Portaging 101: Everything You Need to Know About Camping and Canoeing
Camping and canoeing go together like peanut butter and jelly. You can have one without the other, but there’s just something better about both.
Canoeing is an amazing way to take in the sights of parks, rivers, lakes, and other outdoor landscapes. It’s a peaceful way to explore new areas without the restraints of traffic and city noises.
But when you’re planning a long canoe trip, it’s important to learn how to portage a canoe the right way. If you don’t, you could be looking at injuries or a longer trip than anticipated.
We’ve also got the top 5 locations in the United States where you can find the best camping and canoeing adventures, complete with campground recommendations for you. So once you read all about portaging, book your stay and start your adventure!
The History of Camping and Canoeing
Canoeing has been a part of North America’s history since before the days of colonization.
Native Americans used canoes as their primary means of transportation across water, well before boats were invented. They were used for hunting, fishing, and trading all across the continent.
Original canoes were made of whatever resources were available to the tribe. Usually, this was whatever type of tree or strong plant was available.
Today, we use canoes for recreational purposes. They’re a great way to take in the landscape of an area in the most natural way possible.
The canoes we use now aren’t exactly the same as the ones used by the Native Americans because we have more resources and technology to create more advanced models. In fact, now there’s even a folding canoe!
How to Portage a Canoe
Portaging a canoe is a technique for carrying it. It’s used on longer canoe trips, when you would need to carry a canoe over land to the next body of water.
Here is a guide to portaging a canoe.
If you’re carrying a canoe alone, start by standing facing the canoe in the middle. Slide it up your chins, with the open side facing away from you.
Bend your knees and grab the carrying yoke with one hand on each end. The carrying yoke refers to the piece in the middle of the canoe that has a cutout for your shoulders.
Lift the canoe so it rests on your thighs. Reach over to the gunwale, the widest part of the canoe, and grab it.
You now have two options. One option is to use your leg to push the canoe up to your shoulders. Another option is to let go with the arm that’s still holding the yoke and use it to reach between your knees and hoist up the canoe by the other end.
Tips For a Great Canoe Day Trip
Before you head off into the wilderness with your canoe, there are some things you should know. Like any outdoors activity, you should be aware of the safety precautions before you go.
Make sure you pack light and only take what you’ll need in the canoe with you. This is especially true if you’re portaging for a long distance, as you don’t want too much to carry.
Don’t forget bug spray! Still water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, deer flies, and other types of pests whose bites can irritate you.
Sunscreen is also a must. Even if you stick to shady, forest areas, the sun can get through and you’re bound to hit open spots at some point.
Good Locations for the Best Canoe Camping in the United States
You can launch a canoe in any lake or river, but there are some areas in the United States that were practically made for portaging.
Here are the top 5 locations and regions in the country where you can find some great routes for your canoe adventures, and some campgrounds where you can book your stay.
Most campsites are located conveniently close to canoe outfitters and rental shops, so you don’t need to worry about bringing your own canoe if you don’t have one.
1. The Andirondack Mountains, Northern New York
This mountain rage encompasses a wide area in Northern New York, with tons of regions and communities you can check out.
- Trail’s End Campground: Cold Brook, NY
- Back Bay Campground and Cottages: Hammond, NY
- Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park: North Hudson, NY
- Ledgeview Village RV Park: Lake George, NY
2. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Minnesota
Located right on the Minnesota-Ontario border, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is the ultimate destination for those who enjoy the great outdoors and an escape from civilization.
- Timber Wolf Lodge: Babbitt, MN
- Grand Marais Recreation Area: Grand Marais, MN
- City of Two Harbors Burlington Bay Campground: Two Habors, MN
3. The Colorado River, Arizona
The Arizona section of the Colorado River is one of the most beautiful areas, encompassing a variety of landscape from the Grand Canyon to the deserts and wildlife preservation areas.
4. The Lakes and Rivers of Michigan
Michigan is known for its many, many lakes, which makes it the perfect location to launch your canoe.
- Michigan Oaks Camping Resort: Indian River, MI
- Kalkaska County Log Lake Campground: Kalkaska, MI
- Timber Ridge RV & Recreation Resort: Traverse City, MI
- North Park Campground: Harbor Beach, MI
- Conestoga Grand River Campground: Coopersville, MI
- Perkins Park: Big Bay, MI
5. The Clearwater Canoe Trail, Montana
This canoe route runs through Lolo National Forest, near Seeley Lake. You’ll be surrounded by the beautiful mountains and a gorgeous landscape.
Find the Best Campsite to Launch Your Canoe Camping Trips
BookYourSite lets you choose from thousands of private campgrounds in North America. Whether you want a cabin, tent campsite, or a RV hookup, we have options that will work for you.
There are so many great campsites in perfect areas for canoe camping trips, with plenty of facilities nearby that offer canoe, kayak, and boat rentals.
We’ve taken the hard part out of planning your trip. All you have to do is click, or tap your finger, to book a great spot for the base of your adventure.
Visit BookYourSite now and start packing for your next getaway in the great outdoors!