Lighter, more comfortable, and better performing than the original, the new Alpackalypse features a 10-inch diameter 400-denier Vectran® rockered hull design with our new patent-pending high volume stern and is kitted out with an updated inflatable backband, a 3/4 length inflatable seat and an inflatable footrest, and our ultra-light patent-pending 4-point thigh straps. The result is a hard charging, lightning quick river runner that’s ready for anything from punching holes, surfing on play waves, or charging down tight twisting drops.
While the Gnarwhal shines at providing outstanding predictability, stability and forgiveness in whitewater, the Alpackalypse brings a more playful ride that allows a skilled boater to surf and carve through a rapid. In kayak language, the Alpackalypse is a classic river runner with a playful side while the Gnarwhal is the high volume creeker of the packraft world.
The Alpackalypse comes standard with a whitewater spray deck, Cargo Fly internal gear storage system and 400-denier ripstop Vectran®, whitewater seating system, Alpackalypse inflatable backband, and 4-point thigh straps.
In 2008, a group of Alaskan packrafters began installing thigh straps in their packrafts to give them more control in difficult whitewater. The performance improvements were undeniable and many people began self-installing thigh straps, but Alpacka faced a challenging position of not being able to offer them as a factory option due to liability concerns of entrapment. However, the strong community interest in a better performing whitewater packraft led Sheri to begin development of the Alpackalypse.
Over the next six years, we designed built and tested dozens of variations with prototype names like the Witchcraft, the Diva, and the Orca. We tested things like metal frames, plastic knee braces, cross straps with inflatable supports, plastic skid plates, and many more. Like any ambitious design project, many of these ideas failed spectacularly and some were even dangerous, but some turned out to be winners and others had benefits that we hadn’t anticipated. In fact, almost every significant innovation in packrafting between 2008 and 2014 came out of the Alpackalypse design project, including the first extended stern packraft which provided a new level of stability and handling, the first whitewater spray deck which dramatically improved dryness and warmth, and the Cargo Fly system which allowed internal gear storage and optimized stability.
In 2014, we finally introduced the Alpackalypse with a lower volume 10-inch rockered hull, an inflatable backband to keep the paddler locked in place for combat rolling, an adjustable foot brace, and 4-point adjustable knee cups that provided unparalleled levels of control and performance in a packraft. Kayakers in particular loved the way the Alpackalypse handled.
The 2017 Alpackalypse is the next generation of the Alpackalypse design. We took what paddlers loved about the first generation with its precise and playful handling and 10-inch tube design and made it lighter, simpler, and more comfortable with our latest designs in seating, thigh straps, and hull design. The new seating system is derived from our self bailer with a 3/4 length inflatable seat which inserts into a protective sleeve and an inflatable footrest that provides a stiffer floor for better handling and surfing, and a super comfortable sitting position optimized for whitewater. The new patent-pending 4-point thigh straps were also brought over from the self bailer, but those straps were actually designed as a simpler and more comfortable version of the original Alpackalypse knee cups. Finally, the new patent-pending high volume stern design was adapted from our new 12-inch tube Gnarwhal whitewater packraft. This new stern offers better predictability, stability and floatation than a standard extended stern packraft which makes it ideal for staying on top of bigger whitewater and carrying a heavier load.