Calling all backcountry / ultralight freaks..


Gnu to the board
I just got back from a trip to Yellowstone. I built a rod tube with a flourescent lamp guard I picked up at Home Depot for $4 and some duct tape. Weighs almost nothing. More details here:

Also, after quite a bit of research I went with the Thermarest Neoair sleeping pad. Reviews are all over the map but I had no problems and found it very comfortable. The regular size comes in at 14 oz. You do pay for that comfort but long term it was worth it to me.

I'm not sure how you can carry a raft, paddles, waders, boots, etc. Not only weight but bulk. Try packing your backpack ahead of time and see how it's going to work out. I fished the Lamar River in warm weather wearing Tevas so didn't have to worry about all the extra wading and flotation gear. Good luck and have a great time!
I just did six days in the Flathead, with a pack weight of 42 lbs. While not ultra light, it was not too bad. I have found it best to look at hte big things first for weight savings before you count grams. Lighter tent/shelter.....sleeping bag and pad. You can save a tone of weight right there. We packed a Nemo tent, I packed a Rab down bag(under 2lbs) and a Pacific Outdoors pad, tiny and light 1lb. I have found the pack is not the baest place for weight savings, unless you find one with the PERTFECT fit, you can suffer bad.
Oh, yeah I forgot, if you NEED a paddle, look into the Werners, they make a carbon paddle that weighs 23oz, and can easily be cut down to a shorter length and made into a two piece for packing. Rig it with your rod to carry on the outside, then the paddle can act as protection for the rod.

Also, check our great guys, very helpful.
Buy the PCT hikers handbook by Ray Jardine and give it a read. I hiked a 500 miles section (Oregon) in running shoes with a pack that weighed 16lbs before food and water. I did have a hiking partner, so we split the shared items (tent, water filter, stove, etc...). I stitched a 1' strip of mosquito netting to the bottom of a floorless tent (mega-mid), then tucked it in and pinned it down. The water filter was a nylon bag with a bare filter tied to the bottom with a 5' plastic tube connected. You fill the bag, hang it from a tree, start a siphon, and start drinking. Weighed less than 8oz. Our stove was a little wood fired deal with a AA battery driven fan. It was hot as hell, required no fuel, and weighed less than a pound. Pretty easy to find dry pine cones & wood during the summer, even with some rain. It was 12+ years ago when I did this, so it's likely all old news.
wow i never considered adding mosquito net to the bottom of a megamid. what a fucking awesome idea.
You did not say if it was a day trip or overnight or maybe I just missed it. Anyway, a nice light 1 man tent(four season)you can't scimp on the tent of sleeping bag and some food. Maybe MRE's from the local surplus or some backpacking food from an outdoor outfitter. I just bring couscous and raisons. I also bring my jetboil but a small backpacking one burner stove and a mess kit or light aluminum 1 quart pan.
ugh, couscous and raisins is like my #1 most hated backcountry meal.. LOL.

Pick up a copy of the NOLS cookery and learn to eat from bulk stock. Preplan your meals for a short trip or get creative on the trail for a longer trip. U will save money, and weight, but still eat like a king. The prepackaged mountain house meals are awesome as well, but expensive. I do not recommend MRE's.

If your a coffee addict like me, its hard to beat starbucks via (columbian blend). This way you dont have to carry anything but ur stove and cup for coffee. Another thing you may consider (depending on ur confidence in angling these lakes) would be the fixings to eat a couple trout dinners.

I like to fill my fry pan with some water, set some sticks in there, and steam the fish while picking out the bones as it falls apart. Then you have a GREAT chowder stock and very little waste of the fish.

David Loy

Senior Moment
I just got back from a trip to Yellowstone. I built a rod tube with a flourescent lamp guard I picked up at Home Depot for $4 and some duct tape. Weighs almost nothing. More details here:
This tip is worth the price of admission. Thanks Steve
I've wandered the HD canyons maybe 3 times looking for the right tube. This is it! Fits my 5 piece in it's sock perfectly. Old dog meets new trick.

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
Not sure when your trip was scheduled Jesse. If it hasn't happened already here a few more tips.

Yes, sitting in a raft can be damned cold, especially in a mountain lake and even if the air temp is warm. Use your sleeping pad as insulation and don't waste calories lugging along waders. Double the pad over to raise your ass up a bit and keep from sitting in the water that invariably collects in the floor of the raft. You might practice getting in and out of the raft before your trip to minimize getting wet, especially if the air temp is less than warm when you get to your ultimate destination. It's surprising how something that looks so easy can be so difficult when it comes down to doing it the first few times. Some neoprene socks can help keep your feet dry in the process.

Some of the lightweight fanatics I know make their own raft paddles made from plastic milk or pop jugs. Use the spout end as the handles and cut off the main cylinder at an angle to form the 'blade'. You can loop some lightweight nylon cord through the pour spouts to keep 'em connected and from drifting off while you're preoccupied with fishing. They're nearly weightless, cheap and flexible.

Finally, one of the huge drawbacks to fishing from a raft is that unlike a float tube, you can't use your feet to maintain position. Even a small gust of wind can blow you in circles down the lake if you're not anchored. A nylon mesh drawstring stuff sack filled with rocks and lashed to a length of nylon line makes a dandy anchor. Use a cheapo carabiner to clip to a D ring on the raft and a pair of half hitches to adjust the line length. No D rings? Attached the carabiner to your belt or belt loop. Better yet, use two anchors to keep from pirouetting on a single anchor line.

Hope this helps,


Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Shave your head.
Carry nothing that can't serve at least two purposes. Salmo G pounded that into my head.
I like the cut off jug for a paddle, or just one ping pong paddle, or a frisbee. Use it to bail out the bottom of the boat and to move it, and to eat off of it when your dinner is cooked. Otherwise, be crafty and find something (bark comes to mind) to use when you need a paddle or use your man hands.
Your flytepacker has a fabric bottom. That sleeping pad folded will be golden and the neoair ones are a bit loud, but work well. An inflatable pillow would work if you are carrying one.

Great question, great input, great links. Shave your head and stop eating cheeseburgers, that will fix the weight problem.


Fish or Ski...Fish or!
Ha, Mumbles shaving the head is a great idea, I could shed at least 2 lbs! I just stopped by the local Home Depot and got the floro lighting tube to replace my pack tube. I know the tube is supposed to have a high crush resistance but I am a little anal about protecting my rod when I'm on the trail so I glued a small wood dowel inside for a little added protection.

Bob Jones

Still truckless now farther away
When my wife and I were backpaking in the 70s and 80s we usually did two to four days and she carried about thirty two pounds and I carried about 36 to 38. We had a REI tent that was too heavy at 6+lbsBut very comfortable and we used a primus or whisper light stove, the primus was propane. We rarely fished much but I hav a ultralite spin rod I could take. One little fly box of gear.thermarest pads black ice mummy bags. instantcoffee and spiced cider. One qt. pot and two watersacks for water. I'd have to find my old llists or go throungh my gear to verify anthing else, we usually camped in small groups or alone and needed only a spring for water. We also used Coleman Peak 1 exterior plastic frame packs. And freeze dried food except for lunches. We usually went over board with saftey o r first aid since we would have teenagers with us at times,


New Member
As I just came out of Wyoming's Snowies, I would like to offer a suggestion: make a list of everything you wished you would have had and another list of everything you took that you did not need. These lists will help to streamline packing for your next trip.

Also, don't forget the backcountry essentials: duct tape wrapped around a lighter, parachute cord, multi-tool, headlamp, compass, and ipod (so you can tune out your fishing partner's snoring).

Hope your trip was great.
Under 30 lbs is fairly easy to do if you don’t pack a gun or a heavy camera. This is a list of what I wear on me: Simms Rivershed boot with Streamtread sole and cleats, Simms Liner sock, non-taped neoprene sock, Underarmour underwear (any moisture wicking underwear will do), lightweight pants that dry fast and weigh almost nothing (not cotton), moisture wicking long sleeve shirt with good sized pockets for fly boxes etc, hat, pistol with shoulder holster to scare away angry bears, cougars, and snakes with two legs (friends can be substituted for pistol as there is power in numbers), and a dslr camera with short and long lens. This is a list of what I pack: Go-lite Odyssey back pack that holds 90 liters (I don’t fill it up), rain-fly off my Hennessey Hammock tent, 2.5 inch sleeping pad (non-insulated), piece of Tyvek house wrap to put under sleeping pad, lightweight sleeping bag my wife bought for me off internet (no-name), 220g bottle of Coleman butane/propane mix, Coleman Peak 1 screw on burner (small, lightweight and cheap), lighter, small pan with flimsy handle to boil water and eat out of (will barely hold 16 oz of fluid), spoon, small can of mosquito repellant, toilet paper, 16 oz water bottle with screw on lid, water bladder for while I am hiking in or out with about a quart of water, extra clothes (one spare set of socks, underwear, one extra shirt, and pair of lightweight shorts for around camp, if it’s cold around camp wear your sleeping bag), REI flashpack for hiking during the day, holding fishing gear, and carrying lunch etc., fishing gear (6 weight fly rod, 2x-4x tippet, one extra leader, extra lighter for emergency, pocket knife, strike indicator of choice, one or two fly boxes, ibuprofen, fishing license, polarized sunglasses, stream thermometer, small sharpening stone for hooks or knife, nippers, split shot, floatant, and forceps), headlamp, Delorme PN60-W GPS with SPOT, Steripen Adventurer UV light for purifying water, extra batteries (for GPS, camera, and Steripen), and seam taped waterproof neoprene sock for wearing wet wading boots around camp and hiking out. With all this luxury (pistol, camera, GPS, and magazine) I can keep my pack weight under 35 lbs including food for a few days. More days equals more food weight.
I bought a Tenkara Hane rod off "Backpacking Light" a couple of years ago. It is a sin that I havent used it yet. It is 9' 10" and packs into a 17" package. Weighs almost nothing. It is very well made and would work great in my back country travels if I had any. It sits in a corner of my man cave with the rest of my ultralight gear waiting fore motivation to strike.