DIY inflatable packraft kit from Iron Raft

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  • I try and get out on Sparky Snr's canoe whenever I can, but I live in a flat so have no space for one of my own. I've been intrigued by inflatable packrafts for a while but they're too expensive to justify. Then I stumbled across this company that claims to use all the same materials to create a DIY kit that you make at home...

  • Good luck! Following with interest as I wasn’t brave enough to take the plunge.

  • The kit has arrived. There's not much to it: some rubber/plastic sheet, some glue, a valve and a bag that is used to inflate the boat when it's finished. I've also bought a sealing iron which is how you attach layers of the sheet together and make the structure.


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  • Then I stumbled across this company that claims to use all the same materials to create a DIY kit that you make at home...

    Well, you'll certainly be comfortable with any field repairs. I look forward to reading how it progresses.

  • Looks intriguing on the website. Will be interested to see how it goes.

  • I looked into these previously - sounds cool and I'm excited to hear how it goes. Biggest challenge seems to be dialling in the iron, and having enough flat space to build the whole thing

  • Following with interest! Almost bought one of these but building it when you live in a van seemed ambitious.

  • First little bit of progress: cut a hole in one panel for the air valve, and a little reinforcing ring. Glued in today with some scraps of wood as clamps and it'll get sealed with the iron tomorrow when dry.


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  • I’m heat-sealing the sides to the floor now. The other end of each section will get sealed to the floor next to the bit I’m attaching now, to form a tube. And all the sections get stuck together with a small seam strip. At first I didn’t have the iron hot enough. Dialled it in now, but I’ll probably have to go over a lot of it a second time.


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  • Sparko, I need to build one too.

    Then we go on an epic bivvyventure

  • I’m sealing each section to its neighbour with a thin strip at the moment. The fabric is shiny one side and matt the other, and you can only weld shiny to shiny. I’ve made a dozen small mistakes and one massive one. Hopefully seam sealer will rescue me.


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  • Sides are getting formed into tubes and sealed. Front and back still open for access. Quite a few smaller bodges have accrued now.


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  • Well this is very interesting. I expect 4K drone footage of the maiden voyage once you’re at that stage.

  • Coming together now. I’m waiting on a couple of extra tubes of sealant as the kit was a bit optimistic about how neatly I could apply it and how much I’d use.


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  • You'd be well good at escaping from Alcatraz.

  • It’s together. But it’s very leaky. After a minute or two it loses all firmness, but then stops leaking air once the pressure drops. So I’m chasing all the little pinholes now with sealant.


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  • Leaking where you've joined the panels?

    Sounds like the ironing together is a bit tricky?

  • Maiden voyage at BPP?

  • This is rad!
    I think it would drive me insane trying to make my own though.
    I still kick myself for not buying one of Lidl’s £40 inflatable kayaks a few years ago.

  • The sealing isn’t too hard. If I made another one now I could do it much neater. I think the sharp corner at the back wasn’t done very well. I’m reinforcing that now with rubber cement and an inner tube patch. Hopefully it’ll hold air better after that.

  • I've spent all day trying to seal leaks with no joy. Not looking good. Might have to start shopping around for a pre-made one.

  • All those years of tubeless training have come to this. 😅

    Can’t you just pump a litre of Stans in there, shake it about a bit and call it a day?

  • been following this with interest.
    be a real shame to give up now after getting so close but I can imagine how frustrating it must be.
    what tricks have you tried to find all the holes?
    or is it sealing them once you've found them that's the problem?

  • I saw an advert for one of these, saw myself buying it, building it, then getting very wet and everyone making fun of me

    ...

    How's the project going

  • Current status is that I’ve deliberately cut a large rectangular hole in the boat.


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DIY inflatable packraft kit from Iron Raft

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