Light Weight Float Tube

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by snakyjake, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. snakyjake

    snakyjake New Member

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    Looking for a lightweight float tube when hiking. I have the Curtis raft, which I like when backpacking or going ultralight and used in the late summer. However, it's not ideal when it is cold and raining. I don't want to lay down in the raft. I'm also 6'2" 185 lbs.

    Therefore I'm in the market for a quality, light weight, packable float tube. Considering Outcast Trinity or maybe Gunnison and definitely looking for other options. The Trinity looks good online, but I really don't want to spend $450+ on a simple float tube. Just want light weight, quality, utilitarian, and value.

    What else is available and recommended?

    Thanks in advance,
    Jake
     
  2. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a Fishcat 4 with the inflatable seat base and back. It weights about 12# with the backpack straps has ample storage pockets to carry plenty of gear/food. I also have a sizeable military pack that this thing can fit inside and then more gear can be put into the pack. It certainly is bulky, but not "heavy" in my personal opinion. If I know the trail allows, I will hike in with it inflated. If I know it is overly brushy and narrow I'll pack and inflate upon arrival.
     
  3. Big E

    Big E Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a Scadden Freestyle H3. Pretty much like the Fishcat4 but it has a capacity of 500# vs 250# of the Fishcat. It weighs in at 13lbs. Can't remember what/where I paid for it but I think it was around $300 from Cabela's. I was looking at the Fishcat but dismissed it because I'm 6'5" and weigh 330. If you bought a Freestyle, I would imagine that you would ride pretty high in the water.
     
  4. Brian Miller

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

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    I put a pair of nicely padded REI frame pack straps I had lying around on my 1st gen Creek Co UBoat rather than buy the optional straps but it is pretty cumbersome to carry very far. Unlike the newer model it carries nicer with the backrest down and away. For hike-ins on the East side where there isn't a lot of brush I have an old REI Cruiser frame that has 4 straps with QD buckles that I clip it onto. MUCH nicer carry that way. I also have a couple of expedition rucksacks that it will slip into easily with pump and all the other gear I need

    The Fishcat and Scadden V boats look real nice. Does the H3's rockered tubes make it more efficient to fin? Or does it put less flotation on the water that would offset the any gain from a rocker hull?

    I hear the Gliderider was a pretty good tube and after Wood River closed up shop is available from Sparton in UK for $475 + shipping (and duty) along with replacement tubes for WR Us and Vs.

    The SuperCat is expensive but looks like a cool tube. Does it sit you up higher than a V or a U? Does the height create any issues with leg position for efficient finning? Does the frame keep the tubes back behind you when carrying like a pack frame? Any comparisons to an Outcast Prowler?
     
  5. sportsman

    sportsman Active Member

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    Quality, lighweight and 'value' [longevity?].... that doesn't come cheap... and you have already answered your own question!!
     
  6. Greg Armstrong

    Greg Armstrong Active Member

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    I went through the same thing as you last year. After sending back one less expensive tube that I thought would do, I went ahead and bought the Outcast Trinity from Avid Angler in Lake Forest Park. It's all I hoped it would be; really lightweight, well made and it comes with a very comfortable and well designed pack that it fits nicely into along with your fins, waders, etc. You won't be disappointed if you get one. Greg
     
  7. Randall Dee

    Randall Dee Castaway

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    You're much too big for a Curtis raft. If a Forest Ranger catches you in that thing in the back country, you could get a major citation. Best thing you could do would be to sell me that Curtis raft right away. :clown: I wish they were still available.
     
  8. mynameisjohne

    mynameisjohne Member

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    WOOD RIVER rocked!!! Look everywhere you can to still find one. I recently found two and an unused spare bladder. Now I'm set for life, I hope.
     
  9. Brian Miller

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

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    There are a lot of WoodRiver fans. Pete Ross licensed the WoodRiver design to Sparton in the UK who has "licensed these patented hull systems exclusively for Europe. WoodRiver has gone down, sadly – there's only us left making and repairing all WoodRiver models worldwide!!" $475 + shipping (and duty)
     
  10. Jim Ficklin

    Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

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    Still have 2 Stealthriders . . . great, durable float tubes!
     
  11. uncagork

    uncagork New Member

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    I have a Wood River Glidrider that i've been thinking of selling. I haven't used it in a while. I had Pete put a new bladder in just before he closed his shop and has only been used a couple times since.
     
  12. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    Without bothering to check the specs, I still believe that the Outcast Trinity is probably the lightest available and certainly of good quality. One thing that gets overlooked, however, is that being very light and having the high, canoe-like, kick up at the front makes it very sensitive to wind and therefore a bit of a problem to keep tracking straight or to maneuver accurately.
     
  13. Slipstream

    Slipstream Active Member

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    The SuperCat tubes swivel inwards and are held in by an adustable strap for back packing. I have done two laps around Lenice in one day fishing, finning is no problem. Notice in the photo that I wear waist-high waders instead of chest waders. Specifications: 6'2" 215 Lbs. SS
     
  14. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    I've got both the Trinity and a Super Fat Cat. While the 'prow' on the Trinity does indeed stick up, it isn't nearly as high as the SFC.

    In either case, the mitigating factor is my 200+ pounds of body mass, clothing and gear, which tends to keep my direction or position relatively steady in all but the strongest wind.

    K
     
  15. Bill Aubrey

    Bill Aubrey Active Member

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    Kent,

    How do you like the Trinity? I have a SFC but I was thinking of something for hiking in that would be a little more user friendly. Would you recommend for Alpine Lakes?
     
  16. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    The main advantage to the Trinity is that it has a similar seating position to the SFC, high and with one's thighs almost out of the water. But I've got several minor quibbles and one major one.

    First, the valves are similar to the seat and back of my SFC: the spring valve is too tight to allow inflation by mouth which means bringing along a pump. Maybe I haven't got it totally figured out yet, but the gear pockets on the sides seem to pronate too far outboard, meaning that the contents are susceptible to getting dunked. The seat and pockets are separate from the side tubes which slide into sleeves on either side of the seat. Getting the tubes perfectly aligned is tricky and usually results in one side being a bit lower than the other. Finally, the stripping apron fits tight in one direction but loose in the opposite. Overall, the boat doesn't seem well designed or thought out.

    My major beef is that even though it's lighter (by less than a pound) than my $90 TU Gunnison tube, the fact that I have to bring along a K-Pump to inflate the tight valves means it ends up being heavier. That leaves the only advantage as the higher seating position. To me that's not worth the several hundred dollar price premium.

    It's easier to pack on my mountain bike than my SFC but given its bulk and the pump issue, the Gunnison or my Curtis raft get tapped for serious hike-in trips.

    K
     
  17. martyg

    martyg Active Member

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    Well, I just purchased a Trinity and here are my initial thoughts:

    1. Kent is right - the valves are tight. I tried to inflate it by mouth and is sucked - or blew - don't know which. The pump is almost a necessity

    2. Set-up, tubes even or not, all seems to work for me.

    3. If you wanted to make a lightweight tube you cold shave a lot of material off of this one. Not recommended as a home project.

    4. This was my first time in a tube. I am a paddlers. I am shocked at how slow and cumbersome it is.

    5. From the high seating position the kicking motion is not unlike doing leg extensions. I thought, "Great, I am going to hike in 5 hours and then sit in this and do leg extensions. Perfect plan."

    6. I have lots of waders including lightweight, integrated boot Gore-Tex prototypes from a major manufacturer that never saw the light of day. I am playing today with fins but no wader boots on my feet to see how that goes.

    7. The plan, unless we get some stupid weather, is to hike into a favorite alpine lake of mine fora few days this week to try it all out. I have a prototype 85 liter pack that needs some miles on it, so it should be a good fit.

    MG
     
  18. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    That's an interesting thought Marty. I think that the Trinity, while certainly a contender for the lightest tube available, still leaves the door open for an even better, more thoughtful design.

    For instance, it might be interesting to see how the folks at Alpacka might approach the design and production of a seriously lightweight float tube.

    K
     
  19. Eastbay_ca

    Eastbay_ca New Member

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    I wonder how much you want to sell yours. Thanks.
     
  20. IveofIone

    IveofIone Active Member

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    The Bucks Bag Mustang should probably be in this discussion as well. American made with a 5 year warranty and a 300# capacity. $299

    Ive