I just ordered an ultralight float tube from a guy online. Ultralight as in sub 2 lbs for the tube and flippers. I'll be using it primarily for golden trout in alpine lakes in the Wind River Range (up to 25 miles hiking one way) and for lake trout in Heart Lake in Yellowstone (8 miles one way).
All of this is great and I can't wait to get it. However, precisely because it is ultralight, I am somewhat worried about it going flat while I am out in the middle of a lake. That is a risk I am willing to take, but I do want to maximize my chances of survival. Some sort of waterproof clothing is essential, since these lakes are by their nature, very cold. But a 2 lbs pair of waders kind of defeats the purpose of going ultralight, as well as pretty much guarantees I'm going to drown before I can swim to the bank (I'm not even sure I could swim from the middle of Heart Lake to the bank without waders on).
For these reasons I've been thinking about a pair of waterproof, snug fitting leggings. From the videos I've seen of the tube in use, I should have no problem keeping everything above my knees out of the water. So some knee height, snug fitting leggings would be perfect: lighter than a pair of waders (less material) and allow me to swim should the unfortunate need arise.
Anyone seen something like this? I have a tailor friend who can probably make them for me if I have to, but it'd be nice if they already exist. I thought about kayaking pants, which have gasketed ankles, but I want stocking feet like waders to keep my feet dry. Kayakers can have wet feet because they aren't in the water the whole time. In my float tube, my feet will be submerged the whole time.
My other thought was getting a pair of tight fitting neoprene waders that I can cut the bottom half of the legs off of and just use those.