Truck inner tube tears off D-ring

I still have not replaced the leaky bow airbag for the Tripper. I took a novice out on some mild whitewater last Saturday, and I felt having the floatation was a good idea. Pulled an old truck inner tube off the shelf and shoved it into the string cage where the airbag used to go. Pumped 'er up and we had a great day on the river, never even needing the floatation.

The tube filled up the airbag space very nicely. Though tubes are donut shaped, confined to the bow string-cage, it took the shape of its enclosure. I was thinking great, who needs a new airbag?

After all day on the river, I arrived home after dark and real tired. So I just left the boat on the car and crashed. It was noon Sunday when I went out to put the boat away, and it was 95 degrees.

You know how air bags swell when it gets hot? There’s a limit to how much an airbag will swell, but not a tire tube. The tube was bulging out all over and had ripped out the D-ring that secured the string-cage. Gee, I wish I’d been more prompt about replacing that airbag!

So paddlers, beware of using tubes for floatation. Moderate that pressure if it’s gonna get hot!

Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

Also something else to think about
The pressure build up when going to higher elevations. Not paddling related but a good friend had a blow up doughnut between his topper and truck, went over the mountains and darn near ripped the topper off the truck, it did bend the topper beyond repair. I imagine the same thing could happen to float bags.

JT in Central Florida

I had a Voyageur float bag put a
step in a Royalex hull when sitting in sun at 6000 feet. Fortunately the distortion was temporary. There’s nothing special about truck inner tubes… any flotation bag can produce similar forces.

cracked hull
My air bag pulled on one of the hard little d-rings glued in with 3M adhesive so hard that it cracked the Royalex hull and broke the d-ring.


just a thought
but I ‘think’ I remember somewhere seeing or reading about valve stems that have a built in pressure relief valve of some sort. If they exist they would keep the pressure from building up too much and distorting anything. However, from working with Vetter Bags in the fire department, it is amazing how little air pressure it takes to do a lot of work, or damage.

Loved those rescue air bags
We put one under the Capt. bed and when he went to sleep we inflated it and dumped him out.

I’m retired now but do miss the fun and games.

JT in Central Florida