As an inflatable packraft owner, it’s essential to keep your raft well-kept and properly maintained to ensure its longevity and good performance. Keeping the packraft clean is important for comfortability and to kill any germs, bacteria, and other foreign substances that may have gotten onto your vessel during an active trip.

Continue reading if you want to learn how to keep your inflatable packraft in the best condition by deep cleaning and maintenance.

Why Should I Bother Cleaning My Packraft?

Routinely cleaning your boat is an essential part of being a packraft owner. Treating your items with love and care is important because it improves longevity which allows you to continue doing what you love—being out on the water and exploring.

If you let your raft go on for too long without a good cleaning, it can accumulate stains and scuffs from water, mud, algae, and other debris. You’ll ultimately feel more comfortable navigating in a clean raft. A packraft is also an investment, so doing basic upkeep by using the appropriate cleaning methods and materials is a sure way to keep your investment intact.

What Cleaning Materials Can I Use?

Keeping your raft in optimal condition requires you to invest in quality cleaning materials. Using the appropriate cleaning materials will keep your raft up to par, especially if you have a heavy-duty river raft.

To avoid damaging the coating and material of the raft, you should be using a heavy-duty or trustworthy inflatable boat cleaner and protectant to properly clean your vessel. The boat cleaner gets the grimes and stains out, and the protectant keeps it looking shiny and brand new. Make sure the boat cleaner and protectant you purchase is compatible with the type of material your raft is made from so that it doesn’t damage the raft over time.

How To Clean the Packraft

There are a few simple steps involved in cleaning your pack raft. First, you should find a large open area where you can safely and efficiently complete the task of cleaning it. Make sure you’re cleaning it when the weather is a bit overcast so the sun doesn’t interfere with the boat cleaner while it’s taking out the tough stains and grime.

You’ll need the following basic supplies to clean your packraft:

  • Clean rags
  • Protectant gloves
  • Inflatable boat cleaner
  • Boat protectant
  • Water source

Step 1: Inspect and Prewash

Before you go in with your inflatable boat cleaner, do a quick inspection to help make the process easier. A quick inspection includes checking the crevices of the boat for any sticks, leaves, and other debris.

Next, you’ll use a hose to power wash the initial layer of any mud or dirt from the boat. This prewash is helpful because it helps to loosen dirt and grime buildup, which makes it easier for you to go in with the boat cleaner. The boat cleaner will have less to penetrate through, making it a faster and more efficient process.

Step 2: Get To Cleaning

This essential step requires you to put in a bit of elbow grease. You’ll need your gloves to protect your hands from the cleaning chemicals, so be sure to wear them while scrubbing away. Be sure to apply the boat cleaner section-by-section so the sun doesn’t evaporate the product while you’re working. This process takes some time, so be prepared to take any breaks you need while you’re getting the work done.

Evenly distribute the product to one area of the boat, wait for however long as instructed on the package, and then wipe away the stubborn dirt and grime. Repeat this process until the entire boat is thoroughly cleaned. Don’t forget the cracks, crevices, seams, and holes on the raft. Flip the boat to the other side and make sure you clean both sides of the raft.

Step 3: Rinse

After you’ve done the hard work of scrubbing every inch of the boat, it’s time to rinse. Take a clean rag, wet it with water, and wipe the cleaner away. You’ll know you’re finished when the rag looks clean after the final wipes. Then, let the boat dry off.

Step 4: Add Protectant

This is an extra step to help keep your boat in optimal condition. Apply the protectant and evenly distribute it with a clean towel to coat the raft. One coat should be adequate to keep your raft protected and in great condition.

How Often Should You Clean Your Raft?

How often you clean your raft depends on how often you use it. You should generally be doing a deep cleaning once per season. If you’re a hardcore rafter, you might see yourself cleaning it several times during a season, depending on how dirty it gets.

The Importance of Maintenance

Maintenance is important for keeping your inflatable packraft in optimal, working condition. Keeping your raft maintained is important for safety and longevity, so it’s not just a suggestion to keep it in good shape. Maintenance is very simple and can be achieved by following a few steps.

What Does Packraft Maintenance Look Like?

Packraft maintenance goes hand-in-hand with cleaning and additional steps. You should always be keeping your packraft clean. Deep cleaning and making sure no debris and other visible materials are essential and primary steps in maintenance care.

You should also be making sure to keep your raft out of the sun by packing it in a dry and closed area like your garage or a toolshed. Be sure to make use of the storage bag the raft comes in to protect it from outside dust and debris. Keep it away from objects that could puncture it or cut it open on accident. Additionally, adding UV protectant to your packraft will help protect it from the degrading effects of the sun. As previously discussed, this can be applied after you’ve cleaned your raft and left it to dry.

Be intentional about checking for rips, tears, and holes on both the top and bottom of the boat. If your boat is past wear and tear, it may be time to consider a new one.

How Often Should I Do Maintenance?

Maintenance should be done as often as you use the boat. You don’t have to check on the boat every day. Simply do routine maintenance when you’re about to use or clean the boat. If you haven’t used it in a while, it won’t hurt to peek every few seasons to make sure it’s intact.

Taking care of your inflatable packraft is important. That’s why it’s imperative that you consider how to clean and maintain your packraft properly. We’re here to help you with you all your needs, so don’t hesitate to contact us today.

How To Clean and Maintain Your Inflatable Packraft
September 20, 2022 — Adrian Landia