Building a raft can be a useful skill in either emergency situations or just for fun! Read more for a step-by-step guide to building a simple raft that can be useful for our outdoor activities at Wonder Valley Outdoor Education Center located in Sanger, CA

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Before you begin building, you need to make sure you have the proper materials.

  • You will need the following items:
    • Logs or floating materials: Try to get logs that are straight, long, and at least 8-10 inches in diameter. You can also use empty plastic drums or barrels as flotation devices.
    • Rope: Choose a strong rope that can withstand tension and exposure to water without falling apart
    • Tools: Depending on the materials you’re using, you may need an axe, saw, or other cutting tools.
    • Additional optional materials: Tarp or plastic sheeting, extra ropes for lashing, and paddles.

Choose the Best Location to Build Your Raft

Look for a calm body of water, such as a lake, river, or pond, where you can safely assemble your raft. Avoid areas with strong currents or dangerous wildlife animals.

Design Your Raft

Determine the size and shape of your raft based on your needs and what materials you have. A square raft is usually easier to build and is able to hold more weight and can be more balanced.

Prepare the Flotation Devices: 

How your raft is prepared will depend on what type of materials you choose to use. If using logs, gather enough logs to form the base of your raft. You will need at least 3-4 flotation devices.

Secure the flotation devices by arranging the logs parallel to each other, side by side. You can tie the logs together using ropes to prevent them from shifting. 

Create the Raft Deck 

Once your flotation devices are secured, place planks or extra logs across them to create a deck. Ensure the deck is wide enough to accommodate your needs and provide stability. If necessary, lash the deck materials to the flotation devices using ropes.

You can then strengthen your raft by tying additional ropes diagonally across the flotation devices and deck. This will help secure the structure and prevent it from coming apart.

Test Your Raft 

The most important part of this process is testing the raft before you make your journey out on the water. Make sure the raft is stable and can support weight. Push it into the water and check for any signs of imbalance or instability before you get on it. Make any needed adjustments to ensure it’s safe to use!

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At Wonder Valley, we take pride in teaching our students the importance of safety when it comes to learning new things and engaging in new activities! To learn more about activities and skills you can achieve at Wonder Valley Outdoor Education Center, contact us today at 1-(800) 821-2801.