Last year we posted our Sneak Preview on the new series of Moki inflatable kayaks from Kokopelli Packraft – two exciting new models introduced in 2020. What’s so special? The new Moki Series expanded the Kokopelli product line from just packrafts to inflatable kayaks, providing a traditional paddling experience.
In 2020, the Moki-Lites sold out before we could snag one, so one of our 2021 goals was to grab a Moki Lite for review. Misson accomplished, thus our current write-up on the Kokopelli Moki Lite, a lightweight 10’2″ model with open deck.
Getting Started with the Kokopelli Moki-Lite Inflatable Kayak
We unpacked the box and laid out the pieces – inflatable kayak body with high pressure floor, EVA seat, foot brace, pump with gauge, repair kit, mesh carrying case, fin, repair kit and instructions. AirKayaks note: This was a 2021 model that we received earlier this year. All current Moki Lites now include the Alpine 4pc fiberglass breakdown paddle with ivory blades. The photos below show the Advanced Elements Axis fiberglass paddle with orange blades.
Boxed up, the dimensions are 36 x 25 x 12 inches with a shipping weight of 44 lbs. The kayak weighs 25 lbs with the seat, floor, brace and fin. All packed up in the bag with pump and paddle, everything weighs 32 lbs. The folded kayak size is 30 x 19 x 6 inches.
The generic instructions for Kokopelli’s inflatable kayak series include inflation and deflation techniques, deck, seat and skirt installation, 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 kayak.
The Kokopelli Moki-Lite utilizes three main GRI push-push valves 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. The Moki-Lite 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 is also a Deflate side). 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 buy a mesh laundry bag to keep everything 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.
The instructions say to pump up the floor first to 7-8 PSI, followed by both side tubes to 2 PSI. It took us roughly 45 easy strokes to reach 8 PSI on the floor, though you probably don’t need more than 6 PSI. Please note that the gauge works on back pressure, so it was 20-25 strokes before the needle started moving.
We then pumped up one of the side chambers. It took us another 75 very easy pumps to get to 2 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 a couple of minutes. Please again note that you will not get any needle movement until about 60 pumps. Screw on the wing cap to keep the valve protected.
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.
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 30 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 PSI with 27 quick pumps using the hand pump – quite an energy saver! See our detailed review on the Feather Pump.
Next, attach the seat by positioning it just “rear of center.” Two top buckles feature quick connect clips that slip onto d-rings on the side handles. Two lower buckles attach to d-rings behind the seat. AirKayaks note: one clip was not on the buckle – we found it on the ground – so please watch out for loose clips.
Next, attach the foot brace. This is not mentioned in the instructions, but a series of daisy-chain links are located under the deck on each side. The foot brace features quick-connect clips that can be placed on any one of the links, dependent on the position you find to be most comfortable.
Next, attach the fin – also not mentioned in the instructions. Point the fin towards the rear. You will notice a little tab on the fin box, slide that open. Then drop in the fin, pushing back slightly. If aligned correctly, the little tab can be pushed back into position, locking the fin. Pull up to make sure it is truly in the locked position.
And that’s it – you’re done in less than 10 minutes!
Features and Construction
The Moki-Lite is constructed from a 420 denier nylon upper with two separate internal PVC bladders, and a 1000 denier reinforced PVC bottom. The deck material is treated with a water-resistant PU coating which helps wick away water.
The 2.5 inch deep inflatable floor is made of a high-pressure drop-stitch material to give the kayak a more rigid hull, enhancing speed and tracking in the water.
There are four molded rubber carrying handles – front, rear and each side – each with d-rings. The two side handles are positioned 56 inches from the nose.
The front deck has a 6-point quick-attach bungee storage system measuring 15 inches long by 15 to 5.5 inches. This begins 14 inches from the nose. A buckle at the end allows for quickly securing gear.
The cockpit opening has a 2.5-inch splash visor which starts 31 inches from the nose; it is 21 inches long extending back a few inches.
Two velcro paddle holders are located on the right side. Each one is 10 inches long, and they are positioned 53 and 73 inches from the bow.
An adjustable 3 x 8 inch foot brace with quick-connect clips attaches to a 10-inch daisy chain system with four loops, located on the side chambers. This allows the brace to be adjusted in 3-inch increments based on the leg length of the paddler.
There are three main inflation chambers using a GRI push-push valve – floor and both side tubes.
The seat is constructed from a sculpted EVA foam. The base measures 13 x 10 x 2 inches while the seat upper is 18 inches at the widest point, and 15 inches tall. Four straps with quick connect clips allow the seat to be firmly ratcheted to the d-rings on the side handle (upper straps) and the d-rings behind the seat (lower straps). The rear d-rings are located 39 inches from the stern. The seats are adjustable forward and backwards based on the paddlers height.
The seat back features a variety of storage options including rod sleeve and a 10 x 7 x 4 inch zippering pocket with mesh sides.
Two 20-inch long velcro strips begin just rear of the side handles. These are 1.5 inches wide, 3 inches apart, and keep the seat base from sliding.
The rear deck also includes a splash visor and 6-point quick-attach bungee storage system measuring 15 inches long by 15 to 5.5 inches. This begins 14 inches from the stern.
A removable, 8-inch deep tracking fin helps in paddling performance. There is one drain plug near the stern, and a 16″ front runner on the underside.
The dual-action Nano pump features an inflate/deflate mode, single or double action stroke, a gauge, removable handles and fold-up feet, creating a small package profile of 14 by 6 inches with a weight of 2 lbs.
The now-included Alpine paddle is a 4pc breakdown measuring 220cm when assembled. The paddle is made of an impact-resistant, nylon-composite blade and a fiberglass shaft. The center ferrule features a traditional stainless steel button system for an easy secure fit – it is non-featherable. Weight is 2.6 lbs and the longest shaft length is 24.5 inches.
The storage carrying bag is constructed from a fairly rugged mesh, and measures 35 inches in length with a 16 inch diameter and a two-way top zipper. There are two main carrying straps, and two side grab handles. There are 3 d-rings each end for attaching gear.
We did measurements. The kayak is 10′ 2 inches long with a 32 inch exterior width. With the seat-back positioned 5 inches from the back of the floor velcro, there is 54 inches from the seat back to the interior snout, with 41 inches of open space. The brace loops are positioned 29, 31, 34 and 38 inches from the seat back. There are 31 inches of interior space behind the seat measuring roughly 10 inches at the widest point, tapering to a point, with 12 inches of open space.
The seat can be moved back roughly 6 inches, and forward roughly 12 inches. The side tubes are approximately 9 inches wide, creating a well 8 inches deep. The interior width is 14 inches at the widest point. The high pressure floor is roughly 80 inches long and 2.5 inches deep. Total interior length is 89 inches.
Weight limitations are 400 lbs for person and gear. There is a three year warranty.
Kokopelli Moki-Lite on the Water
I first took it out in mild chop. This is one rugged, well-built kayak with lots of thoughtful details! The deck opening is roomy enough to slide into while the high-pressure floor provides rigidity while entering.
The seat is comfortable and the brace works well. Paddling is smooth and tracking is pretty straight.
I did not ask my 6’2″ 180 lb. husband to take it out for a paddle, as I thought he would be too cramped. I did ask him to sit inside it so I could ascertain the fit. He actually found it to be comfortable for his height even while on land. He was impressed with the quality and construction. We’ve shown him in the kayak so that potential paddlers can get an idea of the foot room. Heavier paddlers may have trouble with the interior width though.
My only constructive observations are with the carrying case and the paddle. The zipper on the carrying case runs across the top; it is tough enough getting the kayak out of the bag, never mind back inside. If the bag had a clamshell zipper it would be MUCH easier. While I did not have the Alpine paddle during this segment, the paddle should be a little longer – 230cm would be best – with a left/right feathering option.
Rolling up the Kokopelli Moki-Lite
Packing up the Kokopelli Moki-Lite is simple – pop the GRI valves 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.
Bring the sides to the center, fold up both ends, then fold in half to the center and fold over.
Bottom Line on the Kokopelli Moki-Lite Inflatable Kayak
The Kokopelli Moki-Lite is a rugged, well-constructed inflatable kayak that is loaded with features and looks good! It is easy to set up, tracks well, and is fun to paddle. The Moki-Lite is ideal for small to mid-sized kayakers looking for a simple inflatable kayak package.
The bundled package – with high pressure floor, brace, EVA foam seat, collapsible Nano pump, 4pc breakdown Alpine paddle and mesh carrying case – is pretty slick. And it easily fits into the trunk of a small car.
Multiple d-rings, front and rear bungee deck lacing, and seat-back storage provide a wide range of attachment points for gear. The floor velcro system, foot brace and adjustable seat straps provide ultimate versatility to customize the seating arrangement for varying paddler heights and sizes.
The high pressure design with deep water tracking fin and narrow trim improves on-water performance, giving it maneuverability, speed and stability!
And is pretty lightweight.
The Moki Lite is ideal for flat open waters, slow rivers and coastal paddling, where high chop is not likely. The open design is also perfect for those who have physical disabilities or dislike being enclosed.
Large paddlers or those requiring a wide range of paddling situations, may want to take a look at the Moki-Lite’s bigger sibling, the Moki (shown above). Weighing in at 33 lbs, the 12’2″ Moki also features a dropstitch floor but comes with a removable deck and spray skirt, making it great for windier and colder paddling. Retail price is $799. See our detailed review on the Kokopelli Moki.
See a video on the Kokopelli Moki-Lite and Moki series, below: