Best Kokopelli Packrafts For 2023

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

One of the newest products in the paddling world, packrafts have “blown up” in adventure circles. Modern explorers have turned to these compact inflatables to access waterways that might be impossible to reach otherwise—leading to incredible firsts, like crossing the North Pole by human power.

Packrafts are durable enough to trust in remote environments, and they pack small enough to fit in a backpack or bike handlebar bag on the way there. Drive, bike, hike or even ski to the water’s edge, inflate the raft, load your gear and jump in.

Built like a miniature whitewater raft and typically paddled with a kayak paddle, a packraft’s inflatable chambers are forgiving and buoyant. You can paddle them with kids or dogs, on flatwater or in current. You won’t keep up with hard-shell kayaks, but the removable fins in some models help you track (stay on a straight course) for greater efficiency.

Colorado-based Kokopelli Packrafts debuted their first product on Kickstarter. Launching their ideas on a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter allows companies like Kokopelli Packrafts to gauge demand while they raise the cash needed to get their prototypes into mass production. Kokopelli’s offerings have since expanded to include ultralight packrafts that roll up to the size of a shoebox, burly whitewater packrafts and inflatable kayaks. You’ll find Kokopelli packrafts in outfitters and retailers across North America.

Kokopelli’s innovative inflatables are driven by the adventurers who use them, pushing the limits of what’s possible. You don’t need to be a hardened explorer to enjoy a packraft though; they are great, supremely portable boats for quick outings anywhere. They pack down small enough to store in your closet or bring on the subway—something you probably shouldn’t do with a full-size kayak.

This article will help you find the right Kokopelli packraft for your paddling goals, whether you’ll take it on an alpine lake or through the metro to the waterfront. We’ll give an overview of the types of inflatables Kokopelli makes, as well as some tips for buying new and used. You’ll also find links to curated lists where you can learn more about specific models and where to buy them.

Top picks: Best Kokopelli packrafts for 2023

The following Kokopelli packrafts have received the highest star ratings by reviewers in our Paddling Buyer’s Guide. See and review all Kokopelli packrafts here.

Shop Kokopelli packrafts

If you’re ready to jump right in, use the links below to view and buy Kokopelli packrafts through our Paddling Buyer’s Guide. This comprehensive guide allows you to see specifications and prices, read reviews and find dealers. Filter your search by selecting the type of packraft that best suits your needs, or the store you’d like to shop through.



Shopping for a used Kokopelli packraft?

You can save some money by choosing to buy a used packraft. Even better, Kokopelli’s web store has an awesome “Garage Sale” section where you can buy blemished and open box models. Check here for deals on the boats—you’ll easily save a few hundred dollars. Purchasing from the company means that the warranty still applies when you register your packraft.

If you choose to buy a used Kokopelli packraft from another source, like a friend or online classified, ensure that all the parts are present. If pieces are missing, you can purchase replacements through Kokopelli’s website.

Also be sure to fully inflate the packraft so you can check for punctures or air leaks at the seams and valves. If there is a TiZip zipper (used to access interior storage space within the packraft’s tubes), pay special attention to that area. If the owner has properly lubricated and cared for the zipper, it should be water- and airtight. If it isn’t, or if the zipper is jammed, you may need to replace the TiZip.

Kokopelli provides replacement TiZips and will replace them for you. They have a range of other repair services offered on their website to get your used packraft back into top shape.

For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used inflatable, read our article How To Buy A Used Kayak.

Kokopelli packraft buying advice

Kokopelli conveniently divides their packraft offerings into three series: Adventure, Lake and Whitewater. There are differences in the design and price of these boats as they align with the different possibilities for each type of packraft. We’ll give an overview of each category and touch on the activities these boats are suited for.

A few key features found on Kokopelli’s packrafts are the seating systems, valves and optional TiZip storage system. Like many other inflatable boat manufacturers, Kokopelli’s seats are predominantly inflatable. Most of their models also come with an EVA foam backband that provides additional support.

You’ll find Leafield D7 valves on all Kokopelli packrafts. These are the gold standard as far as air-stoppers go. Nearly every high-quality inflatable uses these valves, and Kokopelli is no exception. For multi-day trips, Kokopelli offers the TiZip storage feature. This airtight zipper is placed on the outside of the pontoon. It allows you to store gear inside the inflated pontoons, protecting your gear in an efficiently packed manner. TiZip is an optional add-on to all Kokopelli packrafts.

Adventure Series

Kokopelli’s Adventure series packrafts are their all-arounders. These packrafts aren’t dialed in to one thing, but are made for dabbling in various activities. You can use them on small lakes or down moderate whitewater without worries. Within this series falls the XPD, Rogue Lite and Rogue R-Deck.

The XPD is built with bombproof 1000D Nylon, the same material used for whitewater rafts, which Kokopelli also uses in their whitewater series. It’s a bit bulkier when packed compared to the Rogues but still fits easily into a small duffel. At 14 pounds, it’s pretty easy to carry around in a vehicle or backpack. These rafts are durable enough to withstand the pressures of tough use. The XPD comes with a removable skeg (fin that attaches to the hull) for better tracking on flat water.

The Rogue packrafts are the ultimate option for anyone who prioritizes portability. Deflated and rolled, the Rogue Lite is roughly the size of a roll of paper towels and weighs just six pounds. The Rogue R-Deck, adds a bit more bulk and three pounds with its spray deck (which prevents water from splashing into the raft).

These packrafts are designed for light and fast trips—they can attach to handlebars for bikepacking or stash in a hiking pack nearly unnoticed. The Rogues inflate quickly, in less than 10 minutes or even faster with Kokopelli’s electric Feather Pump.

Lake Series

Designed for exploring on calmer waters, Kokopelli’s Lake Series comprises the ultralight Hornet-lite, two-person Twain and Moki inflatable kayaks. The Hornet-Lite packs smaller than any of Kokopelli’s other models and weighs a trim five pounds. It’s forgiving stability and low price make it a great option for beginner paddlers who will stick to calm waters.

The Twain is Kokopelli’s self-described “Packhorse,” with 10 feet of space to seat two paddlers. It’s also a great choice for a solo paddler who wants more space for large canine companions, extra gear or even just legroom. Kokopelli’s other packrafts are around seven feet long, so this additional three feet of space opens up gear options for a week or more in the backcountry. The longer waterline, combined with a removable fin, also gives the Twain good tracking on flat water. You can even add an electric motor to the fin box when you have a lot of water to cover.

With their longer, tapered hull shapes, Kokopelli’s Moki kayaks excel in flatwater conditions. Kokopelli’s three kayaks feature two solo designs and one tandem, the Moki II. These inflatable kayaks are all built with a drop-stitch floor, a construction technique that allows inflatables to retain flat, rigid shapes. Integrating this into the kayak’s hull helps it track (travel in a straight line) and paddle faster.

All Moki kayaks also include a removable skeg (or fin) to further enhance tracking. The removable spraydecks of the Moki I and II add protection against wind and splashing waves, and paddlers can also choose to wear a sprayskirt that creates a seal between the paddler and the deck to keep water out of the kayak. The Moki I is a 12-foot solo kayak suited for recreational use or short overnight trips on calm waters. The Moki II Tandem stretches out to 15 feet and boasts a 600-pound capacity in its multi-chambered hull. The beginner-friendly Moki Lite is a compact, 10-foot kayak with an open cockpit for easy entry and exit.

Whitewater Series

Kokopelli’s rugged Whitewater Series includes the Recon and Nirvana models. Kokopelli uses their toughest reinforced PVC on the Recon packraft so it can handle any abuse on the water. At 18 pounds, it’s their heaviest packraft, making it less suitable for hike- or bike-access trips. Choose the lighter Nirvana for those harder-to-access whitewater trips, as it weighs less than 12 pounds and easily packs into a small duffel.

Both the Recon and Nirvana whitewater packrafts can be purchased with either a spraydeck or as a self-bailing iteration. Self-bailing packrafts are great for paddlers in warm waters who want to be able to jump in and out of the boat easily. Water exits through one-way openings on the bottom of the self-draining raft. Thigh braces anchored to the raft enable you to stay securely seated in the self-bailing packrafts.

Kokopelli’s spraydeck-equipped packrafts fit more like whitewater kayaks, with the paddler’s legs braced beneath the deck. The paddler wears a sprayskirt that attaches to the deck’s coaming (rim around the seat area) to prevent water from entering the packraft. Spraydeck packrafts are good options for running colder rivers, as you’ll stay warmer and a lot drier than in an open, self-bailing packraft.

If you’re still not sure which Kokopelli packraft best suits your needs, take the short quiz “Which boat is right for me?” on their website. Choose from a few easy options about where and how you want to use the boat, and presto—Kokopelli will recommend the model(s) that best fit your goals.

Accessories

Whatever Kokopelli packraft you choose, you will also have options for accessories and add-ons. Many of their packrafts come with a four-piece kayak paddle, which can also be purchased separately. This paddle can easily be stashed in a pack during transit. Whitewater packrafters can upgrade to Kokopelli’s four-piece edition of the classic Werner Powerhouse paddle.

The rechargeable Feather Pump shortens inflation time to less than a minute for most boats. Finally, Kokopelli’s Delta series of dry bags are tailored to fit in TiZip-equipped pontoons or in the bow of the packrafts.

Repairs and warranty

The TiZip system has a limited one-year warranty, and every other part of the packraft has either a limited three-year or lifetime warranty covering defects in materials and workmanship, depending on the model.

If something happens to your packraft that isn’t covered by the warranty, don’t throw the packraft out. Kokopelli does complete repairs on their packrafts, and they also sell kits to do your own repairs, whether in the field or at home.

  • Where are Kokopelli packrafts made?

    Kokopelli packrafts are made in China.

  • Kokopelli packraft dealers

    Kokopelli packrafts can be ordered directly from the company or through their authorized dealers, including MEC and REI. Find a full list of Kokopelli packraft dealers using their dealer locator.

Kokopelli packraft comparison

  • Kokopelli packraft vs Alpacka

    Alpacka is another Colorado-based packraft company that builds their premium packrafts in the state. One of the pioneers of modern packrafting, Alpacka’s rafts have been tested on remote rivers around the world. They offer more specialized rafts, with a larger selection of packrafts to fill different niches.

    Choose an Alpacka if you know exactly what type of packrafting you want to do. Kokopelli’s packrafts land at a slightly lower price point and are more suited to general, “all-around” use. Choose Kokopelli if you’re going to dabble in more varied casual paddling—some lakes, slow rivers or whitewater. Both companies have solid repair services and warranties backing their products.

Kokopelli packraft reviews

Reading boat reviews gives you a better understanding of each one’s strengths and limitations. See what others love about the packraft and what kinds of adventures they’ve used it on to help in guiding your decision.

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