Packing on floor of raft - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-25-2008   #1
 
lhowemt's Avatar
 
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Packing on floor of raft

What's everyone's opinion on loading gear on the floor of a self bailing raft? Some people I talk to always hang their gear from the tubes, some always just put their gear on the floor. Seems like even if the stuff at the bottom is soft, the weight is going to do the same thing to the inflatable floor, increase the pressure and make it easier to pinch?

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Old 01-25-2008   #2
 
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You'll get lots of die-hards that say you should never put ANY items in the bottom of a raft. I think this may be a hold-over from the pre SB days when any item on the floor (especially hard things, posed a risk of ripping the floor if you hit a rock.

Personally: I'll put drybags with soft items in them on the floor, always washing any sand off of them before loading and lashing in. Hard items should be hung from the frame as high above the floor as possible. The SB floor of my Vanguard is about 8" thick.

Looking forward to hearing what others say on this issue!

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Old 01-25-2008   #3
 
Durango, Colorado
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Be wary the crushed beer can as well. I've seen a fair share of PBR can divots on floors.
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Old 01-25-2008   #4
 
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Im agree with Andy 100%. I also look forward to other posts.
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Old 01-25-2008   #5
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I hang the cooler and box off of the frame, along with whatever I can rig that way. I always try to keep soft things (dry bags, etc) on the floor, but I have put hard things on the floor as long as they don't have sharp edges. I know I've put water jugs on the floor. I also don't think twice when I throw a 30 rack of PBR on the floor. I'm a big fan of cargo floors, even just getting things a couple inches up works for me.
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Old 01-26-2008   #6
 
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Suspended cargo floors are the way to go. I added a couple of extra d-rings to the bow and stern to allow me to hang the floors evenly a couple inches from the floor of the raft. The hanging floors works very well to limit potential abrasion. The trick is on long trip to continually monitor them for suspension, but even if they rest on the floor of the raft its ok because your chances of a sharp corner etc are reduced if you have a solid board acting as a buffer.

I have floors in all three bays. It is super nice in the center bay because it gives you a solid surface to stand on. I also have some of my heavier Rocket boxes tied down to the suspended floor itself which keeps the center of boat gravity of the boat lower.

I carry my extended beer supply on the front floor under a strapped deck. The beer is contained in "cool boxes" (milk crates with strapped lids). This keeps all the beer cold and again keeps the center of gravity low. The top deck on the bow also provides a nice river level bed to crash on at night when it's hot.
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Old 01-26-2008   #7
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I have an everything bag that I got from River Ray that has rings built into the bottom so that you can suspend it like a cargo floor, but I just let it rest on the floor and use the upper rings to hold it in place. What I did was cut a piece of plywood to fit in the bottom of the bag and then I can put hard objects (rocket box, kitchen box or whatever) on the board/floor and I feel less likely to damage the raft floor. Everything else is hanging off the frame. Loop straps for the cooler and I use a drop bag in the front bay with a large table for a lid. I have been known to put water jugs on the floor in front of the frame.
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Old 01-26-2008   #8
 
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Our boat is small (13' NRS) and with two people and multiple dogs, space is at a premium. On our first multiday trip last summer (5 days, pretty flat water so we could take the old dog), we had 3 dry bags shoved under the rowing seat. Sleeping bags and tent. That allowed us enough space in the back to hang the beer cooler and pile the rest on top and around so it is low enough the dogs can hang out on top. Since it was such flat water we weren't concerned about the bags below the seat, even though it took some effort to push them in there. I don't know why but our boat seems to be pretty short from the floor to the frame. The next size up NRS has larger tubes and perhaps the floor is attached a bit differently or something. We're going to do some real trips this summer (only up to C III) and need to decide ahead if we should or shouldn't continue to pack under the seat like that.

I like having a small boat for day trips, but it's only a matter of time before we upsize as we do more and more week long trips. We're hoping to do Desolation this summer, or lower Salmon.

I'm surprised to hear so much support for a wood floor, I assumed that being "hard" it would be as great a risk for pinching a hole than hanging a cooler or dry box. I do see it being far superior to one of those mesh floors as it would hang down in the middle.

So, bags under the seat, or retool our packing in Class III?
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Old 01-26-2008   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhowemt View Post
I'm surprised to hear so much support for a wood floor, I assumed that being "hard" it would be as great a risk for pinching a hole than hanging a cooler or dry box. I do see it being far superior to one of those mesh floors as it would hang down in the middle.

So, bags under the seat, or retool our packing in Class III?
The mesh floors are fine also. The wooden floors and mesh floors are supposed to be hung so that they are not on the floor. I think it's fine to put some things directly on the floor. I've rigged that way for Cat, the Grand, etc. We even had a big plastic box directly on the floor on the Grand. I've also seen people rig on top of their paco pads if they don't want something directly on the floor.
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Old 01-26-2008   #10
 
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Lots of god points being covered. Obviously your boat is best off if there are not hard or pointy surfaces in contact with the floor. If you go over a sharp rock or pokey stick, the stuff above can be the difference in whether or not your raft pops due to the obstacle.
I have a ply wood drop floor that I sometimes use to keep the load suspended above the rear floor. If you have a lot of hard stuff like rocket boxes and loose dutch ovens, the floor clearly protects the boat, but that same hard floor if not raised high enough can prevent the floor from flexing up and going over the obstacle.

I usually leave the floor behind and pack softer dry bags on the bottom.

Something I have been meaning to do is to pad the bottom of my cooler and dry boxes to provide some give, when you take a big hit.

Another idea I have seen attempted, but not perfected is to lash stuff down in a manner that allows it to be able to rise up when you it stuff. I'd love to see this idea improved upon.

If I were planning a low water mission, where you knew there would be lots of slithering and scraping and dragging I would probably load way up off the floors and leave the boat softer and 303 the bottom of it to make it nice and slippery. Loading a boat higher and wider protects the bottom floor, but makes the center of gravity higher and I suppose exposes the tubes to more wear.
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