Ultimate Innertube Raft

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by baboonslayer, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. baboonslayer
    Joined: May 2010
    Posts: 17
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    Location: Colorado

    baboonslayer Junior Member

    It is the weekend. I am happy to be free from being a slave for the dollar. Work is not fun. It is boring. What does a man do when he gets bored? He daydreams about BS he wishes he could do or he attempts to do the BS he wishes he could do. I am actually considering attempting to do the BS I was daydreaming about at work, now that the weekend has come. So the BS I am talking about is a raft, built from plywood, boards, and inner tubes for flotation. I have already estimated the building cost at $50 or less, for the 4x8 raft. Well, that's if you pay for the materials instead of scrounging them like a hobo :D. The basic design concept is either a 4x8 raft with 4 inner tubes for flotation, for smaller rivers, or an 8x16 raft with something like 8 inner tubes, and maybe a shelter, for the larger rivers with slower currents.

    My main design goals are:

    Ease of construction
    Cheap or free to build
    Shallow displacement (3-6 inches)
    Living space (larger 8x16 raft)
    Ease of portability (4x8 raft)

    Okay, so the reason I am posting this new thread is do you can give me your expert opinion on the whole inner tube hobo raft concept. I am thinking of building the 4x8 raft to go rafting on the Platte River during next summer.

    I found a site that has the same general idea that I do, but their 4x8 raft looks to be a lot heavier than the one I was thinking of.

  2. kach22i
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Michigan

    kach22i Architect

    Looks like a nice idea to get your feet wet on.;)

    Just do it.

    Have you seen any of the plastic bottle rafts or boats?

    Boat made of plastic bottles arrives in Sydney


  3. srimes
    Joined: Sep 2008
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    Location: Oregon

    srimes Senior Member

    intertubes aren't that cheap, and they're easily damaged. With the plywood deck you're halfway to a plywood barge boat, so why not just do that?
  4. baboonslayer
    Joined: May 2010
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    Location: Colorado

    baboonslayer Junior Member

    Well, if you think about it, the platte can get shallow in areas. Inner tubes are non rigid flotation, so they act as bumpers if you hit a rock. If you hit a rock with a plywood hull, the results are not too pretty, even if it is laminated with fiberglass. And yes, inner tubes are cheap, in fact they are free if you get used ones from a tire shop! :D.
    Oh, and inner tubes from tractor trailer tires are actually pretty durable being made of thick rubber.

    Inner tube=free+you can carry spares with a bike pump. Or, you can have a $300 Plywood laminated with fiberglass hull+rock=at least $100 in repairs
  5. baboonslayer
    Joined: May 2010
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    Location: Colorado

    baboonslayer Junior Member

    Haven't gotten that far on the building process yet, I'm still looking for more inner tubes. I thought I might be able to use two rubber rafts with a plywood deck joining them. 6' rubber rafts are about $14 and they hold about 300 lbs. They are about as durable as inner tubes, and you don't have to have a bike pump to inflate them.

  6. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    I always thought a raft made from one gallon plastic bottles (like milk cartons) would be kinda fun to make. Use the ones with the threaded caps, not the pop-off type. These are not real durable either, but with lots of them they are redundant and losing a few will not be harmful, as compared to loosing an inner tube.

    Another thing I have seen for floating docks is those 55 gallon heavy plastic barrels that chemicals are sold in. These would be deeper than inner tubes, but I know of concrete companies that almost give these away. The concrete admixture chemicals come in them, and they have sheds full of the barrels.
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