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Alpaca's New Deck
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G Foster McLachlan
(hunter13) - F

Locale: NYS
Alpaca's New Deck on 02/28/2012 17:09:50 MST Print View

Any opinions on the new deck available by ALpaca? I saw one thread from the site, but no more. The new design sounds amazing, and being dry is a plus, but I'm sure it creates new limitations as well-especially for multi-purpose use. As it's new it's all conjecture I guess, but I'm listening.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Alpaca's New Deck on 02/28/2012 20:57:23 MST Print View

Unless I'm misreading their website, it's about twice as heavy as the 2011 version. It also employs rigid poles to give it shape.

It may be great for keeping water out, but IMHO, the 2011 spray deck is much better for the "pack" part of packrafting. Lighter and smaller volume. Plus, I like that the 2011 is removable.

Don Meredith
(donmeredith) - F

Locale: SouthEast
Alpaca's New Deck on 02/29/2012 05:52:07 MST Print View

I have a boat with the 2012 deck on order. I'll post photos, weights, etc. when I have the boat in hand in a few weeks. The website is a little thin on details around the deck opening size relative to a person, details on the poles, details on the include spray skirt, etc.

Don Meredith
lightpack.blogspot.com

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: new Alpacka deck on 02/29/2012 07:30:12 MST Print View

From the initial reports I've heard, the new deck functions quite well for what it was intended: hard whitewater. It's the second major step (the big butts where the first) in a series of things which will be necessary to keep expanding a packrafts ability it whitewater. Photos of the latest whitewater prototype show some of the design elements coming down the pipe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04jZJQcVUd8 (at least watch the last 37 seconds)

IMO the new deck is a must-have if you consistently and mostly run class IV and V. That's not me. I like the light weight of the 2010 deck, and the versatility (remove it for summer fishing trips, multi person crossings, etc). Alpacka is wise to offer both.

Generally we'll continue to see divergence and specialization amongst packrafts. I'm particularly interested to see how much of this the market will bear. In a few years they'll probably have a ~12 pound whitewater boat, with little rocker, much less air volume (necessary for punching big water), a skid plate, harness for rolling, and the ability to only carry very modest cargo loads. There's obviously a market for this, and I look forward to seeing some major wilderness class IV and V packraft first descents.

I also think the lighter end of the spectrum will continue to grow (backwards?). Things like Roman Dial's super scout and the Skurka boat have an audience amongst the long-distance crowd. And throughout it all the original line will continue to be the best answer for most people. Versatile, and with a high volume roll over everything style which suits scrappy low volume wilderness boating.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Decks and Development on 02/29/2012 07:53:49 MST Print View

For me, the 2011 deck was a no-brainer because I need to be able to remove my deck for multi-person crossings etc.

That video was awesome. Some of the best whitewater yet.

I'm happy to see Alpacka et al pushing the white water envelope because some ideas (ie. big butts) transition well onto regular boats. It does seem that more focus is being placed on this, than on making the boats lighter/more 'packable' however and I feel like they're missing some opportunity here.

Some quick (non-thought thru) ideas for a lighter/more pack worthy raft are:
1) Use lighter material on the inside of the tubes where there's less abuse (class III boats)
2) Offer an entire boat with lighter tube material (class I-II boats)
3) Better pack/stuff attachment system for bow
4) Lighter valves (especially the mouth ones, since there's 4 per boat)
5) Lighter inflation bag (ie. carbon rods instead of wooden sticks)
6) Redesign the seat to work optimally with no backrest
7) Design an inflatable PFD that integrates the seat backrest into the PFD instead of attaching it to the boat.

Edited by dandydan on 02/29/2012 14:46:11 MST.

Rob E
(eatSleepFish)

Locale: Canada
Re: Decks and Development on 02/29/2012 10:01:26 MST Print View

I agree with Dan. There is a gap between the bullet-proof class IV capable Alpackaraft and the lightweight still water capable flyweight designs boat.

Lightweight and packable, good flat water paddling speed and ability to handle moderate gear loads (30-50 lbs of gear) and capable of handling some class II moving water would be an ideal boat for me.

Edited by eatSleepFish on 02/29/2012 10:02:02 MST.

peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
alpacka scout on 02/29/2012 10:45:37 MST Print View

peter has the scout, at least i think it's the new model, scout.
it has the big butt, and it's yellow. the thing is great. it could weigh less to be sure, but it is a bomber as my orig alpacka.

if sherrie was going to cut weight, she could take some of it out of the floor. you'll still float with a torn floor. you won't float so nicely with a ripped hull though.

alpacka's are just sooo nice. i can't really find issue with them in any serious way. they don't cost all that much, and if you have ever been alone out in the middle of something big, and filled with millions of grinding shards of floating ice, i can assure you ... they don't cost Near Enough !

btw, the scout seems a bit faster (a nebulous term as relates to packrafts) than the orig alpacka. just a tad. but it's still nice.
it goes straighter too.

that ACE hardware Flexible Vinyl mender they recommend Works Great if you clamp it overnight.

and... you can eliminate the extra mass of the inflato bag, if you make a carrying sack with no extra supports in it at all. peter is not really gett'n the inflato sack thing... the boat inflates just ducky with a big stuff sack. it takes a wee bit longer i think, but heck, who's in a big hurry to cross freezing water ? it might be just me. i don't know. perhaps if i rafted more often it would increase speed's importance.

i don't know squat about spray decks. but i just thought i'd post here anyway... kind'a like.. you know ... at random.

cheers,
v.

Duy Tam Nguyen
(Totoro85)

Locale: Northern Ontario (middle actually)
Spray Deck Fit on 02/29/2012 16:00:38 MST Print View

Any idea if the new spray deck will fit a wide range of bodies? I found the 2011 far too tight, especially with clothing layers and pfd that it was a deal breaker. I'm heavily considering the feathercraft baylee with the self bailing floors. No fussing with a deck and should perform well enough for me.

Just trying to decide between a Baylee 1 (10lb) and Baylee 2 (12.5lb).

G Foster McLachlan
(hunter13) - F

Locale: NYS
Re: Alpaca's New Deck on 02/29/2012 17:29:11 MST Print View

Some good points mentioned here. I'm going to pull the trigger on a new Alpaca this week, and I'll opt for the old deck at this point-I was leaning toward the new deck at first but I like the open boat and weight, and would suit my purpose 70% of the time, although velcro can often be a pain.

Joery Truyen
(Joery)

Locale: Europe
first experience with 2012 deck on 03/02/2012 06:49:13 MST Print View

I have been packrafting with the new 2012 deck for 5 days now, of which a 3-day trip with some whitewater and a bit of hiking. I'm very pleased with this deck for what I intend to do with it. If Alpacka raft says this deck keeps you completely dry, I think they got it right. If you feel some moisture on your legs under this deck it will more likely come from condensation rather than water leaking through as I have experienced so far.

The aluminum tubes seem to be somewhat awkward to carry while hiking with my golite pinnacle. Put them inside the pack and the organisation of all my stuff inside the pack becomes troublesome though you can get away with it. Have not tried to fix them carefully on the outside of the Pinnacle yet. On my ULA epic I found a way to fix the tubes on the pack safely (at least it feels secure) and they fit rather well inside the 70L StS drybag as well (since this drybag is rather wide).

I intend to use this deck on trips where I will do more boating then hiking. For hiking trips with some shorter packrafting section or on bikerafting trips I still have my undecked Yak. So I think the choice between the 2012 deck or the velcro one will still be determined by your preferences in boating style and the weight of the decks.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: first experience with 2012 deck on 03/02/2012 07:12:31 MST Print View

Thanks for posting that Joery. Good to get some first-hand info.

Don Meredith
(donmeredith) - F

Locale: SouthEast
Alpacka's New Deck on 03/02/2012 08:29:03 MST Print View

My boat was in the process of having the deck installed yesterday so it should ship today or Monday. I'll post photos of how open the deck is without the support poles or spray skirt. My thought is that I can use the boat like this for mild water trips and bring the poles and skirt when I expect rougher water. From the limited photos I've seen, the compromise is minimal but we'll see soon enough.

Das Boat

DM

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: 2012 deck on 03/02/2012 08:48:06 MST Print View

Nice racing stripes.

Are those thigh strap attachments they're doing factory now?

Don Meredith
(donmeredith) - F

Locale: SouthEast
Strap mounts on 03/02/2012 08:53:01 MST Print View

Yeah, the ones on the back side of the boat are standard (I didn't ask for anything special). I got several photos of the boat in process yesterday but can't see any evidence of the other tie down up front to add the thigh straps. I plan on adding those myself sooner or later if they aren't already there.

I figured I needed stripes to keep from mixing my boat up with all the others here in South Carolina. ;) Hopefully you'll see some surfing photos pretty soon...

DM

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: strap plates on 03/02/2012 10:55:01 MST Print View

On second thought they're too far back for thigh straps. Must be the new backrest.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Backrest on 03/04/2012 21:22:20 MST Print View

Yeah that's where my backrest attaches.

Kyle Crawford
(getupandgo) - F

Locale: SouthEast
DON! on 03/25/2012 01:32:32 MDT Print View

Where is your packraft review??


Edit. Just saw it on your blog. Niceeee. Whenever I get a boat, we'll have to get up and paddle the Saluda or somethin.

Kyle

Edited by getupandgo on 03/25/2012 01:42:00 MDT.

Don Meredith
(donmeredith) - F

Locale: SouthEast
SC Packrafts on 03/25/2012 07:46:08 MDT Print View

Kyle, I'm giving the Saluda a whirl pretty soon. After that, I'm eyeing a trip down the Tyger River to the Broad River then out on the bike through Harbison.

DM

Kyle Crawford
(getupandgo) - F

Locale: SouthEast
Don! on 03/25/2012 20:53:05 MDT Print View

Don

Let me know when this is going down. I want in!

Kyle Crawford
(getupandgo) - F

Locale: SouthEast
Also on 03/28/2012 20:17:25 MDT Print View

Also, are you going to try to learn to roll it?