yolk options for solo canoe

What sort of yolk do you have on your solo? None, just thwarts? A thwart replaced with a yolk? a removable yolk?

Adjustable yoke
sort of like this one:


I rarely use it. Usually I’ll just rest the front edge of the seat on the back of my neck and shoulders - works fine for short carries.

In a true solo, a permanently attached yoke would get in the way of paddling.

A yoke should be at the balance…
point of a canoe.

That would interfere with the seat on a solo.

We have two solos here at the house, and if I wanted to portage either of them, I would make a removable one.

It is a simple thing to do. I made a removable one for my kayak.

Jack L

usually none
My solo whitewater canoes have minicell pedestals or saddles. The others have either a wooden seat, wooden kneeling thwart, or an adjustable tractor seat.

For short carries I usually just carry the boat with one gunwale resting on my shoulder, for very short carries I carry it like a suitcase.

For longer carries I usually just balance the forward edge of the kneeling thwart, or seat on the back of my neck, or balance the foam pedestal on one shoulder.

I have a removable yoke of the type Erik E. referred to and if I was planning a trip where long portages were anticipated I would take it.

The seat is aft of center
and so not at a good balance point.

And the edge is pretty uncomfortable. I use an Essex Industries yoke with Chosen Valley sling pads

Its all off my neck


I have a Mad River Explorer, a Mohawk…
…Nova Odyssey 16, and a…well, the Uberbot is a Royalex 16-footer out of some small, short-lived New England stable of the 1980’s, as Mike tells me (perhaps Dreamboat?). None of these you would normally call a solo boat. But, that’s what they are, for both myself and wife.

Anyway, Mohawk Canoe, when they existed (Damn this demise of Royalex, for they were[Are?] a very fine outfit!), sold portage straps. These are 2-3/4 or 3" wide red nylon webbing straps, with thin aluminum anchor plates at each end which can be screwed or riveted to the gunnels/gunnel insert plates. (All the abovesaid vessels have vinyl gunnels, but I suppose these plates might be screwed/riveted onto the hull, or a wood mount block fashioned beneath thinner wood gunnels.)

All the said boats have center seats installed, with their leading edges about 4-1/2 to 5" aft of the hull’s center. The Uberbot, weighing in an just over 80-pounds, still maintains it’s original wood portage yoke, although fastened to/through the gunnels with stainless bolts and wing-screws. But the fiberglass Explorer and Royalite Nova (roughly 70 and 59 pounds, respectively) make use of this portage strap system, and it has served me well for about a decade now in overhead self-carries from the car roof rack to waterline, and even on a few lenghthier carries up to about a thousand feet. I wouldn’t make use of the strap, though, for much lengthier portages, as I don’t consider the support to be stiff enough to prevent excessive up-and-down flex, especially crossing irregular and steeper pitched terrain. (Baseball caps with metallic-cored beanies can prove quite painful.)

That’s chiefly why the Uberbot has kept its wood yoke.

One alteration to the strap system we made, thanks to the late Jim Saulters’ fine recommendation, was to swap-out the Delrin buckle clasps, a plastic two-pronged clip subject to cold and fatigue snapping, for hard aluminum dual d-rings. Only on a few occasions did I need to fuss more than 20 seconds to loosen the strap, cinched-up a little tighter than at start per the bouncy portage pressures exerted.

The nice things about this webbing strap system are that it’s always there, connected to the boat, it is quickly put in place or out-of-the-way (rolls up under the gunnel and is held in place by a Velcro strap), and it weighs perhaps less than 6 ounces (the metal d-rings providing the bulk of that weight). With the Uberbot I’ve got to fuss, often with cold, clumsy fingers, with the bolts and infernal wing-nuts (and lock washers) which are forever trying to fly off to their drowned demise. And then, on the water, I’ve got to store that chunk of wood bungied to the rear wood carry handle.

I see that Mohawk’s website is still up. Not sure they’re in viable operations, though. But I see that they don’t have the webbing portage strap listed in their pull-down menu of outfitting odds-and-ends. I’d suspect, however, that you might be able to find the materials elsewhere to fashion this system, should you choose.

My two solo boats, Kevlar Wenonahs, have not been arrayed with portage yokes, as I’ve seldom had cause to carry them far, and, as light as they are to me, relative to my other “solo” beasts, I just usually prop the leading edge of their sliding bucket seats (a Voyager and out-of-commission Rendezvous) on my shoulder for the short car-to-shore carries I make.

Well, whatever totes-your-boat, happy portage-to-paddles to you.

works fine for me

– Last Updated: Sep-22-15 11:30 AM EST –

The seats in my boats are positioned to that the hull is neutrally trimmed.

The boats I have with wooden seats and kneeling thwarts are set up for kneeling and I have them placed so that my center of gravity is amidships. This places the front of the seat or thwart only a couple of inches aft of center for a symmetrical hull. Of course, the mid portion of the seat is well aft of center, but I am using the front of the thwart or the front seat frame as a rest.

This is so close to the center of mass that it creates no significant problem. I have one or both arms supporting a gunwale or gunwales well in front of the center of mass so it makes for a very stable tripod.

Mohawk Canoe
They still exist as a company. I don’t know if they have any actual canoes still in inventory to sell, however. They are selling accessories like outfitting and just started making some flotation bags in-house.

The bags that they are making are specifically sized and shaped for small, polyethylene whitewater boats thus far, such at the Blackfly Option and Octane 91/92.

Mohawk has been promising a line of blow molded polyethylene boats for quite some time. These will be necessarily small and short and completely oriented to whitewater. We were told that the first model, the “Phiend” was “coming soon” some 2 1/2 years ago, or more.

The general feeling about this among most whitewater boaters I know is “Wake me when Elvis gets here.”

how far do you walk?
All my trips involve portages. Some are over a mile long… and my hands are at my side aside from stream hopping or rocky sections. I use a line with a quick release buckle in the middle. The ends of the line are at the bow and stern… Perfectly balanced I can adjust with a little pressure on the line to go bow up or bow down as hills present themselves

I have marked my yoke position on each boat.Even putting the yoke half an inch off makes a marked difference.

My seat front edge is farther back. Fat people need to be further back for their mass to be centered. Six to eight inches.

I am not a river paddler and usually the bow is a little light to ride over lake waves.

long portages
As I said, if I am planning a trip that involves long portages, I will take a removable yoke. Having said that, it has been ages since I have used a removable yoke.