Seat Valve & Floor Abrasion

Got back from a paddle this afternoon and noticed some abrasions on the floor of my Yak.

As you can see, the spot on the left has actually torn through, creating a small hole about 2mm in diameter. These abrasions are located where the seat valve makes contact with the floor. The boat is only two months old, and has spent a total of 6 days on the water. Apart from some slight scuff marks there are no other signs of wear visible.

Curious about this, I inflated the raft and sat it in some water. Whilst sitting in the seat I ran my hand around the underside of the raft and felt that the valve was causing a defined protrusion in the floor. This would make the area of floor beneath the valve the lowest area of the boat, and hence most susceptible to wear. Additionally, on the underside of the boat the area around the valve intrusion feels harder and less likely to move when it makes contact with a rock or other obstruction. These two factors combine to form what would appear to be a weak point in the packraft’s armour!

Three questions:-

Firstly, has anyone else noticed more wear in this portion of their floor than other areas?

Secondly, how can I fix my poor, war-damaged boat and prevent this from happening again? Will Aquaseal do it, or am I best to get a separate patch of stronger material to put over the entire area?

Finally, could Alpacka ditch the red elbow valve for the bottom half of the seat and install a valve that won’t cause a protrusion? Something like the valves installed on non-NeoAir Thermarests seems ideal. If this was installed on one of the inner corners of the seat there would be no protrusion at the bottom, creating a perfect smooth-bottomed boat.

Hi Craig.

I can only answer your first question, which is yes. I am very close to going through for the same reason. Although I have to say, I’ve hammered mine down some very bony runs and most of the underside of my Llama is showing considerable wear. I’m still amazed at how tough it is though!

Interested to see others thoughts on the matter too.


I use a foam pad to insulate my floor and the pad extends under the seat. The foam sandwiches the valve between the seat and the foam. This has prevented localized wear on my Yukon Yak.

I’ve only used my yak a couple times and it’s already showing some wear in the same spot mentioned above.

Might be kind of uncomfortable but I was thinking about flipping my seat so the elbow valve is facing upwards. Other than comfort can anyone think of potential downsides to doing this?

Alright, I’ve gotten a few shorter (6 miles) paddles in since flipping the seat. Initially, I unlaced the seat and just set it in the boat to see if the elbow valve would cause a comfort issue. I didn’t want to waste the time/effort re-lacing the seat if I wasn’t going to keep it upside down. Used the raft one time like this and didn’t even notice a difference…didn’t feel the valve at all. So, I laced it in upside down and have used it a couple times with no comfort issues whatsoever. And the best part is no further abrasions have shown up on the floor.

I think the valve down position is backwards, for this reason. User error.

One would think so…although the seat instructions I received specified the valve down position.

Hmmm. Well, I guess it can be a good idea to not read the instructions.

I have a blue foam mat I cut to fit inside the whole floor. Helps with heel abrasion in the shallows.

This problem is definitely what plagues the Alpackas. Just this week I put a large patch on the bottom of my Yak, partly to make the repair I did in the field a few months back permanent, also to reinforce that area with another layer of PVC. Not only did I put a hole in the exact spot where the seat valve protrudes, I also damaged the valve to the point where the seat would not hold any air when I sat on it for more than 10 minutes. Luckily I had the patch-n-go kit to fix the hole in the raft, and detached the back rest to sit on for the rest of my trip. Post-adventure, I applied a few coatings of McNett Seam Grip around the base of the valve stem, where it meets the seat material, as that’s where the leak occurred. That fix has proven to be more or less effective, but I still notice air leaking, albeit very slowly.

If you just got an Alpacka and are reading this thread, you would be wise to take action to avoid having to make these fixes. All of the previously mentioned solutions are good. The foam pad trick has been a mainstay not only for that valve, but also just to keep your legs warm. Re-sewing the seat with the valve up seems OK…until you knock it around somehow (pretty sure that’s why the valve on the raft was relocated to the stern).

Clearly, the best thing would be for Alpacka to re-design their seat to have the valve stem extend out from the side, like self-inflating pads. I don’t know if its a patent issue or not, but this seems like a logical thing to fix.