Suggestions for seats on raft frame?



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  • Suggestions for seats on raft frame?

    I am in the process of putting together a frame for my 13' STS Alaska Series Raft. I bought all of the frame parts seperately from NRS so it is a semi-custom frame. It will basically be a Bighorn I with an extra seat up front when done. I am now to the point where I want to find the right seats. I like the one piece, high back seats that NRS and others offer just for the comfort factor on those long floats. The extra back support would be nice, but is it really needed? They offer the same seat, but with a lower back. I also like the idea of the folding, lighter weight type of seat.

    The raft is used mainly for float hunting and will see time in the back of a plane, so lighter weight is good. Does anyone have suggestions, good or bad experiences with these types of seats? Or is just sitting on a cooler or dry box the way to go? Any feedback is appreciated.

  • #2
    We did a 15 day float hunt this past fall and we were scheduled to use swivel seats up front and a stationary seat on the main rowing platform. Because of weight concerns and space available on the aircraft we opted out of the swivel seat and just used folding cushioned stadium seats and tied them to our coolers. They worked well and we didn't find it uncomfortable for that trip.
    Vegetables arenít food, vegetables are what food eats.


    • #3
      I much prefer the low back seat for the rower's position. I've had both, and while I like the high back if I'm just sitting around, it's too restrictive for rowing. I sometimes use Fish On, swivel style seats for passengers, but usually on longer trips they have to sit on the cooler due to lack of space for an extra place to attach a seat. I spent 30 days on the Colorado recently, and when I took a spell on the cooler I threw down a seat from an inflatable kayak or a Crazy Creek style chair for a little back support. Works great for me.


      • #4
        I designed my frame and had a shop in Colorado build it. Portability was main goal as we fly our gear up from NC. I had my seat made from 5/8" poly (cutting board) and then rounded off on all edges. I put a gel kayak seat on top when in use. Very comfortable and about as bare bones as a seat can be. I found traditional seats too bulky and heavy.

        The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.


        • #5
          Jim - Thanks for the input....I was kinda thinking the same thing. The high back seat would be to high for the rowing station. Seems like it would limit movement?

          danattherock - That is an awesome idea on the seat! Extremely lightweight, durable, and weather resistant! I am going to have to explore that option more. Have you ever used one of those padded canoe type chair w/ a back instead of the gel?

          Thanks for the great input


          • #6
            Now mind it is my opinion so no tossing rocks just yet :-) I have somewhat of a bad back now and again and I love the high back seat for that purpose. If you find your-self in heavy water you might consider the seat option versus something the custom deal mentioned. I for one do not like the slipping that occurs using a flat platform when getting into position in heavy water. There might be certain consideration given to some additional support for the purpose of Long trip lengths and or bigger classifications of water. Of course if your sticking to Big Creek or the Naknek and or something similar down your way it should not make a hills beans of difference flat no support should be fine.

            Trying not to beat a dead horse but if you happen to require back support i.e. have a bad back consider the high back seat it will save your day.

            Good Luck with your choice.


            • #7
              I made a plastic dry box to go below my rowing seat, made the soft seat from 2" closed cell foam, topped with 4 " foam cut out for my posterior, it offers a little rear back support and does not get in the way in case the raft flips. I do plastic welding so it was easy to make the dry boxes. Very little weight in the boxes and seat. If we have a lot of gear I just stack it up behind me and it gives me the back support I need.


              • #8
                BlueMoose - I appreciate all suggestions. I have the cross bars with the mounting plate welded to them. Maybe I will get a set of low back seats and then have a set of the flat poly jobs like danattherock suggested for those fly out trips were room and weight is a concern? The best of both worlds. Yeah, I am not worried about heavy water. Most of the stuff I will be in is SLOW. Big Creek, Alagnak, King Salmon Creek, etc.


                • #9
                  Like Dan, I have found life on a flat seat for the oarsman to be fine. I sometimes have trouble with my back, but for me sitting on a cooler seems fine when rowing. I do like a seat back if I'm riding though.

                  One thing I like if rowing without a seat back is for the seat to tip forward about 10-15 degrees. I can keep from slipping off the front by pressing my feet against a front frame member or foot bar, but I do not like slipping off the back, which often happens if the seat is flat. It's even worse if the seat/cooler tips backwards. I make sure that does not happen one way or another. This is similar to the old rafter's "slant board" seating option. I works surprisingly well with a little padding.


                  • #10
                    Jim - The cross bars on my frame have the seat plate welded on them. They are tipped foward probably the 10 -15 degrees like you talk about. I was a little concerned about how well that was going to work if I just mounted at flat seat to them. Sounds like it will be just right? I have not used this particular frame on my raft yet so I will probably need to do some tweeking once I use a few times and see what works best. Now I just need to wait for some open flowing water!


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