My wife and I are about to take our first trip into the boundary waters. I've been lurking on these threads for a few days now. Anyway, I read one thread about people who observe poor portage etiquette. If anyone has any rules or portaging principles that may not seem like common sense to the newbie I'd love to hear them.
The "Golden Rule" will go a long way in portage etiquette - "Do unto others ...". Remember the portages are bottle necks. Certainly enjoy them, but remember you may be holding up others.
As already stated, keep all your stuff together on one side of the portage landing so that another group can use the other side.
You might want to do the same with your canoe(s). Get them out of the water and set them along the side of the trail where they don't interfer with portaging. That way others can land and portage.
Don't have lunch on the trail or take extended breaks.
Sometimes there are nice photo opportunities, like at rapids and waterfalls. In those cases be sure the portage landing is clear. Arrange your stuff up the trail a bit, well to the side so others can use the landing and your stuff doesn't interfer with portaging.
"I'm sorry." works as well in the wilderness as back home.
Be nice. Be friendly. Be considerate.
Relax. Some people get too excited and stressed out on the portages. I think most of the rudeness seen is just stress being manifested. I ran into one guy that was really bad on the portage until he found out I wasn't going to the lake he was going to. It turned out he was just stressing out about getting a campsite on that lake.
I feel that clearing the portage landing quickly goes a long way.
Being organized is the key. Keep everything in or attached to a portage pack, day pack or a bow/thwart bag. Lash the spare paddle and fishing poles into the canoe. The fewer things you have to grab out of/put into the canoe the faster you'll get moving. This also greatly reduces the odds you'll loose something.
Have a systematic plan for how you are going to unload, cross and load and follow it every time. This seems a little anal but it makes a huge difference in how quickly you're able to get off a landing. It also reduces the odds you'll loose something since everyone will be familiar with their assignments.
If you double portage, do set our gear off to the side out of the way. I prefer to take the canoe on the first trip. After the second trip it goes into the water and packs come off directly into it.
Bannock is right, good manners will go a long way if you're not able to move as swiftly as the group behind you would like to.
I had a similar post in January
Search this forum for "Portage Etiquette or Road Rage ?"
and you will find more
Here are some general guidelines
The Pain of Portaging
By Kevin Callan
Article from http://www.paddling.net/guidelines/showArticle.html?159
1) When meeting someone coming the other way on the portage the person carrying the canoe should always be given the right of way.
2) All packs and canoes should be stored to the sides of the put-in and take-out areas. This prevents a traffic jam for others wanting to use the trail ,
3) If you're holding up others walking behind you, take a second to move off the trail and let them pass.
4) If you have to relieve yourself, do it well off the trail, at least 100 meters from the water source and any blueberry patch found at the put-in or take-out.
5) Always double check the put-in and take-out areas for any garbage or forgotten piece of gear.
6) Place any lost piece of gear found along the trail in plain view at either the take-out or put-in.
7) Remember to say hello and give a smile to your fellow canoeists when passing them by.
"Boredom, Tyler - that's what's wrong. And how do you beat boredom, Tyler?... Adventure...(Never Cry Wolf, 1983)
I'll add only one thing to this thread as pretty much everythign has been covered.
Pretty much everyone has the same color and style packs as you will so a portage landing can be like the airport baggage claim where all those black wheeled suitcases are hard to tell apart.
You might want to put something on your pack straps to clearly identify your packs from others so you don't forget any of yours and someone does not mistakenly pick up yours thinking it was theirs. Believe this has happened more than once.
I use colored Bungee dealy bobs as the attach securely, stay put and may come in handy during the trip.
"When a man is part of his canoe, he is part of all that canoes have ever known."
Sigurd F. Olson
I think the old adage of those that fail to plan ...plan to fail. not that you won't make it through the portage, just that you will miss out on the experience.
Think through what you are going to have with you. Plan how you intend to secure it and carry it across the portage and you will do fine. As you do it you will get more and more ideas and refine your methods.
I use nylon straps as tie in points on the rental canoes that I use and caribiners to attach important items and packs to the straps. This means all I have to do is unlock the caribiners and I am off.
You will find your way to portage efficiently and this will mean you are out of the way as quick as possible. For the rest, just remember that you are on vacation. Have fun and be polite. Its much more fun to spread cheer than doom and gloom. When you find grumpy people. Move on!