Friday, December 19, 2014

Alternate Canoe Tump Tying Method

Calvin Rutstrum's outdoor classic, Way of the Wilderness, is often cited as an important book showcasing outdoor and canoeing skills.  Published in 1946, it features some of his practical ideas for canoe camping at the time. Pages 25-26 have a brief blurb on portaging a canoe with a tumpline rigged up in a different manner than other sources.

After setting up the headband between two paddle blades, the tump straps are lashed around the blades and extended to the thwart where the remaining ends are used to lash the handles.



Way of the Wilderness, p. 25



Never used this method before, since I find the paddle blades a bit claustrophobic around the head. Plus I tend to bring two paddles with different blade shapes when paddling and so end up with an uneven load on the shoulders. Still, this method means no need to use any other cordage or  lashings for the paddles.

This method is apparently not Rutstrum's creation. A descriptive article simply entitled "Carrying a Canoe" by   Richard Garwood Lewis appeared in the April 1930 edition of Field and Stream (Vol. 34 No. 12). In one of his photos, you can see the paddles rigged out in a flared manner (providing more headroom than Rutstrum's illustration) with the tumpline  straps extending along the shafts to the lashed grips




Tumpline Lashing Method Closeup







3 comments:

Doug Burns said...

Seeing these varying styles of portaging canoes. I wonder who came up with the first contoured yokes? I recently got one that was said to be made by and unknown Ontario artisan. Any thoughts?

Doug Burns said...

Murat there are these portaging styles and then the large yoke style pads, when did they come up with a contoured yoke? Any thoughts?

Murat said...

Doug, the earliest example I've ever come across for a contoured portage yoke in a canoe is an article in Outing magazine (Volume LXVI - Issue 1 - April 1915). The author C.L. Gilman adapted a "water pail yoke" then commonly used on farms for carrying 2 buckets of water on the shoulders. He wrote a detailed method of attaching it to a canoe over the gunnels. His article has a picture and diagram showing his "invention". You can read the article (.pdf format) on this link here.

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