underfloor protection

Hi all, just getting into my new Llama. I’m heavy and the rivers here are shallow so after a few butt and heel whacks, I wonder if it’s a common mod to glue a patch of floor material underneath to protect these high abrasion areas? I notice RD’s post below talks about wearing holes with his heels. I’d rather immunise the Llama against rough use while it’s still newish. I suppose a mat inside may help reduce knocks, but it’s another thing to carry if not camping.

If it’s worthwhile, anyone know the name of the stuff other than ‘urethane-coated ballistic nylon’ and the thickness and a source of it?
Maybe Alpacka sell cuts offs. I thought I’d ask here first. Sorry if its been asked before.



I wouldn’t bother with underfloor protection. It seems hard work to wear an Alpacka out.

Ditto on that. Roman boats like a fiend. For most of us, we don’t get that kind of immense volume of river-time. Through Alpacka-related work I’ve been observing damages, etc. for the last several years.

That said, if you are putting in that kind of volume, what I’d personally suggest is - if the floor starts showing abrasion - using the Floor Gouge Repair info on the Alpacka website: http://www.alpackaraft.com/index.cfm?section=repair-and-custom&page=Field-&-Home-Repairs&viewpost=2&ContentId=2623.

The floor itself is made out of ballistic nylong. Prophylactic reinforcement is - unless you’re doing something trully vicious - a bit like adding a raincoat on over your raincoat, to keep the first one dry. I’d say you’re better off replacing the outer layer of urethane with Aquaseal as it abrades over time. Alpacka can sell you scrap floor material no problem, but unless you’ve actually put rip through the floor, you’re probably much better off replacing worn-off coating with Aquaseal.

Thanks for your replies; I’ll leave the floor as it is then until it wears out more.

On a similar matter, the seam on my seat base burst inside the ‘U’’ while bashing slowly through low water rocks. The boat only has about 15+20 hours on it and I weigh 95kg/210 lbs. I did have it fully pumped up which I see they don’t recommend. I thought so too initially, but found it was better pumped right up.

I have read the iron/sew/glue threads and am about to try ironing. Do I take it that from the fabric is merely heat welded together along the 5mm-wide ‘prayer seam’ and there is no glue there. In which case ironing the entire overlap right to the edge inside the U ought to make it stronger - assuming the U might be a weak spot.

I read on the website:
If you’re really doing a lot of intense water, or dumping in-and-out a lot and hooking your feet on the seat, you may want invest in what we call “tough drawers”: a heavy-duty seat built out of our tube or floor fabric. The standard seat is designed to be functional, light, and suitable for regular use.

I could not find details on this. Has anyone tried one? I know occasional repairs are all part of packrafting but although I dont do intense WW, I must say the seat struck me and uncharacteristically flimsy compared to the hull.

I wonder if part of the rationale behind running a sleeping pad is to return height with a partly inflated seat. I have tried a few runs with a thin Thermarest and a bulkier Exped jammed in. Maybe that’s the way to go, but like I say, it’s another thing to carry. Would rather have a better tied-in seat for day runs.

Have people tried alternative seats? There must be plenty out there that might be tougher for a small weight penalty. Just a mile downstream on a deflated seat shows how much impact that area gets!


Hi Chris,

We’ve seen a bunch of seats blow out all of a sudden due to inexplicable weld failures.

General Announcement: SEATS THAT RIP OR HAVE WELD FAILURE IN NORMAL & REASONABLE USE ARE WARRANTEED. Send 'em in, we’ll replace them.

The seat gremlins attack, again! :imp:

:exclamation: Moving on to your questions:

It’s just a welded prayer seam. You can iron it, but it won’t be as strong as a proper weld. If you iron it for immediate use, feel free to send it in w/ a note for replacement once you’ve got the down time.

The seat should (and generally is not) as fragile as you’ve experienced. True, it’s comparatively light weight, but when the process goes properly, it generally lasts for years without problems. Last year, Alpacka had a major series of defective seats, which we replaced for anyone who let us know they had one. We did some tech & materials changes, and it was great… then suddenly, we’ve seen a spate of bad ones. They seem to be the most difficult part to build consistently, which was big impetus for making them removable. That, and in really hard use they are easier to blow out.

On inflation: generally, our best observation is that a fully inflated seat is fine as long as you’re not (a) really boating hard on it, or (b) don’t leave it out in the hot sun (where thermal expansion will stress the prayer seam).

I believe Sheri (our inventor) has built “tough drawers” in a few instances, but you’re correct there’s no product detail on it right now. They were unofficial custom jobs.

Cheers, -Alpacka

I recently got back from a 100+ mile backpack/packraft trip and had a couple things mentioned above happen. A seat weld blew out while paddling across a lake 10 miles into the trip. Not wanting this to stop the trip and wanting to protect my bootay I used eVent dry sack that had a couple sleeping bags in it as a seat. It worked great for soaking up the bumps on an exceptionally bony little creek. However, i did end up with a couple 1" long tear and a dozen or so pin holes on the bottom of my Llama as a result. While I can make due with the holes by patching with Tyvek tape for the time being I don’t want to send it in during prime time packraft season, I am planning on having Alaska Raft (I think they are the oens doing it) put a stouter bottom on the bottom of the boat and then sending the raft back to Alpacka during the winter to get the seat issue fixed. Do you think that not using the conventional built in air seat contributed to having increased abrasion to the underside of the boat while running the bony creek?? Does who does Roman use for getting a stouter bottom put on the bottom of the rafts seems like the added .5 pound or so for a stouter bottom is worth it when way back in BFE. :smiley:

Not using the inflated seat definitely contributes to floor damage, alaska_lanche. The seat is integral to preventing “pinch damage.” This is also why, for heavy load floating, an inflated mattress in the bottom of the boat is very advisable. We’ve done more damage to some floors in a half-day of boating, sitting on a pack in bony class II, that we’ve done in a year of using the boat with the seat.

Not sure who does reinforcement for Roman. ARK has most likely done some of this work; Eric Parsons / Revelate Designs (forum name: CST) is also a good resource.

Thanks, it’s good to get a response direct from the manufacturer and a warranty replacement offer.
But right now, like AK lanche and not being in the US anyway, I don’t want to risk losing the seat with my first big trip lined up end of the month.
As a back up I may get something like an Exped pillow
http://www.exped.com/exped/web/exped_homepage_na.nsf/0/1F03B6D93DD3ED26C12576BD00811741?opendocument (sorry can’t see how to embed a link) in the mean time, especially as it’s now been proven that simply sitting on a dry bag can damage the floor.

As AK lanche thinks so too, I may go ahead and buy a patch of ballistic floor as I originally planned. My previous wilderness travels have led me to adopt preventative rather than corrective maintenance, where possible, and IMO this is the point where my Llama gets the heaviest beating and will continue to do so. A few extra ounces down there will reduce the wincing as I scrape into the shallows. Until then I’ll also use an inflated mattress.

FWIW, while ironing down the entire edge on the U of my seat, I did notice that at the point where it burst the seam was 5mm wide, but elsewhere it was more like 8mm. Perhaps that has been the problem?
Besides ensuring the seam is consistently wide, I wonder if the simplest way to add back-up strength to this area is to simply carry on sewing right round the seat edge into the U and out again. That’s what I may try next when I’m near a sewing machine.