Thermarest-Personal Flotation Device?

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    • #81441

        Any ultralight fishing backpackers out there? We’re using Curtis rafts with Thermarest Prolite 3 shorts. I am wondering if the Thermarest is sufficient to get back to shore, or if I should be considering adding something extra (blech). We weigh 120 & 170…..

        Anyone ever use a Thermarest as a PFD? I guess I could throw it in the lake and try…. but the water is still pretty cold šŸ˜†

      • #85738

          i’m using a cheap coleman 2 person (yeah right) $20 raft (cheap, lightish, small), i keep one of those big bulky seat cushion pfd things (the ones people use in canoes), doubles as a backrest…. light enough and the hand straps on it hook up nicely to a backpack.

          one of these

          an easy enough alt if you decide against the thermarest

        • #85739
          Dave Weyrick

            I’ve paddled around a high lake (Camprobber, ALP) on my Prolite 3 on a warm summer afternoon. IMO you would have no problem using the pad as an emergency device if you had a problem in your Curtis raft.

          • #85740
            Dave Weyrick


              As a fellow lightweight fisherman, I’m intrigued to know what sleeping/shelter system you might be using.

              I’m currently on the ground (after some hammock experimentation) using an Exped 7 short downmat, REI 20 degree down bag, and a 9 oz. silnylon tarp which I support with trekking poles. DW.

            • #85741

                Thanks for replies – sounds encouraging!

                Dave, I’m not as ultralight as I’d like to be – in fact I’ll just call myself “light”. I have a thing about bugs, and have had a couple of horrific encounters with skeeters that pretty much mandates a full-on tent as far as I’m concerned. I recall using headnets and diving into the tent one at a time frantically zipping it up. The Curtis raft paddles do dandy second duty as skeeter swatters inside a tent šŸ˜†

                We currently use:

                *Thermarest Prolite 3 Short 13 oz (luxury but…. at least it packs small)
                *WM Highlite 35 degree bag 16 oz
                *Moonbow Gear 2 person custom tent approx 2 lbs total weight (The tent weight varies, I’m a gear hound just sold 2 tents and am buying one more 3lb)
                *GoLite Race Pack 1lb 9 oz & Granite Gear Vapor Trail 2lbs.

                Altho we also own heavier bags, we prefer if weather permits to leverage the Highlites with clothing that we carry anyway, as the bag packs so dang small. Just our way of doing it. We pretty much just do overnighters not week long trips.

                How DO you tarp folks deal with the skeeters!

              • #85742

                  my brother told me over the weekend he tied his to a canoe and took a nap out on some lake…and he’s a big guy.(180’s)

                  +1 for it should work fine

                • #85743
                  Mike Blodgett

                    Okay so you call 180’s big guy, well at 275 I have a hard time packing light as everything that I have is of large size and that cannot be helped. My sleeping bag alone is 3 pounds and that is light in the xlt sizes, at 6’6″ you really have a hard time doing the light thing.

                    Anyone have any ideas, for the bigger person.


                  • #85744
                    Brian Curtis

                      The first place to start is to look at your shelter and sleeping pad. There is often room to cut a fair amount there. What are you using? What clothes are you bringing? What do you use for cookware? How much does your pack weigh? Do you use a bunch of heavy stuffsacks that can be eliminated or replaced with silnylon versions? What luxuries do you carry? I guess we ought to look at a pack list with weights and see what we can cut out.

                    • #85745

                        yeah, for being a younger brother and 180’s since he was 18… big guy, compared to me.

                        pack less beer… always my down fall, as soon as the beer gets in the bag it get’s way too heavy.

                      • #85746
                        Mike Blodgett

                          Packing list

                          Kelty 20 degree Sleeping bag 3lbs
                          Hollofil/Long/custom order for my size
                          w/ stuff sack also used as a pillow

                          Thermo rest Sleeping pad 1.5x25x78ā€

                          Whisper lite Stove-w/ 22 oz fuel bottle
                          1 lighter
                          Wind screen

                          Food: depending on the # of days 2 meals per day
                          Mountain House-Dehydrated
                          2 lbs beef jerky (necessary proteinā€¦diabetic)
                          Snacks for the trail

                          Hat: wool/felt
                          bug net
                          2 pair socksā€¦1 pair woolā€¦1 pair cotton
                          2 t shirt
                          1 pair zip offs (shorts/pants)
                          1 fleece sweater
                          Rain gear: pants, gortex coat
                          Gaitors: gortex
                          Gloves: gortex

                          Flashlight: headleamp w/ led lightā€¦2 AA batteries

                          GPS Map 60csx 2 AA batteries

                          Nikon Cameraā€¦Digital..2 AA Batteries

                          1 extra set of 4 AA batteries

                          1 low boy beach chairā€¦max weight 2 lbs

                          First aid kitā€¦w/ necessary supplies

                          1 belt knife..Leatherman

                          1 water filterā€¦built into bottleā€¦holds 32 oz.

                          1 32oz. nalgene water bottle
                          Hydration bladder 70oz. in pack

                          Kelty 6650 redcload internal frame pack

                          1 bottle of deet: 2.5 fl. Oz.

                          1 bottle of sun block: 2.0 fl. Oz.

                          Fishing gear: 4ā€™ telescopic pole w/ reel, extra reel, lures and other gear, extra line

                        • #85747

                            1 low boy beach chairā€¦max weight 2 lbs
                            not to knock the luxuries, but this might be one of the first to go if you want to cut back.

                            seems to be some redudancy here. (is this one filtered bottle, and one other bottle?)… 6+ lbs full

                            1 water filterā€¦built into bottleā€¦holds 32 oz.
                            1 32oz. nalgene water bottle
                            Hydration bladder 70oz. in pack

                            Kelty 6650 redcload internal frame pack, not all that light.

                            Clothes, is this the packed list, or the what’s on you and what’s packed list?
                            do you need the colder weather stuff where you go? (gloves, gaitors?)

                            i pack more for doing less, but I also go slow and hurt the next day… I like my 6 pack of beer, and all my little luxuries(slr camera, camera bag, tripod, etc…).

                          • #85748
                            Brian Curtis

                              Good advice from uncoolperson. I’ll reinforce some things and add a couple.

                              The chair has to go. You need to be brutal with ounces and when you can knock pounds right off the top that’s where you start.

                              Ditch the Whisperlite. For weekends get a canister stove. White gas set-ups earn their keep if you are going for a week or longer, but for short trips you’re better off with a canister. Or, if you want to go really light there are pop-can type alcohol stoves.

                              Get rid of all the cotton. For dry camp socks get a pair of Polarfleece socks. The only T-shirt you should have is a synthetic one on your back. With a synthetic it will dry quickly when wet so you don’t need two. Don’t take the gaitors unless there will be snow issues. Look at your rain gear. Is it heavy Gore-tex designed more for skiing then hiking? You can almost always shave rain gear weight. Consider down or a puffy synthetic layer instead of fleece. It’ll save bulk and weight.

                              Get a smaller multi-tool. I just carry a little tiny knife that weighs a few ounces.

                              Get a smaller, lighter pack. The 2007 version weighs six and a half pounds. Consider something smaller (so you are forced to carry less) and lighter. ULA-Equipment makes great packs that are rugged and light.

                              What is your sleeping shelter?

                            • #85749

                                @Brian Curtis wrote:

                                Consider down or a puffy synthetic layer instead of fleece. It’ll save bulk and weight.

                                This is the one thing I am having “issues” with. I am still dragging our fleece jackets on our overnighters (approx 14 oz) because: they are very durable, no worries about snagging on brush or getting wetted out from damp brush. Plus it is very cozy as part of a sleep system. And the skeeters can’t bite thru it šŸ˜† (Black Diamond & Helly Hansen).

                                I actually invested in a Western Mountaineering Flight down jacket, 9oz (on sale!) which I have used in the late fall. But it still is not the jacket I will take in the summer because of the above reasons…

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