Sep 17, 2010 at 7:45 pm #1263424
Has anyone made a tumpline? I'd like to make/purchase one that I could easily attach or detach from a pack. I could see it making a frameless pack easier to carry or making that rare heavy load much bearable.Sep 18, 2010 at 9:39 am #1646746
Years ago, and I mean long ago, LOL, Chouinard aka Patagonia used to sell them. I just found it in my boxes the other day. If your interested, pay for postage and I'll send it to you! I can send a pic of it if you would likeSep 18, 2010 at 12:05 pm #1646763
I think I've heard that before Yvon liked the idea I guess. I'll PM you.Sep 19, 2010 at 4:48 pm #1647028
Once you try it, be sure to let us know how you like it.
I have been wondering how well it would work. Quite awhile back I used tump lines to portage on canoe trips. It took awhile to get your neck used to it, but once you did then it was the only way to go.
Fortunately, a UL pack is a lot lighter than a wooden canoe or a wanigan box full of canned goods.
–MVSep 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm #1647033
Seems to me that if one needs a tumpline, then they have the wrong pack for the job. Additionally, the neck muscles are going to become very sore for most people who are not used to this kind of work on the neck.Sep 19, 2010 at 5:46 pm #1647046
@heyyouLocale: Cutting brush off of the Arizona Tr
I too bought one from Chouinard in the late 1970s.
I've removed my posted opinion since I don't have citations for tumpline-specific injuries.Sep 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm #1647047
There are a lot of folks in canoe country that like them. The biggest problem I see is that they do require building up your neck muscles enough to be comfortable with them.
Back when I used them, I was set up in a way that allowed changing the proportion between the head and shoulders much as you can vary the proportion between the hips and shoulders with many packs. That gave me a good way to gradually build up my neck.
I found that early in the season I used the shoulders most. As the season wore on, I used the neck more and more. Part way through the summer I was using mostly neck with just enough on the shoulders to add some stability.
Do you have anything concrete on problems they cause for one who has gotten the neck well conditioned?
–MVSep 20, 2010 at 6:11 am #1647158
I'll get a pic for you and post it up!
found the tumpline, here's a pic of it. I remember reading about Chouinard talking about it takes some practice to get your neck strengthened, and how it works etc… but I've never tried it.Sep 22, 2010 at 7:55 pm #1648090
If you're still interested in parting with it I'd take it off your hands and play with it. Any idea how you're supposed to attach it to a pack?Sep 23, 2010 at 6:55 am #1648146
My recollection is foggy at best, but I thought that you ran the tumpline in a loop, up from and under the bottom of the pack, and put the wide web across your forehead.Sep 23, 2010 at 8:12 am #1648170
Tumpline should be adjusted according to the load and weight distribution. Could be at the bottom, middle, or other location.
I would be cautious on this, as the chance of a neck muscle injury is a big consideration. Even a minor neck muscle strain is awful. Here is a little known fact. Military pilots usually increase their neck size by at least one inch during pilot training from constantly reacting to g-forces. Some get neck injuries, and there are special exercises that are recommended. You can probably find more information via Google. Even exercising on a trampoline can be helpful. I have been in fighter jets, and the force does not seem that much compared to the one time I fooled around with a tumpline.Sep 23, 2010 at 10:47 am #1648223
I just can't imagine that being good for your cervical vertebrae. I want to see you hike comfortably for many more years….maybe think this one over. Sure I've seen them used all over the world. Heck…I've seen dudes in Nepal carry a 100 lb load with a strap, but they've been doing it since a kid.
I'm only concerned for your health………….Sep 23, 2010 at 6:00 pm #1648323
@davidlutzLocale: Bay Area
I would assume that people who use these things start young and work up to a full load gradually. In other words they are in shape for it.
Looks sketchy to me to start from scratch, gotta invest the time…….Sep 23, 2010 at 6:40 pm #1648340
Just to warn you, when I went to Uganda on medical missions, we treated untold numbers for neck pain, back pain, and cervical neuropathy for the years and years of carrying things via tumpline and/or just balancing objects on their head. Of course, we are talking about 20-60 lbs for 20 or so years, but I can't imagine it is good at all. Even on rare occasion it is still a bad idea. As others have said, your muscles are not conditioned to carry objects in that manner.
Just my 2 cents.Sep 23, 2010 at 10:43 pm #1648401
@antigLocale: Pacific Northwest
If tumplines are used correctly, they do not cause any more health problems than carrying a backpack. Many people wear it on the forehead and that is where the problems begin. It is meant to be worn on the top of the head and when used correctly, it puts the load on the spine. As the person leans forward, there is a straight alignment from the top of the head down to the spine from the load. Not sure if that was very clear but I hope it helps.Sep 24, 2010 at 8:25 am #1648495
I've found them more of a painful hindrance than an aid. If you're just using it occasionally, your muscles won't be up to the task. It's a neat idea to contemplate, but frankly not practical for most people in most situations. Better to take a few ounces more of pack that can carry a load.Sep 24, 2010 at 9:33 am #1648511
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VASep 24, 2010 at 10:31 am #1648520
@cobbermanLocale: Northern Colorado
After 7 annual trips to the Boundary Waters with my father during my middle school and high school years I was never concerned with using a tumpline to help carry our large (~45-50lbs) Duluth Packs. For short portages they weren't required but on long 200+ rod portages they certainly become handy. I always used them alternately through the longer portages to relieve the weight from my shoulders as these packs do not have waist belts.Sep 24, 2010 at 10:56 am #1648525
Not being combative here. If the packs did not have waist belts and weighed 45-50lbs, wouldn't it be better to get a back that is built to carry that amount of weight and transfer most of the loads to the hips?Sep 24, 2010 at 11:56 am #1648531
@cobbermanLocale: Northern Colorado
"Not being combative here. If the packs did not have waist belts and weighed 45-50lbs, wouldn't it be better to get a back that is built to carry that amount of weight and transfer most of the loads to the hips?"
There are some detailed books about the pros/cons of the traditional 'Duluth Pack' which is a canvas pack with leather straps vs. modern Cordura nylon packs and with padded straps, modern hip belts, sternum straps etc. A good recommendation for reading would be any of Cliff Jacobson's books but in particular his Boundary Waters Canoe Camping book. He outlines why he thinks that traditional packs are a better option in terms of durability and water proofness/resistance. I've found that his recommendation to be true in my experiences.
I think it ultimately comes down to the experience that you're trying to achieve. Traditional packs don't have the extra modern conveniences such as hip belts and compressions straps which as I've often seen get caught up on the gunwales of the canoe and become a tipping and tripping hazard. They can also limit the bags from sitting properly inside the canoe. Most portages are less than a few hundred feet while others can get to be a half-mile or more. At this distance I don't feel that a hip belt is necessary when I have the option of the more traditional tumpline. I think the longest portage I've done was the 1.5miles from Angleworm Lake completed twice with two people for 1 canoe, 1 food pack, and 2 gear packs. Whew!
I will admit that I haven't been able to go back for a few years now that I'm more committed to lightweight backpacking and what changes that might dictate on how I'd choose my gear.Sep 24, 2010 at 12:25 pm #1648535
I happen to do a fair amount of canoe tripping, portages up to around 4 miles, and have found that a decent hipbelt and basic frame can make a ton of difference in comfort. A decent contemporary portage pack vs. one with no shape, no hipbelt, and a tumpline? IME the contemporary pack wins every time.
Yes, we're in and out of the canoe quite a lot, and do many shorter portages. I've not found any issues whatsoever with loading or unloading packs… even though we're typically perched precariously on slimy rocks to keep the kevlar boat protected. I suppose it's really just a personal preference thing.Sep 24, 2010 at 12:46 pm #1648541
The main reason for using a duluth pack is not for how it carries on trail but for how it loads into the canoe, considering most canoeists avoid portages over 3/4 miles or so. I don't think that carrying them is that bad. This year we went with 1 traditional duluth pack, one drybag based duluth pack and one osprey pack. Osprey pack was the worst in the canoe where it spent the majority of the trip.Sep 24, 2010 at 4:29 pm #1648596
> Like this, Bob?
Sort of — I have exchanged email with this guy, and we have a couple of disagreements. His way works well for him, but is not quite what I am used to.
My problem with the way he uses the tump is that he counts on 100% of the canoe weight always being on the tump.
We set it up with:
*) The center thwart reinforced
*) The paddles pretty much as he has them, just slipped a bit further aft
*) The paddle shafts tied in loosely, so they can slide
*) A U-shaped felt pad (1/2"? 3/4"?) over the blades so that they form a pretty comfortable portage yoke
Then, while walking, you can shift the paddle blades fore and aft. Since the blade tapers, that changes the tension of the tump (which goes around the blades) on your head. That allows you to vary how the load is supported all the way from 100% on your shoulders to 100% on your tump.
As I said in my earlier posting, early in the season, before your neck is in shape, you tend to put most of the weight on your shoulders and just use the tump to give your shoulders a break on the long portages. This also lets you strengthen your neck gradually. By late in the season, once you are used to it, you find that you just naturally carry most or all of the weight on your tump — perhaps with just enough on your shoulders to help keep things a bit more stable.
It is easier to demonstrate than to describe. The net effect is analogous to varying the weight between your hip belt and your shoulders as you get used to backpacking.
This way is done quite a few places. I was originally taught this by Maine guides. I have used it in New York State canoe camps with staff taught that way, and at Camp Keewaydin in Ontario.
We carried 16' canvas/wood canoes this way — 60# dry, I suppose 70#-80# wet
We also carried wanigan boxes (good-sized wooden boxes filled with canned food) and personal gear (each person packed in one duffel back, and the two of them were tied together with a tump line). No Duluth packs were used. Simple duffel bags fit in the canoe even better than Duluth packs would.
–MVSep 24, 2010 at 4:44 pm #1648603
The canoe camps I know that use tump lines do so, at least in part, to deliberately provide a very traditional tripping experience. They also use canvas tents and wooden wanigan boxes. Those using them are tripping all season, so they have plenty of time to get used to their tump lines and to get them adjusted just right.
Frankly, the traditional way works very well. It is not, however, the only way to go. What I have not had the chance to do yet is to try an ultralight canoe trip. I expect that would be fun, too. I am not sure how much I would use a tump in that case. For one thing, you could not use bent-shaft paddles as part of the carry the same way we used traditional paddles. Perhaps a yoke and a tump with adjustable buckles so you could vary the tension?
I'm less clear on the recreational tripping use of tump lines. I'm not sure how much you would have to use them to get your neck in shape to be both comfortable and safe.
I keep meaning to cobble up an ultralight tump line and try it with my ultralight pack. The thought has crossed my mind that I might be able to just use a large Cuben stuff sack as a duffel bag and eliminate the pack completely.
–MVSep 24, 2010 at 10:40 pm #1648652
@heyyouLocale: Cutting brush off of the Arizona Tr
A tump pack would have loops attached to the two top corners of the bag. A bike or motorcycle helmet without the shell or padding has a webbing suspension that could also be strapped to the tump pack. You could then portage the light canoe and wear your UL tump pack and head harness simultaneously. Fewer portage trips and more canoeing is good.
You don't really need that Dutch oven on a weekend trip. ;)
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