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Old 02-14-2013   #1
 
Bisters, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 421
Alpacka

Ok. So there have been a few threads lately about Alpacka trip reports. I'm specifically interested in anyone with feedback about using the new zipper Alpacka boats. The internet search info I've found seem to be reported by hikers turned packrafters not kayakers turned packrafters. I'm thinking about getting a Denali Lama w/ the cockpit combing and zippers.

-How well does the combing mate w/ ww spray skirts, standard size?
-Any issues w/ the zippers yet? Does muddy water cause issues?
-What size/brand dry bags are you using to fill the extra space in the tubes?
-Anyone try out the bladder/thigh brace/ overthruster thing?
-Is the Denali Lama the most capable ww model?

Now that this boat can handle class IV well I'm stoked to travel w/ it to places bringing a kayak isn't a good option.

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Old 02-14-2013   #2
 
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
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I'm curious to hear about the zipper boats,as well. Sounds like they perform a lot better once you get the weight down in there. I need one of these.
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Old 02-16-2013   #3
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jun 2012
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I am getting the zippers installed on my Llama this month. Running the Upper Salt this spring so will have a good idea on performance over the next couple months.
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Old 02-16-2013   #4
 
GJ, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 714
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmacn View Post
-How well does the combing mate w/ ww spray skirts, standard size?
-Any issues w/ the zippers yet? Does muddy water cause issues?
-What size/brand dry bags are you using to fill the extra space in the tubes?
-Anyone try out the bladder/thigh brace/ overthruster thing?
-Is the Denali Lama the most capable ww model?

Now that this boat can handle class IV well I'm stoked to travel w/ it to places bringing a kayak isn't a good option.
Coaming is not the same as a ww kayak, thus you need to use the skirt Alpacka provides. Or *maybe* mod one of your own?

Mud might cause an issue with the zipper eventually, but none so far. Just give it a little rinse with your water bottle before opening it after spending any time in muck.

Alpacka includes dry bags to go inside the tubes. They're sized to fit, and have fastex buckle attachments already--for buckling them into the boat.

I use thigh straps in mine, not sure about the 'overthruster' you're referring to.

The boats need to be sized appropriate to the paddler. Thus the Llama is indeed capable, but fits folks from ~6'0" to ~6'3" or so best. I'm 5'10" and I have/prefer the Yukon Yak size. My wife is 5'4" and she fits the Alpaca best. Get it?

Few more weeks til the water starts running in earnest around here. Psyched to get out in it.

MC
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Old 02-16-2013   #5
 
Bisters, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 421
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
Coaming is not the same as a ww kayak, thus you need to use the skirt Alpacka provides. Or *maybe* mod one of your own?

Mud might cause an issue with the zipper eventually, but none so far. Just give it a little rinse with your water bottle before opening it after spending any time in muck.

Alpacka includes dry bags to go inside the tubes. They're sized to fit, and have fastex buckle attachments already--for buckling them into the boat.

I use thigh straps in mine, not sure about the 'overthruster' you're referring to.

The boats need to be sized appropriate to the paddler. Thus the Llama is indeed capable, but fits folks from ~6'0" to ~6'3" or so best. I'm 5'10" and I have/prefer the Yukon Yak size. My wife is 5'4" and she fits the Alpaca best. Get it?

Few more weeks til the water starts running in earnest around here. Psyched to get out in it.

MC
I understand the combing isn't the same as a kayak. I was under the impression that it is designed to be used w/ ww sprayskirts, no? The alpacka skirts look more like "splash" protection. Do you have the ww spray deck on your alpacka? Did you install your own thigh straps? (the over thruster thing is called the "gravity grip")
Also, do the alpacka dry bags fill all the volume of the tubes? From the website video it appears like the bags clipped in would still leave room for another drybag or two?
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Old 02-16-2013   #6
 
GJ, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 714
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmacn View Post
I understand the combing isn't the same as a kayak. I was under the impression that it is designed to be used w/ ww sprayskirts, no? The alpacka skirts look more like "splash" protection. Do you have the ww spray deck on your alpacka? Did you install your own thigh straps? (the over thruster thing is called the "gravity grip")
Also, do the alpacka dry bags fill all the volume of the tubes? From the website video it appears like the bags clipped in would still leave room for another drybag or two?
I've never heard anyone at Alpacka say that their coaming has anything in common with any kayak/ww skirt coaming.

I'd be surprised if it worked, but I think you should try it and tell us what you find.

I do have the ww skirt on my boat. It's much more than splash protection, but you're not totally dry inside either. You can punch waves and holes all day and even hit some drops. It works really, really well *relative to how light and compact it is*. It is nowhere near as bomber nor dry as a kayak ww skirt.

Yes, I glued in my own d-rings and sewed my own thigh straps. Gravity grip is nice in that it gives you more control than nothing, but it's nowhere near as much control as thigh straps. A good happy medium?

You can easily fit other dry bags inside, even with the Alpacka ones in there. But you'd need to be on a ~weeklong trip to need more space than they give you, imo.
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Old 02-17-2013   #7
 
Bisters, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 421
Thanks for your responses Mike. I guess I'm still not completely clear about your setup. I have seen the sprayskirts that Alpacka has had out for some years. Recently they have made what they are describing as a proper combing. It looks like a glorified oval tent pole, but whatever it's a packraft. I fully understand that it will not resemble a plastic ww kayak combing. So is this what you have on your boat, or do you have the sprayskirt that has been available for a while?
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Old 02-17-2013   #8
 
GJ, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 714
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmacn View Post
Thanks for your responses Mike. I guess I'm still not completely clear about your setup. I have seen the sprayskirts that Alpacka has had out for some years. Recently they have made what they are describing as a proper combing. It looks like a glorified oval tent pole, but whatever it's a packraft. I fully understand that it will not resemble a plastic ww kayak combing. So is this what you have on your boat, or do you have the sprayskirt that has been available for a while?
The old school deck/skirt Alpacka has been making for awhile is called the "Cruiser Deck". Check their site to see.

The new one, with a coaming and skirt like a traditional kayak setup, is what I have. On the same page so far?

It sounded like you wanted to mate the new boat/deck with a kayak neoprene skirt. I'm telling you they weren't designed to work that way--you have to use the skirt that Alpacka makes and includes with the boat. Dig?
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Old 02-18-2013   #9
 
Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 3
Hi jmacn,
If you haven't had the chance to demo one yet: since you're in FLG (and in case you do not already know) Ceiba now has an Alpacka in their rental fleet. I'll definitely be checking it out in the next coming weeks
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Old 02-18-2013   #10
 
Bisters, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 421
Thanks for the info all, glad to know Scotty and Rach have an Alpacka. There will be a market for them around these parts. In case anyone is interested in an ultra-lite packraft, an engineer in Phoenix who's into Grand Canyon river crossings has built a very small and light packraft. His company is called Supai Adventure Gear. It's not really intended for river running, but if all you need to do is cross flat water it looks pretty functional and very light...
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