Credit: Kevin Callan
My canoe partner and I had to adjust for our latest Algonquin Provincial Park canoe trip.
With so many long portages, we definitely couldn’t carry over twice. But doing a single carry isn’t easy. You really have to pack light. To pack less but still have enough gear to enjoy your time out there is truly an art for sure. (Check out the below video to see how Andy and I packed for doing a single portage.)
It also helps to know how to calculate the distance you’ve gone on the portage (or lake or river). It can be difficult at times. There are way too many variables. For example, it may be possible for a canoeist to paddle up to 24 km a day. Add a portage or two to the trip, however, and the distance can be cut in half. It’s also possible for a backpacker to cover up to 30 km a day on a well-marked trail. But off trail, they’re lucky to get up to 16 km.
Here’s a general guide that may help:
- Walking one km (1,000 m) on a flat trail, with a heavy backpack, will take approximately 15 minutes or four km/h.
- Walking one km through thick bush, with a heavy backpack, will take approximately 30 minutes or two km/h.
- Portaging canoe for one km on an even trail will take approximately 20 minutes or three km/h.
- Portaging canoe for one km on an extremely rough trail will take approximately 40 minutes or just over 1-½ km/h.
- Paddling a canoe (tandem) for one km across a calm lake will take approximately 10 minutes or six km/h.
- Paddling a canoe (tandem) for one km across a windy lake would take 15 minutes or four km/h.