Question - Looking For A Lightweight Backpacking Float Tube

Jon Brengan

flyfishing addict
Hi all, I have searched the internet and found a few of these float tubes - just wondering if anyone out there have backpacked any particular tubes into high mountain lakes - and have suggestions on any particular models of tubes or have suggestions on models? Have looked at Outcast and Wilderness Lite models but I imagine that there have to be others - before I shell out a couple hundred dollars on a lightweight tube I thought I'd see if anyone out here on this forum had any suggestions. Thanks - any input is gladly accepted.
Jon
 

Peyton00

Active Member
No float tube tips for ya here, but i suggest you think about a pack raft.

I have been hiking and fishing alpine lakes for 25+ yrs. I use a little raft. It packs down and weighs a bit, but take into account the neoprene waders, fins etc needed for a float tube system, its gotta be close to my setup. Its pretty tough and takes a beating, at $75 for the raft, oars/pump included, its not breaking the bank. At a 440lb weight limit, it means the lady can come out on the water and play along too if she so desires.
I have plenty of room in the raft for all my gear, clothes, lunch etc. when out solo, I am 6'4" 225lbs. I am not affected by the water temps being out of the water( in the raft) and will spend all day on the lake ( naps included).
I also use my raft as my bed/shelter when i do overnighters during fair weather trips. I tried the float tube years ago, but it wasnt versatile enough for my game.

Good luck in your quest.
 

tyafly

Member
No float tube tips for ya here, but i suggest you think about a pack raft.

I have been hiking and fishing alpine lakes for 25+ yrs. I use a little raft. It packs down and weighs a bit, but take into account the neoprene waders, fins etc needed for a float tube system, its gotta be close to my setup. Its pretty tough and takes a beating, at $75 for the raft, oars/pump included, its not breaking the bank. At a 440lb weight limit, it means the lady can come out on the water and play along too if she so desires.
I have plenty of room in the raft for all my gear, clothes, lunch etc. when out solo, I am 6'4" 225lbs. I am not affected by the water temps being out of the water( in the raft) and will spend all day on the lake ( naps included).
I also use my raft as my bed/shelter when i do overnighters during fair weather trips. I tried the float tube years ago, but it wasnt versatile enough for my game.

Good luck in your quest.
@Peyton00 What kind of raft do you have? Sounds way better than my current setup

Jon,
I've hiked into a few lakes with my super fat cat on my back. With fins and boots its not great for long hikes. I wear shoes then change into my boots lakeside. Also for fins I bring the super light back packing ones. Don't remember what kind they are, but if you google float tube fins they are the cheapest one available. I actually like those fins and I think they are only like 20 or 30 bucks.
 

Bucktrout

Member
Hi all, I have searched the internet and found a few of these float tubes - just wondering if anyone out there have backpacked any particular tubes into high mountain lakes - and have suggestions on any particular models of tubes or have suggestions on models? Have looked at Outcast and Wilderness Lite models but I imagine that there have to be others - before I shell out a couple hundred dollars on a lightweight tube I thought I'd see if anyone out here on this forum had any suggestions. Thanks - any input is gladly accepted.
Jon
I own a Wilderness Lite float tube. It is a very well made and well thought out design. Pretty fast in the water. I carry the Outcast lightweight fins which are excellent. But I agree that once you add the weight of waders, etc. there might not be much of an advantage in terms of weight although a float tube is pretty easy to fish from, especially when trolling. One thing about the WL tube, the seat puts you pretty far down in the water. I used it in the Seep Lakes last fall and was surprised that I got chilled using my 3mm waders. Wish I had packed my 5mm ones so I could have lasted longer in the water. I do like the idea of a raft though, I might give it some serious consideration myself.
 

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
As previously stated - Wilderness lite or Wood River (if you can find one.). I have 2 Wood Rivers & will install a Wilderness Lite bladder in the oldest one over the winter. Both tubes are very light-weight.
 

Sir Homey

Level 7 Dungeon Master
If you're packing in then I assume you're going to be humping some miles and some hills. You're going to want to travel lite. Consider everything you'll need - waders, fins, pfd, pump, layers of clothing to keep you warm, yata yata.

Lightest tubes out there are usually the donuts aka widow makers (vs a U or V shaped tube). Buck bags and Caddis come to mind. If you want to take it up a notch and down in weight then strip em of anything you don't feel you need like extra pockets, stripping apron, etc. Also consider a CO2 cartridge PFD like SOSpenders to save weight (maybe), space, and have greater mobility (when casting). Fins, you can find lite ones out there but many are flimsy shit. Force Fins I like, but they weigh more. A net is helpful when tubing too, but there's more weight for ya.

Be safe. You're likely to be the only person on the lake when packing in, unless you go with a friend.
 

Nooksack Mac

Active Member
I have a Sevelor raft, capacity one cramped adult, about twenty years old, that weighs 4.5 pounds, which I believe includes the hand-paddles.
 

Birdsnest

Active Member
Be careful of the old Sevelor raft. I had a 2-man Sevelor that I had for about 20 years. It was great for backpacking - much lighter than a tube. It worked great until one day it had a massive seam failure. Fortunately I wasn't in the water when it happened.
 

Ed Call

Long Lost Member
WFF Supporter
I have a flytepacker raft. Sub 3 pounds. Float tubes have propulsion and holding position advantages over rafts with hand paddles, but at a weight/space disadvantage.
 

Buzzy

Active Member
Something that comes to my mind with hiking into a high mountain lake is "the trail". Is it wide open like the trail shown below? Or will you be dodging overhanging branches, squeezing between trees, climbing over deadfall, fording creeks, climbing steep talus rock falls?

I have a Super Fat Cat and I hike it into seep lakes and one Canadian lake along a road you need a lifted 4X4 to get in with a motorized vehicle. There's a shorter trail into the Canadian lake - getting my Fat Cat on and off my shoulders to dodge under branches and through narrow gaps between trees is a PAIN IN THE BUTT.

I used to have this boat: http://www.outcastboats.com/float-tubes/trinity-float-tube.asp It comes in a handy little backpack complete with its own pump. Very nifty for hiking the trail! I just didn't feel all that "secure" in it and have since moved to the Fat Cat.

Good advice above about weight: Minimize!!! This past spring I found myself lakeside at a seep lake with nine fly boxes in my float tube. Jeez. Every ounce counts when you hike distance. Flimsy, thin fins suck.


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Baseball_Junkie

Fish Witcher
Just received a new Wilderness Lite for my birthday(wife of the month??) we will do a 5 day trip to the hidden lakes next Thursday...:) will report back. Was gonna save weight and buy a "disposable" pair of ultralight Orvis waders for $20 on eBay but after reading some of the comments here, I may just take my heavier Simm's and my onesie...Brrrr

BJ
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
I have a Curtis raft that weighs less than 2 pounds, including hand paddles. Then I got one of SHigSpeed's prototype float tubes, mentioned above by Jeff B., prior to Steve's untimely death. With his super-light fins, the tube and inflation bag weighs about 2 pounds. But I also need waders, so I use an old pair of of Red Ball Super Lights, at 16 oz., to complete the package. It's a pound heavier than the Curtis raft, but the float tube sits me higher for casting and allows hands free propulsion. Both are effective fishing platforms that fit in a backpack.

Sg
 

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