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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking for a reasonable cover option to protect my 14 foot cataraft outside mainly during the summer months. I live in western Colorado where the sun bakes which is mainly what i wish to protect against as i plan to store tubes inside for the winter months. My harbor freight heavy duty tarp only lasted a few months and am wondering what others do. I am considering a car port but am wondering what others use or have come up with. Is a car cover a good option? Thanks in advance

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I'm also in Colorado (8700 ft) and keep a drift boat outside all year. I have been using recycled billboard material as a cover.

https://www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com/billboard-vinyls/

The billboard material is heavy duty reinforced PVC vinyl with extra UV protection. Printed on one side, blank on the back.

A typical blue plastic tarp will not make it through a single winter at my house, but his tarp is going on 5 years. If the wind is an issue it's worth getting a grommet tool and custom fitting the tarp to your application.

The recycle center is located in Brighton, CO. So if you are coming into the Denver metro area you can save the shipping. These folks also have all kinds of stuff useful to the rafter... used climbing rope, screen mesh, plastic barrels, netting.
 

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You ever see those hoop house style greenhouses?
That’s what I really want to build for my boat. Cover it with one of those repurposed billboard deals like kengore posted the link to, instead of greenhouse plastic.
Check out “high altitude greenhouses.com”. He builds a bunch of different sized frames, and the PTO style door closures are pretty simple and easy to use.

I’ve been covering mine with shitty tarps for so long, and it’s such a pain in the ass, that all to often I get busy and my boat gets baked in the sun for an extra week or two, which is pretty terrible to do to an old friend that has never let me down.
Would be so nice to just back the whole thing into a boat port after a trip.
 

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this

I'm also in Colorado (8700 ft) and keep a drift boat outside all year. I have been using recycled billboard material as a cover.

https://www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com/billboard-vinyls/

The billboard material is heavy duty reinforced PVC vinyl with extra UV protection. Printed on one side, blank on the back.

A typical blue plastic tarp will not make it through a single winter at my house, but his tarp is going on 5 years. If the wind is an issue it's worth getting a grommet tool and custom fitting the tarp to your application.

The recycle center is located in Brighton, CO. So if you are coming into the Denver metro area you can save the shipping. These folks also have all kinds of stuff useful to the rafter... used climbing rope, screen mesh, plastic barrels, netting.
based on a few of the posts i'd read here, i went this route. can't remember where i ordered mine, but it was $35 or so for a piece of 10x20 foot billboard vinyl. i laid the boat on it, traced around it (allowed extra room for the sides of the boat) and cut it out. installed grommets every foot or so around the perimeter and laced in some paracord. placed it over the boat and cinched down the paracord. it's bomber.
 

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I leave the frame on and the oar locks in place. I made foam rubber covers for the oar locks so they don't poke through. I also use a piece of 1" dia. x 16' PVC pipe length wise as a ridge pole. I tie the 'ridge pole' in bow and stern to the frame and over the top of the rowers seat in the middle. The ridge pole helps the tarp drain and prevents low spots that would pond water.

I cut the tarp to size leaving about 30" to overlap the sides. I add grommets at 24" on center around the perimeter, laced a rope drawstring through the grommets.

The completed package is tight enough to put on the trailer and tow as is, for long hauls I take off the cover.
 

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Are you guys leaving the frame on? How about the oar towers?
Windshield washer fluid jugs. cut the tops off big enough to fit the oar locks inside and put them on. That wont poke through a cheap car cover from Costco. I'm on season 5(?) and it spends all year outside. I do use a heavy Costco tarp and my canoe as a roof beam in the winter to keep snow from getting inside.
Years back I also made a cheep split rail frame and put corrugated steel on the roof. it was like 300 bucks and I loved backing under and forgetting it. But I lived in the country so its security wasn't needed.
 

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If you are willing to pay for one of the Cascade covers you could also consider a custom cover. Had an upholstery shop build one for my snout. They used Sunbrella fabric with a 5 year warranty. It was high priced, but that boat is high big. Scaled down to a regular raft would probably be $400-$600.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the ideas. My quick search only named the expensive ones but i see there are a lot more options that people are having good luck with.

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I'm at 8,500' in Colorado and use this "super heavy duty tarp" to cover our 14" raft and trailer. It's not cheap, but worth it if it lasts me a couple seasons. The tarp is really thick, so very little light gets through.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009Q28PU/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

During the summer, I use my DRE umbrella mount with a 2' piece of PVC vertically near the center of the raft to create a high point for drainage. I use one of those foam corners that come in the box for a big TV on top of the PVC to reduce stress on the tarp. I use the trailer chains attached to the grommets to anchor the tarp on the west side (where the winds typically come from) and rocks at each corner to hold down the tarp on the trailer.

During the winter, I set up a two pole PVC system positioned near the front and back. The two poles are connected by a rope to create an A frame (instead of just a middle high point). I found that one middle high point in the winter would still sometimes result in pooling of water due to snow weighting since it doesn't flow off like rain. I use ratchet straps to make it all more secure. The boat stays dry and there is still some air flow.
 
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