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What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:10 pm
by Alpacka Raft LLC
Hi Everyone,

We've been working on an easy way for folks to order custom grab-loop packages for their boats - like a ski carrying rig, internal cargo tiedowns, etc. - just like ordering a spraydeck. We're interested in what mods you'd like to see available for the boats.

So far, our ideas list includes:
:arrow: Ski-carrying rig.
:arrow: Internal cargo tiedowns (grab loops inside boat, on side-tubes near front).
:arrow: Internal bow clip-point (grab loop installed for water bottle, camera, etc. on inside of bow.
:arrow: "Full-Raft Rail": grab loops installed around the boat to run a line fully around it. Sheri calls this "the porcupine boat," and Roman called it "the fun rail," which is pretty good too.

What grab-loop etc. configurations would you like to be available?

Cheers from the Witch's Hearth,

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:46 pm
by RomanDial
I'd like to see tie-downs on the bow and stern of the Fjord Explorer so that a pack could be strapped on each end and not hang over into the interior space of the boat. That way two people and their packs could fit and each be facing forward, like this:

The rear load is ideally located but I need maybe two more tie-downs along with the four already there. Also, that rear load is everything for two of us for a week, and it's a big load. I'd like to be able to tie a smaller portion to the bow with a similar system.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:15 pm
by Hig
You know I like big butts... I realize that's not a simple mod though.

I'm with you on the internal grab loops. I'd imagine one on the inside floor at the bow, and one under the seat.

I dunno Andrew, I was expecting more from you... no hard-points for gun turrets? And how am I to attach my solid-fuel rocket booster?

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:36 pm
by Jules Watson
Hi guys, I have a dory, which I use for flyfishing. I am mainly targetting fish in local coastal estuaries on the (Australian) NSW south coast.

A manner of kneeling, to get better height and visibility for 'polaroiding' fish when sight fishing would be good.

I've been toying with a strap across in front of the old spreader bar of the dory frame, made of seat belt webbing or similar.


Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:44 pm
by Alpacka Raft LLC
Hi all, just got back from a trip -

Thanks for the good thoughts so far.

Jules, we're experimenting with better way to kneel or stand (yup, stand) in the Fjord Explorer, which might help you out. It wouldn't quite work on the old Dory frame, I'm afraid. Sheri's always wanted to be able to stand & scout from the Dory/Explorer, that that was part of impetus behind the new frame, because it gives us a better framework to try to create a boat you can stand in. We'll keep the community posted if our idea pans out.

Hig, what's your thought for having one under the seat? What would you like to clip there?

Good thoughts there too, Roman. This year's two-person-boating experiments and wew ways to carry gear could lead to some interesting developments. Sheri's looking back to some to the techniques used on the Franklin, Tasmania, way-back-when for pack-carrying inspiration, too. I'm hoping this winter proves a good time for a lot of us to play around with some of these new methods.

Oh yeah, and don't give up on me yet, Hig. Just because you can't see the listings for Sheri's daughter's pomeranian ("Sir Didimus, unit (1), colors: orange, fabulous magenta, olive drab. Stuff sack included") or "Plasma Cannon, Rotary" on the shop site doesn't mean I can't invoice you for them. :twisted: Cheers, -Andrew

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:26 pm
by RomanDial
Having done another longish trip with two in one boat, I'd like to see a big butt/bow boat bit with more gentle curves inside the boat and a bit longer inside -- the current Dory/Explorer interior is too pointy for comfortable two person sitting.

We have been running Class III in our big boat with both paddling kayak paddles and facing forward, no spray deck, and a load for a week. We like the power and quick control of two kayak paddles rather than canoe paddles for this white water. We don't see any folding of the boat's tubes except when it runs low on air (it has two leaks where tube meets the floor that hopefully we have patched).

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:57 pm
by Jules Watson
Thanks for the feedback Andrew.

Roman - without wanting to pry, what kind of combnined weight are you carrying with two ? I'd like to consider this with the better half one day for afew simple trips, maybe moving to longer missions over time.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:05 pm
by Hig
A long answer to Andrew's question about why the inside grab loop...

Back when Erin and I were first packrafting, we put our pack between our knees in the middle of the boat. This had disadvantages... like having an ice-axe poking you in the leg for hours. And it puts the center of mass too far back. But it was very nice to lower the center of mass, and to improve visibility over the bow. The compromise I'd like to try would be a long, skinny food dry-bag that extends from the front of the seat to just behind my heels in the bow. This would be very dense and would lower the center of mass (though still shift it back a bit). To do this right, I'll want two tie points at either end of the dry-bag so that it's locked onto the bottom of the boat. Then, if knocked out of the boat far from shore I can release the bag on the front (something we already have set up) and then right the boat with the bag still in the bottom. Ideally it will be held down tight enough that the center of mass of the boat will be such that it's more stable upright. This will help with re-entry in heavy white-caps...

Not that I want to be re-entering in heavy white-caps regularly, but if I was in that situation, I'd want as much in my favor as possible.

Thinking a bit more about this, one could get really fancy and add a minimal tie-point in the center of the bottom underneath the boat. Then tie the dry-bag in as described above, but also attach a pole-keel (similar to Alpacka longboat: Now the bag, on the inside of the boat, is effectively held to the keel, on the bottom of the boat.

For these tie-downs, I could see them being much lighter than the outside tie-downs. Maybe even just scale down those outside tie-downs by 50%.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 5:15 pm
by RomanDial
Jules Watson wrote:Thanks for the feedback Andrew.

Roman - without wanting to pry, what kind of combnined weight are you carrying with two ? I'd like to consider this with the better half one day for afew simple trips, maybe moving to longer missions over time.
I'm thinking it's like 350 pounds or so = me (175) + peggy (125 dressed and wet) + gear & food (50+ pounds). Probably more.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 12:30 pm
by Jules Watson
Thanks Roman, much appreciated.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:24 pm
by Shaggy
(Back as myself now, not the official Alpackster...)

Ah, I see Hig. That's a fun idea. For an under-the-boat attachment point, though, I think we'd be wise to look at a thread-thread strap plate (like the old Dory oarframe attached with), rather than a grab loop - so there'd be no exposed loop of webbing on the underside. Good to keep it clean, there. We're just getting a new die to punch that sort of circle-with-strap-slots, which we're going to use for the ski-carrying rig.

Keep us updated on how the long boat is doing, Roman. I like the point about how the interior geometry is important for user comfort. I'm wondering if this project is going towards something like a lengthened hybridization of the Explorer/Dory hull and the whitewater boats. Fun stuff...

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:14 am
by andrewallan
As background, I've got 2 yaks - one from ~2006, and the other from ?~2004/5, the only difference being the position of the rear tie down, and for both rafts I've built my own spraydecks.

Although my experience is rather limited, I've used the rafts with full packs and with bikes, but mostly with day packs/fishing gear for downstream travel after fly-fishing all day in NZ. I reckon that these rafts are the best fun one can have on water - I love them.

I'll outline some design problems that I feel that I have had - whether these equate to "custom mods" is up for debate, but at worst , maybe it can just be put down to "feedback"

The biggest problem/irritation I've had has been water coming over the back of the boat in rapids. I'd love a higher back to reduce this (ie if the back tubes flared up a few inches). I know that the latest rafts have an inflatable back rest, but to me this seems unlikely to do much to reduce the problem. The spray deck (ie my deck , which is very similar to the 2007 deck, with zip across the front, and side opening velcro, but made in silinylon) helps to a degree, but you really have to wear it as a "Harry High Pants" to negate the issue. Even with a 25kg pack on the front, holding the bow down, we still shipped a lot over the back, and the pack then made it even harder to empty!

The second irritation that I have had is that I am always feeling the need to sit higher and further back on the seat, thereby pushing the back of the boat lower - yes, this might be a problem with me, but at just under 6', the yak should be the right size. I seem to slip forwards and down off the seat, and wonder whether the seat needs a little redesign with a flare at the front to stop this? I've tried an inflatamat as a floor, but it made the whole raft sit higher, and I felt a lot more unstable in it. Just something more under my bum (which isn't large!) , and a higher back would be fine for me.

I also find that the bow is quite tight, and that my feet go numb when sitting in the boat for any length of time >30 mins. This may be a combination of foot position in a person wearing boots, and with very high arches, but it always happens, and I think it would be negated by having a slightly wider bow, so I could move my feet around a little - they really do get jammed in there.

As to position of tie downs - from my point of view they are perfect for daypacks, full sized rucksacks, and bikes. I wouldn't mind a tie down in the centre back, for use pulling another raft, so as to keep both more "on line", and perhaps also for roping a raft down a section of river, although I've never done this, and always carried the whole lot around any rapids we haven't wished to raft .

I'd never use an additonal front tie down as described. I might use an internal tie down. A grab rail is overkill, although an additional 3 tie downs, one left back, and one on each side, thereby allowing you to make a grab rail would be good - it would give us other options if we wished to tie packs/fishing rods behind us, or skis/rods alongside us, etc and "options" are what it's all about, aren't they?? But ....anyone should be able to add their own tie downs - I suppose , however, that it would be nice to be able to buy one that matches the boat, so you can just whack it where you want it.

Andrew Allan (with just under 4wks to go before the next NZ flyfishing/packrafting trip!!!!!)

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 2:38 pm
by Shaggy
Thanks Andrew, this is all really interesting stuff to hear.

On shipping water over the back, I think you might find that the back rest actually helps out quite a lot. We've found this really effective, as long as you get the deck up over it. That said, if you're really taking waves on the stern, you're going to get water in. One of our ongoing sticking-points with water is actually that - even with the new inflatable lap-piece and back-rest - you do get little puddles on either hip. It's a whole lot drier than even our 2007 decks, but not 100% watertight yet. Part of it is the weight vs. complexity vs. dryness trade-off game. I could eventually see us dividing the deck line into two decks: a light deck to keep you warm & basically dry, and a really aggressively developed whitewater deck to take a real beating & keep a lot more water out. That's just speculation though, and we'll see what Sheri's Mad Scientist Brain invents...

So far, our playing around on the full-rail rig has been convergent with what you're suggesting. A second stern-loop is now standard, and we're finding two loops - one each out the outside stern - seem to do great for adding a full rail option. Roman, correct me if I'm wrong, but this also seems to be exactly what you've settled on?

Part of our vision is really about giving the boater options - like "we can mod the boat, or if you like, we can get you the grab loops, etc. and you can do whatever you want - and you can use our mod-template or the forums as an information resource." Its in the same vein as keeping the boats easily field-repairable.

On the seat, you might actually think about using a Dory/Explorer seat. That would give you both a backrest and additional lift. Plus, at 6' it sounds like you're starting to push the size-limit on the Yak. On modding the seat design... that's another thing we've got on the list to play with. Our R&D has gone up a lot since we started our shop, but it seems like the list grows longer every day.

Have fun in NZ! I openly admit to being green with envy.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:47 am
by PatriotBliss
What I would like is a small inflatable thwart shaped like the bow of the boat for my Denali Llama. When I do just a little day trip I don't need the extra space in the front under my pack. At the moment I take a paddle float from my sea kayak and inflate it to take up the extra six inches so my feet have something to brace against, but if you could make a small thwart out of the same material that is specifically cut to fit the boat then you could run it in day-trip vs expedition mode depending on your gear space requirements.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:43 am
by abel6wt
i know i will be carrying 1 - 2 flyrod tubes a lot of the time. is there a tried-and-true mod for this? if not, some thought might be put into the hauling of fishing gear.
is there a place on these boats that the forum members would discourage a grab loop or other fixed mod? I'm talking about that certain place on all boats that seems to rub the wrong way. For instance, i have a pfd that has pockets that are in the exact place that my thumbs pass by when i'm paddling(oar frame). if i don't close those pockets, i hook my thumbs every other stroke - annoying. i would think that directly to the side of the paddler might be a bad place in a packraft(in the path of hands and arms that are paddling)(?). Just a couple thoughts....
take care, abel6wt

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 3:41 pm
I have not yet experience the superior durability and performance of an alpacka raft, but there is one mod I would like to see based on my experience pushing my POS coleman beyond it's limits.

I know alpackas are more durable than my coleman, but whenever possible, a little extra abrasion protection would be awesome.

I would like to see a fold-able plastic hard bottom shell for the outside of the Alpacka. It would be more weight of course, so it should be an accessory that can be easily removed or installed rather than a mod per se. I think a design similar to those plastic origami folding camping cups and bowls would be a good starting point. Putting metal snaps on the raft to attach the shell would be very problematic as the snaps would create stress points on the tubing. The plastic would also have to be vented, so that water could flow in and out easily so that it would not retain water and cause erratic handling.

Another, possibly less problematic idea would be to make a big "glove" for the raft that would cover the bottom up to the sides and attach near the perimeter of the spray skirt. The material could be modeled after cut resistant gloves like these ... id=APD-1A1. If the material is stretchy and form fitting as well as water permiable, I doubt it would cause handling problems. Mounting it could be as easy as running a nylon retaining loop through an eyelet in the material every 18" outside the spray skirt.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:22 pm
by AeroNautiCal
Hello JDFIU,

Irrespective of any other factor, the Turtleskin material is not cost effective in that it costs nearly $29:00 for a pair of gloves, and it would take a great deal more material to produce the type of cover which you suggest.

The cost of wastage would also have to be included.

The additional weight and drag would reduce payload and speed, and as the point of a Packraft is to pack it in or on one's backpack, the weight and bulk of the cover would appear to detract from the original purpose and benefit of having a Packraft!

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:53 pm
I agree the cost of that specific material is prohibitive, but it is also overkill for a packraft. To avoid water logging a looser weave would be needed. The material does not have to be that strong, just non- absorbent.

I do disagree that a packraft is to be in a backpack though. I think that a packraft is just to be packed! They would complement an ATV for hunting. Something to narrow the gap between heavy durable rubber tubes and the packraft tubes would be good.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:43 am
by bothyman
Anything attached to the raft such as snaps could weaken the integrity of the raft.
The less stuff you have on the outside the better, as you have less stuff to snag on things.
The smoother it is, the better it is.
That's the way I see it anyway ???????????????????????


Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:15 am
by Rods
JDFIU wrote:
I do disagree that a packraft is to be in a backpack though. I think that a packraft is just to be packed!
One of the major attractions of packrafts for me is the fact that it is light and small enough that it can be backpacked or even carried in the hand (I can do this with the "Alpaca"). It does not need to be carried to the put-in by car and therefore can be used anywhere that one cares to travel by any means: foot, train, bus, public transport, bike or car. Forget about the water it may be best suitable for, what other watercraft can you do this with?

Folding kayaks can also be packed, but even the lightest is a struggle to backpack with. I think the lightness and backpackability (new word?) is one of its major assets.

Rock Skirt

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:10 pm
I was making my idea harder than it should be. How about a sheet of of rubber up to 1/8" thick? I think enough rubber to cover the whole vulnerable area of the craft couldn't weigh more than 10 lbs. You aren't going to go backpacking with it probably but it would still be very packable, and relatively light. It is something you would put on to go surfing on the beach or do non wilderness whitewater run. Secure the "rock skirt" at the grab loops.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:18 am
by andrewallan
Hmmmmm. I've just come back from a wk in NZ fly-fishing and rafting (rafts being used for downstream travel at the end of each day/trip).

JDFIU - these rafts are unbelievably tough. You don't need "protectors" on them at all, although you would on a Coleman.

The river was low when we were there, and we scraped (as in "got stuck on and had to push off") a zillion rocks on the way downstream, and there is really bugger all evidence of wear on the rafts. I am constantly amazed at how tough they are. The whole debate about weights of protective pads etc becomes irrelevant!

As to issues with design:

Supplied tie downs were fine with day pack or full pack. My spray deck design also has 2 "tie downs" on the side to hold the spraydeck out of the way if it is not being used, and we used this for attaching our 4 piece fly rods - worked well, although I am equally happy attaching it to the side of the daypack/rucksack on the front of the raft.

Spent a lot of time pushing myself back in the raft, and up, as I seemed to slide down off the seat in rough water. I'm just under 6ft,and 82kg, and have a yak, but still seem to slide forwards. Most of the need to get back and up is to improve your view of what you are about to raft, however in doing so, you do drop the arse of the raft lower in the water, even with 20kg on the front, and therefore get more water over the back. I'd therefore like more and higher arse floatation, as my overwhelming feeling is that I seem to slump/slide forward in the boat, and sit too low. However, along with this I'd like a back that sits a little higher. Even with a full rucksack at the front, it seems a little too low at the back, and this is exacerbated by having nothing on the front.

We generally paddled without spraydecks, and on our trip found that most of the water comes over the front when you are in standing waves, and some comes over the back when you get stuck on a rock. Presumably this varies according to river levels, however the "raft emptying" wasn't as irritating this ear as previously, and I'd almost consider taking the deck off......! Particularly as the wader/neoprene top poor man's dry suit worked so well.

Re: Rock Skirt

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:09 pm
by AeroNautiCal
JDFIU wrote:.....How about a sheet of of rubber up to 1/8" thick? I think enough rubber to cover the whole vulnerable area of the craft couldn't weigh more than 10 lbs......
:shock: :o :roll: :cry:

Er'.........that about twice the weight of the Packraft just for the hull cover, which is totally NOT needed!

I got spare hull fabric when I bought my Llama, and I'll be straight with you, you will not damage this material short of stabbing it or setting it on fire!

I've worked with high abrasion and tear resistant materials professionally, and I've never come across stuff as tough as the Alpacka hull fabric (which incidentally, looks great in yellow!).

Andrew must have thought that I was crazy as I wanted to buy loads of repair kits and spare hull fabric, I (and I think you too!) simply could not believe just how strong, yet light the fabric is.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:27 pm
Fine, all you weight weenies, I capitulate for now. <goes off to mount razor blades on the rocks of popular rivers> To clarify: While I have not rafted in an alpacka, I have seen one in person. The material is very tough and I agree it is probably more than sufficient for most backpacking trips. When I get an alpacka, I will make a rubber rock skirt and take a bunch of pictures of dragging it across barnacles fully loaded with gear and how it saved me in a knife fight with Somalian pirates :twisted:

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:00 am
by andrewallan
Feel free to carry what you wish, however please note that the rafts are incredibly tough, and I reckon you'd be hard pushed to puncture one.

I do recall reading somewhere that there had been 2 punctures noted - one when someone ran the raft onto some barnacles whilst using it in the surf, and the other when a rafter caught a "spiny rockfish" and put it in the boat.

Therefore, if you wish to raft near barnacles, or catch "spiny rockfish", by all means cover the thing with 2" rubber matting!

For the rest of us, being proactive and avoiding these obstacles saves us weight, and we're happy to take that risk, which is why we lashed out and bought such amazing rafts in the first instance. Believe me, NOTHING COMPARES with them.


Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:23 am
by Reg
Something on each side tube (more towards the outside) which will allow the attachment of long, slender items such as skies, trekkking poles, fishing poles, and/or paddle. As I fish down the river, I often beach the raft by backing onto the beach and cast directly from the raft while sitting in the normal rafting/sitting position, spray deck and all. It would be nice to be able to secure the paddle on one side and retrieve the fishing pole from the other side.

A simple velcro strap or a velcro tab attached to a bungie would suffice. It would need to be designed with minimal "fiddle factor" as it would be continuously fastened and unfastened.

Thanks for the forum.


spray Deck Velcro closure upgrade in materials

Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:39 am
by turk
This is not so much a custom mod, as I would love to see it become a new standard.
Regarding alpackas with spray decks - I would like to see another style of Velcro closure used.

Please check out Velcro brand Omni-tape. It is an asexual form of standard velcro.
(There is no male hook-side, that must be mated to the female loop side). You get
the exact same performance and resistance characteristics of the current Velcro tape
being used on 08 spray decks, while solving several problems typical of field use.

Omni-tape by Velcro, is MUCH friendlier to sand and grit. It resists build-up and catching of lint,
and foreign particles way better than standard velcro. A quick rinse in the river and omni-tape
easily washes out any sand or river bottom muck that may have collected between the weaves
omni-tape. It is great stuff, and is catching on like wildfire in the cottage gear industry.

JacksRBetter - a manufacturer of camping hammock accessories has been using omni-tape as
door closures for their ultra-light silnylon hammock tents, and on their quilts with fantastic success
and reviews.

For a very minute difference in material costs, I think this would be a great improvement to Alpacka
spray decks and increase the longevity of the spray deck closures by many years.

other improvements

Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:07 am
by turk
I would love to see some kind of lightweight carry handle option. this would be advantageous
for those short portages when you just want to throw the inflated boat up on your shoulder, or
for those with packs that don't easily accomodate carrying the raft still attached via the pack.

I would think for a few ounces, this would be a good accessory.

Secondly I would like to see some way of securing spray decked boats fully open. On steep
drops people often sit on top of their spray deck or have it tucked to the side in anticipation
of a quick wet exit. It would be really great if we had some kind of fastening system to roll
the spray deck up and secure the roll to the right side tube. Too many times have I seen
spray decks flop open and snag on something either on a good bail, or on short portage.
Also in really warm weather, its nice to get out from under your deck and kick back with,
your feet up. Im sure this could be acomplished for under an ounce. Loads of easy fasteners
out there, or something as simple as ties like on tarps and tents to roll the doors back.

A tidy raft and tidy gear makes for happy and safe paddling.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:18 pm
by Alpacka Raft LLC
Firstly, thanks to everyone for keeping the ideas flowing! We like hearing it all :D

A couple thoughts spring to mind...

"Boat Shoes" and Durability. This is a fun conversation. Our main line is definitely tough, as our kind boaters have pointed out. But we'd also like to give JDFIU a shout for thinking boldly. JDFIU, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. However, it's true that - for a very small minority of users doing *really* aggressive water, they may want a tougher boat. In fact, for that level of challenge & stress, specialized craft itself might be in order - a "creek boat" of sorts...

Securable Spraydeck. Conveniently enough, this has been an ongoing project for us. We're getting closer to our goal of having a "convertable" boat.

Omni Tape. This bears looking into. Thanks for the heads-up, turk.

Equipment Attachments. Great idea - and one we've had in parallel development too! :D We're looking to a have a quick method to 'customize' your alpacka with various grab loops, strap-attachments, etc., either by pre-selecting a package (ex: "ski carrying rig") or custom-requesting it (the current only method). Right now, it's mostly a matter of getting our organization system figured out for it.

Thanks everyone for all the other ideas I haven't specifically mentioned. We're reading them & thinking. Hopefully, this spring will see a lot of new development come to fruition. Sheri has been tinkering up a storm. (Me... I'm just breathing right now... was doing some training, and a friend fell on my floating ribs. Great guy, also a 250-lb. Irishman. oooooo... hurts to breath...)

Cheers, Everyone! Keep posting!

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sat May 23, 2009 3:50 pm
by ollyb_1st
I've never actually used a packraft nor seen one in person. I only came upon this site because I dreamed up some idea of hikng in the wilderness with some sort of watercraft on my back.

What I had hoped to find was a raft/kayak which would be light enough to carry and which would have a second use as a shelter (or part of a shelter). The material used for a packraft could be used as part of a tent; a ground sheet maybe?

So that's the custom boat I'd like to have - a raft/tent hybrid. A packraftent?

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sat May 23, 2009 8:10 pm
by Arturgreen
I don't know that you need a custom mod for that. I've slept on the packraft as a groundcloth several times and Hig and Erin have used them as shelters/groundcloths for years.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sat May 30, 2009 7:46 pm
by Hig
They make a fine ground cloth, and inflated a packraft makes a great bed for one person. I've used them that way both out in the field and once in the Bangkok airport... you can put your pack inside the overturned raft and don't have to worry about anyone walking off with your stuff while you sleep.

The next step is to make a tent structure that takes advantage of the raft as a structural floor... I've experimented a little, but what I came up with sucked. I've seen other approaches that looked promising...

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sun May 31, 2009 11:01 am
by ollyb_1st
I was wondering if they would make a good ground sheet; aren't they a bit lumpy if deflated or a bit narrow if inflated?

Because the material is so waterproof (obviously) then the best place for the deflated raft within a tent structure would be at the apex. Rolls of extra material could be attached to the raft sides in order to complete the structure. I'd draw a picture except I'm a terrible artist!

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:57 pm
by AeroNautiCal
The new Alpacka 'Bivvy' undergoes testing at a secret facility! Image


Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:52 pm
by Shaggy
Oooooooh, AeroNautiCal has SO outed our secret Skunk Works! AeroNautiCal, your claim of political asylum in Great Britain protects you... but why, man, why? Why did you have to reveale our secret line of fashion apparel to the world?

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:56 am
by blisterfree
Aren't those the new HoverPonchos I've been hearing about, designed for 24/7 habitation in wet conditions, land or sea?

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:21 pm
by Dogman
I have a Denali without the spraydeck. I would like to see a detachable bow skirt to use as a table for fishing, as in Fly fishing. It would just cover the bow or 1/3 of the raft. It could be installed with the current tiedowns. I don't like to be wrapped up in a cover, but this would allow some comfort and be useful to lay a camera on or a GPS, small fishfinder or lunch! I don't plan on running the ravege rivers of America, but I do like my Packraft! It's the ultimate backwater cruiser. It could be reinforced with a plastic sail batton that would give one a solid table. :geek:

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:57 pm
by bradmeiklejohn
Andrew and Sheri,

First off, kudos on the 2009 boat, which I posted on in the "In Search of a Dry Boat" discussion.

There are two related ideas that I've seen repeated in many of the responses to your initial query about boat modifications. Every packrafter I have watched run whitewater does the "Butt Boat Squirm" after a big drop, which involves pushing yourself up and back onto your seat. It's annoying and distracting and I think it results from two things: the shape of the seat, and the fit of the boat.

Part of the problem could be solved by contouring the seat slightly so that it cupped your butt, making it less likely that you would slide forward. Another part of the solution is better foot bracing, which could be achieved with a small, inflatable pillow or thwart that fits at the front of the boat. I've had some success with mylar wine skins, but I can't find any glue that will adhere to the mylar. (I want to attach velcro to the wine skin so that it doesn't come out every time I dump water out of my boat.)

I am 6'2" and drive a Llama. I also have a Yak, which is a tighter fit, and I do less squirming in it, but I do more swimming because it is less stable than my Yak. Since it is impossible to have a perfect fit for everybody when you only have 3 boat sizes, it would be nice to some way for everybody to customize the fit of their boat.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:23 pm
by Hig
Brad, out of curiousity, have you tried putting the wineskin behind your butt instead of at your feet? It'd mess up the back-rest support, but it might allow you to lock your feet against the bow and also move your center of mass more to the center of the boat. (I'm 5' 9.5" and drive an Alpaca, which means I can lock my feet nicely against the bow.)

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:38 pm
by klillie
I would like to see some mesh zipper bags attached inside the boat.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:02 pm
by Shaggy
Klillie, what about this:

Glue a seat attachment tab to the inside of your boat.
Sew another onto a mesh bag.

You can put it wherever you want, thread it in, and - if you don't want it in the boat - just unthread it and take it with you.

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 2:42 pm
by MTBeginner
After comparing my Yukon (received a month ago) and my buddies (ordered Dec 2009), I am really impressed with the adjustments to the spray deck. It feels as if I have more room to bend my knees when in calm water. The only problem Im having is getting the spray deck to stay completely enclosed where it meets my body. I have not thought of the answer, as it is likely operator error, but Ive been thinking of some kind of fastener for where the spray deck velcro meets my body. Whenever my body gets thrown a little bit in rapids, the top few inches of spray deck unvelcroes and the water that forms in the little pockets falls in (might be cured by trying Roman's inflatable side bags that I read somewhere on this site). Anyone with similar problems that they might have fixed? (Side note: that 4 inches is the only velcro on the entire boat that isnt secured, even when wet)

But overall, Im amazed with the durabilty and maneuverability of these fine vessels! Look forward to seeing them evolve, just wish I would have found them sooner!

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sun May 23, 2010 6:44 am
by summerrun
Floorless Alpacka...similar to watermaster but light like the Alpacka w an integrated oar system like a watermaster...PLEASE:)

Re: What custom boat mods would you like?

Posted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:14 am
by cgar380
not really custom but improvements Alpacka should make.
For reference, I have a decked 2009 Yukon Yak and just bought an undecked Explorer. I love my packraft but for the money there are some shortcomings that should be addressed.

1) Industrial strength velcro and a wider closure area on the srpay skirts(the velcro used is garbage and fails when wet especially in whitewater). I, along with several other PR boaters are sewing extended heavier pieces of velcro to their spray skirts, not to mention snaps and other extra fasteners to the top part of our spray skirts.

2) More contact surface area connecting the spray skirt to the boat to prevent accidental peeling. And find a stronger glue if possible. If I'm not super careful, mine starts to peel off anywhere I grab it.

2) Update the picture on the website regarding fit (the one with Thor sitting in the boats) by having him sit in the boats using a seat and backrest as provided with the boats and with shoes on. Also, show him sitting in the boats with a spray deck attached and closed so people can see the real fit of the boat. According to the website, the Yukon should fit me perfectly but my knees are bent up pushing into the skirt which causes water to pool in the center of the deck, making it almost impossible to close the skirt with the standard velcro closure, and freezing my knees in cold water.
I just read two posts of people taller than me with Yaks wondering about the size. Updating the fit page/picture would really help your new customers.

3) Take a picture of the 2010 spray skirt and get it on the website TODAY! It's July 31st! A text description isn't enough to show the upgrades and improvements.

4) This one is a custom boat mod. Relocate the mouth filler valve that would allow for topping off the pressure while in the boat. I temper my boat to the water before I shove off, but i still find that the internal air pressure drops after about 5-10 min on the water. Once I'm going I don't want to stop and get out to top off the boat. I'm going to put an extension tube on mine and try that but with it directly behind me I think it will still be difficult to do without getting out of the boat. (I used some old camelback hose and it worked beautifully while on the river the other day)

thanks for asking our opinions,