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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Each year before I roll and store my Aire raft I wash it down with warm water and a mild detergent. I then 303 it and let it sit for about a week to ensure the perimeter line and other fabrics are thoroughly dry prior to rolling. It is stored inside for the winter but unconditioned. I live in the PNW so the the air is damp for a good portion of the winter.
In the spring when I unroll it there is a good amount of mildew. It washes off fairly easy but it can't be good. Maybe I am in denial that I have to unzip it and take all the bladders out to ensure everything is dry. I know if I do that I will end up running a late season trip and it will be for not.
Anyone else run into this? Thoughts, solutions?


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Jared
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You store your raft? WTH? Use the damn thing! Honestly, I am surprised you have a mold issue. I've had 2 Aire kayaks and never had mold issues. But my boats are mostly stored at least partially inflated in a garage. If I was in your shoes, I'd pull it completely apart and dry it. There may be enough moisture and mold in the tubes that it comes back persistently. If all of the mold is gone, maybe it wouldn't return? It's a PITA to keep a raft inflated all year, but I boat all year, and I hate rolling Sotars.
 

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In general, you just need to provide a gentle and dry heat source. In your case, maybe try loosely rolling the raft around something to create a void in the middle, like maybe a couple of milk crates (lots of things will work), then putting a 25 watt clip-light on a timer inside this void. Then set the timer to go on and off once or twice a day for a total of maybe 3-4 hours. Also, maybe set the rolled raft on a pallet (to get it off the concrete floor). And to test the gentleness of the heat, just put your hand in the void after the light has been on awhile. You could also wrap a carpet scrap around the milk crates to further diffuse the heat of the bulb, and soften the corners.
 

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Beginner
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I like storing rafts inflated on a ping pong table until they are totally dry. Ping Pong tables are all over Craigslist cheap and fold up and roll for easy storage. With your Aire you may want to open the zippers and run a towel through to get the inside as dry as possible. Try not to roll it for the winter until it's completely dry.
 

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I've read that spores can feed off of soap residue, might want to make sure there is no invisible residue. I've rolled mine three winters in North Idaho with no issue.

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If you need to store indoors, I would find a large airtight container. It will keep the moisture and critters out. Unless of course there is still moisture on/in the raft prior to storage. I've seen people use large plastic barrels for raft storage.
 

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I had the same problem. I quit using 303 before rolling the boat up. I store it in the dark so uv protectant seems like a waste.
 

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Shapp
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Couple points. don't 303d! Aire recommends using 303d sparingly if at all. Second, don't worry about washing your boat with soap and warm water before storing. Most important is you get off any grit and that its dry. At the end of your "season" vacuum any sand/dirt out of the boat before rolling. I also open up the floor and vacuum that out once a year, which helps the PRV valve from getting clogged latter. I have never ever ever ever opened up the tubes to dry them out!. After you vacuum it out, let it sit until totally dry, then roll it up. In stead of a week, dry 2 or 3 weeks before you roll it up. I have been doing this to my aire boats for many years with no mildew/mold and we live in NW Oregon and used to live in NW Washington (similar or wetter climate than you). We have 2 aire rafts and 7 aire kayaks and do this to all, and the age of these boats range from more than 20 years old to about 8 years old.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Shit!

Thanks for the feed back,
It sounds like I should stop using 303 till I break it out again and let it sit out a little longer. I just walked out to open the zippers and made it about a foot down the first zipper not using any tools and this happened! Anyone replaced one of these or will it have to go back to the factory? I can't win for loosing.
 

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Yep should be under warranty. I do take the bladder out of the PVC outer. I can't have the stuff on my shop floor for for any longer than a day or 2. Putting them up is a bit of a chore but I know the boat inside and out. I'm on my 2nd cat with Aire. They make a great product. Like with anything else there are pros and cons. I have a Hyside self bailer and do like just leaving it inflated over night then rolling it up the next day. The mildew comes from water inside the tube After you dry it and then roll it up, it just leaks out creating water that will turn to mildew. Good luck
 

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Shapp
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You should have an extra zipper car in your repair kit. Just pull the zipper apart and and slide the zipper car on the tag ends to re-zip up. Watch the repair videos they have, use a sharpened zip tie to secure the tag ends after you have zipped it back up. Call aire and they send you some more zipper cars.

There should be no reason to take you aire cells out of the tubes unless you need to repair. Taking the aire cells out is totally over kill, a PITA, and completely unnecessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You should have an extra zipper car in your repair kit. Just pull the zipper apart and and slide the zipper car on the tag ends to re-zip up. Watch the repair videos they have, use a sharpened zip tie to secure the tag ends after you have zipped it back up. Call aire and they send you some more zipper cars.

There should be no reason to take you aire cells out of the tubes unless you need to repair. Taking the aire cells out is totally over kill, a PITA, and completely unnecessary.

shappattack,

Thanks for all the info!
 

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I had the same issue. Took my aire raft from AZ to NY. Opened it up last spring and found it covered in mildew. 303 took it right off. I also am tight on space, so I have to roll and store in the garage. This year after my last trip I let it dry in the sun. Did not unzip the floor, and am not a fan if the floor taking in water, but let it stay inflated about a week then rolled it. Seemed to be dry. I just took my tomcat out this week. Same process. I picked up an outcast fish cat this spring and that is a sweet, low maintenance boat and the rubber stores in a Rubbermaid tub. Great topic and feedback.


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Try Scrubbing Bubbles it does the work so you don't have to.

You know, Frederick Fucking Chopin.
 

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Paddling in to the Future
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for those of you that have a garage and are rolling your boats, have you thought about hanging them from the ceiling? I have a standard 2 car garage that my suburban barely fits in (bumper to bumper wall to door with only about 1/2" to spare at the door) I park a GMC Jimmy right next to it. I hang my 16' Aire cat (with the frame) oriented width wise. hanging over my suburban and my jimmy. (i only have about 1" of space between the tubes and the top of my suburban) but I'd imagine most 14' rafts would fit in the same fashion, as with the oar towers, it's not tucked up tight to the ceiling. - This was the only way I was able to store my boat without deflating it. in the spring/summer/early fall it sits on the trailer in the back yard with a tarp over it.
 

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for those of you that have a garage and are rolling your boats, have you thought about hanging them from the ceiling? I have a standard 2 car garage that my suburban barely fits in (bumper to bumper wall to door with only about 1/2" to spare at the door) I park a GMC Jimmy right next to it. I hang my 16' Aire cat (with the frame) oriented width wise. hanging over my suburban and my jimmy. (i only have about 1" of space between the tubes and the top of my suburban) but I'd imagine most 14' rafts would fit in the same fashion, as with the oar towers, it's not tucked up tight to the ceiling. - This was the only way I was able to store my boat without deflating it. in the spring/summer/early fall it sits on the trailer in the back yard with a tarp over it.
I've considered it did you use rope and pulleys? Build a platform of sorts? My boat/frame is 200lbs.

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Paddling in to the Future
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I've considered it did you use rope and pulleys? Build a platform of sorts? My boat/frame is 200lbs.

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My cat is probably a little heavier (in the 300lb range) have a 8 ft powder coated steel frame that is heavier than a pig.

I don't have any pulley's just 4 heavy duty hooks that screw in the rafters (my ceiling is sheet rocked) I just take a 6ft cam strap and loop them through each corner of the frame, I make about a 3ft loop, then I have one of my kids come out in the garage and I lift up one end of the cat and they loop the straps over the hooks, then the other end. then I just yank on the strap at each corner until I've slowly tightened each one up as high as it will go. So far no troubles, and I can get it up there in about 20 minutes. (which isn't bad for only doing it once a year) this year I folded down my oar towers and gained a few more inches of clearance over the suburban. I leave the oars and stuff strapped on top of the frame. so all those unwieldy things are all together. In the spring I back my trailer in the garage and lower it down on to the deck (the platform is 2' off the deck of my trailer so it's kind of tall) then I spin it around to orient it on the trailer, strap it down, and off we go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
My garage does not have the clearance or the depth to hang it and not hit the overhead door. Someone mentioned storing it in their basement 💡💡. I have an unfinished basement that is the new home for my INFLATED raft. Though I do have a 12 year old daughter that can not wait for it to be finished and get a new bedroom and bathroom so it may be a short term fix.
I did learn that the zipper car in the repair kit is meant for repairing you bulkheads and is not a spare or double car.
I wish I had room for a trailer that I could keep it inflated and covered on but as it is I already have a 14' dump trailer and a 14' enclosed tool trailer that take up any spare parking I have.
I have always been suspect of the 303 so next time I roll it I will avoid the 303 till I break it out in the spring. In addition ill try unzipping the tubes. I do have the sealed floor but will not open that thing up unless absolutely necessary.

Thanks again y'all!


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one outfitter i used to work for would clean and apply baby powder to their hypalon fleet before storage, of course that was in CO with very low relative humidity...anyone try this on materials other than hypalon?
 
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