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Patrick
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I plan to hit a few of the high lakes this year again. I would like to take some type of raft up with me when I go this year. I need to keep the weight down since I will already be packing 35-50LBS of gear before I add in a raft. I am thinking raft rather then float tube so I do not need to carry fins and waders as well. I would like to find out from others that hike in to some of our Alpine lake areas what type of rafts they fish from. I will be hiking this stuff in for hikes of between 3-15 miles so every pound as well a space counts but I do not want the gear to fail all the way up there. Also what are you using to put air in the craft, once you get there. This craft will be for hike in use only since I have other craft for low land lakes and Puget Sound. The reports on this subject from this forum talk about using rubber rafts in hike in lakes but do not say what type of rafts are used or how to fill them with air once you get there. Thank you in advance for you advise.:dunno Some of the lakes I plan to hike into have trails going to them others do not. The raft is to help me cover the lake better then I can from shore.
 

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Be the guide...
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If you're packing it in, it will probably be fairly compact. Nothing wrong with using your own lungs to fill it with air. Should take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to puff up depending on size. No extra weight to carry :) That's how I did it as a kid...
 

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Hikepat,
I too have gone the raft route as the last thing I want to haul up into the bc is a pair of waters and boots, fins and a tube...and more critically, carry them down wet! I have gone with the Sevylor Trailboat. It's a tiny little craft made for one person and not much gear but it weighs around 2.5-3 lbs including the little mini hand paddles that work wonderfully. I find it works quite well for trolling though my standard method is to get in barefoot and hold my rod in my lap and between my first and second toe. Casting is a little tough since you're as low as or lower than a float tube and lounging back with your feet up. But the weight can't be beat! I can fit it inside my 70 liter pack and still fit all my backpacking gear for 2-3 nights. It comes in a funny yellow bag that doubles as a pump...weird, huh? I have used it but typically leave it at home and use my lungs as they're lighter and I don't have a choice as to leave them at home or not.

Someone will probably respond and mention the 'Curtis' rafts used by many of the highlaker/trailblazer community. I believe they're similar and popular with those guys. If nobody has better info on them check out the trailblazer website and it's discussion forum where I'm sure you can inquire on where to get one etc.

Send me a private message some time if you need a backpacking partner and we can perhaps exchange some highlakes knowledge/experience. I'm new revvin' my engine, waiting for the snow to melt!

Jack
 

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Hi there Hikepat. I raft the hi lakes both on and off trail in a similar fashion as you describe. I have been using Intex Challenger 200's for most of my fishing. The max weight cap. is around 210 lbs. The raft itself weighs about 4.5lbs without oars, around 7lbs with oars. I only bring 1/2 the length of oars for weight and it's easier to flycast that way. I use a sleeping pad and a crazy creek high back chair to complete the lazy-boy on the water feel. A Challenger 200 raft will set you back about $30 with oars. I have taken my raft most anywhere the water looked big enough. The foss lakes, Lime Ridge, Bench and Woods, and other places.... I should also add that I use a silltarp, a bivy, and coke can stove for camp, very weight consious.

It's very addictive. The view is usually better, you can get away from the skeeters most of the time away from shore, there's greater fishing mobility, X2 as roomy as the smaller rafts, ability to portage across lakes with pack, and you can see all the neat stuff far below on the bottom of the lake.

The only potentially negative things I have to say are I use my lungs to inflate the thing and they are a bright orange color on top. Sometimes a partner will bring a small pump. But I cannot justify it.

I once had a Sevylor emergency raft that cost $80 and sunk on the first weekend in an un-emergency like fashion. Challengers are easy to patch and can last 2-3 years and dont blow out except in really frigid conditions.

They also make a small 100 version raft that I've seen friends go swimming with.

There are other options out there too I'm sure. When I grow up I want a Curtis Raft. Hope this helps.
Happy scrambling -Dave
 

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Several of you have mentioned the Curtis Raft. If you want the absolutely best raft for pack in use this is it. Weighs 20 ounces including the pump and paddles. Sevelor knocked it off quite a few years ago, but are not even close to it in light weight or quality. The bag it's carried in is the pump and comes with a valve like the cloth water bags have so you can double use it as a water bag in camp. The paddles look like ping pong paddles and work very well. You use your Therm-a-rest pad as the bottom and back rest. Runs about $240 now I believe. As someone earlier said, dial up the Trail Blazers web site (this is the group who packs in the fish to plant most of the smaller lakes you fish in the high lakes) at <watrailblazers.org>
We have a forum section and you can get questions answered on the raft or any other high lakes subjects.
-Pete
 

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Patrick
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Many of you brought up using your sleeping pad in the bottom of the raft. Since I do not carry a sleeping pad, will one of the pad style chairs work? I do carry one of those with me at times to give me a chair to sit in the sun with. I sleep in the air in my Army jungle tent, blowing in the winds between two trees, so I have no need for a sleeping pad. Will the rafts above work without a pad or does it help to stiffen the bottom of the rafts? Also thank you for pointing out the trail blazer web site. I will have to check it out when I get a chance. :thumb
 

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The sleeping pad is partly for stiffening the bottom of the raft, but mostly to insulate your butt from the ice water you're sitting in for hours. Imagine using a float tube for several hours with NO insulation. Cold.
- Pete
 

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Are the speedos part of the "Curtis" package? I agree roper, I think I am too shy for that uniform.

It seems there is a big price difference, what makes curtis better than the Sevlor raft?

I have been wanting to post about this subject for a while--thanks to the fisher who did :thumb

Mcronariver
 

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Hi, Brian Curtis here. I'm the guy who makes the Curtis Raft. They weigh 20 oz for the raft itself and 6 oz for the paddles. 3 oz for the bag/pump. You need to use an air mattress for a seat. The idea is to reuse items you have anyway to conserve weight.

The advantage over the Sevylor is that they weigh substantially less, they compact much smaller, and they are larger. The disadvantage is that they are more expensive.

They are designed and built for high lake fishing. We sold our first raft in 1980 and rafts from that era are still in use today.

A Speedo is not included.

If you would like a brochure snail mailed just email me your address. [email protected].

Brian
 
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