Earlier this summer we received our first shipment of Kokopelli Outdoors‘ new Feather pump. The tiny 12-volt wonder weighs just under 6 oz, and was touted to quickly inflate or deflate one single-sized packraft chamber to 90% in 60 seconds.
Seemingly too-good-to-be-true, we took the opportunity to put it to work when setting up Kokopelli’s Rogue Lite packraft. So here is our review on the Kokopelli Feather pump.
Getting Started with the Kokopelli Feather Pump
The Feather pump comes in a small box with 5 adaptors, a drawstring carrying case, and a micro USB cable. The pump body weighs 5.9 oz and measures 3.25 x 2.25 x 2.5 inches – small enough to fit in your palm.
The five adaptors include A) a wider, low profile, white adaptor used with vacuum storage bags; B) a Boston valve adaptor as found on some air beds and inflatable kayaks; C) a slightly-smaller, white, low profile white adaptor used with inflatable rafts (like Kokopelli); D) a flexi-adaptor used for outdoor mattresses and E) a pointed nozzle adaptor for swim toys. The flexi adaptor works in conjunction with adaptors (A) or (C). (Please note, the following was done with a D7 Leafield valve, so if using another type you may need to play around a bit.)
The USB charger cable is 12 inches long, weighs 0.4 oz and is used to recharge the Feather pump by hooking into anything with a USB port – computer, solar charger, etc.
First step, put the valve into the open/deflate mode. At 0.27 PSI, the pump does not have enough torque to open the valve. So make sure the plunger is in the DOWN position (air goes in and and can come back out.)
The included instructions have very basic information on inflation and deflation. While the illustrations depict using the pointed nozzle adaptor (#E above), that will not work – the nozzle is too long to make any contact with the C7 or D7 Leafield valves found on Kokopelli rafts.
We took a look at the other 3 rigid adaptors and found each could work, as none actually couple to the valve, you just hold the pump over the valve.
There are two openings on the Feather pump – the one on the top is the deflate mode.
The one on the side is the inflate mode.
Put the smaller ring (C) onto the inflate opening and press the power button (opaque plastic membrane located on the side, above the USB port connection). Hold the adaptor over the valve.
Within a few seconds, you will start to see the body filling out. In fact, it took a whopping 56 seconds for me to inflate the entire Rogue Lite – a 7′ 1″ packraft with a 12″ diameter tube.
Once you hear the motor give a slightly different sound, the pump has reached the extent of what it can do. As the valve plunger is in the deflate mode, quickly move the pump off the valve and then twist the plunger to the UP (closed) position – if fast enough, minimal air is lost. Then attach a pump or some inflation device to the valve, to top off the chamber. In this case, we used Kokopelli’s twistlok inflation tube. With about 6 full puffs by mouth, the packraft was pretty firm.
Deflating the packraft was just as neat and just as quick. Once again, we put the valve plunger into the deflate (DOWN) position, moved the adaptor onto the pump top opening, and held it over the valve. In about the same amount of time (nearly a minute) the packraft was fully deflated and starting to fold itself up. Again, when removing the Feather pump, put the plunger into the closed (UP) position so air doesn’t creep back in.
About this time we also realized that one actually didn’t need any adaptors. The pump inflation opening is almost the same size as the valve opening, so we stopped using the adaptors as one less thing to keep track of.
While we didn’t do long-term testing of the pump, according to the manufacturer, the pump is capable of 60 minutes of inflation time (though they caution not to use for more than 20 minutes at one time) before recharging.
As a side note (not found in the instructions), the Feather pump comes with a skeleton charge that ranges from 1/3 to a 1/2 full. When you turn the pump on and the fan is initiated, a red light briefly flashes. This indicates that it is not fully charged.
After using it several times, we did recharge it using the USB port on our computer. When plugged in, an indicator light on the pump turns on red below 80%. When it reaches 80%, that changes to green. Our recharge took roughly 5 hours to get to the green stage. Subsequently, you will know when it is under 80% as the power button will briefly flash red.
Andrew Duran of Kokopelli did some testing on two fully charged Feather pumps, and was able to get 35:41 and 41:23 minutes of usage out of each. Also to be noted is that the unit only requires 5 watts to charge.
Other specs from the manual:
Input I/O – 5.0V = 0.8A
Pressure – 1.8 KPA/0.27PSI
Flow – 265L/Min
Battery capacity – 3600mAh
Average Power – 15.5W
Certification – CE/FCC/KC
Operating temperature – 0 degrees F to 110 degrees F
We then decided to test it out on a bigger kayak – an Advanced Elements 10’5″ Sport with a 2 PSI main chamber and a 1 PSI floor. Perusing through the adaptors, we found two that would work perfectly with the Advanced Elements military valve on the main chamber, and the twistlok valve on the floor. #s A, C, and D. While a Boston valve adaptor typically can friction fit, this one didn’t.
We first put the plunger in the open position (down – air can go in and out). We used number C, which fit snugly over the valve opening, and let her go. Almost immediately we saw the pump filling out the kayak, and after about 1.5 minutes, we removed the pump and quickly turned the plunger into the closed (up) position. We then moved over to the floor and opened the twistlock. By putting the #D flexi adaptor into #A, we were able to couple to the pump and fit the flexi adaptor over the twistlok.
Once again we turned the Feather on. In about 2 minutes we had the floor pretty filled. We screwed the twistlok shut and then removed the pump. We then topped off the main chamber to 2 PSI with a double action handpump (about 15 pumps) and the floor to 1 PSI (just a couple pumps). Done! What’s even easier is topping off the main chamber while the Feather is working on the floor.
We also played around with deflation, but that is probably easiest by opening the valves, pushing the air out, and then using the handpump.
We subsequently used the Feather pump to inflate more Advanced Element products (EVO and dropstitch floors), AquaGlides and Red Paddle products. Some coupled, some didn’t, but all filled out and then required just a top-off with a hand or foot pump to get it to correct pressure. While it only took 54 seconds to fill out the Red Paddle Compact 9-6 SUP, with 15-18 PSI vessels such as paddle boards, you still need to do the hard work with a high pressure pump.
Please note, this pump is NOT waterproof, so place it in a drybag or plastic bag when travelling on the water.
Bottom line on the Kokopelli Feather Pump:
The Kokopelli Feather 12-volt pump is a fabulous and extremely useful piece of equipment. If you aren’t a total John Muir-style minimalist and have charging options, get the Feather pump! At 6.6 ozs in the carrying case with cable (no adaptors), it is twice the weight of the Kokopelli inflator bag, but you will get on the water that much quicker.
The Feather can be used on many inflatable products including kayaks and paddleboards, though you will still need a hand or foot pump to attain correct pressures. And the deflate mode is great for getting excess air out of inflatables such as sleeping pads, allowing you to get them back into their bags.
We’ve even heard it is a must-have for starting campfires.
The diminutive size easily fits into one’s palm, takes minimal packing space, and it’s so simple to use.
And did I mention it’s also great for drying hair – pack it for your next vacation. If you find a creative use for the Feather pump, let us know about it!