Public High Lakes Forum High lakes discussion Float Tube or Pack Raft

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    • #83234
      Theron Volkman
      Participant

      My float tube is in need of replacement. I would like opinions of whether to purchase another float tube or a pack raft. It will be used on small lakes for fly fishing. I will be moving to Washington State in the near future and am hoping to start fishing some of the high lakes. My other fishing will be on lakes such as Lone Lake or Pass Lake on Whidbey Island and some of the smaller lakes on the Olympic Peninsula.

      Terry

    • #96554
      Brian Curtis
      Keymaster

      In general, a float tube is better to fish out of then a pack raft. But a pack raft is much easier to backpack. And in the end your trip will be much more enjoyable with a lighter pack. So for high lakes I’d go with a pack raft.

      And welcome to rainy Washington! (when you got here)

    • #96555
      Theron Volkman
      Participant

      Thanks Brian. I was leaning that way. I have never fished out of a raft but it seems the better choice if you have to hike in very far.

      Terry

    • #96556
      Bob Martin
      Participant

      Terry, a float tube would work better on both Pass and Lone. Your choice for the high lakes would depend on how far you have to hike. Generally speaking, the farther you have to go the more desirable a pack raft becomes. However, there are a good many high lakes here in Washington where neither a tube or raft is necessary. You’ll do just fine, maybe better, fishing from the shoreline.

    • #96557
      Jed Sires
      Participant

      Terry,

      It all depends on your fishing priorities! I have both a raft and float tube and I use my raft by far the most but I am a high lake addict! I certainly wouldn’t enjoy the high lakes as much as I do with a float tube. My days of hiking anywhere with a float tube are over. I suppose I like to believe I can fish just as well out of my raft, but most people will say otherwise.

      Jed

    • #96558
      Brian Curtis
      Keymaster

      You are at the mercy of the wind in your raft and fly casting is more difficult. OTOH, you can cover a lot of water quickly in your raft. If you want to ferry gear across a lake, get to a fishy spot on the far side, or troll the length of a lake a raft works better.

    • #96559
      Mick Scott
      Participant

      @Jed Sires wrote:

      but I am a high lake addict!

      We need a new 12 step program for guys like us – :camping:

    • #96551
      Jeff Mix
      Participant

      Keep in mind that when considering the weight of a float tube vs a raft you also need to include waders and fins…items not needed when using a raft.

      High lakes = rafts
      Drive to lakes = float tube

      A guy really needs both, especially us addicts.

    • #96553
      Rich OConnell
      Keymaster

      Hybrid raft/float tube

    • #96552
      Theron Volkman
      Participant

      Thanks for the replies. Sorry I have had computer problems and could not be on line. I may have to get both a raft and float tube. It’s only money.

      Terry

    • #96560
      Vigilguy
      Participant

      Hey Brian- when you have used your raft in various locations, did you ever use some sort of an anchor, so the wind doesn’t blow you across the lake when you don’t want it to? I am experimenting with some sort of setup. Any ideas?

      Charlie Jennings
      Utah

    • #96561
      Brian Curtis
      Keymaster

      I’ve never used an anchor, but I know lots of people who have. I’ve always thought a bag attached to a line that could be filled with rocks would work. I’ve considered some sort of sea anchor but never gotten around to playing with it. Generally I deal with being blown aroun too much by trolling instead of trying to stay put.

      Your signature reminds me of a lake in the Uintahs where the wind was really blowing but we decided to raft across a narrow spot to avoid a lot of rock hopping and cliffs. So we polled in the rafts packs and all and started across the wave covered lake. Naturally I put my line out. Murphy’s Law kicked in and I tied into a nice fish as we approached the far shore. The wind was forcing me down the lake and into the cliffs. I had to pretty much give up on trying to play it and hope my line would hold as I horsed it in.

    • #96562
      Vigilguy
      Participant

      Thanks for the reply. I may use one of my old Ursacks and put some rocks in it, and use some spectra line that I have. That will reduce the weight and bulk during packing.

      We use my PackGoats in the Uintas and also in the Winds, and are planning a 10 day, 50 mile trip in July in the Fitzpatrick Wilderness, and plan on taking my Alpacka raft in on this one.

      Glad I found this forum. Lots of good info.

      Charlie J.
      Utah

    • #96563
      wlllc
      Participant

      For those interested in an ultralight float tube that is much more suitable for backpacking to high mountain lakes than the “ultralight” 10 pounders, there is now one available. Designed similar to the Wood River Summer Breeze (no longer available), yet even lighter at 3.8 pounds, and compresses into a 7″ diameter x 13″ long stuff sack.

      A You Tube review is available……

      Link:

    • #96564
      jnoyes1026
      Participant

      Man that thing looks nice. I was planning to just fish from shore my first year of alpine lake fishing. But after seeing that I am debating on getting one and also use it in local lower lakes. I have never used one before but it looks to be pretty comfortable other than the thought of climbing down a trail at the end of the day with Jello legs. Thanks for posting that.

    • #96565
      Brian
      Participant

      @Rich OConnell wrote:

      Hybrid raft/float tube

      Can you provide some more detail on your Hybrid; Weight, Packed size? Are they available for sale? Thanks

    • #96566
      Brian
      Participant

      @Jeff Mix wrote:

      Keep in mind that when considering the weight of a float tube vs a raft you also need to include waders and fins…items not needed when using a raft.

      I picked up a pair of NOS Redball waders at an IFFF Enclave silent auction last year for $15, and have a pair of lightweight fins. The total weight for those is 24 ounces. I can throw in a 4 ounce pair of Sockwa sport shoes or 6 ounce Neoprene socks for a little extra protection for the Redballs against punctures. Add my small 4 ounce DIY Bernoulli Bag pump and my Trinity float tube kit is just under 10 lbs. The bigger issue so far is packed size, although I can get it all with rod, reel, fly kit, and bivvy essentials in my 1500 cu inch Fishpond pack for day trips. Overnighters require a pretty large backpack.

    • #96567
      Sandy McKean
      Participant

      my Trinity float tube kit is just under 10 lbs

      The nice thing about a Curtis raft (if you can find one) is that the entire package: raft, paddles, packing bag (that doubles as a blowup pump) all together weighs in at 34 ounces! Even with your super light solution (for which you are to be commended), you require 7 extra pounds. To a balls-to-the-wall off-trail backpacker……that’s HUGE.

    • #96568
      jnoyes1026
      Participant

      Not sure if any of you watch Shark Tank but this was on there the other day. http://www.orukayak.com/ Not quite sure how well it would work due to it being my first year hiking lakes but I was curious what you all thought.

    • #96569
      Brian Curtis
      Keymaster

      That looks like an awesome product. I want one. But not for high lakes. 26 pounds (plus paddle, etc) is amazing for what it is, but for high lakes you’d rather be under 2-pounds and you need it to be extremely packable.

    • #96570
      Chris Wittenfeld
      Participant

      With out a doubt, float tubes are easier to fish out of: but when you add waders, booties, fins, etc. things get heavy for backpacking. Float tubes are a bit easier to get in and out of the water. A raft is much lighter, but staying in position with wind can be a problem, especially when playing a fish. BUT the biggest problem for older folks is not mentioned, IS GETTING OUT OF THE RAFT; especially after sitting very long. A sandy beach or gently sloping shoreline is no problem, but a steep treelined, log filled, sharp slippery rocky shoreline can became very difficult, with a strong possibility of becoming wet! 😳

    • #96571
      Brian
      Participant

      @Brian wrote:

      I picked up a pair of NOS Redball waders at an IFFF Enclave silent auction last year for $15, and have a pair of lightweight fins. The total weight for those is 24 ounces. I can throw in a 4 ounce pair of Sockwa sport shoes or 6 ounce Neoprene socks for a little extra protection for the Redballs against punctures. Add my small 4 ounce DIY Bernoulli Bag pump and my Trinity float tube kit is just under 10 lbs. The bigger issue so far is packed size, although I can get it all with rod, reel, fly kit, and bivvy essentials in my 1500 cu inch Fishpond pack for day trips. Overnighters require a pretty large backpack.

      I needed to go lighter, & smaller. I checked on a custom Alpacka hybrid but they didn’t have the time for a custom order. So I sold my Trinity float tube and picked up a Wilderness Lite Backpacker Pro. My float tube kit is now just a hair over 6 lbs and that includes pump, waders, neoprene socks, 7 oz BRIGHT red Sockwa high top beach volleyball shoes, and full foot backpacking fins. The tube easily but snugly fits in a 10 liter mesh stuff sack. The other soft gear fits in a 3 liter stuff sack. I netted and released around 30 Brookies on trips over the summer to Seven Lakes Basin and the Glacier View Wilderness. I am very pleased.

    • #96572
      wlllc
      Participant

      Brian,
      GREAT tip on the Sockwa ultralight boots! Which model did you buy–the Playa Hi or G Hi? Have they proven to be durable, and do they work as shoes to wear around the campsite after float tubing? What brand of fins are you using, and what is their weight?
      thanks!

    • #96573
      Brian
      Participant

      @wlllc wrote:

      Brian,
      GREAT tip on the Sockwa ultralight boots! Which model did you buy–the Playa Hi or G Hi? Have they proven to be durable, and do they work as shoes to wear around the campsite after float tubing? What brand of fins are you using, and what is their weight?
      thanks!

      I got the 7 oz BRIGHT red G Hi shoe during a 50% off clearance sale in August. Last year I picked up a pair of 4 oz puke green lowtop G4s during their clearance and wear them around the property like sandals. They dont absorb much water, dry quickly and do double duty as camp shoes with adequate protection in the soles, but I prefer the new hightops. I think the fins are the Outcast backpacking model
      http://www.outcastboats.com/outcast/products/accessories.aspx?cat=15&id=281
      and believe they weigh about 18 oz

    • #96574
      Brian Curtis
      Keymaster

      The Sockwa shoes are a great tip. How would they do if you needed to hop across a rockslide made up of sharp granite? Or would you need to put on your hiking shoes/boots in that scenario?

    • #96575
      Brian
      Participant

      @Brian Curtis wrote:

      The Sockwa shoes are a great tip. How would they do if you needed to hop across a rockslide made up of sharp granite? Or would you need to put on your hiking shoes/boots in that scenario?

      The Sockwa shoes are marketed for barefoot running and sports like beach volleyball. I find the lightweight flexible soles adequately protect my feet from crushed rock around the driveway and sticks in the woods around the property. They work great for ingress and egress in lake bottom silt and wood debris so I use them as a lightweight protective layer over outer layer neoprene socks that go over over coated nylon Redball and Browning UL waders, and as camp shoes. There is no real tread for grip on steep muddy banks and no ankle support but I can use them for carefully making my way through talus (ex. at the southeast end of Locket Lake) that I really don’t often need to do in a float tube 😉 . However a sprained ankle 4+ miles from the car would make for a bad day so if I were “hopping” across a rockslide I’d want more substantial footwear. Hope that helps.

    • #96576
      Brian Curtis
      Keymaster

      OK, I’ll grant you that hopping was a poor choice of words 🙂 But if you were making your way across some sharp talus, for whatever reason, it there enough protection if you step on top top of a sharp point? I’ve been using old fashioned Nike Aquasox that have a sort of plastic sole back by thin blue foam and they do fine in the sharp talus. Mine weigh in at 9.4 oz for the pair but I’m always looking for ways to shave a few ounces.

    • #96577
      Brian
      Participant

      @Brian Curtis wrote:

      OK, I’ll grant you that hopping was a poor choice of words 🙂 But if you were making your way across some sharp talus, for whatever reason, it there enough protection if you step on top top of a sharp point? I’ve been using old fashioned Nike Aquasox that have a sort of plastic sole back by thin blue foam and they do fine in the sharp talus. Mine weigh in at 9.4 oz for the pair but I’m always looking for ways to shave a few ounces.

      The Sockwa shoes very thin foam insoles and look a lot like old Nike Aquasox. My new pair are high tops. I can use them for carefully making my way through talus (ex. at the southeast end of Locket Lake). Thicker Insoles would fit inside the shoes though and could provide a modest level of additional protection. However my feet aren’t punctured by walking over downed branches around our property, angular crushed rock in the driveway causes no problems, and the angular edge of a talus boulder is fine. Maybe I am taking your description of the “sharp point” of a rock too literally. I was a 14-year Mountain Rescue team member many years ago and most of the missions I went on were for lost and/or injured hikers, hunters, and backcountry skiers who encountered unfortunate circumstances so I wouldn’t purposefully step on a sharp branch pointing up, or the “sharp point” of a rock. I could slip and fall causing other injuries besides a punctured foot even if I were wearing sturdy hiking boots. YMMV

    • #96578
      Brian
      Participant

      @wlllc wrote:

      For those interested in an ultralight float tube that is much more suitable for backpacking to high mountain lakes than the “ultralight” 10 pounders, there is now one available. Designed similar to the Wood River Summer Breeze (no longer available), yet even lighter at 3.8 pounds, and compresses into a 7″ diameter x 13″ long stuff sack.

      I like my Backpacker Pro. On the plus side it’s fairly light and packs down pretty small. I use a small 4 oz pump like one used for filling exercise balls and it takes about 5 minutes to rig out. The only downside, and it may be just a personal thing, is it tips me slightly forward. I really liked how the Outcast Trinity I sold for the BP Pro (and I think my old 1st generation U-Boat) kept me level or angled slightly back like a nice easy chair. But it makes 4-day trips into remote lakes at 8 miles doable again with a tube for a duffer.

    • #96579
      Brian Curtis
      Keymaster

      @Brian wrote:

      the angular edge of a talus boulder is fine.

      That’s a good portion of what I’m talking about. Sometimes those can be very sharp or even pointed depending on the type and age of the rock.

      I was a 14-year Mountain Rescue team member many years ago and most of the missions I went on were for lost and/or injured hikers, hunters, and backcountry skiers who encountered unfortunate circumstances so I wouldn’t purposefully step on a sharp branch pointing up, or the “sharp point” of a rock. I could slip and fall causing other injuries besides a punctured foot even if I were wearing sturdy hiking boots.

      It is the ones that you don’t step on on purpose that are likely to cause the most problems. And that’s the other portion of what I’m getting at in my questions. As we lighten up our camp/water shoes we assume some risk and I’m trying to get a feel for how much risk is increased by these particular shoes. I do find myself, for various reasons, doing a reasonable amount of walking in my camp shoes. But that’s also a behavior I could change if the reward were great enough.

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