Packable float tube

dustinchromers

Active Member
My current float tube is old as the hills. I like it but it's old. It's the creek company odc 420 or something. Basic u boat type thing. I am however after something different. I want to strap this thing to a motorcycle to access some lakes. So my criteria are small, packable, easy setup and takedown. Must also have some storage pockets for the minimal fly boxes I take. Anybody got any ideas as to what might work well?
 

Zak

WFF Supporter
WFF Supporter
My current float tube is old as the hills. I like it but it's old. It's the creek company odc 420 or something. Basic u boat type thing. I am however after something different. I want to strap this thing to a motorcycle to access some lakes. So my criteria are small, packable, easy setup and takedown. Must also have some storage pockets for the minimal fly boxes I take. Anybody got any ideas as to what might work well?
I took my new Wilderness Lite Backpacker Pro out for the first time today. It is more packable, and lighter, than my waders. Excellent communication from the company when I bought it!
 

Bruce Baker

Active Member
I was going to suggest a Wilderness Lite tube. The only negative I have heard is that it takes a while to deflate. I bought one late last summer and have not gotten it out yet, so I have no experience with this part.
1626105106519.png
 

MD

WFF Supporter
I used mine last week and deflating wasn’t all that bad. One has to take an active role, though. It wasn’t just open the valve and have a snack…I had to roll it and put some weight on it to get all the air out.

Should you go for one of these, consider getting the Ice Out air cushion cuz without it, ya sit low in the water.

I tend to get cold easy and had to get out several times in order to warm up last week. I don’t know what the air temp was but the water was 60 degrees and the weather varied between rain, wind, sun, and low clouds/fog. I’m about 6’ & 190 and even with a pair of thin long johns and sweats under my waders I got chilled since the water was damn near over the top of my thigh while seated.

No idea yet how much difference the cushion will make. I just got it in the mail today. It inflates to about 3+ inches thick. I’m hoping it’ll will be a little warmer and will also make casting a bit easier since I’ll be a little higher relative to the tube.

That said, the Backpacker Pro is well made and does what it’s designed to do

Mike d
 
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WLLLC

New Member
For those seeking an option for those wanting an easier method for deflation/inflation of ultralight float tubes, here is something to consider. A customer recently contacted us to inquire about the compatibility of a lightweight rechargeable lithium battery powered pump with Wilderness Lite ultralight float tubes. We ordered some to do an assessment, and I thought the results might be of interest, particularly because they function both as an inflation pump and as a vacuum pump.

We've now purchased 3 pumps on Amazon from Flextailgear, initially the Tiny Pump X and the Max Pump 2020. The Tiny weighs about 3.5 oz (for a reference point the double action inflation pump from Wilderness Lite weighs 3.4 oz), but the nozzle is too small to accommodate the adapter tubing to fit onto the valves of the Backpacker Pro/Tree Line 2.x, and it seemed to lack the force to adequately fill the float tube. The difficulty in attaching it to the valve of the Backpacker Pro may have been the limitation, as well as the small diameter of its nozzle?

The Max Pump 2020 is a bit heavier at 5.5 oz, but the nozzle fits the 5/16" ID vinyl adapter tubing we supply with our ultralight float tubes with a tight fit to the valve of the Backpacker Pro. Because of the length of the nozzle, a 3" length of vinyl tubing is better than the 1-2" used for the hand pump. It fills the main bladder in about the same time as hand pumping, about 5-6 minutes, and the backrest bladder in less than a minute. Rather than draining the battery by continuing filling to 100% with the Flextailgear, we turned off the pump & topped off the main bladder with the double action hand pump to get a tight, firm consistency for the best performance of the Backpacker Pro. Moving the nozzle to the intake port on the Max Pump 2020 enables it to function as a vacuum pump which deflated the Backpacker Pro in 5-6 minutes. For best results rolling up the wings a couple times during deflation is important to move air toward the valve, so the two sides of the bladder don't get pulled together and block the outflow of air to the vacuum pump. This enabled me to start deflation right after leaving the water, and to change out of waders, etc while the pump deflated the Backpacker Pro.

To simulate use in the wilderness, we inflated and deflated the Backpacker Pro periodically over several days to test battery life. The Max Pump 2020 filled and deflated both bladders of the Backpacker Pro six times over 11 days before the battery quit and required recharging. We stored the battery at room temperature throughout this period, so I don't know how cold overnight temperatures in the mountains may affect battery life.

Because the Max Pump 2020 appears to be a good prospect, we ordered and received a 2nd one to test its battery life as well to provide better assurance of product quality. They are made in China. We'll also test battery performance after several re-charges.

Bottom line: if you don't mind carrying an extra 5.5 oz, the Max Pump 2020 seems to be--on initial assessment--a nice convenience, but I would NOT head into the wilderness without a hand pump.
 

Freestone

WFF Supporter
For those seeking an option for those wanting an easier method for deflation/inflation of ultralight float tubes, here is something to consider. A customer recently contacted us to inquire about the compatibility of a lightweight rechargeable lithium battery powered pump with Wilderness Lite ultralight float tubes. We ordered some to do an assessment, and I thought the results might be of interest, particularly because they function both as an inflation pump and as a vacuum pump.

We've now purchased 3 pumps on Amazon from Flextailgear, initially the Tiny Pump X and the Max Pump 2020. The Tiny weighs about 3.5 oz (for a reference point the double action inflation pump from Wilderness Lite weighs 3.4 oz), but the nozzle is too small to accommodate the adapter tubing to fit onto the valves of the Backpacker Pro/Tree Line 2.x, and it seemed to lack the force to adequately fill the float tube. The difficulty in attaching it to the valve of the Backpacker Pro may have been the limitation, as well as the small diameter of its nozzle?

The Max Pump 2020 is a bit heavier at 5.5 oz, but the nozzle fits the 5/16" ID vinyl adapter tubing we supply with our ultralight float tubes with a tight fit to the valve of the Backpacker Pro. Because of the length of the nozzle, a 3" length of vinyl tubing is better than the 1-2" used for the hand pump. It fills the main bladder in about the same time as hand pumping, about 5-6 minutes, and the backrest bladder in less than a minute. Rather than draining the battery by continuing filling to 100% with the Flextailgear, we turned off the pump & topped off the main bladder with the double action hand pump to get a tight, firm consistency for the best performance of the Backpacker Pro. Moving the nozzle to the intake port on the Max Pump 2020 enables it to function as a vacuum pump which deflated the Backpacker Pro in 5-6 minutes. For best results rolling up the wings a couple times during deflation is important to move air toward the valve, so the two sides of the bladder don't get pulled together and block the outflow of air to the vacuum pump. This enabled me to start deflation right after leaving the water, and to change out of waders, etc while the pump deflated the Backpacker Pro.

To simulate use in the wilderness, we inflated and deflated the Backpacker Pro periodically over several days to test battery life. The Max Pump 2020 filled and deflated both bladders of the Backpacker Pro six times over 11 days before the battery quit and required recharging. We stored the battery at room temperature throughout this period, so I don't know how cold overnight temperatures in the mountains may affect battery life.

Because the Max Pump 2020 appears to be a good prospect, we ordered and received a 2nd one to test its battery life as well to provide better assurance of product quality. They are made in China. We'll also test battery performance after several re-charges.

Bottom line: if you don't mind carrying an extra 5.5 oz, the Max Pump 2020 seems to be--on initial assessment--a nice convenience, but I would NOT head into the wilderness without a hand pump.
Have you tried a “Bernoulli” inflation bag to inflate one? It seems like with the proper valve adapter, it could make a great lightweight backup for the battery operated pump.
 

Freestone

WFF Supporter
I thought this thread was about light weight, low bulk float tubes.

View attachment 289747

View attachment 289748
And some light weight, low bulk fins for propulsion. They might look flimsy and unconventional, but they really work well.
View attachment 289749
And you can't beat the weight:
View attachment 289750

And this is the inflated float tube:
View attachment 289751
I wish that I had gotten a pair of the fins for mine before it was too late. I think about his family from time to time and hope they doing ok.
 

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