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Thread: Any tips and tricks for packing for a float plane?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Van Isle
    Posts
    245

    Any tips and tricks for packing for a float plane?

    Iíve done a few fly on trips now and Iím Starting to refine how I pack for the float plane. I know thereís tons of experience on this forum and possibly some pilots. Just any tips or rules for packing for the float plane that new to fly in hunters might need to know?

    A few things Iíve learned, packing using Dry bags vs containers for extra gear is easier for your pilot to spread the weight evenly. If you carry bear spray leave it out, he will most likely put it into his float storage so thereís no chance it goes off inside the cabin while flying. Bring some garbage bags to put your meat hmgame bags in so it doesnít bleed all over the plane.

    Iíve always flew with my gun strapped to my bag, but some with a soft cover. What seems to be the preference?

    This will be my first time flying my canoe in, any tips on that or what to expect?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    211

    Re: Any tips and tricks for packing for a float plane?

    We leave our gun cases at the base.
    I wear Muck Boots going in so I can get in the water and help unload the plane.
    Beats standing on the floats trying to keep your balance with heavy items.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    655

    Re: Any tips and tricks for packing for a float plane?

    If you need propane, buy the small 11 lb tanks. They fit nicely in the floats. I also pack some gear in small dry bags that also fit in the floats. Usually in a beaver you run out of room before you run into weight issues.
    WSS BC Monarch Member
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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    537

    Re: Any tips and tricks for packing for a float plane?

    Bring the pilot a small gift from home. It helps smooth out the rough edges. Remember, Ooter loves chocolate.
    WSSBC Life Member

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Lowermainland
    Posts
    6,203

    Re: Any tips and tricks for packing for a float plane?

    Never been on a fly in but would love to do it . Just a gentle reminder do not use garbage bags for meat they contain chemicals that can leech onto the meat . Only use food grade bags if you need to put in plastic .
    Arctic Lake
    Quote Originally Posted by SaintSix View Post
    I’ve done a few fly on trips now and I’m Starting to refine how I pack for the float plane. I know there’s tons of experience on this forum and possibly some pilots. Just any tips or rules for packing for the float plane that new to fly in hunters might need to know?

    A few things I’ve learned, packing using Dry bags vs containers for extra gear is easier for your pilot to spread the weight evenly. If you carry bear spray leave it out, he will most likely put it into his float storage so there’s no chance it goes off inside the cabin while flying. Bring some garbage bags to put your meat hmgame bags in so it doesn’t bleed all over the plane.

    I’ve always flew with my gun strapped to my bag, but some with a soft cover. What seems to be the preference?

    This will be my first time flying my canoe in, any tips on that or what to expect?
    Member of CCFR and BackCountry Hunters & Anglers Would encourage you all to join both today !

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Away from people!
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    390

    Re: Any tips and tricks for packing for a float plane?

    I fly float planes for a living. Here are my suggestions:

    1) Packing several smaller bags instead of a few big ones is much better. No F*%&#$% hockey bags. Even bags half that size may not fit.
    2) The medium Rubbermaid Roughneck totes fit perfectly in Beavers and through the cargo door of 185's. The big ones are too big and too heavy when loaded.
    3) Use soft sided coolers and freeze all the fresh food you can (even eggs) so you don't need ice. Hard sided coolers are heavy just by themselves and they are a space vampire!
    4) Don't tie anything to the outside of your pack. It will get torn off when loading/unloading. Pack water bottles inside for travel
    5) Don't pack water. It weighs 10 lbs a gallon. The bottled water companies have everyone brainwashed that lake and creek water is toxic and can't be made safe to drink.
    6)Wrap the waist belt of your packs around the front of the pack, snap the buckle together, and tighten down the waist belt. Buckles get snagged when unloading and break off. I have seen a few sheep hunts ruined from not doing this.
    7) Hard sided gun/bow cases don't fit in small planes. Period.
    Pack a harmonica instead of a guitar.
    9) Show up ready to load the plane...not your packs and boxes. Your 9AM departure time is just that. The time the plane is leaving. Use a separate bag for road travel with a shaving kit, city clothes, etc. It keeps you from having to break into your camp pack for everyday items you need on the road. Leave the city bag in your rig when you fly out.
    10) Secure your cell phone in an upper pocket with a button or zipper when boarding and unloading. You need both hands to load safely and bending over is required. Leave the travel mug in your pack for the flight. You don't need it. It's just the adult version of a baby soother.
    11) Be prepared to get your feet wet when unloading. Most locations don't have docks and many beaches are too shallow for the plane to get close to dry ground. Be prepared to get into knee deep water at the arrival point.
    12) Pack a day or two of extra (freeze dried) food in case the plane can't get in on pick up day.
    13) Be ready to load the plane at the pre-arranged pick up time. Pilots are on a tight schedule and have no time to wait for you to pull down camp and pack up. Some outfits are charging a hefty "wait fee" if you're not ready on time (like $1000!).
    14) Have tarps and game bags for the pilot to use. Help him load.
    15) You won't use a 25 lb propane bottle on a 10 day hunt. Use smaller ones. Otherwise you're just giving a bunch of propane a free tour of the countryside.
    16) Everything weighs a whole lot more than you think. Everything. Weigh everything...you'll be surprised!
    17) Float planes are a whole lot smaller than you think. If you can't fit it into 2 door car with a small trunk, it likely won't fit into a Beaver...So plan accordingly.
    1 Have all the gear piled up and ready to load. All of it. It's an art to pack a small plane so when you show up with your day pack over your shoulder once the plane is loaded, there's a very good chance it will have to be left behind.

    I'll quit there or this could turn into a rant

    Best of luck and have fun!!!

  8. #7
    fozzy is offline hunting 4 a decent Mulie
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Mill Bay
    Posts
    1,048

    Re: Any tips and tricks for packing for a float plane?

    Quote Originally Posted by northernguy View Post
    I fly float planes for a living. Here are my suggestions:

    1) Packing several smaller bags instead of a few big ones is much better. No F*%&#$% hockey bags. Even bags half that size may not fit.
    2) The medium Rubbermaid Roughneck totes fit perfectly in Beavers and through the cargo door of 185's. The big ones are too big and too heavy when loaded.
    3) Use soft sided coolers and freeze all the fresh food you can (even eggs) so you don't need ice. Hard sided coolers are heavy just by themselves and they are a space vampire!
    4) Don't tie anything to the outside of your pack. It will get torn off when loading/unloading. Pack water bottles inside for travel
    5) Don't pack water. It weighs 10 lbs a gallon. The bottled water companies have everyone brainwashed that lake and creek water is toxic and can't be made safe to drink.
    6)Wrap the waist belt of your packs around the front of the pack, snap the buckle together, and tighten down the waist belt. Buckles get snagged when unloading and break off. I have seen a few sheep hunts ruined from not doing this.
    7) Hard sided gun/bow cases don't fit in small planes. Period.
    Pack a harmonica instead of a guitar.
    9) Show up ready to load the plane...not your packs and boxes. Your 9AM departure time is just that. The time the plane is leaving. Use a separate bag for road travel with a shaving kit, city clothes, etc. It keeps you from having to break into your camp pack for everyday items you need on the road. Leave the city bag in your rig when you fly out.
    10) Secure your cell phone in an upper pocket with a button or zipper when boarding and unloading. You need both hands to load safely and bending over is required. Leave the travel mug in your pack for the flight. You don't need it. It's just the adult version of a baby soother.
    11) Be prepared to get your feet wet when unloading. Most locations don't have docks and many beaches are too shallow for the plane to get close to dry ground. Be prepared to get into knee deep water at the arrival point.
    12) Pack a day or two of extra (freeze dried) food in case the plane can't get in on pick up day.
    13) Be ready to load the plane at the pre-arranged pick up time. Pilots are on a tight schedule and have no time to wait for you to pull down camp and pack up. Some outfits are charging a hefty "wait fee" if you're not ready on time (like $1000!).
    14) Have tarps and game bags for the pilot to use. Help him load.
    15) You won't use a 25 lb propane bottle on a 10 day hunt. Use smaller ones. Otherwise you're just giving a bunch of propane a free tour of the countryside.
    16) Everything weighs a whole lot more than you think. Everything. Weigh everything...you'll be surprised!
    17) Float planes are a whole lot smaller than you think. If you can't fit it into 2 door car with a small trunk, it likely won't fit into a Beaver...So plan accordingly.
    1 Have all the gear piled up and ready to load. All of it. It's an art to pack a small plane so when you show up with your day pack over your shoulder once the plane is loaded, there's a very good chance it will have to be left behind.

    I'll quit there or this could turn into a rant

    Best of luck and have fun!!!
    Thanks Northernguy, it's good for folks to hear it from someone that does it everyday.

    Never been on a fly in trip, likely never will, but love the idea.

    Fozzy

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    1,336

    Re: Any tips and tricks for packing for a float plane?

    Pack what you think you need, then unpack again and leave half out when you repack.
    MM

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Van Isle
    Posts
    245

    Re: Any tips and tricks for packing for a float plane?

    Thanks for the input, I was hoping a pilot would respond.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Kamloops
    Posts
    4,283

    Re: Any tips and tricks for packing for a float plane?

    Bring ear plugs, the pilots usually have but sometimes they don't. They don't take up any space.
    Help the pilots at the airbase load and unload, even if its not your flight. It will get you to your spot faster, sometimes it will mean you go before guys that just stand around and watch
    Remember weather is the enemy. Its not the pilots fault if they can't get to you, they might even circle around your lake hoping the winds would be less, don't panic or freak out if they fly away, they will email you when they get back to base. Stay calm
    Be patient
    You don't need more than a 2 or 4hp if your bringing an inflatable boat
    Green scrub/alpine balsam burns just fine in case you didn't know
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