Packrafts are durable and robust. But if you use it long enough, it will eventually be in need of some fixing og replacements. When hiking a field repair can be the difference between a great and bad experience.
The most common damages you are likely to encounter is:
- Pinholes and slow-leaks in hull or components
- Ripped spraydeck
- Leak in zipper
Remember that all repairs should be done on clean and dry packrafts. Alcohol swabs help the drying process, but dry cloth will also do the trick. If you manage to access both sides of the material through a TiZip-zipper, you should also repair both sides of the hull.
Some leaks will be easy to find, because you know how it happend and what caused them. Others can be more difficult, and you can try some of these tips:
- Inflate the packraft to maxmimum pressure
- Listen for leaking ear, place your ear close to the packraft
- The eyes are sensitive to airflow, bring your face close to the packraft while systematically searching
- Mix a spraybottle with soapwater (1:1 ratio) and watch for bubble formation
- Submerge sections of the packraft and watch for bubbles
Pinholes and small tears in the interior can be repaired with a thin layer of aquasure, or perhaps Tenacious tape or Gorilla-tape.
Damages to the valves are either at the nozzle, the cap or fabric around the valve. Large valves often have a gasket in the cap. Check to see if its missing. The valve of some inflation bags also care a spare gasket.
Debris in the nozzle and cap threads may prevent the valve from sealing. Use water to lean the cap and threads.
If the leak comes from hull material, clean and dry the area and use Aquasure to fix.
If your not able to fix the valve or have lost it, you need to seal it the best way possible. Find something to use as a plug (for example a branch secured with tape).
A stiffzipper needs lubricant, and a zipper that's not closing needs cleaning or repair. Only lubricate a clean zipper and be aware that a lubed zipper can attract dirt.
How to lubrication?
- Start with the zipper closed, use a cloth with some lubricant and work it into the sheat
- Whipe off any excess lubrication
- Then add a small dab of lubricant and apply lightly into the teeth of the chain
- Open and close the zipper a few times to spread the lubrication and verify the functionality
How to clean?
- Open the zipper and examine the teeth of the chain for any particles
- Use a pick and a brush to remove unwanted particles
- Clean with soapwater and brush
- Make sure to dry
Spraydeck and skirt is often made in thin ripstop nylon to keep the weight down, which at the same time increases the chance for tearing.
You can repair small pinholes and tears with aquasure. For major tears we recommend you sew it properly before using aquasure or tape. It will be beneficial to repair both sides of the nylon.
Two- or four-pieced paddles are likely to stick at each joint if left assembled and storet wet (especially if used in saltwater). If they are attached so close that it requires two people to get them apart, you can lightly sand the male end to reduce its diameter. Remember that you allways can sand a little more, so don't get to eager.
If you loose a paddleblade it could be replaced with a flexible branch or pex coaming. Attach the bight to the shaft with tape/straps or similar. Once its secure you can wrap it with drybag, fabric, tape or anything you can use.
A broken shaft kan be splintet with tent stakes, branches, trekking poles. Secure both ends with tape, straps or similar.