Personalise your canoe with this simple Letsfixit ‘how to’ guide. Remember the “Four Cs”? You’ll feel much more Confident in a canoe if you are Comfortable and you feel you have sufficient Contact with the craft to Control it properly.
Modifications to the boat (known as “outfitting”) that improve contact, comfort, and control are important for flatwater as well as whitewater. Flatwater has a nasty habit of quickly ceasing to be flat, and of suddenly demanding optimum control. Winds can quickly increase and whip up choppy waves, and motorboat wakes are a fact of life.
Below, I outline comfort enhancers targeted at your rear end, knees, ankles, and back.
Any good paddling specialty store will stock a selection of the necessary canoe “outfitting” accessories and attachments. If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, the store should have technicians who can outfit the boat for you.
Pads for Knees - Knees become uncomfortable not just from too much bending, but also from contact with the hard bottom of the canoe. They also get wet and cold from bilge water in the bottom of the canoe. Do your knees one of the following favors: Kneepads made of flat sheets of closed-cell foam sheet glued to the bottom of the canoe provide cushioning and insulation. U-shape channel-type knee blocks obtainable from your paddling store are much better. These make it far easier to keep your knees spread — you aren't continually working and shifting to prevent them from sliding down into the bottom of the boat. With your knees held well out to the side and up a little, they stay drier, too.
Back Relief - Canoe trips, with the portaging and paddling, can be hard on a back. And nothing spoils a trip like backache.