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With the season about over, I have a question regarding storage.

Relevant information, this is in Idaho (Boise area, winters do get cold)

What is the best way to store my raft for the winter?

a) lightly inflated, on my trailer, under a heavy tarp, outside.

b) deflated, rolled up, in its bag, inside, climate controlled.

Opinions?

Elaborations?

Ad,
 

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While most folks seem to agree that lightly inflated is better than rolled up. I have decided the indoor environment had advantages over outside.

For Example, last winter I had to deal with a fallen tree (came within about 10" of hitting the trailer!) Rodents moving in and pooping everywhere, also chewing on the ropes and straps. And a potential issue when we got hit with a huge wet snow and the tarp collapsed and started to pond water.

At least inside the garage I have a little more control over the critters, trees and precipitation.
 

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Half inflated, indoors, climate controlled is best. This not being an option for many people.
1. I wash mine very well and 303 it.
2. Loosely roll
3. Keep indoors out of the sun in the house.

The guy I bought my boat from did this and the boats about 20 something and still looks new.
 

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In my experience the sun does more damage than the rain. UV will quickly degrade even the heavy duty woven poly tarps. You can get heavy grey PVC tarps that do better in the sun but will crack if moved in the cold.

I finally adopted a two layer approach. An outer sacrificial tarp to block the UV (old beat up tarps works great, you can even use several smaller tarps) over a waterproof layer of one piece, continuous, 6 mil plastic vapor barrier.

I rigged a section of PVC pipe across the top of the boat to act as a ridge pole. Then draped the tarps over it to form a gable style roof. The ridge pole prevents the tarp from sagging and ponding water. If you do get a pond it will fill up with water and freeze, often breaking the tarp.
 

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I wonder if it is better to store a hypalon boat deflated but out of the cold or inflated but in the cold. Very cold. Zach I hope you see this. Thanks


Jim
 

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My raft is urethane (Sotar). I will try lightly inflated, on my trailer, covered, outdoors. I like the pvc pipe ridge pole idea. I will do a two layer cover also.
 

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I roll up and store them inside every winter. Weather is hard on boats (and everything else) year round. High use warrants outdoor storage, but they are better off in shelter than in the elements during a long off season.
 

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Depends on material. PVC does not like cold and sun. My Aire: clean, 303'd, apply baby powder and roll tight, cover in a tarp and stick on a high garage shelf. The creases in the pvc show untill the boat is fully inflated and sun warmed in the spring. I try not to move the boat at all when it is very cold.
 

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......this is in Idaho (Boise area, winters do get cold)
You haven't been to the midwest or "plains" states have you....;)

a) lightly inflated, on my trailer, under a heavy tarp, outside.

b) deflated, rolled up, in its bag, inside, climate controlled.

Opinions?

Elaborations?

Ad,
I'm afforded the option of inside, inflated, on a trailer so I don't have that worry...but if I did, I would make every effort to store it inside, rolled loosely. Build a hanging shelf 8-12' long x 2'+ wide and fold loosely lengthwise on the shelf...?...

In my experience the sun does more damage than the rain. UV will quickly degrade even the heavy duty woven poly tarps.

.....over a waterproof layer of one piece, continuous, 6 mil plastic vapor barrier.
What's the purpose of a waterproof layer? We are talking about a water vessel, right?
 

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I'm afforded the option of inside, inflated, on a trailer so I don't have that worry...but if I did, I would make every effort to store it inside, rolled loosely. Build a hanging shelf 8-12' long x 2'+ wide and fold loosely lengthwise on the shelf...?...
I don't have that much inside room, and none that is climate controlled. I worry about keeping a urethane boat folded up for 6 months at a time. There was another thread not too long ago on MB where some folks had success with outside storage.
 

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So I was just reminded on another thread that I used to roll both of my old boats; an old PVC Eclipse and a hypalon Hyside following late winter duck hunts. It was always below freezing and at least twice it was well below zero. Each was a bitch to roll but doable, having actively rolled boats at least a dozen times in well below freezing temps I really doubt that storing them while rolled is that bad for them, and it's what nearly all the manufacturers do.

I'm fortunate and I leave mine inflated on the trailer, in a barn and cover it with a cheap boat cover to keep the cat's from pissing in it or the swallows from covering it in shit. Plus I'll likely drag it to the Mo' once or twice this winter, so I just have to throw off the cover, add some air and drop her in the water!

I do love the hanging rig - nice execution.

For brasscap - I don't worry too much about water either, but all boats (save maybe marravias sprayed boats) have exposed denier at seams. Having that thread saturated cannot be good for it...not likely to be catastrophic but keeping it dry has to be better than allowing it to sit wet.

When I stored my raft outside I used a porous cover to shield it from the sun but it wouldn't hold water and thus wouldn't ice up and get supper heavy collapsing onto the boat. I wanted snow to melt and run through so that the cover sat high and I didn't have to worry about ice buildup. I tilted the trailer so the water ran out the drain holes. It isn't rocket science - keep the sun off, minimize water while not having to go out and unload it after every snow storm...

I still store two other metal boats outside and use the same method, have for decades. Let the water drain through and run out the back. They're always dry inside and the sun isn't beating the shit out of things.
 

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trailer storage too

Something else to keep in mind for those that plan to store their boats on trailer whether indoor or outdoor - in my experience trailer tires are notorious for warping if left in one spot for multiple months. This can lead to shorter tire life span and higher potential for on road blowouts.

Once all the rafting gear is winterized and stored on boat, I usually jack up the trailer just enough for the wheels to spin. I picked up some cheapo harbor freight jack stands that have worked for multiple years. I also use one of those jack stands under both front and rear so it's a stable platform if I need to climb on for any reason.
 

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I see a lot of people use these on RVs and boat trailers. A piece of scrap plywood works fine too to keep the sun and snow off the tire. Some people remove boat and utilty trailer tires altogether and store indoors, but this is in the mid mountain elevations where the trailer tire could have four feet of snow piled alongside contacting the tire by Feburary.




 

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Given that you live in an area that has two of the leading raft manufacturing sites why not just give them a call to see what they recommend for their product. Inside and inflated is probably the best but short of that why rely on opinions- get the manufacturers recommendation and you'll never have to concern yourself with warranty issues.
 
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