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Unlock the Secrets of Effortless Kayak Portage in 2024

Kayak Portage

Kayak Portage

Updated on 2/20/2024
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail 👋 Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
Learn More about Abigail Scott


Portaging a kayak means carrying it over dry land. It might seem odd, considering kayaks are designed for water, but sometimes you must move your kayak on solid ground.

There are situations where you'll need to carry your kayak around potentially dangerous obstacles, like a low-head dam, whitewater you're not comfortable navigating, or a fallen log.

With some planning and knowledge of the best methods, portaging can be much easier than it appears. To help you with this, we've compiled a user-friendly guide that breaks down the process.

Preparing to Portage

A good portage starts with preparing; reaching goals when your plan is more straightforward. Here's some stuff to think about when making plans.

You have to plan your path before starting a kayaking trip. Make a portage route around stuff you might need to get your kayak past as you figure out your journey.

Be sure you walk the portaging route you thought of before unpacking gear and carrying your kayak. Look for things that might slow you down. Ain't nothing worse than locked gates, downed trees, or even stairs stopping you, and you want to know about them before you have a kayak.

Check that everything fits in your backpack before going on the water. You don't want to find out some important gear won't fit while trying to portage. 😅

Draggin' your kayak might seem like an easy way to move, but it will hurt its hull. It isn't accessible to portage, but it's better than buying a new kayak.

The kayak trolley is made to help you with moving the kayak. The ground should be good for one if you're going to bring it. A tremendous off-road trolley should have big wheels and deep treads.

Techniques for portaging

Getting your kayak out of the water is easy as pie, and paddle to the shore and pull it up. Please put all your stuff in your backpack and wear it once your kayak's safe and sound. A secure, comfy, and non-slip pack is critical. Bail out any leftover water to keep your kayak dry.

Point your kayak's bow in the direction you want to go and face the cockpit. Grab the near edge of the cockpit and hoist it onto your thighs, bending your knees. Hold the far edge of the cockpit, and while turning your body towards your destination, lift the kayak onto your shoulder using one hand.

You can also put the kayak on your head depending on how far you carry it and how wide the path is. Rest both shoulders on the kayak before lifting it over your noggin. To see where you're going, tilt the kayak back a bit.

Take breaks while portaging your kayak. Every 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how heavy your kayak is, lie down and give your arms and shoulders a break. Go slow and keep an eye on your steps when walking with the kayak on your shoulder or head.

Here's a brief diversion

Kayak portaging ain't as fun as being on the water, but sometimes you have to do it. The secret to making portaging a breeze is using the proper techniques and being ready ahead of time. In this guide, you'll find all the essential info to reduce the time spent hauling your kayak so you can jump back in the water ASAP.

 

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you portage a sit on top kayak?

To transport your sit on top kayak over long distances, you should get a kayak cart, wheels, or trolley. When you aren't using them, these kayak carts don't take up much space in your vehicle. They enable you to move your kayak from one place to another.

What does portage mean in canoeing?

Portages, portaging, and portaged are all word forms of portage. An intransitive verb is one that moves from one state to another. If people in a boat such as a canoe portage somewhere, they carry it to another stretch of water overland.