Kokopelli Packraft Stoked with a Men’s Journal 2018 Gear of the Year Award

November 19, 2018

The Rogue Packraft honored for punching well above its weight class.

Boulder, Co (November 19, 2018) – The Rogue packraft, Kokopelli’s most tricked out boat in their Adventure Series is designed for comfort and durability over long days on the water. This opens up new avenues of backcountry and even urban adventures–and Men’s Journal took note, awarding the Kokopelli Rogue Gear of the Year. Men’s Journal testers took it on a fishing trip in the North Cascades and paddled Idaho’s Middle Fork Salmon River. 

The 7.5-pound craft packs small enough to fit in a backpack and was praised for inflating quickly (three minutes), maneuvering easily, and tracking straight in the water. 

“Obviously our team is more than ecstatic to have been recognized with a GOTY award from Men’s Journal. This is our biggest award to date,” says Kokopelli Packraft founder, Kelley Smith. “We have a team of passionate individuals, and to be recognized at such a high level for our hard work and innovation in the paddle sports industry is humbling. We appreciate the recognition and hope that this inspires more people to venture out and experience nature.” 

Kokopelli is a driving force in spreading the packraft love, and it all started in a garage. “Two buddies and I grew up in southwest Colorado, and we all got into packrafting,” says Smith. “My first thought was holy shit this is awesome! We immediately wanted to build our own, so we holed up in a garage working on a design, which we launched on Kickstarter. It failed miserably. We tried to raise $15,000 and only raised $9,000, so we spent the next nine months perfecting our product.” Perfect it, they did. 

“At the Outdoor Retailer 2015 Summer Show, Kokopelli was awarded a Best In Show by Gear Junkie, which put us on the map. That year we got into Montbell stores in Japan and finally into REI here in the states. And we’ve gotten better at Kickstarter too! We launched the Rogue on Kickstarter earlier this year with a goal of $30,000 and we ended up raising over $118,000.” Packrafting has its roots in remote, hardcore, Alaskan adventures. “Folks started taking them into remote wilderness and using packrafts to ford rivers, create incredible hike-paddle-hike circuits, or pack out game,” says Smith. “What’s happening today, though is a move into the mainstream, with so many rad applications including simply as an entry point to paddle sports. The RV and #vanlife communities are also realizing that a small raft that rolls up to the size of a roll of paper towels sure beats having large, hard sided boats strapped to your roof and open up a whole new way to explore.”

“We’re so excited for the future of packrafting, which has high potential in urban communities, too, where space and storage or limited. A packraft really fits that minimalist, experience-driven lifestyle,” says Smith. “and Men’s Journal recognizing the potential of packrafting is gratifying for our whole community.”

KOKOPELLI Packraft was founded out of a garage in Denver, Colorado. The vision is to create the opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to explore nature in its most serene settings. We set to accomplish this by developing a line of high-quality packrafts through extensive research and development and by listening to our customers wants and need. Today we are growing toward the future, where we focus to keep education, community, and performance at the core of our business. To learn more please visit us here: http://www.kokopellipackraft.com                                            

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