New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

General discussion for everything that doesn't fit into the categories below!
Bnewman
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:49 am

New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby Bnewman » Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:10 am

New stuff for 2011

Happy New Year everyone! We want to inform all of you Alpacka users about everything new we are offering this coming season. We have a newly formatted website coming out soon and all of these items will be showing up when we change over.

BOATS: new designs, new models!!

1. Boat designs….welcome in the BIG Booties! We have been experimenting with extending the butt of the whitewater boat (that is still in development) and we like it so much better that we added it to all of our models. We have extended the butts of the all the boats another 11 inches. It is as radical as we can get the design to go! We have thoroughly tested the extended butt design in every boat style and all of the testers feel that it is a huge improvement. The results are:
• The boats have greater stability and tracking, and they ride substantially more trim in the water- without weight needed in front.
• There is also no loss in turning ability with the extended but. It is a win/win situation.
• There is also a pointier bow on the new boats.
The only downside is that it takes a bit more fabric to pull the design off. Although the weight difference is only 2oz, the radically shaped pattern really eats up the fabric. As a result we have to add $30 to the cost of the boats... we think the price increase is well worth it. We think you will too.

2. The Scout, with the addition of the bigger butt, is now a much drier boat. The Scout is so much nicer, with its new booty, that it is hard to compare it to the previous model. We've added a throw-in mylar pillow to use as a seat. It weighs only 3 oz and costs nothing. Think of it as a mylar balloon on steroids. It can also double as a camp seat or a sleep pillow. Inflated and placed in the boat, the seat is almost even with the top of the tubes. This enables you to sit up tall and enjoy the view from the lake. Add our new ultra light Scout paddle and you have the ultimate lake setup. New ultra light paddle you say? Keep reading.....

3. For you serious weight crunch people…we now have a SUPER light-weight paddle! We took the Black Diamond Carbon Probe ski poles (which make nice hiking poles, ski poles, etc.) and had paddle blades fabricated that will pop onto each pole tip. We chose the Carbon Probe poles because they screw together to make a nice paddle shaft. We found that you can’t get the hand grips off any of the other hiking pole options out there- a necessary step that allows you to combine the two poles into one long shaft. Sawyer Paddles is constructing the blades- each blade weighs just 3oz. For a mere additional 6oz you can transform your hiking poles into a nice lake paddle. NOTICE: this is not a paddle for rivers or anything similar. It is delicate- but it sure works well gliding across that backcountry lake. We should have these available by March.

4. Another item arriving by March is a new variation of the Scout. It is floorless and has an aluminum frame supported seat. This boat is for lake fishermen, as it is a cross between a fisherman's float tube and a real boat! It works great and weighs just 3 lbs.

5. A larger floorless fishing boat is coming out, hopefully by March as well. This boat is two inches longer than the Fjord explorer. Unrigged, it will weigh around 7lbs and fully rigged, it will weigh around 13 lbs. The full rigging setup will come complete with oars, rowing frame, and a folding rigid floor. The floor can either be folded back, to slide legs and fins down into the water, or it can be pulled forward to make a kneeling and standing platform. You can also adjust the amount of weight you want to carry based on what you plan to do with the boat. For example: you can use a kayak paddle and leave the oars and rowing rig at home. It is really an exceptional fishing tool.

6. The whitewater boat is still in testing. Contrary to rumors it has not disappeared. We will let you know when it is ready.

ACCESSORIES : new stuff!

1. We finally found a glue, that can be bought locally, and works well for putting on patches and grabloops. It can be bought at any ACE Hardware Store. It is the ACE brand Flexible Vinyl Mender. If you don't live near an ACE store, we will sell it online. We can ship this glue UPS ground but we cannot put it in the US mail. This, unfortunately, makes the product unavailable for international shipping . We will be putting a column on the website about how to best use this glue on the boats.

2. We have two new dry bags. Pac Outdoors discontinued the dry bag we have been selling for several years. We found two great replacements at the Outdoor Retailer show. Actually, we think they are even better than the PacOutdoors bags. They are both 65 liter bags made by SeaLine, a division of Cascade designs. One bag , the Ilbe Sack, is tough enough to hold its own outside of a pack, while holding up to abuse. It weighs just 11oz. The other bag, weighing just 7oz, is in all honesty the way the Pac Outdoors bags USED to be. These bags are big and light weight, but tough enough for the extra abuse incurred in packrafting- a rare find indeed. Both of these bags are winners.

3. Pac Outdoors also discontinued the sleeping pad that we have carried for so long. Apparently we were only one of a few groups carrying it. We looked and looked at the OR show but could not find anything similar to that air only pad. The replacement we finally chose is a pad from Cascade Designs: the Thermarest Pro-lite Pad. It is an excellent pad for the boats. The only downside is that this pad is more expensive. But they fit the boats really well, are very light weight, and are pretty tough.

6. For anyone with questions about how to get around the requirements the Park Service has on dual air chambers (for river travel on some of the rivers they manage)…..we have a very cheap, funky, and simple solution. We have some 5mil mylar bags that are very long and narrow. These bags can be fed through the main valve in the boat. We taped on a simple nozzle valve for inflation. It is quite easy to reach in through the main valve and pull the interior nozzle up through the main valve hole to inflate this “inner chamber”. It gives you quite an adequate second inflation chamber. It is easy to use and weighs just 3 oz . For those of you contemplating serious open water crossings like Hig and Erin did, on their epic journey, you might consider putting one of these in as well. They are only $5!! They are easy to put in- you just roll the bag like a long cigar and shove it through the main valve. They are a bit of a pain to get out, though, but they do come out with a little man-handling. You just have to pull pretty hard to get it back through the hole. You won't hurt the boat, and if you damage the mylar getting it out you are only out $5. Give us a call with any questions.

Max Power
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:48 pm

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby Max Power » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:26 pm

When are the new boats available for purchase? If I ordered a llama now would it be one of the new ones?

Thanks

Esben
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:50 pm

Picture

Postby Esben » Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:52 pm

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... 3611530185

Looks like going more towards traditional kayak shape.

Hmm, not sure what to think. Like to try first of course . Generally for the better (except added weight/cost), with tracking and stability, but how in edgy situations with pressure of water like holes and waves?

Isn't the tail then to collapse/twist, thus having a less defined reaction of the boat? Whats with the original Idea of your body being the frame? It is still a low pressure craft after all.

S.

P.Schauer
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:44 pm

Re: Picture

Postby P.Schauer » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:17 pm

Esben wrote:http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=493560785185&set=a.493556535185.264244.193611530185

Looks like going more towards traditional kayak shape.

Hmm, not sure what to think. Like to try first of course . Generally for the better (except added weight/cost), with tracking and stability, but how in edgy situations with pressure of water like holes and waves?

Isn't the tail then to collapse/twist, thus having a less defined reaction of the boat? Whats with the original Idea of your body being the frame? It is still a low pressure craft after all.

S.


Does anyone know if those pictures are of the whitewater prototype or the standard with the additional 11"? Looks more like a "packayak" than a packraft. I'm excited! Packrafts finally have a bow and a stern and look more like a boat than an inner-tube. On multiple floats out last summer I had been discussing how to get more of a kayak feel or shape out of a 5lb package. Looks like they figured it out!

P.Schauer
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:44 pm

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby P.Schauer » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:07 pm

I see that the site is updated with the new specs. Looks sweet, definitely getting one this spring! What were the old specs (or what are the differences besides the stern)?

Chris S
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Location: UK, mostly
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Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby Chris S » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:32 pm

Yes, I was puzzling over that. AFAICT there's more bow too.
All up a Llama is half a metre longer; now 2.4m, was 1.89m according to some online specs.
The width and internal dims are the same I believe. And no more flopping down seat back as you hop back in!

There are two roughly similar pics - old and new - here
http://apaddleinmypack.files.wordpress. ... lamas1.jpg

Well done Alpacka and well spotted Esben.

Chris S

Esben
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:50 pm

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby Esben » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:03 am

That is indeed a radical move and I wonder what that half a meter more means in terms of (hull) speed, the greatest limitation for packrafts so far. This is a feature not mentioned in the improvements (next to tracking an stability).

Also, I am surprised half a meter more boat would mean only 150g more in total weight (according to the specs: Lllama old 2,25 ; Lllama 2011 2,4 kg without spraydeck).

Looks like going more towards boating. For me an odd look I have to get used to ;) I liked the cuddlesome appearance :)

S.

sheri

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby sheri » Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:17 pm

The boat does seem to have a little better hull speed. I haven't actually done the acurate measurements yet and it most likely won't be a big difference but I suspect there is some improvement. It sure paddles straighter, and that is a huge plus. I just got back from a week of paddling on the ocean with the new boat and it was a great improvement over the old design there as well. This is still a small boat that angles between rocks on small rivers really well. That big butt just allows it to handle bigger waters better.

As to wondering why it doesn't weigh more with all that extra length, you have to realize that most of the change is the amount of air it holds in the butt. The quantity of actual fabric used is not much different, it is just the shape of the material that is radically different. Hard to describe acurately, but it is what it is. The very odd shape of the stern pattern takes alot more fabric in the layout but the actual piece when it is cut out does not have that much more fabric in it than last years piece. Think of making an S shape that is 6inches tall and 5 inches deep. Now make an S shape that is 6inches tall and 9 inches deep. The actual line of the S is not that different but the amount of space it takes up on the page is quite a bit more.

Yes, the look of the butt is very different, and the old boats were more "cuddly" but I haven't seen anyone use the new boat that didn't think it was a huge improvement in boat handling ability. There appear to be no advantages of the old design over the new one.

Cheers, Sheri

Esben
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:50 pm

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby Esben » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:32 am

Thanks for explaining on this one Sheri :)Can you also respond to edgy situations with pressure of water like holes and waves?

You said it can handle bigger water better, but what is with the original idea of your body being the frame? Like stated above, it is still a low pressure craft after all. How does the tail perform in this (rare) situations? Any twists?

Sven

RomanDial
Posts: 421
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:13 am

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby RomanDial » Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:20 pm

Can't wait to get one of these new boats. May go back to using a Yak....although the Llama is a big stable boat for big water.

sheri

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby sheri » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:44 pm

The principles behind the boats have not changed. Your body is still the main frame. Having more air in the stern gives the boat more rigidity, not less. There is a more solid feel overall to the boat because it is better balanced in the water by itself. If you just move yourself forward in any alpacka raft to get the boat to ride more trim in the water then you are actually decreasing your stability slightly. This is because of the low pressure in the tubes and your butt not being supported by the stern wrapping around it. The boat can have a slight tendancy to buckle where your hips are located when it gets into heavy water. The weight of your butt is pressing down on just the two side tubes rather than the curvature of the tube in the butt wrapping around you. In short you are working against the dynamics of the boat, not with it.

The greatest stability the boat has is when a person's body "fills the boat". Ideally you want your body to fill the boat's cavity and have the air in the tubes do the balancing of the boat. For a packraft that is the maximum stability. Much more stable to have increased air capacity in the stern than to move yourself forward to try to achieve a more trim line in the water. I have seen no tendency for this boat to want to twist or torque. The only place it is funky that any of us have seen is trying to surf it in the ocean. With that large pointy butt when the wave breaks in back of you it pushes the butt to one side or the other. It is hard to keep the boat straight. Obviously this is not an issue in the river, the butt is a help in trying to surf there.

We have taken a long time to get to this design because I didn't think we could pull it off. It posed a whole pile of technical difficulties in making it. Taping the center back seam is the nightmare from hell. But we finally got there and the boat does have more of that "kayak" feel.

Sheri

ronk
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby ronk » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:26 pm

Will the new floorless fishing raft also have the pointed and larger stern (you say its being added to all your boats)? It seems like the tracking, bouyancy, and somewhat better hull speed would be a real plus for that rowable model. If not, can that feature be ordered as a modification? I understood the original release date for that new model was February, 2011. You now say March - is that a firm date or guesstimate?

Richard295
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:43 pm

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby Richard295 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:35 pm

Ronk,

An acquaintance ordered a 2011 version green Yak with deck yesterday. It shipped today for delivery early next week..

Richard295
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:43 pm

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby Richard295 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:40 pm

McNik,

The 2010 deck's front is the same as the picture of the 2011 deck you posted. A pack normally sits over the top of the front section and so there is no interference from packs.

DaveChenault
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Location: Kalispell, MT
Contact:

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby DaveChenault » Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:30 pm

McNikky, caring a bike and using the deck is easy. At the same time.

ingo

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby ingo » Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:08 am

Hi there,

I just got the new designed 2011 denali lama with a spray deck and I am impressed by this boat - lightweight, nice blue color, very good production quality, (partly) removable deck, rugged and small to pack away.

this is my first packraft but I own two inflatable canoes (good upto whitewater III) so I am familiar with rugged inflatables. in comparison to them i like very much how small and light the alpacka is. this makes it way easier for me for walk or bike and boat activities like before.

today tried it in small pond together with my children (2 and 5) and we all fit in that boat (removed spray deck) and were even possible to paddle quite easily with a sufficent and good speed and very good manoeverability. I really expected its speed way slower than from the first appearance. it was quite a surprise.

furthermore i could paddle a very straight line without any problems and if i stopped paddeling the boat floated still straight ahead in a steady bow stern line.

this has maybe to do with the new stern shape but i don't have the comparison with the previous model.

let's see how it will work out in different conditions with a pack on the bow.

RomanDial
Posts: 421
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:13 am

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby RomanDial » Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:06 am

The new boat is the best Alpacka thing since spray decks.

http://packrafting.blogspot.com/2011/04 ... t-and.html

raven
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:59 pm
Location: Portland Oregon

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby raven » Sun May 01, 2011 9:03 pm

Roman, nice seal launch in the video. How did you finish inflating the boat -- by mouth or with a bicycle pump or ...?

nm13
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 9:25 am

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby nm13 » Fri May 06, 2011 9:44 am

I’m interested to know if anyone has info/experience on which (if either) the Llama or the unrigged Explorer tracks better or is faster. I’m thinking seriously about getting one of the newly designed boats and am trying to determine which best fits my needs. I’m mostly looking for an ultra low water boat and will probably set it up in an unconventional way. I’m prioritizing floatation and stability but also have an interest in tracking and hull speed. It seems obvious that the explorer is more stable and has higher floatation and I assume the Llama would track better and be faster but one never knows until trying.
What I would probably do is cut a foam floor and seat to get a higher and more upright seating position more toward the center of the stiffer boat. I'd also try paddling with a single blade paddle. This is how I run custom IK's on sneaky little desert streams in southern New Mexico and Arizona. But I'd love to try this with a packraft on these rivers at their boniest. Combined with ultralight backpacking gear this might allow for year round paddling down here. I also just got a Pugsley this winter so the bikerafting idea is intriguing.
Thanks,
Todd

RomanDial
Posts: 421
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:13 am

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby RomanDial » Wed May 18, 2011 4:32 pm

@ Raven,

By mouth.

Would like to use bicycle pump but my son has it; made up a little giszmo to finish off the boats with bike pump but need a little bike pump again.

John N
Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:48 pm

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby John N » Tue May 31, 2011 8:30 am

I have done about ten runs now in the new boat and I love it!

The most striking thing is how much more comfortable it is. It seems that the new backrest and extra air behind make for a nicer sitting position. This could be just my body type/paddling position, but I would much rather take this new version on a long paddle.

The boat seems to ferry better and I find myself trying to take on harder water in it. Playing in the boat is more fun, no "bandersnatching" (I love that term because I teach the Jabberwocky) due to the extra flotation in the rear. Running the slalom course at redgate I did find it is not quite as nimble and doesn't do 180's as fast as the old design.

The newer inflation bag is great. I find inflating the boat takes almost half the time. I especially like the fact that the shorter poles now fit in my Revelate Designs handlebar bag for bikerafting. This probably isn't a huge deal for most; however, I sure appreciate it.

The "burly" spraydeck is phenomenal! I was so sick of my previous spraydeck coming undone at bad times. Running splashy class III and IV drops with a partial deck was miserable. While this deck is a little harder to latch it is by far my favorite improvement.

flg_arizona
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 9:19 am

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby flg_arizona » Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:34 pm

I am so impressed with the old packraft design and am planning to buy a second one and am looking at the new design.

Question: On the Escalante, the old compact design of my Llama seemed perfect for doing repeated 360 degree turns to avoid the overhanging Russian olive branches. In many, many, many places the 'deep' water is under the overhanging branches, I go to the other side of the channel (6 feet away) , the boat grabs gently on the shallow rocks and turns me in a circle, while hugging the shallow untree-ed shore as I skate on by. I used the same rotating technique on many "rapids" there because the water is so shallow. I'm mostly going to be floating those kind of streams and I'm guessing it would be better to stick with the old design for the second packraft purchase, but have heard so much good about the new design I wanted an opinion.


Thanks!

Jodi

bkjamin
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:56 am
Location: Chugiak, AK

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby bkjamin » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:30 am

Jodi,
So far I have only been creeking in it. I am a heavier paddler (220lbs) and went with a Denali Llama again. I definitely sit more level in the water than I did with my old Llama. This is nice because I drag butt less in the shallows but the downside for me is that now I have so much more boat on the water that my 360 quick spins to clear branches and such is seriously hindered. I think I am having more issues with eddy fences for the same reason, (more tube on the water.) I am also trying to get used to the fact that I have another several inches of boat behind me to keep clear of obstacles. For me I think I could maneuver around the river better with my old design. Perhaps I just need to learn some new paddling skills.

flg_arizona
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 9:19 am

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby flg_arizona » Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:14 am

Thanks - that's exactly the info I was looking for.

On the bright side, maybe it will be easier to find a used old-style boat because people will will be upgrading.

boatgirl5
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:29 am

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby boatgirl5 » Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:33 am

Is there any way the older boats could have a retrofit of an extension of the stern as the newer boats do? Maybe with it's own air valve?

bradmeiklejohn
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:16 pm

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby bradmeiklejohn » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:18 pm

I have finally spent enough time in my 2011 Alpacka Llama to provide a review of what I do and do not like about the new boats. For reference, I have been packrafting for about 10 years, am 6’2” and 180 lbs and 51 years old, and consider myself a Class IV boater on most days. I also have a 2007 Yak and a 2008 Llama, both decked and the latter is equipped with thigh straps as is my 2011 Llama. Most of my boating is in Alaska on creeks and rivers in the Class III-IV range, on roadside runs, minimalist overnighters, and longer trips up to 3 weeks. My favorite type of boating is on multi-day exploratory trips on remote creeks and rivers.

What I Like
Performance: The radically-redesigned 2011 boat perform very differently from the older models. The new boat is faster, carves and turns more precisely, punches through holes cleanly, cuts across eddy lines well and surfs waves nicely. You have more control of your line and your location on the river. On flat water the new boat is noticeably faster, and paddles easily, with seemingly less hull suck and drag. The new boat tracks nicely in a straight line with little of the “weather vaning” that is common in the older models, saving energy and arm strength over the course of a day of paddling.

Features: One of my favorite improvements is locating the mouth valve on the stern of the boat. No longer do I worry about accidently opening the valve as I get into the boat, which is a frequent problem on older models. Alpacka made this change in 2010 but this is my first boat with this feature and I like it.

The 2011 boat allows you to adjust the seat position with simple lacing holes. I moved my seat forward 4 holes (about 4”) to allow for a stronger paddling position and better fit of the thigh straps.

Alpacka seems to have resolved the problem of leaking seats, backrests and codpieces. So far I have not had to spend time fixing these items as was all too common in the past.

What I Don’t Like
Performance: The enhanced performance of the 2011 boat has a downside: this boat is less-forgiving and requires you to be a better boater. The aggressive hull design of the 2011 is significantly less stable than older models and is more prone to flipping when crossing eddylines, getting hit by lateral waves or unexpected boils.

The instability of the 2011 is made worse with a load on the front of the boat. I recently ran a remote Class IV river with a 15 lb load on the front of the boat and found myself tipping over repeatedly in places that I would normally bounce over in my older boats. I find that a pack on the front of my older boats makes them more stable. The 2011 sits lower in the water than the older models and is more prone to getting grabbed by water features like eddy lines, lateral waves and boils. The boat does well if you drive it with power straight into water features, but is very unforgiving if you take them sideways. You will dump faster than you can believe unless you have good braces and good technique.

Features: The single biggest problem with Alpacka boats is the spraydeck. Nearly every boater that I have ever paddled with complains about their spraydeck, and spends too much time on the river fiddling with the deck, trying to get it to close properly or stopping to dump water out of the boat. The Alpacka boats with spraydecks are a huge improvement over the original open boats, and clearly keep a lot of water out of the boat. But there is still a lot of room for improvement, and the ultra-dry deck on Roman Dial’s boat suggests that it is a solvable problem. We all want a simple, durable and reliable spraydeck that keeps most of the water out, and would love to see Alpacka focus on this issue.

The 2011 comes with a zippered spraydeck that can be removed, a nice feature if you are planning a tropical mid-winter getaway. But for Alaska’s cold rivers the zipper is a point of weakness with little benefit. The deck tore off my new boat when the fabric started to separate along the inflatable “codpiece” and then ripped all the way to the front of the boat along the zipper stiching. Alpacka replaced the deck, but it was the second time in a too-short season when my new boat was sidelined.

The Velcro closures on the 2011 boat remain inadequate, being too narrow and of seemingly poor quality, especially the loop side, which ends up fuzzy, frayed and curling within a matter of days. I replaced the Velcro on my Yak three years ago with wider and better-quality Velcro that has held up better than that found on my 2011 boat. If Alpacka used 2” or 3” of Velcro rather than 1.5” Velcro, the decks would be much tighter and keep water out more reliably.

The side closure along the torso is particularly problematic, as the fabric is too taut to seal properly. I have added a snap button to the top of the skirt to reduce the frequency of the seam popping open. Usually I am only able to get an inch of Velcro contact on the torso seam, which invariably pops open with any paddling or twisting.

The first problem that I encountered with my 2011 boat was a shredded floor on the second day of use. Alpacka has switched to a new floor fabric for 2011 because of a supply problem with the material used in older boats. Many of us were worried that this new fabric was not up to the abuse of Alaska packrafting. Alpacka determined that my floor was defective
and so far the floor of my replacement boat has held up well.

The 2011 comes with a single horseshoe seat and a small inflatable backrest. I find the backrest to be inadequate for comfortable back support and for holding up the back of the spraydeck. I stitched another horseshoe seat in as an additional backrest and to keep the spraydeck from sagging.
The torso of the 2011 spraydeck is too short to work well. Ideally the spraydeck would come up to the chest of a sitting boater. And if the spraydeck were pleated it would fit a wider variety of boaters and PFD’s.

Alpacka says that the central issue guiding spraydeck design is liability. I would argue that having water in the boat is its own liability, and that a boater with a drier boat can better focus on the challenges of the river. Stopping to dump the boat and fiddle with the deck is very distracting and consumes time and energy that should be devoted to the river.

Bottom Line
The 2011 Alpacka is a huge step forward in packraft design. Advanced boaters and kayakers will love the technical performance of this boat. After seeing these new boats, I have heard kayakers say things like “Hey, I would be willing to boat with a packrafter in one of those boats” and “Wow, you guys can really make those boats go where you want them to go.” Whatever.

While boaters with good bracing and paddling skills will get the most from the 2011 models, everybody will appreciate the speed and tracking of the new boats. On long stretches of flat water and for ocean paddling the new boats will save you time and energy.

The new boat design may be challenging for novice and intermediate boaters looking to get into more technical whitewater. Jim Gonski reports that students in his classes who have the 2011 boats tip over and swim far more often than owners of the older boats. More swims mean more lost boats, more lost gear and more chances for injury.

If you are thinking about trading in your old boat for a new one, you might think twice. If you are a good paddler with good bracing skills it is probably a smart move. But if your skills are not so solid, or if you plan to run whitewater with any kind of load, you might want to hang on to your old stable boat. I predict there will be a strong Craigslist market for these older boats, and they will become hard to find in the future. I would like to see Alpacka bring the older models back into their line of boats while keeping the 2011 model as their advanced whitewater boat.

Esben
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:50 pm

Re: New stuff for 2011 from Alpacka!

Postby Esben » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:42 am

Hi Brad,
thanks for the detailed report. I am still on my try out for a final conclusion. You make a good point for the older models. Last but not least are they lighter. There is a lot of gear geekish wanna have for the new stuff ;) While I generly agree with your points, I found the "old" boat hard to come to its limits up to class IV. So , the pros and cons you make sound too radical to me. I will get back to this later with more runs in the new one. So far, the tracking I dont bother, puching waves I dont care, lateral "instability" is mere compared to kayaks and still very solid. But I do embrace the speed gain!! Much for whitewater purpose on ferrying, catching eddies and so on. The core technics of runing white water.

Anyways, how do you find smaller side tubes? I measured them and came to exactly 12 inches like previously. And sitings lower in the water? The seat tabs are actually the same position as ever, aren't they?

Oh, and the deck. I totally agree on this one! We will have a break through in the paddling community with this problem solved.
There is only one solution I see and this is a "skirt on deck hatch" like kayaks have. Maybe we can have a European version, if liability proofs to be a problem overseas (less ridiulous here:) I make sure they will be reimported to you guys ;) Last but not least, I never got used to the horseshoe seat. I opt for a flat, rippled one.

Sven
http://packrafting.de/


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