Towing kayak (portaging, sort of)
Posted by: Waterbird on May-09-14 9:49 AM (EST) Category: unassigned
Does anyone have an idea for some kind of harness or other device to make towing a kayak easier?
I like to kayak camp in the off season when gates are closed on access roads. This can involve towing a loaded kayak up a steep hill 1/4 mile or more on the return trip.
I tried attaching two straps to a backpack hipbelt and clipping them to the kayak. Mixed results.
I have a C-Tug with inflatable tires mounted in the center of the kayak.
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- Towing kayak (portaging, sort of) - Waterbird - May-09-14 9:49 AM
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Posted by: NateHanson on May-09-14 10:06 AM (EST)
Some PFDs have quick-release belts, to which you can attach a short tow line (usually about 6 feet). Works great for dragging a boat long distances. The strap is around your PFD, providing padding, so it doesn't cut into you.
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Posted by: Waterbird on May-09-14 11:24 AM (EST)
Why didn't I think of that!
Any advice about how to attach the tow line so that the kayak is balanced? My kayak is 15.5' and has a steel security loop about 1 foot from the bow.
Also, should the bow be at your side or centered?
I found with my hipbelt experiment that the bow was too low to the ground and interfering with walking.
If I could have my hands free I would be able to use hiking poles to assist on a steep climb. I don't know if this is feasible.
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Posted by: joewildlife on May-17-14 8:37 PM (EST)
Might want to attach your double blade paddle (or just half of it) to the kayak with it extending 2 or 3 feet forward of the bow, then just hold on to that in one hand next to you as you walk... Might not be the best for pulling the kayak up a hill, but a balanced boat would be easy to move along this way on a flat road. The idea of a harness just doesn't sound like it would work very well, especially when going downhill.
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Posted by: booztalkin on May-18-14 12:24 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-18-14 9:37 AM EST --
I once towed a kayak on a portage cart across the Torea Saddle, between New Zealand's Queen Charlotte Sound and Kenepuru Sound. The Torea Saddle is only about a kilometer wide and it is 104 meters high. The road had switchbacks, so the length was more than a K and the grade less than the 20% it would take to go straight over, but it was still steep. The kayak was loaded for camping, so I was pulling over a hundred pounds.
My towing rig was improvised--just a length of rope between me and the kayak. I took a couple wraps of rope around my waist and tied the other end to the bow toggle of the kayak. I tried using my pfd as a pad to reduce the pressure of the rope on my mid section. That was awkward but helped. Sort of dorky looking, but there was nobody to see it. http://chipwalsh.org/PaddlingTRs/MarlboroSound/Torea-Rd2.jpg
Going downhill, I just reversed the set up, walking the kayak in front of me instead of behind, and shortened the rope distance so I could reach out and hold the kayak up when needed.
If I had do it again I would try to find a wide piece of webbing strap to put around my waist, and then tie the rope onto the webbing strap. That's almost like a tow belt somebody suggested above, right? That should work for your needs.
Good luck with it. Post back if you come up with a better solution.
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