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Old 03-13-2015   #11
Sembob's Avatar
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 485
Barrel pumps are awesome and make surprisingly quick work filling even large boats. I love having one for the fleet on multi days but I don't carry one in my Spider and more often than not I carry my K-pump on day trips. I don't deflate my boats but if I do I use a 12volt at the put in. Slick horn is right, yes you can fill a boat with a K-pump or foot pump. It will not be a good time but a SDP isn't a big boat either. I suggest you buy a 12v I have used this one for about 25 years and buy a k200 for top off and to carry on the boat. To think that you must be inside the boat to top off is ridiculous. Most pumps with hoses take two people for topping off anyway so where's the wonderful advantage in that. And I guess if you plan on buying some antiquated boat with some obsolete military style valves well, then at that time you should consider a different style pump for that boat.


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Old 03-13-2015   #12
I'm wrong 50% of the time
brendodendo's Avatar
RFV, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 857
I have many pumps. When I got my super puma, it came with a Wonder 4. Great top off pump, horrible fill pump. I bought an NRS barrel and it is great, but way to big to take on the raft. I got a cheap multi stage electric pump with high pressure, low volume and high volume, low pressure. It works OK. I bought a cheap rechargeable Coleman pump at Target and modified the outlet with some vinyl pipe so that it fits the valves. It is probably one om my favorite ways to inflate. Can fill 2 or 3 boats with a single charge. Cost $29. I recently bought a K-mini. Fits in my thwart bag without any extra hose to store and tops of nicely. Would not ever use it to fully inflate. I have also used a $35 shop vac and modified some pipe to make a fill nozzle. Buy a 4 or 5 in barrel and a k200 and look around for a decent electric, but you can use a cheap one to get by.

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Old 03-14-2015   #13
Roanoke, Virginia
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 7
I appreciate all of the real-world responses from private rafters. It sounds like an electric plus top-off is recommended given I'll often transport the boat deflated.

Except for a few races out West I've nearly exclusively boated in the East, where private rafts are few and far between compared to hardboats.
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Old 03-14-2015   #14
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
I have a lot of raft pumps.

If I could only have one today it would be Down River Equipment's little 4 inch hand pump. Excellent all around hand pump and sized just right to carry along.
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Old 03-14-2015   #15
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
If you buy a 12V and run it off your car battery, be sure to turn the vehicle off- or you'll fry that 12V pump after a few uses.

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Old 03-14-2015   #16
slickhorn's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 365
dang laura.

PITA != impossible. Any idjit who intentionally has only a top off pump for a large raft isn't going to enjoy his experience. We agree on that. But it will work, in a pinch. smaller the boat, the more so.

Your ire toward foot pumps, though, is misplaced. Foot pumps, like all good design, exhibit the best ergonomics of any pump.

A plastic rio bravo is not a foot pump. Proper footpumps are well made with marine plywood and raft material bellows, through-bolted with stainless hardwear. There's nothing to lube and they last forever. I've boated for thousands of river miles, using military valves in conjunction with good foot pumps. Why does a pump need a check valve? The more boats have two way valves, the less the pumps need to have them.

Lee still sells one: Sierra Marine Ply Foot Pump for Rafts and Kayaks, made in USA Nice price too.

I enjoy sipping my morning warm bevrage, watching the light on the walls change, while my legs get shaken loose with the foot pump.

Eyes and hands free beats wobbling on a vertically-challenged pogo-stick, which is the user experience of most barrel pumps.

Regardless of your your pump of choice though, do we all agree that pumps should be kept DRY when packed on-river?
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Old 03-14-2015   #17
El Chupanibre
Thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 128
I rarely pump, but when I do it is a big fat DRE barrel pump. I use 4 pumps. A cheap electric pump to inflate and deflate in the garage. I pack an NRS high volume electric pump in my truck just in case. I keep a small two way pump in my dry box for river use. I've picked them up over the years and each one of them has niche. The river pumping is the duty of my passengers who are getting a free trip down the river.
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Old 03-14-2015   #18
Pinecliffe, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 447
4 inch barrel, NRS or Carlson or AAA. NRS barrel pump works well but the Carlson is built better. I got a Carlson after my NRS hose kept coming off. NRS paid for shipping, then repaired it for free, I then gave it to a friend. The AAA pump is pretty stout too. The only annoying part is the people with the k-pump keep asking to use my pump when their boat needs a topping. I think they're wasting space carrying that pump around they don't wanna use. I can inflate a 16' raft just as fast as most electrics aside from the 110 volt blowers you see some commercials with. Remember to grease the pump gasket and these pumps will last as long as your boat.
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. KARL MARX
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Old 03-14-2015   #19
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471
I can pump a 14' cat start to finish with a k-40 in about 30 minutes. It really isn't that bad. Would I be stoked to do a 14' raft with a top off pump? no.
I own a barrel pump. It is gathering dust.

For me the ratio I think about is this-
Number of major repairs I have experienced on the river: 0
Number of times a barrel pump has become annoying on the boat: all of them
My willingness to risk having to pump my boat with a slightly smaller pump to avoid carrying a larger pump: Very High

I ONCE repaired a drop stitch floor on a 16' raft on the river. Took 10 minutes to find, an hour to glue. Left it overnight. In the morning I took a K pump to it. Maybe 20 minutes later it was ready to load. I threw the pump in the drybox and that was that.

I once carried a CHEAP foot pump as my sole source of air on a solo trip. my valve leaked on day 1. The foot pump failed to function. I spent a very frustrating evening trying to resurrect my foot pump enough to limp along. I threw it out after the trip. I really like the size:weight:usability ratio. Bummer it was junk. A good foot pump would be cool though.

If it takes literally hours to inflate a raft with the pump you carry I agree that a terrible tool is involved.
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Old 03-14-2015   #20
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 332
The k pump 400 is the best of all worlds is my eyes. Compact, storable, economial, and efficient. Check out the specs to confirm but a be live the 400 moves more air per stroke than most 4" barrels.

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