Float Tube or Pack Raft???

martyg

Active Member
Looking for feedback on either. We moved to SW CO and sit at the edge of CO's largest wilderness area. It has more high country lakes than I could likely fish in a lifetime.

I like the idea of being able to float out of an area on a raft. Don't know if I like the position for fishing lakes. The entire float tube kit seems to weighs more.

Looking for input for those who have been there done that got that tee shirt. Note that these won't be half mile walks in, but likely 4 - 7 day trips.

Thanks in advance.
 

Matt B

...
WFF Supporter
As a lake fishing platform I think the float tube is definitely superior, just for lack of windage. But the weight and versatility of the pack raft easily tips the scale in that direction.

This is from a guy who still rocks an inner tube "round boat." I have travelled down rivers with a pack raft user however, and was impressed.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
Fishing from a small raft is decidedly uncomfortable after a short time. A float tube, along with waders and fins, is heavy and adds too much bulk to a pack. I haven't tested it extensively yet, but the ideal solution appears to be an ultra-light float tube. I got one of the prototypes a former forum member made, who sadly passed away. It weighs 2#, and his ultra-light fins are about a half pound. Combine those with an old set of Flyweight waders at 16 oz., and you have a 3.5# load with small bulk for the pack. Otherwise a packraft is the lightest and least bulk option.

Sg
 

Tracker

Active Member
Never had one personally, but I know a few guys who swear by the versatility of the watermaster rafts.
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
SuperCat pontoon boats were originally designed for backpacking. Turns out, I've owned one (actually two now) sense they were first made in Washington State and have never really used it for backpacking... I like the boat a lot...

As it is extremely easy to move from the rig to the water, I'd say it would most likely be very easy to use for its original design of a backpacking pontoon boat.

http://www.supercat.us/
 

Philonius

WFF Supporter
I have an ultralight raft from Supai Adventure Gear, and while it's really nice to have that minimal pack weight, there is quite a bit of compromise in terms of fishability and "seaworthiness." Basically, it's OK for getting from point A to point B in fairly benign conditions (warm and calm), but you definitely will get blown around in light winds and ship water in any decent chop. And at <170#, I'm not that big of a guy.
I've played around with simple anchoring systems, and that can work to some degree, but I always missed the ability to orient and hold position that comes with a float tube type system. I think the decision hinges on what you're willing to carry. When I was younger, the extra weight wasn't a big issue, but now I really try to keep the load to a minimum.
The lightest possible float tube would definitely be best for fishing.
 

WildBrookie

Active Member
Klymit makes a super light packraft called the litewater dinghy. And much cheaper than most other packraft offerings. I just got one but haven't gotten to test it out yet. Very light, maybe 2 lbs, and about the size of a nalgene water bottle. I think it would probably not be good to fish from, but if you want to cross a lake or pond to access other banks, it would be good for that.
 

martyg

Active Member
SuperCat pontoon boats were originally designed for backpacking. Turns out, I've owned one (actually two now) sense they were first made in Washington State and have never really used it for backpacking... I like the boat a lot...

As it is extremely easy to move from the rig to the water, I'd say it would most likely be very easy to use for its original design of a backpacking pontoon boat.

http://www.supercat.us/

Looked it up. 38 pounds is crazy heavy.
 

martyg

Active Member
Thanks all. Leaning towards a lightweight float tube. I ran across one on a Google search hat weighed about 3.5 pounds. Once I get through with waders and fins I hope to be under 6.
 

Sir Homey

Level 7 Dungeon Master
For fishing, I think the tube is the way to go. You control position with your fins while you have hands free to cast, strip flies, land fish, etc. If you encounter any wind while rafting you're going to be rowing more than casting.

There are ultra lite tubes on the market.
http://www.wildernesslitefloattubes.com/index.html
Buck Bags makes a lighter donut tube. Caddis makes a lighter U-shaped too.

Light waders can be found. Fins, if you want to go cheaper (vs Force Fins), can also be found. PFD - maybe a CO2 cartridge SOSpender-type is your ticket. There's ways to reduce your tube kit weight.

The kicker is the added weight of waders, fins, pump, etc. That much added weight on a 4- 7 day trip...that depends on your backpacking prowess. For me at least, the weight is worth the greater control a tube offers.
 

Freestone

WFF Supporter
I have an old Outcast Y2K that converts from a wide, stable IK to a float tube/kickboat. It uses a clip-in foam front floor to accomplish this. It weighs only 15 pounds but the foam makes it bulky.

I've been thinking about asking Alpacka if they could make a self-bailing pack raft with the ability to unlace the front half of the inflatable floor to convert it to a kickboat. I would make it so the front half of the floor can be folded backwards over the rear half of the floor so that I have a double thickness inflatable seat for use as a kickboat. If it was just a hike-in lake, I could use waist-high waders. But for a lake & river trip, I could throw a set of fins over my drysuit/river booties and fish in a lake. When it's time to float a river, I could simply lace the front floor back in place and be all set to run a river.

If Alpacka (or you) made something like this and it were light enough, I would think there would be a small market for it.
 

Mark Mercer

Member
I have an old Outcast Y2K that converts from a wide, stable IK to a float tube/kickboat. It uses a clip-in foam front floor to accomplish this. It weighs only 15 pounds but the foam makes it bulky.

I've been thinking about asking Alpacka if they could make a self-bailing pack raft with the ability to unlace the front half of the inflatable floor to convert it to a kickboat. I would make it so the front half of the floor can be folded backwards over the rear half of the floor so that I have a double thickness inflatable seat for use as a kickboat. If it was just a hike-in lake, I could use waist-high waders. But for a lake & river trip, I could throw a set of fins over my drysuit/river booties and fish in a lake. When it's time to float a river, I could simply lace the front floor back in place and be all set to run a river.

If Alpacka (or you) made something like this and it were light enough, I would think there would be a small market for it.

Great idea Sue !!!
 

Peyton00

Active Member
For trips like you mentioned, being days away, i prefer to also use my raft as my shelter . I pack a few blow up seats and use them as support while sleeping and a pillow etc. I dont pack a tent.
Tubes or rafts, each has its advantages.
In my 25+ yrs of alpine lake fishing, i stick with what has worked for me. I like my raft setup.

Enjoy the lakes, like is grand when away from the lights of the city.

Edit:
I just read my post. I rambled a few thoughts into my message. Lol
 
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