Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Tarp/Poncho Raft

Before you read on:  YES, I DO use a lot of cord in this project. Usually this is done with no more than 2 pairs of shoelaces, but for demonstration purposes (to keep the whole project into shape until I/we managed to take a picture) I used a “bit” more.

And yes: I know that a huge plastic bag to put your stuff in and make a swim a la Leonardo Di Caprio in “The Beach” (brilliant book, crappy movie) is cheaper, easier and probably more effective.

But I still think this is a very interesting method.

The “Poncho Raft” has been taught to me during my exchange visit to the German “Bundeswehr”: It can be used to transport a pair of G3 rifles (when I was there the G36 only existed as a blue print) and two persons  “light field gear” (1994 equipment standards) fairly dry over a lake/river. 
(Don`t ask me how much 2 times “light field gear, G3 and 80 shots of ammo” weigh....light if you are rested, heavy if tired )




If you have a poncho: Fine. If you have a tarp: Even better. On the picture I use my old hammock tarp.
If you chose to use a poncho you can seal holes and the hood with tape, resin from trees, home made glue from berries (This will be an upcoming blog post) or by setting fire to a  cord and drip molten nylon to seal the holes.
Make a cross of rifles/sticks one one half of your tarp/poncho, make sure to leave ca. 10 cm to the edges.
If you want your raft very large just make a larger cross and use a second tarp/poncho to cover it later!

The Constrictor Knot. I think it`s the best knot for the job ahead.


Tie the poncho to the end of the sticks as shown on the picture. 
Simply slip the constrictor knot over and secure.
(Normally you do not need to secure the tarp already but as mentioned before:
 I do it for demonstration purposes)

It should look like this when finished.



Now to the “cargo”: Place a bag, helmet or anything bulky UNDER the cross: This will form the rafts “keel” Arrange the rest of your equipment on or around that bag/helmet. Put as many sensitive items as possible in your boots.


Now fold your tarp over and roll the long side up, try to do it as tight as possible.

Like this...


Now, roll the short ends up.
Secure the corners by tying them to the sticks. 
Normally its first here you would tie/secure the tarp/poncho to the sticks.

I let it float for 2 hours to check if watertight.


Can you see how the "keel" pushes the raft out of the water?


I wonder if my boots are dry....
Yuuuup :-)





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