Apr 12, 2013

My Extra Heavy Packraft Outfitting

Since receiving my 6lb. Llama I have acquired a lot of extra weight in accessories. D-rings & attachment points, foam floor, seat back, thigh straps, Cargo Fly with bags, hip pads, self adjusting grab loops (handles) all add up the weight to get my boat up to the 8-10lb set up depending on the accessories I decide to install for each given trip. I have found that by making most of my own accessories I can have the features I want and try and conserve the weight as much as possible.  Currently I have 2-4 different set ups, I just install what I need for different trips. Am I going to be out for a week on easy water or a day trip on a class IV piece of water, each has different set ups. Here are some pictures of some of the random extra parts we have come up with.

Right at 10 lbs. loaded up!
Stripped down and light.

Not so light with hip pads.
Hip pads added, everything is so much easier with Hip Pads!  I have seen some photos of inflatable ones being developed, but air moves and it cannot do what is meant to do, hold your ass down in the seat when you're upside down!

I have a few different sets, removable and adjustable, thick and thin. Here seen with a heavier padded set of thigh straps unlike the simple strap set up above.
All are backed with velcro, to be interchangeable. I use these on all my other boats also (kayaks)
Thick and thin for different winter and summer clothing options.  Closed cell foam is awesome, so easy to shape.

Padded Thigh Straps.  Made some of these years ago for a friend with an IK and had a extra set.  Really not needed but comfortable, the 3 point attachment with the simple loopie strap seen above is pretty bomber, comfortable, no rub spots and lighter.

How did I get the velcro on the boat?
PVC Fabric with Velcro glued on and then laced into the seat, I wanted it to be removable also. This also allows more adjustability of the seat. My seat in my Llama is moved foreword 4" -  8" depending on if I have a dry bag up front or not and the spray skirt works fine.
Simply used what was there to move the seat foreward.

Self adjusting grab loops.  A lot easier than a piece of accessory cord for a swimmer to hold onto, and it snaps back tight so not be dangling.  Breaking strength you ask, it will rip out the  attachment point on the boat before grab loop fails.  I have a small 8" one on the front also.
Zipper, we all know what this is :)
Sadly after sending my boat in for a retro fit for the Cargo Fly it was returned with a zipper installed but with a large 4" section of the zipper that was not fully glued all the way to the side of the zipper patch on the boat, had to fix this myself.  I do wonder about the quality control at Alpacka, every factory attachment point on my boat (patches and seat attachment) when I received it new was in a different place (right -vs-left) with up to a 2" difference, and the spray deck is far from centered on the boat???

And bags for the inside.  Note the zippers going in different directions, really hard to get the right side bag (lower one in the picture) out of the boat once it is inflated with the zipper going in this direction.  I have been told I got a mis-made bag and trying to get it replaced but with no luck yet.  Inside attachment points are a few inches different placing one bag further forward than the other.  Probably not a big deal and I love the cargo fly system, but I just like to think people care about the product they are making, maybe I am just a little too much of a perfectionist.

Homemade backband, so much better than that thing Alpacka sends out with the boat IMOP.  Plus with the seat moved forward the boat can be trimmed out (how it floats and paddles) not just to put something behind the seat.... the boat paddles better!!!!  We all do not weigh the same so trimming the boat is important in my opinion, have your friends look and see how your boat floats with you in it (for roadside), and with you and gear in it (for backcountry/overnight).  The water line of the boat should be level.

Super simple back band with bungee cords to keep it stable.

Small piece of yellow fabric glued through existing patch.  Replaceable when it rips out and you can clip things like dry bags in.

Quick release buckle for adjustability... 0" to 8" forward.

Foam floor with with holes to keep if from floating up and moving from any water in the boat.

Extra foam for ankles and heels... rocks hurt!

Although not part of the boat, I love the my throwbag and want it attached to my person, not my boat.

 Throwbag made to be worn around my waist, Unclips off waist band and the waist band doubles as a sling for rescue systems, 5000lbs breaking strength. I tested it and then made another (many years ago worked for a climbing company making climbing gear) but this one is ready to be retired.

Some of my new creations with this set up the boat is right under 11 lbs.
Rigid foam seat (with inflated under-seat that can be adjusted while paddling) with molded hip pads all parts attache directly to the boat and can be removed easily.
Hip pads Velcro to the boat, and cut outs in the seat for the hip pads keep the seat from moving back, very rigid set up.  I can stay in the boat while upside down without any pressure on the thigh braces allowing for a better hip snap to roll.

Velcro on the boat is sewn to a piece of PVC material and then glued to the boat.  I can use this set up with just an inflated seat also and prefer this to the "lace in" system shown above plus quite a bit lighter if I do not need the full blown seat.

2" of foam under my butt along with a 2" crotch wedge to keep me from going foreward.  The extra rigid foam can take a pretty good rock hit off a drop without breaking my tailbone. The inflated under-seat helps protect the floor of the boat and give it a little give for sharp rocks.

Photo`s a little blurry, but back of seat raises up to help (along with the back-band) keep my body forward and snug in the boat and inflated under-seat attaches through the foam seat via a piece of 1" webbing to a tri-glide which attaches to the boat.

4" foam bulkhead cut to fit the boat exactly with 1" foam foot/ankles paddling that attaches to the boat.  Along with the seat this set up really makes it feel like a hard shell kayak.

Not shown in this picture but there is a strap that attaches these two pieces together and to a attachment point on the floor of the boat.
So there it is, a bunch of random pictures for people who like to "geek out" on outfitting boats. With all these parts and pieces I can really customize the boats set up for any kind of trip depending on the kind of trip and the amount of weight I want to carry.  All the foam pieces stack together nicely and fit inside my life-jacket and can be attached to the outside of my pack.  Weight of foam with life-jacket is about 4lbs.

Rigid thigh braces to come.


Apr 8, 2013