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Old 03-11-2010   #11
bldrmorgan's Avatar
On the Highway, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 166
I hope your buddy with a compressor can come save your ass once you poke a hole in the raft.

Get a good hand pump.

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Old 03-11-2010   #12
River Malt's Avatar
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 124
What the..????

How did this get turned on me?!

The size of my muscles are from rafting big water and maybe using a manual pump to blow up rafts...that's about it!

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Old 03-11-2010   #13
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,908
Willisbrow, welcome to the world of being a rafter. There's a bunch of good info here and I see a couple of things here I want to call out for new rafters. Sure, some folks may find exceptions to these "rules" but in general, what's below is very important to being a raft owner, so to sum up what's been said above and add to the discussion:

1) NEVER rely on any kind of electric blower to completely inflate a raft. These are usually designed for getting most of the air into the raft, and most will burn out if you try to completely top off the raft with them. That's one of the reasons we have hand or foot-pumps - to top off the raft after the electric inflator has blown it up as much as it can. When you air up a raft, you'll hear a change in the pitch of the blower noise - that means its no longer pushing air though but is just spinning the turbines while the motor overheats. Finish it off with the manual pump.

2) There's a big difference between a compressor and a raft inflator. A compressor is a low-volume, high pressure device, a raft inflator is for high-volume, low pressure. If your buddy wants to blow up the raft for you, have him turn his shop vac to "blow," make sure its not blowing out sawdust or junk, and air up the raft with that. Then be ready to top it off with a manual pump when you get it on the water.

3) Any time you're heading to the river, you should have a manual pump along with you. There are several reasons for this: A) if you ever need to do an on-river repair, you'll be up the creek with a flat boat without a pump. B) Temperature differences - its pretty common, especially in early spring, for the river temperature to be much cooler than the air temp. When you put the boat on the water its likely to get really squishy unless you top it off after its had a chance for the air temp in the tubes and floor to equilibrate. Also, if there are big temperature swings where you're going, if you beach the boat on a hot afternoon, you may want to let some air out, then top off in the morning when its still cool. I've also heard of rafts popping when driven from a cool morning garage into a hot desert afternoon.C) Altitude differences - if you're driving over mountain passes, you may need to let a little air out before you head up, and reinflate at the bottom. For example, in driving from Denver over the continental divide, the altitude difference will result in an additional 2 psi in the tubes, most boats are designed to run at about 2.5 psi - if you're topped off leaving town, you could either pop your boat or really stress the material and seams.

Ture's right about the noise but I most folks will recommend using a blower for airing up the raft and a manual pump to top it off. If you're going on the cheap, a Bravo foot pump works great (~$35). I've found them very durable compared to the small cheap hand pumps you can get at sporting goods stores or even raft shops. Whatever you do, get a manual pump even if you're trailering your boat already inflated.

Have fun on the river,

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 03-11-2010   #14
mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 418
Andy H. nailed it. I couldn't have said it any better myself.
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Old 03-11-2010   #15
Vail, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1066
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 165

Nice to see someone welcome a new boater.
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Old 03-11-2010   #16
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 3
The reason i went with an electic pump over a hand pump was 1, its a lot cheaper and 2: It was my understanding that it inflates a raft faster than a hand pump. I can understand the usefullness for a hand pump when im on the river and have to repair my raft... no battery means no inflation. It looks right now that I will be buying a big hand pump... any one have any recomendations NRS 5in barrel pump $190 Carlson 4in hand pump $225 or a carlson 6in hand pump for $250. which one should i get or is there another one someone would suggest?

Thanks again

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Old 03-12-2010   #17
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1901
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 110
Check out Wild Water pumps. They are just as good as Carlson, and I think generally cheaper.

Wild Water Supply | Home Page
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Old 03-12-2010   #18
Dipshit with the most.
carvedog's Avatar
Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,496
Originally Posted by Willisbrow View Post
Hello All

How do I inflate my raft in the rain?? is it safe to have someone hold an umbrella while i inflate under it? Do need to buy an expensive hand pump? and how long does it take to hand pump up a 15 ft raft.??

DC - don't worry about the rain.

Yes get a hand pump. I have a 17 foot raft and use a 4" barrel pump and still get it done in about 1 beer per chamber. If really hot maybe more.
When I am on my one beer per chamber pace it can take more than a half an hour. Last fall when it was getting dark and I only had two shots and three beers it took me about 20 minutes.

Andy H. nailed it.
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Old 03-12-2010   #19
Idaho, Wyoming
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 147
air compressors

Originally Posted by Willisbrow View Post
thanks for the responses. I do own a K-100 for topping off but pumping the raft up with just that pump would take a LONG TIME...
I talked to the guy building me a trailer and he said he has a compressor in his shop that i could use to inflate my boat. So its looking like thats the route im gonna be taking.

Thanks again for the quick replies

if you use an air compressor to inflate your raft, be sure to drain the water from the compressor tank(s) before using it on your raft. even if you do this, compressed air contains moisture and you will end up with some water in your tubes. if it builds up, you can get it out by tipping the boat over and sucking it out with a shop vac.
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Old 03-12-2010   #20
mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 418
4" barrel pumps from Down River Equipment $180

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inflating, pumps, rain

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