Back Bandicoot

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on – bill withers

Over on Facebook there was a bit of a discussion about back bands recently.  I’ve been part of that one many times in the past and have always advocated not using one. Of course there are a couple of provisos. First, your kayak’s seat has to have enough of a lip on the back to keep you from sliding backwards when pushing on the peddles. Second, you have to be an athletic paddler with good posture to truly be comfortable without a band to “lean back on”.  (Something you shouldn’t really ever do by the way.)  But, let’s be real here, sometimes I like to lean back a bit, and probably so do you.  

For years I had no back bands on my kayaks. I just ripped them all out.  All except one.  In my old Romany with the foam seat, I cut a bit of a back band from minicell and glued it right in.  This is by far my most comfortable “lazing around the lake” kayak.  The “band” that I created  is short enough not to interfere with a layback roll, and is not forward or wide enough to interfere with proper torso rotation.  It’s also not tight enough to interfere with the sort of extreme rotation I may do when rolling.  In the end, I created the same sort of backband for my Explorer.  My Rockpool which I tend to use most when I’m paddling distance or spend a lot of time rolling, still has no backband and I’ll leave it that way.

Again, the point is that you should sit up straight in your kayak for optimal boat control. When sitting up properly, you rarely notice the back band at all.  On the other hand, a back band can be an evil temptation to use poor posture.  If you here its siren song and find yourself leaning back on it a lot.. well, it might be a good idea to remove it. Again, just remember that without a backband you are depending on the seat pan’s design to keep you in place.  Most seats are fine on their own… but not all.

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