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      Lightweight seat modification ideas?     

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03/26/2020 06:39PM
So in the spirit of having way too much time on my nonessential hands, I have been thinking about my gear.

And I will say up front that this topic will not resonate with most canoe trippers. But I have been an Ultralight backpacker for decades and when I solo canoe, it’s basically UL backpacking plus my kevlar canoe (Magic or Trillium), a PFD and two CF paddles. (Totally different story when the family is along.)

So I pay attention to gear weight more than most. I recognize that I am at the far end of the spectrum, perhaps too much so, but I am not about to change.

That said, one area I am looking at for weight reduction on my 24 lb Trillium and/or my 26.5 lb Magic: the Seat. I'd like it to be a lot lighter (and a little lower, too).

I just weighed the sitting drops, bolts and webbed seat itself. Total weight is 2 lb 6.5 oz (38.5 oz).

I also saw a foam seat that looked to be glued to the floor of a Trillium in one of Joe Robinet’s videos - see screen shot below - which is what got me seriously thinking about all this in the first place. I have no idea if that was a Northstar option at one point? Sure don’t see it on their website.

There are a lot of possible options out there…Swift makes a CF webbed seat in a traditional form-factor with brackets (side pods) that epoxy to the hull. Placid Boatworks has a pedestal seat in 3 sizes; Swift also appears to have a pedestal. No idea if any of the aforementioned would be compatible with my canoes. There are also CF tractor seats out there, though mounting is a big question mark.

So I am wondering if anyone has looked at this or have ideas to cut seat weight.

My intuition tells me there’s a pound or more to be saved, somehow. A UL Backpacker would cut off an ear if they could save that much weight!

Thoughts?
 
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Arcola
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03/26/2020 06:58PM
Steve, I've been hammering on the seat idea for a long time and it always comes to the mounting issue. They all seem to have their drawbacks in one form or another.
Short answer is... I haven't figured it out yet.
Kent
 
MidwestFirecraft
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03/26/2020 07:08PM
I believe that is an ADK.

You could e-mail Ted or Bear and ask them what the seat weighs, and if there would be any issues in converting. They have always been very helpful when I have contacted them.
 
Blatz
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03/26/2020 08:50PM
ZRE sells a carbon seat. Very light. Contact them to see if they could come up with a carbon mounting system for you.
 
03/26/2020 09:08PM
Kent, let me know if you figure it out!

Want to paddle on the St Croix 6+ feet apart in a couple weeks? :-)
 
03/26/2020 09:09PM
The ADK link is a good one - that's definitely the seat. Good catch.

But - here's another screen shot from the same Joe Robinet video where he went solo into WCPP (nearby, not in, actually) and this is likely a rented Red Lake Outfitters canoe. Perhaps a special order Trillium.

I will ask Bear, you are right...always responsive and helpful.

 
03/26/2020 09:16PM
Blatz, also a good idea - I had seen the ZRE seat but will enquire about mounting. Thanks!
 
03/26/2020 09:19PM
Kent, one more OT thing (as the OP I feel I can hijack my own thread):

The custom carbon-fiber footbraces in Eli's Trillium have been great...love 'em. Want them in my Magic too. Any ideas? Is that something I could fab myself? No real idea where to start...
 
Banksiana
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03/26/2020 11:39PM
Savage River offers a carbon fiber seat mounted on the bulkhead or on a carbon fiber pedestal. I think the seat is made by ZRE.
 
andym
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03/27/2020 03:54AM
Is there a trade off between the seat weight and the paddle weight? The lowest, lightest seats are meant for double ended paddles. The higher seats might require a heavier mounting system but can be used with a lighter single blade. Or are there people sitting on the floor of the boat and using a single blade.

What are you using sns?
 
yellowhorse
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03/27/2020 04:07AM
I built a double kayak years ago and used RedFish Kayak's customized fitted seats. I was happy with both product and service. It used to be a one guy shop and would trust Joe's input.
 
Arcola
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03/27/2020 04:25AM
sns: "Kent, let me know if you figure it out!


Want to paddle on the St Croix 6+ feet apart in a couple weeks? :-)"


Yes!!!!
 
Arcola
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03/27/2020 04:27AM
sns: "Kent, one more OT thing (as the OP I feel I can hijack my own thread):


The custom carbon-fiber footbraces in Eli's Trillium have been great...love 'em. Want them in my Magic too. Any ideas? Is that something I could fab myself? No real idea where to start...
"


I believe Northstar sells the kit, easy install.
 
MidwestFirecraft
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03/27/2020 06:46AM
andym: "Is there a trade off between the seat weight and the paddle weight? The lowest, lightest seats are meant for double ended paddles. The higher seats might require a heavier mounting system but can be used with a lighter single blade. Or are there people sitting on the floor of the boat and using a single blade.

What are you using sns?"

That is a good point. I have a swift Pack 13 and an Old Town Next. In order to paddle either one with a single blade I have to raise the seat at least two inches with a foam pad.
 
sedges
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03/27/2020 07:30AM


This guy built his own seats of divinycell foam core and biaxial braid carbon sleeve. You look at more of the thread once you are there for specifics on the materials and sources. carbon seat thread
 
03/27/2020 05:32PM
Arcola: "sns: "Kent, let me know if you figure it out!



Want to paddle on the St Croix 6+ feet apart in a couple weeks? :-)"



Yes!!!!
"


It's a date. Good amount of open water here in Afton as of today.
 
03/28/2020 03:02AM
I have a pack style solo (Hemlock Lost Pond) with a foam seat in the floor. I purchased a new foam seat from NorthStar via Midwest Mountaineering to replace the old original degrading foam.

The one thing I will say about the foam on the floor is that you have to paddle with your legs fully extended or sit cross legged. I don't have foot braces but could see that they would be very helpful. I just brace my feet against the pack in the bow because my boat is very short.

Also because I am now so low in the boat I have had to put a cushion on top of the foam to lift me higher so that I can reach the water with my paddle without scraping my knuckles on the gunwale. I am short so if you have a longer torso you may not have the same issue?
 
03/28/2020 01:33PM
andym: "Is there a trade off between the seat weight and the paddle weight? The lowest, lightest seats are meant for double ended paddles. The higher seats might require a heavier mounting system but can be used with a lighter single blade. Or are there people sitting on the floor of the boat and using a single blade.

What are you using sns?"


Good point and question. When I solo I take a double blade (220cm CF Werner - prefer high-angle) and a bent-shaft single blade (51" ZRE). Pretty comfortable with both, and I do switch back & forth.
Have found that I generally prefer to be on the lower side of normal seating ranges, but certainly not sitting on the floor. I know from backpack fittings that I have a longer torso, and that may be part of the reason.
 
03/28/2020 02:07PM
yellowhorse: "I built a double kayak years ago and used RedFish Kayak's customized fitted seats. I was happy with both product and service. It used to be a one guy shop and would trust Joe's input. "

Wow - those look like a seriously premium seat option. Thanks for the lead!
 
03/28/2020 02:21PM
luft: "I have a pack style solo (Hemlock Lost Pond) with a foam seat in the floor. I purchased a new foam seat from NorthStar via Midwest Mountaineering to replace the old original degrading foam.


The one thing I will say about the foam on the floor is that you have to paddle with your legs fully extended or sit cross legged. I don't have foot braces but could see that they would be very helpful. I just brace my feet against the pack in the bow because my boat is very short.


Also because I am now so low in the boat I have had to put a cushion on top of the foam to lift me higher so that I can reach the water with my paddle without scraping my knuckles on the gunwale. I am short so if you have a longer torso you may not have the same issue?"


Luft, thanks - I am 5' 11", but torso of a 6 footer, so I may have more reach.
And I think with both the narrower widths and the tumblehomes on the Trillium and especially the Magic that the 'reach' aspect is going to be very different than a beamier Lost Pond (no tumblehome, right?)

The Northstar foam seat looks to be not much more than an inch, maybe inch-and-a-half at most off the floor of the canoe - is this correct?

I could see getting a thicker (4" appears to be available) block of minicell foam and trying to craft my own. How did you adhere your new foam seat to your Lost Pond?
 
03/28/2020 02:30PM
sedges: "This guy built his own seats of divinycell foam core and biaxial braid carbon sleeve. You look at more of the thread once you are there for specifics on the materials and sources. carbon seat thread "

That is amazingly cool - and a fun 'build' rabbithole to dive in & investigate. Thanks!
 
justpaddlin
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03/28/2020 02:51PM
Last year I contacted Swift about installing their CF seats and pods in a Blackhawk tandem. They said they'd do it but I had to send them my boat. They said they'd give my boat a free ride if I met them at one of their road shows. The price they quoted seemed very reasonable to me. Just FYI they also told me that they might have to add stiffening patches to the hull depending on how strong it is. If you ship your boat to Swift you could probably get CF thwarts too. Just FYI they told me that their CF thwarts are not as strong as their wood thwarts.

Maybe Swift would sell you just the side pods and you could find a light seat to attach to them. ..or maybe they would now sell you both pods and seats. Seems to me that CF pods and CF seats would be the lightest option out there for a real seat.

Alternatively you might squeeze out a few ounces just by drilling lots of holes in your Trillium's seat drops (and maybe the seat frame to a lesser extent) and maybe changing the fasteners to aluminum (or titanium if you can find the right fasteners).
 
03/28/2020 11:59PM
sns: "luft: "I have a pack style solo (Hemlock Lost Pond) with a foam seat in the floor. I purchased a new foam seat from NorthStar via Midwest Mountaineering to replace the old original degrading foam.

Also because I am now so low in the boat I have had to put a cushion on top of the foam to lift me higher so that I can reach the water with my paddle without scraping my knuckles on the gunwale. I am short so if you have a longer torso you may not have the same issue?"



Luft, thanks - I am 5' 11", but torso of a 6 footer, so I may have more reach.
And I think with both the narrower widths and the tumblehomes on the Trillium and especially the Magic that the 'reach' aspect is going to be very different than a beamier Lost Pond (no tumblehome, right?)


The Northstar foam seat looks to be not much more than an inch, maybe inch-and-a-half at most off the floor of the canoe - is this correct?


I could see getting a thicker (4" appears to be available) block of minicell foam and trying to craft my own. How did you adhere your new foam seat to your Lost Pond?
"


Haven't installed the seat yet but I contacted Northstar and they use DAP Weldwood. I live in Saint Paul so if you decide to paddle with Arcola you could borrow the seat if you want to test the height of it out in your boat. Maybe put some no-slip shelf liner under it to keep it place while you try paddling with it?

I'm at work now but can measure the height when I get home. In my mind it was closer to 1.5 - 2 inches in height.
 
03/29/2020 07:19AM
I settled into sit and switch lake paddling long ago. But when I dabbled more I used a foam block saddle, North Water is just an example of one outfitting company. Mine was a home carved foam saddle and glued in place, weighed under 1 1/2 pounds shaped before gluing.

After using for 2 seasons decided I liked a higher position and went back to a gunnel hanger seat arrangement mounted as high as possible in the Wenonah Moccasin I was playing with.

butthead
 
andym
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03/29/2020 04:17PM
Sounds like we have different situations, sns. I have long legs, a short torso, and am also shorter than you. Plus, I prefer a single blade. That all adds up to preferring to sit higher. What we do have in common is liking high angle kayak paddling. I have paddled single blade from a very low seat in a one-person outrigger canoe. It worked but there are no side walls to reach over. And I also found the position uncomfortable after a bit.
 
muddyfeet
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03/29/2020 08:47PM
Careful, SNS. The problem of a lightweight seat in a solo canoe to accommodate single and double paddles is like the quest for the holy grail. Here’s how my quest began.

Arcola is right: it’s the mounting that kills you in weight. I would think that without a slider, and the right composite work, you could have a seat mounted a few inches off the bottom for total weight of 12oz or less. The pvc foam diamond on the bottom of a magic is plenty stiff for bottom-mount.

That said, I love the look of the build that sedges linked to. That would be super cool in a magic.
 
singlebladecanoe
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03/30/2020 06:14AM
Swift also makes a CF seat that could be epoxied to the bottom of the canoe instead of having to use hardware to hang the seat.
 
03/30/2020 06:40AM
justpaddling, interesting that swift is willing to do that - but they are geographically pretty tough for me. That said, I am confident that with the right supplies I could do the job myself. Leaving them on the table as an option.

I also had the idea to drill out holes on my existing seat, but I think there is too much risk. Looking for light but also don't want a major failure in the interior of Wabakimi.
 
03/30/2020 06:44AM
Luft, thanks for the offer!

I am going to take some more measurements myself, but my recollection is that my Magic's seat is about 5" off the floor. Going down an inch or two at most is what I am thinking. So if I go foam I will need to be sure I get enough height...this may be worth buying a block of 2lb minicell foam & trying my hand at carving.

Noted on the DAP Weldwood. I might start with some adhesive velcro while tinkering.

Not sure how comfortable this will be, but there is one way to find out. I would estimate that if I start with a 16"x16"x4" block (weighing 16oz) that a finished seat might be in the 12oz range. Very appealing - again, if comfortable.
 
03/30/2020 07:07AM
muddyfeet: "Careful, SNS. The problem of a lightweight seat in a solo canoe to accommodate single and double paddles is like the quest for the holy grail. Here’s how my quest began.


Arcola is right: it’s the mounting that kills you in weight. I would think that without a slider, and the right composite work, you could have a seat mounted a few inches off the bottom for total weight of 12oz or less. The pvc foam diamond on the bottom of a magic is plenty stiff for bottom-mount.


That said, I love the look of the build that sedges linked to. That would be super cool in a magic. "


Muddyfeet, you certainly took it to the next level with the seat and of course your boat build. Or two or three levels. I sent the link on your boat build to my tripping buddy. His son is in a Marine Engineering program...
 
03/30/2020 07:26AM
singlebladecanoe: "Swift also makes a CF seat that could be epoxied to the bottom of the canoe instead of having to use hardware to hang the seat."

I see that, some of their pack boats are outfitted with that seat - but don't see it on their price sheet. Wonder what it weighs and costs...will enquire. Wildcard is that it will need to have a bottom curve that is close enough to fit my canoe(s)...
 
singlebladecanoe
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03/30/2020 06:35PM
The carbon ones are a new design I believe. They are probably familure enough that they might be able to get it close. Might be worth a shot. They have always been responsive to my questions.
 
03/30/2020 06:47PM
singlebladecanoe: "The carbon ones are a new design I believe. They are probably familure enough that they might be able to get it close. Might be worth a shot. They have always been responsive to my questions.
"


Thanks - need to look into this for sure.

Was hauling around my Northstar NW 17 today (paddled!) and was itching for that 3lb weight-savings CF seats might yield.
 
SinglePortage
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04/03/2020 08:58AM
This thread has really gotten me thinking. On my way out to look at my magic and start planning/tinkering.
 
MNXS54
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04/08/2020 06:14AM
SNS,

I have a Northwind Solo. I'm a fisherman, so my experimentation has been centered around adjustability as opposed to weight. I want to be able to move forward or rearward as well as up and down. There are tons of threads here regarding tractor style vs bench style seats...ad infinitum.

My only advice to you is to play with the angle of whatever seating you decide on. I went to great lengths to install a backband with my cobbled together tractor seat. I found, however, that by adding footpegs and tilting the seat slightly down toward the bow my back doesn't bother me much at all and I don't need the backband. I'm 65 so for me that's a real plus. I have so far been able to sit and fly fish for 4 hours with no discomfort.

I'd like to ask you and others here a favor:
PLEASE keep this thread updated with your progress, your ideas, and any solutions or vendors you find. If anyone is interested, I found a really nice tractor style seat for under $30 that would adapt fairly well to most canoe situations.

If this is a hijack of your thread please forgive an old man and thank you for your post!

Mark
 
04/08/2020 07:47AM
Mark, no worries. What's the seat you found look like, made from, weigh, etc? How did you mount it?

So here's what I have so far:

No reply from Swift.

Placid Boatworks will only sell its seats to owners of PB canoes.

Northstar has been very responsive (go Bear!) and I am going to get the material from them to fab footbraces in my Magic. Also getting the materials to touch up the skidplates and recoat my tandem NW 17. Bear indicated that I could buy the ADK seat but I think it's lower than I would like.

Joe at Redfish Kayak is sending me minicell foam and I am going to take a swing at crafting my own seat. I will use a backband or something similar.
 
singlebladecanoe
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04/08/2020 11:42AM
Another option, if you are a kneeler, get a white water saddle from Ridge Outdoors. He makes custom white water canoe saddles out of closed cell foam.
 
MNXS54
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04/08/2020 01:13PM
sns: "Mark, no worries. What's the seat you found look like, made from, weigh, etc? How did you mount it?
"


I found a seat that mounts on a 5 gallon bucket. I can't weigh it but when I take off the mounting hardware it's pretty light. I live in Bloomington, MN. If you'd like to borrow one to use for apattern or whatever you're welcome.
I mounted it on a track system I made using composite hockey sticks but my system would be way to heavy for you. I need mine to move higher and lower and also forward and aft. I am going to explore just attaching the seat to a block of foam and fastening to the floor with velcro. Might be lighter and way simpler than what I have so far.

 
MNXS54
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04/08/2020 01:39PM
Top View


In my canoe


Removed for kneeling
 
Northwoodsman
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04/08/2020 02:58PM
I have never paddled a solo but I always find that I have a small amount (or more) of water in the bottom of my canoe. Some of it is from paddle drips, most of it is from getting in the canoe with wet feet, trying to protect the canoe itself. When you have a seat mounted to the floor is your butt not always wet?
 
04/13/2020 09:31AM
MNXS54: "Top View



In my canoe



Removed for kneeling
"



I love how MacGyvered this is! Well done.
 
04/13/2020 09:33AM
Northwoodsman: "I have never paddled a solo but I always find that I have a small amount (or more) of water in the bottom of my canoe. Some of it is from paddle drips, most of it is from getting in the canoe with wet feet, trying to protect the canoe itself. When you have a seat mounted to the floor is your butt not always wet?"

The ones I have seen look to be 2 - 4 inches above the floor, so you'd need quite a bit of water to get wet...
 
04/13/2020 09:34AM
So the Minicell foam from Redfish arrived, and I am eager to start shaping a seat. But I would appreciate hearing about tractor seat dimensions (width & length, approx depth of the shaped areas) to help me.
Can anyone take a quick tape measure to a tractor seat?
 
MNXS54
member (9)member
 
04/13/2020 11:52AM
I'd be happy to do mine if that helps.

Length--13"
Front Width-17"
Rear width-16"
Front Depth-1 1/2"
Rear depth-3 1/4"
 
04/13/2020 12:04PM
MNXS54: "I'd be happy to do mine if that helps. "

Absolutely, thank you! The more the merrier - I know that these will differ a bit manufacturer to manufacturer.
 
RLJ
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
04/14/2020 12:47PM
I have a spare tractor seat from a MnIII that you can have or use as a template if you want. Let me know if you want a pic.
 
04/14/2020 01:19PM
MNXS54: "I'd be happy to do mine if that helps.

Length--13"
Front Width-17"
Rear width-16"
Front Depth-1 1/2"
Rear depth-3 1/4""


Excellent, thanks!
 
04/14/2020 01:20PM
RLJ: "I have a spare tractor seat from a MnIII that you can have or use as a template if you want. Let me know if you want a pic."

RLJ, thanks - the measurements would be enough I think, if you are willing!
 
05/17/2020 07:26PM
FYI, my build of a minicell seat is complete, and was largely a success with a substantial weight savings and increase in backside comfort for the most part.

Thread detailing the build is now up in the DIY group forum.
 
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