BWCA Portage pads that don't stink? Boundary Waters Gear Forum
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Gear Forum
      Portage pads that don't stink?     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

newguy
distinguished member (292)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/20/2021 12:42PM  
I have the type of portage pads shown in the photo. They came on my Wenonah Champlain, a heavier kevlar canoe, when I bought it used a few years ago. As you can see, one pad has basically collapsed and offers no support. Are these good portage pads, and they just need to be replaced/repaired (they're probably 15-20 years old)? Or should I get a different style? Different folks can carry the canoe depending on the year, but it's usually me, 5'6" and small frame.

 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
09/20/2021 12:58PM  
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the block style of yoke pads and they are arguably the most comfortable design available. It's impossible to tell who manufactured yours, but if it were me I would replace them with the same design and go with these that are made in Ely, MN by Bourquin.
They are the absolute best.
 
09/20/2021 01:43PM  
Looks like the one pad may have been compressed by something for an extended period.
 
newguy
distinguished member (292)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/20/2021 01:45PM  
It gets stored suspended and upside down, so I don't think that would be it. It also doesn't touch the car when strapped down for travel. But yeah that pad is ruined for sure.
 
MReid
distinguished member (332)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/20/2021 02:27PM  
Re-stuff it. The cover is probably held on with staples. Pull them, throw some polyester batting in there (or foam if you prefer), re-staple, and you're good to go.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13991)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
09/20/2021 02:37PM  
Portage pads are made of foam inside. Good grief they lasted 20 years. I would not say they stink. I would say they served you well. Foam doesn’t last forever. It breaks down over time. My bed at home is made with foam, usually get only 8-10 years from them.

1) You can have “durability” with pads. They will last longer, probably are uncomfortable.
2) You can have “comfort” with pads. They will not last as long, probably very comfortable.

Pick one of these options.
 
GeneH
senior member (76)senior membersenior member
 
09/20/2021 03:01PM  
Yeah, just replace the pads.
 
09/20/2021 03:06PM  
Savage Voyageur: "Portage pads are made of foam inside. Good grief they lasted 20 years. I would not say they stink. I would say they served you well. Foam doesn’t last forever. It breaks down over time. My bed at home is made with foam, usually get only 8-10 years from them.


1) You can have “durability” with pads. They will last longer, probably are uncomfortable.
2) You can have “comfort” with pads. They will not last as long, probably very comfortable.


Pick one of these options.
"


What Savage Voyager said...

TZ
 
EddyTurn
distinguished member (144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/20/2021 03:33PM  
Regardless of the problem with this pair of pads: there is one serious issue with block-style pads. If one doesn't like to grab his gunwales full time, but prefers using a rope instead - such pads make it really uncomfortable since they tend to move for/aft on one's shoulders. Gunwale grab eliminates this movement (at a cost, of course, even if this cost is hidden). I find keeping my hands on gunwales could be exhausting, especially while carrying a heavy pack and on longer portages. Hidden River curved pads are my ticket.
 
09/20/2021 03:39PM  
MReid: "Re-stuff it. The cover is probably held on with staples. Pull them, throw some polyester batting in there (or foam if you prefer), re-staple, and you're good to go. "
Very easy to replace the "stuffing" I have done it before, took about an hour to do both.
 
newguy
distinguished member (292)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/20/2021 03:59PM  
Thanks! I will look in to Hidden River curved pads.

For those who did the repair, what sort of foam needs to be used?
 
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(1142)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/20/2021 07:56PM  
unshavenman: "There is absolutely nothing wrong with the block style of yoke pads and they are arguably the most comfortable design available. It's impossible to tell who manufactured yours, but if it were me I would replace them with the same design and go with these that are made in Ely, MN by Bourquin.
They are the absolute best."


Bourquin are my favorites now that I don't have time to make my own. I should add that these are for carrying the 65 lb. Mad River tandem and my 52 lb. Mad River solo. For these heavier canoes, I want lots of padding. I like a well balanced canoe and never have to have 2 hands on the gunwales at a time. With it well balanced, I can frequently change hand, arm, and shoulder positions. I have never used a rope and can't imagine I ever will. My husband wears a pack basket while carrying. This provides a flat platform. He runs with the canoe...no hands on the gunwales at all unless traveling up or down a steep hill.
 
Banksiana
distinguished member(2441)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/21/2021 09:02PM  
Hidden River curved pads are an instrument of torture in my opinion. Hideous.
 
09/21/2021 09:14PM  
Banksiana: "Hidden River curved pads are an instrument of torture in my opinion. Hideous."
+1, although I moved mine to my Magic and they are at least tolerable there.
 
09/21/2021 09:37PM  
Looks like a simple rebuild.
 
mgraber
distinguished member(1260)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/21/2021 10:14PM  
Banksiana: "Hidden River curved pads are an instrument of torture in my opinion. Hideous."

+1 I could not agree more! Get Bourquin pads or Superior pads, these are both quality pads and allow you to shift the canoe slightly fore and aft for balance unlike the hideous sling (curved) pads. They will last a very long time. There are a lot of crappy pads out there.
 
newguy
distinguished member (292)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/22/2021 08:11AM  
I looked briefly but couldn't find anyone with a gallery/walkthrough of a repair. What sort of foam goes inside the pad? I don't mind rebuilding mine.

I did use CVCA pads at Rockwood Lodge with a solo canoe, and they were very comfortable, but of course that was probably 15 pounds lighter than the Champlain.
 
09/22/2021 08:39AM  
mgraber: "Banksiana: "Hidden River curved pads are an instrument of torture in my opinion. Hideous."


+1 I could not agree more! Get Bourquin pads or Superior pads, these are both quality pads and allow you to shift the canoe slightly fore and aft for balance unlike the hideous sling (curved) pads. They will last a very long time. There are a lot of crappy pads out there."


Just another opinion but agree.

T
 
EddyTurn
distinguished member (144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/22/2021 09:56PM  
Banksiana: "Hidden River curved pads are an instrument of torture in my opinion. Hideous."
One person's dream is another person's torture.
 
09/23/2021 10:00AM  
I like my spring creek pads. I also like that I can use it as a 3rd seat as well. It works great if I ever want to paddle solo, like fishing or getting my line unstuck. The pads are more of straps so there is a decent amount of flex to them. It took a while to get used to the canoe bouncing, but after realizing that it was the bounce or the canoe digging into my shoulders, I learned to appreciate it.

The height is nice too. I was worried that the extra height would raise my center of balance too high, but instead I bump the ground on hills less and don't have to tip the front up once in a while to see what is in front of me. Not having to tip the front alone makes the portage much easier for me.
 
GeneH
senior member (76)senior membersenior member
 
09/23/2021 11:11AM  
Banksiana: "Hidden River curved pads are an instrument of torture in my opinion. Hideous."

Can you guys explain why the curved pads and sling pads are so uncomfortable? I've got to put pads on my yoke and would like to hear a little more about your experiences.
 
yellowcanoe
distinguished member(4968)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
09/23/2021 11:33AM  
Banksiana: "Hidden River curved pads are an instrument of torture in my opinion. Hideous."

I have them and love them but my solos are all under 35 lbs. You may be right about heavier boats.
 
09/23/2021 12:00PM  
finally checked this thread...

I was thinking this was about pads that had odor.
 
09/23/2021 12:32PM  
I also became curious about odor and am glad I did. My pads are curved and worn out. Fresh duct tape has kept me going, but I have been looking at replacement. And like Gene I am curious what makes the curved pad so hideous.
I find the curved pad reduces shifting. I have established a balance point so that on no challenge portaging I can go hands free with the pads fitting shoulders nicely. The Bourquin pads look more comfortable, but I worry about the canoe sliding off my shoulders unless I kept hands on. I paddle a Magic.
 
Banksiana
distinguished member(2441)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/23/2021 01:04PM  
The curved pads are hideous if you have thicker (front to back) shoulders. The frames dig into my bones. It's more comfortable (for my shoulders) to carry my 90# Sawyer 222 with an unpadded wooden yoke than it my kevlar Advantage with the cursed Chosen Valley Yoke.
 
yellowcanoe
distinguished member(4968)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
09/23/2021 01:42PM  
Banksiana: "The curved pads are hideous if you have thicker (front to back) shoulders. The frames dig into my bones. It's more comfortable (for my shoulders) to carry my 90# Sawyer 222 with an unpadded wooden yoke than it my kevlar Advantage with the cursed Chosen Valley Yoke."

Not saying it will work but I did take a vise grips to the metal and spread the ends apart a little. However my pads don't seem as thick as those in the CVCA catalog now.

Nobody needs pain on a trip. It may be that I carry differently. I never have my hands on the gunwales but on a line from bow to stern to change the angle of the bow ( going up or downhill) hand on line the other just naturally swinging. Anything impinging on a tensed trapezius is going to be agony.

I personally find the Bourquin pads a little bulky but they are not a "don't ever use" for me
 
09/23/2021 03:13PM  
GeneH: "Banksiana: "Hidden River curved pads are an instrument of torture in my opinion. Hideous."


Can you guys explain why the curved pads and sling pads are so uncomfortable? I've got to put pads on my yoke and would like to hear a little more about your experiences."

I don't have big thick shoulders and with the weight of a tandem canoe they dig into my shoulders and hurt like heck after about fifty rods. Bear in mind that the canoe was a Bell Northwoods Black Gold weighing in at 58 pounds.....
 
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2943)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/24/2021 06:48AM  
I have sling pads on my UL Prism @ 34 lbs pedestal yoke and it does not cut into my shoulders portaging the canoe, solely. I have not been uncomfortable portaging--except once. My build is 5'7" at 170 lbs. Not of a beefy build or thickly muscled shoulders. On one trip I had a bunch of stuff stapped to the canoe which increased the weight closer to 45-47 lbs. Then, I felt the sling straps slightly digging in my shoulders to the point I had to add makeshift padding.
[strapped to inside canoe was: rigged fishing pole, fish net, extra paddle, 2 collapsible tall tarp poles, bow bag, extra seat cushion, plus the weight of the Chosen Valley pedestal yoke. Adds up! ]
No mystery to me why most prefer heavily cushioned Bourquin pads or the like. It seems that for small builds carrying UL canoes the slings work very nicely.
 
papalambeau
senior member (64)senior membersenior member
 
09/24/2021 10:19AM  
Bourquin Pads all the way. All 3 canoes have them with two sets going on 20+ years.
 
Voyager
distinguished member (302)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/24/2021 10:34AM  
I use the Hidden Valley curved pads on all my carbon solos, and like them. I have replaced their foam with my own though. I've also padded the yoke bar behind my neck. With bow line in hand I have complete control of the canoe. If I want to raise the front I just push back with my neck. To lower the bow , a slight tug on the bow line. Many times I can go hands free for a few moments and the canoe remains balanced there. I use block pads on my tandems. Frankly, any pad will be an instrument of torture on the Grand Portage. I've heard good things about the Bourquin pads.
 
EddyTurn
distinguished member (144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/24/2021 11:13AM  
@Voyager: what kind of foam you replaced on your curved pads and what was an improvement? I guess, you used contact cement for attachment? (you probably meant Hidden River brand, not Hidden Valley). I tie both ends of my portage rope to the ends of the front thwart and instead of pulling on the rope I push on the loop hanging in front of me - find it easier. Of course the boat should be slightly stern-heavy for this, so the bow has a natural tendency to pull up.

@Banksiana: I'm sure relative comfort (or discomfort) of various pads varies greatly depending on one's anatomy and carrying style. I'm not exactly skinny myself - 5'11" and 200lbs - and I'm pretty happy with curved pads carrying boats in 45-65lbs range (15-19'). I always portage canoe with a big pack and nothing hurts my shoulders more than prolonged keeping my hands on the gunwales. May be without a pack I'd be quite happy with block pads.

P.S. to avoid misunderstanding: there are sling-style Chosen Valley pads and curved rigid Hidden River pads. Different beasts.
 
gymcoachdon
distinguished member(591)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/24/2021 11:40AM  
I used several layers of closed cell foam that my son had left in my garage. It looked like a cheap camping pad that tent dwellers use…(I use a hammock)

I did not use any adhesive, just stretched and stapled the cover to hold it in place. I did put an extra piece on each end as my first layer to make it slightly curved, and tightened the middle down first to help with the curve.

Edit to add

I should mention I have a Bell Magic, loaded for portages close to 40 lbs. The foam is more dense than I would prefer. Maybe make the curved base with stiff, then top it with a softer layer?
 
Banksiana
distinguished member(2441)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/24/2021 12:40PM  
@Eddyturn-
I'm not particularly heavy but am thick in the shoulders. I actually have both types of curved pads (the sling and the black with foam glued to them) they both come into contact with my bones. I agree that holding the gunwales increase stress on the shoulders, especially when toting a pack. Having entered the 60+ club the packs I carry with my canoes tend to be on the lighter side.
 
EddyTurn
distinguished member (144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/24/2021 01:55PM  
@Banksiana: welcome to the club! :). And ain't you lucky! - since my kids became "adults" and stopped going on trips with me I have to carry more, not less.
 
SouthernExposure
distinguished member (433)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/24/2021 02:33PM  
The portage yoke that I made for my stripper was similar to the OP. I made one using this foam block design and stacked 3 different density foams for strength, stability and comfort. It's going on 12 years now and is as comfortable as can be expected.

SE
 
goetzc
senior member (51)senior membersenior member
 
09/30/2021 08:59PM  
A1t2o: "I like my spring creek pads. I also like that I can use it as a 3rd seat as well. It works great if I ever want to paddle solo, like fishing or getting my line unstuck. The pads are more of straps so there is a decent amount of flex to them. It took a while to get used to the canoe bouncing, but after realizing that it was the bounce or the canoe digging into my shoulders, I learned to appreciate it.


The height is nice too. I was worried that the extra height would raise my center of balance too high, but instead I bump the ground on hills less and don't have to tip the front up once in a while to see what is in front of me. Not having to tip the front alone makes the portage much easier for me."


Another vote for the spring creek seat/yoke combo.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next