Tumps can be hazardous

Once again, Cliff Jacobson touts the value of using a tump when portaging packs. This is in his recent article about canoeing after turning 77.

Cliff might not realize it, but some people have arthritis, and not just oldsters like me, though I’m only a mere 68. I got Lyme disease when I was 56 and have had neck problems ever since. My cervical vertebrae are misaligned, demineralized and at risk of fracture. Walking causes a slight shock to those bones, which normal people can’t feel, but that gives me a headache. If I used a tump I could displace, compress and even shatter one or more vertebrae. The resulting spinal cord damage could end my tripping career and render me paralyzed or dead.

So no thanks, Cliff. You use the tump, I’ll carry a small pack on my chest for balance. And I’ll protect what’s left of my neck.

NYT did a survey of chiropractors finding significant evidence of post treatment for neck/back problems requiring an MD

Having had cervical diskectomies (sp?), there is absolutely no safe way for me to use a tump. I just have to pack lighter and sometimes triple portage (or carry if I’m in the ADK’s).

I had a friend who guided with a tump for years. Compression fractures and fusion was the result
I’ve not been reared to carry heavy loads and those whose cultures have raised them to carry on their heads what was their lifespan ?
Also the loading forces to me seem different
Good for Cliff. But what is good for him
Is not good for everyone
I’m Wondering. Seen him do some portaging. No tump

Most of the rest of the article is nothing new for those of us that still trip. But to suggest a tump without caveat is frankly to me dangerous.

Frankly that whole portage thing sounds dangerous to me.

@Overstreet said:
Frankly that whole portage thing sounds dangerous to me.

You mean in the Everglades! Where you can sink in over your head!

Applying an axial load to the cervical spine is a terrible idea for anyone with any type of cervical spinal problem. The cervical spine is designed for maximum range of motion, not axial load bearing. It appears to be the case that individuals who are introduced to bearing loads regularly on the axial spine at a young age can do so safely. But the weekend warrior who starts doing so in adult life on an occasional basis is another matter.

Sometimes while on day-style trips/paddles, opting for making that 2nd little hike…for the rest of the stuff…isn’t that bad, particularly when you get a good early start. Lots of times I/we have seen other animals…either on the way back or on the return journey…that kind of breaks up what was a somewhat boring portage… Never got into the tumpline, probably because the canoe with whatever gear I had…was enough;-)

never could agree with Cliff on several of his great gear tips. The tumpline is the thing that goes counter to my belief that the hips are better able to support heavy loads than the neck. Getting my first backpack with a good hipbelt back in the 70’s was a revelation. No more canvas straps digging into my shoulders, getting into camp unable to lift my arms above my shoulders. Now my hips carry the load of the pack and my shoulders carry the load of the canoe.
Cliff did see the light about carbon fiber bent shaft paddles a few years back after being a hard core straight shaft paddler. his methods do work, his years in the north are evidence of that; I am just too adverse to pain to use a tumpline or too heavy a paddle.

@kayamedic said:

@Overstreet said:
Frankly that whole portage thing sounds dangerous to me.

You mean in the Everglades! Where you can sink in over your head!

Everglades portage would be at Flamingo where you pull out at the marina, carry or roll across the parking lot and launch on the bay side. Not dangerous at all. But all that lifting, and carrying. Perhaps I’m just getting old and fat.

Be careful when you go to an adventure. When we love what we do, nothing could hinder us even if they are physical issues. Such determination is always inspiring because of the willingness to cross anything just to enjoy and have fun.