Our Venture Ranger canoe came with only two seats which was actually a benefit when our son was very young. We put a couple of mats on the floor and could let him play without any worry of him falling over the side. Over the last year and a half he has really been wanting a seat of his own though. Initially we built our own seat from some left over wood, which worked well, but the design I used had flat sections at either side, keeping our son nearer the centre of the boat. We found this useful in the ‘I’m going to lean over the side’ phase! He is now at a point where he wants to join in paddling too, and so we needed a better seat.
There are a couple of options, adding a third fixed seat or a removable one such as the one reviewed here. We decided that we wanted a removable (moveable) one, as the position that we want our son to sit in depends a bit on what we are doing; when we are canoe camping we want space for our stuff, whereas he can be more centred when we are out on shorter day trips, or closer to one of us if the conditions are a bit more lively.
Therefore we decided to go for the Endless River Add-A-Passenger Seat. These sell for about £36 and are available for most canoe types – but make sure you order the correct one to fit your boat. The design is pretty straightforward, consisting of a couple of strong plastic sections which clip onto each side of the boat. Between these there are sections of webbing straps which can be adjusted to get the seat at the correct height, and the seat itself. The seat itself is made out of Cordura so is very durable and strong.
We have found it a very simple additional seat, which is pretty comfortable for any of us to use. However we do have a couple of features we dislike more. First, the front and back edges of the plastic sections are square, and so it’s pretty easy to catch your fingers on this when you are paddling – ouch! This can be fixed with a file and some time spent rounding the corners off. Second the seat slowly sags during use, so you have to tighten it up every now and then. Third, the front and rear edge of the seat are more taut than the middle, meaning that pins and needles in your legs are a possibility. I understand that this last issue can be fixed by adding a thick foam gardening kneeling pad or similar.
Overall the Add-A-Passenger clip in seat works well – it is a seat that you can clip in and out, and move about as you please. Against this, you do loose some comfort compared to a fixed seat, so ask yourself whether the flexibility of moving the seat is worth the drawbacks. For us, at present, it is but I would not be surprised if it doesn’t remain that way for more than a year or two from now.
Disclaimer: This review is our own opinion and we purchased the clip in seat ourselves.