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The Alpacka Raft Cargo Fly
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Paul Mountford
(Sparticus) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic Canada
The Alpacka Raft Cargo Fly on 11/30/2012 05:56:41 MST Print View

Interesting post over on the Packrafting forums. Hopefully not a spoof because it is definitely an interesting idea. Would you pay to have your boat retrofitted?

http://packrafting.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2274#p8185

Edit - I found it on the Alpacka site so it is real. Is the extra 20 oz worth it to you?

Edited by Sparticus on 11/30/2012 12:52:34 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Alpacka Cargo Zipper on 11/30/2012 09:05:05 MST Print View

Cargo Zip 1

Cargo Zip 2

Hmm...certainly an interesting idea. It'll be neat to see how this concept pans out.

PROS:
- Better visibility from the cockpit
- Less risk of losing your stuff
- Drier for your stuff
- Nice clean aesthetic
- Lower center of gravity
- Solution for areas requiring multi-chamber boats

CONS:
- Additional failure point (ie. "constant vigilance...is important")
- Raft deflates every time you access this area.
- Center of gravity is moved back.
- The dual long/skinny drybags look difficult to utilize for backpacking.
- The drybags are supposed to be filled with gear after they are in the boat, so packing/unpacking could be more time consuming.

The weight shift (lower but further back) is interesting. Alpacka says it's great and I'm sure the lower center of gravity is awesome, but I wonder if there is also a degradation by losing the weight up at the bow. The boat seems more stern heavy like this, but I'm not experienced enough to weigh in on the overall effect. It'll be interesting to see some thoughts from actual users.

Regarding the weight (20oz), I suspect most of it is in the dry bags. I wonder if these could be omitted and gear could be tossed into the boat in a few silnylon sacks (which would shift around a bit). That's more appealing to me and would cost half as much. As is, the additional dry sacks look like a lot (~1 lbs) of dead weight when hiking, unless someone comes out with a pack that utilizes these well. Also, it doesn't appear that a framed backpack would fit in the boat, so strapping a pack to the bow would still be necessary unless you're going with a frameless pack.

Overall, it looks like a nice setup for boating-centric trips where you're not regularly backpacking. For trips with a significant hiking component, the added weight and hassle of transitioning gear (between these chambers and a pack that would still strapped to the bow) seems like more hassle than it's worth. With that said, you can always leave the additional dry sacks at home and just use the boat normally with just the 2-3oz for the zipper coming along.

Edited by dandydan on 11/30/2012 09:08:06 MST.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Alpacka Cargo Zipper on 11/30/2012 10:19:01 MST Print View

Overall, it looks like a nice setup for boating-centric trips where you're not regularly backpacking. For trips with a significant hiking component, the added weight and hassle of transitioning gear (between these chambers and a pack that would still strapped to the bow) seems like more hassle than it's worth.

That was exactly my impression, too. If you inflate your boat once a day and maybe cram your lunch under the deck or have a small stuffsack on the bow with what you need for the day in it, I could see where this would be much more streamlined. But if you're not on the water for most of the day, it doesn't seem practical at all.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: cargo fly on 11/30/2012 11:14:26 MST Print View

I would not pay to have my boat retro'd, nor pay an extra 220 if I was getting a new boat. In the end I'm not interested in having another failure point on the boat, and irrespective of how good the zip is, this will fail for frequently than anything else.

That said, as I wrote in the recent article packrafts will have be become much more kayakesque if they hope to run ever more technical whitewater. Currently they have too much floatation for these applications. This is one necessary piece of that puzzle, just not one in which I'm personally interested.

Trevor Martin
(trevormar) - MLife

Locale: Rockies/ Desert Southwest
Zipper Design on 11/30/2012 17:58:08 MST Print View

Can you really have a truly airtight zipper? This seems debatable to me. Does anyone know of any instances where these things have been used before and they held air well?

Paul Mountford
(Sparticus) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic Canada
Re: Zipper Design on 12/01/2012 04:17:07 MST Print View

"Can you really have a truly airtight zipper?"

Drysuits do it all the time. Granted as many have said, the zipper is an additional point of failure, but I have a 10 year old diving drysuit who's zipper still works fine.

I have emailed Alpacka to see if the intend to offer a "zipper only" option, and perhaps sell the drybags/bladders separately.

To be honest, it doesn't look like a hard DYI project. Pick up a good quality drysuit zipper and attach yourself or even get a shop that does drysuit repairs to do it for you.

You could add a gear loop on the inside of the tube for a place to anchor sil bags. The Alpacks itsself becomes the ultimate drybag for your gear.

Edited by Sparticus on 12/02/2012 13:46:11 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: re zipper design on 12/01/2012 09:08:00 MST Print View

The zipper of my Kokotat suit is definitely airtight. I assume the boat zipper is the same type.

Paul Mountford
(Sparticus) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic Canada
Re: Re: Zipper Design on 12/02/2012 13:37:55 MST Print View

This post is to answer a PM (and others might be intrested). I mentioned that I had emailed Alpacka to see if they would offer parts of the Cargo Fly separately, and although they did not quite answer my question directly, their response indicated that you will only be able to get the whole package as a retrofit.

Perhaps they misunderstood my question or maybe I was not clear, but I hope they reconsider the options with the Cargo Fly options. I think the zipper only mod might be popular with some.

Edited by Sparticus on 12/02/2012 13:45:01 MST.