Sunday, June 13, 2010

Thigh straps and the locations of D-Rings

Motivated by Ben King who asked about thigh straps and D-rings:

For those outfitting their boats, I put the front metal D-rings pretty low (just below the curve of the tube but maybe a couple inches from the floor) and far forward (in my Yak my feet can push against the tubes while wearing the straps). I think lower is better for forward ones and rear ones are limited by valve placement in my old boats.

The dimensions on deflated boats are as follows:

My Yak: Center of metal D-rings in bow are 8 inches above floor and 3 inches forward of the the second seam from the front. Center of metal D-rings at my hips are 6.5 inches above rear end of front seat seam and 4 inches forward of the the hip seam.

I have two Llamas with thigh straps: (1) My boat has bow D-ring center 4 inches above the floor and 3 inches forward of second seam from the front. Hip D-ring center is 8 inches above rear end of front seat seam and 4 inches forward of the the hip seam. (2) Loaner boat has bow D-ring center 6 inches above the floor and 4 inches forward of second seam from the front. Hip D-ring center is 8 inches above rear end of front seat seam and 4 inches forward of the the hip seam. I use Aire Brand thigh straps and D-rings.

Remember to move your seat forward or you may find yourself getting pulled off the seat and onto hard rocks -- OUCH!

Motivated by Moe Witschard:
"I put thigh straps in my Alpacka and LOVE them. Used them on the middle fork flathead trip. Need to do a little fine tuning on tailbone padding and some sort of foot brace, but I think it's just great."

My response: "What you need to do is move your seat forward. Take a seem splitter and take out the seam that sews the seat to the boat. There are four attachments, two in the front and two in the back. If you attach th rear tabs on the seat to the front tabs on the boat you'l be more centered and protect your tail bone. Then you will want an Explorer seat and velcro that in as a backrest to fill the space you made behind your back. I have done this one three boats and am preparing to do it on two more -- everyone who tries it really likes it."

More from Moe: " Am considering moving the seat forward as I can see how that would be a boon. I have a side opening skirt from two generations ago- much better than the current skirt. Have you seen any mods to this skirt that would accomodate the more forward seat?"

My reply: "Ah yes, the skirt. That may need some additional velcro, both to help from blowing out and to give the additional fabric needed to accommodate the knees pulled up. There is 4 inch wide velcro available. I have someone sew the 4 inch all around the skirt and then glue some 2 inch wide velcro on the boat next to the stock velcro. The additional velcro helps prevent the skirt from opening up, as the knees are going to put more tension on the skirt and so make it come open even easier than it does now. It's especially important to get that side velcro beefed up, the stuff that comes to the top opening."

1) what glue do you use to glue the velcro to the boat.

I use the same glue that I put the patches in for the thigh straps -- Stabond? forget right now....the velcro has a sticky back and if you clean the boat with MEK and then glue, it stays on. I don't use sticky back for sewing as it gooes up the needle.

2) I assume you glue the fuzzy velcro strip on the side away from the
paddler, i.e. toward the side of the boat from the existing strip. Correct?

I use the same hook/pile orientation that is already on the boat when doing skirts. When doing my seat and back rest, I put pile side on boat and hook side on seat and backrest. When I glue velcro on the boat for the seat, I put it up on the tubes at the same elevation that the boats have the seat attachement sewn.

3) who does your velcro sewing? I wonder if I could make an appt. with them to get the extra velcro put on before we go boating. I could show up with the fuzzy velcro strip already glued and with an explorer seat in hand.

Eric Parsons.....bring a meal, a six pack of good bear, and a $50 bill and maybe he'll do it on the spot -- if he can be spotted!

If others would like to measure and comment on their thigh strap locations, that would be useful information that many could use.

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