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How Do I Choose the Best Canoe Seat?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

When choosing the best canoe seat, it is important to identify which position in the canoe the seat is destined to occupy. Your proficiency with a canoe will also contribute to the type and style of canoe seat that will best suit your needs. The typical use of the canoe as well as the type of water you usually canoe on will dictate the best style of canoe seat to be used in your canoe. Commonly, comfort and appearance compete with pricing to establish the best seat choice for most canoe users. There are an abundance of seat choices at most outfitting stores, so making some decisions prior to arriving at the store will save you not only time and money, but confusion as well.

A canoe typically is fitted with two canoe seat positions: one in the front and one in the very rear. Some manufacturers make additional seating that can be either bolted permanently in place in the center of the canoe or simply dropped in, thereby providing removable seating when needed. Typically, the best additional seats are of the folding type. This style of canoe seat allows the users to fold the additional seats down and out of the way when not in use. This is a popular choice for those who use a canoe to pack camping gear and supplies for extended stays in the field.

Canoe seats come in a variety of choices at most outfitting stores.
Canoe seats come in a variety of choices at most outfitting stores.

Some of the temporary seating options also double as shoreline seating similar to folding lawn furniture. These seats can be helpful if packing a lot of gear since they can fulfill two uses and avoid carrying separate seats. The wide bottom of this drop-in canoe seat provides a stable seating position in the boat and aids in the canoe's steadiness while traveling. Occasionally, this type of canoe seat will incorporate armrests that can sometimes hinder paddling, although they are fine for an extra passenger who is simply along for the ride.

Many buyers choose to purchase a canoe seat that has an extended back support. With the flat style of seat that is standard in most canoes, long trips can often leave the user with a stiff or painful back. Some of the high-back seat designs also swivel, allowing the seat to pivot slightly with the paddler preventing sore spots from sliding on the flat and solid seat. For anything beyond occasional use, a padded canoe seat will often be the best choice for comfort and enjoyment.

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    • Canoe seats come in a variety of choices at most outfitting stores.
      By: Zsolt Biczó
      Canoe seats come in a variety of choices at most outfitting stores.