Canoe yoke pads

I’ve read some older posts (2005) saying that sling style yoke pads were great. I especially saw praise for Chosen Valley Canoe Accessories. I’m looking for some updated input or other options for the following:

I seem to have developed some neck problems (compressed nerve, yada, yada, yada), and I want to make sure I am getting the weight of the canoes on my shoulders with no further pressure on the upper spine. None of my current canoes (2 at 60 lbs and 1 at 40 lbs) have any special pads - one has some closed cell foam on it.

Do the sling style pads lift the yoke high enough to avoid all contact with the base of the neck?

Are those that have the Chosen Valley Canoe Accessories pads still happy with them? Are they holding up?

Any input is appreciated.



I’m quite pleased
with my CV yoke pads. Bought them about 1 1/2 years ago and they are very comfortable. However, I don’t do portages unless forced to by bad planning or luck.

So I have no info how they might feel after a 1/2 mile on the trail. But in the short walks from the ground to the truck they are the most comfortable things I’ve hung on my shoulders.

I wasn’t going to chime in, since…
I don’t even know what a “yoke sling” is, but since you didn’t get any replies I figured I would.

I made myself some blocks for my canoe yoke, and they are nice and comfy and put the weight where I want it on my shoulders.

For each, I used a piece of 3/4" exterior plywood about 2" x 4" and drilled a hole for a quarter inch bolt in the center of it. Then I glued a block of gray high density foam with a curve cut for the shoulder to each one. Figure where you want them to be on the yoke to best fit your shoulders and then drill a hole for each. Then use wing nuts on the bottom of them with a washer to secure them to the yoke.

I carry several different canoes, and this way I can take them off one boat and use them with another.

Just this past Saturday, I was carrying my OT Penobscot with them.

I have been using them for about ten years now

Jack L

I have Chosen Valley sling pads on both of my canoes - tandem and solo. Love them. Have to confess that I haven’t done extensive portaging w/them (more than 1/2 mile) but they are comfortable.

yoke pads
I have a set of Chosen Valley pads but they are not my favorite. While the pads are comfortable I find that I prefer this type:,7876.html

When I turn I like the canoe to turn with me and if I need to push my way through some branches on an over grown carry I do not want the canoe to slide off of my shoulders. I find the cup type pads make the canoe much more secure on my shoulders.

I would suggest that you adjust whatever style pads you get so that they rest on the bones of your shoulders and not on the muscles (trapezius)that are closer to your neck. Whatever style you get they will surely be more comfortable than the wooden yoke.

I’ve used CVCA pads for over a decade. Not only do they cushion the load, but they are readily adjustable for ear width with wheel nuts, and allow the canoe to be shifted fore to aft for hills. And, they dry quickly because air gets to all sides of the pad.

I’ve never liked the cupped things; too tight for my shoulders and downright dangerous for me in a fall to trailside. Then there is the genisis thing; they started as sewer pipe. That was a genius concept, and we assume new, unused sewer pipe is currently used, but… Seriously, shaped yokes, cupped pads, etc need to fit the individual. Where does that leaves you if they fit you but not your paddling partner? Who carries the boat then?

CVCA pads
I’ve never had an issue with he cupped pads not coming off my shoulders in a fall. I have had issues with the boat coming off my shoulders prematurely with the CVCA pads. A slight bump or push from a trail side limb knocks the boat off my shoulders. To each his own.

Spring Creek Outfitters’ canoe seat/yoke

– Last Updated: May-04-12 5:33 PM EST –

..imho works really well..the base unit works well for a heavy tandem as the one hole/side is a midships drilling...OTHW the ChosenValley smaller slings work fine for me... *In the past I bought some football shoulder pads...might wanna try them on fwiw... As mentioned...find what fits.


Thanks all. I appreciate the input.


CVCA slings allow the neck to be
completely clear of the yoke. But I do like the cupped versions of padded “sewer pipe” as well. I don’t like the CVCA pads for very light boats (30-35 lbs) as they tend to slide particularly going up or downhill.

Both are comfortable for extended portaging…such as typical Algonquin days of 2-4 miles. My longest single portage was 3.5 miles to date.

I like
1. cup type pads, as they extend far enough to take all weight onto the shoulders, and nothing on the spine.

2. full wooden shaped to shoulders yoke -also a beautiful piece of wood to appreciate.

Both work fine for my portages, and both also set on the vehicle with the yoke just behind the front carrying bar. With the canoe tied down, they serve as a locking block to keep it from going forward.