Raft Repair

I know this crew is usually all about canoes and kayaks. I do that too, but this is a problem with my raft.

I need to get a torn seam on my raft stitched and have found a guy with an industrial machine willing to stitch it. In trying to get the bladders out so that I could clean and dry the skin before taking it to him, there doesn’t appear to be a way to do it.

There are two bladders. At each end of the bladders, they are attached to some fabric with one side of a zipper. The two bits of fabric on each end of each bladder has a small bit of fabric with the other side of each zipper on it. This bit of fabric then zippers in as a connector. Pretty ingenious and simple. I love elegant and simple engineering like that.

The problem is that none of the zippers have a zipper pull on them! They are zippers, with no stopper at the top. The zipper pull pulled right off, and then it’s stitched shut at the top. Ugh. No way to disconnect the either side of the bladder means no way to remove the bladders.

I could cut the stitching and pull the zippers apart, but then I can’t reconnect them. I’m going to go to a fabric store and try to find a zipper pull that will fit.

The raft is an Outcast Power Drifter (Aire manufactures them for fishing).

Any other helpful suggestions? (Buying a canoe or kayak to replace it is not a helpful suggestion, by the way.)


Big D

Calling Aire or your dealer would be
my first idea. But, while I may be visualizing your problem wrongly, if a zipper slider is present, can’t you just improvise a pull? Will the slider move under finger pressure? Is there a locking mechanism in the slider, like that which keeps your fly zipper up?

No slider
I’ve sent a message to Aire and have every confidence they’ll reply soon. The customer service from Aire has been nothing shy of phenomenal.

This looks like it was a very, very long zipper that had been cut and used.

Worst case, I’ll just put in some stitches in the fabric around the zipper and not use the zip part at all. Not such a bad worst case.

  • Big D