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Thread: Total Failure?

  1. #1
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default Total Failure?

    I'm sure that others have thought about this but lets do it out loud. Would it be a good idea to have an alpacka raft http://www.alpackaraft.com/store/ind...yID=53&do=list on your float trips as a emergency back up if something went wrong with your main raft? Weigth, space, expense that it would take up be worth it? Has anyone heard of any stories where hunters have been stranded due to total raft failure? How often or how many times has this happened. The question came up under the general disscussion section about a group purchase of this raft but I thought that it might be intersting to start something in this thread and maybe get any stories about a total faliure and how did it happen, what was the outcome or how it was solved. What are some of the things people have other than a alpacka raft as a back up piece of equipment besides a repair kit and phone?

  2. #2
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default Not So Far

    After 8 floats, we have always gotten our raft to the pull-out (pick-up) point intact. Most of our floats hae been in bear country.

    I'm not sure about the pack rafts. We do watch our costs so that is a consideration.

    Currently our safety preparation consists of an electro-bear fence, raft repair kits, and a sat phone. We probably won't be buying any pack rafts.

  3. #3

    Default Bring a Satellite phone

    I've floated rivers in Alaska all my life. Even in the 1960s when rafts were not up to the same quality standard as they are in 2008. I always carry a field repair kit but back in the earlier days we actually used the repair kits. Iím not sure how long itís been since Iíve used a repair kit in the field. The closest thing I've ever had to a total trip failure would be flipping a raft and having it get away from you floating down river. In both cases I've been able to recover the craft down stream after long worried walks. With all my gear tied in to the boat, I've lost very little equipment. The most common equipment lost are paddles or oars. So always Tie spairs into your boat!
    If you did loose your craft, more then likely you would also loose any emergency raft packed on your raft as well.
    With todayís technology your best emergency equipment is a Satellite Phone or an Emergency locator device carried on your person. This way you don't loose it with the rest of your gear.

    Good Boating

    Jim King
    Alaska Series Inflatable Boats,
    The Toughest Bottoms in the Business,
    River Rafts, Catarafts, Inflatable Kayaks,
    Inflatable Canoes, Inflatable Sport Boats,
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    WWW.alaskaseries.com
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  4. #4
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default

    A buddy of mine witnessed (this last summer at Jims Landing) a couple guys attempting to load their 18' NRS cataraft up on a trailer, and while picking up on one side, via the lift handles, the whole pontoon split from tip to tip. Obviously not a remote situation, but a total failure, and one that would really suck if it happened on a remote float.

  5. #5
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Total failures

    I saw the remains of a Avon raft on the Chili river some years ago. It was caught in a log jam and had been pushed under the jam and then torn up from the intense Hydrolics involved in trying to force an Inflated device under sharp logs. It is quite a sight.
    The fellows involved were on the first float of there lives. they made the class one part of the trip for about 20 miles, and then when it came time to really know how to handle a raft, they were not up to it and lost everthing, including the moose they had shot a few days earlier, all their gear and guns. they were on the bank standing with only what they had on their persons.
    Down river we were able to find some of their stuff that was in bags, but all the expensive stuff was gone...
    If they would have had a alpaca raft, it would probably been lost too,
    Like jim said,, unless something horrific like this happens, a common repair kit is all you should need..... and yes... I always go with a sat phone..
    you can rent them nowdays for under $50 bucks a week....
    Keep it in a water tight case and attache it to your D-ring rope with a strong lanyard. this way if your raft is ruined, or jamed under a log jam,, at least it will float, and be attached to the d ring rope.
    Last year I took a sat phone with me that did not have a water tight case, so I just put into a small floating stuff sack and felt comfortable with it getting a dunking.
    I bought an Alpaca from that nice lady years ago when she sold them at the state fair, I paid about $400 bucks back then,, now they are more expensive,but have added lots of improvements I have heard,,, anyway,, it has never been inflated.. I stays in the Super cub in a small stuff sack.. Hope we never need it,,
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  6. #6

    Default Raft Failure?

    I have been on a couple of floats and have never even witnessed a puncture in the raft. What I have seen on a couple of more popular, accessible rivers is canoes eirther ripped in two or bent backwards around rocks / logs.

    Last year I kept flying over a river near anchorage and I kept seeing this canoe in the middle of the river high centered on a rock. After about a month of seening this the curiosity got the best of me so I walked in to look at it. The canoe bottom was ripped out and the rock stuck through the hole keeping it from being washed downstream. While looking around further I found 2 other canoes in desperate need of repair within 1/2 mile.

    So total failure does happen but are you going to have enough time to inflate the lifeboat before it gets washed downstream with all your other gear?

  7. #7
    Member sbiinc's Avatar
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    Default spare raft

    i did bring a spare/emergency raft this year just in case, then my hunting partner talked me into putting the moose in it and just towing it behind.

    guess i now know why the fishhunter rafts by seyvlor are cheaper than my nrs and star rafts. took one little itty bitty stick to completely go from top to bottom on one of the chambers on the seyvlor and near sink it along with my moose.

    that being said, i'd recommend the same as jim and alaskacanoe, bring a sat phone and a nice repair kit. unless your a knuckle head like me its highly unlikely to have a second raft inflated and floating behind so won't do much good if you loose your boat and gear in bad water (in which case calling for rescue is paramount) and won't help if you can fix the main raft which is the most likely senerio (although if you have a nice raft you probably won't ever have fix it in the field).

    all the repairs i've heard of were due to accidents outside the woodline, be interested to hear from anyone that had punctures or tears while hunting and what type of rafts failed em....

  8. #8
    Member sbiinc's Avatar
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    Default split tube?

    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    A buddy of mine witnessed (this last summer at Jims Landing) a couple guys attempting to load their 18' NRS cataraft up on a trailer, and while picking up on one side, via the lift handles, the whole pontoon split from tip to tip. Obviously not a remote situation, but a total failure, and one that would really suck if it happened on a remote float.

    sounds like the zipper rotted out...

  9. #9
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    Default

    In the last 14 years of serious rafting I found that most holes & tears happen while packing the boat to/from the truck/trailer. I've seen several really long gashes from stuffing boats into the back of a pickup, and two while dragging over sharp rocks on the way back to the truck.

    Other than that I had one small leak from a sharp stick puncture, and one large one after a broken frame pipe was driven through the side of the boat. Both of those were in class IV-V water though, and I don't think that last experience happens often.

    I can think of a few situations where a spare boat would be nice to have in your pack, but chances are that if you really needed it it would be lost with your main boat.

  10. #10
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sbiinc View Post
    sounds like the zipper rotted out...
    No zipper on the NRS boats, they don't have an internal bladder. That (internal bladder) is the biggest reason why I prefer Aire products.

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