canoe cart portage?

Yes if…
IF your portages are mostly flat and if you have space in your canoe for the Canoe Caddy, it can save you multiple trip portages.

Most of the time, I don’t have space in the canoe for a Canoe Caddy. Also, many of the portages we have here are rocky, swampy, and stump-filled - not wheel-freindly.

mgc is strong as an ox & tough as nails
Now that we’ve got that out of the way…

The Swedish cart runs about $100. There are lighter and stronger carts for a lot more money, but that cart will haul a loaded 16’ fiberglass Prospector anywhere a cart can go.

The problem, as already mentioned, is that carts just don’t work everywhere. In fact, they don’t work many places outside of civilization. Trails are rough, narrow, steep, soft, impeded by deadfall, etc.

I use one of those carts when it is convenient, but it is rarely so. In those cases, I can leave all my gear in the boat and roll it all on the cart. Usually, pavement is involved. Always at least a wide-open and flat-ish trail with well-compacted surface.

But for wilderness trips, a lightweight canoe with a comfy yoke is the way to go. IMO, such a trip is special enough that it is worth the cost of a light canoe to ensure that you enjoy the experience. Kevlar hulls and mini-cell padding are your friends. Narrower hulls are easier to lift to shoulder, and lack of excessive shear also saves weight and effort.

Your only other option is to hire mgc for the portage.

You can make a nice one
from one of those old baby joggers.

I did a lot of portages of the Racquette Falls carry in the 90 miler with one I got from a thrift store for $12.

I stripped it and cut the front wheel off and bolted an aluminum tube across it. Used some foam noodles to make a cradle, and then used two cam lock buckle straps each cut in half with the ends bolted to the frame to cinch down the canoe.

If you want, I can send you a few pictures

Jack L

here is strong cart
trY this one—strong and heavY. ive put on two canoes on top at once plus gear…

A single wheel roller held at either end ? Or does the hull roll away from control ?

Same exact cart…
…as the one marketed as the “Swedish Cart”. It is sold under a variety of brands. And, BTW, there is even a kit available that turns it into a bicycle trailer.

yep, I got two of them carts
and use both sets- one on each end of the poly canoe. Hard to steer that way, but rolls real easy-nothing heavy to lift need a lot of straps to secure it to boat but that’s what worked the best for my wife and I with our poly canoe on some of the “90 miler” terrain .

I hate portaging- but recognize its a necessary evil to get to some wild places. I find that many times you can shorten or eliminate portages if you have some ww skills, and lining can often be done as well but I’ve never met any portage I’ve liked.

Its good but hardly indestructible
I’ve seen pics of the wheels folded in half… Not the way they are supposed to fold for storage but entirely twisted.

I have one but don’t think it would hold up in Algonquin. BWCA doesn’t allow carts.

Taco Wheel
We did that on the trail from Umbagog to Rangley.

The cart was quite similar to the Paddleboy ATC and the load (canoe and two guys gear) was no where near 300 lbs.

But I expect most any bicycle wheel would taco when the cart is tilted some 45 degrees over on one wheel and dropping a foot off of a small boulder.

That trail is a very rutted, rocky jeep track. And it’s about as rugged as anything I would want to use a portage cart on though the Raquette Falls carry is a close second.

I was surprised that the owner was able to hammer the wheel back straight enough to use the cart for the paved road portage between Mooslookmaguntic and Rangely.

I use a canoe cart. Payed $60 for it. My canoe weighs 80 lbs. I can carry it, but im not 30 yrs old anymore. Why not make the job easier…

Some tips I’ve learned:

  1. Set the cart toward the end of the canoe instead of center.
  2. Use two straps or rope to secure.
  3. Push the canoe instead of pulling.
  4. Put your gear close to the cart, not on the end your lifting.

I disagree with step "1"
it is much easier with a canoe or kayak balanced on the portage buggy.

Let the buggy carry all the weight. All you have to do is push

Jack L

Single wheeled cart
Had a Scout leader construct a “buck bike” similar to the single wheel cart shown and he used it to transport canoes and chuck boxes. It was great for hauling heavy, but compack gear like the chuck boxes, over single track trails into camp. it was not good at hauling canoes. The cart could not be steered using its handles since they were under the canoe. And the long canoe on the cart had a very high center of gravity above the wheel. Strapping the canoe to the mostly flat cart was a chore and it was never very secure on the cart.

I would not try two single wheeled carts under a canoe. How would you pivot a single cart under the canoe to steer it? And maintain balance with the cart skewed under the canoe. Would be tough on the people at each end. And were do you put a cart like that when you are on the water?

Push not pull??
On smooth ground pushing might work, but run the wheel against an obstacle and the canoe located above the wheel will tip forward. A wheelbarrow is pushed, but the handles go straight to the wheel axle. A cart is much easier pulled over an obstacle than pushed over it.

You are thinking of Raquette Falls
I am thinking of the mile long camp ground carry and 99 percent of the carries in the south that are flat

I agree on rough carries, but most down here in “god’s Land” just require being in the back with a finger or two on the top of the stern to keep it balanced, and the whole system basically goes by itself with no work.

Jack L

Smooth carries

I’m thinking about every carry i know except 8th Lake Campground and 5th Lake to 6th Lake thru Inlet on the highway.

If your portages are so flat and smooth, why not trench a canal and eliminate the portage?

You don’t push your canoe anyway, you just follow Nanci who is pulling from the front.


Hey, I’m not like you wimpy C-4’s
I carried the past two years and will never use a buggy up there again!

Although it is in the truck awaiting our Florida sojurn

Jack L

happy trails
I C4’d the past two 90 milers without wheels, just two people carrying the big boat overhead. However, the Cannonball-90 (the unsupported unofficial 90-miler done all in one day) has twice the portage miles, 10 miles worth. The longest is 3.7 miles on a smooth dirt/paved road around Buttermilk Falls. We take wheels on the Cannonball.

Pushing works for a nice changeout of methods, but only on the very smooth flat road portions. Pulling works better going uphill regardless of the terrain. Most portages are wheelable with more or less difficulty, but however you do it it is a suffering time through the Raquette Falls 1.1 mile carry.

Nanci put her foot down

We know the real reason you can’t use a cart anymore is that Nanci got tired of pulling the canoe and you over the carries while you waved at all the young girls in spandex in the war canoes.

You should have 'pulled’your share of the load instead of being 'pushy’from the stern.


wimpy C-4s

My memory of the year you went C-4 in a Minnesota III was that you sold the boat shortly after the 90 Miler and said it was the hardest paddling you had ever done to paddle stern in the C-4 and you would never torture yourself like that again.

Last year was our 10th year in C-4 and both Browns Tract and Raquette Falls beat me up more each year. When I am as old as you I might have to slow down and paddle Super Veterans in another class. Next year is number 20 for me, if I make it.


Just getting back to this post
If you do give up the C-4 and go in a different class, (maybe C-2 ?) try carrying.

I had always used wheels with the C-2 until two years ago, and each year the carries got worse.

Then when I switched to carrying, we had our best portages every, and once again this year the Browns tract and Raquette Falls carry was a piece of cake with me carrying the boat and she the gear.

We past our competition, (two guys who on the water are faster then us) on the Raquette Falls carry where they were using wheels and beat them for the day.

Jack L