New (2016) Alpacka seat without the extra weight?

I’ve been wanting to find a better seat option for a long time (a little more forward and higher), the way I’ve seen several people have set up their packrafts. (Luc’s being the canonical example.) I tried ordering the new standard seat bottom to see how well it works.

Here’s a picture of the old horseshoe seat and new seat side by side.

The new seat is quite a bit larger. When in the raft, the new seat snugly fills the entire rear of the (2013) packraft. It definitely sits a little higher than the old seat and I can see how it might add some rigidity by creating a firm connection across the rear of the boat. It’s comfortable and extends a few inches farther forward than the old seat, which makes it friendlier to paddlers that would like to sit a little farther forward without even having to offset the lacing.

The new seat weighs 8.4 oz on the postal scale, vs. 5.0 oz for the old horseshoe. I can’t help but wonder if some of that extra weight might be reduced somehow.

The new seat has a flexible tube extending the inflation valve. I can see how Alpacka might be responding to customer complaints that the seat is hard to inflate, but I’ve never had a problem with the seat valve. I don’t think the weight of that tubing is really justified. That will be easy to trim off and replace with a new $1 valve.

I’m also wondering about how the seat is so much bigger than my butt. Do I really need that triangle of seat behind the third baffle? I won’t be sitting on it and it takes up a big chunk that nice little storage space behind your back that you can sometimes use on flat water.

Does anyone know the best techniques to glue/weld the seat fabric? Other ideas? I’ll ask Alpacka next (they’re been super helpful with DIY boat mods in the past), but thought I’d ask for suggestions here first.

If the Alpacka seat is heat sealed, you could try modifying it using the techniques described here (or make a new seat from scratch):