Kokopelli’s new Platte lineup is their latest lightweight and packable kayaks designed for performance and adventure. The kayaks combine features from Kokopelli’s adventure packrafts and kayaks to optimize speed and versatility. In this review we’ll be looking at the $899 single-person Platte version, but Kokopelli does also offer a $1099 two-person Platte Plus variation. With the Platte kayaks, Kokopelli includes everything you need to start paddling right out of the box including their 4-piece Alpine paddle, Nano Barrel pump and Animas travel bag. The Platte uses a three chamber design with two side pontoons and a rigid drop-stitch floor. For improved versatility, the Platte kayak even includes four drain holes which can be opened to allow for self-bailing on rougher water.
The Kokopelli Platte combines a lightweight and portable inflatable design with high performance features such as a rigid floor and dual tracking fins.
|Rating||9.1 / 10|
|Measured Weight (in lb)||24|
|Likes||+ Includes accessories such as paddle and carrying bag|
+ Dual tracking fins improve on-water performance
+ Low side walls and smooth shape optimize speed
|Dislikes||– Non-adjustable foot block|
– Animas River Bag could use refinement
|Where to Buy (US)||Kokopelli|
The Kokopelli Platte inflatable kayak comes in a surprisingly small cardboard box with glossy graphics printed on it. All the specs and details of the kayak are printed along the sides of the box. Inside the box you’ll find:
- Platte inflatable kayak + compression strap
- 4-Piece Alpine Lake paddle
- Nano Barrel pump
- EVA seat
- Drop-Stitch floor
- Repair Kit + waterproof bag
- 2x Removable fins
- XL Animas River Bag
- 10 inch foot brace
- Product manual
Aside from a life jacket, Kokopelli includes everything you need to start paddling right out of the box. Everything is well packed with padding and additional packaging material to prevent any damage during shipping.
One of the compromises of any multi-piece inflatable design is that there is some setup required before you can hit the water. While the instruction manual could be improved, it’s pretty intuitive to assemble and inflate the kayak. The first step in the setup is to unroll the kayak and place the drop stitch floor in the center of the kayak. Unlike the Kokopelli Moki-Lite which had frustrating front/rear pockets for the drop stitch floor, the Platte’s drop-stitch floor simply has to be lined up with the cutouts for the drain holes. The floor should be inflated first to 5 psi using the Nano Barrel pump which takes less than a few minutes. Next, the pump can be screwed onto the side pontoons and inflated to 2 psi on each side. We’d recommend gradually inflating each side to ensure the floor stays centered and aligned between the pontoons.
After that the seat can be installed onto the floor at the desired position using the Velcro strips on the bottom. To secure the seat backs there are two straps that clip on to the D-rings on the rear and another two that attach to D-rings in front of the seats. Incrementally adjust the tension of the forward and rear straps until the seat is upright. The foot brace isn’t adjustable so you’ll need to move the seat until you find the proper location. Finally, the kayak should be flipped over so that the two plastic tracking fins can be slid into place and locked into place by sliding the tabs into place. We’d estimate the entire process takes a few minutes using the manual pump and is a straightforward process.
FIT & FINISH
With the Platte series of kayaks, Kokopelli has integrated feedback from the Moki-lite kayaks and their packrafts to improve usability and performance. The Platte kayak has a streamlined shape to slice through water and a new blue and white color scheme. It’s an interesting abstract design that combines a baby blue base color with white character overlays along the sides and top of the kayak. At 123 inches long and 34 inches wide, the Platte has plenty of space for gear or pets for even the tallest paddlers. Weight capacity for this single person version of the Platte is 330lb which is impressive given the lightweight 24lb of the kayak.
To secure gear on the kayak there are bow and stern cargo areas with bungee straps and plenty of handles along with four gear loops to hold paddles in place. There are also strategically placed handles along the front, rear and sides that can be used to carry the kayak. At only 24lbs, the Platte is light enough to easily maneuver or carry alone down to the water without the need for extra people or a dolly. In addition to the streamlined shape, the Platte also has a removable rigid drop stitch floor which is one of the major features that differentiate it from Kokopelli’s other packrafts like the Twain. The rigid floor gives the inflatable kayak more structure and gives it comparable performance to traditional kayaks. Kokopelli has also incorporated premium details such as front and rear spray skirts and dual tracking fins for better performance on the water.
One of the interesting additions to the Platte are the four closeable drain holes along the center of the kayak. These can be used for self bailing as they allow water to drain out of the kayak. It’s a feature that’s more common on whitewater rafts where water splashes into the kayak. Plastic covers can be pushed down onto the drain holes to close them when using the Platte on calm water or lakes. The positions of the drain holes are under the drop stitch floor which allows water to automatically enter and exit the kayak. It’s a feature that gives the Platte more versatility on the water and even makes cleaning the kayak easier.
ON THE WATER
Having paddled with both the Kokopelli Moki-Lite and the Twain we were happy to see the improved design and performance of the Platte. Inflating and carrying the kayak is a breeze thanks to its light weight and redesigned drop floor. Unlike the Moki-Lite which requires a frustrating and careful inflating procedure to keep the drop stitch floor centered, the Platte’s more narrow floor stays perfectly aligned. The streamlined shape and dual tracking fins mean the Platte feels fast and responsive on the water. Also, the smaller side pontoons and rigid floor make it feel more like a traditional kayak and let you maintain a smooth stroke.
We found the EVA foam seats and the foot rest to both be comfortable and well designed. You easily do long trips on the Platte without back pain or fatigue. We were also impressed with the maneuverability and tracking of the kayak. It’s easy to turn and rotate the lightweight kayak in the water while the dual tracking fins minimize the side-to-side motion while paddling. Even at 6′ 1″ we also had plenty of legroom in the Platte with enough space to move the seat back about another foot. That means you can easily bring extra gear or even a pet long for the ride. Packing the kayak back into the Animas XL bag still requires careful folding, but with an included compression strap it’s easier to get it to fit. We still think Kokopelli could improve the Animas bag though as its centered zipper design and lack of wheels makes it cumbersome to use. We’d recommend using a clamshell style bag if you plan to travel a lot with the Platte.
Overall, we found the Kokopelli Platte has excellent performance on the water and build quality. Kokopelli’s attention to detail and various improvements make the Platte easy to store, transport and set up. We were impressed with the improved drop stitch floor design, dual tracking fins and streamlined design of the Platte. At only 24 lbs the kayak is compact enough to store in a closet or car trunk and easy to carry to and from the water. Everything you need is included with the kayak including a storage bag and paddle which you start paddling right out of the box. The main negatives is that the foot block position isn’t adjustable and that the Animas storage design could be improved. That said, if you’re looking for a portable kayak that doesn’t sacrifice on performance and storage space the Platte is a great option.
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.