The need to travel by water has not always been driven solely by adventure, but instead, by survival. It wasn’t until the year of 1811 that the first well-known recreational rafting trip was documented. Unprepared thrill seekers attempted to navigate the 13-mile Snake River, nicknamed the “Mad River,” in Jackson, Wyoming (USA).
Nearly 30 years later, the first rubber raft was invented. But it wasn’t until the end of World War II in 1945 that a surplus of rafts became available, and the recreational sport of rafting that we are familiar with today began to emerge – including the convenient and accessible option of packrafts.
Alpacka raft: industry leader
A packraft is exactly how it sounds -- a raft that you can pack. They are inflatable boats that are designed to be durable, lightweight, compressible, and easy to inflate, making the opportunities for use almost limitless.
Leading the packrafting world with their innovative designs and product offerings is Alpacka Raft. Every Alpacka Raft packraft is manufactured by hand in Mancos, Colorado, by skilled workers dedicated to producing the highest quality products with Trelleborg’s coated material.
The yarn and weave of the material combined with the chemistry and application of the polyurethane (PU) laminates are critical to the performance of the packraft fabric. The Trelleborg and Alpacka Raft partnership is decades long and has led to coated fabrics that boast the highest tear strength, PU adhesion, UV protection, and long-term durability in the industry.
“We look forward to many more years of collaboration with Alpacka Raft to continue its growth and innovation of the packraft,” says Rick Malo, Plant Manager of Trelleborg’s Monson, MA (USA) location. ”It’s great to be partnered with a company headed by someone like CEO Thor Tingey that continually looks for ways to evolve the product and push the limits.”
Alpacka Raft backs their quality by offering a lifetime warranty on their products, which includes 300 standard variants, an unmatched custom program. Their limitless design options and insistence that all raw materials are made in the USA have catapulted them above their competition.
The captain of innovation: Thor Tingey
Guiding the ship is Chief Executive Officer Thor Tingey. Thor’s recreational roots run deep, first planted by his mother, Sheri, an avid kayaker and the keeper of decades of clothing design experience from her time owning a custom ski clothing shop.
Thor and Sheri set out to design a better-performing packraft in the fall of 2000 following his 600-mile packrafting journey in Alaska. The first packraft made was dubbed “The White Boat,” and they’ve spent years improving the original design. Trelleborg has been their partner on this journey.
“Maintaining our status as an industry leader requires more than great design,” says Tingey. ”We also need the best materials that maintain the highest level of performance in the field. Our partnership with Trelleborg is an essential component to the quality reputation of our packrafts. Trelleborg continues to provide superior solutions to fulfill our unique product needs.”
Thor’s passion for the sport of packrafting motivates his hands-on approach to the continuation of growth and innovation of Alpacka. Every Alpacka Raft packraft can be fully customized with a wide range of fabrics, colors, build configurations, and add-ons.
The future for Alpacka Raft is much like the rivers its daring customers conquer daily – continuous motion and the promise of new and unexpected things to come.