We just added an Aire Tomcat to the fleet. It was delivered to the shop, so naturaly I blew it up with air from the shops compressor. What pump is recomended for streamside inflation, and how much preasure is right? Thanx
Large foot bellows pump works well.
The manual should tell you the max. psi. Or just do like everybody else and pump it up till it’s hard. And keep an eye on it in the sun. You may have to relieve some of the pressure – if it dosen’t have a pressure relief valve.
Thanx shark, no manual was supplied. I was thinking the foot-pump option looked good (cheap).
The max for an AIRE is 2.5psi. Dont forget that when you pump it on the shore and then toss it into the water that the cold water will drop the pressure sometimes. You may want to top it off at the water. As has been said, in the sun and especially on the shore watch the pressure jump. I messed around with several pumps and an accurate low psi gauge and found the following:
- Bravo II foot pump - with all my 200+ pounds on it I couldnt get it to put more than 2.25psi into an AIRE boat (or an Innova for that matter)
- K40 - I was able to use the outer pump to put 3.0 psi into the Innova and so didnt pump all the way when doing the AIRE boat.
- Barrel Pump - fortunately I was checking as I used this type pump and found that once I had reached the max 2.5psi pressure of an AIRE or the 3.0psi of an Innova there was no change in difficulty pumping. I dont know what the max psi is of this type pump but its way past what it necessary for my stuff.
that is som solid info. Short of having the gauge, just pump it up 'til it is hard?
I would suggest buying a Bravo pump to be honest. Its a 6.5 liter pump which will fill your boat pretty quick and you can just pump with it till no more air will go in. K40 now makes a nice and relatively inexpensive Leafield style low psi gauge for under $30 thats pretty nice. Riverconnection or NRS carries it. When my AIRE is at the right psi I can grab it one handed and while squeezing I can indent my fingers into the tubes/floor about the same amount as squeezing my wrist.
One thing I would be cautious of is using a compressor. The valves and material are designed for a high volume, low pressure fillup.
High volume, low pressure.
Although there are a lot of 20 dollar 2-way bicycle type pumps around, be prepared for low-lifespan and failures at the most inopportune time.
The commercial 4 & 5 inch barrel pumps seem like overkill for a single IK at ~$180.
So I use a $20 coleman battery pump (4 D Cells) to get it close and either a Bravo II or Bravo 10 to fully inflate my IK’s. The 10 has the high pressure top-off outlet. The II is quite a bit smaller and I like taking it as the on-river emergency pump.
My non-gauge test is in the middle of the tube press with thumb firmly. If more than a half-inch or so of deflection, put more air in.
For excellent reviews and selection of pumps you might want to browse:
I bought the Nano-pressure gauge from them as an alternative to the expensive Leafield gauge. It varies a lot, probably enough so I would not put much faith in it.
Footpumps are alot easier on the back than barrel pumps. I like the Sevylor ones made in Italy.
You have to watch pressure when it is hot, but you also lose pressure in really cold water, which is exactly when you don’t want a wet butt. A seat cushion helps
High Volume, Low Pressure,
which is the opposite of what your car/bike tires need.
Bravo II footpump is excellent quality for the price. With it, I can set up my Innova in 10 minutes, and most of that time is messing with the seats and the skeg. I wouln’t bother with the low pressure battery pump - you’ll spend more time changing the nozzles than would take you to inflate with the footpump alone.
Depends if you have 3 other
IK’s and cat to pump up. Works very well to work down a row of IK’s having the battery pump do most of the work leaving only top-off remaining.
Initially had buyer’s regret for the battery pump even though it was only 20 dollars. But it has gradually become a key part of the “stuff”.
Now that high priced LVM pump…it was a waste of money for the amount of usage.
Bravo pumps/Don’t make Tomcats too tight
I saw two over-inflated Tomcats burst seams in hit summer sun a while back – the outfitters tried to make them as hard and tight as their high-end hypalon or urethane rafts/ IKs, baaad idea.
Bravo seems to be the quality way to go, certainly if you want footpumps (best for taking one on the river just in case, too, as they’re more compact than barrel pumps)
For back in the car/van/truck, I have a maybe 20"-tall, 4"-wide cheap double-action barrel pump – Fast!