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Air mat for river crossing?
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Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Air mat for river crossing? on 05/13/2010 22:22:48 MDT Print View

So, I put this in Chaff because it might just be ridiculous.

Has anyone used their air mat to aid in stream crossings? Or is there just too much danger of puncturing the mat and/or being caught in a situation where you don't want to be caught?

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Air mattress for stream crossing... on 05/13/2010 23:41:17 MDT Print View

I'm trying to think of a scenario where doing this might NOT end in a disaster...Oh I got one! inflate it inside your pack so if you lose it at least it will float!

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Air mat for river crossing?" on 05/14/2010 04:59:09 MDT Print View

True story, a friend of mine utilized a dollar store inflatable pool mattress as his "raft" for crossing a section of the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico along his successful thru-hike of the Grand Enchantment Trail. From what I heard it was absolutely sketchy....but worked nonetheless. The Rio Grande isn't a torrential river by any means, but up north it's still wide(ish) and swift. That's just how we do things in the Land of Enchantment. I'm assuming what he used was a dollar store equivalent to a Big Agnes Clearview. Blown up to full capacity I guess it could assist some, I personally wouldn't want to wrestle with one. Have fun with that Travis!

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Air mat for river crossing? on 05/14/2010 07:34:50 MDT Print View

No, but I did share a campsite with a fellow who floated his gear and his Bike on the Green River to get across from the Doll House.

The river is flat, not to fast, and warm. It is probably a 100+ yard float.

Edited by greg23 on 05/14/2010 07:35:34 MDT.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Air mat for river crossing? on 05/14/2010 09:26:14 MDT Print View

Hi Travis,

Colin Fletcher cobbled together a flotation system using his pack and an air mattress in the Grand Canyon (IIRC), which he describes in The Complete Walker. Not a recommendation mind you, but it's worth a read to see what he did and how it worked.

For that matter, the book is a must-read for any backpacker.



Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Air mat for river crossing? on 05/14/2010 17:26:44 MDT Print View

Colin Fletcher successfully tested his air mattress to float short stretches of the Colorado in the Grand Canyon ... until he got late spring snow that allowed him to move up to the esplanade. If I recall correctly he also used it to cross the Colorado later in his GC hike.

That is described in The Man Who Walked Through Time

I did similar to cross a small lake in the Alberta Rockies some 40 years ago ... came out of the experience thinking that's not the smartest thing ever I've tried. My companions offered a less charitable description.

Edited by jcolten on 05/14/2010 17:27:23 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Air mat for river crossing? on 05/14/2010 17:53:18 MDT Print View

A mate recently purchased one of the Alpacka rafts. About 3 lbs. For a trip with two or three (sharing the load) that is not a bad solution. Takes about 10 min to fully assemble and about the same to take apart.
Some do use them upside down as a mat.
"Me" is 2ee, Yair's companion...
2ee and raft
2ee raft 2

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Air mat for river crossing? on 05/14/2010 18:43:20 MDT Print View

Great shots. Been wondering where Me was these days. Is Me still chasing bridled nailtail wallaby?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re:Multiple use gear on 05/14/2010 20:40:51 MDT Print View

I think we've just found another use for one of Ben's inflatable dolls.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re:Multiple use gear on 05/14/2010 21:31:12 MDT Print View

Ben's Dolls [*note* this link contains somewhat offensive (yet very funny) material] - be careful what you ask for....

Edited by sharalds on 05/17/2010 08:37:00 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re:Multiple use gear on 05/15/2010 01:34:42 MDT Print View

Now I've truly seen them all. :)

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Re:Multiple use gear on 05/15/2010 12:14:34 MDT Print View

Well, if you use one of those you'll at least have something to do as you're swept aimlessly and helplessly along a raging river.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re:Multiple use gear on 05/15/2010 18:20:27 MDT Print View

I wonder if you could use them for packrafting?

Todd Williams
(ctwillia) - MLife

Locale: Depends on the weekend
Re: Re: Re:Multiple use gear on 05/15/2010 18:58:48 MDT Print View

Is there a Youtube vid for EVERYTHING?

-Blue Monkey pants?

edit- Dammit!

Edited by ctwillia on 05/15/2010 18:59:36 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Air mat for river crossing? on 05/15/2010 19:19:49 MDT Print View

There is a video called " Fancy Blue Monkey pants", however it is highly offensive so no link to it.
Apparently about 24 hours of video content is uploaded on You Tube every 3 minutes.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
air mats on 05/16/2010 09:24:27 MDT Print View

Harvey Butchart (grand wizard of Grand Canyon hiking) used an air mattress to cross the river on loads of hikes back in the day. Of course, the NPS now looks upon such activities rather dimly. I believe his air mattress had a bit more volume than most of those common in this crew.

However, Carol Crooker used a Torsolite to float her SUL pack on the Clear Creek trip she wrote about years ago.

So it should work, if you're careful.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: air mats on 05/16/2010 12:10:06 MDT Print View

I think the air mattress thing has a lot of merit, except in the Grand Canyon.

With the dam in place, the water is far colder year around, making a 'wet' crossings a very 'ify' proposition, and potentially life threatening.

I've taken my swims, intentional and otherwise, and would recommend against any prolonged immersion. Perhaps if you could, for the most part, stay on top of the mattress, it would be a workable deal.