The Alpacka Story

All of our boats are handmade in Mancos, Colorado by a small team of local craftsmen and women.  Although the idea remains simple, we have been developing our techniques, materials, and designs for over 15 years to create the lightest, most durable, and effective packrafts in the world.  Our designs and innovation have completely redefined the sport, and with the help of adventurers all over the world, pushed packrafting further than we ever thought possible.  We stand by our products with a 3 year warranty, one you won’t find anywhere else.  Almost all of the rafts we have built over the last 15 years are still water worthy today.

The first Alpacka raft was built for an off-trail trek across the Brooks Range, Alaska. More than 15 years later we’re still designing and hand-building simple, tough boats with the best materials and techniques available. Alpacka rafts are artisan craft, from stem to stern. Each one has a little personality of its own. For us, it’s about staying true to our vision – and our vision is not focused on the boat. It’s about doing what you want to do and going where you want to go.  At the end of the day, the boat is only a tool.  So… good boating

Brooks Range ©Alpacka Raft LLC.
An early Brooks Range trip in Sevylor Scouts- ©Alpacka Raft LLC.

 

Hmm..  looks like there’s water,  I’ll pack a raft!

A Brief History

Thor, pondering boat design -©Alpacka Raft LLC.
Thor, pondering boat design -©Alpacka Raft LLC.

Alpacka Raft was started in Chugiak, Alaska, in 2001, to equip “the boy who could destroy anything.”  Thor Tingey, gear thrasher extraordinaire, had demolished a Sevylor trail boat and a Curtis Designs raft on two consecutive long-range brush treks in the Brooks Range, Alaska.  Enter the character no one expected: his mother, Sheri Tingey.  Sheri’s journey began in the late 60’s, when she fled the socialite circles of Phoenix, Arizona, after completely tearing apart and redesigning her entire wardrobe numerous times, much to the consternation of her mother.  She began her outdoor industry career as river-rat / ski-bum in the 1970’s in Jackson, Wyoming. 

Alpacka Raft LLC.
“Design by Sheri” ©Alpacka Raft LLC.

In Jackson she founded “Design by Sheri,” one of the first modern outdoor clothing companies.  Already a surfer, in her early 20’s she discovered whitewater kayaking and has a plausible claim to have brought the first whitewater kayak to Jackson.  Sheri sold her original gear business to raise a family, and it’s only fitting she got back into it as a result of her son.  Thor needed a light, tough, high-buoyancy raft to carry himself and fifty pounds of gear down remote rivers.  It needed to endure hard use: rocky shallows, bushwhacks, and Class III whitewater.  As he was carrying everything on his back when he wasn’t rafting, it had to stay light, and as an avid fly fisherman he wanted something that could get him into good casting spots.  From these demands, the original Alpacka raft was born. 

Sheri Alpackaraft 392
Sheri getting her ‘idea face’ paddling in New Zealand

All these years later, we run our own production shop out in ranch land, within biking distance of home and spitting distance of a countryside creek that features great “combat boating.  Today’s Alpacka raft is the product of years of experiments, re-design, and great feedback from the boating community.  Sheri remains our president and head designer.  On any given day, up to 75% of our shop staff may be dogs.  We are, indeed, a funny little company: not perfect, lots of personality, but composed of local craftsmen and committed to putting together a very good, little boat with state of the art technology which – for all the hidden complexity – is fantastically simple and fun to use.  We continue to build tiny, little boats for those who demand something unreasonable from them.  Our vision: to create fun, tough boats that can be used by anyone, require minimal maintenance, and fit in the bottom of a pack.  It’s our enduring theory that you just can’t take yourself too seriously in an Alpacka raft.  We think of them as “the mud trucks of the butt-boat world.”

17 Alpackaraft 407
The end of a good day.

Handmade in Colorado, USA