loading a heavy canor

I’m a 57-year-old beginner who bought an Old Town Discovery 169 that my wife cannot help me to load on top of the car. Thirty years ago I was able to load a lighter boat (Mohawk 16’) singlehandedly. Can anyone give me a written tutorial on how to go about getting this canoe on my shoulders. I can’t seem to do it. Maybe I’m just no longer strong enough.

almost my first boat
until I went to pick it up. That’s a heavy boat, Dale. I have a 72 pound Swift Dumoine I handle fairly easily, but it goes on truck racks, which is probably easier than your car. Good luck, hope someone can help, especially difficult I’d imagine if your car has a trunk.

This is how I do it

I’m 50, in reasonably good shape and I feel it lifting my 75 lb Explorer this way. I throw the boat from the knees and catch it on my shoulders . Be sure you can do that without getting hurt!

The 169 lists at 85 lbs. I’d guess that’s opimistic.

The other way is to lift one end and walk under it.

That’s what I do

– Last Updated: May-30-08 1:15 PM EST –

is lift one end, flip canoe so thwarts are down, then "arm walk" my way backwards until my shoulders are at the portage thwart. Where I see a potential issue is setting the canoe down on a low car roof. Face plants into the trunk may have ya' dreaming of kevlar real quick. If your wife could hold the back of the canoe up while you extricate yourself from under the canoe after getting it as far forward on the car as possible, that'd be a big help. Leveraging is a key.

Just did a search. I think this would help you a lot, placing the forward part of the canoe on here and sliding it forward.You'd have to rig an extension as it's only 20" wide, maybe c-clamp a 2x4 around 4' long.
They have a couple wider racks

that might be a good method for
a weight lifter, but that method is a good way to pull a muscle in your back and us old timers have a much easier method with no work involved.

  1. with canoe on the ground upside down and the bow against an immovable object such as a tree trunk, pick up the stern end. with one hand on each side of the gunnels.

  2. Push the stern end up over your head.
  3. Keeping the bow down, walk yourself up by sliding you hands forward on the gunnels while all the time pushing the canoe more vertically in the air.
  4. Once you are under the portage yoke let it down on your shoulders and as you do so let the bow come up in the air.
  5. Walk it to your vehicle and set the bow down on your rear bar and the stern down on the ground.

    6 come out from under the boat, go around to the stern, pick it up and slide the boat on the racks.

    Take it off the same way only in reverse, and when you go to put it down make sure you have a immovable object such as that tree to put the bow agains or it will want to slide forward.

    I higly recommend a good soft set of portage pads, and I guarantee you’ll feel young again as you walk all over the place with that big heavy monster on your shoulders



Jack’s method is a good one
Hand-walking your way forward beneath the boat from the stern is a lot easier than hand-walking backwards from the bow.

Dale …

– Last Updated: May-30-08 2:39 PM EST –

......... I own the Old Town 169 also and love it's many virtues , space , stability , toughness , reasonably good speed , load capacity and the list goes on and on , but as you know it's not a portage boat ......... believe me when I tell you how easy it is to load that boat onto the the top of your car or truck with a simple devise called the "Reese Canoe Loader" !!! ......... what it is , is a vertical T that pivots , the T is hieght adjustable with a simple pin and clip , the "Reese Canoe Loader" attaches to a tow ball tounge (or other flat surface with a 3/4" hole in it), you can keep the ball in place at all times , or just install the T stand right into the ball hole (3/4") .......... if you and your gal are able to simply raise the pointed end of your canoe up onto the T while the other end is on the ground (that's about 43 lbs. divided between the two of you , 21-1/2 lb. each) , your home free !! ........... next you pick the other end up to the same height (that's only half the canoes total weight) and walk it around to the front in an arc completing a 180* swing ............ it's a piece a cake , really !! .......... I bought mine from Bass Pro Shop but since it's made by "Reese" it should be available almost anywhere ........ cost $80. ......... the add shows a girl modle doing it solo and that's not too far off !! .......... at first thought you may think it's kinda toy like and not want to put faith in it as carrying your boat on the highway , I assure you it's not a toy but a real working piece of equiptment that hold your boat tight and steady at full highway speeds and also on pot hole strewn roads down to the put in ........ if you drop me an email I will send you a pick or two of mine in action , you'll love it and this is your solutuion I think ............ just entered my post and went back to see Daggermat's entry , that's the ticket , the links daggermat posted look to be the same exact idea , the price is higher than Bass Pro and the Reese set up though ..

from the front I don’t have to raise the thwart over my head. Guess that’s why I’ve been backwards for o’ these many years ;-).

cool, Reese makes hitches as well NM

Ah’ be an ol’ varmint

– Last Updated: May-30-08 2:51 PM EST –

an' ah' kin still swing my 80lb. OT Tripper over me head usin' de ol' lift-rock-an'-toss method as shown on de redrock site dat TommyC1 posted. Anything less an' narrower ah' jus' powerlift. Aanold would be proud o' me... Plus, it do impress de wimminfolk!


Oh. That makes sense too.
Not the being backwards part, but the less high lifting part. I’ve always carried my Jon boat the same way, but handwalked under it from the front going forward because I couldn’t hold the thing up at that angle pushing toward my rear. That’s how I figured out that walking forward can be easier. The tricky part was getting turned to face forward again and letting the boat down on my shoulders. I figured a heavy canoe would be awkward that way too. Of course, my Jon boat doesn’t have thwarts!

I’m wondering …
… what ‘daleheberlig’ thinks about all these good suggestions ?? … wasn’t it him who seemed to really be in need of some help here , I thought so …

Another Cheap and Dirty Method
If you can’t lay the boat on one rack and slide it lengthwise up onto the car, there’s another way that’s cheaper than anything you can buy. Mount a lengthwise bar on one side of your car, connecting the front crossbar to the rear crossbar. You can lean your boat against that bar without any part of your car getting in the way. Grab the end of the boat that’s on the ground and shove it up onto the roof, pivoting it into proper lengthwise orientation as you go. This is really easy if you install a lengthwise bar on BOTH sides of your rack (that also lets you load the boat from either side).

Of course, this assumes that all the advice about getting yourself under the boat so you can carry it is working out for you.

I got the kevlar flex core…
…after “dodging the bullet” when my wife unexpectedly let go/dropped her end of our old 75 pounder as it was almost on the rack. My hand was stuck in the carry handle and I really pulled my much repaired shoulder - thought it broke again. I figured it would be cheaper for the new canoe in the long run.


But the one that is the easies of all
is my 18’-6", J boat at 19 pounds.



thanks for the responses
Thanks to everyone. I have several good suggestions to folo. I’ll experiment, hope to find the best way for me to save my back. Thanks again, everyone.

You’re welcome …
… hope you find it much easier to load and unload in the future now , so you don’t have to concern so much about straining muscles to be able to go paddling and have fun … difficult and heavy loading takes away alot from the expection of the fun aspect …

The money spent on a lighter canoe
is worth it I’m sixty-two and can load my 18ft Kevlar, Champlain on my RAM 3500 by myself.