. DougD prefers a full butt and backrest sized piece of Ridgerest on his chair, but he lacks sufficient adipose tissue to stay warm.

PA050055 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr
 
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Perhaps the greatest thing about the Ridgerests is that they're still in production. How often does a great piece of workaday kit disappear in favor of more advanced (~= failure prone) successors? I recently bought another one, not sure if it's #5 or #6. While anybody can make a foam pad, the Ridgerests are very consistent in quality and durability.
 
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The trick with those is to open the valve and release “almost” all of the air, until your sitz bones have good contact with the seat.
Came here to say this. Otherwise you really don't feel in control of the boat.
 
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Like others all of our canoes have the thermarest z lite cut up in them. We sit for these races anywhere from 5 hours to 24 hours at a time. With a 5-10 minute break every couple hours or so. Attach them with contact cement.
 
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I love ridgerests. I'm glad to hear others do too, so they stay in production. I put a piece on the bottom for my knees, take a piece for a cushion for lunch, use it as a seat for cooking (I sit on the ground) and under the sleeping bag or bivy for extra protection from spikey things.
 
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