Best Canoe for Portaging 2022 (What to Look For)

Interested in a canoe but unsure what to look for when it comes to portaging? You’re not alone. In this blog post, we’ll break down everything you need to consider before making your purchase.

From weight and length to hull shape and storage capacity, we’ve got you covered! So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner just starting, read on for the top tips on choosing the best canoe for portaging.

Best Canoe for Portaging

What is the best canoe for portaging?

When choosing a canoe for portaging, the most important consideration is weight. A lighter boat will be easier to carry over long distances.

Aluminum canoes are among the heaviest boats on the market.

Polyethylene and plastic canoes are even heavier.

Fiberglass canoes are a lighter option, but the best choice is a Kevlar canoe.

Kevlar boats weigh 20% less than a similarly sized fiberglass canoe.

In addition to weight, length is also a factor to consider. A longer canoe will be more difficult to carry, but it will also provide more storage space for gear. Ultimately, the best canoe for portaging will be determined by your individual needs and preferences.

MYCANOE Duo Origami Folding Portable Canoe

The MYCANOE Duo Origami Folding Portable Canoe is a great choice for anyone looking for a quality canoe that is easy to set up and transport. The patented origami design allows the canoe to be quickly assembled and folded back down for storage, and the 14-ft length provides excellent performance on the water.

The body of the canoe is made from custom polypropylene with a 15-year UV treatment that is rated 20,000 folds, making it extremely durable. The optional rowing system is also a great feature, allowing you to enjoy a peaceful paddle on your favorite lake or river.

With over 2,000 5-star customer reviews, the MYCANOE Duo Origami Folding Portable Canoe is a top choice for anyone in the market for a new canoe.


  • Lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Quick and easy to set up.
  • The 14-ft length provides excellent performance.
  • Durable polypropylene construction.
  • An optional rowing system is a great feature.


  • Some customers found the canoe to be too small for two people.

Old Town Sportsman Discovery Solo 119

With all the features of a canoe and the agility of a kayak, the Old Town Sportsman Discovery Solo 119 is the perfect choice for anglers and hunters looking for a versatile solo watercraft.

This grab-and-go solo canoe offers a simple and utility-packed design, including handy features like padded armrests with trays, customizable accessory tracks, a custom tackle box, and plenty of rod holders. 

The Sportsman Discovery Solo 119 is also great for those who want a more comfortable paddling experience, with its padded kayak-style contoured seat and adjustable backrest.

And despite being packed with so many essential features, this canoe is still surprisingly lightweight and easy to handle – perfect for those who want to enjoy a solo adventure on the water.


  • Agile and stable.
  • Handy convenience features.
  • Paddle like a canoe or use the included trolling motor.
  • Adjustable backrest and padded armrests for comfort.
  • Plenty of storage space.


  • Some customers found the boat to be difficult to paddle in windy conditions.

Old Town Penobscot 174 Touring Canoe

The Old Town Penobscot 174 Touring Canoe is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a versatile and durable canoe. The Penobscot is seventeen feet, four inches long and has a three-layer polyethylene hull that is built to last.

With a maximum load capacity of 1,500 pounds, the Penobscot can easily accommodate solo or tandem paddlers. 

The canoe also features nylon mesh seats, aluminum gunwales, comfortable carrying handles, and an ash thwart and yoke. Old Town backs the Penobscot 174 with a limited lifetime warranty, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-quality canoe.

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The Penobscot is a great choice for anyone looking for a versatile and durable canoe that will last for years to come.


  • Durable three-layer polyethylene hull.
  • Can accommodate solo or tandem paddlers.
  • Features comfortable carrying handles.
  • Backed by a limited lifetime warranty.


  • Some customers found the canoe to be too heavy.

Lifetime Kodiak Canoe with 2 Paddles

The Lifetime Kodiak Canoe with 2 Paddles is an excellent choice for those looking for a durable and affordable canoe. Made from high-density polyethylene, it is UV-protected and blow-molded for durability.

Additionally, it includes three molded-in seats, providing floatation and seating for up to three paddlers. The bow and stern seats include quick-release seatbacks, and the canoe has comfortable luggage-style handles for easy transportation. 

The Lifetime Kodiak Canoe also has a high initial stability hull design and comes with a transom motor mount bracket (requires assembly). It has an innovative skeg wheel for transportation and tracking. 

The Lifetime Kodiak Canoe has a 5-year limited warranty and is an excellent option for those looking for a durable and affordable canoe.


  • Durable high-density polyethylene construction.
  • Seats up to three paddlers.
  • Comfortable luggage-style handles for easy transportation.
  • High initial stability hull design.
  • Comes with a transom motor mount bracket and an innovative skeg wheel.
  • Backed by a five-year limited warranty.


  • Some customers found the canoe to be difficult to assemble.

What is the best solo canoe for portage trips?

I’d say Old Town Sportsman Discovery Solo 119 is the best solo canoe for portage trips. It’s agile, stable, and easy to handle, plus it comes with a bunch of handy convenience features like padded armrests with trays, customizable accessory tracks, and a custom tackle box. It also has plenty of storage space for all your gear.

The only downside is that some customers found it difficult to paddle in windy conditions. But overall, it’s a great solo canoe for portage trips.

What is the best tandem canoe for portage trips?

Old Town Penobscot 174 Touring Canoe is the best tandem canoe for portage trips. It’s durable and can accommodate two paddlers, plus it comes with features like comfortable carrying handles and a limited lifetime warranty.

The only downside is that some customers found the canoe to be too heavy. But overall, it’s a great tandem canoe for portage trips.

What does portaging a canoe mean?

Portaging is a term most often used about canoeing. When people portage a canoe, they carry it overland from one body of water to another. This is typically done when there is a stretch of land separating two waterways, such as a dam or falls.

Portaging can also be used as a way to avoid dangerous conditions on a particular stretch of water, such as rapids. Canoes are not the only type of boat that can be portaged; kayaks, rafts, and even SUPs can be carried over land in this way.

However, portaging is generally more challenging with larger boats, since they are heavier and more difficult to maneuver. When portaging, it is important to lift the boat using your legs, not your back, to avoid injury.

With a little practice, anyone can learn to portage a canoe (or any other type of boat) like a pro.

How do you portage a canoe?

Canoe lifts and carries are a necessary part of paddling, whether you’re portaging between lakes or simply moving your canoe from the garage to the water.

There are three basic types of canoe lifts and carries; those performed by more than two paddlers, those performed by two paddlers, and those performed by single individuals. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages.

How do you solo portage a canoe?

Solo portaging a canoe can be done using a single-person lift.

  • First, you need to have a carrying yoke installed in the center of the canoe. If you are facing the bow end of the canoe, you would lift the bow overhead, keeping the stern end on the ground. You may need to put a towel or pad under the stern gunwale to avoid damaging the boat.
  • Next, you would carry the canoe with the yoke across your chest, making sure to keep your arms and legs inside the boat at all times.
  • Finally, you would lower the canoe onto your shoulders, being careful not to drop it on yourself.
  • If you need to take a break, you can rest the canoe on its side on the ground, making sure that the yoke is still secure.
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Can two people portage a canoe?

Canoes are designed to be lightweight and easy to carry, but they can still be challenging to transport if you don’t have the right technique. The good news is that with a little practice, nearly anyone can learn how to portage a canoe.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you should always lift with your legs, not your back. There are two main ways to carry a canoe: the underhand lift and the overhead lift. The underhand lift is best for short distances, while the overhead lift is better for longer distances.

To perform the underhand lift, stand on the opposite side and opposite end of the canoe from your partner. Grab the closest carrying handle or gunwale edge with your boat-side hand (while your partner does the same) and lift straight upwards.

The key is to lift with your legs, not your back. For the overhead lift, grab the canoe at each end with both hands and lift it so that it’s resting on your shoulders. Again, be sure to lift with your legs, not your back.

Once you have the hang of lifting and carrying a canoe, you’ll be able to portage it with ease.

How do more than two people portage a canoe?

Portaging a canoe with more than two people is relatively easy as long as everyone is on the same page and knows their role. The most common method is the simple underhand lift, where paddlers choose spots on either side of the canoe, grab the closest gunwale with their boat-side hand and lift upwards.

This method works best when the terrain is relatively flat, the trail is wide and there are enough paddlers for the job (usually four or more). It can be difficult to coordinate on rougher terrain or narrow trails.

To ensure a smooth portage, it’s important to communicate with your fellow paddlers and plan before starting. With a little coordination, group carries can be a breeze.

Lifting and carrying tips

Canoes are often carried by single individuals, but lifting is almost always easier with more than one person. If you want to learn single-person lifting and carrying techniques, do so with the help of experienced paddlers (who can act as spotters). Never attempt such techniques for the first time alone.

Lifting and carrying techniques designed for two or more people require communication and coordination. Practice them before you leave on your first trip.

Canoes are typically lifted from the gunwales (sides), but there are other ways to lift a canoe depending on the situation. For example, if you need to lift a canoe over a log or other obstacle, you can position yourself at the bow or stern (front or back) of the canoe and lift it onto your shoulders.

When lifting a canoe, always use the muscles in your legs as much as possible, keeping your back straight and your knees bent. This will help prevent injuries. Remember to empty your canoe of all water and equipment before you lift it—extra weight is harder to lift and it can damage your canoe hull.

Finally, whenever possible, lift your canoe with another person or persons. Two people can lift a canoe much more easily than one person can, and four people can carry a canoe even more easily than two.

When portaging, always be aware of your surroundings and take care not to drop or damage your canoe. Be especially careful when lifting and carrying around obstacles such as logs, rocks, and branches.

How difficult is portaging?

Portaging, or carrying your canoe around an obstacle on land, is not easy. It requires strength, balance, and coordination. And, of course, you have to be careful not to drop the canoe or injure yourself.

But with practice, you’ll probably find that you’re capable of more than you know. Start by practicing in your backyard or at a nearby park. Then, when you’re ready, try a short portage on a day trip.

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Once you’ve mastered the basics, you might find that portaging isn’t as difficult as it seems.

How heavy should a canoe be for portaging?

When deciding how heavy your canoe should be for portaging, there are a few factors to consider.

  1. First, think about the terrain you’ll be covering. If you’ll be portaging over rugged, hilly terrain, a lighter canoe will be easier to carry. On the other hand, if you’ll be mostly walking on flat ground, a heavier canoe can be easier to handle because it won’t bounce around as much.
  2. Second, consider your strength and fitness level. If you’re relatively fit and strong, you’ll be able to handle a heavier canoe. But if you’re not as strong or you have injuries that could be aggravated by carrying a lot of weight, it’s best to err on the side of a lighter canoe.
  3. Finally, think about how many people will be helping you portage. If you’re alone, a lighter canoe will be easier to carry. But if you have two or more people working together, you can manage a heavier canoe since the weight will be distributed among multiple people.

Generally speaking, 20-40 pounds is a good weight for a single person to carry on their shoulders. But ultimately, the best answer is to experiment with different weights and see what works best for you given the specific circumstances of your portage.

How can I make canoe portaging easier?

Portaging a canoe is no easy feat, but there are some things you can do to make the process easier.

  • First, invest in a good yoke and padding. This will help distribute the weight of the canoe more evenly and prevent bruising.
  • Next, tidy up your belongings before reaching the portage trail. This will save time and effort in the long run.
  • Once you reach the portage, get your feet wet (or wear rubber boots) to prevent slipping.
  • Then, unload the canoe into a tidy pile. This will make it easier to put everything back in later on.
  • When lifting and lowering the canoe, be sure to use proper techniques to avoid injury.
  • Finally, it’s always helpful to have a buddy on the portage trail. Not only will this make the journey more fun, but it will also allow you to take breaks when needed.

With a little preparation and some helpful tips, canoe portaging can be a breeze.

How long does a portage take?

Portaging, or the carrying of canoes and gear overland between waterways is an essential skill for any canoeist. But how long does it take to portage a distance of 1000 meters? On average, it takes twenty minutes.

This may seem like a short amount of time, but when you’re carrying packs and a canoe, it can be tiring work. Usually, people can keep going for forty minutes before needing a break.

However, with a canoe, you have to stop every twenty minutes to rest for five minutes before continuing. So, while portaging may not be the most exciting part of canoeing, it’s important to know how long it takes so you can plan your trip accordingly.

Where does the term portage come from?

The term ‘portage’ is derived from the French word ‘porter’, meaning ‘to carry.’ It refers to the process of carrying a boat or canoe over land, between two bodies of water. The term can also be used more broadly to refer to any journey or route that must be taken on foot, rather than by boat.

In many cases, portages are necessary due to geographical features such as falls or rapids. However, they can also be used to bypass dangerous areas of water or to access parts of a river or lake that would otherwise be unreachable.

Whatever the reason, portaging is an essential skill for anyone who wants to explore the world by canoe or kayak.


Portaging is a necessary skill for any canoeist or kayaker. It can be difficult, but with some preparation and the right techniques, it can be easy. Portages usually take around twenty minutes but can take longer depending on the distance and terrain.

Keep these things in mind the next time you’re planning a canoe trip, and you’ll be sure to have a successful and enjoyable journey.

Last updated on July 4, 2022 by Duncan Barrett

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