Packraft Care: Troubleshooting.

man paddling a packraft on a lake

Welcome to the final installment of our "Packraft Care" series! Check out part one: How to set up and inflate your packraft, and part two: How to clean and store your packraft.

By now, you should know the fundaments of how to get your packraft inflated and on the water. How it needs to be cleaned and stored, but what do you do when trouble strikes? Your zipper is stuck and full of sand, and you have a tear in the raft. Here are two common problems and how to fix them.

1. Zip Zippy Zippers.

Zips do not like being bent (this can cause leakage), so when storing the packraft away, make sure the zipper is not bent.

Make sure you close the zipper when storing or transporting the packraft - having the zip closed; will stop damage to the sealing lip and help keep the zipper resistant to bending.

It's also a good idea to lubricate (very sparingly) the zipper head if you're storing it away, taking it out of storage, or just about to use the packraft. You can pull the zipper back and forward to spread the lubricant.

At the end of the packraft season, or if you're planning on storing your boat away for a long time, it's crucial to pay extra attention to the lubrication of the zip. Please check if your manufacturer has special instructions regarding which lubrication to use for your zip - For the MRS ISS packrafts, use TI ZIP lubrication and apply it at several intervals on the zip slider. Then close the zipper, wait for it to blend in, and wipe off any access.

Make sure you wipe any sand or dirt away from the zipper before opening or closing it - if there is sand or dirt in the zip, you can clean this away with a brush, soap, and water.

packraft pulled up onto rocks

2. Repairs for holes in the packraft.

For detailed repair instructions: check out the MRS User's Manual or your brand manual. If you are desperate for a quick fix, here are some tips using our range of Gear Aid Products.

For a small hole or leak: Make sure the area is 100% clean using an alcohol wipe and make sure it's dry. Then brush on some Aquaseal 10mm bigger than the hole on all sides and leave it to cure for 8-12 hours. You will have a nice flexible, waterproof covering. For extra protection, you can add a clear Tenacious Tape Flex Patch over the top (make sure the patch sticks to dry material, or it won't stick). You can also add extra Aquaseal to the patch edges for extra durability.

For a large hole: Use all the same steps as above but first, create a backing of masking tape inside the hole to strengthen it for an easier repair.

NOTE: Having a field repair kit while you are out and about is never a bad idea. You can get Aquaseal with an accelerator, which significantly shortens repair time. A range of repair patches in different sizes and colours and having some duct tape is always a good idea, just in case!

woman paddling a packraft in NZ

Hopefully, this series has helped you learn how to keep your packraft happy and on the water.

Our team is always available on the phone, via email, or in-store for any questions you may have or if you want to get on the packraft train!

These Are Our Top 5 Tips for Fixing Holes and Keeping Zips Zipping:

1. Don't bend zips when folding the packraft. 

2. Wipe away sand and dirt before opening the zip. 

3. Lubricate the zipper before putting the packraft into any kind of long storage. 

4. Always have some Gear Aid Aquaseal on hand for fixing holes. 

5. For temporary fixes or for extra protection on top of Aquaseal, you can add Gear Aid tenacious tape patches.

Looking for your next great read, check out this blog: Packrafting the Hollyford.

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