Gacoflex for rafts? Good or Bad experience w/ it? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-10-2004   #1
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 154
Gacoflex for rafts? Good or Bad experience w/ it?

I just picked up a very used Maravia raft yesterday that I got for a couple hundred bucks w/ the idea of doing abit of a refurb on the old patches and maybe trying out a coat of urathane gacoflex. Good raft for the $ but seems like the perfect raft to practice a refurbish on to (hopefully) make allot better. The tubes are really ugly and stained right now so some gaco paint seems like a good idea. Anyone out there used gacoflex with great success or have horror stories that the sales people never tell? Also, I don't really need instructions on it's use but perhaps any tips from experience that might help would be helpful too.


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Old 07-11-2004   #2
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,674
If its a Maravia and the boat's not already encapsulated, then the boat's probably pre-1988 and may not be worth fixing. You may need to just get used to topping it off in the mornings. One thing to be wary of is that if its an old boat, the seam tape on the inside of the tubes may be coming off. This will be a difficult thing to tackle and you may need to "rebuild" the boat which may take effort than its worth.

I've never used Gacoflex myself but have heard that the preparation is where you really have to do some work to make it seal well. A better place to cast about for info would be on Boatertalk's Raft Zone ( I remember seeing a post in the last couple of days about painting boats. If you visit the site, you may be able to do a search on "gacoflex." You could also give the folks at Downriver Equip. a call - I think they sell the stuff (303-467-9489).

An alternative to painting the boat would be to take it down to John at Inflatable Technologies (303-619-332 and have him encapsulate the whole thing for you. It'll be more expensive than the paint, but the boat will be a lot better for a lot longer. John should be able to tell you if its worth encapsulating to begin with, and will be able to tell you about your options with prep and painting also if you decide to go that route. John probably knows rubber boats as well as anyone on the Front Range and will be honest with you even if it means that you wind up taking your business elsewhere or having him do less than you originally intended.

Good luck,

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 07-12-2004   #3
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 154
Thanks again for the info, Andy.

I think I might give that guy John a call and see what the cost for that might be. I have no idea how old it is but I see some hope in it and I really like the design on the Ranger's so we'll see.

I did the soapy spray test on it Sat and it looks like if i could at least seal the two side chambers on the bottoms I could get rid of 90+% of the leaking from pinholes.
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