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Tumplines

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Admittedly resurrecting an old thread here, I've been thinking of using a tump for portaging my wood/canvas canoes. I live very close to a significant Amish community here in southeast PA, and because of the horse drawn buggies and farm equipment, there are a number of harness shops which make leather harness. I'll bet I can get a fine tump made locally to my specifications. With that in mind, I just came across this article about tying and sizing the tump knot for carrying a wanigan, and thought it might be of interest here.

 
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For those interested in adding a tumpline, Duluth and others sell them at reasonable prices. I think Duluth get $15 for theirs. And I have a pattern for sewing one out of webbing and canvas. If anyone is interested I' post the cut piece sizes and sewing instructions.


Lance
 
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Keep in mind that societies that use tump lines or carry loads on their heads start at a very early age. They develop good technique and strong paraspinal muscles when they are young and progressively build up. In some of these societies a person's livelihood may depend on carrying loads on their heads, and they have no workman's compensation benefits. These folks are very different than the typical American "weekend warrior" who decides to try bearing axial loads on the cervical spine during middle age, or later.

Cervical spinal disease severe enough to cause radiculopathy is pretty common in the US. Most people who have cervical disease bad enough to cause radiculopathy are going to be aware of the problem but MRI surveys have also shown a very significant incidence of herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP) and cervical degenerative disc disease (DDD) in individuals who are completely asymptomatic at the time of the MRI. The incidence of HNP in asymptomatic individuals less than 40 years of age is around 5%. The incidence of cervical DDD in asymptomatic individuals around 25% in those less than 40 but 60% in those older than 40.

Placing an axial load on the cervical spine is not a great idea for anyone with significant cervical spinal disease, especially if symptomatic.

 
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Great video! I tump my canoes and gear. I have come to really appreciate them on longer portages.

Bob
 

Glenn MacGrady

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This article discusses the benefits and risks of tumpline carrying from historical, cultural, statistical and medical perspectives:


Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the Patagonia Company, studied how Nepalese porters tump carry heavy loads all their lives. Note how he recommends attaching the tumpline to the bottom of the load for proper spine angle pressure:

Tumpline attachment.jpg

Head carrying for heavy loads or just posture improvement has been practiced worldwide for centuries:

Head carry posture.png

High head carry.jpg

Head carry woman.jpg

Head carry posture.jpg

Even in 1933, your doctor probably wouldn't have recommended this as canoe portage practice:

 
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