Care and Feeding of your Alpacka
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
Alpacka rafts are low-fuss, low maintenance boats. They’re designed for people who are hard on gear. Part of Alpacka's goal has been to build boats that don’t need a lot of attention either on the river or off it. Your boat will endure a lot of abuse. Very little is needed to keep your boat in “fighting trim” from year to year. However, simple preventative care will lengthen its life and keep it beautiful.
- Store your packraft out of direct sunlight. They use the highest UV resistant urethane coatings available. These coatings will stay color fast far longer than cheaper packrafts that “look” like authentic boats, but use much cheaper, lower UV resistant coatings. Storing your packraft out of direct sunlight will prolong its life and reduce UV aging.
- Wash your packraft. Washing with mild dish soap helps keep your boat clean and prevent the spread of invasive species across waterways.
- Air dry your packraft. A wet packraft can spread invasive species. In addition, if your boat is stored wet, it will start to smell like cat urine and this smell can be very difficult to remove.
- Clean, dry, and lubricate your Cargo Fly zipper. The zipper, while durable, does require some care. When drying your boat, open the zipper to allow the insides of the teeth to dry. Mold can flourish in this dark environment, especially in warm climates. Silty/sandy river trips require a thorough cleaning of the zipper, which removes most of the lubricant. As with many things, when in doubt lube it up. More often is better than less. This should also be done before and after any major trip. A zipper failure, while repairable, is a major hassle in both the short and long term. Use Zip-Tech (provided) or any other semi-solid lubricant. In a pinch, chapstick works quite well.
- Periodic Seaworthiness Checks are highly recommended. These should be done when pulling the boat out after a period of storage, after any non-design use (ex: using it as a tarp or gear-sled), or after any event that might have damaged the boat.
- Do not use “UV-Protectant” or similar sprays on your packraft. These sprays create a hard outer coating that prevents repair materials and glue from sticking to the packraft. If you do accidentally use a UV protectant spray on your boat, it will wear off after use but you will have trouble with repairs or gluing any attachments to the boat until it does wear off.
- Long term storage. Before long-term storage, wash the raft with fresh water. Get any sand, mud, and debris out of the floor area, where it tends to collect. Air-dry the raft, making sure it’s totally dry before storing it away. Fold the raft loosely so air can circulate around it. The boat’s fabric breathes and resists moisture build-up from condensation better when it’s exposed to the surrounding air. Ideally, keep the boat in a cool, dry place.