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Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Christmas on 12/31/2011 10:09:10 MST Print View

Ahh yes....Christmas (and a little extra spending on my part) rocks. I couldn't miss the annual sale.

Now I've got a few months before water season to figure out a paddle and PFD. I'm mulling over a MYOG PFD that is a hybrid foam/inflatable design. It will have enough foam so that if it's punctured it would still work okay, but when fully inflated it would be awesome. I'm thinking heat-sealable nylon for the inflatable bits, as opposed to stuffing water bottles in there.

Raft is a Yukon Yak with the 2011 spray deck. I wanted the 2011 deck so I could ferry a passenger on some trips.

Yukon Yak

Edited by dandydan on 12/31/2011 10:09:45 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
new raft on 12/31/2011 18:29:51 MST Print View

Congrats! New worlds await.

I like the 2010-11 deck. It does lots of things pretty well. I'd advise seam sealing the deck seams (aquaseal on the non-shiny side), which will keep you drier and warmer.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Christmas on 12/31/2011 18:34:44 MST Print View

Wow. Looks great. Enjoy Dan.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Christmas on 12/31/2011 21:08:59 MST Print View


Very cool. You're going to have a blast with it, I'm sure!

nick beaudoin
(nick_beaudoin) - MLife

Locale: Palmy
Can't wait!! on 12/31/2011 23:47:36 MST Print View

I have the same one sitting at the post office waiting til tuesday!! I'm so excited, the trip planning has been rampant.
I'll post some pics next weekend of the first paddle.

Edited by nick_beaudoin on 01/01/2012 01:04:23 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Rafts on 01/03/2012 22:44:22 MST Print View

Thanks for the kind words guys. I've been researching some local class 2-3 rivers to try to get a feel for the raft. I likely won't get out on anything sorta white for a few months though, as it's solidly winter here right now.

Thanks for the Aquaseal tip David C. I'll make it happen.

Edited by dandydan on 01/03/2012 22:44:53 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Christmas on 01/03/2012 23:46:33 MST Print View

>"It will have enough foam so that if it's punctured it would still work okay, but when fully inflated it would be awesome."

The inflatable PFDs are readily available and quite compact. Not super light, but very reliable. My wife's rowing club requires their use on their Alaskan home lake.

Is there a multipurpose play here? I think so.

If you go rigid foam, could it be essentially the "frame" of a back pack?

If you go flexible, closed cell foam, could it double as a sleeping pad and/or a insulative vest?

The safest vests have all their floatation on your chest so you rotate face up. Keeping a lot of floatation in your pack is easy, but requires you (1) stay conscious and (2) expend some effort when swimming to keep your face up.

How about a water bladder (a la platypus) or, cheaper yet, a 5-liter wine-in-a-box bladder? 11 pounds of floatation if you can work it into a vest or your backpack and you can vent it down to nothing when off the water. Or multipurpose it into a water carrier and night-time pillow.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Paddles on 01/03/2012 23:49:48 MST Print View

Are you on flat or white water?

For flat water (including the Pacific Ocean), I'm a big fan of native-style, small-bladed, longer paddles. They drip less, are less tiring, you don't have to raise your shoulders so much, and they are much easier to DIY. I made ones out of $8 of materials that were lighter than anyone's $200 paddles.

For white water, you need bigger blade area. Lots of commercial choices there.

How would you rank: cost, compactness and performance?

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Christmas on 01/04/2012 00:18:53 MST Print View

Dan, you're going to have a blast!

I saw Alpacka's new 2012 spray deck, and because of the weight, which is nearly twice the 2011 version, and the inability to remove it, I prefer the 2011 style.

I should get moving on my Isle Royale packrafting trip report....

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

PDFs on 01/04/2012 13:57:09 MST Print View

Using a soft sided water bottle (ie. Platypus) or a wine bladder would be an easy option. I could sew up something today that would swallow a wine bladder on the chest and a 1L Platypus behind my head to keep it upright. That would be easy, but I'm hoping I can come up with something at a similar weight that is a bit more elegant and quicker to use.

I have quite a bit of time until I need my PFD be ready, as I currently have neither the equipment or skills to safely venture out on a river in mid-January. I don't think I'll be on moving water until March or April.

My hunch is that I could make an inflatable PFD that:
1) Is weight competitive with the lightest options on the market
2) More elegant/simple/easy-to-use than a design incorporating water bottles and wine bladders.
3) Safer than an pure inflatable PFD by using smaller pieces of CCF.

Even if this doesn't work out, I'd have fun trying.

I'm imagining a vest that uses heat sealable fabrics to create multiple air chambers, and with smaller pieces of CCF bonded inside those chambers to both reduce inflation time and increase safety. Using water bottles/bladders that I carry already would be a multi-use strategy, but I'm not convinced it would be significantly lighter due to the zippers required.

My primary concern is the valves. I haven't been able to find a good source for small, light air valves (ie. Therm-a-rest style) that are easy to bond into place. I want a design that will bond in shear (as opposed to peel). For the fabric, I'm thinking of 70D heat sealable nylon from Quest, although there are 30D options out there:

I anticipating using this raft for a wide range of conditions which include backcountry lake fishing, ferrying my wife and I across remote lakes and waterways, and thirdly for trips involving significant amounts of class 2-3 river travel. Ultimately I'd like two paddles. A good river paddle (Werner Shauna?) and then something really light for fishing/lake crossing - perhaps the paddle blades from Alpacka that attach onto hiking poles or your $8 MYOG paddle. I'd love to hear more about your paddle.

"How would you rank: cost, compactness and performance?"
For the flat water paddle, weight is #1, cost is #2 and then compactness and performance just need to meet the minimum standard of 4 pieces and okay performance respectively.

For the river paddle, it's performance, weight, compactness and then cost. I'll save up longer if need be to get the best one eventually.

Edited by dandydan on 01/04/2012 13:58:04 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
paddles and PFDs on 01/04/2012 16:15:26 MST Print View

Dan, you know my thoughts on the Shuna. So worth the $$. I've not seen the Alpacka trekking pole blades, but they seem like a neat idea.

I think your idea about an inflatable PFD is right on the money. A three chambered job (two in the chest, one in the upper back) would provide some redundancy. I'm not sure such a PFD would save much weigh over the lightest foam ones, but would be much smaller, which is invaluable.

Anyone have a reliable sense of how much air volume equals pounds of floatation?

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: paddles and PFDs on 01/04/2012 18:08:09 MST Print View

Anyone have a reliable sense of how much air volume equals pounds of floatation?

I'm very reliable at that.

one cubic foot of water = 62.4 pounds.
one gallon of water = 231 cubic inches = 8.3 pounds
one liter of water = 2.2 pounds

So that's how much bounancy you'd get less the weight of the foam/bladder/water bottle. All of which would be minor.

Commercial inflatable adult PFDs range from 15.5 to 35 pounds of floation.

Commercial adult non-inflatables range from 15.5 to 24 or more.

Generally, in whitewater, more bounancy is recommended because (1) there are downward strong currents and holes that suck you under and some that can keep you under and (2) frothed water is less dense than unfrothed water so instead of your body being about neutral, it is denser than the surrounding water.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Float on 01/04/2012 18:17:49 MST Print View

Yup, Google indicates it's 62 lbs of float per cubic foot of air.

I'm still trying to figure out how much buoyancy I should have. Typical adults have 7-12 lbs of natural float. I personally have very little. If I don't have a breath inhaled, I actually sink in a pool.

Based loosely on the link below, it seems like I'd want about 20 lbs of total float which isn't that much air. Divided over 3 chambers, you'd need each chamber about 5" x 15" x 2.5".

Edited by dandydan on 01/04/2012 18:24:33 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: PDFs on 01/04/2012 18:26:10 MST Print View

>"or your $8 MYOG paddle. I'd love to hear more about your paddle."

Dan: After building 3 wooden kayaks, I started playing with paddles. My lightest was based on a 1"x2"x8' ($1.50) and two blades of 1/8' plywood, pretty long and skinny, (native style), about 20" x 4", tapering towards the middle.

I carved an arc for each blade in the 1x2 and tapering the 1x2 a lot towards the ends in additional to rounding it off along it's length. I used the same 2-part epoxy used on the kayaks.

One big downside for a pack raft was it didn't breakdown to 2 or more pieces.

A little heavier, but sturdier was starting with a closet rod and applying the same blades to it, once I'd tapered and arc'ed it at the ends and flattened it a bit for hand holds. I used a commercial, SS, joint to make that one a 2-piece paddle.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
praft on 01/04/2012 18:57:01 MST Print View

have you contacted bender about valves? I am planning to get a raft for next summer southern hemisphere so will be following your journey with great interest, as you always seem to research things very intelligently and thoroughly.

Edited by jephoto on 01/04/2012 18:59:07 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
PFDs on 01/04/2012 19:46:05 MST Print View

I don't have a packraft (yet, I can dream) but I have swam in whitewater with a PFD that was not adequately bouyant. Not fun. If you can't float on your back you can't float down river feet first. This means you're in greater danger of foot entrapment. My personal thought is that if I ever get a packraft I will get a bigger pack as well and deal with the extra weight and bulk of a PFD I feel really comfortable with.

Edited by Cameron on 01/04/2012 19:47:21 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Valves on 01/04/2012 21:17:50 MST Print View

I've thought about asking Bender, but I'm a little hesitant to ask someone to divulge their trade secrets. I could ask him to make me one, but it would be more fun if I try.

Also, I'd prefer to install valves like the newer style of thermarest (first pic) as opposed to gluing a valve in a seam like Bender and the older Thermarests (bottom pic). The newer style seems more solid, although Bender does seem to be achieving 100% reliability with his technique.



Edited by dandydan on 01/04/2012 21:18:40 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Aquaseal on 01/05/2012 19:33:31 MST Print View

"I'd advise seam sealing the deck seams (aquaseal on the non-shiny side)"

Why the non-shiny side? Does it not work well on the top/shiny side? Or does it wear off from use? It seems like the water might get absorbed into the fabric as it works it's way through before it reaches the sealant on the underside, leading to additional water weight and a less waterproof seal. Where as sealing the top side would prevent the water from ever soaking it at all.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: aquaseal on 01/05/2012 20:44:22 MST Print View

I doesn't stay on the shiny side. Like using silnet on a PU coated tarp.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Thanks on 01/06/2012 11:01:16 MST Print View

Thanks a lot Dave