How much does your gear weigh

Joined
Feb 13, 2014
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142
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minnesota
Has anyone actually exceeded the max load of a canoe? My canoe is rated at 1150 lbs. I cant image that much stuff even fitting in there.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
Canoes capacity ratings are based on the weight of water displaced by the hull when there is six inches of freeboard.. ie six inches of side showing. That is a horribly unsafe margin and no boat performs well sunk that deep. Most canoes have performance ratings at the max of 60 percent of "capacity". Ergo a sixteen footer of any kind will max out around six hundred pounds..

As the measurement is volume related , it matters not what your brand of canoe is.

Most solos max out at 250-300 lbs but perform adequately at 125-200.

I think that those insane capacity ratings of over half a ton are actually a danger to the paddler.. especially the new paddler.

Archimedes rules here.. Google Archimedes principle.

You're right in that most boats run out of room when loaded level to the gunwales before six hundred lbs is reached. Moral.. don't pile high (high center of gravity) and if you rob Ft Knox, store the silver low.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
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Minden, NV
I am happy that someone started this conversation. Most tandem boats max out around 500-650 pounds. The ratings used by Old Town for example have always been fiction. Gear provides a lower center of gravity to a point and then it starts to make boats sluggish, hard to turn, and vulnerable to taking on waves and spray. Some boats are much better under 500 pounds. The move by the industry to build so many short canoes under 15 feet is baffling until one realizes that they are probably trying to compete with the kayak craze. Meanwhile, people that are trippers, are now looking for boats in the 17-20 foot range. It feels like the canoe industry is becoming segmented into newbie day paddlers and enthusiasts.
 
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I won't give away my wife's weight but we are usually <500 lbs in a tandem, not including the weight of the boat.

The one exception is if we carry water, and that is very rare. We usually just filter as needed seen as how we aren't doing salt water trips.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
http://www.placidboats.com/rapidfire.html

Look at the displacement weights. Rapid is a typical 15 foot solo in dimensions.. maybe a tad smaller than some. Your standard capacity would be 540 lbs. Four inch waterline is 320 lbs..That leaves seven inches of freeboard.... better.. 210 for eight inches of freeboard. I like to have about 250 lbs in the boat. Occasionally I have gone to 400 in the Everglades in salt water paddling.

But veddy veddy carefully and not in big open water. The reason for the four hundred is 12 gallons of fresh water. Also I use the spray skirt then.. I feel better after consuming about half the water.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
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Appleton, Maine
I just finished packing for a 2 week trip, here are my packs hanging from a scale. A Duluth Wanderer pack with my gear, tent and clothes, and a Duluth Day pack with my food in two separate Sealine waterproof bags, a small Army surlus bag for fishing lures and cameras and 2 fishing poles
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About 70lbs (my water bottle is empty as is my evening sit around the fire beverage container)

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Low Profile

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Joined
Jun 12, 2014
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NW Iowa
I keep meaning to weigh my gear but haven't, it would be interesting to know. I do know I'm always surprised at the pack weight when I pick it up. 70 pounds seems quite reasonable for a 2 week trip.
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
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Ontario Canada
Gosh, I love how that canvas looks in your canoe Robin. Getting back on subject...I've no idea what our stuff weighs. I'm a poor judge of weight. (Stepping away from that statement delicately) The heaviest thing in amongst our gear is always our food. We trip with a 30L barrel- 1 week trip. I don't want to know how much it weighs. But dehydrating will make a big difference in our future paddling plans. I'm pretty sure we don't come anywhere close to maxing out our canoe's capacity. IIRC it's around 400-500lbs.
Maybe as we reduce our gear weight, we increase our ...I forgot, I was gonna step away delicately.
6" sounds like a lot of freeboard. Is that the minimum? I've seen some over loaded canoes out there!
 
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Joined
Aug 12, 2012
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310
Location
Illinois
When I push off on a 30 day solo trip the scales tell me I am toting 175 lbs of food and gear. I weigh 190 at the start of most trips so my 16 foot 10 inch Wenonah Prism is hauling 365 pounds. It handles just fine with that load.
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2014
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Manitoba
I have a 37lbs 70lt drybag with a nice hipbelt and internal frame as well as a 19lbs Pelican 1450 case with a few days of food for the weekend adventures. (27lb empty) Canoe with 2x paddles, detachable yoke, and ropes, camera mount etc. is just at 35lbs. I could loose a few pounds to lighter tents and better bags etc but it is a working system as is. Single carry on terrain is possible as it sits now. I just need to get in shape! The drybag would include the tent/ clothing/ pad/ tarp/ saw/ bug suits/ camp chair/ water pump/filter and the little extras. All in is 90-96lb for the gear and canoe.
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Whew... I dunno there. I can't go far with close to 100lbs strapped on me.

My portage weight for a single is 70-80lbs with a tandem. Half mile with that and I'm pretty smoked and ready for a break. Add in some hills and breaks become more frequent.

Oddly enough the boat gets me more than anything. My shoulders are usually the problem and I am nearly as stout without the pack as I am with... so double ports aren't usually on my agenda. Hills of any length are the exception.

I'm pretty sure with my solo boat I could get that to 60-65lbs.
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2014
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Manitoba
Whew... I dunno there. I can't go far with close to 100lbs strapped on me.
My portage weight for a single is 70-80lbs with a tandem. Half mile with that and I'm pretty smoked and ready for a break. Add in some hills and breaks become more frequent.
Oddly enough the boat gets me more than anything. My shoulders are usually the problem and I am nearly as stout without the pack as I am with... so double ports aren't usually on my agenda. Hills of any length are the exception.
I'm pretty sure with my solo boat I could get that to 60-65lbs.

My ports are under 600m for the most part so a bit more weight is not too bad for a short time. The thing that kills me is the big steps down off the rock ledges etc. Need to be carefull with all the weight that I don't stress the back. The pack sits on the hips so that helps the shoulders and with the food box mounted on the front straps it balances nicely. Trick is to lift the canoe from the back, flip it and walk under it with the nose still on the ground. No stress out to the sides that way.
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
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Genesee Valley, Western NY
I make careful study of my gear weight or burden, as I choose to call it. It is broken down into three categories, 1) canoe 2) pack 3) body. The canoe includes the hull and all that is in it. Pack is obvious but sometimes includes a second small pack that can be carried on my chest; I try to avoid the necessity of a two trip carry. Body is a category that very few include with their gear weight. It is not an individual's mass but the weight of all that they wear. For myself, I typically have 6-lbs. of clothing and stuff in my pockets; it is added to my burden.
I felt I did very well on a recent 5-day trip keeping my total burden at 58 lbs. Length of stay, season and choice of hull will cause a dramatic swing in burden. Big water requires a bigger boat; cold temperatures demand boots and additional clothing. I average about 1½ lbs. of consumables (excluding beer) per day. If I maintain the goal of one trip carries, I do not want my burden to exceed 80 lbs. in any season. If I am two tripping my carries, I really don't think about weight beyond the efficient capacities of my canoe, which I agree, are a lot less than max capacities.
 
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I neglect the body part. The 5lbs or so of clothing I wear is negligible to the 30lbs I could lose (not so easily) in excess body fat.

I fear the beer, burgers, and chicken wings I consume post exertion greatly offset the calories I burn.

I did lose 6lbs over my last 6 day trip, and it wasn't dehydration, it's stuck... but I'm quickly working to add that back :rolleyes:
 
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Minden, NV
On big western rivers we rarely portage, occasionally lining Class IIIs. Loads tend to be heavy and boats tend to be big. It can get out of hand, but it is common to see coolers, folding furniture, and really good food. It is a form of canoe resorting compared to the lake country. We are spoiled in a sense, but it makes backpacking and lake paddling less appealing. It may be blasphemous to some, but it is a way of life in the West.
 
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I’ve never bothered to weigh my total kit of tripping gear, although I have weighed my boats (sometimes before and after outfitting) and weighed individual pieces of gear.

The load is rarely the same from trip to trip, and I know the weight difference between a weekend river trip and a week or two travelling on tidal water is huge. The same applies to some extent to summer vs shoulder-season or winter trips.

I have loaded boats with weight past my preference for their best performance, which is far below some manufacturer’s listed weight limits, knowing that food and (especially) potable water weight will diminish over the course of a trip.

On big western rivers we rarely portage, occasionally lining Class IIIs. Loads tend to be heavy and boats tend to be big. It can get out of hand, but it is common to see coolers, folding furniture, and really good food. It is a form of canoe resorting compared to the lake country. We are spoiled in a sense, but it makes backpacking and lake paddling less appealing. It may be blasphemous to some, but it is a way of life in the West.

Same for coastal bays and tidal stuff on the coast, although the killer weight there is toting potable water. In that no-portage guise the limiting factor tends more towards volume than weight capacity, especially when using spray covers or a decked canoe.

I have likewise gravitated towards bigger boats for that style of tripping.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
On big western rivers we rarely portage, occasionally lining Class IIIs. Loads tend to be heavy and boats tend to be big. It can get out of hand, but it is common to see coolers, folding furniture, and really good food. It is a form of canoe resorting compared to the lake country. We are spoiled in a sense, but it makes backpacking and lake paddling less appealing. It may be blasphemous to some, but it is a way of life in the West.

Having paddled a sample (small ) of western rivers, we did indeed pile in the stuff. Including the toilet. That's unheard of in freshwater areas of the Midwest and East.

So your post brought this weird image to mind.. portaging Wag Bags in a bucket or one of those big aluminum toilets up a rock face in Temagami. Eew.

Canoeing takes place in a wonderful array of ecosystems..all calling for a little different approach to packing. Nothing is right or wrong or blasphemous.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2011
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210
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Scituate, RI
Weigh gear? I use a canoe so I don't have to weigh gear. I like to camp in comfort, so I don't bother going ultralight on much, except perhaps for using dehydrated food to save weight. The portage cart so far has gotten me over any long portages (the longest of which, so far, has been 10 miles), and if the portage is less than a quarter mile or so I don't mind walking back and forth. I've never been in danger of exceeding the capacity of my boat, although it helps that I have the body of a hobbit. Perhaps if I ever do a multi-day trip that includes an ugly unwheelable multiple mile portage, my tune may change, but for now it all comes with me, no matter what it weighs.

-rs
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2012
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Alburnett Iowa
I solo in a tandem canoe and usually take Fall trips in the BWCA. My load consists of a day pack, food barrel, and canoe pack totaling 70 lbs. I double portage carrying the day pack and canoe the first trip. I sit / kneel on the bow seat. I take enough things to be comfortable including a small folding chair.
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