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PR 101

Packrafting 101

On the Water

Tempering - Often the river/lake water is colder than the air you fill up the raft with.  So after you inflate the raft onshore, place the boat in the water for several minutes (make sure you secure it well).  The cold water will cool off the air inside a little bit causing the air to shrink.  At this point, use the mouth valve to "top it off".  In extreme conditions, i.e. glacial runoff water, you may need to repeat the process a few times by stopping every so often until the raft is inflated just right for the conditions.  Also, if the sun is out and your boat is sitting on the beach for a while, it's a good idea to let a little air out of both the boat and the seat.  When the air in the raft heats up it expands, stressing the raft unnecessarily and potentially causing damage.

Don't Lose Your Gear - From our own experience of almost losing several rafts to the great white Pacific, always tie up your rafts or secure them in some way.  Pulling them up on to shore out of the water might not be enough, the wind always seems to pick up as soon as you doze off next to your lunch campfire.  Hold on tight to those paddles too.  You don't want to get stuck up the creek without a paddle!  Hah, hah...sorry.  Anyway, just remember, your gear is your trek.

Cargo - For some great pointers on how to strap your pack, skis, bike, etc. to the raft, check out this link from Alpacka.

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Raft Care

Obstacles - While the rafts are very durable, proper care keeps you safe and having fun in the backcountry.  While paddling, always avoid obstacles, especially wood.  Sticks can puncture a raft fast.  We'll send patch kits, but if you’re going on an extended tour you may also want to bring along a roll of "field expedient" Tyvek tape just in case.  Always avoid scraping the bottom of the boat on rocks as well.  A short portage can save a lot of trouble.

Cleaning - After you return from your trip, please fully dry your raft before rolling it up for shipment.  Rafts left wet can get really stinky.  If you were in dirty conditions (mud, grime, lots of sand) please soap and water off the rafts before returning.

Handling - Always carry the boats from the hull or the tie loops.  Lifting or pulling the boats from the fill valve, the spray decks or inflatable seats can cause damage.  Each boat comes with its own stuff sack - about the size of a one/two man tent.  If your pack is big enough, you may want to consider packing it in an inside compartment to keep it safe from wayward, jabbing alder scrub or fish hooks.

Note, if gear is lost or damaged beyond repair, the renter is responsible for the cost of replacement.  Credit card taken at time of deposit will be held against this rare possibility.  Minor damages will be evaluated for cost of repair upon return of gear.  Don't worry, we're not sticklers - we don't charge for normal wear and tear (hopefully not tear).

Excellent Packrafting 101 Video Series from Alpacka Raft - Produced by Media Feliz