We recently received news on the new 2017 Kokopelli lineup of inflatable packrafts.
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.
The 2016 Kokopelli line-up consisted of four whitewater models – the Nirvana and Nirvana XL in self-bailing and spray deck versions – joined by three new Touring series: the Castaway, Castaway XL and Twain two-person version. The Touring Series features packrafts with removable tracking fins, making them better suited for calm water paddling.
While Kokopelli’s main product lineup is not changing in 2017, several new features come into play. Foremost, all Kokopelli packrafts will come with upgraded Leafield D7 military valves, rather than the current Boston valves. The D7 valve has a shorter internal profile than other valves making it ideal for smaller diameter tubes such as inflatable kayak floors. The seal was also designed to be self-cleaning, reducing leakage risks due to dirt contamination.
All models with Tizip now have a 19 inch opening (up from 16 inches) making it easier to access stored gear.
The Nirvana Whitewater series also sports a number of changes, beginning with an added color to round out the selection. The new French Gray (more of a desaturated Army gray-green) is for those opting for less visibility. All Nirvana models now will come with a back band, rather than inflatable seat rest, which provides more coverage and lower back support when traversing rapids. Four d-rings have also been added on the inner tube, allowing paddlers to attach optional thigh straps for more responsive handling.
The Nirvana Self-Bailing models have been slightly redesigned with more volume in the stern. This provides more buoyancy and a slightly lower waterline, eliminating water pooling issues. While the majority of Kokopelli packrafts features two main chambers, the Nirvana Self-Bailing with Tizip now has one main chamber, thus increasing the storage area.
The Touring series – consisting of the Castaway, Castaway XL and Twain 2 – will remain virtually unchanged, except for TiZip increases and the new Leafield D7 military valves.
Weights range from 7.3 to 13.8 lbs. All models come with an inflation “bag” weighing a mere 4 ounces, though they also can be pumped up using a traditional hand or foot pump. Prices range from $725 to $1099 dependent upon the model and options.