What's the heaviest portage pack....

you would carry? I’m ready to head out on a loop through BWCA. Our packs are about 40 lbs. We don’t have any portages over 160 yards planned, but I’m sure it won’t be a picnic.

Pack weight for portaging
We pack to single portage (if not on the first day, then shortly thereafter). So our packs may be a little heavier than the average group because we try to keep number of packs down. The heaviest I’ve carried is 80 lbs and that was in a decent canoe pack with padded shoulder harness and belt. That was a food pack for 9 days and thankfully it got lighter each day.

I’d say the usual pack weight on our trips is 45 to 60 lbs. Lighter loads go in the Duluth style packs and the heavier loads go into packs with a good padded harness or even a frame pack. And if I’m portaging a pack and a canoe, I don’t want my pack to be any heavier than 50 lbs.

40 pounds is a nice weight. Usually, we have one quite a bit heavier and two in the 40s. We double portage and enjoy the journey. You should not have much trouble with 40 pound packs on portages of “only” 180 yards (or is it rods). If you need to portage half way way and go back and get the rest and then finish the portage. That way you get a rest when going back. Just sit your stuff off the side of the trail so it will not be in other people’s way. Same for the start and end of the portage.

Did I write yards?

– Last Updated: Jun-02-05 7:29 PM EST –

Of course, I meant to type "rods." Thanks. We're going to double portage, cause I ain't no spring chicken with turkey shoulders no more.

Prefer light but have carried 150lbs for 1/4 mile a few times

Would do it again. beats working.

Portage Packs/ Loads
Last year during a 5 and a half month solo canoe trip across Canada I had some epic portages and some huge loads. I used a Granite Gear Nimbus portage pack and have had it loaded with well in excess of a hundred pounds many times. It carried very well and was in remarkably good condition upon completion of the expedition.

Good luck with your tripping.

cheers…Joe O’

First, get into shape
walk or hike with your canoe- it might be lighter than some of your packs, if you have kevlar, but is more unwieldly. Go ahead, do a rough estimate of your pack, and take a walk. I like one recommendation- make 3 piles, the things you have to have, the things you might want to take, and luxury items. Take one thing from the last pile, everything from the first, and none from the middle. Take a good look at your fishing gear, if taking any. How much can or will you use, how busy of a route are you taking (are you mostly fishing or mostly canoeing/kayaking)? I have more tackle than I could ever use, even from a power boat- one of my buddies encouraged me to take what I really need. Now I am down to 4 plano 3500 boxes that go in a bag designed for a bike handle bars- he was right, I still can’t go through that much stuff, even in a week of fishing. With double portaging, you should have no problem with half mile portages. clothing- things can be worn for a few days, and if you bring nylon or synthetic clothes, can easily be washed. Wear one, wash one, and one for a spare. If you need a pillow because of a bad neck- get a nice little down one- things like that. Get rid of stuff you don’t need and the packs should not be bad.

Single portaging this year with 75lb loads at the start. a good pack makes it manageable. Old backpacking rule of thumb was carrying 1/3 of your body weight would be a comfortable limit. You’d probably want to max out at about 1/2, on up to 2/3 of your weight if you are in good condition. 40lbs is a good compromise weight.