Ultimate Guide to Air Valves for River Rafts and Inflatable Kayaks


air valves for river rafts


Water sports are highly popular, particularly rafting and kayaking. Due to the increasing popularity of these activities, many manufacturers have attempted to make them more accessible. As a result, many companies have focused on designing more inflatable rafts and kayaks. This is, in part, due to inflatables being easier for users to transport and store.

Both river rafting and kayaking often involve extreme conditions. Although some people prefer to take it slow, many who participate in these sports enjoy an adrenaline rush. Consequently, people expose these products to heavy impacts and challenging environments. In these cases, it is essential that the structure maintains optimum inflation to ensure the safety of those onboard. That is why so many manufacturers use Leafield Marine’s air valves for river rafts and inflatable kayaks.

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Why Choose Leafield Marine Air Valves for River Rafts and Kayaks?

Leafield make air valves with premium quality materials such as Acetal, or POM plastic. This material is well known for its strength and rigidity. However, one of the main reasons we use this is due to its good dimensional stability. Dimensional stability refers to the material’s ability to maintain its original dimensions, even when exposed to large changes in temperature and humidity. This is vital for valves used on river rafts and kayaks, as people often use them in extreme temperatures and environments. Acetal plastic also provides chemical, ozone, and shock resistance.

Our valve customisation options are popular with designers of river rafts and kayaks. Many of these products are available in a selection of colours, as you can see above. Therefore, designers like the option to choose a colour that suits their design. However, the most popular choice in this sector is the custom valve cap. We work with our customers to design a valve cap that features their logo design, branding, or even website.

Many of the design features of Leafield Marine valves are highly beneficial to inflatable river rafts and kayaks. However, which valves should be used? We have put together a list of our top suggestions for air valves for river rafts and inflatable kayaks.

Which Air Valves Should You Use?

D7 Inflation/ Deflation Valve:

d7 inflation valve

An inflation valve is vital on any inflatable raft or kayak. We offer a couple of different options. However, the D7 inflation/ deflation is the perfect choice. The valve is fairly small yet maintains a high flow rate. This allows the end user to quickly and efficiently inflate their product.

The valve cap is attached via a hidden retaining strap. This is different from the majority of valves that use a small string retraining strap. This can easily become caught on equipment or people, which can lead to damage. Additionally, many customers find that string retaining straps do not survive long term exposure to sun or salt water.

Some rafts or kayak floors are made using drop stitch materials. In these cases, Leafield Marine have a specifically designed drop stitch D7 valve. This works in the same way as the standard one. However, it has the addition of internal mesh filters. These filters prevent the fine drop stitch threads from entering the valve seal and causing leaks. Additionally, the filters make it far easier for manufacturers to fit the valve.

A6 Pressure Relief Valve:


Leafield Marine are well-known pressure relief valve manufacturers due to the high reliability of our products. We designed the A6 Pressure Relief Valve (PRV), or over pressure valve, to prevent over inflation. This is highly useful as it prevents the end-user from over inflating their raft or kayak (particularly if they are using an electric pump).

However, this is also highly beneficial due to weather conditions. People will often use rafts and kayaks in warm and sunny conditions. Consequently, they expose their products to excess solar heat. This can cause the pressure within the inflatable to increase greatly, which may result in damage to the structure. In extreme cases, the structure could even burst. Our manufacturing team pre-set the A6 to the pressure of your structure. If the pressure exceeds this level, the pressure relief valve will automatically open to release the excess air.

The A6 functions as both a safety feature and protection for the product.

A9 Pressure Relief Valve:

A9 pressure relief valve

As previously mentioned, some of these products have some drop stitch elements. This is most commonly the flooring. Although our standard A6 can be used, we suggest the A9 over pressure valve. Like the drop stitch D7, this pressure relief valve is specially designed to cater to drop stitch threads. Our team designed the A9 to have both internal and external mesh filters. These prevent the threads and other debris from causing leaks in the valve seal. River rafts and kayaks are often exposed to dirt and sand, which can impact the valve’s ability to function.

Furthermore, the A9 is far smaller than our other pressure relief valves, with a diameter of only 46mm. The compact size makes it ideal for specialist applications such as kayak and boat flooring.

Additionally, the A9 PRV caters to a much higher pressure than our standard A6. It is available in a wide range of pressure settings, ranging between 10psi and 45psi. If you are in doubt, it is likely that the A9 will be available in a suitable pressure setting for your product.

Hose Fittings and pump adaptors:

D7/C7 Pump Hose Fittings

In order to use our inflation valves, you may need a hose adaptor. Leafield Marine offer many fittings for different applications. Our screw-in hose adaptor is mainly used alongside our D7 inflation valve. It provides a secure and sealed attachment of the hose during inflation. They function with hoses of either 16mm or 20mm. Leafield additionally manufacture these hose adaptors with internal springs. The spring holds the valve spindle open during inflation. As a result, we can reduce the backpressure and automatically close the valve when the user removes the hose. This prevents air pressure being lost from the structure before the user has time to close the valve by hand.


What’s Next?

air valves for river rafts

Leafield Marine work with many companies that design river rafts and inflatable kayaks. As a result, we have produced a number of products to cater to their specific needs. If you need air valves for river rafts or kayaks, contact us today and find out how we can help.