One year - when I was seven years old, if memory serves me right - my brother and I set sail on a home made raft made from branches and planks nailed and lashed together with twine and strapped over some large plastic jerry cans.
We drifted out into an often limpid pool that was only a few metres across, but in doing so we lived out an adventure that few children did. We translated our imagination into reality. Alright, we had some grown-up help in the construction of this vessel but the Swallows and Amazons fantasy we lived out was all ours.
A hundred metres from my grandparents house, beneath a waterfall that spilled over concrete reinforcements in a thin but perfect curtain of cold, clear mountain water our mini Kontiki pushed off from the pebbled shore, warm summer afternoon after warm summer afternoon. The odd chough and mewing buzzards our only observers although we couldn’t hear their plaintive calls. Even our loud shrieks of delight were deadened by the perpetual thrashing of the frothing cascade at our backs.
I think I imagined the freedom of adulthood would bring endless days like those, but somewhere along the line I forgot this.
35 years on as I strive to recapture this adventurous spirit, I find myself playing an adult version of these games of exploration. This time the raft is not home made; it is beautifully crafted by the good folks at Alpacka, in Colorado. But, as a pertinent sign of the times, and to satisfy a childish lust for tinkering, the mount for the GoPro was very much a DIY job.
DIY GOPRO MOUNT FOR PACKRAFT.
It's a month or more now since I took delivery of an Alpacka Denali Llama packraft and travel, work projects, chilly weather and injuries have all excused me from its christening.
Last week on an unusually warm day I took it out on the River Great Ouse for a morning’s paddle [video below]. Conscious of my plans to use it more during the summer, both at home and abroad I decided to fashion a GoPro mount for the back.
I googled around for some ideas for this and in the end my design is made from a 2 metre length of PVC tubing with one right angle bend and a T-junction. It is based on this one I found here, however it is worth pointing out that:
The PVC tubing needs to be 20mm not 32mm as indicated to fit in the two stern mounts (at least to fit on a new Alpacka Denali Llama). Make sure you check the diameter of these before rushing out to buy the tubing.
Although 2 metres of tubing is plenty you should take into account how tall you are before cutting the main vertical pole.
I only used wire to hold the tubes together, rather than nuts and bolts.
I used Gorilla Tape to strengthen the joints.
I also used Gorilla Tape to fasten the tubing to the top of the stern.
- The reason for doing this instead of lashing it under the stern is that it allows you to stick and unstick the mount in order to pull it forward. This in turn allows you to remove the camera easily whilst on the water.
- It might not be suitable in white water but this tape is sufficient in flat water and was even sticky when wet!
Here is a video of the GoPro front, chest and on the DIY rear mount: