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Old 10-30-2008   #1
Rockingham, North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 54
Will heat harm a raft during storage?

I recently got my first raft, a non self bailer 14.5' Sotar. Got it for yearly float trips in Alaska. We live in North Carolina and have 90-100 degree highs in summer and 25-40 degree lows in winter. I am wanting to store the raft in the garage as we don't have much room elsewhere but I am worried about the heat of summer damaging the raft. Is this something I should be concerned with. Also, read where you should leave a raft partially inflated. Is this necessary? I just don't have much room for that. Can I roll it up loosely? Any thoughts on how to properly store this raft would be of great use.

danattherock's slideshow on Flickr

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Old 10-30-2008   #2
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
I think that with a PVC raft (I think that's what your Sotar is) the heat is more of a concern if it is rolled. That's when you get that "stick together" effect in the spring. I'm not sure how bad this is for it. The creases that result from folding your boat can be bad, but not hooribly damaging. It's better to store it inflated.

I'm curious if this is a good argument to not buy a glued plastic raft (yours is welded danatherock, so this doesn't apply to you). Does anyone know if heat increases the PVC breakdown? The fumes from that slow breakdown are what dissolves the glue, correct?

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Old 10-30-2008   #3
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 535
cool looking trip. thanks for posting the pics.

I wouldn't worry about storing a quality raft like that rolled hot/cold or in between. Doing a loose roll though is always best when possible. Store it dry, clean and 303'd and you should be fine. If you have trouble with sticking then I've heard of people talcing their boats at season end. Never had the problem so no comment/endorsement here. Keep it up off the ground, if possible, as garages certainly can get mice in them and they can chew out of curiosity,getting nest materials or whatever.

Taking care of rafts is always good but on the other side don't worry too much about them. A good boat like yours is pretty durable, bombproof and built for the long haul.
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Old 10-31-2008   #4
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at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,347
SOTAR recommends storing their boats partially inflated. Since it is more rigid than hypalon, I think there is some concern about the folds that will develop. I also think there is some potential for the urethane to stick together on the insides. SOTAR boats are not PVC, they are urethane coated nylon. I think many folks still store their boats rolled and they are fine, but I like to heed what the mfgr recommends. You might contact them about the heat and see which they recommend.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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