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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Most FAQs are covered in the tabs below. If you do not find what you are looking for, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help you out.
How long will it take to ship my order?
- All of our packrafts are made to order and generally take 2-4 weeks to complete. However, orders may take up to 6 weeks to ship during peak season. If you need a rush order, you will need to contact us prior to ordering to determine whether or not we can meet your timing.
What are the fees for international buyers?
- Our pricing does not include VAT or customs charges for international buyers. You will be responsible for paying all of these fees, which may be assessed by customs when your order is received into your country; the fees themselves vary depending on the country and order amount. We cannot mark shipments as a “gift” or lower the invoice value to avoid customs charges. Check with your country’s customs office to determine taxes and fees, and please note that our estimated shipping times do not include the time your order will spend in customs.
I received my order, but the weight is not exactly as listed on the website. Why not?
- Each raft is created by hand here at our shop, which means that each raft has its own unique properties, including its weight. The weights listed on our website are an average from our over 500 custom build options, and we do our best to uphold the same standards for each raft we create. In addition, the fabric alone has a variability of 3-4oz per boat.
Can I order a custom project?
- We are happy to make some custom modifications to some of our packrafts like additional tie downs and custom color selections. However, certain models are limited to specific fabrics and colors due to design and manufacturing limitations. We do not take on custom design projects, as we do not have the time and resources to dedicate to this task.
I am thinking about ordering a Vectran boat. Should I choose the upgrade?
- The largest advantage to Vectran fabric in a packraft is the rigidity it provides in an inflatable boat. This rigidity keeps the boat from flexing when being paddled, making it faster, and also allows it to keep its shape when going through big water. Our 400D Vectran, is the strongest, stiffest material that we offer – with the slight drawback that it does not pack down as small as our other materials. The 200D Vectran fabric is a lightweight option that provides similar stiffness with less bulk than the 400D option. It is important to note that while Vectran fabric is very tear resistant, it is susceptible to small punctures through the coating as it does not flex as our standard nylon material. Therefore, it is not recommended for heavy use in shallow rocky rivers. Adventure racers and whitewater enthusiasts will get the most benefit from our Vectran options!
Do you offer pro-deals or industry discounts?
- We do! Alpacka Raft is happy to support the outdoor industry and its hard-working professionals, and we do offer a discounted rate on new raft orders for qualified individuals. Please contact us directly to see if you qualify for our Pro Deal discount.
How do I setup my Alpacka Raft?
- After receiving your raft, you may have some questions about basic set-up instructions. To address these questions, we have published manuals for each model on our Product Manuals page, including videos on everything from basic field repairs to setting up your whitewater packraft.
How do I care for and maintain my Alpacka Raft?
- Our packrafts are designed for people who are hard on their gear. Part of our goal has been to create boats that don’t need a lot of attention both on and off the river, because we know how important it is to have gear that stands up to frequent use and keeps you on the water. For care, maintenance, and repair tips and tricks, check out our Care & Maintenance and Repair Guide pages.
How do I store my Alpacka Raft long term?
- 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 storage, and 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. If considering outside storage in a garage or shed, we recommend storing your raft loosely inside a sealed container, such as a Rubbermaid storage tub, as animals have been known to chew through the rafts when they are left out.
How do I repair my Alpacka Raft?
- Occasional accidents do happen, and being prepared for and knowledgeable about raft repairs is an important step in being a safe paddler. We have created a Repair Guide to address possible repairs, starting with diagnosing potential issues with your raft all the way to what to carry in your repair kit.
Can I use my Alpacka Raft in saltwater? What about in the pool?
- Absolutely! Alpacka Rafts have been used in many salt water and chlorinated conditions, from crossing ocean bays and playing in surf waves to practicing rolling in your public pool. Metal zippers on the rafts (found on the removable decks) can experience some corrosion if they are not cleaned well after salt water use. We recommend thoroughly rinsing your raft with fresh water after any use in saltwater or chlorine, and as always, allowing it to completely dry before storage.
Can I strap my bike to my Alpacka Raft?
- Yes! Rafting with bikes, known as “bikerafting”, is becoming more and more common with our users. The large surface area and tie-down points on the front of our rafts provide a good platform for strapping your bike to the raft. The newest boat in our lineup, the Caribou, is specifically designed to be lightweight and compact, while providing a very stable, wide platform and tie downs for strapping down a bike or other heavy gear. We also offer additional installed Bike Tie Downs (link to tie downs page), which provide 4 extra attachment points that are best suited for strapping the frame to the front of our other raft models. The cargo fly is a highly recommended upgrade for bikerafters, as it allows you to store your camping gear inside the raft with only the bike strapped to the front.
Can I bring my dog packrafting?
- Yes! We’ve been packrafting with dogs since the beginning and our Explorer 42 model is ideal for bringing a larger dog. Your packraft will have no problems handling abuse from dogs jumping in and out of the boat or on the seats. We can’t say the same if they try to chew the boat! Just remember to pick paddling conditions where the dog can safely swim to shore if they fall out. We also recommend getting your dog a life jacket.
How do I prevent the spread of invasive species?
- The spread of invasive species is an issue of significant concern around the world. Packrafting is great for travel, but creates risks for spreading invasive species. Some jurisdictions have rules for inspection, licensing, and cleaning boats. Pay close attention to these rules and even if your packraft is exempt from licensing or inspection, please do your part to follow the rules of clean, drain, and dry whenever you are moving between waterways.
- For general cleaning purposes, we recommend a gentle dish soap (such as Dawn or Palmolive) and fresh, clean water to completely rinse your packraft. Allowing your raft to completely dry before transportation also aids in preventing aquatic species from hitching a ride. When looking for other boat cleaning products, remember to ensure they are safe to use on polyurethane coated boats. We do not recommend any bleach-based products as they can negatively affect the fabric’s coating in the sun over time.
Warning: Modifying your packraft, whether its as simple as adding an extra grabloop or as complex as installing thigh straps, carries the risk of serious injury or death if performed improperly. If you are not absolutely sure that you can perform the job correctly, you should have the modifications performed by Alpacka Raft.
How do I glue on additional attachments to my Alpacka Raft?
Your Alpacka Raft is made of a polyurethane (PU) coated fabric. You can permanently attach anything that can be glued or otherwise adhered to polyurethane fabrics by using a high-quality polyurethane compatible glue. Although a PVC-only adhesive will not work on our boats, a dual-purpose adhesive such as Clifton 1-Part will let you adhere either urethane or PVC items to your Alpacka Raft.
Where can I learn to packraft?
The basics of packrafting are easy to learn! It can be as simple as inflating your boat, donning your PFD, and paddling out onto the water. There are also great online resources to learn more about everything from paddling techniques to trip planning. If you are looking for more advanced paddling skills, taking swiftwater rescue courses or whitewater kayaking classes are great options to expand your safety and technical skills.
Check out our blog to get advice from experienced paddlers, and to see some truly inspiring trips.
Are there packraft-specific whitewater safety courses?