altitude and inflatables

All of us with pontoons know that as the weather cools we lose pressure and gain as it warms. We also gain what seems like a significant amount of pressure as we gain altitude. When fishing at Leech Lake, for example, I always leave my pontoon or float tube partially deflated for the ride up, and add air as needed when I get there, whereas I like to get to Lenice all filled up and not spend fishing time in the parking lot. I now own a nice hypalon raft, 13 1/2 ft with a fishing frame, and will be taking it up to Leech sometime later this year so that I can fish comfortably with my kids. Topping that off with air takes significantly longer than a pontoon. I'm assuming I would not start off with it fully inflated in the TriCities before heading up as there is significant elevation gain, though it is a cooler temp up there. The extra minutes in the parking lot are not a big deal versus damage to the raft, but the raft does stay tied down better if nearly fully inflated. On a side note, I went fishing with someone from here lart fall to the Klickitat and he pulled his NRS raft over Satus pass fully inflated without blinking. So am I worried too much about this issue? I would appreciate any feedback from those of you who have had experience with the larger inflatables.

Now if the sciatica would just go away, maybe I could get out and fish instead hang out on the internet.....



"Chasing Riseforms"
No experience with larger craft, however, I blew up a float tube once on my way to Ellensburg heading over the pass. I have a pontoon now, and on my trips I always let the air out heading up a pass... Do it! You are not being over cautious.
Going through Coqualla (sp) pass 5000+ in BC a few years back I saw a guy with a burst pontoon. now maybe it started out overinflated but I always let some air out. I had an old caddis float tube with the truck innertube the first time I went through that pass. The valve stem blew out and it deflated. That says something about how tough those tubes are, but puffing up like than can't be good for welds or stitches.