Light weight wheels?

Can any one think of any wheels or ideas for a canoe portage cart that would be lighter than mountain bike wheels?

My first thought was road bike wheels, but I don’t know if they could take any rough terrain.

The cart is for an upcoming three day race that has some portages including one that is over a mile long.

Rules state that the device has to be kept in the canoe from start to finish, so naturally I want it as light as possible.

Thanks in advance,


how many?
out of curiosity, would one wheel do? May not work but if it’s a race you want to keep it as light as possible. could you make a bracket that one wheel could slip into and put it so you have the canoe upside down? Slip your paddle into something into under the thwarts and grab the other end and head for the hills!! Push it like a wheelbarrow. Maybe make a couple of short handles for the grab onto end to complete the wheelbarrow effect. Can’t think of anything lighter than a bike wheel, unless it’s a small one off a little guys bike, about 16 ", but they are probably heavier than a good full size one.

My suggestion may not look great, but I never minded looking like the Griswalls.

Good luck

jack this is dangerous
According to the Baldpaddler any advice i give you could be used against me on the 90 miler since you and Nanci may be in the same class as Gearwoman and me.

But being the good Scout and wanting to make this trip as pleasant as possible for you, short of letting you take a class win, here goes.

There have been many types of carts used, with varying degrees of success and effort. The best carts are ones that can negotiate the terrain and not break; if it breaks you can’t use it and you still must carry it to the finish. The main obstacles to smooth rolling over the carries are big rocks, tree roots, boardwalks over swampy spots, and stumps in the walkway. The cart needs to have good ground clearance in between the wheels to straddle the midpath obstacles, and be solid enough to take the jolts of the canoe weight going over the rocks and steps of the rough carries.

Road bike wheels in a 20 inch size might have a slight weight advantage over mountain bike wheels, but would they take the shock and not sink in too far in the soft ground of the swampy spots? And though 26 inch wheels would give you great ground clearance, a harness horse sulky comes to mind, there would be a weight penalty with both the wheels and and the longer frame forks needed to mount the wheels. The swedish carts settled on 20" wheels long ago after years of trial and error. the do fit into the canoes quite well, something unknown about a 26" setup.

A single wheel setup has been seen on the end of long kayaks and guide boats. It is a question of balance. With handles on the canoe, it has possibilities, a single wheel can track around a lot of obstacles, needs only a narrow footpath, and would be light and easy to carry in the boat. On the negative side, the end mounted wheel means you are carrying half the weight of the loaded canoe, same as double carrying overhead. Your shoulders get no rest during the carries. Mounting a single wheel under the canoe balance point makes the most sense, it supports the whole load and you need only balance and push/pull.

The possiblities are endless, what works best is more limited. I will show you what works best for me in Sept, or as soon as the proper amount of gold bullion is deposited with my banker in Charlotte.

The simple recommendation is the Swedish style cart from Oak Orcharc Canoe, there are other places that sell versions, but i know that theirs will support a 20’ Grumman War Canoe with gear and roll fast.


That is a great idea, but…
I think for the longer portage, and with the lack of cartilage this over the hill marathoner has in one knee, I would need the two wheels just for balance.

Many times I have tipped that freaking one wheel wheel barow over with a big load of rocks or dirt.

Cheers, and stay happy!


I think I will probably try to build one using 20"

mountain bike wheels.

Hey, what is this “gearwomen” stuff? Sounds like a hard core to me

And you mean there are other over the hill paddlers too?

Usually when I call a “hut” Nanci dosen’t even hear me, cause she is chewing the fat with whoever is in the boat beside us.

Cheers, and stay happy!


Weight ?
I have always believed that an extra pound or two that was devoted to ease or comfort or portage is weight very well spent. Isn’t this amount of weight on the water quite negligible compared to the weight of paddler and gear?

I take the same approach to footware and pack suspension when it comes to hiking / backpacking. I try to cut weight everywhere, but the job of both boots and pack is to make carrying weight easier, so I’ll allow a few ounces there to help me better carry a few pounds.

I am saying go with the cart set-up that is easiest and fastest on the ground, yes?