We recently posted our Sneak Preview on the new XPD inflatable packraft from Kokopelli Packraft – one of the exciting new models we’ve seen for 2020. What’s so special? While the XPD packraft is based on the Kokopelli Rogue-Lite profile, the XPD features a more beefed-up PVC construction for rigorous use on flat water and lakes through Class II.
Last week, the 2020 models started rolling in, so we begin our 2020 Kokopelli reviews with the 13.6 lbs XPD, which can be inflated to higher pressures of 2.75 PSI.
Getting Started with the Kokopelli XPD
We unpacked the box and laid out the pieces – inflatable packraft body (13.7 lbs), inflatable seat base (8 ozs), repair kit (4.1 ozs), Nano dual action hand pump with gauge (2 lbs), instructions and two 2 cinch belts( 1.6 oz each).
Boxed up, the dimensions are 29 x 20 x 8 inches with a shipping weight of just under 20 lbs. The packraft folded is roughly 24 x 20 x 8 inches, rolled it is roughly 25 x 8.5 inches.
The generic instructions for Kokopellli’s PVC series include inflation and deflation techniques, seat and backband installation (not found on the XPD but used in the Recon) but lack details on actual set up; we will outline the steps we took, below. In general, set up is straight-forward – unpack, unfold, inflate.
The first step is to unfold the packraft – it is remarkably flat – and orient yourself; the rear/stern is wider and has the inflation valve.
The Kokopelli XPD utilizes one main GRI push-push valve for inflation. These are very simple to use and feature an inflate mode (spring plunger is UP) and a deflate mode (spring plunger is DOWN). By using your finger to gently push on the plunger, it can be moved to the inflate mode (air goes in and doesn’t come back out) and deflate mode (air goes in and comes back out). Before you go to all the effort of inflating the board, PLEASE make sure the plunger is in the inflate position.
Next, set up the pump – this is not mentioned in the instructions. Unlike most of the packrafts – which use inflator bags – the XPD comes with a very nifty, collapsible, dual-action Nano pump and built-in pressure gauge. Fold down the feet and attach the hose to the side that says Inflate. There are two pieces of plastic tubes in the plastic packaging – these are screw on handles. Unfortunately, there is no place to attach/store the handles when removed so you may want to purchase a mesh laundry bag to keep them together. Or, don’t even bother attaching the handles as the pump is pretty easy to use without them.
The Nano pump dual action mode is operated by a lever on the side of the pump. There are no instructions on using this, but point the lever to the right for double action (air is pumped on the up and down stroke) and to the left for single action (air is pumped only on the down stroke, making it easier to get to high pressures.)
We started in double-action mode. Attach the hose to the military valve by twisting on, and start pumping.
And pumping. As the packraft tubes are good sized, it took us 175 pumps to get to the recommended 2.5-3 PSI. While this sounds like a lot, the Nano pump is very easy to use and we never switched to single action mode – pumping took about 2+ minutes. Please note that – as the pump gauge works on back pressure – you will not get any needle movement until about 140 pumps. Screw on the wing cap to keep the valve protected.
Next, partially inflate the seat base. This uses a stem-valve also called Twistlock.
Twist the end of the stem to open the valve and then partially inflate with your mouth, re-twisting the stem to put it in the closed position – this took about 6 puffs.
Place the seat to the back of the raft, valve up, and weave the webbing through the ladder lock.
Then inflate to a max pressure of 1.3 PSI – another 4 puffs. While you won’t be using a gauge, you can’t really over-inflate it this way.
Guess what – you’re done! This is one of the simplest set-ups we’ve gone through.
At this point we decided to try out Kokopelli’s new miracle pump, the Feather. The Feather pump is a very small (fits in your palm), rechargeable 12-volt battery pump that can inflate and deflate.
We opened the main valve and pushed out all the air. The Feather pump comes with a number of adaptors, but we found it easiest to use no adaptor. While it does not have enough torque to open the valve, we put the valve in the open position, held the Feather over the valve and let it rip. After 1 minute and 12 seconds, the tube had fairly much filled out (you can hear a change in the motor), so we quickly popped the plunger to the closed position (air doesn’t come back out).
We then topped it off to 2.75 PSI with 35 quick pumps using the hand pump – quite a time and energy saver! See our detailed review on the Feather pump.
Features and Specifications on the Kokopelli XPD Packraft
The XPD Packraft features 12-inch side tubes and a floor constructed from a commercial grade, 1000 denier, reinforced PVC (0.9mm) – this is the same material used in commercial rafts.
The seams are welded and the pontoon-to-floor attachment point is glued to the sidewall and then reinforced with v-seam tape around the entire interior of the packraft. This ensures durability and the highest-quality, air-holding properties, capable of holding 300 lbs.
The v-tape provides added strength to the floor seam, so that the floor doesn’t tear out when stepped into. The oversized tubes ensure stability on the water as well as providing some protection from swells.
There is one main inflation chamber using a GRI push-push valve.
The Kokopelli XPD does not have carrying handles (weight savings) but is ultralight and easy to carry under you arm, or hooked over your shoulder.
There are four 1-inch stainless steel d-rings (mil-spec webbing bound) on each side of the bow; they are located 11 and 25 inches from the nose, measured around the perimeter. These can be used for attaching gear, a bike, a running line, the Animas or Delta bag.
There are two more d-rings and two ladder lock buckles located mid center, about 3 feet back from the nose.
Another set of two d-rings and 1-inch ladder lock buckles is located just behind the paddler on the upper stern, or about 21 inches from the tail. All these can be used for attaching the optional Kokopelli backband.
The inflatable seat is made from a lightweight 210 denier diamond-ripstop nylon material, and measures roughly 24 x 18 inches, lifting the paddler up about 4 inches from the floor. It uses a twistlock stem valve. One rear ladderlock in the interior wall is used to attach the seat.
The standard repair kit features a nice-sized dry pouch with patch pieces, stickers, alcohol pads, a scraper to flatten down any repair, and a valve wrench. The pouch measures 8.5 x 7 inches.
At only two pounds, the included Nano dual-action pump is compact and portable. The packed size is 17.75 x 6.5 x 4 inches – or nearly 12 inches wide when assembled. Both feet fold up, and the handles screw on. A lever near the handle allows you to switch from double action to single action mode. Hose length is 46 inches and it features one attached valve adaptor which works with the main chamber.
We did measurement tests. The packraft shape is based on the Rogue Lite packraft. The XPD inflated is 7 feet 4 to 5 inches long and about 35 to 36 inches at the widest point, or about 33 inches wide mid-center. The side bladders are roughly 11 inches in diameter, making the sides about 9 inches above the seating area. Interior dimensions are approximately 49 inches in length and 14 inches at the widest point, tapering to 9 inches in the very front.
Weight limitations are 300 lbs for person and gear. There is a three year warranty on the packraft itself, while optional tizip is one year.
Kokopelli XPD Pack Raft On the Water
Both my husband and I took the XPD out in some chop. Once I got my paddle stroke going, I was surprised at how well it paddled. There is some slight wag in the nose – as to be expected – but after a couple of strokes it tracked pretty well. It’s also fairly smooth and speedy. The tubes are high enough that we had minimal water splash. For my size of 5’4″, it was pretty roomy – I even had space for a small dog in front or some gear. I had some concern about the stem valve sticking up from the seat – either getting in the way or getting rubbed open – but it was not noticeable while paddling.
Chuck then took the XPD for a spin. While his knees looked bent (he is 6’2″) he said it felt fine, and he also felt it paddled pretty well. The open cockpit design made it very easy for him to get in and out. He also felt the red color is nicely visible, the material feels rugged – and it’s incredibly maneuverable!
As the XPD does not have self-bailing ports, nor a spray deck, it is best suited for calm lakes, bays and rivers. While rugged enough to handle some whitewater or surf, expect to get wet.
Packing Up the Kokopelli XPD
Packing up the Kokopelli XPD is simple – open the seat twistlock, pop the GRI valve into the deflate mode and push the air out. If you really want to remove air, put the Nano pump hose on the deflate side, and pump out any remaining air.
Fold in the sides and roll up, using the two compression straps to keep the pack in place. The seat can remain in the packraft, or be removed, and the Nano pump can be rolled up inside the raft. Kokopelli suggests that deflation be done on a tarp, so that stones, sticks, etc are not rolled up into the package.
Bottom line on the Kokopelli XPD Inflatable Packraft
The Kokopelli XPD inflatable packraft is definitely worth a second look. It’s paddles very well for a short/lightweight vessel, filling a niche for recreational flatwater paddling that is portable and fun.
The XPD has been pitted against environments all over the world, from shallow rivers, sharp coral reefs, snow and ice, ocean sounds to slot canyons. In fact, the XPD was designed and tested with input from special operations teams. And it’s even rugged enough to hand over to the kids or to take a furry companion.
The high pressure design – with a moderate trim, extra-large pontoons, slight rocker on the bow, and a large-volume stern – improves on-water performance, giving it the maneuverability of a kayak and the stability of a raft.
Yet light enough to be easily carried or tossed around.
The open or “bucket” style packraft helps paddlers minimize weight and shortens setup time while making jumping in and out of the packraft easy. The open design is also perfect for those who have physical disabilities or dislike being enclosed. It is easily paddled by large and small, older and younger.
It’s very simple to set up, easy to get into, maneuverable and zippy. As someone once said, “It turns on a dime and gives you back change.”
The Kokopelli XPD is available in two colors – red and green – both with and without tizip. MSRP is $749 and $899 respectively. For more details, visit the Kokopelli XPD Product page at AirKayaks.com, or give us a call at 707-998-0135.
We also have a limited amount of past season 2019 Kokopelli Packraft models at 15% off, with prices as low as $699.