Alpacka raft is about to have some competition, and it’s about damn time.

Almost a year and a half ago I lamented the lack of direct competition in what was obviously the sweet spot in the packraft market.

Over a year after they first popped up on the ‘net, it seems that Kokopelli Raft Company is finally making boats. Preorders aren’t set to ship until late August, which is an unfortunate miss of the boating season in the lower 48, but they are currently giving hefty discounts to the first few folks who take the plunge.

There is plenty of space for another serious wilderness packraft maker. Alpackas have always been expensive, and feature creep and monopolizing the market have seen them only get more pricey in the last few years. Today, a Yukon Yak with a cruiser spraydeck costs 1095 dollars. Add the cargo fly, whitewater deck, and custom multicolor pattern and you’ll be out 1470 dollars. The Feathercraft Baylee 1, with a spraydeck, costs 1350 dollars. I imagine Alpacka isn’t getting rich doing what they’re doing, but in my book that’s still a lot of money. In addition, while I’ve found the design of Alpacka’s boats to be excellent, the construction quality has never been especially impressive. If Kokopelli can deliver a comparable product for a few hundred fewer dollars, and not require aquaseal spot repairs on pealing seam tape after a few months, they’ll do very well.

I look forward to seeing what happens.