Portaging ideas

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Guest

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I am getting tired of carrying my 72 lb canoe overhead, I used to jog while carrying it on 1/4 mile or less. I carry my 42 lb, high volume, white water kayak on a simple, but modified, externa frame backpack.

How do others carry their boats? Maybe one wheel, boardwalks over mud are always too narrow for any of the two wheeled carts. Or a light weight wheeled and sled combo to drag my plastic kayak through boulder fields. I'm thinking about just dragging the kayak over hill and dale, heck it does not have to last forever and it's not made of bark, and with duct tape leaks could be stopped.

Ideas are appreciated.
 
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Willis

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Re: Portaging ideas

I carry my 35 lb canoe overhead. Kevlar helps a lot.
 
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Sep 19, 2011
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SE MI
Re: Portaging ideas

Wheeled assistance is not allowed in the wilderness areas where I paddle. I carry over head.
 
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Re: Portaging ideas

Overhead. The top weight of any of my boats solo or tandem is 65 lbs. That one is mostly used for river trips with no portages.

The next heaviest is 45 lbs. Unfortunately as age increases comfortable carrying weight decreases.

My 23 lb boat is a joy.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Re: Portaging ideas

I usually carry overhead, but have been known to drag over swamp muck (footing is too unstable to maintain balance when you sink into your knees or further and the canoe slides nicely over the marsh grasses) or at the top of a steep portage, I will put the canoe down and just let it slide all the way down. ;D

I usually paddle with a fiberglass boat that probably weighs about 60 pounds. However, on one of my first wilderness trips, I portaged with a 100 pound Blue Hole! There is a seven-portage day in La Verendrye that was a real killer!

Erica
 
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We have lost solotripping.com for at least the foreseeable future. Lost too is the great array of portage arrangements that people have found that works for them. There were some great pictures there.Some were clever DIY arrangements.

One of the peculiar challenges of portaging a dedicated solo is getting a quick installing yoke and something that gets the seat out of the way. Its no use having thirty pound boat if you cannot carry a pack at the same time.
 
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Appleton, Maine
I only have tandem wood canvas canoes, weight varies from 55lbs up to the 70's. I have a 17ft Chestnut Prospector that's getting some new ribs and canvas as we speak, that one will weigh close to 80lbs.
I can handle the weight across the portage, just getting up on the shoulders is tough anymore. Since my canoes are all "daily drivers" and are not for show, I don't mind fliping the canoe over (up side down), picking up one end and walking down the canoe while the other end stays on the ground. Tough on the tips, but if it gets me out there I'm ok with some scratches.
I also use homemade shoulder pads that bolt onto the center thwart. They work well for me.
 
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I carry my 16'8" DY Special a few different ways, depending on gear and distances.
If I'm packing in, short or long carry, I carry overhead, with my seat resting on the top of my pack. Well balanced and comfortable.
If I'm on a day trip, still overhead, but either seat on my head or gunnel on the shoulder.
If it's a long (more than 1.5 mile or so ) smooth carry, I have wheels.

For tandem carries, I have been thinking to make a U - shaped yoke from aluminum tubing. The yoke could hook under the seat frames so each person could have the boat rest comfortably on their shoulders...usually carry tandem on our heads, tiring after a while. I'll draw something up and post the images...
 
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Jul 31, 2011
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Aberdeen, MD
my portage experience is limited.

Here in LA, and in places like the Bog River in the Adirondacks, there are short portages (dams, deadfall). For those, I have simply hauled the canoe over, or placed a piece of pipe insulation around the center thwart and carried it on my neck/shoulders. Those canoes were both in the 50# range.

For my St Regis trip (12 mile loop, 4 days, 6 miles paddling, 6 miles walking), i rented a PBW RapidFire (26lbs?) and used a regular yoke that you clamp in under the thwarts.

I have also portaged using the 2 paddles on your shoulders method (one of the 50# canoes above). It's ok, but shifted a lot.

None of them are both simple and easy.
 
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Jul 25, 2012
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A few years ago I got all fired up about doing the Bowron Lakes circuit where carts are allowed. Made myself a wanagan/kitchen box that had a hole for an axle and mounted two wheels and with a few attachment points I could lash my canoe on top and wheel it along. Worked like gang-busters. I felt like Gene Kelly in "Singing in the Rain!"
Then I found out that the park people wanted you to stay in a group because of bears, have a large tent (make those same bears work for their meal) but you were allowed to climb trees and could get a stick from dead material found on the forest floor. Of course no shotgun or dog is allowed. That would be an unfair advantage. In fairness I suppose I might sing another tune if I were an administrator in the park service.
Anyway I never did go, but I still use the wanagan camping. I've got the wheels somewhere.
Best Wishes, Rob
 

Glenn MacGrady

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"Portage" is a medieval French word that roughly translates into "I have planned my trip poorly."

Historically, I have avoided portage paddling, in part because I favor rivers.

Nevertheless, I have two portage yokes -- one that I bought in the early 80's for solo canoes and another I made about the same time to carry my heavy tandems. I used to be able to traverse non-stop over the Himalayas at full gallop with these devices on my young shoulders and back.

Now ... oy vey, I can can barely carry my cup of decaffeinated green tea upstairs to bed.

So, this year I bought my first portage cart. I used it on an Adirondack 70 miler, which I would never have attempted any more with shoulder carries of my 45 lb. Hemlock SRT, especially since I must triple carry when I take my sacred 10 lb. folding chair. This wheel portage trip, with unrelenting 90 degree heat hammering my old bones, wasting muscles and degenerating cardiovascular system, was the most brutal physical experience of my life. I haven't been in my canoe since.

I am pleased, however, to have discovered this site, populated by some old friends, where I will post my trip report and pictures ... when I can get up the energy to carry myself downstairs.
 
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"Portage" is a medieval French word that roughly translates into "I have planned my trip poorly."

Historically, I have avoided portage paddling, in part because I favor rivers.

Nevertheless, I have two portage yokes -- one that I bought in the early 80's for solo canoes and another I made about the same time to carry my heavy tandems. I used to be able to traverse non-stop over the Himalayas at full gallop with these devices on my young shoulders and back.

Now ... oy vey, I can can barely carry my cup of decaffeinated green tea upstairs to bed.

So, this year I bought my first portage cart. I used it on an Adirondack 70 miler, which I would never have attempted any more with shoulder carries of my 45 lb. Hemlock SRT, especially since I must triple carry when I take my sacred 10 lb. folding chair. This wheel portage trip, with unrelenting 90 degree heat hammering my old bones, wasting muscles and degenerating cardiovascular system, was the most brutal physical experience of my life. I haven't been in my canoe since.

I am pleased, however, to have discovered this site, populated by some old friends, where I will post my trip report and pictures ... when I can get up the energy to carry myself downstairs.

Mr. Bargain Shopper: have you not found a deal on a chair that weighs less than ten lbs?
http://www.rei.com/product/829239/rei-flex-lite-chair
The problem of course is that the price does not fit any true Yankee's budget. I don't have a nearby REI to find the chair for a test plunk.
I am eager to hear more of your ADK trip and glad you got out. It seems you painted your van....hmmm..back to our youth.

Uh the Sherpas on K2 are wondering what that thing was.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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YC, my avatar is the licensed logo of my money-losing part time avocation, Magic Bus Sports.

I have several chairs, including lighter ones. However, other than my 16 lb. Lafuma Recliner, which I always carry in the Magic Bus but never in the canoe, my favorite and most comfortable chair of all time is this one, which I have reviewed on the REI site:

http://www.rei.com/product/798587/gci-outdoor-unifold-recliner-chair

Wow, they lowered the price to $39. I may order another.

I must have sitting comfort in camp to relax and read and stare at the sky. No more sitting on rocks or logs, or in some flimsy gossamer chair that you need a sky hook to get out of.

It's no problem to carry the GCI Unifold chair in the boat at all. Nor on short portages. But pushing about 130 lbs. of wheeled weight over 8 miles of hilly roads and rocky mountain goat trails was almost too much for this out of shape body in 90 degree heat.
 
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Meanwhile I am just TRYING to figure out how to post an avatar.

note to self...doh.. Investigate User Control Panel

Looks like your favorite chair just lost a lb.
 
Last edited:
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I had a solo canoe once, with a portable carry thwart stuffed under the seat. I liked half of the canoe, the half out in front, the rest I never saw...a real waste of cedar and ash.
So at every portage, I got down on my knees and screwed this piece of junk stuffed under the seat to my rails, then I got up, knees soaked from kneeling and carried it across, then back on my knees and unscrewed it, stuffed it under my seat for the next portage. Clunk clunk, I always wondered why I never saw any wildlife.
Then I gave up on solo canoes and went total tandems, with a permanent center thwart. I made my own shoulder pads and attached them to the thwart, now I don't have wet knees, but it's a little harder to get the bugger up there on my shoulders.
I like YC's avatar.
 
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Does anyone portage the traditonal way with two paddles lashed, each to the seat and the thwart in front? Aside from potentially lopping off ears, and maybe taking a while to get the position right, there is an advantage of less "stuff". I really don't much like jamming in the yoke. I don't personally have pray to my boat to get the yoke on but its a bit of a PITA to fit in the boat.
 
Joined
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By Golly Glenn! Good to hear from you! Maybe as the winter comes on more will turn up. It sounds like that 70 mile trip was an ordeal, perhaps on her next trip to Florida Y.C. will find Ponce de Leon's old fountain of youth, bring us back a jug. (or two or three)
About the portage yoke, I only know about two kinds; one came with my Old Town Camper and might have worked on the Michelin Man but nobody else who had spinous processes. The other is from Teal yokes and I flat love.
Rob
 
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