NO COMPROMISES – WHY CHOOSE MADE IN USA MATERIALS
Premium parts and materials are essential to producing the highest quality packrafts possible. Over the years Alpacka has tested parts and materials from around the globe. The test results have shown, time and again, that materials and parts of USA origin simply cannot be matched for quality, durability, and performance. You can find a cheaper packraft made overseas, but you won’t find a better one.
THE FABRICS: UNSUNG HEROS
Just like you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a fabric by its denier and coating. The fabric source and the chemistry and application of the polyurethane coatings are critical to the performance of a packraft fabric. Alpacka's USA origin fabrics significantly outperform similar overseas sourced fabrics used by competitors. When it comes to tear strength, polyurethane adhesion strength, UV resistance, and long term durability local can't be beat. Alpacka has been making packrafts for 17 years and many of the original models are still going strong due to the superior fabrics and hand crafted construction. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
210-denier High Count Nylon Heavy Single Coat
The standard packraft tube fabric is a USA woven 210-denier High Count Nylon, which is coated on one side with a highly UV resistant heavy polyurethane film developed by their USA supplier specifically for Alpacka. Only one side is coated because it provides significantly higher tear strength than a double coated fabric. Made in the USA fabrics and coatings are more expensive than similar materials sourced overseas, but they prove to be significantly better in performance.
Vectran® is a high-performance multifilament yarn spun from liquid crystal polymer (LCP), which is five times stronger than steel and ten times stronger than aluminum. In a packraft, Vectran® fabrics provide exceptional tear strength and rigidity (due to its lower stretch) than comparable Nylon deniers, which results in a stiffer higher performance hull. While a Vectran® hull is much more resistant to tears than Nylon, it has a lower urethane bond strength. It's higher rigidity makes it slightly more prone to punctures as well. Vectran® is extremely challenging to work with and Alpacka has spent years developing techniques to incorporate this advanced fabric into packraft manufacturing. Vectran® fabric is offered in the following weights:
- 400-denier Vectran® – 400-denier Vectran® is the burliest tube fabric in the packraft lineup, but it's also significantly heavier and bulkier than other fabrics. It is a great option if you are looking for the toughest boat possible where weight and bulk are not significant considerations.
- 200-denier and 100-denier Vectran® – For 2017, Alpacka has finally been able to source a reliable supply of 200-denier and 100-denier Vectran®. These deniers are the highest performance fabrics and provide almost the same rigidity as the 400-denier, but at a much lighter weight and bulk. The 200-denier version is roughly the same weight and bulk as the 210-denier Nylon, while the 100-denier is approximately 4 to 8 ounces lighter and is the most compact tube fabric. Unfortunately, these fabrics are very expensive (over double the cost of the 400-denier Vectran® and six times the cost of the Nylons) due to their very limited supply. Alpacka is working hard to reduce the price and will pass the savings on to you as soon as possible.
840-denier Nylon Heavy Double Coat Floor Fabric
The standard packraft floor fabric is a Made in USA 840-denier Nylon, which is coated on both sides with heavy polyurethane film. The floor fabric is designed to optimize weight and durability in a packraft floor. All of the scrap cuttings are recycled into the base materials for grab loops, strap plates, and other welded attachments on packrafts.
For the Scout, Alpacka optimized weight savings and packability while maintaining sufficient tear strengths for the Scout’s intended uses. The Scout tube fabric is a similar Made in USA 210-denier High Count Nylon base fabric to the standard tube fabrics, but with a light polyurethane coating on both sides to minimize weight while maintaining air retention. The Scout packraft floor is a Made in USA 400-denier weight version of the 840-denier standard floor, which significantly reduces the weight and bulk of the overall boat.
The seats are manufactured from a Made in USA light single coated 200-denier Nylon Oxford, light single coated 210-denier Nylon Ripstop, or a Made in USA heavy double coated 210-denier Nylon high count depending on durability, weight, and packability considerations.
All of the spray decks are manufactured from a Made in USA 70-denier Nylon with an ultralight polyurethane coating on both sides. The standard spray skirts are manufactured from a 30-denier Nylon with a mixed polyurethane and sil-nylon coating.
Zippers, Fasteners, and Webbings
The zippers are sourced from industry leaders YKK and Ti-Zip. Fasteners are sourced from YKK, Dura-Flex, and USA origin sources. All of the webbing materials are made of the highest quality nylon and polyester from USA origin.