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Thread: Choices of AIRE self-bailing raft floor options?

  1. #1
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Question Choices of AIRE self-bailing raft floor options?

    AIRE offers two different self-bailing floor options on their rafts. The Standard floor pocket, and the Sealed floor pocket.

    The Standard has the zipper along the edge of the floor, near the self-bailing lashing, and features drainage holes on the bottom. These drain holes allow river water to enter the floor while floating down the river, and therefore add extra weight to the floor, which should provide some extra ballast, and help keep the raft from flipping over in the rapids. The down-side is that the raft needs to sit on the shore for a while, and drain out this extra ballast water, before packing it up after the trip. And if you float silty rivers often, the fine silt may begin to accumulate inside the floor, and eventually cause abrasion issues between the internal urethane air bladder and the PVC outter shell of the floor.

    The Sealed floor pocket is just that, a sealed floor. The zipper is waterproof, and located in the middle of the upper side of the floor, to allow access for repairs, etc. No water gets inside the floor, so NO ballasting effect. But also, No silt can enter to cause damage over time. The Sealed floor also cost a few hundred $$$ more.

    So, which option is best for Alaskan rafting???

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Dave,

    The former type you described does not have just a urethane bladder like the bladders in their main tubes. It's made of nylon which is coated on the inside with urethane. It's a lot stronger than the bladders inside their boat tubes, and I don't think I've heard of any leakers from silt abrasion. Still, I suppose it is something to consider. At least you will get some silt in there. I have heard that the zippers are tough to operate once they are impregnated with several seasons' worth of silt.

    -Mike
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    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    11 years running with several in our rental pool on option one never have had an issue and some of our boats are out over 50 days per year.

  4. #4

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    Hey Moose-- Hope your winter went well!! Just wondering how that urethane non-zipper SOTAR is holding up??
    Sorry I couldn't make it up to the show.
    Have a great season!! Lots of new designs you may be interested in. Stay in touch.
    Goo

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Dave, The former type you described does not have just a urethane bladder like the bladders in their main tubes. -Mike
    Mike, I sent you a PM about 2 wks ago...waiting to hear back about your book.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Personally, I think the main advantage of the sealed floor is lighter weight. However, I don't believe the extra 50-70 lbs of water matters much to anyone. I suspect Aire added the option to quiet the occasional on-line forum objections to its use of bladders in the floor, not because of any real issues the bladders were causing.

  7. #7

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    I beg to disagree on the extra weight and the change of handling of a heavy floor. In the early days-- before self bailing floors, we would get sideways, and get splash to make our rafts "go with the flow". In 1983 SOTAR came up with an inflatable- self bailing floor, which would enable the boatman miss the holes that a heaver raft would put it/them/you in. Took a while for the concept to catch on--
    The heavy floor would keep the raft from flipping--But no control of your line. A 16' raft will go through a 20'+ wave full of water. Trust me!!
    Personally I use a lot of non-bailing rafts on the lesser class fishing trips, as of the weight saving and small package.
    But in my prospective I like the way you can stay out of trouble in the light self-bailers.
    Just my thoughts.
    Goo

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Seems to be some confusion caused by Aire's multiple uses of the word "Standard"?

    Aire has rafts with:
    Standard Floors (plain fabric, non-bailing),
    Standard Floor Pockets (inflated, self-bailing),
    and Sealed Floor Pockets (also inflated, self-bailing).

    This thread is about the differences between the two inflated, self-bailing floor designs.

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Reading through these posts, I don't think anyone missed that distinction, Dave. I think we are all discussing the same thing. Goo pointed out that the extra 50-70 lbs of water (not sure it's really that much weight though) in the bottom of the bladder floor adds stability in exchange for maneuverability.

    Goo, I do remember adding water to the non-bailers for stability in some big water runs. That's a good point.

  10. #10
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    You are correct, Jim.
    I misunderstood that you were discussing manuevering weight on the water, not packing weight on dry land.

    It would be interesting to know how much water ballast (in pounds) is actually carried inside the Standard Floor Pocket while floating on the water. Maybe it varies, with the load that the raft is carrying, due to the raft drafting deeper? Even on day-trips, my family of 5, with a cooler and a few bags = a load of about 750 pounds.

    Thanx for everyone's input, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Hello Blu,

    The two main reasons AIRE (as described to me by AIRE-heads back in the day) came up with the 'sealed'-type floor was to lighten it up for commercial guys stacking them several boats high atop a trailer as well as to keep water from showering upon guides and helpers as they load/stack. It had very little to do with on water performance.

    I feel for Alaska and personal boat use... the draining version is the better choice (certainly more common) and likely more durable way to go vs. the additional part version of water tight zip.

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