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rayljr1
member (39)member
 
01/27/2019 04:41PM
In trying to plan an entry point and base camp for this year, part of the consideration has been (as it has been in the past) the portages that need to be taken in order to get to the lake we want to base camp on (assuming we find a site).

We use a Kevlar canoe that is pretty light, about 44lbs.
In the past, we usually 2 man carry the canoe through the portages. So a 1/4 mile portage results in:
1. Carry Canoe 1/4 mile
2. Walk back 1/4 mile
3. Carry first load 1/4 mile
4. Walk back 1/4 mile
5. Carry 2nd load 1/4 mile
6. Paddle on......

As you can see, a 1/4 mile portage results in 1 1/4 mile of walking, which starts to take up a good amount of time. The amount of gear and weight isn't a real issue, it is just the time. Thus, we have possibly limited ourselves to places to base camp.
And, to complicate it, we don't stay on lakes (or typically enter) where there are outfitters on the lakes (avoiding crowds).

We have worked on lightening our packs considerably over the years, but there just does not seem to be any good way to reduce them enough to minimize any further.

Do you think we should try a single carry for the canoe?
Also, how do you who fish, handle your poles when portaging?
 
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schuetpa
member (38)member
 
01/27/2019 04:54PM
Poles for sure get strapped into the canoe. It really is the only way to carry them. Buy some Bungee Dealee Bobs or similar strap type. Velcro can work or those fancy expensive large twisty ties. I also like to put my rods into a rod sleeve.

Single carry is not really that bad. I assume your canoe as a yoke give it a try. Sometimes you might need help getting the canoe on your shoulders but they move fairly easy. Depending on group it can be difficult to single portage everything. If you are bringing kids or older folks you have to be minimalists then which is a bummer for kids. I have been 1.5 portaging things lately. Me and another book it on ahead with packs and canoes and then head back to get more gear. Women and kids just single portage it and take their time. I have been fine with having the extra gear for the extra portage lately as with kids the extra gear is more needed.
lindylair
distinguished member(2066)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/27/2019 04:58PM
Ray...Yes!

Almost everyone on this forum single carries their canoe and would highly advise against double carrying in most cases. If your canoe has a proper portage yoke it will actually be easier to single carry it, especially at 44 lbs.

I would also venture to say that most of us double portage, where each person takes a load across, returns empty handed(and get a better look at your surroundings, take photos, relax) and takes a second load across. I would try not to have any loose items other than paddles or PFD's, everything should go in a pack. So in theory there could be a maximum of two gear packs and a food pack per canoe, and sometimes gear can even be fit in one large pack depending on time of year and tripping style. Fishing gear can be lashed into the canoe using rope, bungee cords or my preference, large sturdy rubberized twist ties called TwistEze...available at many stores.

If you are light packers you might even have a gear pack, a food pack and a smaller miscellaneous pack that could be carried by the person carrying the canoe if they are comfortable with that. That, then, makes it a 1.5 portage with only one person having to go back a second time.

If you do not view the portages as the "enemy" but rather a chance to stretch your legs and enjoy the views in the woods, your trip takes on a different feel. Many people on this forum talk about loving that walk back empty handed for a way to really see their surroundings. While portaging gear you are likely to be focused on the ground and your footing and may not get to enjoy your surroundings.

The only exception for us on the one person carry would be a very short portage, like less than 10 rods that is a good level path around an obstacle like a small rapids...occasionally we will just pick up both ends of the canoe and walk it across on that one. Otherwise...single carrying is much easier.
01/27/2019 05:53PM
3 packs will work for almost all trips. keep everything in the packs. Don't have loose stuff. The only thing in your hands during a portage should be your paddles. 2 trips. 1st trip a canoe for one person and a pack for the other person. Next trip each guy grabs a pack. 1/4 mile should be very doable all at once for a 44 lbs canoe. I would not 2 person carry the canoe
4keys
distinguished member(574)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/27/2019 06:05PM
Many years ago (like 30) we did the 2 person carry. We had external frame packs so the canoe sat on the upper frame, which was nice. What was not nice was coordinating our steps, hills, etc.

Now we, or should I say my husband, carries the canoe himself. Much easier, even if he has a small pack on. Back When we still used a heavy canoe we found if we left the stern on the ground, lifted the bow end up over my head where I held it while my husband slid under to the yoke. With the lighter canoe he doesn't need my help, but i don't know your ages etc and you may find it easier. So yes, single carry.

We usually make 2 trips across the portage. Canoe and small pack, 2 large packs, and a food pack (for 2 people). The fishing poles are bdb'd to the canoe. We use a lightweight tube to protect them. The net gets hooked on the pack. Sometimes the paddles are strapped to the canoe, sometimes I carry them with the food pack.
campnfish
distinguished member (176)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/27/2019 06:15PM
I seen two carry a canoe this last summer on a decent sized portage, maybe 100-120, i was stunned, did not seem easy at all. Carry overs and 20 rods, i can see that, but anything more and i just feel like you could push someone right over and twist an ankle.
01/27/2019 07:20PM
Ray,

Like the others said, almost everybody (except single portagers) double portages and single carries the canoe. You should shoot for that too - it will open new possibilities for you. It is actually easier to single carry. Learn the proper technique for picking up the canoe. It is balanced right on top of your shoulders when you single carry.

You should have 4 loads (2 each) to double portage. The canoe is one load, and there should be three packs. Very minimal loose items as others said. Even if the three packs each weighed as much as the canoe, that's not too bad.


BobDobbs
distinguished member (390)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2019 07:37AM
Double carry is only for short lift overs or portages so short you can see the end from the start!

Not sure what physical shape you are in, but the hardest part of the single carry is getting the boat up on your shoulders. A good way to practice at home is to lift a sheet of plywood overhead. Be careful and start slow, because this really hits your rotator cuff muscles.

If you have a decent portage pack, that can actually make the carry easier, as it gives the canoe yoke something to rest on.

bwcadan
distinguished member(1250)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2019 08:22AM
Continue to do what works for you. The portage referenced creates only 1 and 1/4 miles which should take a maximum of 30/35 minutes walking time. Leave the EP at the crack of dawn and pick routes with portages which total less than 2 miles and you should still have plenty of time to set up camp for your base camping. Also consider traveling taking your trips in June and July when days are at peak length. If you are in good condition, these time frames should work. You could try my suggestion this year and adjust on the fly. Next year, plan longer trips if you did better than the suggested time and portage distances.
cyclones30
distinguished member(1606)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2019 08:25AM
As everyone else has said, single carry all the way unless you can throw a rock from one end of the portage to the other. Definitely get help from your group members to get the canoe on or off your shoulders if that's your worry but carry single, esp with Kevlar.

We tend to single portage, taking everything in one shot unless it's one of those super short ones. Otherwise we'd do 1.5 if we eventually can't, so everyone walks the equivalent of down and back. I'll save the double portaging for trips with kids or when we're older. Triple portaging seems like it would greatly cut your ability to get places with typical portages.
WonderMonkey
distinguished member (409)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2019 09:13AM
In addition to what people normally do, it should be asked if you feel you CAN single carry. Do you feel able to do so over a trail?
01/28/2019 10:50AM
And install portaging pads on the yoke.
deepdish71
distinguished member (220)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2019 11:15AM
Blatz: "3 packs will work for almost all trips. keep everything in the packs. Don't have loose stuff. The only thing in your hands during a portage should be your paddles. 2 trips. 1st trip a canoe for one person and a pack for the other person. Next trip each guy grabs a pack. 1/4 mile should be very doable all at once for a 44 lbs canoe. I would not 2 person carry the canoe"

I agree with this 100%
No loose items to deal with, everything goes in a pack or is tied to the canoe. We take our PFDs off and buckle them along with the paddles to our packs. We have been using two 5 gal buckets with gamma lids for food (works ok for 1 week). Wife takes the light pack and both buckets, and I take the heavy pack and the canoe in one single trip. Only walk the distance one time, taking a break if needed.
If we had an extra pack to bring we can do a double portage if needed. We would probably just bring 2 extra packs in that case and lighten the load of all, since we would be going across the portage anyway or I would not carry the heavy pack and canoe together and just bring 3 packs.
Last trip was a basecamp and we double portaged in, and single portaged out by repacking an empty pack where our extra food and consumables were.
nofish
distinguished member(2821)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2019 12:39PM
I've never known anyone to do a 2 man canoe carry in the bwca. Its simply not efficient.

Also looking at how you break up the portages it looks like you've got 4 packs or enough loose gear to require 2 people to make 2 trips for gear plus a 3rd for the the 2 man canoe carry. Thats adding a lot of extra mileage to your trip.

Figure out how to consolidate gear into 3 packs and eliminate all lose gear. Then one person makes 2 trips (a pack and a canoe) then the other person takes 2 trips each with a pack. Then you'll have eliminated a 1/2 mile of walking based on your example.
deadriver
senior member (81)senior membersenior member
 
01/28/2019 01:58PM
Always carry a canoe on your shoulders. It is the best way to carry a canoe. We promise.
billconner
distinguished member(6813)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/28/2019 05:55PM
Justifiable two man carry. Around 300 pounds iirc. 8 person.

deepdish71
distinguished member (220)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2019 06:40PM
billconner: "Justifiable two man carry. Around 300 pounds iirc. 8 person.


"

I’d still try a solo carry :)
4keys
distinguished member(574)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2019 08:15PM
campnfish: "I seen two carry a canoe this last summer on a decent sized portage, maybe 100-120, i was stunned, did not seem easy at all. Carry overs and 20 rods, i can see that, but anything more and i just feel like you could push someone right over and twist an ankle."

We passed a couple of 20 year old guys doing 2 man carry on a 400 rod portage that was pretty rocky in places. They had a lot of stuff hanging off their packs too, swinging as they walked.
rayljr1
member (39)member
 
01/28/2019 08:28PM
Some great advice here.

The Canoe we use belongs to my friend. We have gone now for 6 of the last 7 years.
He used to single carry the canoe, but since we have been going, it has been double carry. We are actually quite good at it.

I have never tried the single carry. Maybe I will practice it some this year before we go.

Thanks for all the feedback!
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(12658)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
01/28/2019 09:02PM
Ray does you friends canoe have a portage yoke? If not you need to invest in one. In 50 plus trips I’ve only seen one other group double portaging. You can single carry any portage in the BWCA or Quetico.
Grandma L
distinguished member(5113)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/28/2019 10:29PM
rayljr1: "Some great advice here.
The Canoe we use belongs to my friend. We have gone now for 6 of the last 7 years.
He used to single carry the canoe, but since we have been going, it has been double carry. We are actually quite good at it.
I have never tried the single carry. Maybe I will practice it some this year before we go.
Thanks for all the feedback!"

I started canoe trips back in the 1960's when we carried heavy Grumman canoes. On portages we stowed the paddles in the bow and tied in other small equipment. I was then 5'4'' and weighed 145 pounds. I single portaged that "gun boat" on many trips with MANY portages. If this grandma could do it - you surely can.
andym
distinguished member(4373)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/28/2019 11:07PM
I wouldn't bother posting just to pile on the efficiency of one person carrying the canoe but I do agree with that. However, many years back my brother-in-law and one of his friends left Malberg for Kawishiwi Lake and made it back in 4 hours, single portaging with double carries. Their approach was for each of them to throw on a pack, leave light stuff in the canoe, and each pick up an end of the canoe. They were traveling pretty light as the community gear (stoves, hatchet, tarp, kitchen stuff) stayed with my wife and I. But even that wasn't a lot as we went further in, single portaging. So, it can work if you have the right people. They were both pretty tall and strong. And they knew how to use a yoke. They just chose not to.

BTW, our current portaging pattern is I carry the canoe and a day pack while my wife has a big pack and hand carries her day pack. I then go back for the other big pack. Paddles, maps, and PFDs get strapped into the canoe.
Canoeit
member (27)member
 
02/01/2019 02:55PM
My canoe partner and I use a royalex canoe that is probably in the nieghborhood of 75 lbs. We single carry it. Seems more awkward to 2-man carry plus while one of us is carrying the canoe the other one is carrying all the fishing gear then we take one more trip for our packs. Portage conquered.
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1164)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/01/2019 04:30PM
It seems like it would be hard trying to keep in sync, a lot of pushing and pulling the other guy as you try to find the right place for your next step, up over things, or even descending on a rocky path. It's hard enough for a lot of paddlers to stay in synch paddling on flat calm water. I have never seen a double carry except from the outfitter down to the waters edge. The outfitter always shakes their head, turns and walks away. Go for the single carry; my bet is that you would never go back to a double-carry.
newguy
distinguished member (267)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/08/2019 01:43PM
I saw a group doing a two-man carry. The canoe was at their sides, one at the bow and one at the stern, one arm on the canoe and one arm waving. The canoe was filled with every possession they had brought: rods, packs, coolers, garbage bags of clothes, chairs, etc. This was on the (300-rod?) steep, rocky path into Mudro.

They looked miserable.
Grandma L
distinguished member(5113)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/13/2019 07:49PM
You know, bottom line - Just get across that portage!
montanapaddler
member (14)member
 
02/14/2019 11:40AM
I had to 2-man carry a canoe for a few portages when the yoke broke fortunately right at the end of a trip. It was miserable and I would never do it on purpose. Having to coordinate your movements with another person on a rough trail significantly complicates things and actually makes you more tired.
 
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