portage tump?

Does anybody use a tump to prtage, I am curious about this, but i never seen any one portage this way.

I don’t.
Many do, but I have had issues with herniated discs in my neck and see no erason to tempt fate. Clif Jacobson thinks they are the best thing since sliced bread.


Cliff ?
I guess I never thought about him. I just figured for a heavier boat on longer portages it might the carry easier. That said I have never tried it, figured I would get input from those who have. Having a disk issue would make a tump a mute point. I was thiking if I had a heavy-ish boat, I could use a heavy pack and a tump on the canoe to take all the weight from my shoulders and help to displace it some.


Ah’ use a tumpline ta portage me Duluth

– Last Updated: Dec-16-08 12:07 PM EST –

packs but never tried carryin' de canoo itself wit a tumpline. Gadzooks, ah' used ta have a scalp full of luxooreeoos haar dat wood have look'd good on one o' dem Mingo varmint's lodgpole before ah' started usin' a tumpline...

Me'neckbone be not quite wat it used ta be, but it still OK wit de packs.



– Last Updated: Dec-16-08 12:02 PM EST –

I'm not sure I understood what you just said. You want to carry your canoe with a tump line? Usually the tump is used in conjunction with the shoulder straps on the pack. I think getting the weight of the canoe off your shoulders with a tump line would be a new idea - one I wouldn't do because the canoe would be kind of squirrelly supported that way - and I think therefore dangerous. I don't mind a tump line with a pack because the whole pack moves with my body - no risk of twisting my neck when the load moves in one direction and my body moves the other as could happen with the boat.

I don’t
Even though I’ve owned portage packs that came with a tumpline, I don’t use them. My portage load has always been and still is a pack and a canoe. It would be difficult and probably dangerous to use a tumpline with that load. And if your portage load is just a canoe, Cliff’s books show how to rig a tumpline for use on a canoe as well. This might be OK on portages where your footing is solid, but I sure wouldn’t want to basically have my head locked in the yoke when walking uphill or downhill grades where there is loose rock, slippery bedrock, or wet tree roots to potentially cause disaster!

Canoe tump
is used in conjunction with a middle twart. The twart rests on the back and the tump puts the load on the spine. It makes carrying a heavier boat easier and less stressful to the traps and neck. I posted this as I have never done it and was curious. I fyou want mor einfo, google “traditional portage” or “Portage Tump”


I realized I was uninformed about this after reading DuluthMoose’s post below.

No sorta
I did portage on top of my head for a 5 day trip once. Just put the seat on my head and walked on in to the wilderness. It wasn’t too bad, buts I know Cliffs idea would have been sweet.

Oh well if you hold up every trip for perfect equipment you never go anywhere!

Take a look at this…

I have carried c-1s and OC-1s balanced
on my head for over 30 years. The foam pedestal rests on my head, and if the boat is well balanced and it isn’t windy, I can balance the boat no-hands for short periods. I can walk over somewhat rough ground or off-trail, within reason. On the few occasions where I have started to fall, it was possible to swing or throw the boat down without incident.

Studies on African women heading heavy loads have shown that carrying loads on the head can be associated with lower energy consumption than use of a western backpack. But heading takes getting used to. Head balancing is not the same as using a tumpline, but has its similarities.

I did acquire some buzzing in one of my high cervical nerves, but it didn’t persist. I’ve switched from a 65 pound to a 48 pound whitewater boat.

I often use a tump. Mostly I carry the food barrel with a tump – just the tump, no backpack straps. Occasionally I’ll carry a larger pack with a tump, just for fun. :slight_smile:

I don’t like to use the tump with the backpack straps. In order to use both, or even to switch from one to another, your stance/posture has to change and where/how the load is situated on your back. IMO it’s just better to go with one or the other.

As far as your idea of carrying a canoe, and a pack with a tump, I don’t think it would work and if you tried you’d get hurt. Your body has to be in a leaned forward position in order to carry a load with a tump. Also, I use my hands to hold the tump up around my ears. That would make it difficult impossible to carry a canoe at the same time.

If you want to portage both a canoe and a pack at once use the backpack straps on the pack, not the tump.

Sure on Woods Packs
with no waist belt. If the tump is properly riding and fitted and you fall it should’t wind up around your neck…

Some people do carry canoes that way. It takes a strong muscles and young discs…I have a couple of friends getting older that because of years of tumping packs and canoes now have spinal issues…

I am not about to experiment with a really heavy pack and a tump. My barrel has a harness that allows both tumping or use of a waist belt.

I have
I have used one on packs and canoes.The key if you are using shoulder straps or a carry yoke is to get the right fraction of weight on the tump.This requires some fiddling with the length or the tump.I think for most people who havn’t grownup doing this using only a tump would be inviting neck trouble unless you worked up to it over a long time.Also, the tump goes on the forehead not the top of your head.I probibly used 1/4 of the weight on the tump.Since I started using a frame pack and hip belt-Knupack type carring method,I don’t use one anymore.



Not on forehead
That puts a lot of strain on your neck muscles… The force needs to go down your spine

From the Duluth Pack People(I guess Cliff wrote this):Tumplines shouldn’t be worn on the forehead. Put the pack on wearing the shoulder straps, then place the tumpline across the top of the head, just to the rear of the hairline.

This is the way I have done it and it seems to work…Most of the time however I wear a hip belted pack so I cant claim to be close to a tumpin’ mule.

Those who don’t know how to use a tump tend to put it too far forward and then would have neck or spine problems. Used correctly it should be easier on your back than the backpack straps. Straps pull your shoulders back and the weight is concentrated on the shoulders off center of the spine, while a tump keeps everything center and the weight is distributed along the spine.

Easy fer Cliffy ta say…
“then place the tumpline across the top of the head, just to the rear of the hairline.”

Well, then ah’ be’a waarin’ dat thaar tumplin’ down on me upper neckbone, cuz dat waar me haarline deez days a’be.


Yes hairline
I should have been more specific.My opinion is coloured by the 18th century method which I emulate in other venues.


Cliffy is moving that way too
D’ya think he should rewrite the instructions?

Do not be a slave
My neck really bothers me from carrying heavy stuff that way. I often wake up at 3 am with stiff neck and pain. Please realize boats are for us. We are not slaves to carry a heavy boat many miles. My bro and i did the 90 miler. It has 83 miles of paddling and 7 miles of portage. We used a heavy cart and had fun.

Wheels are a great invention.