Yoke comfort?

Hi -

I’m shopping for a new yoke on a budget and wondering how comfortable the ash ones are from Mad River ($30)? I’ve also seen some more sculpted ones from Alain Rheaume on eBay that look like they will carry a heavy load more comfortably, but will cost me about $90 delivered.

I’m not going to be using these for paddling, but to haul two 5-gallon buckets of dirt up and down the hill to my garden. I used a yoke before at a backwoods ski hut to haul water, and it worked well to carry 80 - 100 lbs.

Thanks for the advice for this off-paddling topic.

It comes around your 9th anniversary

But for carrying water as you describe, there is no doubt that contoured yoke will be much more comfortable and will work better.

contoured yoke pad
You could buy a contoured yoke pad for the flat yoke, or make your own. You can get foam floor mat material from Harbor Freight or Walmart fairly cheaply and glue up multiple thicknesses of it with contact cement. Then shape the foam to fit your shoulders.


– Last Updated: Mar-22-13 5:45 PM EST –

So I should go with contoured to make life a bit happier? Here's picture links:

It's a bundle of stair-steps down to the fenced garden shown here; a second set of stairs just above the garden fence not visible in the photo:


$65 shipped:

$47 shipped... a little short:

A beauty at about $90 shipped from the Great White:

Avoid the $27 one? Go for the $65 one? Thanks!

no doubt the $90 looks mighty comfy
You might check with Nova Craft. They make a pretty comfy yoke, very similar to the $90 unit. But they may sell them for a little less. I looked on their website but didn’t see any accessories. Maybe I’m blind. Could be worth a call.

bare wood
is rarely comfortable contoured or not. buy cheap and add as much foam padding as necessary.

I glued 1/2 inch closed cell foam to my flat canoe yoke.

It’s comfy, and because it is pink (I found it in the water), it makes a sassy fashion statement.

This has been my experience as well. Although a contoured wood yoke is more comfortable than a flat one, if you are willing to spend around $90 I would buy the cheapest flat yoke you can find and add a pair of sling type yoke pads such as those sold by Chosen Valley or Wenonah.

Some 2 diminsional shaping is good,
but 3 dimensional is unnecessary. In fact, three dimensional shaped yokes won’t fit some people (Igor and similar).

All I had to to on the 2 dimensionally shaped yoke that came on my Bluewater was to add a stick-on foam pad.

Sissies will have more elaborate suggestions…

my experience
my experience with yoke carrying is 80# grummans mostly. for me,and everybody is different, a yoke with soft pads on each shoulder and no contact on my neck was far more comfortable than a countoured one. even the old lash the paddles in and use them and a keyhole pfd to carry is more comfortable than a wraparound contoured yoke for me. i suggest you somehow try out yokes.


A Grumman yoke worked
pretty well for our 85# Moore, and its simple design made for safety in getting the yoke up on my shoulders. I also tried a highly shaped and dished Mad River yoke, but it did not rest right on my shoulders, and the narrow neck slot made entry seem a bit unsafe.

Now we have a 48# Bluewater tandem, with a shaped flat yoke. At its lighter weight, just adding a shaped pad was all I had to do. There is some flex or bounce that I find a bit disconcerting. I’d like less flex, and may add some carbon along the length of the yoke arms to stiffen it.