We kept the rear seat in and removed the 2 big bulky chairs. We fold the rear seat down when we travel and load the van.. At camp, we put the seat back up and we can take friends with us.
It works better for us and I believe the two middle seats weigh more than the one rear seat. We also have the Odyssey, and we watch the weight
carefully. I actually love to sit in the rear seat when we have friends ride with us.. The gals can chat in the rear- the guys can chat in front.
One other thing that you will notice too - with the seat folded down (or in your case) taken out - I can back the Odyssey right up so Jim can hook up - one try. No more yelling.