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Old 01-24-2009   #1
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 390
Raft seats

Quick question for you rafters more experienced than I (ie, almost all of you).

Looking at setting up my first raft (Aire 156E) with a DRE Colorado 4 bay frame and am looking at seat options. My uncle (co-owner) has a really bad back and I don't have the best either. The three options we're looking at is going with the DRE mesh seat (which I've never sat in), the DRE bracket w/ and NRS style Highback, or simply a drybox/cooler pad with a CrazyCreek or IK type seat when we need it.

One thing I'm thinking is that the cooler pad/IK seat will offer the most rowing power and range of motion, but is probably the least comfortable of the three.

Opinions? Suggestions?


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Old 01-24-2009   #2
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128
The cooler or a slide board offers the most power. The cooler of course is the least complicated way to go, and the cheapest. That said having a back to lean on is kinda nice, and if you set the seat fairly far back (ie you can lock your legs out with your feet on the rowing bar) you can still use your legs to generate a lot of power when pulling.

I have a high back seat (not NRS though) on my current frame and it is nice, I rowed the grand with it late last year. I haven't spent and real time sitting on a DRE chair or a low back so I don't have anything to say about them.

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Old 01-24-2009   #3
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,135
I got rid of the DRE mesh seat and got a DRE low back tractor seat because I have a bad back and wanted something firm for the lower back.
The highback was higher than I needed and the lowback allows me to stretch. I found I have the most power when my I am locked in with a firm seatback and foot bar. I have rowed friends rafts that just sit on the cooler and my back hurt and I had less power.
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Old 01-24-2009   #4
rwhyman's Avatar
Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 961
I have the DRE mesh seat on both my frames and with the location of my oar towers, I have never been in a situation where I felt the back of the seat was a hinder of movement while getting a big power stroke. I'm an old guy that's run plenty of big water rivers and I won't be giving up my high back seat anytime soon.

That's my opinion and there are plenty more out there.
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Old 01-24-2009   #5
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 600
Advil and prescription drugs, then buy any seat you want.Also a good back brace.
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Old 01-24-2009   #6
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 390
Also, regarding the DRE mesh seat:

Being a fairly novice oarsman, how easily is that seat going to get mangled when I flip?
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Old 01-24-2009   #7
rwhyman's Avatar
Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 961
Originally Posted by storm11 View Post
Also, regarding the DRE mesh seat:

Being a fairly novice oarsman, how easily is that seat going to get mangled when I flip?

I strap mine to the frame, so at least it won't swing down if the raft gets inverted.
I have seen rafts flip on the Middle Fork with the DRE seat and come up fine, but there is always the chance for damage.
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Old 01-24-2009   #8
Renaissance Redneck
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Huson, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 989
I use the NRS high back. It feels most stable on my old back and I like sitting low in the boat. The mesh seat sits too high so my knees get in the way of my stroke but I like how it comes off for use on the beach. The other thing is if you use a dry box or cooler you always have to have it with you, even on town runs so it is just one more big piece of gear to deal with. Oh... and most important, the NRS seat has a lot of room for stickers
"You're gonna be doin a lot of doobie rolling when youre LIVIN IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER"
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Old 01-25-2009   #9
Perdido's Avatar
bedlam and squalor, Montana
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 55
The DRE seat is junk in my opinion. I seem to have a knack for hitting the back of it with my elbows at inopportune times and the mesh on the seat portion of it slides back on the aluminum tubing and cuts into the back of your thighs. Good idea, bad design.

Sitting on a cooler all day is sure to give you a good case of "itchy butt" and a sore back.

Low back tractor seats offer a really good range of motion but lack a little in the back support dept.

The NRS high back is my new favorite. Very comfy for all day use.

I've never had a DRE seat upside down but I would imagine that it will be bent, broken or torn off the frame when the inevitable flip happens.

The NRS seats don't fare well upside down.
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Old 01-25-2009   #10
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SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
Cheap seats

I use an NRS high-back on the big cat, with the back roll shown below: just a couple wraps of cheap foam pad and some duct tape on an adjustable strap. If you've got a touchy low back, it helps a lot.

The seat on the small cat is a cheapo Cabela's fishing seat that came mounted on a swivel. I took the swivel off and made a flip-up mount (shown below). I've rowed several multi-day trips with it and like it— lightweight and pretty rugged (I weigh 225) and the back folds down for trailering.

The mount's fabricated from steel plate and 2 sizes of aluminum angle, with a piece of chipboard between the seat and the steel plate (to stiffen it up). Not sure what these seats cost now— under $25 a few years back.

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