What do you do when you lose the cap for the dump valve?

In NZ last week. Heli had flown off and left us on the Karamea for 10 days. Went to paddle across river to get to Ugly R which was our destination, and found valve cap missing from one raft - it had been tied on with 3mm shock cord for 3 yrs with what I thought were undoable knots. Whilst I had planned for most repairs this was a bad start - what to do with no spare cap???

Thought of pulling inflation bag attachment to bits, and wedging a piece of nylon across it as a bung - would have been a pain juggling this with using it as an inflation bag as well. As I was just about to pull it to bits and do this, I remembered the small Naglene bottle we carry some detergent in…it threaded on just perfectly, and we were able to inflate and cross the river.

Whilst , despite this bad start to the trip, I still wouldn’t carry a spare cap (I’d just tie it on more indelibly), it made for some interesting thought processes!

For the weight and bulk of carrying a spare cap, I can’t imaging why its not part of your Packraft repair kit!

Couple other options…

:arrow_right: Inflation Bag Fix 1. Bust off your inflation bag valve. If it’s a loose one, you sometimes pop the assembly apart. If it’s really tight, you pretty much have to cut the bag off. Either way, you can then seal & tape over the blunt end of the valve, and screw it into the main valve. It’s not usually totally airtight, but enough so to boat. I ran 9 miles of C-II/III this way. You can probably do the same thing with a tapered stick, to, carving it to fit as a plug very tight in the valve assembly.

:arrow_right: Inflation Bag Fix 2. Tie a knot in the I-bag (or clamp it off). Less airtight, but may work sufficiently. I think Roman has done this.

:arrow_right: Hardware Store Fix. If you’re someplace in world that uses English system pipe threading, the plug is 3/4" standard pipe thread. You can potentially get it at a hardware or pipefitting store. Check the plumbing and electrical sectiosn.

Thx Andrew for the suggestions.

Whilst Aeronautical does have a good point about “why not carry one” from a weight point of view (this, however, could extend exponentially!), I was so gobsmacked that somehow the cap had come off when it had been tied on so well. I’ve presumed that most other rafters would be like me, and tie the cap on well, rather than carry a spare (…"just in case…!), and wanted to raise the issue that even when it shouldn’t be able to come off, it can.

The fact that Alpacka uses a std sized thread just adds to the “functionality” of these rafts - eg you lose your inflation bag, and you can easily make a new one using a std plumbing fitting and a garbage bag. Extend the process a bit further, and you can make a roll top inflation bag with a std plumbing fitting cap screwed on the bottom , and you have an inflation bag which then also works as a dry bag. A std fitting plumbing cap will make a workable spare cap…albeit not nearly as aesthetic as the original cap. I’ve used 20mm fittings on mine - one of those rare times when imperial and metric seem to be remarkably similar.

AND, Aeronautical, I’ll carry a spare now…and probably never use the bloody thing!

i used 2 layers of Tyvek tape, no alcohol, no aquaseal, to make it home on a boat with no main valve. a bit of extra time to re-inflate, but worked out fine on the day trip. image you could git by on a longer trip too.

Thanks for the beta on approximate 20mm compatability andrew; very good to know. Maybe someday we’ll go metric on this side of the pond… :wink:

Shoutdiggity, do you think a strip of Patch-N-Go would work, too :question:

I can’t help observe the standard threading means you can build adapters for other things. I think at least one Alpacka owner runs an 18-wheeler big rig, which brought up the subject of inflation of an air compressor. You can inflate the boats with just a rubber stopper on an air hose nozzle, and it fits pretty good, but the threading might let you take advantage of some tighter seal options. But I really like the garbage bag option.

I reckon that when buying my Llama, Shaggy thought I was paranoid/a lunatic/overly cautious/all of the above, due to the spare Patch-N-Go kits, caps, inflation bags, Aquaseal, Tyvek tape and hull fabric I wanted to buy!

The funny thing is… I hope never to need to use any of it, I just carry it for when I (or another Packrafter) need it.

I never tire of carrying gear which can save my butt (or my butt boat).

If I needed a cap and didn’t have one, I’d use a piece of sil-nylon over the valve, secured tight with dental floss wrapped into the material for several turns of the valve threads, in effect, a fabric valve cap. Alternatively, stretch a piece of cycle inner tube over the valve and fold and tape the other end, or just tie a knot in it. Secure the tube with dental floss round the threads.

Old inner tubes are good as rubber bands, bungees, fire starters… And valve caps!

Having trouble getting my head around how to close off the main valve (ie the thing you screw the inflation bag into) with silinylon, dental floss or inner tubing (or, were you going to dismantle your inflation bag and close off the threaded bit of that?)…

However, as I now have a spare cap from the plumbing shop, it won’t ever be a problem for me again!!!

I posted my forgotten dump=valve cap solution here a while back:


screwing a ziplock bag in to the valve to seal it is a neat trick!

On the other side of the inflation bag mount I d prefer a wine cork rather the p-cord sealing.

Probably easier to get in Europe countryside than Alaskan wilderness, admitted :wink:

Alpine huts, espresso, wine corks for valve caps… it’s very civilized, this European way of doing things :sunglasses:

Shoutdiggity, do you think a strip of Patch-N-Go would work, too > :question: >

havn’t used the patch n’ go enough to say. tyvek has always got the job done