A tear in your whitewater raft or inflatable kayak can quickly deflate the spirit of adventure. Inflatable craft made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are the simplest to self-repair.
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This durable vinyl-based material is the most commonly used for inflatable watercraft due to its light weight, tear resistance and superior maneuverability in whitewater conditions. The most affordable material to purchase and maintain, PVC offers inflatable boaters more time on the water and less spent making complicated repairs.
PVC material will not tear extensively, allowing ordinary duct tape to provide a temporary patch to reach your journey's end. Alternatively, using a patch kit will take 24 hours to dry and requires you to re-repair at home, as the unavoidable fine grit of the river will compromise durability.
Type of Repair
Using a needle and thread to sew up a PVC hole weakens the material and leads to more extensive repairs later. Pinhole and seam leaks can be sealed with a specialised rubber coating, while tears and holes require patches.
Pinholes and Seam Leaks
Designed to coat leaks from the inside out, Flexseal is a two-part compound applied to the inside of the leaky tube. Although Flexseal repairs are simple, attention to the product's instructions is required to prevent inadvertent damage.
PVC patches are readily available, but hypalon or urethane patches will bond to PVC as well. Adhering patches with PVC-specific materials such as Stabond result in durable repairs and will have your boat back in the water in 24 hours.
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