Portaging with a canvas pack
Portaging with a canvas pack

A canoe pack, also known as a portage pack,[1] is a specialized type of backpack used primarily where travel is largely by water punctuated by portages where the gear needs to be carried over land.[2]

When worn, a canoe pack must ride below the level of the shoulders in order to accommodate the wearer also carrying a canoe. Their shallow stature typically has a lower center of gravity than a normal hiking backpack, making storage in a canoe more stable.[2]

A typical pack weight while portaging was 160–200 pounds (73–91 kg) during the North American fur trade era.[3] In order to support the heavy load of the pack(s), canoe packs are sometimes used in conjunction with a "tumpline" or "portage collar," a strap attached to the pack and placed over the top of the head.[4] Portage packs lack many features of long distance hiking backpacks, and so are generally not used for such.



  1. ^ Stiles, Ed. "Searching for the Ultimate Canoe Pack". bwca.cc. Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  2. ^ a b Furtman, Michael (1992). Canoe Country Camping: Wilderness Skills for the Boundary Waters and Quetico. U of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9781452906676.
  3. ^ Woolworth, Alan R. (1993). An historical study of the Grand Portage, Grand Portage National Monument, Minnesota (PDF) (Thesis). Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  4. ^ Conover, Garrett (1991). Beyond the paddle: a canoeists' guide to expedition skills: poling, lining, portaging and maneuvering through ice. Old Bridge Press. ISBN 9780921820291.
  5. ^ "Canoe Packs". paddling.com. 9 September 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-09.