knu-pac canoe carrier backpack

how easy would it be to rig up a backpack like this? I can’t find knu-pac backpacks anywhere. They’ve fallen off the face of the earth. If anyone has any pics they could send me of a how-to that would be wonderful. Thanks

Cheap Knupac substitute
I made simple Y shaped brackets and slid them into the main tube of an old aluninum external frame pack that has a hip belt. I have made 2 sets,one of thin wall copper pipe soldered togrether,and 1 of pvc pipe glued. Just find pipe that will just slide into the tube,cut a short length to go into the tube,fasten a T junction to it,2 street L’s L at each end and a short,straight upright piece. You can dry assemble the brackets to experiment before bonding them. I don’t use a solid brace to hold the canoe level,I just off-ballance the canoe heavy in the bow and tie a line from the stern to the bottom of the packframe to hold it level. This isn’t quite as solid a connection as a solid brace,but simple and lighter/less bulky. I have carried boats miles this way and it works fine once you get used to it.Sorry,no pictures.


I took a similar approach, but because
the tandem I carry has a minicell pedestal seat with a flat surface in just the right place, I just set the top extender bar on my old Kelty Mountaineer external frame in the lowest position, so that I could “throw” the canoe (15’, about 70# outfitted) right up on the extender bar. It is easy to make minor adjustments in how the boat sits on the bar, once it is up there.

Normally one might get the boat up on one end and then back up, or walk forward, until the thwart or pedestal can rest on the packframe. This is actually easier for a relatively short person, and a fairly long, low rocker canoe. I’m very tall, and the boat in question has a lot of rocker, so it is hard to control it if I try to walk into position from one end. It’s easier to do the scary approach, throwing it up there like a Maine Guide might do. But once up there, a rockered canoe cooperates wonderfully, better than a straight hull.

an easy approach

– Last Updated: Mar-02-10 2:57 PM EST –

that I've used on 3 different packframes for 3 different boats; this requires minimal tools and engineering skills (which is my level of expertise) a hammer is the only tool you really need, but a vise makes the job easier. this predates the knu-pack by a couple of decades

go to home depot or root around in your garage for a piece of flat stock, or buy a 90deg corner bracket at any hardware store

Now if the top of your screen is North, shape the piece so that it starts at a point north, goes south 2 or 3 inches, turns 90 deg east for a couple inches or so (this must be wide enough to accomodate the width of your canoe thwart), then turns 90 deg south so it looks like this "h" with the lower half of the left side erased. You can fasten it to the packframe anyway that suits (the packframe would be to the right of the "h", and the bottom right leg is what you fasten to the frame) - use hose clamps, or rivets or epoxy or even nuts and bolts, just don't pinch the tubing of the packframe - I've just used string and "whipped" the flat bar to the packframe, and covered it with shrink tubing (don't forget to put the shrink tubing on the upright before you fasten the bracket on) - this is a bit different than the knupak, as the bracket does not extend above the top of the pakcframe like the "Y" version that gets inserted into the frame tubing. the boat will ride a few inches lower than with the "Y" - but I've never had any problem with that. Just fasten that bracket well enough to carry the weight of your boat.

couple of tips - plan on covering the bracket with shrink tubing, or tape or something, so it does not chew up the thwart; and on the thwart, wrap several windings of tape arount the outside edge of where the bracket will be sitting - that helps you to center teh boat, and it keeps the canoe from sliding from side to side - just don't make it too precise a fit. I normallyn wrap the thwart with pipe insulation or something as well - by padding it, it will be les likely to slide around, and the padding absorbs the "shock" as you step down, so the boat won't bounce as much in the bracket -- so you need to have an idea of the total thickness of the thwart plus any padding before making your bracket, so you know how wide to make it - better not to be too sloppy a fit. When you are done, the "north" section of the bracket forms one side of a cradle for the thwart, and the top few inches of the packframe forms the other side of the cradle - so simple a caveman could do it!

edit: guess I should have said that the corner bracket should be 1" wide, by 1/8" thick material and 4" or more long on each "end" - longer is better as you have more material to work with