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Submitted: 02-03-2011 by kocho
I've had the Bumfortable wide seat for over a year now, installed in my Valley Rapier 18 kayak. My dimensions – 6'4", waist 35-36", 180lb. I don't consider myself particularly wide hipped (I'm what I consider evenly built), but apparently the Valley seat is meant for someone with a narrower bottom. I needed a replacement since I could not paddle for more than 30 minutes without bruises forming at my hip bones area.
The wide version of the Bumfortable seat fits nicely in the boat but I feel it is still a smidgen too narrow for me. I'll explain. The seat is made of shaped foam. This means it has a give to it – it needs to be used with appropriately sized inserts between it and the boat hull or it will only provide very limited support on the sides. Meaning you will shift your weight in undesirable directions while rolling or edging if you do not firmly pad b/w the seat and the kayak hull.
When I padded my hull to achieve proper balance b/w contact and space to move, the Bumfortable sides stay slightly away from the sides of the kayak. E.g. it is narrower as provided than I would ideally want it. When I sit in it, my bum pushes the sides to the side and they now fill the space properly. Perhaps I need to glue them to the outside to have them stay there. But I also feel some of this at the very base of the seat and to correct that I would need to do some shaping of the bottom of the seat and glue it all over to make it stick in place and hold a slightly different shape than it's original shape. That's more customization than I want to do and I do not want half a gallon of contact cement to make it stay where needed. So I accept that slight shape imperfection for me and use it with four 1x4" strips of heavy duty outdoor Velcro attaching it to the hull (and not have it glued to the minicell foam inserts on the sides b/w the seat and the hull). Still quite comfortable, but if your bottom is broader than mine, this means you will have some unnecessary contact with the seat just by sitting in it and stretching it to fit you. And you would need to do intricate adjustments and a lot of gluing to make the thing fit perfectly.
The second problem I have with the seat is that my tail bone begins to hurt after some hours of paddling. I ended-up carving a small dent in the rear of the seat where my tail bone is and that helped minimize the problem.
So why 8 ranking? The seat requires quite a bit of customization to make it fit properly you and your kayak. To fit anyone who is outside of the ideal size of the bucket, the seat ideally needs to be glued very well on the outside so that it stays in shape rather than have your bottom push it wide to fit you. For relaxed touring or a snug fit the latter (your bottom shaping the seat) may be great, but for active exercise paddling or racing where you want a close but loose fit this is not good – creates rubbing while still having some wiggle due to the inherent foam softness. That same softness is great for longer hours, not so great for precise boat control.
Overall a decent seat and could be perfect for those who fit well in it (padding on the outside to the boat hull is pretty much mandatory even if you fit perfectly). Lightweight and seems durable so far. On the other hand, for about $30 in minicell foam, I can shape a comparable seat in a few hours time that would fit me and my kayak hull perfectly. I got one of these home-made seats in my other kayak and it works just as well as the Bumfortable. Somehow I was expecting a different feel from the Bumfortable (e.g. from reading their website descriptions I hoped it would be firmer and slicker, more like shaped plastic than foam) but it really is very much a foam seat with all the benefits and drawbacks of foam. If you like foam – great. If you want something a little more supportive and rigid (for precise boat control) and slippery (for good bottom rotation) – get something else.
There isn't a perfect seat since our bottoms and our kayaks are all shaped differently - the Bumfortable may or may not work for you.
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