Alpacka's new valve system
Apr 24, 2018 at 4:53 am #3531992Philip TschersichBPL Member
@philip-akLocale: Kodiak Alaska
I just added a new Alpacka Scout raft to my pile of boats. After ordering I became aware that Alpacka switched their inflation/deflation system from the long-time, tried-and-true, two-component setup to a new single valve in 2017 that has a flapper (which can be activated or deactivated). The old system had a simple dump valve port that was used to inflate and deflate the boat and a second smaller nozzle/tube for topping off. Based on some of the feedback in the comments below the instructional video that Alpacka has posted on youtube I was a bit concerned about this change, but now that I have the raft in hand and having played with the new valve I can say that my first impressions are pretty positive.
You can see the instructional video for the new system via this youtube link or via this vimeo link. They explain the basic operation of the new valve. Oddly, the interface with the inflation bag is not what I received in the mail. I don’t know if they abandoned the idea of an integrated short-twist locking/unlocking mechanism for the inflation bag or what, but the bag I received basically has a valve cap looking screw-on interface like what you see for sale as an accessory to retrofit older inflation bags . Maybe the short-twist style was also short-lived? On that accessory page if you look at the installation instructions tab you will see what the interface looks like that shipped to me.
Anyway, I figured that overcoming the new flapper would increase the resistance to air flow when inflating and deflating the boat and slow the process down. This basically turned out not to be the case. The new flapper valve actually moves a decent amount of air. It may be a hair slower than the old straight port, but not by much. And topping off works really well. Like, really well. I can see how twisting around in the boat and topping off the new system might be more difficult while underway (when the air in the boat cools off from contact with cold water making the boat softer) but just trying it on my kitchen floor it didn’t seem too bad. In fact, you can puff top-off air in so easily via the big valve it seems easier (if you can get your lips back there). I wonder a little about sand getting in the mechanism, but the valve cap ultimately seals the air in so you don’t have to rely on the flapper for long.
Just figured I’d offer a little first impression feedback on the new system.May 22, 2018 at 2:29 pm #3537455Chad LorenzBPL Member
@chadlLocale: Teton Valley, Wydaho
Philip, I just had my first two days with a new Gnarwhal and also like the new valve style for the reasons you mentioned.
Conversely, the lack of a top off valve makes it harder to suck out the air for packing the boat tightly in order to put it inside of an expedition pack, but that is the only downside I can see. The Gnarwhal IS easier to roll/fold with the cargo zipper running down the middle of the stern…May 22, 2018 at 7:39 pm #3537540Richard NisleyBPL Member
@richard295Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
I bought an Alpacka Gnarwhal in 2017 and the inflation bag came with the twist-on adapter. It frequently came loose during inflation. Thanks to this thread, I just ordered the new screw-on adapter.
I share your enthusiasm for the new inflation value; it allows the boat to inflated to a higher pressure which increases its edging precision in WW.Jul 5, 2019 at 6:52 pm #3600700Philip TschersichBPL Member
@philip-akLocale: Kodiak Alaska
A quick followup with longer-term feedback on the new valve system. I now have the Scout and also a Curiyak with the new valve system.
It is slightly slower to inflate (from the bag) and deflate due to a little more stuff in the valve compared to the old straight-hole style. But it is WAY faster and easier to top off, though adding air while on the water is more difficult.
Not being able to suck the last bit of air out of the boat and “shrink wrapping” it at the end of deflation is kind of lame and I do miss that ability. But it’s not a deal breaker.
Overall I call it a wash. I don’t think the old system needed fixing, but at least it wasn’t a real step in the wrong direction.Jul 17, 2019 at 12:25 am #3602209R YBPL Member
I have a 2017 Scout with the old valve, and earlier this year bought a 2018 closeout Scout with the new valve. I like the new system, but it is a low-volume boat so either way it is not a huge deal. I do like the convenience of the new valve though. Nice boats for fly fishing some of the lakes I hike into.
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