How to build a raft

How we did it

Kit we used:

6 x 120l barrels bought from eBay

10 x 2m x 10cm planks of wood



Electric drill


Method we followed:

  1. Make a frame by lying four pieces of wood out in a square and screwing the ends together
  2. Place a barrel in each corner (with the lids facing inwards)
  3. Take a piece of wood and place it from one end of the frame to the other along the sides of two of the barrels
  4. Position this piece of wood so that it sits just below the widest point of the barrel and screw it into the frame
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 on the opposite side
  6. Place the two remaining barrels roughly in the centre of the two fixed barrels at each end of the frame
  7. Position two pieces of wood so that they sit just below the widest points on each side of the central barrels and screw into the base
  8. Take the last two pieces of wood and lie along the top of the barrels
  9. Screw these both into place on the outer frame and on the inner struts to keep the barrels from sliding towards each other
  10. Take 6 lengths of string and wrap them around the tops of each barrel (just below the lid) and the frame then tie off
  11. Secure the base of each barrel with LOTS of duct tape
  12. Flip the raft upside down and carry to the river. You’re ready to get floating!

Improvements we’d make if we were doing it again:

Fix the barrels to the frame using giant cable ties

Add wider pieces of wood to lay down across the barrels, spreading the weight and keeping the central barrels in the water

Turn the barrels so their lids faced inwards (though we’ve written this is how we did it in the guide, we actually had the lids facing outwards which slowed us down)