Portage question

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Good morning,

I like to bring everything with me when I canoe. I triple port all the time. I love to fish (3-4 rods min.) , must have my chair, am not opposed to bringing a table, and can't seem to leave my Diet Cokes at home.

For many years I have used freighter pack frames with the fold out shelf on the bottom to haul my barrel, folding chair, fish finder, tackle box and rubber boots, hatchet, and anything else I can find to lash on. In the canoe, I place the frame over the pack, slide the top portion of the frame gently under the gunwales towards the bow, and secure the bottom part of the frame to the thwart. This gives me a low profile surface to secure my pack, dry clothes, hang my map case, place rods for trolling, etc. I also like the flexibility it provides, ie. any of my three sizes of barrels and be lashed on, if I were to tear a strap on my pack I could lash it on the frame, my canoe cart can be lashed on, etc.

I like the way this system works for me. I don't really see it used by others, but have always assumed it was because I haul more gear than anybody else I know and they don't need the options the frame provides. If I were so inclined, I could also rig the frame to operate like the Knu-pack, but have not gone down this path yet.

So I am curious, does anyone else use a system similar to this? If so, how has your process evolved over time? Any tips or tricks?

Thank you.

Viking .
 
Joined
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I am a die-hard single-portager on any but the shortest portages (like my recent trip taking my wife out for her first time.)

My only tricks involve putting everything humanly possible in one pack, lashing my single fishing rod UNDER the thwarts (so it's over them when the canoe is inverted for portage), using my paddles for a yoke to avoid carrying a separate yoke, using my PFD for padding, and learning as much woodcraft as possible to avoid a heavier pack load.

When canoeing "heavy", I bring a food box, which doubles as a seat and/or table in camp.

Sounds like your pack frame idea works well for you, and that's what's most important. If what I envision is correct, your frame serves as the same convenient flat surface my food box does on those trips where I bring it... My own canoe has 2 thwarts. I try to put the box just in front of the rear thwart with a bungi cord across from handle to handle, where I can clamp my map and rain gear to it easily. My pack and my partner's pack lie next to one another in front of it, pushed up under the front thwart (and seat if necessary.) This allows us to double portage (canoe and one pack in one trip; food box and other pack on second trip, along with any odd bits, which there always seem to be on a 2-person trip.)
 
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Our older pack frames in the military had a removable shelf on the bottom for carrying water cans, radios, etc. It works really well. I can remember my dad makeing pack frames out of wood and they were all L shaped like that. No reason why you shouldnt use that as it works well especially for heavy loads. My own preference these days is for a dry bag type of pack. We have Eurekas. Other than that, my personal pack is a Canadian 64 pattern ruck sack, and if I can ever find one of the shelf attachments for it I will be using it that way.

Christy
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Just a little warning.. If you decide to rig your pack frame like a Knu Pack it can make it very difficult for you to "throw" your boat away from your body in case of a fall.

I fell in Woodland Caribou and suffered a neck sprain. This could have been way worse as I was solo. Sometimes being locked into your canoe is unwise. I wrote way back in 2006 to the company when it was still alive that the yoke horns were dangerous for solo canoes as there was insufficient distance between the yoke (centered on the boat) and the seat ( four inches back of center). The horns became jammed in that space.
 
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hmmm, maybe I've been lucky, but never had the occasion to "throw" my canoe during a portage. I've used a Knupac since the first model was introduced without problem, and many of my portage miles are bushwhacking in rough terrain an significant blowdown. The photo shows me at the beginning of a 185 mile trek to completely cross the Adirondacks with the second generation Knupac carrying a Hornbeck. I actually tie the Knupac "horns" onto a length of lightweight custom shaped aluminum tubing that I clamp in place at the canoe balance point. You can see black aluminum tubing fixed from the bottom of the pack to the gunwale near the stern. This gives me a rigid mount fixed to the pack, allowing my hands to be completely free. Great for climbing over blowdown or otherwise using my hands to navigate.

I have fallen over with this rig, but I felt that being tied in actually protected me as the canoe took the brunt of the fall. When fording across deeper streams I do unfasten my hip belt and sternum strap, just in case.

I also use the Knupac with a couple of other larger boats, but do not use the rigid tie-in mount, just with the horns in the center thwart (or a centered clamped-in carry thwart) and a bow/stern line held at my hip to control canoe tip/tilt. Never felt it was a danger in case of a fall, which has happened, without any idea it was unusually unsafe. knupacHornbeck.jpg
knuhorn.jpg
 

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Joined
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I was pretty specific about solo canoe seats. Not pack canoe seats which do not present any issue as there is no detachable yoke and no seat near the gunwales. The horns will jam in too small a space if one or both becomes displaced. With pack canoes or tandem canoes there is nothing besides the center thwart or in the above example there is quite a bit of space.. Not four inches. The thwart in back of the seat is much farther (looks to be a foot farther) from the center point.

I was in Temagami which involves a bit of cliff scrambling on my last canoe throw. I was glad that I was not locked into a frame system. While the Peregrine tumbled 20 feet downhill I did not.

Interestingly I emailed Knupack when this happened and the Knudsens while nice in person never could address my problem.
 
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By 2006 I believe Eric was trying to unload the company and heading to another life living in Hawaii. Yes, a very nice guy in person and by phone. He offered the company to me, but at the time owning a business was not my thing.

I do also carry my solo Rapidfire with the Knupac with cradles riding in a clamped in carry yoke, balanced at several inches forward of the seat. Not rigidly tied in. Don't know if what you suggest would be a problem, but think it would be an unusual configuration of events for that to happen, even with the high rail seat I have installed. Perhaps so on other solo configurations.
 
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