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Thread: Portaging Trip Plans

  1. #1
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    Default Portaging Trip Plans

    Hi guys,

    I'm looking at doing a portaging trip in northern ontario. Just wondering if anyone has portaged before and what kind of tips and tricks they can offer for a novice portager. I found this website that described this couples journey on this specific route and I am going to try and follow it. (http://www.canoecouple.com/Adventure.../Sakatawi.html)

    Any and all advice would be helpful. Also should mention, this is not a solo trip. I will most likely have company.

    Thanks,

    birdbuff

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  3. #2
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    When you say novice, what's your experience canoeing/portaging/back country?

  4. #3
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    No portaging experience really. But i am very comfortable in the back country and canoeing.

  5. #4
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    Depending on how many days you expect to be out and the distance of some of the portages, you may want to work yourself up to it. Try a few weekend trips leading up to your big adventure.

    Portages in provincial parks like Algonquin are heavily used, well marked, and easy to navigate for the most part. In the north, it's a very different story. You'll want to be very good with your map and compass, know your route, and travel extremely light.

    I'm all for adventure, not trying to keep you from one. Being prepared is the #1 thing you should have in mind. There are lots of resources out there. Keep reading, but more importantly, get out in the bush. If you have no experience portaging, get some before attempting something off the beaten track.

    Just my $0.02

  6. #5
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    Would you consider the French river?
    Its fairly easy to navigate nice campsites a good 4 day run from Dokis down to 69.
    There is some moving water you can run or postage around. Not to mention the fishing is awsome

  7. #6
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    have done thesturgeon river trip before...real nice4-5 day trip

  8. #7
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    Very good suggestions. I will probably go on a couple of easier weekend trips before attempting anything bigger.

    Thanks

  9. #8
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    Its years and years since I've been tripping. Love it, there no way my body could take it, could allow it anymore. Part of me would just love to do some ultralight back country tripping/camping again but I'm a realist. My days of sleeping under canoes, long portages and what not are way behind me.

    Not sure if the site is still active or not but canoe routes if you join will give you all kinds of ideas, from short 2 day loop trips, to trips for the advanced.

    Plan, plan carefully. Its not often everything goes to according Hoyle. In fact I can't think of many trips off the top of my head where things weren't forgotten, lost, injuries, just plain old bad luck/weather.

    If just starting heres my 2c.
    Plan your route carefully and allow plenty of time to complete it, so you can take it easy. Don't push yourself. What I mean by this is, plan to break camp and head out say 8am each day. PLan to make camp say by noon, or 1pm. It gives you lots of time, to enjoy. Ive had to cover more distance than I wanted to in the dark due to misadventure and falling behind schedule. Not fun.

    Consider gloves for your hands, appropriate foot wear, and even your canoe, its balance, yoke, comfort on the shoulders.

    Murphys law. Never forget Murphy is the boss and every now and then he like to pop by and remind of us of that.

  10. #9
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    A list of the most bare essential things for portaging, in order,
    #1 portage solo.
    #1 Make sure your canoe is well balanced at your center thwart/ yolk.

    Other things: If it's bug season be prepared, some are not fans of bug jackets with the zip hood but that's what I prefer. The big down side is that the hood will cause you to over heat more quickly so make sure you have lots of water for the portage.
    I find the biggest issue on long portages is soreness and losing circulation/ tingling in the hands caused by point pressure.
    The best thing to deal with this is to be able to change the pressure points and your position as you go.

    This is one of the reasons balance is so important as it allows you to portage with one hand on the gunnel and one hanging relaxed.
    Other tips to help with this are:
    Lash your paddles to the thwarts so you have lots of options for hand positions; ie. thwarts, gunnels, paddles.
    Use a Tump line attached to the center (carrying) thwart.
    Try putting a lifey on upside down so the bottom of the back covers your neck and provides some padding.
    Portage while waring a small/medium sized pack and rest the thwart on the top of the pack so the straps take the weight. Best to have waist and chest strap so some of the weight is distributed there.
    I'm more of a fan of the straight round carrying thwarts as opposed to the elaborate yolk thwarts as I find the front points dig into my back when I slide the thwart down my back a bit.

    Here is a pic (not mine) of paddle lashing and a thump line:


    As mentioned, practice! Even if it's around the block as you will find the mix of things that you prefer.
    Also try different ways of getting the canoe on your shoulders to see which one works best for you.
    Vertical branches 6-8' off of the ground make great resting places along your way, this saves you from having to raise and lower your canoe at each rest.
    Last edited by Rugger; February 1st, 2014 at 02:51 PM.
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  11. #10
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    Note on balance:
    Ideal is to have it balance so that the bow of the canoe points up so that you can see where you are going.
    However it is better to have it slightly stern heavy than bow heavy, a life-jacket works well as a counter weight as you can strap it to one of the seats, anything that ends up swinging or sliding while you are portaging becomes tiring quickly.
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