Last July, AirKayaks had the opportunity to test out a prototype version of Kokopelli Raft Company’s new Twain – an inflatable kayak/packraft for one or two paddlers, weighing in at a mere 13.6 lbs.
For those unfamiliar with the term, “packrafts” are loosely defined as a an inflatable raft weighing under 10 lbs, that can easily be packed/rolled up, making them a great choice for accessing remote locations. While the sport originated in Alaska, the popularity is rapidly expanding globally.
Three years ago, Kokopelli entered the steadily-growing packraft market, introducing the Hornet and Renegade whitewater and flatwater rafts and winning Gear Junkies “Best In Show Top Gear for 2016” at last summer’s Outdoor Retailer.
For 2016, the Kokopelli line-up consists of four whitewater models – the 91″ Nirvana and 104″ Nirvana XL – in self-bailing or integrated spray deck versions weighing in at 8.4 to 10.2 lbs. These are joined by the new touring series featuring the 91″ Castaway and 104″ Castaway XL solo models and the new 122″ Twain two-person version. Weights range from 7.3 to 13.8 lbs, with the Castaway XL and Twain sporting removable tracking fins and removable floors. All models come with an inflation “bag” weighing a mere 4 ounces, as well as an inflatable seat, though they also can be pumped up using a traditional hand or foot pump. Each of the models also includes a TiZip variation, which offers internal storage in the main tubes. Prices range from $875 to $999 dependent upon the model and options.
We were duly impressed with the prototype Twain – it was lightweight, easy to assemble and featured two inflation chambers for added safety. The kayak was easily paddled by one – making it a great choice for those with lots of gear. While some of the ultra-lightweight and shorter kayaks can bob around, the longer silhouette and added tracking fin allows the the Twain to be better seated in the water, and paddle straighter. The addition of an inflatable 4-inch 840 denier floor with side wells provides extra buoyancy and rigidity, allowing the paddler(s) to sit higher, keeping out of the water, yet could be removed for those interested in conserving weight. The open design also offers easy entry and exit as well as a higher paddling position to allow deeper and more efficient paddle strokes.
Eleven-inch diameter tubes constructed from a 210 denier, double-coated nylon, ensure stability on the water as well as providing some protection from swells. One-inch seam welds with reinforced tape ensure durability and the highest-quality, air-holding properties, capable of holding 650 lbs.
The new Kokopelli inflatable rafts are now in stock; Kokopelli completely sold out of their first production run earlier this year, with a second run expected mid-summer.