Kokopelli Packrafts

Anyone out there had any time in a Kokopelli Packraft, and/or have any initial thoughts?


Looks like they use the NRS floor so would more than likely share a similar design? Anyone using these?

Looks like the Kokopelli rafts are using the inflatable NRS floor… Would this floor work in a 2013 Denali Llama? Has anyone out there tried this configuration? Any insight is greatly appreciated!

I was fortunate enough to try a Kokopelli Renegade prototype this summer, on a trip to Vermont. The boat handled well on an hour long float trip of the Mad River. I made a short video of the trip:

I have also taken the prototype to a nearby reservoir in Occoquan, Virginia to see how it would handle the cargo of a bicycle (for bikerafting.) Here is a link to the short video of this excursion:

Last week I returned the prototype and received my actual Renegade packraft today. The quality of this boat is 100 times better than the prototype I was using. It also has some well thought out features that the prototype did not. For example, the prototype was a single chamber model, the production model Renegade has two. This new packraft also has inflation valves that allow you to top off the chambers while you are on the water. The spray skirt is beautifully done, and the stitching is reinforced in areas where the prototype had some damage (from before I had it.) This production model is also slightly larger than the prototype I was using.

I took advantage of the pre-sales price for the boat (Renegade with TI-Zip) and I’m glad I took the chance. My wife was worried that a start-up company might run into challenges (production, delivery, etc.) but that has not been the case. These are top quality boats at a reasonable price. I could not afford these features on an Alpacka - it was out of my price range.

I’m new to packrafting, so take this with a grain of salt.

I got the chance to sit in one in a garage the other day. I got a detailed tour of how everything works, etc. The boats appear very well made. I really like the size (I’m 6’5", 225 lbs, and I fit very comfortably). I ordered a renegade without the TiZip (too worried about sand compromising my boat) and I’m having them put a couple D-rings on the front of the boat inside the spraydeck to attach a small drybag in the front, for storage and foot-bracing. They were very friendly about showing me around the boat before I committed to buying it (I live about an hour away, so visiting the shop was easy) and making the modifications to the D-ring placement. Honestly, the price, quality of build, and the friendliness of the people who run Kokopelli really convinced me to buy from them (and they operate near where I live, so that’s a huge plus in terms of convenience).

The spray skirt and spray deck look well-designed, though after trying it out of the water, I might try making a few small modifications to the spray skirt, depending on how it fits under my new PFD (might add suspenders and may change out the cord lock that tightens the skirt around the deck to something a bit smaller).

The inflatable floor is awesome in these boats. You can fold the floor in half and shove it under your butt for added height while paddling, which is REALLY appealing to me. I wouldn’t personally use it as a sleeping pad, as has been suggested, but that’s just because I like having a full length pad (and my backpacking pad is already very light and compact). I also didn’t feel the need for a seat in combination with the floor. I was very comfortable just laying back against the tubes.

Anyway, my boat should be in posession within a week or so. I’ll try to post a more detailed review of the boat after I get the chance to take it out on the water. I’ll hopefully be taking it on the Poudre at some point, but will definitely take it out on flatwater in any case.


I think you are going to love the raft. Great ideas for the modifications.

I took my raft with me on a business trip this past week and had a chance to float a nearby lake a couple times - the weather was just perfect for it. I love being able to take a packraft with me on trips like this so I can explore my surroundings.

I also ordered an inflatable floor, but for now I am using this:

This seat is well made, packs down small, and at this price, I don’t care if it gets a puncture.

I work in the outdoor education department of a school, and recently we received two Kokopelli packrafts, a Renegade and a Hornet, both with T-Zips. This timed in perfectly with our program as we actually got to trial them straightaway on an overnight whitewater trip on a grade 2 river. As a whitewater kayak instructor I was really interested to see how the students responded to packrafts in general but also to see how well the Kokopelli packrafts performed. Between the school and staff we have packrafts from three other companies. On this trip some students kayaked, others were in 2-person inflatables and some packrafted so it was easy to see the advantages and disadvantages of each craft. I have to say our students loved packrafting and given the price comparisons to other companies we now have a group of them keen on purchasing Kokopelli packrafts.

All the staff were impressed with the workmanship that had gone into Kokopelli craft and the fabrics they had used. We thought they looked really well made and that they struck the ideal compromise between durability and weight. Two days is not enough time to thoroughly test this though so we will see how they go after more use. The front design zips look like they would work really well for storage of soft items whilst the deck fabric on the Renegade looks really durable. However, we did find that the skirt on the Renegade tended to blow off easily, and as noted by others we will probably change the cord locking mechanism on the shockcord - not necessarily to something smaller but rather to something that locks off better.

We ordered both with the inflatable floors and they worked really well. We didn’t trial folding the floors to make a seat but instead we will install our own seats and backrests. It was great that Kokopelli shipped them with a number of spare pre-made tie-downs so that we can do this. Certainly without a loaded drybag either in front of our students feet, or behind them, our students tended to sit too far back. This meant they were in danger of getting back looped on the larger rapids with the bow sitting too high and often out of the water. Sitting forward though, or putting lots of gear up front, will solve this. From discussions we have had with Kokopelli we understand that they are in the process of looking into various seat options that they intend to offer in the future.

Staff who have dealt with Kokopelli directly have been really pleased with the customer service offered and certainly have no hesitation in recommending the company. Due to how impressed we were with the performance of the Kokopelli packrafts we have purchased a fleet of them for our outdoor education programs. Our students are certainly excited by this and are already looking forward to trips that we will use them on next year.

Well, I finally got the chance to take my new packraft out on an extended trip. Some friends and I did a 6-day run of the San Juan River in Utah, from Sand Island to Clay Hills with 3 16’ rafts, 2 duckies, my packraft, and 1 hardshell kayak. The boat performed well in most regards. I felt exceptionally stable with a pack rigged to the front of the boat. I did my best to simulate having to carry a heavy load and rig it with lightweight straps, as if I was backpacking (even though we had 3 big rafts and it was a very comfortable trip). The water was on the low side, but we still hit some waves in Ross and Government rapids, as well as some big waves in a new rapid formed by a recent debris flow. I was able to control the raft very easily, even as an unexperienced whitewater paddler. I found myself maneuvering more like a big raft than a hardshell kayak or IK. I was able to hit waves head on and lean enough to break through most of the time. I felt like I had a ton of control (much moreso than in a ducky) by shoving my feet between the floor and the tubes. When a wave felt as though it was going to flip me, I found it very easy to pivot the boat and slide right off the wave. I did get a chance to actually pack the boat over a meander (past the Mendenhall cabin) which was, predictably, very easy. All parts of the boat held together admirably, despite a lot of rock and sandbar scraping. I purposefully treated my boat just as I would treat an AIRE ducky (which I consider bombproof), and it showed no signs of wear (despite getting VERY dirty).

In terms of speed, my packraft was easily able to outpace the big rafts (no surprise), but I was easily outpaced by inflatable kayaks and the hardshell kayak (a playboat). I was certainly able to keep up with the duckies, but had to put out a lot more effort. You definitely sacrifice speed with the mobility you get in a craft like this.

Now, for the not so great. I got very wet, all the time. The spradeck and sprayskirt (my sprayskirt is a prototype of the new sprayskirt they are currently shipping out, so your mileage may vary), are practically useless. Water will pool on the deck/skirt and drip quickly into the boat, assuming the skirt hasn’t imploded already (which happened a lot). The spraydeck actually soaks up water and becomes stretchy as it gets wet, which compromises its otherwise taught shape and allows it to pool a lot of water. The water absorbency also tends to make the sprayskirt increasingly difficult to get on, as the combing becomes more and more loose throughout the day. I’ll talk to the manufacturers about this, and I’m very confident that they will help me out, but I’m pretty sure the spraydeck on my boat is slated for removal or heavy modification (maybe thin plastic cross-bars or something to help it maintain its shape when wet). I did the latter 4 days of the trip with no sprayskirt and didn’t find it too troublesome to just stop after rapids and bail the boat. However, bailing (involving getting out of the boat, usually) would be very difficult through sustained whitewater.

All in all, for the price, I am very happy with my purchase, and had a great trip. The only modification I will be making is to the spraydeck and skirt. I would also like to note that the folks at Kokopelli gave me a prototype skirt as I was headed to Utah, and are willing to get me a seat for this boat. They are nothing but kind and helpful, and I highly recommend the company. I will try to post a third review when I get the new seat and modify the spraydeck/skirt situation a bit more.

I took my kokopelli out for a spin and loved it!

Looks like people are very happy with Kokopelli packrafts. I found a 2015 Nirvana without spray deck, new for 600$ and I am considering to buy it. I have a hard time letting go of the idea of owning an Alpacka, as they seem to be the best of the best and super popular (so a lot of resources for modifications, repairs, etc).

I have never had a packraft before and have very little river experience, but I am confident that I will progress quickly.

Is this model suitable for Class 2? Is it suitable for a beginner? I’m 5.8 and 180 pounds.

Do you guys think this is a good deal? Any other advice?

Thanks a lot!

Hi again,

In the meantime, things have changed a bit. I tried an Alpacka Yak (rented) and bough a used Kokopelli Renegade. The Renegade is for sure heavier, but also seems a better build, burly floor and I like the v-shape reinforced connection for the floor.

We’ll see what happens, see ya’ll at the RoundUp.