Tandem Portaging

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Tandem Portaging : The Good, The Bad, Whatever…

My tandem partner wife and I like to take things slow, and in fact enjoy our portaging. In the early days we tripled, and hated every plodding step. I quickly “streamlined” our gear to make double ports enjoyable. Towards the end of some trips, after we “creatively repack” our junk, we can single carry; but long double carries with staging are still pleasant walks through heaven. Our trips average 1 week, with only 4-6hrs travel days. Being short and aging however, limits our stamina and strength. Any suggestions? Our first pass usually involves me carrying our canoe, pfds, ditch fanny packs, and sometimes our 40L kitchen pack, with my wife carrying a 115L Seal Line pack. Our second pass is for our 30L food barrel and sometimes our 40 L kitchen pack. It seems the more I streamline, the more stuff I add for comfort. I’m every bit the softie that she is. A combined food/kitchen barrel would eliminate the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] carry?
I’m trying out dehydrating this year, and have invested in lightweight gear…
I would love to single port if possible, with all the comforts of home, if only?
We both enjoy our “vie en rose”, our “dolce vita”…
She suggests I hit my growth spurt, I suggest she pack less chocolate …
Failing that, any suggestions?
 
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How long are your trips? We usually have a 60 liter barrel, about a 120 liter canoe pack and a smaller pack. He wears his PFD while portaging and I strap mine to the 120 liter pack and I carry the paddles. I have a Dromedary water bag flopped on top of the pack for hydration enroute.

He can carry the smaller pack and the canoe. I carry the big pack. That leaves the 60 liter barrel to be dealt with. (there are a total of 3 packs only for a two week trip).
So we split it. How. He carries the canoe and eeny pack, I walk ahead with big pack. He drops canoe and eeny pack halfway and goes back for barrel. I continue on and drop mega pack at the end. I walk back and he gives me the barrel and takes the canoe on. This way he is never alone with the canoe. The last time he was allowed to be alone in Killarney he walked down a disused trail with canoe on head. It took us some hours to find each other and I was panicked!

So now I never let him walk alone with it.

We have single ported at the end of a trip by dropping the contents of the little pack into the nearly empty barrel. Its not a big burden to portage 5000 meters then. I have Big Bertha that because its tent etc...never changes weight. Ugh. Speaking of 5000 meters that's one I don't want to double carry. I like flower gazing....but...
 
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I can relate to the "mr. canoe head" wandering. That's why I'd prefer a higher padded system over my teal yoke - my excuses...
It sounds like you're more efficient planners/packers than we are.
We're down to 3 packs; 115L, 40L and 30L food for around 1 week (5-9 days). Admittedly, on base camping trips, a double burner coleman is glamping, but even on "lighter" trips, I can't reduce our gear to 2 packs. I'll need to dehydrate with attitude, and pack less grape nectar. My wife loves the 115L, as it's so comfortable (padded hip belt etc). We drew a lot of concentrated faces in MEC while we tried it on; she's 5' and I'm 5'5" ; I give the sales people full marks for straight faces. From behind on the trail, she looks like a pack with feet. I've asked if I look fat in that pack, but she's far too gracious to comment. I think I should combine the 2 smaller packs into one which I could perhaps manage with the canoe (kevlar 48lbs). Certainly, staging longer ports works a treat. A 2.5 km port from Ink L. to T.Thompson L. was really nice, except for running out of H2O. The dromedary bag is an excellent idea. Thanks for that YC.
 
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I'm sorry YC, after rereading your post I understand. You stage every portage, hence single carrying 3 packs and canoe. My trouble is, when I whistle and wander for more than 50 paces, I start to daydream, eventually winding up at the end of the port. ...Concentrating on staging ports more often would make for easier trips.
What's your pack breakdown: 60L barrel for food and ? 120L for everything, small pack for kitchen?
 
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Brad, I can't help you much except on how to lighten up on a trip, something you can't get to with many comfort items... My solo trips are usually done almost "ultralight w/a canoe", as I despise double portaging. With my daughter, I travel heavier, but make sure to do trips that aren't portage-intense... one or two short ones.

YC, mostly i'm posting to tell you I love your system... I think it has a name, as I've heard it described before... Portage and a half? something like that.
 
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Thanks Seeker. Trips with daughters are wonderful.
I refer to those trip and a half portages as "staging". I might be mixing up my english/francais here, sorry.
 
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Usually the small pack..its a 70 liter and squooshable is devoted to raingear and rainhats and fuel canisters and the stove and kitchen stuff though we dont carry much in the way of kitchen gear...just a small pot set. The two sleeping bags and pads and tent and clothes and shoes and tarp all have to fit in the big pack.
 
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I tend to take it easy on the portages. I use a system of taking a load in a ways but not to getting tired. That load is set down and I recover as I head back for the next one. That load is taken twice the distance of the first load. I recover during the walk back to the first load. My strategy is to never portage in pain or exhaustion. Breaking up the portage into short work-rest cycles keeps me fresh until late in the day. When I try to gut it out and make it non-stop over a long portage my body will not recover and the fun meter does not get very high the rest of the day. I could probably get by with a little less gear but I will not give up what those items add to my trip enjoyment.
 
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Rochester, NY
Like Seeker, most of my trips are done with minimal gear so I am almost always single portaging. Even on tandem trips, I will carry the light dry backpack and the canoe while my partner will carry the heavier pack, pfds and paddles to make it a single carry.
 
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I have 'lost a lot of weight' by using dehydrated meals. Check out hungryhammockhanger. His YouTube channel is babelfish5. He hikes a lotwith hammock camping and has quite a few really good recipies. When you only have to boil water for your meals the kitchen gets a lot smaller and lighter. Especially if you're used to bringing along dutch ovens and fresh food and that stuff.
 
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"Time for a new trip partner!" Ha! That's funny. But, really, I can't think of any better. My only complaint might be her icy cold feet at bedtime. I'm a "hot water bottle", so it seems. Unlike me, she doesn't like wool socks, so I get the privilege of warming her tootsies every night. I'll live with that.
We might try shortening carries with relay, staging, pauses, whatever you call them; but we like to walk together for the company. Stopping to smell the forest and take a sip and have a chat is nice too. Reducing our payload, while including all "necessary" luxuries is my ultimate goal. There'll be compromises to be made as well. She loves her hot chocolate, me and my coffee. Mocha coffee? Yuck! No coffee? Separate tandem carries might become the norm, on a coffee-less trip. That, and his n' hers wool socks at bedtime.
 
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Reducing payload.. ( I like the pack with feet vision! There is a cartoon series about camping somewhere in there!).

If we want to use two stoves, we use two backpacking stoves.. Not a big double burner.. What stove are you using Brad? The other thing we used to err on big time is the wardrobe. We never brought the wrong things but rather way too much.

Now aside from the raincoats everything for whatever length trip fits in a 20 liter bag per person.

Hate wool sox? Down booties are such a thoughtful gift...:D
 
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The big double burner goes on short slouchy trips of long lazy days in base camp and few portages. Otherwise, I like my single burner Coleman Peak 1, and open fires when we're in that mood. I bought a twig (and alcohol compatible) stove. I can't wait to try that. I foresee leaving stoves and bulky fuel behind. I'm not enough of a pyromaniac to be able to light fires easily. I bring a BBQ lighter (oh, the shame) and birch bark to help things along. Our little Coleman is more of my security blanket, against failed fires, than a go to stove. My wife HATES "that damned pump stove". My alc/twig stove might be the answer. Any improved fire making skills would be helpful. Fully embracing dehydrated menus is also in our future. We'll see how that works out this year. Normally a semi-fresh food menu fills our 30L barrel; but I'm hoping a dehydrated menu and kitchen gear might fit in that same barrel. Wish me luck.
Clothing. Since I jump in lakes and streams with regularity, a minimal dress code works for me. Her highness puts up with her slob husband (thankfully). I get by with poly long johns and shorts, fleece and rain gear. Oh, and wool socks. She insists on a complete wardrobe, even separate sleeping attire. I sleep in what I was born with. (sorry, too much info) I won't begrudge her, her clothing. If she's happy and she knows it, clap her hands...Even so, what packing room I afford in garb, she makes up for. That's okay. Clothing, sleeping bags, tent and tarps go in the 115L dry bag, one way or another.
As per a thread somewhere by Mike M., I went out and bought a bug out bag (BOB). It'll replace our much hated fanny packs. So, I'm aiming to single carry with Me: canoe, BOB and barrel; She: 115L dry bag (bag with legs).
YC, you helpfully advised those down booties before, but my sketchy memory let me (her) down. With her birthday only days away, those cozy booties might be just the ticket. Thanks again for that idea!

ps Just to prove that she's not the evil Queen I make her out to be; one trip I found I'd forgotten to pack my extra clothing (fleece, rain gear, socks...) My wife lent me some of her stuff. We hit a cold snap in late September, so any kind of layer was much appreciated. Poofy sweaters with rose buds and prancing ponies never felt so warm.
 
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... I foresee leaving stoves and bulky fuel behind. ... She insists on a complete wardrobe, even separate sleeping attire. I sleep in what I was born with. ... Poofy sweaters with rose buds and prancing ponies never felt so warm.

LOL on that last item!

I use an Esbit stove when traveling light(er), reducing my load by a good 7 lbs including the stove, fuel, and frying pan. Scroll about a third of the way down this page to see what it looks like:
http://codabone.net/canoeing/bwca/BW0909_5.htm

I, too, bring separate sleeping attire, consisting of lightweight polypro bottoms, long sleeve t-shirt, and vest. They compact quite small. The reason? To increase the temp range of my 25* sleeping bag, let my day clothes air out, and to protect the sleeping bag from dirt and body oils. If it's a little too warm I use the bag as a blanket rather than shed the clothes.
 
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If it's a little too warm I use the bag as a blanket rather than shed the clothes.
You're no fun at all.
That solid tab fuel is interesting. If I'm not careful, I could wind up with a collection of stoves. Options are always good though, as is knowledgable advice. Thanks Gavia.
re: kitchen gear. I have two frying pans with folding handles. I know, I know, two is just stupid...one pan too many. I love my bannock, so two pans work for me. The balance between luxury living and living simply, is tricky.
 
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