General Knowledge
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Leak Diagnosis

  • Make Sure it Leaks:  Packrafts are very low-pressure boats and will change pressure with changes in temperature.  In cold water, you may have to inflate your boat several times before it becomes full, the warm air from your lungs slowly cools and the boat softens. We call this re-inflating process “Tempering”.  Make sure the valves are snug, but not over-tight.
  • Carefully Look and Listen:
    • Pull your gear off the raft, fully inflate, and slowly look it over.  You can often spot damage on the perimeter and bottom of the raft.
    • Step away from the noisy river and listen, you can often hear faster leaks.
    • Inspect the inside floor seam, use a flashlight if possible.  Pour a cup of water on the floor and hold the raft on its side, slowly rotate it around to check the entire floor where it meets the tube for any bubbles.
    • Inspect high stress areas near grab-loops, seat attachments, as well as areas where your feet rest on the tubes.
  • Break Out the Camp Soap: Soapy water can help to find and confirm a suspected leak if you have extra soap and is helpful for diagnosing valve leaks. Water must be very soapy to show the leak. 
  • Submerge: If you still can’t find the leak, put a small amount of air in the raft and close the valves.  Force sections of the raft underwater and look for a stream of bubbles.
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