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Thread: Float Hunt Gear & Clothing

  1. #1
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Default Float Hunt Gear & Clothing

    I'll be doing a float hunt above the Arctic Circle this September and was wondering for those who have float hunted that time of year of what clothes & gear worked for you and what didn't. What did you bring you could have left home and what did you find you wished you had but didn't think of it till you got there.

    I'll be working with Mike Strahan's list but wanted to hear what you guys had to say.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default Float Hunt Clouthing...

    Kingfisherktn,

    First off I want to express that I enjoy all of your forum post/contributions. Global Forum just would not be the same without ya....

    A month (?) ago you asked about hip boots vs breathable wader pants (I think). Some of us recommended LaCross Hip Boots, some leaned towards breathable wader pants. I have just one more point to write supporting my preference for LaCross Hip Boots. If you and the crew, your kids, are active hunters I still advise the hip boots. By active, I mean if you can see yourselves racing (fast walking) across the tundra for two or three miles to cut off some 'bou, I believe you will do it most efficiently wearing the hippers. In breathables I tend to overheat by the time the race is over. And if you do wear breathable wader pants, and if you do a lot of racing across the tundra, do not take the pants off in the tent. They get to stinking like sweat and "ones posterior end" really bad. Hip boots stink less in the tent.

    Lets talk rain gear... Just make sure your rain gear really works. I tell my client-hunters to bring two sets of rain gear on my guided float hunts. Althongh overall weight is always a factor, I suggest one rain gear like Helly Hanson, and one ultra light set that wraps or wads up into its own pocket when not being used. I always carry the light weight rain gear, if nothing else as a wind barrior while glassing from a hill top. The Helly Hanson rain gear gets used on the really wet days and while rafting on any wet or cold day. The guy on the oars can always stay warm. And although I absolutely love my float hunts, I also know that my (passive-nonactive) passengers will end up frozen and miserable on the float days, especially September float-days north of the arctic circle, if the wind is blowing or if it's raining. And avoid those Cabelas combination insulated-jacket/pants-rain gear. The insulated jacket-rain gear combos I'm discussing here are those that have a nap to the fabric. That fabric nap loads up with alot of water during a long wet day or even a short downpour. Then, if hung in the tent, they begin to drip that loaded up water onto the tent floor. Its just amazing how much water bleeds out of two or three of these "nappy" rain-jackets. Last point of interest...Get rain gear one size (at least) too big.

    Shirts and pants...synthethic fabrics of course. I have used Cabelas Microtec clothing with good results. For one thing, it is reasonably priced. But there are many other synthetic fabric great options. (Not so...) Quick story- One time one of my hunters shot a wolf down in a deep hole. For silly reasons I wont bring up now, I decided to carry the wolf across by shoulders about 1/2 mile up to a scenic picture taking spot. By the time I completed that (unexpected back-aching) task my exterior clothing, all Cabelas Microtec, was covered in various wolf fluids that had been originally intended to remain inside the wolf. I was mostly crimson colored, and some of these other fluids really stunk. Really bad. I intended to soak my shirt and pants in the river, but after a day of wolf skinning and pelt prep, all the wolf blood and goo had dried and flaked off the synthetic Microtec fabric. My clothing looked and smell "normal". (Of course I washed the Microtec clothing anyway.) Any...most...all (?) of our modern synthetic clothing is sensational.

    Your gonna have a great hunt with the fam...

    ...got to go...Saturday gym time...

    Dennis
    Warning: Sarcasm/humor is always recognized, understood, and appreciated.

  3. #3
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    September above the arctic circle can be cold. We floated out the the first week of September. Don't forget to keep an eye out for dropping water levels, also I have the Lat/Long for the channel that leads to the roadside takeout. Missing that channel would make for a long carry to the road. Be prepared for some cold weather, we had temps below freezing most nights. Keep your wader boots in the tent at night. Frozen wader shoes are no fun. Dress in layers, have some extra for glassing and for those not rowing. As Dennis said the non-rower will get cold. The wife was freezing on the bow of the raft, she was wearing all her gear and some of mine. The wind often blows in from the sea, cold wind and ice fog.
    The ice fog will often hang near the ground until almost noon.

    Very little wood for fires, we found store bought fire logs to very handy.

    We also used some extent-able poles to hold up the cook tarp.

    Bring some fishing gear, the fishing was awesome. We bought Grayling gear and wished we had some heavier gear, the Char and Dollies are quite strong in the fast clear water.

    Make sure you have all your license and tags straight. We got landed on and checked by two different game wardens. Know where you are, you can find yourself within the 5 mile corridor before you know it, as the river kind of parallels the road as you get close to the takeout.

    Beautiful country, has been one of our favorite trips.








  4. #4
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaTrueAdventure View Post
    Kingfisherktn,

    First off I want to express that I enjoy all of your forum post/contributions. Global Forum just would not be the same without ya....

    A month (?) ago you asked about hip boots vs breathable wader pants (I think). Some of us recommended LaCross Hip Boots, some leaned towards breathable wader pants. I have just one more point to write supporting my preference for LaCross Hip Boots. If you and the crew, your kids, are active hunters I still advise the hip boots. By active, I mean if you can see yourselves racing (fast walking) across the tundra for two or three miles to cut off some 'bou, I believe you will do it most efficiently wearing the hippers. In breathables I tend to overheat by the time the race is over. And if you do wear breathable wader pants, and if you do a lot of racing across the tundra, do not take the pants off in the tent. They get to stinking like sweat and "ones posterior end" really bad. Hip boots stink less in the tent.

    Lets talk rain gear... Just make sure your rain gear really works. I tell my client-hunters to bring two sets of rain gear on my guided float hunts. Althongh overall weight is always a factor, I suggest one rain gear like Helly Hanson, and one ultra light set that wraps or wads up into its own pocket when not being used. I always carry the light weight rain gear, if nothing else as a wind barrior while glassing from a hill top. The Helly Hanson rain gear gets used on the really wet days and while rafting on any wet or cold day. The guy on the oars can always stay warm. And although I absolutely love my float hunts, I also know that my (passive-nonactive) passengers will end up frozen and miserable on the float days, especially September float-days north of the arctic circle, if the wind is blowing or if it's raining. And avoid those Cabelas combination insulated-jacket/pants-rain gear. The insulated jacket-rain gear combos I'm discussing here are those that have a nap to the fabric. That fabric nap loads up with alot of water during a long wet day or even a short downpour. Then, if hung in the tent, they begin to drip that loaded up water onto the tent floor. Its just amazing how much water bleeds out of two or three of these "nappy" rain-jackets. Last point of interest...Get rain gear one size (at least) too big.

    Shirts and pants...synthethic fabrics of course. I have used Cabelas Microtec clothing with good results. For one thing, it is reasonably priced. But there are many other synthetic fabric great options. (Not so...) Quick story- One time one of my hunters shot a wolf down in a deep hole. For silly reasons I wont bring up now, I decided to carry the wolf across by shoulders about 1/2 mile up to a scenic picture taking spot. By the time I completed that (unexpected back-aching) task my exterior clothing, all Cabelas Microtec, was covered in various wolf fluids that had been originally intended to remain inside the wolf. I was mostly crimson colored, and some of these other fluids really stunk. Really bad. I intended to soak my shirt and pants in the river, but after a day of wolf skinning and pelt prep, all the wolf blood and goo had dried and flaked off the synthetic Microtec fabric. My clothing looked and smell "normal". (Of course I washed the Microtec clothing anyway.) Any...most...all (?) of our modern synthetic clothing is sensational.

    Your gonna have a great hunt with the fam...

    ...got to go...Saturday gym time...

    Dennis
    Warning: Sarcasm/humor is always recognized, understood, and appreciated.
    Thanks Dennis for the reinforcement for me on the hip boots, I had pretty much had decided on the Lacross, but am weighing the issue of whether I want to wear breathables while floating, not sure if I want to bring both. Any suggestions?

    Living in Ketchikan I think I got the rain thing down pretty good when I know I could get wet it's always HH Impertechs. And I already have a pair of ultra-lights I was going to bring. I'm having difficulties on the cold weather gear--not sure how to dress for that (outerwear) 'cause we do not get that kind of climate here. I have my merino wool under-stuff and synthetic layering clothes. What about foot-wear besides the hip boots, are hiking boots warranted?

  5. #5
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    For a guy with your taste.... this is the best deal around..


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  6. #6
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    September above the arctic circle can be cold. We floated out the the first week of September. Don't forget to keep an eye out for dropping water levels, also I have the Lat/Long for the channel that leads to the roadside takeout. Missing that channel would make for a long carry to the road. Be prepared for some cold weather, we had temps below freezing most nights. Keep your wader boots in the tent at night. Frozen wader shoes are no fun. Dress in layers, have some extra for glassing and for those not rowing. As Dennis said the non-rower will get cold. The wife was freezing on the bow of the raft, she was wearing all her gear and some of mine. The wind often blows in from the sea, cold wind and ice fog.
    The ice fog will often hang near the ground until almost noon.

    Very little wood for fires, we found store bought fire logs to very handy.

    We also used some extent-able poles to hold up the cook tarp.

    Bring some fishing gear, the fishing was awesome. We bought Grayling gear and wished we had some heavier gear, the Char and Dollies are quite strong in the fast clear water.

    Make sure you have all your license and tags straight. We got landed on and checked by two different game wardens. Know where you are, you can find yourself within the 5 mile corridor before you know it, as the river kind of parallels the road as you get close to the takeout.

    Beautiful country, has been one of our favorite trips.]
    That's good info, Steve. Thanks--sending PM

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    Member akhunter3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingfisherktn View Post
    Thanks Dennis for the reinforcement for me on the hip boots, I had pretty much had decided on the Lacross, but am weighing the issue of whether I want to wear breathables while floating, not sure if I want to bring both. Any suggestions?

    Living in Ketchikan I think I got the rain thing down pretty good when I know I could get wet it's always HH Impertechs. And I already have a pair of ultra-lights I was going to bring. I'm having difficulties on the cold weather gear--not sure how to dress for that (outerwear) 'cause we do not get that kind of climate here. I have my merino wool under-stuff and synthetic layering clothes. What about foot-wear besides the hip boots, are hiking boots warranted?

    Just wondering, have you ever tried Arcteryx products in the rain? I've been incredibly impressed with them when it comes to cold/wind/snow



    Jon
    Nurse by night, Alaska adventurer by day!

  8. #8
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akhunter3 View Post
    Just wondering, have you ever tried Arcteryx products in the rain? I've been incredibly impressed with them when it comes to cold/wind/snow



    Jon
    No I haven't Jon. My daughter has a Arcterx jacket, but I know she's never worn it hunting in the nasty stuff so can't say if it would go the distance or not. Good question though.

    thanks

  9. #9
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I would suggest giving some thought to a small tarp of some type. Great for staying out of the rain of course, but also for making a wind break. The wind will be a more common issue in Sept. That has been my experience at any rate. My time in the arctic has been in NW Alaska, not sure what area you are heading. But we find lots of wind and staying out of it helps keep everyone happy. For this reason, we have got windproof everything. Gloves, caps, jackets, pullovers, etc.. A tarp of some kind can be well worth the weight. We use rock bags, just cheap mesh bags from Campmor, full of rocks to anchor the poles. Works far better than stakes on the gravel bars. We use this same system for the tents.

    An MSR Parawing. 8 lbs, but worth its weight in gold if the weather turns south..




    This is us finding a hole to hide in. Wishing we had a tarp to use as a wind break...




    This is me rigging up our tent ground cloth as a wind break for the wife. This too sucked...





    My suggestion? Take a good tarp system that you can use as a wind break. Some designs will work better than others. Take the stakes, but also consider taking some rock bags. Below is a link to the ones I use. Very tough (and cheap). We use a few different sizes. The 11x16" bags and 15"x22 are what we use to secure the tent corners and tarp lines. I have four of the 10x6" we use to support the corners of the electric fence as well. Just use some 550 and pull out to 6' or so. Works like a charm and keeps fence nice and taught. We will use these mesh bags for storage of personal items and such as well. Just so many uses for these cheap mesh bags. Link below to Campmor. They sell many sizes of these. The duffle bag we use to hold all our fly rod tubes and fishing gear, water filter, stove, sunglass case, etc... Things we need on floating days. That keeps you from digging through the large dry bags looking for this and that.

    http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___48221

    http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___70091



    For clothes, the earlier suggestions are likely better for you than what I do. We wear full length breathable waders with polartec (Cabelas) tops and bottoms. Long johns. We will wear wind proof pullovers on top of that, the straps to the waders over the pullover. Then if really cold, we will put on our wading jackets or another windproof/waterproof type of jacket. Good quality windproof gloves and caps as well. This has kept us warm in mid Sept in arctic NW Alaska. At night, the waders are off and windproof fleece bibs go on. We have some hiking boots to put on at that time. We always have a small fire at night to help keep us warm as well. Not sure about where you are going, but we never have trouble finding lots of dead willow to burn. And the 100 proof peppermint schnapps and hot chocolate help too. Ha ha.. Or Jack Daniels and hot apple cider. Both work quite well.



    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  10. #10
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Don't forget to take a good pair of neoprene gloves for paddle days. If windy, and especially if wet and windy, these gloves make a huge difference. NRS has many nice models to choose from. Below is a pic of another glove we used once. Too thick for my taste and I use the NRS Hydroskin gloves now. They keep the chill off but allow you to use your hands just as well as if you had no gloves on at all. Handy for keeping that trigger finger ready and many other tasks the thicker neoprene gloves make difficult.

    http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.a...406&deptid=944




    A good collapsable water bucket is worth taking. Just scoop up water from the river, head back over to the camp, sit down in a folding chair, then filter water directly from the bucket to the 32 ounce Nalgenes. The MSR Miniworks is my choice of filter. Field servicable, repair kit can be bought, and the 32 ounce Nalgenes screw on to the bottom. Perfect float trip filter if you ask me. As for the bucket, this particular model (LL Bean) is my favorite as it stands up well even when nearly full of water. I have used a few others that are tipsy and easily fall over.




    A good folding chair is something I won't go without. Nap time in NW Alaska...





    Don't underestimate the importance of good dry bags. The Pacific Outdoors Gobi is tops for me. Very tough Wytex material, roomy, and built like a brick shet house. Finding a Crystal Light stick in the bottom, not so easy...

    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  11. #11
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Lastly, don't forget the celebratory cigar. Saving some extra liquor rations for the final night is always welcome. Tend the fire till around 1 am, drink your liquor, smoke your cigar, and you might see a lazy green river in the sky. Nice way to finish off any float trip in the arctic. It doesn't get any better than this man. Little brother under left arm, best friend under right.

    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  12. #12
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Quality information. You're making this prep to easy.

  13. #13
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    BTT........

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