portage padding?

Is there any DIY way/advice to make your own padding, shape etc and material?

Need to carry a 2 person canoe myself…

Start with a good yoke

– Last Updated: May-06-15 1:21 PM EST –

Rather than build your own padding system, I'd just buy a ready-made yoke and install it in the boat. Several companies make portage yokes. The ones which long-distance portagers usually prefer have a pair of large, foam blocks with adjustable positioning, though some traditional, contoured wooden yokes are surprisingly comfortable. I can't provide any manufacturer names right now, but an online search should turn up several. Also, try online paddling stores like Rutabaga or Blue Mountain Outfitters.

I have made several sets
I start with a block of 3/4" plywood about 3" wide x 4-1/2" long. (this will be times two)

If you have any of the big Yakama wing nuts and bolts around that is what I use to connect the block to the portage yoke. If you don’t have any, you can get them in most hardware stores.

I drill a hole for the bolt in the center of the plywood and at the 2" mark from the end.

This allows one end of the block to be more forward or rearwood on the yoke.

I countersink each side of the hole a depth for the bolt head and for a nut.

Next, install the bolt, and tighten it as tight as possible with a nut, (this will allow for the large wing nut to be tightened and removed with out turning the bolt.

Then I cut a piece of closed cell foam the same size as the plywood and what ever thickness that seems comfy to you.

I have two sets. One is thicker then the other.

I slightly round all four sides on the top.

I then use contact cement to glue the close cell foam to the plywood.

After that my wife makes a covering out of a waterproof fabric that you can get at Wally world, and this goes over the whole thing and overlaps about an inch or so under the plywood and I staple it all around on the under side.

Just drill the holes in your yoke to match where you want the blocks to be for your shoulder, and with the use of the large wingnut, you can put the blocks on and take them off whenever you want to

I had all the materials at home so the cost was zero.

Hope this helps a bit

Jack L

Once you get it made and installed
practice using it a lot before you get to the portage. Little tweaks like extra padding or getting the right balance can make all the difference. I carried a 70 pound Grummy on my shoulders with ease after some tweaking.

Agreed, and this old man can carry
an 80 pound OT Disco.

Just not up and down mountains like I can with my Kevlar boats

Jack l

One traditional way

– Last Updated: May-08-15 7:28 AM EST –

involves lashing a "carrying bar" to the thwart with cord that is positioned to hold two paddle blades separated enough to fit your head and rest on your shoulders. The paddle shafts are lashed to the forward thwart or seat frame. A short tumpline is lashed to the thwart/carry bar in a manner that permits the tump to be used to take a portion of the weight of the canoe. This system is extremely comfortable and adjustable and enables you to carry a heavy tripping canoe a long distance in relative comfort. I find it much more comfortable the the yokes often used and referenced by others here.

Here is some info and pictures of the system but wihtout the use of a "carrying bar." http://www.amtraders.com/pricing/rigging%20a%20canoe%20for%20portage.pdf

Here is a picture of the same system with the carrying bar shown but the paddles removed temporarily for clarity. The carry bar and tump stay in place all season. The paddles go in and out for each portage. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-9GtjkHaxaCo/UditWGky-fI/AAAAAAAAJ_U/rLX66s3SwO0/s1600/Keewaydin+WCHA+Cronje+raffle1.jpg

Once you get your systems down, and if you have the right paddle blade shape, you can tie the paddles in such a way that by moving them slightly fore and aft during the carry you can adjust so that more or less weight is on your shoulders v. the tump. So you can vary the pressure which is a great way to extend the time that you can go with the canoe up on your back without growing weary and needing a rest. I think the reason this system has not become the standard is because it does require some time and effort to get it all working well - but if you take the time with it the system really does work very well.

One of the common fail points for a thwart or typical yoke is the attachment to the inner gunwales. There is a tremendous amount of stress at that point especially when portaging. The use of double bolts helps. The use of a carrying bar completely eliminates the stress on the thwart by transferring the weight of the canoe to the top of the gunwales instead of the bolts connecting the thwart to the underside of the gunwales. So if you are doing a lot of portaging this system prevents thwart and yoke failures which can be a problem on a trip and hard to fix until you get back home.