Recent Comments

Properly Portaging Your Canoe

Technique is more important than sheer strength when lifting your canoe.

  • fig1.jpgStanding at the canoe’s center, rock the boat to generate enough momentum so that it’s sideways, with the top facing away from you.
  • fig2.jpgWith your right hand, reach over the boat and grab the center of the yoke. Then spin the canoe completely around toward your thighs.
  • As the canoe comes up, grab the top gunwale with your other hand.
  • fig3.jpgUsing your thighs to support the canoe (which is now facing you), move your other hand from the yoke to the bottom edge of the canoe.
  • Push the canoe up with your knee and snap it around your head.
  • fig4.jpgSettle the yoke on your shoulders—not your neck—and go on your merry way.

On the first portage, Michael Jokl was wearing sandals and almost twisted his ankle in the thick mud. Michael learned the hard way that while sandals are ideal at home, they don’t provide the necessary ankle support for doing a wilderness portage.

When carrying upwards of 80 pounds over mud, rocks and roots, you need sturdy boots with good traction. Matt Hidding’s swamp boots — or any jungle boot with a vulcanized sole — are ideal.

1 Comment on Properly Portaging Your Canoe

  1. In scouts you have a buddy. Your tips are great for the solo canoe adventurer but since there are two of you for scouts always tandem lift the canoe and save your energy for the actual portage. Also have your buddy walk with you so he can help you if there’s a need on the trail; he’ll also be there to help it off you at your destination. That is the “Properly” way to do it.

Leave a Comment

Please don't use your real name.