Portage Packs vs Olive barrels

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    First time posting a thread so if I am in the wrong place please let me know and I will remove it ASAP. In going farther and staying out longer portaging and weight has become omnipresent to get away from the masses. I have seen the olive barrels and harnesses as well as kondos & Granite Gear portage backpacks though have not met anyone who has used the barrels, I wanted to know if anyone here uses the barrels and what you feel are the pros and cons vs traditional style packs.

    Thanks in advance


    Welcome! I like the blue barrels with harnesses for my food. They are waterproof, protect softer items from being crushed, and they are pretty odor-proof, so when they are closed up they help minimize problems with smaller and larger critters in camp. I line mine with a trash bag or trash compactor bag.
    I carry most of the rest of my gear in waterproof portage packs. Mine are the ‘Boundary Portage Packs’ sold by Seal Line. The other popular options are the non-waterproof ‘traditional’ designs from places like Duluth Pack, Kondos, and Granite Gear. With those, you want a waterproof liner for the pack. The waterproof bags are better if there is a whitewater component to your trip, and, oddly enough, they are cheaper than the non-waterproof ones.
    On a trip last week on the NFCT in Maine I had a blue barrel (my share of a week’s food for four people), a large waterproof portage pack (clothes, sleeping bag, and etc), and a small portage bag (tent, tarp, and a few other things that might be packed away while wet).
    Happy paddling! – Kalmia

    Chris Gill

    I agree with Kalmia. In addition, if a barrel is secured in the canoe it acts as additional floatation.

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