After following our ideas on how to build a raft, the next time you’re stuck on a river, you’ll be able to build a raft survival style, and sail your way merrily down a river! Not only is this a cool project to do with the kids, but you’ll be learning some survival skills at the same time. So, the next time you go camping, why not make this your pet project and see how far your raft will take you! The raft we’re going to show you how to build is on a smaller scale, cool for the kids to play with, but if it’s for all of you, you’ll need much bigger logs and poles.
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Collect about 10 logs that are equal in size. They should be about 3.5m (12 feet) long and about 30cm (12 inches) in width. Try and find fairly light logs as they’ll float a bit easier and give you a bit more buoyancy. Softwoods like pine and fir are good as well as poplar and balsa. You want to avoid woods like maple and oak as they are hard to cut, move and won’t float as well. Once you’ve collected them, lay them down gently in the shallow water near the shore where they can just float and place them all together in a row. Make sure it’s not too rough, as you don’t want them floating away before you’ve even started!
Now, collect 6 poles and these must be longer than the actual logs. They should be about 10cm (4 inches) wide and be at least 15cm (6 inches) longer than the logs. You will use 3 for the bottom of the raft and 3 for the top of the raft. Now what you need to do is place a pole underneath the logs on the one end where the poles are bunched up together that will sit crosswise to the logs. Now place two more along the underneath of the raft that are equal distances apart. Do the same thing with the other 3 logs along the top of the raft. You should have a crisscross pattern of logs and poles. Now make sure there are no big gaps between the logs as you don’t want to be losing everything you own when you’re out floating along the river in your awesome raft!
Now, tie the poles on both the top and the bottom together at each end to keep the logs nice and firmly together. Continue doing this at each opening where the logs and the poles crisscross, so that it is covered with solid ties that will hold it together. If you’ve got string, use it to do this, or look for some strong vines and rope like plants that will do the job too! Remember if you’re in survival mode, look for anything and everything that will help you on your quest. You just never know what you might find!
Now, you need to look for something that will give you an elevated platform on the top of the raft. Look for things like planks, drift wood or tree bark. Bark works pretty well as it floats more easily, but split driftwood will actually last longer. Use what you can find. Lay this right across the top of the raft for your platform. It should cover all the logs and the poles.
You’ve now finished building your raft! So get ready to launch off! Set your raft in the river and step on it carefully. You’re ready to sail off into the distance! By the way, keep a log with you to navigate your way around!
Have fun and be safe!