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  • Raft cold storage

    So I keep my raft in the village so I don't have to fly it back and forth every year. It's been at a friends house (warm) for the last 3 years but it's a pain and in the way at his place. I have cold, inside storage available. I was told to never store rafts where the temps drop below freezing as it's hard on the seams and glue but I really don't have much choice. How should I store it and what damge and timeline can I expect?

  • #2
    Cold storage for anything is not 'good', but we don't always have a feasible option for warm storage here in AK. The way you store your raft will reduce the deterioration that can/will occur from cold storage. I worked for a raft company for a number of years that has several dozen boats. The way we put the boats away for the winter was after completely dry, lay them flat, stacked on top of each other with no rolls or folds. After one was deflated, another would be placed on top of it and deflated so to be in a 'natural' position, with no stress other than the weight of other boats on top of it rather than rolling each boat up into a tight package, which may put stress on seams. So I would guess you could cold store your raft with minimal damage if you are able to lay it out naturally or stress free. Those are my thoughts. I'm sure some of the more experienced guys like moose or goo that have fleets of rafts may have other ideas or better opinions.
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by DannerAK View Post
      Cold storage for anything is not 'good', but we don't always have a feasible option for warm storage here in AK. The way you store your raft will reduce the deterioration that can/will occur from cold storage. I worked for a raft company for a number of years that has several dozen boats. The way we put the boats away for the winter was after completely dry, lay them flat, stacked on top of each other with no rolls or folds. After one was deflated, another would be placed on top of it and deflated so to be in a 'natural' position, with no stress other than the weight of other boats on top of it rather than rolling each boat up into a tight package, which may put stress on seams. So I would guess you could cold store your raft with minimal damage if you are able to lay it out naturally or stress free. Those are my thoughts. I'm sure some of the more experienced guys like moose or goo that have fleets of rafts may have other ideas or better opinions.
      Right on Danner, exactly what I was looking for. Makes sense to store it out flat with no stress at the seams. Thanks!

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      • #4
        As long as they are dry, cold storage rolled and shelved for the winter is not a big deal...it's the way I've stored my rafts for 20 years. I agree with Danner, if you have you the room, but DIY rafters usually make do with limited shelf space in a garage or storage unit. Air circulation is great, but not mandatory in cold temps as long as the boats are dry and clean. Some years my hunters return later than snowfall and complete drying is almost impossible (handles and webbing)...but they still get rolled and stored as usual. As long as you don't manipulate the material while below freezing the seams and creases won't break (PVC and Urethane rafts). Hypalon and neoprene material is absolutely no problem at extreme temps, but still I would avoid unrolling or being rough them while below freezing.
        https://pristineventures.com

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        • #5
          I would also add that for plastic boats (PVC / Urethane), a good cleaning, drying and a good rubdown with some 303 Protectant will keep the fabric nice and pliable too. NEVER use Armor-All! It permeates the coating and you won't get a patch to hold.

          -Mike
          Michael Strahan
          Site Owner
          Alaska Hunt Consultant
          1 (907) 229-4501

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          • #6
            My Aire rafts (PVC) have been outside for about 20 years. I store it rolled up on a wood rack but totally exposed. No problems so far. You really don't wan to move it when it's frozen though.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jim Strutz View Post
              My Aire rafts (PVC) have been outside for about 20 years. I store it rolled up on a wood rack but totally exposed. No problems so far. You really don't wan to move it when it's frozen though.
              I bought Jim's 14' self-bailer from him a couple months ago. Serial number ends in 96, so at 18 years old this raft just reached adult maturity. It's in great shape and holds air amazingly well. Seams are good, valves are good. The winter storage it received doesn't appear to have had any effect on it's integrity.

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              • #8
                Right on guys, thanks! Gives a little more peace of mind.

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                • #9
                  I store mine in a shed rolled up but clean and dry before I roll them up. I bring them in garage in the spring and let them warm up before I unroll them. Been doing this for years with no problems. Anchorage weather.

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                  • #10
                    Be very thankfull your friend allows you to store your raft! Always a chore trying to find storage for my seasonal use essentials not toys! Let alone my buddies stuff.

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