Portage Yoke


Once again the boat propagation virus has taken its toll. I’ll be picking up a tandem tripping canoe in the next few weeks. It has the standard wooden contoured thwart/yoke and I’m interested in experience with various pads/padding applied to the yoke.

The boat will be used for BWCA trips as well as others. I’ve portaged with the elevated-bolt-on type pads with little complaint. Considering the contoured closed-cell neoprene type.

What are the advantage or disadvantage for each type? My thought is the contoured neoprene type may provide more contact/surface area reducing the stress/fatigue on the shoulders. There is, however no elevation for better visibilty and ease of “mounting-dismounting” the boat from the shoulders.

Please provide your thoughts and as always TIA.


Chosen Valley Canoe Accessories
You have got to get the sling-style yoke pads from Chosen Valley Canoe Accessories http://www.gear4portaging.com/pages/332068/index.htm They are great. Plus it is a family owned business – and I mean family as in Mom, Dad, and six children (all minors).

These are the perfect pads for the BWCA and in fact many outfitters use them.

Great product from great people!

I’ll second Ken’s comments
CVCA is the best I’ve seen – plus doing business with a family operation lifts my spirits. I bought a removable yoke with CVCA pads from Bell for use with my ABS Wildfire and I’ve used it on other solos in the “fleet”. As time went by I found I rarely use it anymore just because solos are so relatively light and have a center seat that balances nicely on my shoulders. But a tandem with its extra weight is another matter – a removable (or permanent) CVCA portage yoke would be the way to go. No, they don’t look as “sculpturally” pleasing to the eye as a nicely carved “deep dish” wooden yoke… but they do get my vote for comfort, quality and, well, good vibes. Randall

gardening pad
I was thinking of experimenting with padding a standrd wooden yoke - using those inch and a half foam pads they sell for kneeling while gardening. Some type of closed cell foam, does not soak up water - they cost about two bucks or less, and weigh about 3 ounces whole. Home Depot type of stores all have them. You might want to try a piece for padding if you don’t go with the cvca yoke pads.

Hmmm, Those Chosen Valley…
…pads sure LOOK funny, but Wes, I’ve seen numerous people on other boards rave about the pads and the company. I’m going to order some for my Explorer. I’ve used several different kinds of pads to date and my favorites are some extra large closed cell foam covered in cordura that a friend who’s an outfitter in the BWCAW made several years ago. Also, the padded leather ones made by Bourquin boats were well made. DO NOT get the padded horsecollar yoke! It will kill your neck. Only thing I ever bought from Piragis that stunk. If you buy that Chosen Valley yoke before I do, let us know how it works. Take care. WW

I tried the peel off foam made for canoe yokes, and it didn’t work well. I couldn’t really tell much of a difference with or without it. But, it IS cheap, and worth a try. If it doesn’t work for you, you’re not out much money. WW

Chosen Valley Canoe Accessories
A great little company. Fantastic customer service. An excellant product that makes portaging a pleasure…almost.

no affliation to CVCA

My thoughts
On long portages I want to be able to shift the yoke on my shoulders to find the right balance. Sometimes I want the canoe balance to be slightly bow heavy or stern heavy. So a contoured or cupped pad doesn’t work for me. Also it’s fairly common that I won’t have the same weight of gear attached to thwarts and seats from portage to portage. This affects canoe balance. So again I want to be able to shift the yoke position on my shoulders to compensate. If your normal portage means both pack and canoe on your back, it’s also important to consider the type of shoulder straps on your pack and how the yoke pads and pack straps work together and transfer “load traction” to your shoulders. I like thick padding on the yoke and leather straps on the pack.

I hate to rain on the parade
And as nice as the CV pads look (I’m sure the kids are angels too) I wonder how well such a pad would work for steep uphills or downhills? I imagine that the CV pads are wonderful for level portages (are these the common BWCA/Quetico type?). But my “portage from Hell” experience is on the Dumoine River, with lots of steep up and down routes. The ability to adjust the canoe’s fore/aft trim is very important for the steeps. Another poster mentioned trim due to various accessories strapped inside - I believe his was a valid argument.


No rain on my parade

– Last Updated: Mar-18-05 4:29 PM EST –

I used my CVCA sling pads on the upper and lower Missinaibi. Several portages from hell including the 2300 M Hells Gate carry.

Last year we were on the Bloodvein River and the CVCA sling pads performed perfectly there also.

There is no problem tipping the canoe up, down or sliding it side to side to adjust the load.

I have owned a set of Bourquin BWCA pads for decades, but the CVCA pads beat them for comfort hands down.

Most of the potages in the BW are not level. Hills, muck, rocks, trees to dodge, etc.

As you mentioned and I somewhat prefer, the ability to adjust on the trail is needed. Some old timers prefer no pads for that reason. I’ve used just the twart and it is not that bad. Especially because of the adjustments that can be made.

My bum is on your pads.

Love my CVCA’s
I do a lot of carry-ins to stuff off the beaten path and was very pleased with mine.



The owner of CVCA used to post here
on a regular basis but I can’t remember his board name. Nice guy, and I know he was a welder because we used to discuss the different welding techniques.

Absolutely the best I have found!

If formed right these are way above the MN or sling type yokes and yoke pads for comfort and control!

Much of the carries can even be done without hands if installed correctly like they are on the Kruger boats.

http://krugercanoes.com/prod01.htm scroll down to near bottom of page.


http://krugercanoes.com/prod03.htm as seen in several of the fotos.

There are some deep dish wooden ones out there that are correctly made to carry your load like the Kruger yoke does.

My second choice is the MN Pads like Bourquin makes.

Happy Paddl’n!



Hello, stranger
I still lurk - just don’t have much time to post anymore since going full time with the business 2 years ago. I have to admit, I miss some of the “old crew”. Nice job on the Magic outfitting (including the yoke!). How are things with you?

I appreciate the kind words from everyone. Comments like those really make our week. I’m a woodworker at heart, so I understand the less-than-spectacular cosmetic appeal of the pads, but it’s all about function. In answer to a couple of the concerns, the pads are 8" long, so they do give the ability to shift front-to-back to tweak in balance. The flex of the pads keeps them from slipping off on steep inclines. They adjust side-to-side by loosening the mounting bolts, so you can adjust them to hit the “perfect spot”, or give them a nudge between long portages to hit a new spot. We also have clamp-on & extra thick versions now.

We still do things the old fashioned way - if you’d like to try the pads, just drop an e-mail or a phone call. We’ll ship you the pads with an invoice, and when you are satisfied you can send a check.

Hope that’s not too commercial (I want to stay on Brent’s good side, you know). One of these days I’ll submit something for the New Products page, if I can only find the time.

Thanks again, all!

Oh well
I was just hypothesizing anyway. Glad to heaar that they work in all attitudes.


Oh - and by the way
They are NOT angels.

Well, ok. The littlest one is, but I have a 19 year old that you could pick up dirt cheap.

Hello Ragamuffin good to see that name
on the board again! And I’m so glad you are doing well with your product. Some day I’m going to quit my real job and just go out in the shop and make things I enjoy working on. I was on the phone with Wes yesterday and told him the only reason I haven’t replied to this thread is because your pads are without a doubt the most effective way to carry a large boat in comfort so there is no use talking about anything else.

Great to hear from you…drop me a line.

Good to see you around
I kind of fell away from CCBB and miss you, Nibi and the rest of the gang. Glad to hear the business is keeping you out of trouble. I’ve got a BW trip planned for September so I may have to drop on by CCBB and see who is stirring up trouble these days.

Take care,