In the last year I have seen two catastrophic tube failures on packrafts in field conditions, on video. In both cases the hunters were on remote rivers where their hunts were compromised as a result of the failures. In both cases a puncture resulted in a four-foot-long blowout of an entire tube, which was not repairable in the field. In the first case the boat was damaged as a result of dragging it through lengthy sections of shallow water. in the second case the boat was punctured by a sharp object. in both cases the tube literally exploded, resulting in the aforementioned four-foot gash. Though it is conceivable that a hunter could haul enough supplies afield to deal with a failure of this magnitude, it seems to me that even with the right materials on hand, most hunters not only lack the training on how to perform a repair of this kind, but field conditions may also work against you (nearly impossible to control heat and moisture in the field, which is essential to obtain a good patch bond).
At this point I'm trying to figure out whether tube failures of this magnitude are just part of the risk of using packrafts, or whether these occurred because of inferior workmanship concerning the fabric itself. Seems to me that a properly-constructed base cloth would, by design, prevent a large rip from occurring as a result of a simple puncture. But I'm not a packrafter. I'm going to investigate this further, but I am interested in learning more about the aspect of fabric quality, and whether or not there are certain brands that are designed to prevent failures of this kind. Or is this simply part of the risk-assessment packrafters must calculate when they're figuring out their boat needs for a remote hunt?
Has anyone out there experienced a failure of this kind with an Alpacka raft? They have been at the packraft thing a long time, and if this is common, I would expect to see it equally distributed across brands. And let's not turn this into a brand-name bash festival. This is important info for packrafters to know about.