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Old 04-27-2010   #1
Hartford, Tennessee
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1
12V air pump

What is a good choice for an inflator/deflator pump for a raft. I am wanting to go with a 12V unit. Is 2psi enough to top off a raft or do I need something with at least 2.5psi? Is a nozzle good enough or should I get an exact adaptor for my valve? Thanks for patience with a newbie.

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Old 04-27-2010   #2
Osprey's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 683
The LVM pump is solid and comes with all the adapters you might need. Get a small 7-12 amp 12v at a battery place to make it portable and easier than using the car. You will still need a hand top off pump.

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Old 04-27-2010   #3
Canon City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 427
You'll need at least 2.5 psi to top a raft, but even that probably won't be enough. We use this blower with the 2.75psi limiting valve at the company I work at (I know, it's not 12V, it's 120V) and I still feel like the boat is soft, and needs a hand pump for topping.

My advise for recreational use, and for 12v use is to go to Walmart and pick out a cheap one that will blow the bulk of the air into the boat, and use a hand pump to top it off. You're going to need a hand pump anyway, to take down the river. I've gone through several like these from Walmart- never burned one out, always lost 'em somehow. Now I'm to the point that I just use my Bravo II footpump for the whole 18' raft. Takes a few minutes, but with the foot pump at least I can drink beer while I pump.
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Old 04-27-2010   #4
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,911
phosey - welcome to the Buzz!

Denali's got it right about the 12V pump - a cheap one should do if you treat it right - and that means not trying to top off your boat with it. Before we completely rehash this topic, check out this thread for all you should ever need to know about pumping up your raft.

At the end, Marco E. has a great point about modifications to the Bravo footpump - I picked up some radiator hose years ago that works great on mine.


Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 04-27-2010   #5
Canon City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 427
That post about the radiator hose reminds me: I've had my Bravo II for ~4yrs, never had any trouble with the hose except it's a wee bit short. Then, last fall at the Loma put-in it just fell apart all at once. Broke in so many places it was all but unusable. I'm pretty sure it had to do with how damn cold it was. Just something to think about if you use the original yellow hose in cold temps. Radiator, or other automotive hose, should hold up to wild temp swings.
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Old 04-28-2010   #6
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vancouver, Washington
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,146
the cheapie black plastic campbell hausfeld are junk they don't fill very fast. I have a nice red one can't remember the brand believe it starts with an "I" but probably not intex. I bought it about 12 years ago at K-marpart and it still works great. It was made in the usa believe it or not and works about 2x as fast as the campbell hausfeld ones.

looks similar to this 12V INFLATOR W/ 3mm-TO-15mm ASSORTED NOZZLES: Automotive
but I don't think its hawk brand
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Old 04-28-2010   #7
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vancouver, Washington
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these small 12V pumps get you 90% there and cheap. Save your money for a good pump like a carlson or nrs barrel pump.
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Old 05-10-2010   #8
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South Lake Tahoe, California
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 7
Look for Airhead pumps. Bought ours at Sportsmans Warehouse for around $45-50. My neighbor has used his for 5 years now. I put it in an old square plastic bucket w/ a small lawnmower battery I bought from Wal-mart, and it pumps up our 14ft'er faster than anything I've seen yet. Pumps to around 2 1/2 lbs., then I(and everyone else) use a hand pump to top of the raft. For me, both of my pumps are portable and can go in the dry box. Oh yeah, we've pumped up our raft 5 times now and the battery hasn't slowed a bit- besides, hook it up to a battery charger after every few uses. The battery is probably 8"x4" and about 2 to 3 lbs. maybe??. I will also tell all of you, while this is not a preferred method, if you have to- a $15 battery operated(4 D batteries) Coleman air matress pump from Wal-mart will actually inflate a 14 ft'er a couple of times on the same batteries. Saved my friend alot of time last year when he got to the put-in with out his electric pump. And it still inflated my air matress for the next 5 nights downriver.
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Old 05-10-2010   #9
Parker, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 52
Airheads are good pumps. I liked ours till it died. In all fairness to the brand, it was working fine till I got the intake too close to the dirt. It moves air so fast it will inhale small rocks and those small rocks will ruin the pump. Since I fully consider this a user error, I'd buy another and feel good suggesting them to others.

Just keep them out of the dirt and you'll be fine. ( I have two NRS barrel pumps, and my back likes the airhead better...)

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