The Design And Styling Of A Great Inflatable Whitewater Raft

by Amy Garrett

Inflatable whitewater rafts are lightweight and portable and offer an exciting way of boating down a rushing river. Inflatable rafts can vary greatly in their design, size, style and components. If you are considering the purchase of an inflatable whitewater raft, look for one with high-quality quality components that will allow it to have the maximum amount of speed and maneuverability as it floats through the water. Here are some high-quality components and designs to look for when selecting an inflatable whitewater raft: 

  • Nylon Fabric With Sewn Seams - Look for an inflatable raft is that made of a heavy-duty nylon fabric with sewn seams. It is best to avoid other rubberized synthetics fabrics that are joined by gluing as they can delaminate when continually getting bounced around in the water. Check that the seams are triple bonded which means they are reinforced with additional nylon fabric above and below each seam before they are sewn together to give the seams extra strength and durability.   
  • Design Style - Look for an inflatable whitewater raft with the following designs and style:
  • Chambers - The side chambers of an inflatable raft meet at the fore and aft ends to provide the overall shape of the craft. When both ends narrow to a distinct point, it gives the raft more mobility and speed when maneuvering through narrow channels of water between rocks. When both ends are pointed, the raft can be easily turned around in the water by rowing with oars. 
  • Thwarts - These inflatable cylinders extend from port to starboard in the interior of the raft and keep the chambers apart. These cylinders provide comfortable and safe seating for the rafters. Depending on the size of the raft, two or three thwarts can span the interior and, in addition to seating, can act as deck separators to keep gear and cargo from moving inside the raft in choppy waters. Look for thwarts that are hinged and connected to the side chambers with velcro so they are removable and can allow you to carry more gear inside the raft. 
  • Chafers - The bottom chafer of a whitewater raft covers the complete underside of the raft with a thick coat of urethane to provide a smooth surface for the raft to glide on when traveling. This tough urethane coating protects the nylon fabric of the raft and allows it to easily slide over rocks and branches that it encounters in the water. 
  • Self-Bailing Floor - Look for a whitewater raft that has a self-bailing system incorporated into the floor of the raft. This is a system that allows water that splashes into the raft to drain into to a system of drainage channels and then exits the raft. This will eliminate accumulated water in the raft and help to keep it afloat in whitewater conditions. 

When buying an inflatable raft look for one with the above components. These features can make sure that your inflatable whitewater raft is an investment in fun and adventure for you and your whole family.