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I picked up a new RMR Phat cat a couple of weeks ago and am having a small rowing frame built by River Boat Works.

I am exploring some options for a seat, my 35L Engel cooler is too big and I don't want to shell out the cash for a smaller roto-molded cooler (they loose too much interior space and I feel the tiny 25 size is a waste of $$$).

Looking at dry boxes or perhaps even a tool box to use as a seat. 20-22" wide and approximately 18" tall.

Does anyone have any ideas or recommendations?

I am also considering building a small wood deck and mounting a vintage tractor seat to it. I am a carpenter and a redneck so this seems like it might be a good fit for me!





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Build a wood dry box and mount your seat on it. You can try a search on home made dry boxes for Ideas.
 

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I sat on coolers/boxes early in my rowing career, but got tired of getting knocked off my seat in big water hits. A tractor seat holds your ass in place. Like you, I liked the idea of an actual vintage steel seat from a tractor and had one for a couple of seasons that worked well and looked great. It was bolted to the plywood lid over my drop bag bay. But I always worried about getting hit in the head with the edge of that steel seat in the event of a major flip. So I went ahead and got an NRS padded tractor seat. Expensive, but sensible. Comfortable, too.
 

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The tractor seats are the comfiest, but also the heaviest. I am currently using a 6 x 18 piece of plywood that I topped with 3/4 minicell (almost like a swing seat) but it is far from the most comfortable thing I have rowed on. I may go back and try and make something else, or just give up and get an NRS lowback seat.
 

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High Backed Seats vs. Sitting on the Dry Box

I sat on coolers/boxes early in my rowing career, but got tired of getting knocked off my seat in big water hits. So I went ahead and got an NRS padded tractor seat. Expensive, but sensible. Comfortable, too.
I am worrying somewhat about raft seating and keeping a low center of gravity and staying in the boat in bigger water. I currently run a padded high back NRS type seat mounted on a custom DRE seat frame that swivels over a dry box - see photo.

In 5 seasons of boating, I have always rowed from this type of seat or one similar and while I have never flipped my boat and have never been pitched out of the boat from the seat, I have had one or two close calls. My decision to go this way rather than sitting directly on a padded box or cooler top are because those options appear so uncomfortable, but it also seems to be the better position in regard to keeping a low profile and to avoid being pitched out from a higher riding seat. I've seen some gnarly pressure blisters and chafing on peoples butts from rowing for several days from a flat box, even with padding and it dont look comfortable at all and caused major problems and limitations as the trip progressed on, I cant imagine finding myself in that situation for 277 miles of Colorado River through GC

With that said, and without trying to hijack this thread, I am curious about any opinions on which is better, rowing from a high back seat or sitting directly on a flat box that has a lower profile in the boat? Friends I row with suggest that at some point, particularly for Grand Canyon scale trips, I may want to convert from the high back to rowing from a box top in order to stay in the boat more securely.

I go back and forth with the idea because I truly enjoy the comfort and view of river obstacles that is presented from rowing from a high back seat such as mine, I believe that I can read the water easier and see some obstacles ahead without having to stand up to see over the bow and passengers etc. and I also feel that I have an advantage to solid bracing from the back of the seat along with the footbar and the seat seems to hold me in place more solidly than sitting on a flat box, I feel like I can lock myself in position when things get wild, so in a way I seem to agree with Dave's post about getting tossed out more easier from a position on the box top, and disagree with my experienced friends who seem to doubt my seating arrangement.

I am planning to row the Colorado through Grand Canyon next year and if needed, I want to reconfigure my set up and geometry to start rowing from the box top now for practice and familiarity while we are having such big water season if that might make a difference on such bigger water but it seems like there are pros and cons of each and I really do enjoy the high back seat and am not real keen about the idea of rowing for almost 300 miles from a flat top box but am a little spooked about having a higher center of gravity and dealing with GC scale water. Can anybody relate?
 

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I sit on a thwart on my minicat. It rests on a cross bar off the drop rails and has another cross bar behind it to hold it in place. Your frame probably ain't a cat frame, but I bet you could add a few drings and install a center thwart to sit on. This is the lightest seat you'll find and since it'll run tube to tube you can high side. Nothing I hate more than watching cat boaters flip because they can't get out of their lazy boy to throw some weight around.
 

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Best for me is tractor seat. I run a high back seat mounted on a straight bar. I like to sit low in the boat and have a secure backrest to push against. I have occasionally taken it off and sat on my cooler but I like the seat way better.
 

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I use a 16"x16"x3" Jack's pad on top of a cooler or dry box. No swamp ass. Sitting on it pretty much covers it and it's to small to catch and pool water. They also make all camp chairs more comfortable. These pads are comparable to ethafoam for cost.
I've said it before, ethafoam is a cruel joke someone has played on the rafting community.
 

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Go redneck.
I mounted a raft seat on a plywood cross member because I had the seat already, but you could just find a padded tractor seat for the right price with any bolt pattern for that.
I rig a small drop bag under the seat, and the flat board makes a good beer spot, can stand on it when boat scouting to.
Adds weight though, but I mostly use my Culebra for multi days, and it only has a 1 bay frame anyway, so still not that heavy.
 

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I turtle my super puma solo.

My seat is home made and doubles as a yoke. It is a piece of thick plywood, 2x3 screwed to the sides, old life jacket foam for padding, all wrapped in white and black gorilla tape, bolted to the frame.

When portaging or carrying raft to/from the river, I slide frame forward so seat/yoke is centered. Remove the cobra oarlocks to save a couple of pounds. Then turtle away.
 

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My photo doesn't show it well. But my seat is slanted a little, and the area with the black tape is thicker. This helps from sliding back in the seat. The 2x3s are spaced perfectly for my hips, reducing sideways movement in whitewater.

For me, light weight and minimalist is good for my weekend and day trip adventures.

I have another frame for multiday expeditions and sit on top of cooler pad.
 
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