Backpacking with Float Tube

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Brian Miller, May 22, 2013.

  1. Brian Miller

    Brian Miller Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout

    It's not as nice as the float tube system SHigSpeed is developing but I have a system that works pretty well for 2-4 mile hike-in lakes. My remote lakes float tube kit has consisted of an Outcast Trinity tube, homemade Bernouli bag pump, Outcast boot fins, lightweight Browning non-breathable waders (with nylon feet; I just picked up some UL NOS Red Balls for $10 at the FFF fair in E'burg), Korkers Guide boots, 2 pair of neoprene socks and of course an inflatable PFD collar.
    The Korkers with the Kling-On soles do double duty for hiking and to wear with the fins.
    The neoprene sox are used to fill out the Korkers; one pair is used for floating and some measure of protection for the waders, and another kept dry for the hiking.

    My younger brother and I are planning to do a 4-day 18-miler into some lakes this August that we did ~40 years ago. I want to use hiking boots that have better support than the Korkers can give. I think I should use the neoprene sox to help protect the waders, although I do have a great pair of Seasoft Ti Stealth neoprene dive booties. They are kind of heavy and bulky but would work instead of and possibly be lighter and pack smaller than the neoprene sox and some sort of water/wading shoe for the fins.

    I'm not asking for another debate about float tubes vs UL rafts but if you backpack a float tube any distance what do you use for boots and fins?
  2. bugboy9

    bugboy9 Member

    I use these cheap fins that is basically a square slab of hard plastic. I'll look for the brand name later but they are very light that I attach them to the outside of m pack. For boots I'll pack in "Flat Boots". Boots you normally wear for Bonefishing and such. They are pretty light to pack around. It may look funny but I have modified kayak paddles and used them while in my tube also.
    Brian Miller likes this.
  3. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Good on you Brian! I wish you a wonderful trip. My last couple of backpacking trips with a tube, I've left even my lightest boots at home and simply strapped my UL fins directly onto the neoprene stocking feet on my waders, saving 2-3 pounds off my pack weight. Speaking of saving weight, these fins weigh in at just a pound each, quite a bit less than anything else I've yet tried:

    SHigSpeed likes this.
  4. Greg Armstrong

    Greg Armstrong Active Member

    I hike in with the same Outcast Trinity tube you have, and use the super light fins that came with it when I bought it.
    I use my regular hiking boots (Vasque) for hiking in, and just put on lightweight neoprene socks (w/o boots) over my breathable waders feet for extra chafe protection before strapping on the fins.
    Extra light weight waders are on my list - like the ones you have.

    Please tell me more about your "Bernouli bag pump".
  5. Brian Miller

    Brian Miller Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout

    Thanks Kent, I had thought about no boots at all but was/are a little concerned about protecting the rather fragile-feeling Red Balls. I think I want fins that would cover the entire sole of my foot to help prevent punctures from stepping on a stick or something. Plus would keep my arch from flexing while kicking to prevent painful cramps.

    The Caddis fins might be the ticket. Outcast recently came out with these that deserve a look too.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  6. bugboy9

    bugboy9 Member

    The Outcast Fins that you have as a link looks exactly like the ones I have. They'll do the job.
  7. Brian Miller

    Brian Miller Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout

    Thanks Greg. I described how I made the Bernoulli bag pump in a High Lake Outing report I did last summer (if I'd have spelled it right you could have found it with a search :confused: ) Here 's an extra pic I sent someone who inquired.
  8. Greg Armstrong

    Greg Armstrong Active Member

    Thanks for the link, Brian. I've heard of those types of inflators but have never seen one - until now.
  9. Brian Miller

    Brian Miller Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout

    Thanks for the response and the follow-up confirm on the fins. I have an old pair of Orvis Flats boots that I used with my vintage non-adjustable Force Fins. They have flexible soles and let my foot flex in the arch and that caused painful cramps. My Ti Stealth boots are a cold water 6mm thick dive boot with a sole designed to support the foot when climbing boat ladders and up rocky beaches with heavy diving gear. They are awesome and fit great into my Force Fins but unfortunately they (2XL) are not quite large enough for my size 11 feet inside of (size XL) breathable waders with sox and another 3mm of neoprene. They fit perfectly with my nylon-foot waders though. Despite the fact that I like each of them very much they are not working well together for my size 11 feet in my breathable waders so either or both the Force Fins and Ti Stealth boots may be soon be listed in the Classifieds.
  10. SHigSpeed

    SHigSpeed Active Member


    I'd never seen these before! They seem pretty cool.


    Are those Red Ball waders still available? I've seen some rather sketchy (read cheap) vinyl waders advertised... What do they weigh?

    As for foot protection, I think neoprene socks or old wader stocking foot cut-offs (what I'm using) over the feet will be fine. If you want a bit more protection over the top of your feet get some 1/4" thick closed cell foam (maybe at a plastic supply place or a mailing shop?) and strap over that to distribute the load better. Oh, and take a roll of duct tape, some aqua seal, and tear aid. ;)

    I would absolutely leave the wet shoes/boots at home. Step carefully with the neo sox on shore and strap on the fins once afloat.

    Now if you want a pair of 9 ounce fins you know who to call, right?

  11. Brian Miller

    Brian Miller Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout

    My PVC coated (L or XL) Brownings weigh 34 oz. The (I believe a lighter urethane coated) size M Redballs (I shed 50lbs and several inches; diet and exercise) weigh 18oz. I haven't seen either on the market in many years. I truly lucked into the unused NOS Red Balls.
    So lets talk about your UL fins?
  12. Brian Miller

    Brian Miller Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout

    I found a pair of those Creek/Outcast backpack fins for $24 at Sportsman's Warehouse. The total weight for both fins is 20 oz. My Water Master and Outcast boot fins weigh 34 oz each. And they weigh less than my Force Fins. So the total weight of my backcountry float tube kit including PFD (won't float without it) is 9.984 lbs. I know it's not going to matter a whole lot after 40 years, 9 miles, and 3000' of elevation gain but I can try to console myself along the way with that's just one 10.2mm rope and a climbing harness :confused: .