While Kokopelli might be better known for their durable and well constructed packrafts they also have a Moki series of kayaks. In this review we’ll be looking at the Moki-Lite which is the lightest kayak Kokopelli currently offers. At $699 the Moki-Lite is designed for adventure paddlers looking for a durable, portable and lightweight kayak. The Moki-Lite weights in at only 26.7lbs and uses rigid drop-stitch floor and three chamber design for stability and safety. Kokopelli describes the kayak as an entry-level type 2 kayak that’s recommended for flat water and bays / inlets. The Moki-Lite includes everything you need for kayaking including a four-piece Alpine Lake paddle, Nano Barrel hand pump and mesh carrying bag.
The Kokopelli Moki-Lite is a lightweight inflatable kayak that’s quick to setup and fun to paddle with on calm waters.
|Rating||8.2 / 10|
|Measured Weight (in lb)||26.7|
+ Durable and nimble on the water
+ Comfortable EVA seat with built-in storage and water bottle holder
|Dislikes||– Lacks a footrest|
– Difficult to carry and pack into the bag
– Flat hull design limits performance on the water
|Where to Buy (US)||Kokopelli|
The Kokopelli Moki-Lite comes shipped in a surprisingly small cardboard shipping box that protects the main box with graphics printed on it. Once you open up the main box you’ll find:
- Moki-Lite kayak
- Four piece Alpine Lake paddle
- Nano Barrel hand pump
- EVA seat
- Drop-Stitch floor
- Repair kit + small waterproof bag
- Removable fin
- XL Animas River bag
- Instruction pamphlet
All the items are well packed into the box with the kayak itself folded into a plastic bag. We’d also recommend taking careful notes on how the kayak is folded from the factory, as it requires careful folding to fit into the included Animas River bag. Note, the included instruction pamphlet isn’t particularly complete on how to assemble the kayak and includes information for the optional spray deck instead.
As with all inflatable kayaks, there is some assembly required before you can start paddling. We found the Moki-Lite’s modular multi-piece design straightforward to put together. That’s good news as the included instructions are not complete which means there is some trial and error involved initially. The first step is to unroll the main kayak, which has the side pontoons built into it, to its full length on a soft surface (i.e. avoid rocks or areas that may damage the kayak). Then you’ll need to slide the drop-stitch floor into place. Each end of the floor slides into a slot on the base of the kayak and requires careful placement to ensure the floor is properly aligned. For our kayak, the two slots appeared to be slightly too close and would either result in a kink in the drop-stitch floor or with the entire floor slightly angled. Either scenario doesn’t have a significant affect the performance of the kayak in the water but can place the seat off-center.
Kokopelli recommends first inflating the drop-stitch floor first to 6 PSI and inflating each side pontoon to 1 PSI. Again, take care to ensure the floor is as centered as possible and do not overfill any of the chambers. After that you can place the EVA foam seat onto the Velcro attachments on the drop-stitch floor. The Velcro strips extend a fair distance forward-aft allowing for quite a bit of flexibility on the seat placement. After the seat is placed, you’ll want to attach the two straps on each side of the seats using the D-rings onto the corresponding front and rear metal rings. Set the tension on the straps to obtain your desired seat back angle. The final step is to flip the kayak over and slide the tracking fin into the rear slot. This can require some force as the tolerance is quite tight. A plastic tab slides through a slot in the fin to ensure it remains in place. With that you can throw your gear onto the boat, assemble the paddle and jump into the water.
FIT & FINISH
The Moki-Lite blends Kokopelli’s trusted and tested packraft knowledge into a longer and sleeker kayak design. At 10 feet long, the Moki-Lite has a sleek symmetric profile with sharp edges. The Moki-Lite is a one-person open kayak design, while the Moki I R-Deck and Moki II R-Deck variations add a removable spraydeck and two-person capacity. The Moki-Lite is constructed using a combination of nylon and reinforced PVC and offers an impressive blend of puncture resistance and lightweight / portability. For functionality, grab handles are built into the front and rear of the Moki-Lite along with zippered covers with bungee cords for attaching gear. Along the sides of the kayak are Velcro straps that can be used to hold the paddle on either the left or right side. The Moki-Lite is currently only offered in a distinctive yellow / gray color scheme that keeps you visible on the water and makes it easy to determine which way faces forward.
Kokopelli has utilized a three-chamber design with the Moki-Lite with a rigid drop stitch floor providing stability and two side pontoons. The drop-stitch floor resembles a small SUP board when fully inflated and provides a rigid structural element. Velcro strips on the floor allow the EVA seat to be attached, with supplemental straps that attach to D-rings on the sides of the kayak to support the back of the seat. It’s a simple and portable seat design that’s surprisingly comfortable with well placed padding. The Moki-Lite doesn’t include a footrest with the current version, although the previous version appears to have had one, but the front splash cover can be used to rest your legs on.
The Moki-Lite comes with the Animas River XL bag which is a large mesh duffle bag to store and transport the kayak. It uses a single center top zipper with two long handles that allow the bag to be carried or worn as a backpack. We found the bag to be perhaps the weakest point of the Moki-Lite as it’s very difficult to pack the kayak into the bag and it’s awkward to carry or wear. The center zipper design of the bag means you have to fold the kayak perfectly or apply a lot of pressure to get the zipper to fully close. Once you’re able to get the zipper to close, the bag is difficult to carry for any longer distances alone. Even though the kayak and accessories only come around 30 lbs, the wide shape and lack of padding on the straps make it uncomfortable. We would prefer to see a clamshell style bag or a bag with built in rolling wheels to make transporting the kayak easier. Our recommendation would be to bring a friend, dolly or buy an aftermarket bag to make transporting the Moki-Lite easier.
ON THE WATER
One of the best features of the Moki-Lite, and most inflatable kayaks, is the portability. You don’t need a large truck or SUV to transport the kayak or a large house or yard to store it in. Instead, the Moki-Lite can be stored in a closet or garage and transported using a sports-car. That means using the Moki-Lite requires less planning or effort, and that hopefully translates to more time paddling. We used the Moki-Lite to cross-train when not cycling and explore our local harbor and lakes. Using in the included handpump, the Moki-Lite takes approximately 5-10 minutes to inflate and setup for paddling. Thanks to the flat bottom design, the Moki-Lite can be used on shallow water which means you can easily launch from beaches.
Even at 6′ 1″, the Moki-Lite is a comfortable place to be with plenty of leg room. We had the seat placed fully rearward and used the front splash cover as a foot rest. The wide width of the kayak also makes it stable in the water, but we’d recommend sticking to calmer waters. While the Moki-Lite is nimble and fun to use on the water, it feels slower and doesn’t track as well as rigid kayaks. The flat bottom design and rear-ward weight distribution meant the Moki-Lite does a side-to-side wiggle when paddling. Also, as with any inflatable kayak, the side pontoons mean you need to hold the paddles higher to reach into the water. Those issue aside, the Moki-Lite is great for recreational paddling and provides a great way to exercise and strengthen your core. Note, to avoid mold or damage the Moki-Lite does need to be cleaned and dried before being repacked into the bag.
Overall, we found the Kokopelli Moki-Lite to be a fun and portable inflatable kayak. Despite being 10 feet in length, the kayak folds down to compact size that can easily be stored in a closet and transported in small vehicles. The nylon and PVC construction give the Moki-Lite a solid feel and the three-chamber design give you piece of mind on the water. It’s also impressively light and under 30lbs which means you can carry the kayak into water without help. The main downsides to the Moki-Lite are the included Animas River bag and the reduced performance and tracking due to the flat bottom design. We also found it quite difficult to align the drop-stitch floor into the bottom of the Moki-Lite. Those issues aside, the Moki-Lite is a great entry-level kayak for those looking for a portable and well constructed inflatable kayak.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Kokopelli The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.