canoe yoke

OK oh wise ones, I need a removable canoe yoke for a Wenonah Vagabond. I’m thinking that since I’m female, I would prefer to go with separate pads that can be spaced to fit my shoulders, rather than a one piece unit. What say you? Any suggestions?

A custom fit is always best…

Limited choices
for us solo boaters.

Soes your Vagabond have a wood/webbing/etc seat or the tractor slider?

One source of good yokes is Chosen Valley Canoe Accessories (CVCA). Unique “sling” pads unlike any others on th eplanet. Kevin makes yokes that clamp on either the wood seat or the framework of the slider.

These yokes are not cheap, but I can vouch for the comfort of the pads as I use them on my own design yoke for my Bell Magic. And the Mad River solo yoke is almost as costly as the CVCA’s.


Adjustable yoke for shoulder width
You are correct, you want a yoke that fits you or can be adjusted to your shoulders. If you are looking at the Chosen Valley removable tubular aluminum solo canoe yoke that Wenonah sells, these are fully adjustable for different shoulder widths. You can loosen the bolt that holds the pad assembly to the tubes and the pads slide side to side for adjustment.

Here’s Another One

– Last Updated: Mar-31-08 9:40 PM EST –

I'm really not sure what jsaults meant by there not being many choices for solo canoes. Most detachable yokes which mount to the gunwales work on either style of canoe. Usually the front edge of the front seat can be just behind your head (so that center seat really doesn't matter), though on a Vagabond, it'll have to be REALLY close behind or the boat will be front-heavy when you carry it.

Chosen Valley stuff is good quality, and if you can find something from them that works on your boat, you'll be in good shape.

Another company I recommend is a little one-man shop here in Wisconsin, and they make nice stuff too, though not a huge variety. I have one of their yokes and like it pretty well. The place is called Hidden River Yoke Shop in West Salem Wisconsin. I don't know if he even has a website, but he sells stuff at Canoecopia every year. I can give you his contact information if you'd like. His yokes have individually adjustable pads and a gunwale-gripping system that works a little better than most. I've never seen a Chosen Valley yoke that mounts to the gunwales (I've only seen the seat-mounted versions), but if they have one, I bet it works well too.

2 guys with canoes on their heads
walk into a bar…

oh, you’ve already heard that one, sorry…

Measure your Vagabond seat, first
We’ve measured a few of the Vagabonds lately and the front edge of the seat is usually dead center, although one of them was 2" aft of center.

It may be just as simple as two CVCA yoke pads attached to the front bar of the seat with wing nuts, which I have done successfully in the past.

What I’m using now on my solo canoes is to take out the thwart that is behind the seat and replace it with a yoke attached with knurled knobs. When I’m ready to portage I just move the yoke from behind the seat to portage position and lock it in with knurled knobs. Works beautifully and weighs only 7 ounces more than the thwart that got replaced. It weighs 2 pounds less than the Mad River Removable Yoke and 1.5 pounds less than the Bell removable yoke.

Yes, the hull behind the seat is narrower than the portage position, so the yoke is installed to replace the thwart at a slight angle to make up the difference. I’ll post pictures tomorrow if you’d like.

Agree completely w/ CD - the turnscrew on yoke w/ CV pads is the best option for real carries. That said, it is heavy and pricey. Unfortunately, for longer carries, especially with heavier boats, it is the best, which translates into only option.

For shorter carries with lighter boats, look at the Portage Strap from the BagLady. 12 oz, 60-74SD, works pretty well with lighter and more tumblehomed solos.

You must know, of course, it is anti-community to double post info requests?

Is there a danger of inbreeding?


Or winding up talking to oneself?

I answered already elswhere and know it so wont get caught on this one…

Yes, I did post this question
once before,but it was inbedded in several other questions and I didn’t get much of a hit on the subject, so I thought I’d try it as a stand alone. Didn’t mean to break posting etiquette.

Or are you referring to the fact that I also posted this on Solo tripping???

I see you did answer my post on Solo, sorry for the dupe. Hope you’re not permanently scarred :wink:

nah at least
not by this!

Well, my faith in my fellow paddlers has been shaken to the core. After Yoga tonight, I think I’ll re-toxify at the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery in a hopeful attempt to get past the trauma and reconnect.

Chosen Valley’s 2# seat mounted unit, $129, may or may not work with your adjustable seat. You may need the $139 rail mounted unit.

Since CV also makes the WeNoNah seat risers, they will be the people to contact for compatibility questions.

Add Hidden River Yoke Shop
to the list. I was unaware of them. And Charlie, sorry to have forgotten the Bag Lady’s fabric yoke.

But Hidden River, Bag Lady, CVCA, Mad River…that’s only four vendors by my count. That is what I meant by “limited choices”. But being somewhat obsessed with solo yokes, I am always fascinated to find another idea and approach.



OT: Lake Placid eateries
Charlie, I was on a hut-to-hut XC ski trip back in '95 or '96 and stayed in a hotel that was run by students from a local college who were interning for hotel management. Down near the Lake as I recall, with an excellent resturant. Is that establishment still there?

We also stayed one night at the Lake Placid Lodge, the hoity-toity establishment with cabins down at lake level. Plush.


older and fatter now

Can I join you at the Pub, Charlie?
The seat mount yoke will work on the Vagabond.

A bit of background on our yokes. I designed a gunwale-mount yoke for Wenonah years ago. It was adjustable to fit different gunwales widths, but even so I needed to manufacture 6 different models to fit all of Wenonah’s solos (btw, the yoke cantilevered onto the gunwale and was elevated to allow your head to clear the aluminum pedestal on the sliding seat boats). When Wenonah introduced the Voyager, it was outside the range of any of the current yoke models, so I was looking at adding models #7 & #8 - time for a new idea. Turns out, Wenonah only uses 2 seat mounting styles - either sliding on a pedestal or a webbed/cane seat hanging from the gunwales. One of our yokes fits all of the wooden bench seats (including those mounted on the tiltable seat), and the other fits the pedestal. That gained us a ton of efficiency, eliminated the slop of adjustments to the frame and drastically reduced the number of skews. As far as other canoes go, I make the seat mount custom width on request to fit any seat - but if the seat is mounted aft of center, you need to add ballast to balance (since there is no fore-aft adjustment possible). I do still make the gunwale mount yoke, but they are 1-offs by special order only (so I have a hard time getting ANY efficiency out of it). On the weight, there isn’t much I can do that won’t undermine the integrity of the yoke, so it’s as good as it’s going to get with the current designs. IF I can find the time, I have a new concept in the works - it just won’t be this season.

As far as pricey goes, yep, they’re pricey like a Placid Boatworks hull - and for alot of the same reasons. Everything is manufactured, sewed and assembled right here, and every raw material is skyrocketing - aluminum alone is up over 300% in the past couple of years. We do what we can, and we’re not getting rich. :slight_smile:

If I can help in any way, just let me know - either here or via e-mail.

(and I’m serious about the beer, Charlie)

Here’s a couple links
This is the link to the CVCA solo yokes

and here’s the link to my web page that shows the modifications I’m making to my Swift Raven

Paul Smiths and the Lodge
Pauls Smith’s sold the St Regis Hotel in Saranac Lake last year.

The Lodge burned to the ground a couple years ago but will re-open this fall - more splendid than ever.

Until the rebirth of the Lodge the current best in town is the WhiteFace Lodge at intersection of 86 and Whiteface Inn Lane, just across the street from my house.


– Last Updated: Apr-01-08 7:21 PM EST –

I'm indifferent to choice of Yoke, because I am holding out for a boat caddy: someone to help me out of the boat, hand me a Margo, and tote boat and pack across the carry for me. I suppose I want them to have a comfortable yoke, but it's not critical to me.

I was trying to get a pilot program running in the BWCA when w/ Bell, using HS and College cheerleaders, but that all fell through when I moved to the Adirondacks.

Creative thinking!
I like what you have done to the Raven.