I use wheels. I can load and unload the boat from my truck, but for moving it I use wheels. I would never want to do an overhead portage with an Esquif, and certainly not alone.
For loading, I pick up the stern of the boat and swivel it up onto the tailgate extender of the truck. Then I go to the front and pick it up and slide the boat into the bed. To unload, I do the reverse. When I had a roof rack on my old truck instead of a tailgate extender, I did a similar maneuver, but that required me to bend over underneath the boat and use my back and legs for most fo the lifting, then a shoulder press to push and slide. With practice, it was fairly simple, and I was usually able to do it more easily by myself than with assistance. It helps that I'm a bit 'bulky' of an individual, and a little taller than average.
For moving, I have a set of wheels that I put under the stern. Then I only have to lift the front and pull the rest of the boat along.
I find this to be a convenient way to "carry" the boat, because with the wheels, I can put the paddles, PFD's, the days lunch, some fishing tackle, and what-have-you into the boat. I put the motor on the transom or if trolling motor I put the battery over the axle of the wheels. Then with the wheels its comparatively easy to wheel the boat and contents to the launch. This method doesn't work very well at primitive launches, though I'm sure with some ingenuity it would all work out.
- Big D
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