Alpacka Cargo Fly boat load balance and rolling
Aug 14, 2020 at 11:23 am #3670751
I have a few Alpacka rafts but none with the cargo fly. I have always carried my backpack on the bow and this has suited my local paddling style well. My trips often involve many transitions between paddling and hiking in a day (case in point) so going through the bother of emptying the backpack and repacking everything into the internal dry bags seemed like way too much of a bother. I have also noticed that my boats track better with weight on the bow and this makes my effective speed on the water greater. The rafts are just nicer to paddle with bow ballast in my experience.
Anyone here have flatwater paddling experience who can compare the rearward weight distribution effect of loading gear into the hull via the cargo fly? It seems like it would exacerbate the unloading of the bow, making the boat even slower. Not so? I can see it being good in whitewater but I’m talking about coastal paddling.
Also, I tend to fold/roll my boats pretty tight for the hiking legs. Can you pack the boats down just as aggressively with the zipper or do you need to worry about sharp bends in the zipper? I pack my boat similar to what Roman is doing starting at minute 1:52 in this video.
CheersAug 14, 2020 at 3:05 pm #3670781
You can still put the cargo in the front of the boat. You don’t need to clip the dry bags in. Just slide them in to the bow. Don’t worry about the zipper. Zip it almost closed and fold as usual. Once you go Tizip/Cargo Fly you’ll never go back. Better visibilty, improved center of gravity, and much easier to repair raft if need be.Aug 14, 2020 at 3:10 pm #3670782
Thanks, that sounds encouraging.Aug 14, 2020 at 5:36 pm #3670793
No prob. And I should have added that I’ve been running Kokopellis, and I don’t use any fancy dry bags for putting gear in the tube. I haven’t found a need, even in whitewater. For flatwater you can just put gear right in the boat however works best. I use my down sleeping quilt and hammock underquilt as “plugs” in the tubes to keep gear from sling back sometimes. Depending on the type of paddling and what gear I’m carrying, cargo can be all all the bow or split amidships. Pointy stuff like crampons, trekking poles, ect, goes inside my Seek Outside pack, which fits in the stern without having to break it dow.Aug 14, 2020 at 8:19 pm #3670807
Interesting. Thanks for the packing tips.
I have not seen explicit admonitions to keep the zipper unzipped when storing. All my experience with drysuit zippers indicated that you should leave the zipper fully open to avoid “compression setting” of the rubber components pressing together that produce the water-tight (and air-tight) seal. Are these TiZips different? In the Alpacka Cargo Fly maintenance video they show storing the raft with the zipper closed. This surprised me.Aug 16, 2020 at 9:39 pm #3671069
Honestly I’m not sure. I’ve had at least 6 different rafts with Tizips and sometimes I’ve left them open and sometimes I’ve left them closed. I’ve never maintained any of the zippers or lubed them in any way and I’ve never had a single issue. I just make sure I don’t get sand in it and enjoy packrafting :).Sep 28, 2020 at 2:19 pm #3677758
My Alpaca arrived and I thought I’d offer a few insights into the changes the new boat has relative to my current rafts which are a number of years old. I could not find any detailed info on these changes online.
The new cruiser deck is now permanently attached. The old one had a full perimeter zipper and velcro allowing complete removal. The old zipper leaked however, and after enough splashing your legs would get pretty damp. I like the new system pretty well as a concept though I have not paddled it yet. The old deck seams were not sealed, but I went over them with Aquaseal. The new deck panels are stitched and welded so should be fully watertight. The tensioning bladder is lower profile on the new boat (deflated in the pic).
Typical clean Alpacka construction.
On the new boat, to open the deck on nice days you unzip a bow zipper and roll the main body of the deck in front of the paddler from port to starboard where it is secured by 3 nifty and low profile elastic toggles that slip into pockets. I found insertion and removal a bit fiddly so I did add a grosgrain grab tab after taking these pics.
The bow zipper is a bit odd in that it is a water-resistant zipper which is installed upside down (the coated surface is inside the boat) and there is no splash flap over the zipper on the outside (though there is a flap inside). I find this very odd but we will see how it works. The construction just seems totally backwards to me.
The only other minor stuff is that the panel binding tape is now a woven ribbon rather than the old rubberized strip. I assume this saves weight, but on the bottom of the boat it seems like these would be more subject to abrasion. Time will tell. The cargo zip works well and holds air nicely. I can see using it on paddling legs of 2 hours or more, but probably not for quick crossings in calm seas.
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