Best Boats for Rental Shop to Carry

Good morning, all!

I work in a university rental shop. Two seasons ago, we bought a fleet of Kokopelli Nirvanas, and after two seasons, they’re in rough shape and haven’t paid for themselves. We want to keep renting boats, but only if we can, at the very least, break even on them.

So, a few questions:

  • Do any shops carry the Bakraft? Are they significantly more durable than the Alpackas and Kokopellis?

  • How often do you replace your fleet?

  • What level of effort is required to maintain them

  • What is, in your experience, the most durable packraft in the ≈12 lbs or less range

Thank you, and happy boating!

I’ve been looking at grabbing a kokopelli raft this spring and surprised to see yours have not lasted. I’m also looking at the gnarwal but it’s twice the cost. There is no doubt that people are hard on rental gear but 2 years isn’t long if there not being used. How many days on average would you say each boat was rented. When you say rough shape is that mostly patches or are you having dring problems also, or some other issues? How big is your fleet and are they all in roughly the same shape? Thanks for sharing any feedback.

Sorry to take so long to reply.

Part of it was communication challenges between our staff and customers. Especially the first season, when we were out of inflatable kayaks people would take a packraft, and our staff failed to impress upon them how fragile the boats are compared to a raft or inflatable kayaks, and the retail cost of the boats.

I’d guess in the past two years the boats have about sixty days of use. Problems we’ve had include:

  • Blown out baffels/torn straps on the inflatable seat (very common)

  • Numerous small holes/punctures (probably within expected wear and tear)

  • Tears at bail holes (maybe 25% of our fleet)

    Additionally, different customers have blown up a floor (don’t use raft pumps), broken the D7 valve inside the floor, and torn open pretty much the full length of the floor.

TL;DR I think rental packrafts are a challenge and our shop has its unique challenges, but if you don’t want to drop $2000 on a boat, Kokopelli will treat you well for years with proper care.