Raft Question - Which Pump??? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-29-2007   #1
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 146
Raft Question - Which Pump???

I need a basic pump for inflating my raft at the put in and carying on the river for top-offs. Didn't want to spend much money. Anyone try this pump? Wonder Pump Super 6
Wonder Pump Super 6

I don't mind spending extra time pumping to save some bucks.


p.s. I also need a few cheap paddles - enough to get by until I find some river booty.

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Old 05-29-2007   #2
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,011
Hi Patrick,

I've used one of those Wonder Pumps for seven years, to top off and also as my on-boat pump in case I have to an on-river repair. For regular total inflation (and particularly if you have a large boat) they would somewhat tedious to use, and might not stand up to the task over time. But if you don't mind the time they take to use, and every now and then can replace the internals, you could be OK. Or at the price, just buy another one, I suppose......

A few other thoughts. Some folks have found ways to use a cheap battery-powered leaf blower to do the major work, and then top off with something like the Wonder. Others take the plunge and buy an LVM or similar 12-volt pump and run it off their car battery. Of course if you are near a 120-volt source, then other kinds of high-volume, low pressure options could come into play, like a shop vac.


Rich Phillips

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Old 05-29-2007   #3
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 106

Try the K-pump. Its a simple mechanism and comes with an extra seal just in case. I got the K-100 and it works fine for topping your tubes off, not so much filling up the whole raft.

Its durable and comes in a little bag that ties off to a frame easily. If you get one of the uber-cheap pumps you'll end up buying a good one in a year or two. Trust me.

I found mine on ebay 2 years ago for $65, but their website K-Pump - Home has them listed for cheaper.

Good luck.
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Old 05-29-2007   #4
Gnarnia, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 659
Not sure what size your raft is but you'll probably hate that wonder pump - I had a friend who had one and he finally threw it in a dumpster at the put-it because it sucked so bad. It's a piece of crap and you'll definitely get what you pay for. Save your money and get one of these four pumps and you'll be very, very happy:

NRS 5" Barrel Pump

Carlson 4" Hand Pump

K-Pump 400

Down River Equipment

Just remember, before you top off your rig on the river, pump your pump a few times to get out any water that may have gotten in the hose (assuming you're not storing it in a dry bag or box) so you don't blow that water into your tubes, which can lead to problems in the long run.

As for cheap paddles, check out: Down River Equipment
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Old 05-29-2007   #5
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,011

I think your pump recommendations are solid.

Funny thing is, I have a 5" NRS also, and almost never use it. An old LVM that just won't quit does the heavy lifting, and the Wonder Pump rides so nice and tidily in the dry box, that I almost never even bother to bring the NRS. But my boats don't require regular top-off in the mornings, so once I get them to pressure at the put-in, I don't see the pump again the rest of the trip.

Bottom line, I expect you're right about Wonders not being up to regular, full-inflation use. But for convenience and cost, they're not all that bad in an intermittent use pattern.


Rich Phillips
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Old 05-29-2007   #6
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 274
My NRS 5" does the heavy lifting. I have found the LVM's slow to inflate in comparison. I can get it done in half the time, but I have a cataraft too.

I have a wonder pump 4 for my river pump. I would hate to inflate the entire thing using one of these!
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Old 05-29-2007   #7
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,822
My stock line about the Wonder Pump is that if it lasts an entire season, that's the "Wonder." Get something else.

A Bronco II Foot Pump holds up pretty well and is good for topping off but I wouldn't use one for an entire boat. Get a 12V pump for that.
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 05-29-2007   #8
Blue River, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 41
I agree with the previous posts. NRS 5" is great for inflating a raft, but big on the river. I use a Down River 4" for pretty much everything, but it is a little small for inflating imo. You will save money in the long run buying a good pump, and those two are my top choices. If you want a cheap pump a foot pump is a better choice imo.

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Old 05-29-2007   #9
Gnarnia, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 659
I agree about the NRS 5" pump. I ordered one and sent it back b/c it was too big. So I ended up with a 4" Carlson (10 yr. warranty) and it's the ticket.
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Old 05-29-2007   #10
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 105
My raft is old and leaky. I'm tall and a wonder pup kills my back. I have a cheap 12-volt inflator (for the put-in) and a 5" NRS pump. Works great and I don't mind the size (it's a back thing).
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