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Thread: Tube For Quick River Crossings: Lightweight / Tough Enough / Easily Inflated

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2015


    Quote Originally Posted by Troutsource View Post
    Thanks for all the interesting ideas, from naked to wet suit to some cool inflatables.

    The idea I had was simply to cross a place that's just a little to deep or swift to cross -- a marginal riffle (or tailout that morphs into a relatively harmless run). Something that would keep me from trouble if I slipped and fell. Or something that would allow me to just wade until it's too dangerous, then float/drift the rest of the way.

    For example, I was crossing the lower Yuba a few weeks ago with my brother in a riffle/tailout that had been easy the week before but was now sketchy. The water below was not too dangerous. It was in the dark, of course. He went first and about 3/4 of the way across he lost his footing. He was able to float on his back for a few feet and then was able to maneuver into some shallower water and emerge wet but unharmed. I then started losing my footing and decided to just "walk" with the flow rather than fight it and go down. It was like moon walking -- low gravity. Easy to keep moving, but of course hard to stop. It was kind of a deep riffle. So my idea was what if I had something that helped me stay above water if I tumbled. One idea is a small, lightweight inner tube around my waist that I hold above water level until I need it, then I just moon walk the rest of the way. Another is a swim buoy, or two of them, that I latch under my armpits. This is also a lightweight solution. The key would be finding the right water, the safest water to do this in.

    Swimming across would be doable with a wet bag or waterproof pack -- or if wearing a wet suit (I heard about a guy doing this on the Pit -- but not the McCloud -- either way sounds effective except neoprene gets hot as hell in the summer if you're walking around a lot, and it's real heavy (I'm thinking about the old school neoprene waders). Inflatables would be safer, but also heavier, and possibly overkill for what I'm trying to accomplish.

    Maybe I'm dreaming, but I'm just looking for a safe way to push the envelope a little further

    If I do attempt anything I'll post.

    PS The guy who uses the wet suit on the Pit (and maybe the McCloud?) is Fred Gordon, and he has Prince Nymph variety named after him
    If you are really insistent on trying something, I would definitely recommend not doing it in waders, and not strapping anything to your body unless it's a coast guard approved PFD

    If it doesn't go well and your waders fill with water, you'll be in trouble. Wading belts do not prevent water from getting down in the legs, they just slow the process a bit.

    Being strapped to an inflatable device in moving water will make it more difficult to navigate and avoid obstacles and will interfere with any need to swim freely.

    When wading is overly "sketchy", I take that as evidence that perhaps the fish have "won" that spot.
    Last edited by PV_Premier; 05-27-2020 at 07:47 AM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Granite Bay, CA


    PV, Excellent points regarding safety. I am leaning towards a thin wet suit, wading boots and a sling pack. Maybe add an emergency flotation device to the mix. The sling pack would have a waterproof bag inside containing (among other things) wet wading pants for any long out-of-water hikes in the heat, or for extreme heat wading.
    we deliver the river


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