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 Post subject: packing the canoe
PostPosted: January 4th, 2009, 9:47 am 
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Joined: January 6th, 2005, 11:08 am
Posts: 281
Location: Bristol,Quebec,Canada
As many of you may remember my husband and I had a serious dump in a rapid last summer. I am still very nervous about returning to paddling ww and will probably do more portaging in the future. However,if we can solve our canoe's balance problem, I might regain some confidence.
We have a 16 ft Evergreen Prospector in royalex. To accomadate our new dog we had tried different packing methods. The last being, me in bow (135 lbs), dog behind bow seat (45lbs),1st barrel /food (+50 lbs)behind dog and lashed to yoke,2nd barrel(-50 lbs) and Woods Mason canoe pack (40lbs)between yoke and thwart,small pack/misc(10-20lbs) under thwart,then husband in stern (220). This method caused much instability. Because of width between yoke and thwart the 2 barrels could not sit together lengthwise and very tight side by side crosswise. So I have trimmed some weight from 1st barrel,got rid of 2nd barrel and repaced it with a Eureka S115 canoe pack ,kept Woods Mason canoe pack,downsized the exta/misc pack,closer to 10 lbs.
Now I am looking for new suggestions on packing methods.
I am also interested in how others pack their canoes.
Anyone care to share?
I remember also getting advice on possibly moving the yoke.
The other alternatives are to leave our dog at home but really don't want to do that, or becoming minimalists, or changing canoe.
Thanks in advance. :D


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 Post subject: Re: packing the canoe
PostPosted: January 4th, 2009, 10:53 am 
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Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Quote:
So I have trimmed some weight from 1st barrel,got rid of 2nd barrel and repaced it with a Eureka S115 canoe pack ,kept Woods Mason canoe pack,downsized the exta/misc pack,closer to 10 lbs.
Now I am looking for new suggestions on packing methods.


Esther, the best way of packing the canoe so that more space would be there for a dog, might be to use both canoe packs, and jam them in sideways on either side of the yoke. The idea would be to use all the space on the right and left of both packs, so they're packed in tightly against the sides of the canoe, and against each other at the center.

The dog should have some space somewhere with this arrangement, or some space could be created by sliding both packs forward or backward, so that one pack is under the center yoke.

A barrel and pack could be used the same way, but a barrel will probably be less space-efficient than a soft-sided pack, which could be squeezed in under a yoke and in against the other pack, to reduce the amount of unused space. Is it possible to eliminate the barrel so that all gear in in the two canoe packs and daypack, and then hang the food up in a tree every night?

There are photos of Bill Mason in a tandem canoe loaded with two canoe packs in sideways, on either side of the yoke, in his book Path of the Paddle... maybe this will be a way to create more space with your gear.

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 Post subject: Re: packing the canoe
PostPosted: January 4th, 2009, 11:37 am 
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Joined: October 25th, 2005, 8:24 pm
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Location: Stillwater, Minnesota
Hi Ester,

Here's how I pack my 16' Prospector:

Image

This set-up works for trips up to about 10 days in length.

Esther wrote:
...I had a serious dump in a rapid last summer. I am still very nervous about returning to paddling ww and will probably do more portaging in the future. However,if we can solve our canoe's balance problem, I might regain some confidence.


I believe strongly in flotation bags for whitewater trips. I use NRS bags which weigh practically nothing. If you swamp in whitewater, you want your boat to float as high as possible. The bags will displace water, making it easier to get the boat to shore and also help prevent a wrap.

Also, have a well thought out tie-down scheme. I used 4 D-rings and the center thwart. Do not tie to the seats because they are not strong enough.

Painters at both ends - the sketch says 50ft but I use about 25ft of rope. Too much creates management and entanglement problems.

Keep the center of gravity as low as possible. If you pack low and kneel in whitewater, the dog will have less effect on the overall boat balance.

This is what it looks like on the trail. Everything lashed down.

Image

I think you have made a good choice getting rid of one of the barrells and getting a large portage pack for your gear. The small pack in the stern shown in the sketch is for rain wear, camera and other items one needs to frequently access. I usually just pass a strap through the lashing ropes. As a general rule there is no digging in the large portage pack once it has been waterproofed and closed up.

Image

My experience with pooches is that they will wonder to and fro in the canoe. To a pooch...even barrels are oh so comfy.. :wink:

Hope that helps.

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 Post subject: Re: packing the canoe
PostPosted: January 4th, 2009, 11:57 am 
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Joined: August 27th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
I've always liked bigger canoes when carrying my dogs on trips. I've usually used either the 17 foot Winisk or the 18 foot Quetico. Both of these canoes will fit two barrels side by side. I always kept the dog in the aft section, by me, so I could provide the necessary discipline if he got antsy. However, having said all that, if i came to a particularly knarly set of rapids, I pulled into shore, port or no port, and tossed the dog out. He was then free to run along shore or swim the rapids while we shot them. He did swim some very substantial rapids, which was quite funny/scary at the same time...he was a siberian husky/sheperd cross, and he had extremely large ears, sometimes they were the only thing i could see as he negotiated the rapids. In any case, I see a few possible cures for your dilemma..
1. (impractical) get a bigger canoe
2. Move those thwarts around to make more room...for instance, if there is thwart behind the bow seat, you could probably take it out and open up enough room to get two barrels in front of the center thwart.
3. There is a substantial weight difference between you and your bowsman, so you do need to pack weight forward. If you could get all the heavy stuff in two barrels or bags behind you, then one lightish pack only in the aft section, plus the dog, you might balance out a bit better.
4. As previously mentioned, chuck the dog and make him walk when running rapids.
5. This is the best one...do more porting. Your dog will love you, you will feel safer, and it will allow you some time to regain your sea legs. I'm a big fan of porting, and will almost always do it if i think there is a chance of mucking up. Or, even just port a couple of bags, and then run the canoe through with or without Fido. I've done that before too. However, i think the most important thing for you to do is get back on that horse and ride it, get some confidence back.


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 Post subject: Re: packing the canoe
PostPosted: January 4th, 2009, 12:15 pm 
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Joined: October 25th, 2005, 8:24 pm
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Location: Stillwater, Minnesota
RHaslam wrote:
However, having said all that, if i came to a particularly knarly set of rapids, I pulled into shore, port or no port, and tossed the dog out. He was then free to run along shore or swim the rapids while we shot them. He did swim some very substantial rapids, which was quite funny/scary at the same time...

Yep...let the dog out run along the shore. Standard practice if the landscape permits. Murph (above) swims class II with ease. Just take off the dog collar so they can't get hung up on stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: packing the canoe
PostPosted: January 4th, 2009, 1:21 pm 
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Joined: September 15th, 2006, 5:09 pm
Posts: 181
Location: Toronto, ON
I have a pretty similar packing challenge, because me (180 cm) my wife (175 cm) and my son (185 cm) typically share the same canoe.

Sharing 16" Prospector was rather painful experience. 17" canoes are more or less OK. However we like stable boats from 18" and 18.5" Souris River Quetico is our favorite.

I do not believe that you can find a satisfactory way to pack your family into 16" Prospector. Just try renting a bigger boat at least once and then you may reconsider your approach.

I believe that placing your packs immediately behind you and moving your dog to the aft section is the most valuable advice you've already received.

By the way, when I do not have enough space in a canoe I place my 30 liters barrels vertically. This approach insignificantly increases the height of a center of mass of a canoe and saves a lot of space.


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 Post subject: Re: packing the canoe
PostPosted: January 4th, 2009, 2:51 pm 
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Joined: October 2nd, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1155
Location: seattle, Washington USA
Esther, I don't have experience tripping with a dog, but I started my son tripping in the bow when he was seven. As well, I'm very critical on load balance as we run remote northern rivers. For trips longer than two weeks, a seventeen foot canoe, like a Prospector or OT Tripper is the way to go. However, for shorter trips, the sixteen foot Prospector should be fine. The first thing, as others have mentioned, is to strap the load down well. I use D rings glued to the bottom of the boat, and good nylon straps well snugged. Straps or lines with the ends tied to thwarts will allow the load to float when swamped. For trips under two weeks, I use two 30l barrels right side up and side by side, just forward of the yoke. Behind the yoke, I put two Duluth #3's side by side, as with the barrels(athwartships). Forward of the barrels, goes a Duluth Cruiser #2 with axe, tarp, stove and pots and pans, some weight, but lighter than the barrels and #3's. Aft of the stern seat, is a soft day pack, also strapped in. Forward of the bow paddler, I strap in a water jug. This helps balance my weight in the stern. None of this reaches more than a few inches above the gunnels. I also pack the barrels etc. so that the greatest weights are low.

The idea behind all this is to keep the cg low in the boat, and strapped tightly so there is no chance of load shift. As well, enough of the canoe is filled with gear that floats, that the canoe will float when swamped. Aside from the paddlers, a lot of weight is concentrated in the middle, around the yoke, making the boat easier to turn. However, that is not to say, it will spin easily. A loading tripping boat is more akin to a truck/trailer rig, than a small agile car. One additional thing is that I have lightweight removable thigh straps for both paddling positions. With a loaded boat, my son was complaining that he couldn't lean the boat as effectively without the straps.

I would also recommend a WW course. I don't know the circumstances of your experience last summer, but WW can be fun and sometimes is necessary depending on the route. Taking a course, and regularly running rapids with an empty boat in a group, allows you to build confidence and skills in a controlled situation.

Hope this helps.


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