This article initially focuses on how to do on-river whitewater raft repairs. In general having major tears professionally repaired is best so an on-river repair is typically a temporary solution. At the bottom of the page is information about permanent off-river repairs and professional raft repair companies.
Advantages of Tape Raft Repair
I’m a big fan of using Tyvek tape or Tear-Aid to make on-river repairs. It is quick, can be redone easily and anyone can do it. The materials will stay good for a long time if well stored unlike glues that go bad after a year or two. Plus, using tape prevents the need to expose everyone to nasty chemicals used to repair rafts.
Unfortunately, on-river repairs with glue many times need to be redone back home, requiring extra labor to take off the old glue. In addition tape repair doesn’t take nearly as much time to prep surfaces and there is no need to wait for the patch to cure. Tear Aid works better but Tyvek is way cheaper and comes in a larger quantity so it is nice to have both on hand in case of a huge rip.
If you are interested in repairing an Aire Raft with 2 layers of material check out this video on how to repair both layers of an Aire Raft.
Video: Patching Rafts with Tear Aid and Tyvek Tape
Whitewater Raft Repair Supplies
Steps for Tyvek or Tear-Aid On-River Raft Repair
Time needed: 15 minutes.
How to repair a hole in a whitewater raft while on the river.
- Clean and dry area around hole.
Get the raft out of the water, clean off the area and dry. Inside and outside if necessary.
- After Dry Use Alcohol Pads
Do a final cleaning of the raft material around the tear with alcohol pads. Inside and outside if planning to make an inside/outside patch.
- Cut tape
Cut tape (tyvek or tear-aid). Hopefully you have the appropriate Tear-aid or your raft type. Round corners of tape as best as possible and provide at least 2 inches of patch around the tear.
- Apply tape to raft.
If possible tape the inside of the raft tube first and then put a layer of tape on the outside of the tube.
- Pump up raft
While the Tear-aid can take pretty high pressure, just pump it up enough it give the raft enough shape to function.
Field Repair an Aire Raft
Since Aire Rafts have two layers of material the repair process is more complicated.
Warehouse Raft Repair
Here is a comprehensive video about repair PVC and Urethane rafts with glue. If you regularly repair urethane rafts think about learning to plastic weld – this is how urethane rafts are built and repaired at factories. Farther down is a video on hypalon raft repairs in the warehouse.
Raft Repair Using Glue for Urethane and PVC Rafts
Repairing Hypalon Rafts
Professional Raft Repair Companies
- Inflatable Technologies: Sheridan, Colorado (303) 922-3111
- Goodwater Boat Works: Demascus, Oregon (503) 453-0713
- Reliable River Repair: Lotus, California (530) 303-8319
- Ceiba: Flagstaff, Arizona (928) 527-0171
- Manufacturer raft repair centers
- AIRE Rafts: Meridian, ID (844) 556-5730