Cargo fly on Alpacka's- any good?

Would anyone like to comment on the cargo fly that can be installed on Alpacka rafts?

Good, bad or otherwise?

I’m a bit dubious on having a ‘zip’, but are they really trouble free? I understand there is a lot of advantage (in terms of boat handling) to having weight distributed in the hull of the boat, rather than all of it in your pack on the front.

I’ve had mine for roughly a year and a half, and while not a panacea for all logistical problems inherent in rafting, it is certainly a huge plus.

I too was at first worried about purposely putting a giant hole in my boat, but with some alterations to setup, it can be really, really, really nice. The main stumbling block i’ve found is making sure that anything I might need on the water isn’t in the tubes because having to open it really slows you down (having to re-inflate your boat etc), but with a bowbag or a drybag clipped behind my seat (I’m 6’ with a llama with thigh straps and my seat is moved forward about 6"), i find that having the day’s stuff accessible is easy enough. Having paddled with non cargo-flyers, I will say that getting onto and off of the water takes a little more time, as you have to unload and reload your pack every time, but if your pack is organized (or better yet you pack everything into the provided drybags), its not bad. As to sand, I was rafting in Montana this summer and a lot of the rivers I was on were either sandy or gritty and I had no problem with a poor seal; the zipper got dirty but it didn’t seem to leak.

Overall, if money isn’t an issue and you want to shoot whitewater with a big bag of stuff or a bike, get the cargo fly, hands down.


My Alpacka Yak does not have the cargo fly, but I float with a guy who had his boat retrofitted with one, and I have now observed his boat so equipped for two seasons on both single day and multi-day trips in a variety of conditions. On long trips, his boat is more stable due to his being able to reduce the amount of gear lashed atop his bow. Also, the zipper (although that’s not quite what it is) performs well even under very silty conditions. Did a five day trip on the Gulkana two years ago right after serious flooding. Lots and lots a silt along the banks, but the closure stayed clean despite daily use.

One major advantage that I did not anticipate witnessing: easier to effect air-tight repairs. Last summer while running Caribou Creek, he put a 5 inch cut in the front left of the tube while dragging the boat around a 30 foot waterfall, most likely on a bit of schist. Because of the cargo fly, we were able to apply Tyvek tape to BOTH sides of the cut. The repair held perfectly for the rest of float, including through a very bumpy rock garden.

Given that the closure can be cleaned even under very silty conditions, and given that it permits access to both sides of the tube wall to effect repairs, I think the fly actually increases safety. It makes possible better repairs of otherwise float-ending cuts while not substantially increasing the odds of failure at the closure.

Kind of a late reply - but thought I would add my 2 cents. I used my Alpacka for an extended rafting trip. No hiking. The cargo fly worked well. No maintenance issues and was absolutely integral in keeping too much gear stacked on the boat. I had over 100lbs of gear with me. This is probably not the typical way to use a packraft, but it worked amazing well. Would recommend the cargo fly for this type of use and would have to think it is a benefit in keeping gear off the bow and or dry in any type of use. I pulled gear out of the cargo fly daily in sandy conditions and never had an issue.

Hello. What about the size of a rolled up packraft with cargo fly? I assume a rolled up packraft without a cargo fly system would be smaller. Does anyone knows if there is any noticeable difference in size? It would be important to know for hiking trips where space in your backpack is important.

Noticeable difference in size? Not really, the internal dry bags will roll up to about the size of your average nalgene bottle or smaller (guesstimate).