New Float Tube???

Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
WFF Supporter
It looks like I may be in the market for a new float tube for occasional drive-to lake use to save wear and tear on my Wilderness Lite Backpacker Pro that I use for long hike-ins/multi-day backpack trips. I don't want to make another disposable "3 trips and out" purchase that it appears my last one may be turning into.

I've looked at Outcast but their Outcast line is looking smaller; it looks like they discontinued the Trinity.
Are any of the current Outcast tubes bladderless like my Trinity was (sold it to get the lighter Wilderness Lite).
In the Fish Cat series the FC4 has a single(?) urethane vinyl bladders but a foam seat whereas the FC4DLX appears to have 4 chambers but is vinyl? That seems like an odd marketing decision.
Are there significant strength/durability advantages for a still water tube to Urethane vs vinyl to make it worth the extra cost? Steve Parton (Sparton, who picked up the license for the original Wood River V-boat now; OoB) in the UK wrote an article for Sexy Loops that says it is a big deal. And my current vinyl bladder tube seems to bear that out.

What's the sweet spot for OSG?

Scadden has the (bladderless?) Aircraft but no specs as to weight, number of bladders or material, and his CS rep casts a big dark shadow over a purchase from him. Paying almost 5x the cost if there were problems for another "disposable" tube would really piss me off!
Are there any advantages to bladderless besides lighter weight? Bladderless disadvantages?

Bucks has the Roughneck but the price is ginormous. They still make the Mustang and Bullet HC U-boat style tubes with urethane bladders but the info about them on their website is pretty sparse, no reviews on the net, and the price is high.

What do folks think of the current crop of tubes with a crossbar on the apron? I seem to recall somebody on WFF mentioned seeing someone getting turned upside down in one of those and it being a close call???

Then there's the hybrid Super Cat but the cost is astronomical for the amount it would get used.

Thoughts?
 
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Zak

WFF Supporter
"In the Fish Cat series the FC4 has a single(?) urethane bladder but a foam seat"

Double bladder in the FC4.
 

Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
WFF Supporter
"In the Fish Cat series the FC4 has a single(?) urethane bladder but a foam seat"

Double bladder in the FC4.
Yeah, it The FAT CAT 4 does sound odd with a single flotation chamber but there's only one valve in the top pic and the specs have a typo?
1599098013451.png 1599097850658.png
 
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Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
WFF Supporter
Bump - Several emails within 3 years of the 5 year warranty period containing a receipt to the mfg of my $150 "3 trips & out disposable float tube" were either returned as undeliverable by the email provider because the mfg was not picking up email, or just went unanswered when I responded to their "holiday sale flyers" they sent to get a bunch more suckers on the hook. I even asked if it wasn't going to be covered by their "5 year warranty" how I could repair it, and if I could purchase a replacement bladder.
One thing I like about the tube's design is 3 air chambers; 2 side bladders and a seat bladder for (comfort &) safety.

Valve Design for Tubes with Bladders Inside Covers
This float tube is designed with valves that are screwed into the bladders through the cover and is a friction fit into the tube itself. The bottom part of the valve inside the bladder with the screw threads for the valve is not glued to the bladder. The leak is coming from between the top and bottom valve sections. Removing, cleaning, and reinstalling the valve (in just the bladder without the cover) slowed the leak but did not stop it.

From this experience tubes like this one with bladders that do not have the valve bottom glued onto-into the bladder with a reinforced opening in the cover that the valve can be accessed from is a real potential trouble spot.

Bladderless vs Bladders with Covers?
Scadden has the (bladderless?) "Aircraft" but no specs as to weight, number of bladders or material, apparently no pockets, and his CS rep casts a big dark shadow over a purchase from him. Paying almost 5x the cost if there were problems for another "disposable" tube would really piss me off!
Are there any advantages to bladderless besides lighter weight? Bladderless disadvantages?

Urethane vs PVC?
Are there significant strength/durability advantages for a stillwater tube to Urethane vs vinyl to make it worth the extra cost? Steve Parton (Sparton, who picked up the license for the original Wood River V-boat; now OoB) in the UK wrote an article for Sexy Loops that says it is a big deal.

Outcast?
I've looked at Outcast but their Outcast line is looking smaller; it looks like they discontinued the bladderless Trinity. I sold my Trinity to get the lighter Backpacker Pro and really didn't like the stripping "tray" attachment. How are Outcast - Fishcat tube valves on their bladders designed? They may have good CS but that isn't going to help during the trip I was on where I turned into a to bank angler with no backcast room.
What's the sweet spot for OSG?

Bucks?
Bucks has the Roughneck but the price is ginormous. They still make the Mustang and Bullet HC U-boat style tubes with urethane bladders but the info about them on their website is pretty sparse, no reviews on the net, and the price is high.

Stripping Apron Crossbars?
What do folks think of the current crop of tubes with a crossbar on the apron? I seem to recall somebody on WFF mentioned watching and rescuing someone who got turned upside down in one of those and it being a very close call???

Super Cat?
Then there's the hybrid Super Cat but the cost is astronomical for the amount it would get used.

Thoughts?
 

IveofIone

WFF Supporter
My thoughts are that the urethane bladder is a big deal, think at least a decade of dependable service. The "all day comfort" of the foam seat is a myth unless you carry a lot of extra padding in your skivvies. The price of a high end tube like the SFC is just mouse nuts nuts when amortized over a 10 year period. I am well into my second decade on mine and have a brand new one that has never seen water that will become my granddaughter's boat. The lack of a crossbar/stretcher is a huge advantage to ingress/egress. The stripping apron on the new Super Fat Cats is a pain in the ass but has been mandated for liability reasons I think.

Finally, if you think your life is only worth a cheap assed boat then buy a cheap assed boat. But I think the best boat you can buy is the safest one. Getting in a $200 boat with a $700 rod seems like a case of distorted priorities to me.
 

Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
WFF Supporter
My thoughts are that the urethane bladder is a big deal, think at least a decade of dependable service. The "all day comfort" of the foam seat is a myth unless you carry a lot of extra padding in your skivvies.
Thanks! I don't need this float tube to be "backpackable" (I have a very good one already) but want it to pack into a fairly small bag to go in the back of my small SUV with other gear. Foam seats are not only uncomfortable but they don't compress.

How about bladder with cover vs bladderless?
And if the SFC has a bladder with a cover is the valve bottom glued to the inside of the bladder?
 

IveofIone

WFF Supporter
Thanks! I don't need this float tube to be "backpackable" (I have a very good one already) but want it to pack into a fairly small bag to go in the back of my small SUV with other gear. Foam seats are not only uncomfortable but they don't compress.

How about bladder with cover vs bladderless?
And if the SFC has a bladder with a cover is the valve bottom glued to the inside of the bladder?
No, the bladder in the SFC is not glued but does require a special spanner wrench to remove. There is a YouTube video on Outcast Airecell removal and replacement.
 

Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
WFF Supporter
No, the bladder in the SFC is not glued but does require a special spanner wrench to remove. There is a YouTube video on Outcast Airecell removal and replacement.
Thanks again Ive. I used the spanner wrench that came with my tube too. Tightened as hard as I could onto the bladder (without the cover) after wiping down all the surfaces, and still had a small leak. Because of that I had to fish from the bank on a camping trip to a remote lake at 4000'. That's why I'm asking if bladderless like my OC Trinity is better. I guess one other thing I could try to fix my tube is to use some plumbers' tape on the valve threads.
 
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IveofIone

WFF Supporter
Brian, check the valve itself to see if it might have a speck of debris on the seat. I had a similar problem thinking it was the tube leaking but it turned out to be a speck of dirt in the valve. Blowing it out with an air hose or rinsing it with something dislodged it and it never leaked again.
 

bakerite

Active Member
Hey Brian, here is my budget pick. I have a friend just getting into Fly-fishing and he got one and loves it so far. This is the same as a Outcast Fishcat 4 LCS for $50 less. https://www.sportsmans.com/fishing-...es-pontoons/lost-creek-4-float-tube/p/1523865
Great for places you can drive to. Great Outcast quality. I have a Fatcat I bought used, and a Wilderness Lite. I use the Fatcat for everything up to about 2 miles and 1000 feet of elevation gain because of comfort. Fatcat has one chamber so I wear a life preserver. Called the factory once when it was leaking a bit from the valve and got an call back in a hurry. I was concerned because the tube is old, so was thinking of replacing bladder. The person who called told me exactly what to do to fix the problem and discouraged me from buying a new bladder because they basically "don't wear out".
Enough rambling, watch craigslist or if you are on a budget get the one from Sportsmans.
 

Haggis57

Active Member
The person who called told me exactly what to do to fix the problem and discouraged me from buying a new bladder because they basically "don't wear out".
I contacted Outcast regarding replacing the 12 year old vinyl bladders in a Fish Cat Streamer XL I picked used and got a similar reply. Although acknowledging that the urethane bladders were even more resilient, the guy I talked to confirmed that there wasn't really a specific life expectancy associated with the vinyl bladder. I subsequently bought a used Fish Cat Scout (vinyl bladders) and contacted Outcast about the best way to store the Scout. He confirmed that the best thing I could do to extend the life of any inflatable pontoon or float tube I owned was to store them inflated if possible. He also repeated what the previous guy said about no specific limit vinyl bladder life expectancy, based on their experience.

Some additional comments on OP's original questions (my experience is all stillwater fishing):

I also find the inflatable seats much more comfortable than the hard foam seats. My Older ODC 420 came with a foam seat. After a year, I upgraded to the new inflatable seat and back and was happy with both the added comfort and additional floatation. I would never use foam again.

I bought an inflatable PFD when I got the ODC 420 and continue to always wear it regardless of what inflatable I'm on. I've bumped into too many unexpected submerged objects in clear water. I wouldn't go out in any float tube or pontoon boat without a PFD, regarding of the number of bladders or the bladder material.

I think I would be leery of crossbars on a float tube for the reasons previously mentioned. The foot bar on my Scout pontoon is located lower, between the pontoons and I don't find it restrictive.

I've been using the new style Outcast stripping apron for 4 years on the Scout pontoon and it is the most convenient and effective stripping apron I have had. Very quick to get out of the way when coming into shore or landing difficult fish. There may be issues with the design on float tubes that are more confined. There are certainly a number of negative reviews of the new apron design on this forum as well as other forums.

Overall, I've been very impressed with Outcast quality and support and wouldn't hesitate buy another of their products.

Ken
 

Buzzy

Active Member
Bump - Several emails within 3 years of the 5 year warranty period containing a receipt to the mfg of my $150 "3 trips & out disposable float tube" were either returned as undeliverable by the email provider because the mfg was not picking up email, or just went unanswered when I responded to their "holiday sale flyers" they sent to get a bunch more suckers on the hook. I even asked if it wasn't going to be covered by their "5 year warranty" how I could repair it, and if I could purchase a replacement bladder.
One thing I like about the tube's design is 3 air chambers; 2 side bladders and a seat bladder for (comfort &) safety.

Valve Design for Tubes with Bladders Inside Covers
This float tube is designed with valves that are screwed into the bladders through the cover and is a friction fit into the tube itself. The bottom part of the valve inside the bladder with the screw threads for the valve is not glued to the bladder. The leak is coming from between the top and bottom valve sections. Removing, cleaning, and reinstalling the valve (in just the bladder without the cover) slowed the leak but did not stop it.

From this experience tubes like this one with bladders that do not have the valve bottom glued onto-into the bladder with a reinforced opening in the cover that the valve can be accessed from is a real potential trouble spot.

Bladderless vs Bladders with Covers?
Scadden has the (bladderless?) "Aircraft" but no specs as to weight, number of bladders or material, apparently no pockets, and his CS rep casts a big dark shadow over a purchase from him. Paying almost 5x the cost if there were problems for another "disposable" tube would really piss me off!
Are there any advantages to bladderless besides lighter weight? Bladderless disadvantages?

Urethane vs PVC?
Are there significant strength/durability advantages for a stillwater tube to Urethane vs vinyl to make it worth the extra cost? Steve Parton (Sparton, who picked up the license for the original Wood River V-boat; now OoB) in the UK wrote an article for Sexy Loops that says it is a big deal.

Outcast?
I've looked at Outcast but their Outcast line is looking smaller; it looks like they discontinued the bladderless Trinity. I sold my Trinity to get the lighter Backpacker Pro and really didn't like the stripping "tray" attachment. How are Outcast - Fishcat tube valves on their bladders designed? They may have good CS but that isn't going to help during the trip I was on where I turned into a to bank angler with no backcast room.
What's the sweet spot for OSG?

Bucks?
Bucks has the Roughneck but the price is ginormous. They still make the Mustang and Bullet HC U-boat style tubes with urethane bladders but the info about them on their website is pretty sparse, no reviews on the net, and the price is high.

Stripping Apron Crossbars?
What do folks think of the current crop of tubes with a crossbar on the apron? I seem to recall somebody on WFF mentioned watching and rescuing someone who got turned upside down in one of those and it being a very close call???

Super Cat?
Then there's the hybrid Super Cat but the cost is astronomical for the amount it would get used.

Thoughts?
Buy a Fish Cat. I think you think too much and over think things! ;-)
Resprectfully yours,
Douglas Neidermeyer
 

Kilchis

WFF Supporter
Another vote for Outcast products. If you weigh much over 230 you might want whatever is currently the next step up from the Fishcat 4.

I fish from a 4, a Fat Cat, and Scout.
 

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