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Thread: What is best raft pump?

  1. #1
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default What is best raft pump?

    I need a pump, or two. It is for a 15 ft Sotar non self bailer. Fly in float trips. What pumps would you recommend? Is a top off pump needed? Thanks for any thoughts.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Default Aire's pump is pretty good

    I have the double action one by Aire they sell at AK Raft & Kayak. It fills my IK very quickly, but..... they designed it so the hose attaches to the handle/piston and it goes up and down with every stroke and the fitting that goes in the valves tends to work free so you have to re-insert it a number of times before the bladders are full.
    I can't remember the brand of the other double action pump that works well, but either AK Raft or 6th Ave. Outfitters should be able to hook you up. I'd get one that has the hose attachment on the stationary body of the pump if I was buying a new one.
    Also, if the pump comes with fittings to adapt it to your valves, it's cheap insurance to buy at least one extra fitting. It would not be fun to fly in somewhere and wonder what happened to the one that fits your valves.
    Just my 2.5 cents worth.

  3. #3
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Pumps

    I think the pump you are talking about is the "Wonder Pump". There are others that do the same thing. I like having the intakes on the handle because you can pump in standing water (a common situation when you're topping off). I have heard that you can get some water seepage in the bottom of the pump, with water trickling in past the plug down there, but I have never seen that happen, so.... At any rate, with the foot pumps (bellows pumps) you have to place the pump on the bank. This eliminates a lot of flexibility and I don't care for them for that reason. About the only positive you get with a bellows pump is that they're compact. This is nice for flyout trips where space is important.

    Whatever you do, get two. If you're on a remote expedition and your pump blows out on the first stroke, you're gonna be looking for a way to inflate the boat with a trash bag instead (another discussion, but it can be done-- sort of).

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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    Default

    For remote trips I use a Coleman battery powered pump to mostly fill the tubes, and then top them off with a Wonder Pump. The 4 D cells of the little Coleman will fill three average sized rafts before dying, and while not fast, it is faster than the Wonder Pump alone.

    Another faster option is the large barrel pumps put out by Carlson & NRS. They are not small and not cheap, but they do a great job of quickly putting a lot of air in the boat. Here's a good place to start looking: http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product_list.asp?deptid=1113

    Also, your Sotar looks like it uses one style of the Leafield valves. The little vinyl hose connector that is listed on that page for H-R fits tightly in the Leafield valve. They also list a hose connector Millitary and Leafield, but I prefer the clear vinyl hose, as it fits tighter. You do have to push hard to get it in though. Another thing you might want is a valve repair kit: http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product_list.asp?deptid=1030 However, you should know that one of the advantages of Leafield valves is even if the valve leaks, the cap will hold the air in. That's not something I have found true on the Halkey Roberts valve caps.

    I use a hand powered Wonder Pump, but I find a foot pump to be easier (also slower), and I get less winded in the process. Michael's right though, a hand pump is more convenient to use in awkward places -- and they put more pressure in as well. You might consider a Bravo 2 foot pump to be your lightweight spare.

    Another good reason to take two pumps is they can occupy two people who might otherwise be standing around watching you put your boat together.

  5. #5
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Thanks..

    All good points and well taken. I will be sure to get two pumps. After reading in Mike's book, it would take an idiot to fly in somewhere and be dropped off with a raft and one pump. Thanks for the brand and type recommendations. For a new guy it is hard to make these decisions. I want to be sure to do it right. Thanks for the input. And the 4D Coleman will be going as a third. Neat idea and packs small. I will be sure to read up on the valve repair as well. Thanks.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Great ideas!

    Jim,

    That's a good tip on the battery-powered pump. I had always overlooked those because I thought they were too heavy. But I have not seen the Coleman you refer to and will have to check it out. Great tip!

    Another thing I forgot to mention; I hear all the time about pump fittings not connecting to the valve properly and thought I'd offer a couple of things on that. First of all, the hose fitting does not need to "lock" into the valve as some think. Most of the time you're just wedging the fitting into the valve opening, and this is perfectly fine. Second, if the hose fitting is a little loose, shim it up with a little electrical tape. Works like a charm!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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    Default

    Is that the same little blower that coleman sells with their air mattresses? I have one, and it does indeed "blow". I've inflated that mattress a bunch of times on the original four d-size duracells. I reverse two of the batteries to store the blower so it doesn't accidentally switch on and drain the batteries.

  8. #8
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default 12V Battery ATV

    I have used the Coleman did not care for it! Works but extremely slow. If the person flying you out is the same person picking you up and you wish to inflate your boat in a hurry then you might consider this option for about 5 lbs.

    ATV battery in Plastic Case with a NRS Blast Pump. 5-7 Minutes inflated ready to top off with a K -Pump or Wonder Pump and on the water. Give the pilot the battery and NRS blast for when you return to your start location.

    You can also take a solar trickle charge and a ATV battery and use your Blast pump every day if you wish, but that would be way overkill. Just food for thought. Colemean Battery Pump with 4 D cells should run about 1-2 lbs.

    P.S.

    Always Carry two pumps on your remote trips! I like to have a 6 inch wonder pump dual action and a K-Pump

  9. #9
    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    Default

    I broke down and bought one of the little Coleman 12V blowers and though it was well worth the money and weight. It is slow, but no slower than my partner Mike and complained less. It only really gets the volume into the tubes, once they are about 90% full you need to put a real pump on to get the pressure up. So I wind up going down the river with three inflation devices. Still worth it.

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    Default

    VEK: Yep, cheap little thing that it is, it does work.

    That is a good idea about the batteries. I have had the thing turn itself on at the bottom of my dry bag. Well, I suppose throwing the dry bag had something to do with bumping the switch. Either way, you hear this feint whirring nose, but where is it coming from? It caught me a couple times before I started removing the batteries before packing.

  11. #11
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default Raft Pumps...

    The double action hand/arm operated pumps are faster, but hard on my old back. The single-action bellows type foot pumps are slower, but easy on the back. Do bring that spare pump.

    Dennis
    AK TAGS

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    Default GOO

    Dan- Like I Said Try My "big Foot" Pump Before You Buy-- They Are Small And Dont Break- Have A Couple Over 15 Yrs Old- Even The Russians Cant Break Them!!!
    Goo

  13. #13
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Yep..

    Quote Originally Posted by GOO View Post
    Dan- Like I Said Try My "big Foot" Pump Before You Buy-- They Are Small And Dont Break- Have A Couple Over 15 Yrs Old- Even The Russians Cant Break Them!!!
    Goo

    I am listening to you man! Just trying to read up and educate myself. Can't wait to try the new raft out. Thanks for hooking me up!

    And welcome to the forum. You would no doubt have a lot to contribute to some of the discussions here.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  14. #14
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Who let the Cajun in here?

    Quote Originally Posted by GOO View Post
    Dan- Like I Said Try My "big Foot" Pump Before You Buy-- They Are Small And Dont Break- Have A Couple Over 15 Yrs Old- Even The Russians Cant Break Them!!!
    Goo
    Hey, Goo! So you finally made your way in here! Great to hear from you. I didn't know you knew how to use one of those computer thangs!

    Could you post a photo of your foot pump? I'd like to see it. Also what's your take on the double-action Wonder Pumps and such?

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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    Default GOO

    Thanks MIke-- as you know im just a simple country boy. but- learning this computer stuff- will get a photo-- still use a NIKON F-3 - hope your season is going good__
    Goo

  16. #16
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by GOO View Post
    as you know im just a simple country boy.
    Ain't nothing wrong with that. Makes me feel even better about doing business with you.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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