BWCA Kayak portaging - Custom made yoke Boundary Waters Group Forum: Kayaking
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05/13/2014 01:16PM  
In preparation for my 10 day solo trip in the BWCA less than 3 weeks away, I made my own portage yoke and installed Chosen Valley pads.
It works great. I loaded about 20lbs of gear in the hatches of the kayak and it was still manageable at about 68lbs total on my shoulders. Once I get all my food dehydrated, I'll be about about 100lbs total weight(kayak,gear,and food) and I'll do some testing with all the gear in it. For some of my flatter and short portages, I may not unload any gear and just portage the yak fully loaded. Longer portages I'll probably unload about 30lbs of gear in a pack and double portage. It will give me time to shoot photos along the way anyway when I'm not carrying the yak.
What do you think?



Video of the yoke in use.
 
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05/13/2014 02:42PM  
That looks pretty good! I tried portaging without and also tried portaging with a frame backpack loaded and the frame extended up to hold the kayak off my head.
Both were mildly successful.
I'll make sure to build or buy a kayak yoke before portaging again.

My kayak is around 60lbs and I did leave some gear in it. I don't even want to know how much weight I was lugging overhead.

 
05/13/2014 03:48PM  
My kayak is only 46 lbs, so that leaves me quite a bit of leeway for keeping some weight in the hatches.
 
05/13/2014 04:58PM  
Not sure about your particular boats, but many kayaks are not designed to support much weight from the cockpit. Test things a bit and do not overload the system and stress bulkheads until they separate.
 
markaroberts
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05/29/2014 07:57AM  
I have a 14 foot Perception Sonoma in aerolite (35 lbs) and a 17 1/2 foot Necky in kevlar (54 lbs). Both are easily carried on one shoulder. I cut a piece of those water toy tube things the kids play with and slot it. when at a portage, I slip it on the upper side of the cockpit that will have my shoulder and move out.

Kayaks are not designed to have yokes. Mine would be damaged if I tried to tighten down a yoke enough to make it useable. It is far easier to shoulder carry a kayak then try to get one all the way up on both shoulders with the added height of a yoke.

Look at the kayaking magazines. Those guys with the 17-18 footers that are tripping for several weeks never use yokes. They all shoulder carry.
 
markaroberts
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05/29/2014 09:02AM  
Just an another note. . .this last year we brought in three groups. Everyone were in canoes but two guys that brought kayaks. They both had 12 foot plastic rotomolded type boats with larger cockpits and one hatch in the back. . .basically rec boats. We have brought kayaks before on trips but they were much longer cruisers.

I worked with them before we went. Told them to get out ALL their gear and try to get it in the kayaks before we went. They assured me they had done this.

When we arrived, as I suspected, a good amount of their gear had to go in canoes. They had the kayaks stuffed with gear and packs strapped to be back. That's what brought on the problems.

I had gone over with them that when we get to the portgages, they would go first (before the canoes), empty their kayaks out completly and then carry their kayaks through, coming back for the gear.

First thing that happened is that the kayaks were to heavy for just one of them to carry (unloaded). So they tried to carry both at one time, one guy on each end. They would get about 50 steps and stop, rest, repeat. Other guys stepped in to help. That's when we also found out they had not taken anything out of the hatches, as they didn't want to take the time.

The canoes waited almost 1/2 hour on these guys at each portage.

When we were going to return, I set down with them and again told them to take all the gear out, shoulder the kayaks and take them through. When we pushed off I found out that they had in fact loaded up two other canoes with their gear and then the same thing happened at the portages.

I will no longer allow kayaks (bear in mind I own two and have taken them) on my trips unless those that own them can demonstrate that they got ALL their gear in the kayaks and can carry the kayaks themselves for portages.

Bottom line. . .60-80 lb plastic rec kayaks are not BWCA boats. They are way too heavy and can't carry enough gear.

Look at it like this. . .the rest of the group is renting $2000 kevlar canoes or bringing similar ultra light weight canoes. Then they guy shows up with a $200 plastic 75 lb kayak and thinks he will hang with the rest.
 
05/29/2014 12:32PM  

This 12'10" Delta traveled well from Lake One to Fire and back. I shoulder carried the kayak that weighs 32# naked and the pioneer pack double portaging and kept pace or pulled ahead of other parties.
 
05/29/2014 03:15PM  
Mark,
Your story says more about the Kayak-er than the Kayak...bring stupid people get stupid moves.
 
05/30/2014 04:19PM  
quote markaroberts: "Just an another note. . .this last year we brought in three groups. Everyone were in canoes but two guys that brought kayaks. They both had 12 foot plastic rotomolded type boats with larger cockpits and one hatch in the back. . .basically rec boats. We have brought kayaks before on trips but they were much longer cruisers.


I worked with them before we went. Told them to get out ALL their gear and try to get it in the kayaks before we went. They assured me they had done this.


When we arrived, as I suspected, a good amount of their gear had to go in canoes. They had the kayaks stuffed with gear and packs strapped to be back. That's what brought on the problems.


I had gone over with them that when we get to the portgages, they would go first (before the canoes), empty their kayaks out completly and then carry their kayaks through, coming back for the gear.


First thing that happened is that the kayaks were to heavy for just one of them to carry (unloaded). So they tried to carry both at one time, one guy on each end. They would get about 50 steps and stop, rest, repeat. Other guys stepped in to help. That's when we also found out they had not taken anything out of the hatches, as they didn't want to take the time.


The canoes waited almost 1/2 hour on these guys at each portage.


When we were going to return, I set down with them and again told them to take all the gear out, shoulder the kayaks and take them through. When we pushed off I found out that they had in fact loaded up two other canoes with their gear and then the same thing happened at the portages.


I will no longer allow kayaks (bear in mind I own two and have taken them) on my trips unless those that own them can demonstrate that they got ALL their gear in the kayaks and can carry the kayaks themselves for portages.


Bottom line. . .60-80 lb plastic rec kayaks are not BWCA boats. They are way too heavy and can't carry enough gear.


Look at it like this. . .the rest of the group is renting $2000 kevlar canoes or bringing similar ultra light weight canoes. Then they guy shows up with a $200 plastic 75 lb kayak and thinks he will hang with the rest."


Rather than over-react, I think the answer to your problem relates to the people and not the kayaks themselves as Doughboy12 suggests. You took them at their word instead of making them prove "unless those that own them can demonstrate that they got ALL their gear in the kayaks and can carry the kayaks themselves for portages.". There is a wise old saying, "fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice, shame on me". Next time don't take them at their word, make them prove it. 12 foot plastic kayaks can be taken in, you just need an owner that knows what he's doing and has planned ahead well in advance, not the morning on the trip. I would NEVER take my kayak and put my tripmates in a position to have to help carry my kayak or any of my gear in their canoe.

Now back to the original post, beautiful kayak yoke, very nice craftsmanship. I am planning to build a similar setup on mine. Do you have any plans that you worked from that you are willing to share, or did you just craft it from scratch and make the dimensions match your kayak?
 
markaroberts
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06/02/2014 07:30AM  
I have one of these. It eliminates the issue of stressing the cockpit and is MUCH lighter then the wooden yokes. On top of that, your head is not inside the cockpit hitting on the seat, eliminating your vision ahead. Spring Creek Yoke
 
06/02/2014 10:27AM  
quote markaroberts: "I have one of these. It eliminates the issue of stressing the cockpit and is MUCH lighter then the wooden yokes. On top of that, your head is not inside the cockpit hitting on the seat, eliminating your vision ahead. Spring Creek Yoke "

I've seen these, they look very comfortable. how long to set it up? putting the straps around every time would annoy me, I'd have to rig it to screw the frame to the kayak in a quick way instead. when you are paddling and not portaging, do you take it all apart and bag the pieces or bungee to the deck?
 
06/04/2014 09:53AM  
The yoke I made is press fit. Installs and removes in 1 second. It survived the nearly 60 portages on my trip and the Choosen Valley pads were a good choice. No problems with stress on the cockpit either. Everything worked great on the trip. Portages were as quick or quicker than any canoes I met along the way. I got a pretty good system down for portaging.
 
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