Review: Kokopelli Moki-Lite inflatable kayak floats one heckuva load

kokopelli moki lite packraft review

I wish I had pictures of it. Last summer, we took the Kokopelli Moki-Lite inflatable kayak to the beach. It was a multi-family holiday, with about 10 kids there, aged 6 to 15. The four oldest decided it’d be fun to pile into this one-person raft and see how far out they could get. Surprisingly, it worked.

Four 90- to 140-pound kids being kids on it is more of a load than any of us is ever likely to burden this slender packraft with, but it’s nice to know it can take it. Kokopelli makes wider, heavier duty packrafts for rapids and rough water, but for ocean and flat water paddling, the Moki-Lite kayak is going to be a more comfortable, faster option.

kokopelli moki lite inflatable packraft packed into a backpack being worn by tester

kokopelli moki lite inflatable packraft packed into a backpack being worn by tester

Measuring 120″ (305cm) long with a 72″ (183cm) interior, it’ll fit anybody that can squeeze into its 13″ (33cm) seating compartment. Which sounds narrower than it feels, but it’s definitely a streamlined rig.

Boat weight is 17.2lb, but pack it all in with the paddle and all accessories into the included backpack and you’re hauling 39.3lbs (17.8kg) to the water’s edge. Just the essentials are 26.7lb (12.1kg).

kokopelli moki lite inflatable packraft shown packed into its backpack

The backpack itself is oversized, so you could put everything you need for a day trip (dry bag, snacks, drinking water, even a small overnight bundle with solo tent, etc.) into it. This makes it easy to carry everything you need to the put in, then strap a dry bag with the gear to the front or rear of the boat using the integrated stretch cords.

kokopelli moki lite packraft review
The backrest is helpful, but it’s not very tall.

More D-rings around the boat let you strap other stuff to it, but some are used for the backrest.

kokopelli moki lite inflatable kayak seat detail photos

kokopelli moki lite inflatable kayak seat detail photos

Those straps are adjustable, letting you move it fore-aft and adjust the recline. We liked it a little more upright to start as it will bend and flex a little once you put your weight on it. It’s not a very tall backrest, so rowing this is a legit core workout.

kokopelli moki lite inflatable packraft air valve shown being inflated

If you’ve inflated a standup paddleboard to their recommended 14-15psi range, you know just how hard that is. Fortunately, the Moki-Lite only needs a fraction of that. The included pump works quickly, and remains easy to compress all the way up to completion.

The boat has three distinct chambers -two side chambers plus the floor- so even if you do puncture the 1000d reinforced PVC (which is unlikely), you won’t sink. To deflate, just push the button in the center of the valve and air will rush out. You can reverse the pump to suck all remaining air out of the nooks and crannies so it’ll fold up more compactly.

kokopelli moki lite packraft review

There’s really only two small complaints we had with the Moki-Lite. First, the included and removable rear fun is a little tough to get off once installed. And after leaving the kayak resting on the beach for a bit between uses, the base bent slightly such that the fin no longer stood straight out. This didn’t affect its performance, just the aesthetics, but still a little annoying.

kokopelli moki lite inflatable kayak detail photos

The other is that it was hard to clean completely after use. If you’ve ever been to the beach and played in the surf, then you know sand gets everywhere. Even fully deflated, there were spots that we simply couldn’t get the hose to spray well enough to get all the sand out…mainly because it migrated between the shell and the inflatable sections.  So, Kokopelli got a bit of North Carolina beach from us when we returned it.

Neither of these is a deal breaker, and I’m sure the sand issue was because we had four young teens completely abusing it for hours. I can’t imagine my casual paddling would have flushed sand into those spots!

kokopelli moki lite inflatable kayak front detail photos

Handles and stretch cords front and rear make it easy to pull the boat out of the water, stow your gear, and build your own adventures. It comes with a four-piece packable paddle, Nano floor pump, patch kit, and the backpack bag…about the only thing this model doesn’t work with is their spray skirt.

What makes the Kokopelli Moki-Lite standout for its performance is the price. It’s just $699, which is a bargain compared to many other boats (and SUPs these days!), especially considering it’s coming from a top brand and includes a 3-year warranty.

Buy Now at REI

About Tyler 74 Articles
I'm a serial traveller and road trip lover who's crisscrossed the US so many times I've lost count. I've owned cars, SUVs, wagons, vans and a 37' class A toy hauler RV, and I've customized them all! I love the open road and getting off the beaten path to find new adventures, mainly traveling with Kristi and the kids to explore the world on our own two feet (and, usually, two to four wheels)!

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