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Old 12-29-2010   #1
Parkersburg, West Virginia
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 11
Which barrel pump to buy?

Just got a NRS gift card and it's burning a hole in my pocket. I need a manual pump, and I'm looking at the Carlson 4", 6", and the NRS 5". Any experiences with any of them, recommendations?


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Old 12-29-2010   #2
West of Boulder, CO
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 96
I have an NRS 5" pump. It's pretty big and heavy, but works great and seems bomber. Picture deflating your 16' boat for repairs, and then having to blow it up with a small, $20 pump....

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Old 12-29-2010   #3
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
Originally Posted by dogalot View Post
...Picture deflating your 16' boat for repairs, and then having to blow it up with a small, $20 pump....
You'll only do that once though, before youo replace it with a good barrel pump. Not that I would know... LOL

I also have the NRS pump, but have used the 4" Carlson as well. Coin toss as far as I can tell. I can't remember which one it was or where I saw it, but one thing I liked about a pump I saw at a put in once was that the hose looped through the pump handle somehow, which my NRS doesn't do. I suppose I could bore it out, haven't looked that close yet. Just nice for storing and carrying, since the hose tends to want to do it's own thing....
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Old 12-29-2010   #4
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
I have had the carlson 4 for years and no problems.

I just recently purchased a K-Pump 400 dbl action pump and am very happy with it due to the size. I use a battery powered air pump at the put in and just top off with the K-Pump. Never pumped the entire raft up by hand with either the big Carlson or the K-Pump. Maybe other K-Pump owners can give you feedback on how well the dbl action works to do the entire boat inflation. But, I can tell you the K-Pump is much easier to carry and I can pump by myself which is usually not the case with the big Carlson.

Carlson makes a great product and has the history to prove it, while K-Pumps only been out for a few years. Both look like bomber construction to me.
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Old 12-29-2010   #5
king kong kev's Avatar
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 25
I have the NRS 5" pump and have no problems with performance. It is a bit big for carrying on the river, but that is what makes it pump fast. Smaller packing size would be the only temptation for the 4" Carlson.

You can coil the hose in the webbing handle of the pump. Just make a coil starting from the nozzle end, then tuck coil into the webbing loop. I used to use a strap for the hose until I saw another pump coiled in the webbing.
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Old 12-29-2010   #6
BoscoBoater's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 228
I have the 5" NRS and it is rather heavy, and is just a little harder to pump than the 4". I am probably going to get the 4" next time... If I can ever get over the sticker shock on those things. They get a lot of money for some PVC glue and gaskets.

They are both good products though, you will be happy with either one.
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Old 12-29-2010   #7
buena vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 135
go Carilson!! LOTS easier to pump and lighter
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Old 12-29-2010   #8
Plunk your magic twanger!
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New Castle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,106
I had to reattach the hose at the bottom of my NRS pump in the first season and added a hose clamp. I've also had to open it up a couple of times (small philips screw-difficult to line up) on the river to reseat the o-ring. Probably need to do routine cleaning and greasing. Happy to find a spare o-ring in the bottom of the cylinder. Otherwise, it has worked exactly as I expected.
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Old 12-29-2010   #9
catboatkeith's Avatar
Hoback Nation, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 141
I've had a 6" Carlison for 10yrs & love it.
"Each mile on a river will take you further from home than a hundred miles on a road"
Bob Marshall
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Old 12-29-2010   #10
briandburns's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 151
I've seen both the NRS and Carlson pumps used commercially. The NRS pumps break down under the abuse of guides, while the Carlsons stand up to it.
I always reach for the 6" Carlson, as opposed to the 4" Carlson, as it will top off a boat much quicker.
I wouldn't want to pack the 6" pump down the river. We use K-Pumps for that.

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