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Tump Lines

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Woodcanoe185, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. Woodcanoe185

    Woodcanoe185 New Member


    Looking for any and all information, rumors and innuendo pertaining to tump lines. Sources, how to make, how to use, etc. Am toying with a trip to the Boundary Waters in 2016 and figure a tump line is in my future.


  2. paddler123

    paddler123 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I'm not sure where to buy one or how to make one, but I've been using them since I was twelve and can tell you a fair amount about how to use them. Are you looking to use one to portage canoes, gear, or both?

    For canoes, the way I've learned to use a tump is to tie the paddles to the center thwart and put the tump in between, so the tump goes on your head and the paddles on your shoulders. I hope the pictures more or less show you what I mean.
    IMG_4111.jpg IMG_2618.jpg
    The shoulder pads that the paddle blades go under are optional (not everyone uses them), but I certainly prefer them. Once you tie in the tump to your canoe, you can leave it on all summer unless it needs adjusting. When you get to a portage you slide the paddles in and you're ready to go. The camp canoes I've used all have reinforcing carry bars that go over the center thwart. It might not be strictly necessary, but it definitely doesn't hurt.

    For other gear, you want to take the tails coming off the headstrap, loop them around, and double-half-hitch them to the head strap, then tie them around the back to keep everything in place. Again, I hope my pictures help. This works for wannigans, duffels, or probably anything else you might have on trip.
    IMG_4104.jpg Untitled.jpg

    One important thing to remember, both for canoes and wannigans, is that the length and adjustment of the tump job is highly personal based on body geometry and personal preference. If you have a good fit for you, the load will feel as good as it possibly can for the weight. If it's tied badly for you, it will be very not fun. It's definitely worth doing a lot of experimentation with tying the head straps at different lengths when you're figuring it out so that you know what's the most comfortable.

    Let me know if you have other questions - I love to preach the gospel of the tump line.


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  3. paddler123

    paddler123 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Here's a picture of four tumplines in a row: one on each wannigan, one around the center thwart, and one around the two duffels in the bow.

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