backpackable float tubes?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by powpow, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. There are a couple choices out there when it comes to these float tubes. I have never had one before. Looking for something under 10 pounds. the trinity from outcast seemed great, but a little costy. Anything I need to know before I go out and buy one? Probably won't get one for a while because it's still winter!
  2. Check out the ODC 2000, comes complete with pump and fins, normally between 100 and 150 bucks. pair it with light weight fins, and it will easily meet your requirements.
  3. Creek had an ultralight ODC 420 wedge tube with an inflatable seat weighing about 7lbs that they sold out, but back in September they told me they will have a new version out next month. It was less expensive, and I think the cargo area was 420 denier nylon rather than mesh on the Trinity that may help keep anything stowed there drier but my guess is the Trinity is the better tube. That said I've had my Creek U-boat since ~1991. It's still functional but time for a replacement.
  4. I have backpacked with my fishcat float tube, it weighs about 15 pounds. Add waders, fins, boots, rods, fly boxes, pump, etc, etc, etc. Not ideal for long trips, but certainly can get you off the beaten path.

    I'd suggest if you don't truly need a backpack for where you are going, get a float tube that can take backpack straps (underside of most have D rings for this) and then hike in just with the float tube, pockets loaded with your needs and you can safe some set up time and weight.
  5. And you can google flytepacker or click on this:

    This gives less mobility convenience compared to a float tube, but packs smaller, better for camping around stillwater and overall much less weight.
    JesseCFowl and snakyjake like this.
  6. This looks like a remake of the Curtis raft. I used one of those for 10 or so years before I sold it. Very light weight. I would recommend using a thermorest air "mattress" inside as extra floatation and insulation. That's what Walt recommended when using his raft.

    It beats packing a float tube, fins and waders.

    snakyjake likes this.
  7. On a 4 to 7 day trek the raft would be great for going from point A to point B on a very remote lake to get out and fish near shore but the tube is a much better fishing platform. A 6lb - 7lb tube with my flyweight waders (or breathables), lightweight booties, sneakers, or sandals that could do dual duty as camp footwear and fins do not weigh enough more to offset their advantages over the FlytePacker if I have the space in my pack.

    Also, since you are concerned about the Trinity's cost the raft is more expensive yet and wouldn't be suitable for much beyond very remote backcountry lakes.
    snakyjake likes this.
  8. The tradeoff you must decide on is between having a great fishing platform or having the lightest weight craft. I recently went through the process of deciding on the best tube/toon to use for walk-in access Columbia Basin lakes where trail distances rarely exceed 2 miles and I'm generally doing day trips rather than overnight pack-in expeditions. I ended up with a SuperCat pontoon boat with built in pack frame and straps. The boat weighs 13 lbs and is ideal for the uses that I envisioned.
    snakyjake likes this.
  9. ditto. have the supercat 50. just a pleasure to fish out of. haven't packed it too far yet, but the straps certainly come in handy. love the bladderless technology too.
  10. I used the flytweight and also the alpaca Denali for the gear program. Both boats are great. The flyt seems much lighter but I would personally spend the extra bucks and get the Denali because it was more comfortable. It can also handle considerable moving water. Yes, that's right. You could hike it waaaay up a river system where there are no roads and float it down. That's heaven to me. It really comes down to personal preference but I would go with the alpaca because of the durability and versatility.
  11. Float tubes allow you to use your hands to fish while you use your legs to propel, maneuver, or maintain your position. Rafts require you to use your hands to paddle or row instead of fish while your legs do nothing. Yes, you can troll while you're paddling, but if you get a quick strike while you're paddling, you might not be able to drop the paddles and get to your rod before you're able to set the hook. Which one you choose is a matter of personal preference and how far you'll be packing whichever craft you choose.

    My backpacking float tube of choice is a Trout Unlimited Gunnison (imported by Classic Accessories of Kent, WA). It weighs 6lbs, has plenty of pockets, doesn't require a pump for inflation (like the Outcast Trinity) and has a separate inflatable backrest bladder for additional safety. Although they're now up to $120 or so, I've still yet to find a better value for a packable float tube.

  12. Keep an eye out for one of these. Although no longer made, they appear from time to time in Craigslist, on eBay and in the FF site's classifieds. I've seen them as low as $50 (rare) and as high as +$250 (NIB a few weeks ago on eBay). $100-$150 is the norm.
    Well constructed, comfortable, easily packed, and, best of all, 5-6 pounds. Even at +8000' and an overweight 62 years, I still use lung power to inflate mine so, unless yer hackin' blood in yer hanky, forget the pump.

  13. I had one years ago. Down side to them is you sit low and pockets are under elbows, plus that cross bar is a pain in the rear, and if IT breaks, you are screwed because the side curl in. I second the SuperCat as it can be kicked or rowed, but the price will be up there.
    If on a shoestring budget, or a student or a family person, there is a lot of good reveiws on the ODC tube.
  14. I don't know of a single model that has a "cross-bar" and with the addition of a myriad removeable bags like the one pictured on the GlideRider, stowing a more than abundant amount of gear in possible. Most tubes I know of have "elbow obstructions" or other annoying or uncomfortable design features but considering the amount of room you're given to work with some things get sacrificed.
    'Tis true, you do sit low in the water compared to some, but not all other tubes. That does have an advantage in a breeze though.
    As with most everything, some concessions have to be made. I personally prefer the Wood Rivers, especially if there's a hike involved.
    I also use an older TU "Galatin" tube I find very comfortable, but it weighs close to 16 pounds.
    Just a matter of what you can live with.
  15. For hiking...roundie for a lot of reasons unless you're north of 220.
  16. North of 220, that hurts. The camera adds ten pounds. It is the holidays bountiful feast season. Just hurtful.
  17. I've been happy with the Trinity, have had it for several years and got it when they came complete with the backpack. It's comfortable hiking in, as well as when in the water fishing.
    All the above replies have merit. Just keep in mind that every boat is a compromise (even float tubes), and there's no perfect solution.
    Gives you all the more reason to have more than just one "boat"!
  18. When I first read "north of 220" I thought you meant northern Pennsylvania....then I realized it was weight.

  19. I use this. I'm "well north of 220" and love this tube!

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