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Old 08-07-2013   #1
San Francisco, California
Paddling Since: 2
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 2
AAA tractor or mesh seat?

Hi, We are buying our first expedition frame. I've used a high back tractor seat, but never a mesh seat. Does anyone have experience with the pros and cons? I know a tractor seat is comfortable, but I see lots of folks with the mesh. Thoughts? No matter what we choose it will be a flip seat, in case that weighs in to the equation. Thanks so much! Elizabeth

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Old 08-07-2013   #2
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 728
Mesh stays dryer, but the newer tractor seats have a drainhole so they are okay there. Mesh is taught fabric, tractor seat has cushion. I've also used low back tractor seat with dry bags stowed to create a very comfortable backrest, so high back is not necessarily the only option. In the end, your own comfort will determine your choice. So Just go sit on them in the showroom and get the one that feels best.

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Old 08-07-2013   #3
San Francisco, California
Paddling Since: 2
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 2
Thanks! What do you use?
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Old 08-08-2013   #4
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128
If you go with a mesh flip seat remember it sits higher and that you will need to adjust your oar length based on seat height. Higher seat means higher oar towers to clear your knees. Higher oar towers generally mean shorter oars. Not a big deal, just something to remember. Personally I've only used tractor seats and I like them. But the mesh seats generally go over a bay adding cargo space to your frame - that is a good thing. If you run hard/steep whitewater you will want to be able to secure the flip seat so it doesn't rotate forward. In a flip high backed seats take more damage than low backed seats.
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Old 08-08-2013   #5
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 728
Originally Posted by Matt meph View Post
Thanks! What do you use?
I have both types on different frames.
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Old 08-08-2013   #6
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,121
I use the AAA flip seat bracket with a tractor seat. This bracket rests on the dry box in that bay, so I'm not as high up as the mesh seat. The mesh seat arches over a bay so you can put a cooler, dry box, or drop bag under it. I didn't want my seat that high. However, just raising my seat a little did change my rowing geometry, causing me to need taller towers and longer oars. Here are some pics of the seat bracket. And yes, I use the bracket backwards with a strap to the cross bar in front. Doesn't budge, even with a strong brace in big rapids. It allows me better access to the dry box.
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Old 08-08-2013   #7
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 97
I use a tractor seat mounted to a board that I strap over a drybox. I like it fine. The mesh seats seem nice because you get camp chair out of the deal. They're spendy though.
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Old 08-08-2013   #8
yesimapirate's Avatar
Denver-ish, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 741
The mesh seat requires a little maintenance over time. It stretches and needs to be pulled together with the lacing underneath. And depending on your ass size, the metal of the mesh seat can get quite uncomfortable until you pull the mesh part taunt again. I wedge a garden knee pad in below the top level to help with no sagging and more comfort. I will say, this is always the most difficult item to try and pack in transport. But I like it's sturdiness.

I also have the NRS's lowback seat. It works fine for day trips, but not as loungy for those long multi-day trips where you might want to kick back a little. Also they seem to be designed for littler people. Not a 6'4" person like myself.

From the times I've seen them in their store, AAA's tractor seat looks like it's straight out of a John Deer catalog, and could be a little more comfortable. But I've only seen it hanging on the wall. Never sat in it.

I think it also depends on what setup you want. Do you want a tractor chair just on a cross bar? Do you want the chair to straddle a bay? Do you want more sturdy like the metal with mesh chair? Or do you want more something more lightweight? Or you could skip it all together, and just throw a crazy-creek chair on top of your cooler.
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Old 08-08-2013   #9
Colo Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 599
The mesh seat works better for me. One feature I like is that when I'm in very active rapids I can brace my butt cheek against a side rail of the seat. It feels like it helps my butt stay where I want it to be: seated!
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Old 08-08-2013   #10
Parker, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 106
Mesh will fray over time and rub your hamstrings raw if you wear shorts.
Mesh also has to be stored indoors or it will fray faster.
(I park my truck in the driveway and my raft/trailer goes in the garage).
I use the high back tractor, great for back support and no metal bar to jab your shoulder blades.

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