How to portage?

I found this on, I’ve done a lot of portages and I’ve yet to find a “stand” at the “pull out”.

Step 1 Pull your canoe up and place it. Most portages have stands set up at the pull-out area where you can lean your canoe to make it easier to get underneath it. Pull your canoe out of the water. Turn the canoe over so that it’s belly up. With a friend on one side and you on the other, slide the canoe over to the stand and lift it up until the nose of the canoe is resting on the stand.

Step 2 Affix your paddles. Paddles can actually help with portaging, and if you can put them inside the canoe it’s one less thing to carry. Position the paddles so that they run under the middle support beam, criss-cross about halfway to the front seat and then hook under the front seat. You may have to play around with them a little bit. The trick is to position them so that they fit snugly and can be used to hold onto.

Step 3 Position yourself under the canoe. You should go under the high side of the canoe and slowly walk backward until your shoulders encounter the yoke pads. If the canoe is positioned properly, you’ll have to bend your knees in order to get your shoulders under the pads. You can portage without yoke pads but it’ll really hurt your shoulders.

Step 4 Lift up the back of the canoe and step away from the stand. Do this very slowly, by standing up full, shoulders pushing up on the yoke pads, hands grasping the gunwall in front of you. You only need to step back far enough so that the tip of the canoe clears the stand.

Step 5 Balance the weight. Once you’ve cleared the stand, the front of the canoe should slowly fall and the entire canoe will level off. If you are in the wrong position on the canoe, the load may pitch forward, so go slowly. Canoes are not as light as you might think, and you could seriously injure yourself if you’re not careful.

Step 6 Start walking. If you can keep the tilt toward the rear of the canoe, you’ll have better visibility of the trail ahead and less chance of tripping on a rock or tree root. Once you get to the other side, simply reverse the process.

Read more at How to Portage a Canoe |

How to portage, or how to lift canoe
It sounds as if you are asking how best to get the boat up onto your shoulders.

A decent portage yoke helps, although some will simply use a straight center thwart for this purpose. Some experienced trippers will attach some bungees to their center thwart/yoke, and sometimes the underside of the rear portion of the bow seat frame, to be able to quickly position their paddles to facilitate portaging.

For a solo boat, your seat usually goes where a portage yoke would be. Sometimes you can use the seat frame like a yoke to balance the boat on your shoulders. A sliding seat can make it easier to position it at the balance point. Some use a detachable portage yoke that clamps to the gunwales for carrying a solo boat.

To lift the boat onto your shoulders, most people will try to do this without using a stand or second party if their strength and the boat’s weight permits. You stand at the side of the boat near the center, with the boat up on its side, open side facing away from your body. Use your arms to lift the boat so that the bottom of the hull rests against your thighs. You need to place your hands at the right place to balance the boat, with the hand on the side of your body away from the boat grasping the far (low) gunwale, and your other hand on the near gunwale. You lift the boat, flip it over and duck your head inside in one motion. You can use one knee to help lift the boat as you do this.

If you can’t lift the boat this way and don’t have a helper, you find a reasonably flat area and turn the boat upside down. Go to the bow end and lift it up leaving the stern stem on the ground. Continue to lift the bow, walking under it until you are near the center, then turn around so that you are facing the bow. You can now fairly easily lift the boat onto your shoulders by bending at the knees to dip under it, then rise up with the boat balanced on your shoulders.

The simplest way for this old man
to portage a heavy boat, (like my 80 pound OT disco) is to

1.lay the boat down with the hull up, and preferable with the bow against a big boulder or tree,

2 go to the stern of the boat, and lift it up

3. Raise it as high as you can, and then push it up above your shoulders, all the time keeping the bow on the ground.

4. Start walking forward toward the yoke, and keep raising the boat with the bow still on the ground, (you will have to slide your hands along the gunnels as you get it higher)

5. When it is fairly vertical, or high enough for you to get under the yoke, do so, and as you do, settle the boat on your shoulders, let the bow come up, and you are good to go.

Jack L

It sounds like the OP
has plenty of experience. Read the first sentence.

I too have never seen a portage stand. I do believe this was a sarcastic comment on what was written on

Its missing some quotation marks.

Lessee…on the tundra where are the stands? Heck I cant find a tree.

There are "stands"
on some of the more heavily traveled portage routes in the BWCAW but they usually just consist of a plank that is nailed across the crotch of a tree trunk and branch, and you don’t often see them unless you are looking for them.

It would probably be more appropriate to call the “rests” because they are of little use to get the canoe up on your shoulders, but some people like them to stick the nose of the boat into to take the weight off for a few minutes.

Been a while since I have been there. Maybe with the Green Movement they have all been removed.

havent been to BWCAW since 1973
so I have no idea.

Its too crowded for me. I am mostly in Wabakimi and Woodland Caribou. The former has no tree stands…jack pine is poor at that! But also no people. 800 camper nights total for the whole park for 2009. Its three times the size of BWCAW.

Didnt see anyone two weeks ago for eight days.

Maybe the quote was area specific.

That was our last year there also.
Our big 18.5" tandem weighed over 80 pounds, so in preparation I did repetitive cleans with 125# Olympic weight set, and practiced throwing the boat off my thighs and onto my shoulders. Then I marched around the block to accustom myself to the burden.

When we got to BWCA/Quetico, a short bout of illness and the overall job of portaging food and gear for 12 nights quickly made my ambitions look foolish. I learned to lift one end and back under the yoke. And I learned NOT to bring a heavy boat for multiple portages, regardless of my past history of weight training for rowing. There were no Kevlar lightweight canoes to rent then, but there were Grumman and Alumacraft canoes of entirely bearable weight. Now we have a 48 pound Bluewater that would have been excellent for the '73 trip, and I would consider renting a similar boat ten pounds lighter.