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Hank
distinguished member (199)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/18/2018 10:16AM
Well it must be winter as I'm in the basement sorting gear and trying to get things in order. Last night a uncovered my 1997 vintage Omega Camp Trails external frame pack. And I thought . . . why not turn it into a Knu-Pac like canoe carrier!

Here is a real one:

I searched the archives and found some great discussions. AndyM used to be a fan, are you still?

I'm thinking of removing the u-shaped extension bar from my pack and using oar locks as the U-bracket that fits over the thwart. The canoe I'm using is a Mohawk 16' fiberglass and weighs about 67#. I can get the oar locks for amazon for about $15, so no big deal if it doesn't work.

Anyone have any thoughts or experience to share?

Thanks!
 
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paddler1953
member (33)member
 
01/18/2018 12:55PM
About 15 years ago we essentially did the same thing for an outdoor program I work in using Camp Trails "Freighter" frames. To make the supports for the thwart we used PVC pipe. The final product is a lot more square looking then "U" shaped but they've held up well over the years; especially since they're used on 6 day trips by novice campers & paddlers. With about 80-100 students per year using them, they've certainly proved their worth.

BTW...all the trips these portage packs have been on are in the Adirondacks so they've seen lots of carries. While occasionally one does break, they can usually be fixed with some duct tape and ingenuity while on the trail.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

snapper
Hank
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01/18/2018 01:59PM
Thanks Paddler. That sounds like a fantastic job!

How did you like portaging with the setup?
andym
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01/18/2018 04:02PM
Yep, still a fan. I would say that the only downside is that it can take a little longer to get the canoe up on the frame than on your shoulders. However, once it is up there it is way easier to portage and you can see around you. If I had a trip that was all 20 rods and under, I might think it wasn't worth it. But all of our trips have some much longer portages on which I'm grateful to get the weight on my hips.

I'm still thinking of replacing our yokes with a thwart that might drop into the U's a bit easier.

I'd be interested in seeing the PVC setup if a pic is handy.

I remember some discussion by people who had used oarlocks. Seems like an easy way to go. Someone else on the forum mentioned that they have been 3D printing the U pieces. That was fairly recently.
SevenofNine
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01/18/2018 06:47PM
I have my own pack (Kelty) that I used to use for trips. I even solo portaged with it on a trip. Mostly I double portaged with it.

One problem is the amount of storage the pack itself lacked. It has two separated pockets a large main one and a small bottom (sleeping bag) pocket. I couldn’t fit my tent (REI half dome) in my pack so it was strapped to the outside. Even then I still needed more space for gear like a traditional portage pack. What I see from your photo is yours is a larger pack.

Eventually I came to realize I didn’t want to solo portage with it. There was too much weight with the canoe on it for me to comfortably carry everything. I didn’t like the lack of space and I wanted a food pack of some kind. Just to name some complaints.

Here’s my pack.

andym
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01/18/2018 07:12PM
The actual KnuPac bag is huge. So no problems as you found.

Last trip I did double portage with a daypack strapped to the KnuPac frame and then used one of the KnuPac not really a frame rigs to carry on the second trip.
SevenofNine
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01/18/2018 07:26PM
Yes, my buddy owned a Knu Pac and used it quite a bit. He ran into weight issues with using it as a solo system. Often his pack was a good 15-20 pounds heavier than mine. Most of it was gear and gear size/weight related (picture a 6’3” with plenty of insulation on him) :-)

Hank
distinguished member (199)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/19/2018 06:32AM
I think it might be a good thing to get the weight of the canoe up off my shoulders and to my waist with this setup. When I'm on a long portage, the only real problem I have is my trapezius muscles just get crushed from the portage pads. This Knu-Pac setup may help to minimize that.

One concern I have is putting too much weight in the pack. My canoe is 63#. If I put 40# in the pack, then I'm carrying 103# down the trail. That seems a lot as I only weight 160 #. But I often carry two packs and I'm sure they weigh that, at least in the beginning of the trip. It goes down as the food is used up/

I like to try new things. I'll attach some pictures when I get the oarlocks and get the pack setup. I guess my neighbors will get a laugh as I march up and down the street with a canoe!
jwartman59
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01/19/2018 09:13AM
I have to admit I have never heard of a system like this, I googled it. So how exactly do you lift a canoe that far over your shoulders? Is it a three man operation? Looks like the canoe is so high it takes ropes to balance it, ropes dangling around are a tripping hazard or is there something I’m missing? On the trail can the canoe be dropped down by the carrier or does it require assistance. My biggest concern is what would happen if you were to slip or loose control, falling with a canoe essentially attached to your body sounds like it could result in a serious injury.
Hank
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01/19/2018 10:10AM
Knu-Pacs were very popular in the Adirondacks where the inventor lived. I'm not sure why they never caught on in Minnesota . . .

Let me see, so there are a number of ways to get the thing in the braces. The easiest is probably to have two people do it. One to lift the canoe and the person with the pack to walk under and get the brackets on the thwart. One person can do it. You can either lean the canoe up against a tree (like one did with the old bar canoe rests) or you can ground the front end (deck down) and lift the back up and get under it that way. The canoe I would use it on has aluminum decks so I'm not concerned about messing it up that way.

On the system I'm building the canoe would ride, maybe 6" above where in normally would. I don't see that as an issue at all. Some use a string from the front to the back of the canoe to hold it level so you can walk with you hands down, or carry stuff in your off hand. You could always just keep your arms up holding the gunnels as you normally do.

The canoe isn't locked it the brackets. If you fall you can throw it clear I suppose. This design has been around for many years and I've never heard of a tale where someone fell and snapped their neck or whatever.

This isn't for everyone. But again, I like to try new stuff. I might find it sucks. But I have a 20 year old external frame backpack that hasn't been used for years. Why not give it a go?
andym
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01/19/2018 12:06PM
To get the boat on the knupac, I tend to rest the bow on the ground, lift roll, and then move forward to the yoke. Yes, it is harder to do than just getting the boat on your shoulders. There can be some wear on the bow deck plate but there is less wear on my less replaceable body.

I noticed that similar ropes were also used by BeaV and others in the challenge on the longer portages. The rope should actually be pretty taught and doesn't present any tripping hazard. It makes portaging much nicer. Having your arms up while resting the boat on your shoulders is seriously bad ergonomics according to a friend who is an arm specialist.

Knupac provided a plastic buckle to connect a bow and stern rope. So, if any problem does occur (like once or twice putting the canoe down with my body between the hull and the rope, you just unclip. But you learn not to do that pretty quickly. I almost always pickup and put down the boat on the same side.

I have no problem putting the boat down. I generally just wade in and do it in the water but it is not a problem on land, either.

I've fallen with a canoe on a Knupac without serious injury. It might be a tinier bit harder to untangle oneself than just a normal portage approach but nothing serious.

In my younger days, I definitely used this system to single portage with somewhat over 100 lb and only weighed about 160 lb. But there is no reason that the canoe can't be carried with the frame and just a little weight in a daypack (just take the knupac bag off and strap the daypack to the frame) and then double portage with any other pack. I did that on my last trip due to a friend with back issues who asked that we double portage. And I sort of liked it. Now that I'm 58, I might just keep doing it that way.
Hank
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01/19/2018 12:25PM
Thanks Andym. Reading your old posts about the Knu-Pac convinced me to go ahead and try it. I'm in my 50's too, but I can still learn new things. If this can make longer portages easier for my beat-up body I'll have many more trips in me. I'm not ready to stop or to just basecamp. I like to move and break camp most days on my trips and that makes for a lot of portaging. There are so many trips that I haven't done yet, but I want to. Also, I only get one (or if I'm lucky) two trips a year. I try to get in as much as I can when I'm up there. I live a long way from the BWCA (I live in Cincinnati).
paddler1953
member (33)member
 
01/19/2018 01:41PM
When we use our homemade version of this carrying set-up we always have the students work in pairs to lift the canoe and get it into place. We also have them walk as a team; one with the canoe and the other with a pack. Mostly this is because they're just learning the skill so we want someone along to help them if the canoe becomes too much for them to carry and they need a rest. This does end up creating double carries to a degree but we'd rather go for safety instead of speed with our students.

As for what they look like, I'm sorry to say I don't have a photo and they're all stored in the Adirondacks in the facilities equipment room; and I'm down in the central part of NYS. That being said, our support bracket comes up on one side; not from the middle. We build up, across for the thwart and then up again to hold it in; I hope that makes sense.

One last thing...when the Knu-Pac was initially introduced I got a phone call from the guy who started the business, wondering if I might be interested in buying his product. He was a bit crestfallen when I told him we were already doing the same thing but with PVC pipe. Never heard from him again...

That's all for now. Take care and until next time....be well.

snapper

PS - Full disclosure...in all the years we've been using this set-up in our program, I've never carried a canoe other than for demonstration purposes. My solo is a lightweight canoe so I've never needed anything other than the yoke that came with the boat (LOL).
yellowcanoe
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01/19/2018 03:17PM
Solo boats and the Knu Pack.. The best thing was the portage trim lines. While I have fallen with the Knu Pack and suffered a potentially serious neck sprain from it in Woodland Caribou and consequently got rid of the thing I kept the portage lines

The reason for the injury? And it could have been very bad. The yoke became disengaged on one side during the fall and jammed between seat and yoke. I fell in a very contorted position and there was no one around at all.. ( never saw a soul in two weeks). It was a beast to work out of the entire contraption.

That said tandem canoes don't have the same peril of jamming and with two people there is help available.
Hank
distinguished member (199)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/19/2018 06:29PM
That sounds kind of scary. I wonder what would have happened if you would have fallen with just the yoke? I often wondered if my head could become stuck between the solo seat and the detachable yoke that I use. That wouldn't be good either! I'm glad you didn't get seriously injured.

andym
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01/19/2018 08:05PM
Interesting, and scary, episode, yellowcanoe. I've never tried it with a solo (or portaged a solo at all) but will look at the setup carefully if that happens.

paddler1953, thanks for the description.
andym
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01/19/2018 08:10PM
BTW, Eric, who made the Knupac did manage to get them sold by Piragis for a while. But they only sold the freighter frame setup (frame and lower shelf) and not the bags to make them a full pack.
Hank
distinguished member (199)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/22/2018 09:27AM
Well I received my oar locks and installed them in my Camptrails Omega. And it does work . . . mostly. The gap is just wide enough to accept the thwart/yoke of my canoe. I think I really need a larger gap so I'm going to construct some myself.








Andym, could you measure the gap and the height of the Knu-pac carrying brackets and post it here? I think I'll make some out of 3/4" PVC and would like to get the dimensions right.

Thanks all for you input. I've had fun with this so far.
andym
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01/22/2018 11:32AM
Unfortunately, I’m home in CA and all of my knupacs are on my cabin in MN.

Look for a thread where some one 3D printed some. They must have the measurements.
andym
distinguished member(4411)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/22/2018 02:48PM
Here's the thread that mentions 3D printing the U pieces.
AlSG
 
01/22/2018 05:08PM
These are photos of a Knu-Pac that was locally on Cragislist a few months ago. Hope they help.
Hank
distinguished member (199)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/23/2018 06:13AM
Thanks for posting those images! That is a real help.
Oneofmanyblessings
senior member (60)senior membersenior member
 
01/23/2018 11:46AM
does anyone have a 3d printer to make it????
 
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