Distributing Weight While Rafting
By The Outdoors Man, Nov 6 2014 11:29AM
If you've been on white water then you'll already know how important it is to distribute your weight when your raft is on the move. Seeing a raft capsize because of poor weight distribution isn't always fun to watch, let alone experience so how can you be sure that you do everything in your power to keep your raft upright at all times? Well although a lot of people think that one man rafts should be treated different to two-person plus vessels; the bottom line is that balance is balance, however you look at it.
The centre of your boat will be responsible for spreading an equal amount of balance to the rest of the raft. Too much focus on the front and you'll find that you'll end up plunging in to the water head first. A little too much weight on the back can result in the same thing, only you'll be heading in backwards.
The first thing that you'll need to do is calculate the weight of everyone and everything on board. If you're solo kayaking, then you'll need to know your own weight and combine that weight with an equipment that you might be bringing with you. If you're with one or more people, then just distribute the weight as evenly as possible. Heavier people should always go in the middle of the raft, with the lightest at the back. This is because you'll be travelling forwards most of the time so you'll want a medium to heavy person sitting at the front to help keep the raft close to the surface of the water.
You should never exceed a raft's carry weight as this will often result in sinking or capsizing. Even a few pounds of extra weight can tip the balance, so aim to fill a raft with a minus 10lb threshold. If the raft can hold 200lb, then don't fill it anymore than 190lb. The extra 10lb will go a long way in helping stability while on water, so keep it free wherever you can.
On the other side of the token, don't underfill a raft either. You'll find that you'll be tossed around like a tin can if you're 150lb and the raft can hold 400lb. Just remember to distribute weight evenly so that the front, middle and rear of the raft remain as even as possible.
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