Why Portaging Sucks

Everybody that canoes knows why portaging sucks. We know that you agree, because when you saw that headline you clicked the link to see why we think it sucks and to see if our view of why portaging sucks aligns with yours!

We have a love/hate relationship with portaging and we sure you do too. Let’s start off with a list of why portaging sucks and then we have something a little different planned for afterwards.

Why Portaging Sucks

– Always Uphill both ways
– Under-Canoe Green House effect (Summer)
– Whiskey the night before and long portages don’t mix
– Bushwhacking
– Doubling back for the boat
– Flagging tape set out by blind, drunk people
– Marsh/Bog obstacles
– Twisted ankles/knees/undies
– Hordes of biting relentless bugs
– Walking along a 500km trail until your legs are sore and falling off
– Hauling an 800 pound pack overland
– Branch whipped faces- Falls/slips/whoops
– Inanimate objects that surprise attack your canoe 
(Trees, stumps, roots, rocks and more)

With so much “fun” listed above, it’s not such a wonder why canoeists are always asked by non-canoeists – “Why on earth do you like doing this?”. It’s also why we have coined the phrase “Camping at the portage” meaning to give up or to not even bother trying.

The list above paints a pretty accurate description of a portage don’t you think? But do you really know why you think portaging sucks so much? We’re willing to bet we know why. It’s because you’re not prepared. Before we dive into that, let’s go through why portaging doesn’t suck.


Portaging a Canoe

Why We Love Portaging:

– Laughing at your mates that are in worse shape than you.
– Sense of accomplishment at the end.
– At the end…. It’s done! Lol (Portages are never that bad at the end)
– The view of a new place at the end.
– Burns off lots of calories to be replaced with additional bacon calories.
– More portages, less people
– They let you visit new places
– A break from paddling
– It’s like completing a challenge.

The End Of The Portage

Ok, so the list of love is shorter than the list of hate. Why? Well the weighting on each item is way different. Completing a challenge is a top priority for ManCamping and therefore worth way more than all of the items on the hate list. We don’t “Camp at the portage”. Ever. 

So why does portaging suck? Well here is the answer. It may surprise you, but it’s been right behind you this whole time. 

AGA Syndrome – Average Guy Ass Syndrome (or Pancake Bum if your a woman)

Starting a canoe portage in Killarney Provincial Park 

Exhibit A : Bender (Right) has zero ass. A typical case of AGA Symdrome.

Can we sit down and talk about AGA Syndrome or Average Guy Ass Syndrome?

It’s an affliction that involves not having an ass – At All. Flat, un-rounded, non-defined backside that is highly dependent on a belt to keep pants from falling.

Long periods of sitting cause discomfort for those with this condition. It is a serious problem that affects 9 out of 10 men, but there is a cure. Build yourself an ass. 

If you are lucky enough to have a great bum, show some support for this condition and help someone you know build a bum. 

Concerned Members Of The Rear-End Appreciation Society


Guys, we have no ass. It applies to all races, but white guys are famous for it. If you follow our legs up from the feet, you will see legs then our back. No ass. Ladies – Unless you suffer from flat or pancake bum – You’re fine. Trust us, your bum is beautiful. If you do happen to suffer from this terrible affliction keep reading.

That’s right, I did some research and I came up with – Having no ass makes portaging a much bigger challenge then it should be. Yes … Your caboose is the problem. Your ass muscles move your legs! Your haunches help you climb those hills, step up on those boulders and propel you to portage victory! Walking the trail is easy, but when you add in an 800lb backpack or a food barrel full of bacon and whiskey – You are adding weight that your ass can’t handle. Literally. Leg muscles are obviously important for portaging, as well as upper body strength to lift the 800 pound pack on to your back just to get started, but those muscles are usually fairly healthy in us men. A little work on the rear end a few times a week and your portages will become a lot easier.  Admit it, you never thought we were going to be talking about your ass when you started reading this did you? Well, we are. 

Don’t worry, your not alone. Many of us out there aren’t as active as we should be outside of camping trips. We tend to grab our gear and go on a canoe trip when we haven’t done many other physical activities that would help us workout those glutes. (AGA Syndrome is also the reason your rear end hurts when sitting in a canoe for hours. You don’t have an ass to cushion yourself.)

The Solution: Build yourself an ass to make portaging easier!

Start doing a few portage ready exercises. Squats, lunges, etc. Average Guy Ass Syndrome can be cured!

Don’t know what exercises you need to do? Do a Google search for “Hikers Workouts”.  It’s all ass workouts! Hiking is just a Death March Portage that doesn’t end with getting into a boat and is hours or days long instead of a few hundred meters long. That’s why so many of your favorite hiking girls on Instagram have such great asses. (Not to let the ladies down – we threw in a few of the lads too FYI)


Admit it – I don’t care who you are, everyone can respectfully appreciate a nice bum. 
(without being a pervert)
Take a lesson from those above, don’t just stare at their bums. Look at what they have achieved on their hikes, the challenges they’ve conquered, the workouts they do and the hard work that went into that bum. I guarantee they will out portage you any day of the week. 


If you’re not the type of guy who works out or goes to the gym, that is fine too, we have you covered.  Start picking up your whiskey, beer, tools or anything else you have to pick up by bending your legs instead of bending at the waist. That counts as a squat – It will still help you build an ass. 

The final analysis on why portaging sucks? It’s because you need to build yourself an ass.

So the next time you sneak a peak at your wife’s backside and get yelled at… You can now tell her that is strictly for research purposes. No one gets mad at science right? πŸ˜‰ As always – You’re welcome.




3 Responses to “Why Portaging Sucks

  • This is truly awesome. Props to you guys for discovering the real reason portage sucks. And for getting the word out there. Whoknew?

  • Hi Great trip! I’m thinking to go adventure but I never experience before. So, I’m really excited and have no ideas what items I should prepare. Could you give me suggestion? I’m looking Hiking Boots as shown here http://www.pirt.org/best-hiking-boots-for-women/. I need one that safe my feet health.What do you think about that? Please give me suggestion for more items? Thank you in advance for your kindness.

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