Your #1 source for kayaking and canoeing information.               FREE Newsletter!
my Profile


FREE SHIPPING on all canoes until May 14
See for great reviews
Paddlers' Place Discussion Forum New Topic Printer Friendly Version

  Old peoples kayak
  Posted by: BerbG on Jan-22-14 12:45 PM (EST)

Why don,t they make a kayak that is good for old people, I have a bad back and sitting down inside a kayak just about kills me after about 30 min.

 Great Products from the Buyers' Guide:

Gedi Convertible Helmet

2-3 Canoe/Kayak Trailer

Kayak Kaboose Trailer

Canoe Pack Liner


Table of Contents

Messages in this Topic


  They do
  Posted by: kayamedic on Jan-22-14 12:54 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jan-22-14 12:55 PM EST --

its called a pack canoe. Canoes allow a higher seat than kayak decks allow.

Are you sure you need a deck? Pack canoes are wildly popular in the Northeast particularly the Adirondacks.

Placid Boatworks carries a seat that is on the floor and five others that are higher. The SpirFire is a gret boat as are the longer Rapid and Shadow..both of them pace with or in the case of the Shadow outrun sea kayaks.

Canoeing does not have to mean two in a tubby piece of crap. Canoes these days can be narrower and fast.

Check out Placid Boatworks, Hornbeck and Hemlock Canoes .
Also any narrow solo can have a seat at whatever height you want. Its not a sin to use a double blade in a solo canoe.

Plus for old people not dragging around a deck is sometimes a plus.

Hornbecks come in at 12 lbs and over. Placids start mid twenty lbs. Whoever said a canoe has to be heavy is nuts.

If you need a sea kayak try to find a sea canoe. They are partially decked (entirely with spray covers), very seaworthy and have a seat with various heights possible.

Finally its not the kayak perhaps for you. You can try raising the seat a little and altering the angle of the seat bottom. Most seats on the bottom are canted toward the rear. Raise the seat and change the bottom angle a little so that the back is just a little higher than the front (canted the other way).

Its best if we know what sorts of boat you paddle.. and where.

  Just don't raise your seat.
  Posted by: spiritboat on Jan-22-14 1:50 PM (EST)
Raising a kayak seat even a quarter inch, raises your center-of-gravity, and thereby increases your chances of tipping/capsizing. (Better to stay in your boat dry with a bad back, then possibly swimming alongside it.)

You can look into a pack canoe as kayamedic suggested, but you might first try something more affordable for greater comfort like ergonomic support(gluing in closed cell foam)around your lumbar or wherever things seem to hurt.

Unfortunately the kayak as originally invented, was created as a hunting vessel--The intended age of its user was never the primary consideration. Especially when it comes to cockpit access. Nor is it the main consideration these days, when it comes to general paddling-recreation.
  Agree with kayakmedic
  Posted by: Celia on Jan-22-14 2:00 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jan-22-14 5:35 PM EST --

I am not seeing anything in your profile that you couldn't manage with a pack canoe, at least as long as yo are not talking the mouth of the Potomac. And these boats are very lightweight, much easier to carry than most kayaks.

Later add - the seat is low. But it is an open cockpit so you have lots of room to move around. The issue with a higher seat canoe is that you may need to acquire some degree of skill with a single blade paddle, an added time cost that may not interest you.

  Something else
  Posted by: Guideboatguy on Jan-22-14 2:19 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jan-22-14 2:47 PM EST --

It's my observation that many people simply lack the flexibility to properly sit on a very low seat with legs outstretched. This condition drastically increases any tendency for back pain when in that position. I haven't seen you so can't actually be sure, but this is so common I'll continue anyway.

It would take some dedication on your part, but it's never too late to improve flexibility. Flexibility improvement is a pet topic of mine, since it's something I have dealt with a lot. For this particular situation, the easiest way (with the least effort and ambition on your part being needed) to work on this would be to do exercises where you just sit on the floor with legs outstretched, grab your feet (if your flexibility is poor, more likely your ankles), and gently hold yourself in a forward-bending position, taking care to make the bending take place at your hip joints, NOT by curving your back, so keep your back straight and your head high (your face should be looking forward, not down). If you do this properly, you'll feel the stretch in your hamstring muscles and not in your back. The great thing about this position is you can do it while soaking in the bathtub in hot water, as doing such exercises while very warm drastically increases your rate of improvement (the hotter you can safely raise your body temperature the better, but even just being "warm" is far better than the normal, resting temperature of your muscles).

If you can increase the ability of your hamstring muscles to stretch even a little bit, the result will be a noticeable decrease in the outward curvature of your lower back when sitting in a kayak. Achieve the amount of hamstring flexibility that is ideal and your back will be able to adopt the same posture when sitting low in a kayak as when sitting on a regular chair (it would take real dedication to improve that much though).

Most pack canoes are actually intended for use with the seat quite low, and though I'm sure some have the seat higher, the ones I've seen are just like kayaks in terms of sitting position.

If your knees are still good you'd have another option. Many solo canoes, and maybe some pack canoes, can be set up with a high, slanted seat designed to be used in a kneeling position. Kneeling is the most back-friendly paddling position for a lot of people. Some people say double-blade paddling doesn't work well from a kneeling position, but the times I've done it I found it no more difficult than when sitting.

  Age has nothing to do with it
  Posted by: jackL on Jan-22-14 3:39 PM (EST)
Find some exercise to strengthen your back

Jack L
  Posted by: suiram on Jan-22-14 4:14 PM (EST)
You've seen OP's medical file?
  he meant "not necessarily"
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Jan-22-14 6:23 PM (EST)
And on that point he's right, isn't he?
  Of course I haven't
  Posted by: jackL on Jan-22-14 6:26 PM (EST)
He wants to paddle a kayak.
He either can or he can't, but maybe he can do something so he can.

What is your advice ?????

Jack L
  Jack is right.
  Posted by: Cliffjrs on Jan-23-14 10:00 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jan-23-14 10:01 AM EST --

You are out of shape. You shouldn't have laughed at those who "wasted" time staying fit.

  Two Cents
  Posted by: JustPaddle on Jan-22-14 4:53 PM (EST)
I will add myself to the list of folks suggesting you check out canoes.

My issues were a little different. Long time kayaker with a very bad knee having a lot of difficulty with being comfortable in and getting out of the kayak due to the floor mounted seat and small cockpit. Carrying a 50+ pound kayak was also problematic.

I have switched over to a light weight solo canoe. At 15 feet it's not much different lengthwise, but weighs 20+ pounds less than my old kayak. The elevated seat allows for more freedom of movement/position. I can still paddle with a double blade if I want and my gear is far more accessible without being a contortionist.
  Posted by: pirateoverforty on Jan-22-14 5:20 PM (EST)
Or stay in your recliner

Either one will solve your problem
  try others
  Posted by: willowleaf on Jan-22-14 5:29 PM (EST)
Not all kayaks are the same. I'm no Spring chicken (63) but I am comfortable in all the kayaks I own, even for prolonged trips. Yes, there are kayaks that are miserable -- I have used some like that and they hurt my back after 15 minutes in them (this is true of a most cheap rental boats). I don't own any of those. In fact a couple of my boats have inflatable seats with adjustable lumbar supports and one just has a narrow lumbar backband -- all are very comfortable. So don't give up on kayaks. It could just be that you have not yet used one with a seat that suits you.

As others have mentioned, it could also be that you have low flexibility. My 65 year old sweetie, though he is just as fit as I am, tends to not be that comfortable in most kayaks due to tight hamstrings(though he is fine in mine with the inflatable seats.) He much prefers a canoe seating position so we now canoe as often as we kayak.

I know folks in their 70's who happily kayak so age isn't an automatic exclusion for the sport.
  I Know What You Mean
  Posted by: clydehedlund on Jan-22-14 6:20 PM (EST)
That's why I'd suggest those light weight (under 25 lbs) solo outrigger canoes, which can be paddled with any single blade canoe paddle. I can paddle these canoes for hours, unlike my kayaks, where 45 minutes is tops for me.
  gbg and jackl
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Jan-22-14 6:26 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jan-22-14 6:27 PM EST --

Guideboatguy and jackl hit it. GBG has some good advice.

Without knowing your current physical condition or ailments it's hard to know if it's age or flexibility or something else. Even a fit person with a history of back trouble can require some flexibility to get in, stay comfortable, and get out.

The payoff is that if you work it out, your back and torso will benefit from the core muscle group activity. And you won't need to rely on a seatback.

  how old is old?
  Posted by: jonsprag1 on Jan-22-14 7:53 PM (EST)
I turned 60 last summer and am the youngest paddler of mykayaking buddies---all of whom paddle higher end type touring/sea kayaks---last weekend three of us went for an 18 mile paddle in windy conditions--so it really isn't age that's the limiting factor---do you have a specific back condition that causes the problem or do you just feel numb in your lower back after 30 minutes---if so, you might consider changing the seat in your boat to something more comfortable. Also adding padding on your thigh braces and adjusting your foot pegs might help.
  Based on info. provided.............
  Posted by: on Jan-23-14 11:50 AM (EST)
My suggestions(based on what little info. you provided) would be:

1. Sell kayak.
2. Excercise to strengthen back muscles.
3. Buy lightweight solo canoe, and a good kneeling pad. Cooke Custom Sewing sells some nice pads.

No reason you can't continue to use kayak paddle; lots of my friends use kayak paddles in canoes.

Few people have back/spine issues much worse than mine; result of wrapping a car around oak tree in 1968.

I tried a kayak; it was pure misery for me; sold kayak. Still paddling solo canoes, and riding motorcycles at 71. Work out 2 days per week; some of the excercises I do are designed to strengthen back muscles which helps to support spine.

If you are overweight, that will make back problems worse. Solution to that is obvious; lose some weight.

  Love my OT Pack Angler
  Posted by: taj on Jan-23-14 11:50 AM (EST)
I'm a small water paddler/fisherman and it is ideal for this guy with more gray in his beard than color. At 33# I can carry it just about anywhere, including over beaver dams to the next pond. If a 30 minute sit is your limit, then get out and strech once in awhile. The older you get the more you appreciate a good strech walking behind a convenient bush.
  Maybe it's because grumpy old trolls
  Posted by: spiritboat on Jan-23-14 11:57 AM (EST)
have an entirely different backside and spinal column from real human beings? (Why is it, these sporadic type of topic posts come along, and one never reads any replies or an acknowledgement from the OP???)

Could it be...
  AHA! Spiritboat has been watching
  Posted by: shirlann on Jan-25-14 8:48 AM (EST)
cartoons with the grandkids! My hubby says he probably knows all the Barney ones as well as the grandchildren.
They sure have a way of bending your heart and mind their way. :)
  If you can handle it
  Posted by: Boyscout on Jan-29-14 4:33 AM (EST)
Kneeling in a solo canoe can be easy on the back.if your knees and ankles can handle it. and kneeling can give good stability. Keep the kayak paddle and use it in the canoe.plenty of folks do.
  People who post
  Posted by: kayamedic on Jan-29-14 8:16 AM (EST)
asking for advice and then never responding to replies after people have taken the time to write them are...

fill in your words. Mine can't be written here.
  Well, maybe it's a bad back AND
  Posted by: spiritboat on Jan-29-14 3:35 PM (EST)
  kyak alt
  Posted by: ppine on Jan-29-14 11:17 AM (EST)
That is why I rarely paddle kayaks. Canoes allow much more freedom move around.
  My back is a disaster from stenosis
  Posted by: string on Jan-29-14 6:36 PM (EST)
and ruptured discs. I am very comfortable for hours in Sit on Top kayaks where I have all the room I need to move around.
My favorite:

It is VERY heavy for a kayak but in the water it is a great boat. Best transported on a trailer or in a pick up with an extender. You do not want to lift it over waist high.
  Where there's a will there's a way.
  Posted by: Cliffjrs on Jan-31-14 12:26 PM (EST)



Follow us on:
Free Newsletter | About Us | Site Map | Advertising Info | Contact Us

©2014 Inc. Sweepstakes Shirt Sale