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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After backpacking in to an Alpine Lakes Wilderness gem, I'm thinking I may spend some more time doing this type of multiple recreational activity (backpacking, fishing and camping out of my hammock).

This past trip I carried in my flytepacker raft that weighs in just under 3#. I also carried in my waist high waders, lightweight paddle, fishing gear and camping gear. My overall load was too heavy and I'm already looking to trim the weight of a few of the items carried.

Are there any float tubes out there that approach or beat this light weight? I know that will require waders on cold waters and fins, but I'm interested in seeking all options to find out what might work best for me on future outings.

My current float tube is hefty at about 10#, it is fabulous for the local lake use, but for hike in trips this is not an option.

Thanks for throwing ideas out of varied craft, their listed weight and your experience carrying it into somewhat remote locations. Let me know how it performed. My raft was fine using the paddle ends as hand paddles, but there was some wind to contend with and it certainly was not like fin kicking. I'm sure that it will serve me adequately just like I used it recently, but if there are other options to consider I'm game.
 

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Ed, I have found out a few things in my past years of packing into lakes:

Buy a cheap backpack, and ditch the boots and waders.

First: Unless I'm blazing a new trail, the so-called frameless packs are overrated, and weigh more than you need. I have a $24 backpack for these kind of trips. They are basically a gunny sack with padded straps. If there's a decent trail, your back will be fine.

Second: I have found that you don't need the boots and waders, unless you are standing in one place for a long time. However if the water is really cold, you may be stuck with them. However, I just packed into a lake that still had snowfields melting into it, and the surface temp was 64 degrees. Now, that's not bath water, but it certainly was warm enough to swim in (as two other hikers did). Looks can be deceiving.

Third: If you haven't already, invest in those lightweight fins - sooooo worth it, trust me. http://www.cabelas.com/product/Creek-Company-Lightweight-Fins/732349.uts
 
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Finally got my S#%* together & it wont all fit!
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Ed

I did a little thinking and searching after our trip and found a couple of lighter float tube options. Again I have a Super Fat cat and other tube options if not carrying long distances.

For backpacking purposes the most interesting to me is the
Wilderness Lite Backpacker Pro. (3.8lbs) on line for $325 (free shipping). This is kind of a V-boat / U-boat hybrid . The main bladder is a new technology (beyond polyurethane) V shape with a twist valve and holds its shape without a spreader bar. The seat is just nylon and not inflateable so you sit a little lower in the water hence the Uboat reference. There is a seperate back bladder and fairly large storage pockets. If in the market this one warrants a serious look.
http://www.wildernesslitefloattubes.com/productsorder.html

ODC 420 Ultra Lite $259.00 Their website lists the weight at 8.5lbs which is a typo I believe. The foam seat version weigh 8.25lbs and are heavier. I remember reading reviews that this one with inflatable seat/backrest weighed in at 6.5lbs. Best bet would be to call to verify.
This is a true V-boat with individual 14 gauge PVC bladders with high volume Boston Valves. Also has air seat back and bottom so you ride high and dry. Has good storage as well.
http://creekcompany.com/product.php?productid=16305&cat=249

Outcast Trinity $399 7lbs

I have a Trinity and they are good but not all that light. For the money I'd consider the others first. The Trinity is a true Vboat with inflatable seat/back that is well made, has boston valves and adequate storage etc.

http://www.outcastboats.com/outcast/products/?id=1

I wish there were 2LB float tube options out there but this was the best I could find.

I hope this helps!

Edit - I agree with Kaiserman that the Creek Company light weight fins are a must. I also don't carry wading boots for these trips unless the lakes are surrounded by rocks.

Bob
 

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I still use an old Curtis raft. I have some paddles made from a Kevlar waffle material that are connected together with a length of cord. To help contend with the wind, I bring a mesh bag with a long length of cord. I fill the bag with rocks from the shore and use it as an anchor. I sit on my sleep pad in the boat to insulate from the cold lake. I don't bring waders of any kind. I just wade out to shin depth in shorts (or pull my pant legs up) and slip into the boat. If its cold, I pull on a pair of wool socks once in the boat.

I used to carry extra spools and heavy camera equipment. Now, I use a multi-tip line and have a small waterproof point and shoot camera. I use the UV stick instead of water filter.

Tyvek makes a fantastic light weight ground cover instead of a footprint sold by tent mfgrs. It also makes a fairly good rain tarp. This stuff is very light & durable.

Others commented on the heavy internal frame packs. My friend has one that is extremely light and still has ample room for a 3-4 day trip.

I didn't answer your direct question on a light weight tube, but maybe there are few ideas on weight saving that will spark some ideas of your own.
 

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I have been using the Klymit LWD raft/kayak when packing to alpine lakes. It’s a very small raft made of similar material to backpacking ground pads. I really liked the Alpacka but the LWD is fraction of the cost and weighs less. I don’t plan on hitting any rivers so the LWD fits my needs.

Pros-
The LWD is 2lbs 3oz and my cheap 4 piece paddle is another 2-3 pounds
The raft packs very small, smaller than a loaf of bread
Inflating the raft is pretty quick using the drybag/stuffsack with integral valve (ingenious system) No pump to pack
It’s a raft so no need for waders, fins
The raft is cheap – I found it for $145 and the paddle for another $30.
Quick to deflate and dry out.

Cons-
It’s small, hard to get in and out of. Your butt will get wet from water dripping off your paddle.
It’s a single camber, if you blow a seam you’re in the water quickly
It’s small. I am 5’-10” and 150lbs and it’s fine for me. I have paddled around with a 40lb kid in my lap and it was ok.
The raft gets pushed around by the wind. On a calm day it’s no problem to paddle a bit, cast etc. Not as easy as kicking while casting and steering where you want.

At around 5 pounds for boat and paddle it’s no problem to throw it in a day pack or add to overnight gear. I considered float tubes and with tube, waders and fins I am always around 10 pounds or more and the bulk is pretty significant.

So far I really like the LWD it but I have only owned it for one season and used it on four different hikes this summer. A few weeks ago I hiked 18 miles in a day and fished three separate lakes. I would not consider hiking that distance in day with a tube and gear…

Josh
 

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I use a single man raft(they call it a 3 man LMAO), oars and a pump. I transport using my military duffle bag. I use the boat for my bed and a big micro fleece over the top for bug control. I use two blow up seat cushions for pillow and back support.
I pack boat, oars, pump, inflatable seats, rod, gear, food, water filter and misc items in my pack.
I am 6'4"- 44 yrs old.... but i hike like i am 26. lol.
I am gonna weigh my pack before next trip out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Jeff the flytepacker is PLENTY light at 35 ounces! The drawbacks are propulsion. Fins add weight but allow better control, especially when you hands are on a fly rod! I'm basically seeing if there is a combo that would allow me to have my fins/waders/float tube in a light weight package that would have a small weight penalty over the hand paddles and flytepacker raft.
 

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Ed, I have an older Bucks Bag Mustang in very good shape that I would happily give you. It is the model that still used the crossbar. I think the advertised weight was about 6# as I recall. It may be a little heavier than what you have in mind but it is hundreds of dollars cheaper!

Ive
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ive, that is a tremendous offer and really only comes as a 3# weight penalty. If you are really willing to send it my way, I'm grateful! If I find that I am sticking with the little pack raft, I can pass your float tube forward to someone who may need it.
 

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Jeff the flytepacker is PLENTY light at 35 ounces! The drawbacks are propulsion. Fins add weight but allow better control, especially when you hands are on a fly rod! I'm basically seeing if there is a combo that would allow me to have my fins/waders/float tube in a light weight package that would have a small weight penalty over the hand paddles and flytepacker raft.
Well, you can always get one of these -http://summitexpidition.webs.com/sherpasforhire.htm

:p
 
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Ed, ditch the midweights and get some old Red Ball flyweights. Pair of socks under and thick socks over will let you do away with boots. Buy some lightweight scuba fins and you should be able to shave some weight off from using the traditional float tube booties and float tube fins.
 

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Mumbles,

It is so unfortunate that the occasional poster from CA passed away last year. SHig if you remember him was obsessed with designing and building a lighter float tube. I was lucky to get one from him. It weighs in at just under 2 pounds, a little over with his super-lightweight fins. I happen to have an old set of Red Ball fly weight waders that are 14 or 16 oz. Together they make a more effective fishing platform than my Curtis raft at 30 oz, so for overnight backpacking I stick with the Curtis.

Weight weenie hiking got me into ultra-light gear a few years ago. Instead of my North Face expedition pack that is nearly 7 pounds empty, I got a Go-Lite pack that weighs 32 oz, Ex-ped sleeping pad at 16 oz., Tarptent at 32 oz. My synthetic fill sleeping bag is 2 1/2 pounds and I contemplate getting a quality down one at 2 pounds or slightly less. Titanium alcohol stove at 2 oz, titanium pot at 3 oz. I haven't figured out how to get my fishing gear down to less than a pound, but that's the goal.

Reducing pack weight is a fun obsession!

Sg
 

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Jeff the flytepacker is PLENTY light at 35 ounces! The drawbacks are propulsion. Fins add weight but allow better control, especially when you hands are on a fly rod! I'm basically seeing if there is a combo that would allow me to have my fins/waders/float tube in a light weight package that would have a small weight penalty over the hand paddles and flytepacker raft.
Cut some leg holes in the floor of the Flytepacker, add some webbing straps for extra support around those holes (make an X-pattern that runs around the raft tubes, then crossed between the leg holes - under the floor) and you have a self-draining raft that doubles as a float tube. You can lay in a hunk of closed-cell foam to cover the holes when you want to use it as a raft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Freestone and I have been discussing some possible modifications to the flytepacker raft. Mine were rather similar to those you've suggested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I was connected to SHig, electronically via the Kiene web site a few years back. He actually custom built a neat rod holder attachment for my fish cat float tube. Very well crafted out of PVC and cotter pins to make taking multiple rods onto a lake a really easy process.

I had discussed prototyping one of his ultralight tubes, but at the time I honestly told him that most of my still water was drive in access so maybe someone more interested in alpine lakes hiking would be a better choice.

I wish I had the time and skill to continue his work. His reports of his progress were always really enjoyable to read.
 
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