How to Pick up a Canoe

Posted on July 31 2018, by Gladys Breckenridge


Every summer, without fail, one of us cranks our back portaging a canoe. Lifting it right is easy, and will save you unnecessary pain. 


1. Face the canoe in the middle, bow on your left, and pull it up on its side.


2. Grasp the near side of the centre thwart with your right hand, and pull the canoe on to your knees so the side fits against your stomach - lift the canoe off the ground.


3. With your left hand, grab the gunnel on the side furthest from you. It should now be possible to 'rock' the canoe.


4. Thrust out with your stomach, push with your right arm and leg, and pull with the left arm so that the canoe rolls over and arcs up and over and then drops on to your shoulders.


5. Steady the canoe by grasping the gunnels, stretching your arms out to find the right balance.


6. You're done! Canoe up. Back intact. Portage away.


One more useful tip: If you get tired on the portage, you can save energy by resting the canoe in a low hanging branch.


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