Looking for a good canoe portaging pack

I have done a couple of canoe trips in Algonquin this year.

The longest portage I did was 2300m it almost killed me.

I think the issue is is that I have a low end pack and all the wight is on my shoulders and not my hips???

The canoe I have is a Swift-Mattawa I love this canoe it wights 48lbs and has a contour yoke.( I don’t think this is the issue)

Any input will be appreciated.


Whats your budget
How big a pack do you need and what is the number of years you expect your pack to last.


very simply the best, expensive and worth it.

Looking at used
Looking at MEC for used packs 70L to 80L

$$$ 100 to 200.

portage packs
Piragis has their “used one season” gear on sale: http://www.piragis.com/usedboundarywaterscanoegearsale2010.html

These packs are great: http://www.kondosoutdoors.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=KO&Category_Code=CPG

I have the outfitter special and a guide pack. Holds more than I need for solo tripping.

I have Ostrom packs. They are excellent.

One key factor is how it is packed. Even a cheap Chinook pack can be acceptably comfortable if you make a sort of frame. Pack it with three or four square 20L olive barrels and it will be very rigid. Or, use a grill or cutting board against the back, and put an axe or saw or some such on the other side and tighten it up so it holds its shape. Try to avoid tying heavy things on the outside where they will pull you back and dangle around.

www.granitegear.com NM

Arcteryx bora 80L
Is it not best to go with a good hiking pack (Arcteryx bora 80L)with a good suspension system??

Or do these canoeing pack have this???

Ostrom packs do
Many canoe packs don’t.Yes it is important.

I am not knocking other canoe packs but it reaaly pays to present yourself in person to be fitted. Canoe packs are shorter and wider and fit and stays are even more important.

Wider packs can throw you off when unsupported inside, if you have to hop from side to side.

Backpacks can work too but often dont have the capacity to carry what most canoeists want to carry. For years I tripped with a Lowes Contour 4. Happily!

fwiw…those wide foam padded yokes
seem much more comfortable than anything wooden with smaller foam pieces.


and still quite good, in my opinion, are the #3 or 4 Duluth packs. I sure like mine. Use your sleeping pad on the inside to cushion out those bumps. Lack of a frame lets the pack contour nicely to the inside of a canoe. A tumpline works as well or better than a hip support system in my opinion - at least if you’re not intending to carry all day every day as in backpacking.

The pack is usually carried lower, toward the small of the back, so it isn’t quite as likely to make you “top-heavy” on uncertain footing. If you’ve got it in you to carry both pack and canoe at the same time, the lower pack and tumpline rig won’t interfere with your portage yoke as a pack that carries higher and uses a hip support system will.

I’ve even heard of Sherpas cutting out waist belts and replacing them with tumplines. Folks who used to portage and carry A LOT used that system and some who carry for a living every day still do. Frankly, I’m as inclined to consider their experience and traditions as I am to consider that of engineers and marketing folks.


Frost River are similar and preferred by some.


I also know some prefer the synthetic Granite Gear packs for their abrasion resistance, but canvas still has its advantages and is really quite durable. More easily patched, too.

What is
What is A tumpline??

It’s an extra strap…
… with the ends attached to each side of the pack near the top. The strap goes over the top of your head. It’s a lot more comfortable and effective than it might seem at first. Some people really like them, but others don’t. It’s certainly worth a try. All brands of traditional canoe packs have tump lines, except on the smaller models.

Lets you use
your neck muscles - quite strong actually - to help with the load. Tumplines can be used with pack baskets and bear barrels as well. Anything really. Furniture movers use them sometimes.

I really don’t know why more backpacking packs aren’t made to use them. (Though that’s probably a different discussion…) I suspect it has something to do with pack designs evolving out of mountaineering traditions where there is some advantage to keeping the load a little higher and being able to “keep your head on a swivel.”