This canoe technique originally appeared in Canoeroots and Family Camping magazine.
For too many, carrying a canoe means suffering through grinding shoulder discomfort and aching arms held high to balance the canoe. Make carries easier by adopting the tumpline method used by Aboriginals and early explorers.
Set up your tump by attaching a leather or nylon strap to either end of your centre thwart. For most canoes and carriers, the tump should hang to almost touch the bot- tom of the canoe when on the water.
Use your normal method to hoist the canoe so the centre thwart (rounded for com- fort, if possible) is resting on your shoulders. Position the tump over your forehead with one hand so that the weight pushes down with your head and neck in a comfortable position. The tump becomes a cushioning leaf spring that takes much of the weight off your shoulders and sends it straight down your spine, where it belongs.
The tump may take a few portages to tune and get used to but it will take you to the good places: canoe, pack and paddle in one trip
This article originally appeared in Canoeroots & Family Camping, Fall 2008.