Intex Kayaks in 2022: Full Model Lineup and Reviews

Intex makes just about every inflatable item you can imagine, from bouncy castles to airbeds and pool floats. With a wealth of knowledge in making things that float, they have a range of sporting goods that includes five kayak models and a host of small boats. 

The Intex range includes some of the most popular recreational inflatable kayaks on the market. Their lightweight, sporty kayaks are designed with portability and budget in mind. Intex kayaks might be the perfect first kayak for family adventures, but they also have models that are perfect for exploration or angling. 

Here is our rundown of the 2022 Intex kayaks.

Intex Challenger K1

Intex Challenger K1

Length: 9 ft. / 274 cm
Width: 30 in. / 76 cm
Weight: 28 lbs. / 12.7 kg
Capacity: 220 lbs. / 100 kg

Intex Challenger K1 is one of the most portable and affordable inflatable kayaks on the market. The package it comes in measures 23 in. (58 cm) x 16 in. (40 cm) and includes the kayak, paddle, skeg, and pump. You’ll be hard pushed to find a package better suited to throwing in the trunk, or RV for a weekend of camping. The even better news is that the Challenger is useable by both adults and children.

Intex Challenger is made from lightweight vinyl, which is the reason this kayak packs down so small and lightweight compared with PVC alternatives. Though comparatively light, vinyl isn’t quite as durable, so if you plan to use this kayak on rivers, around rough banks, or near overhanging trees, you should take care not to end up deflated.

Once you reach the water, inflation is quick and easy. The Boston valves fitted in the floor and the sidewalls allow you to get both chambers of this kayak up to pressure before you set off on the water. The seat inflates separately and attaches to the kayak with a velcro strip and a series of D-rings that keep it securely in place so it won’t move while you paddle.

The inflatable seat itself is unusually supportive and comfortable for an inflatable system. Inside the kayak, there’s plenty of legroom for kayakers of most sizes.  

For a lightweight and low-budget inflatable kayak, the Challenger paddles surprisingly well. The skeg at the rear helps this kayak to track and, while we wouldn’t recommend getting caught out in strong winds, you will find it easy to go in a straight line on open water and gentle rivers. 

As a short and wide kayak, Intex Challenger isn’t going to break any records, but it’s not designed to. It will be really easy for the whole family to paddle though, with low sidewalls and accessible design. Often that’s more important.

Intex Challenger K2

Intex Challenger K2

Length: 11 ft. 6 in. / 350 cm
Width: 30 in. / 76 cm
Weight: 38 lbs. / 17.2 kg
Capacity: 400 lbs. / 181 kg

Made from the same lightweight vinyl material as the Challenger K1, the Intex Challenger K2 tandem kayak is equally popular for its price point and ease of use. Though it’s not quite as lightweight as the K1 model, this 38 lb. kayak is accessible enough to move to and from the water. If you’re going any distance we would recommend a carrying backpack system. 

This compact two-person kayak inflates through two Boston valves, one on the floor and one on the sidewalls. Intex has included a measuring scale on the sidewalls, and once this is stretched to the recommended 10 cm, the kayak is fully inflated. This prevents you from over-inflating your kayak and risking damage, or underinflating and suffering poor performance.

Also included in the bag are two inflatable seats and a footrest, a removable skeg, collapsible paddles, and a hand pump. The seats inflate as an air mattress, by mouth, and this can be tricky to get used to without losing any pressure while you close the tab. Once inflated, the seats are attached using a strip of velcro in the center and straps on the sides. The rear strip is longer, giving you more scope to adjust your position in the kayak, either for more legroom or more cargo space behind you.

The footrest is an inflatable block that fits into the front of the kayak once everything is inflated. Not only does this give the front paddler something to rest their feet on, but it also reinforces the structure of the kayak too. 

The vinyl construction keeps the Challenger K2 lightweight and affordable, but compared to other inflatable kayaks, it does lack some durability. When it comes to launching and landing the K2, you will need to be in at least ankle-deep water, to avoid roughing the kayak up against rocks or the shoreline. While on the water, you should avoid overhanging trees and subsurface rocks where possible.

Intex Challenger K2 is an accessible tandem inflatable kayak that makes it easy for beginners to take to the water. It is also a great way for experienced kayakers to get out on camping or RV holidays. The cockpit is spacious and the seats are comfortable and supportive for an inflatable kayak. The lower pressure of this kayak makes it slightly twitchy if you put the power on, but the closed-cockpit style and sporty profile make it suited to a whole range of recreational kayakers.

Intex Explorer K2

Intex Explorer K2

Length: 10 ft. 3 in. / 312 cm
Width: 36 in. / 91 cm
Weight: 36.7 lbs. / 17 kg
Capacity: 400 lbs. / 181 kg

Intex Explorer K2 is among the best-selling inflatable kayaks on the market. The open cockpit design makes this kayak easy to access and family-friendly, perfect for those long summer days down by the lake, or on your next camping trip. 

The Explorer K2 comes in a lightweight transport bag, along with the seats, two paddles, a pump, and a skeg. However, if you plan to carry this kayak further than the distance from your car to the water’s edge, you will most likely want to transfer it into a more substantial pack.

Inflating the Explorer K2 takes less than ten minutes. Intex has printed a scale on the sidewalls that shows when the kayak is fully inflated. Once the printed line measures 10 cm, the Explorer is fully inflated and ready to go. 

The floor and sidewalls inflate separately and the sidewalls are divided into two chambers. This may give you a little extra work when inflating the Explorer, but is a crucial safety feature. If you find yourself out on the water and one of your sidewalls gets punctured, you still have one sidewall and an inflated floor to keep you afloat, rather than having the entire kayak deflate underneath you. The vinyl construction should mean that punctures are unlikely, but you should take care not to launch and land on rough beaches or sharp rocks, and avoid trees at the water’s edge. 

The detachable skeg system on the underside of the Explorer makes a huge difference to this otherwise flat hulled design, giving it some tracking stability and generally improving its directional abilities. As with most inflatable kayaks, this kayak isn’t designed for quick changes of course but can be easily controlled by the rear paddler while the front paddler maintains a reasonable pace. Although not a racing kayak by any means, this little boat is fast enough to justify its name, the Explorer.

The high sidewalls don’t inflate to particularly high pressure. While this makes the kayak one of the more comfortable options on the market, it does mean that smaller paddlers can find themselves struggling to reach the water or knocking their arms on the sides.

The seats are surprisingly comfortable for an inflatable kayak, with supportive straps keeping them upright, but they aren’t likely to keep you out on the water all day without regular breaks.

Intex Excursion Pro K1

Intex Excursion Pro K1

Length: 10 ft. / 304 cm
Width: 36 in. / 91 cm
Weight: 37.3 lbs. / 17 kg
Capacity: 220 lbs. / 100 kg

If you’re heading out for a long day on the water, you want a kayak that is built to withstand all that you can throw at it. What’s more, you want a kayak that is not only easy to paddle but versatile in its uses and easy to transport. 

Intex Excursion Pro K1 is a recreational kayak that ticks all these boxes, with features that make it suited to days out on the water and occasional kayak angling.

The kayak itself is made from durable, heavy-duty vinyl and makes use of a 3-ply construction with PVC that is designed to withstand the elements, including saltwater. This heavier duty design does limit the Excursion Pro’s portability, but means you get a far more durable kayak.

The durable build and reinforced seams allow the Excursion to inflate to a higher pressure than other Intex models. This makes the kayak feel more like a traditional, rigid kayak that’s quicker over the water and more maneuverable. Two skegs of different lengths are included to assist in tracking. The short skeg can be fitted in shallow water, while on longer trips in deep water, the long skeg is more effective.

As the Excursion Pro is designed to be an all-around recreational kayak, it has a wealth of features to enhance your time on the water. With a removable Go-Pro or phone mount at the front of the kayak, you can record and photograph your journey with ease. The rest of your essentials can be kept safe and dry in the included waterproof bag, which stows neatly under the front spray skirt.

Just behind the seat, there are two removable rod holders, allowing the angling enthusiast to make the most of their inflatable kayak. Anglers will appreciate the extra inflatable seating pad that can be used to raise the seat, giving them a better casting height. This feature is also great for smaller kayakers who benefit from the extra reach.

The inflatable seat is fitted on a velcro strip and supported by two adjustable straps. A floor-mounted footrest keeps you supported in the seat and a strong paddling position. Also included in the bag are a collapsible paddle and a hand pump.

Intex Excursion Pro K2

Intex Excursion Pro K2

Length: 12 ft. 7 in. / 384 cm
Width: 36 in. / 91 cm
Weight: 46.7 lbs. / 21 kg
Capacity: 400 lbs. / 181 kg

Everything you need to get two people out in one lightweight, easy package. Intex Excursion Pro 2 is a hardwearing, refined inflatable kayak that is built to withstand whatever the recreational kayaker can throw its way. The lightweight, adaptable design makes this the ideal companion for your next overnight camping trip or holiday exploring in the RV.

The comfortable inflatable seats are reasonably supportive, fitted on velcro strips and attached with adjustable straps that clip to strong D-rings. Floor mounted footrests for each paddler are adjustable, as are the seating positions, allowing paddlers of different heights to get comfortable. Extra inflatable seating pads are included to raise either seat, which is particularly useful for anglers or smaller kayakers.

In addition to the adjustable footrests, Intex Excursion Pro 2 is fitted with removable rod holders and a mount point near the bow. This is suitable for carrying a Go-Pro or phone to record your trip, or a fish-finder or adjustable rod holder on a fishing trip. 

The Excursion Pro 2 uses 3-ply, heavy-duty laminate material with a polyester core. This means that if you launch and land on beaches, or find yourself bumping along the shoreline or into trees, you won’t have to worry about puncturing your kayak. In the unlikely event of a puncture, the three-chamber design means that you won’t find the whole kayak deflating underneath you and you can safely get back to shore.

Like most inflatable kayaks, Intex Excursion Pro 2 does suffer from a lack of keel line. Intex has countered this with the inclusion of two skegs. The shorter skeg is suited to shallower water, like your local lake or a fishing trip, while the deeper skeg gives you better tracking and speed on longer trips. Intex has also included two collapsible aluminum paddles, a hand pump, and a repair kit in the bag.

Final Thoughts: Are Intex Kayaks Worth It?

Intex kayaks get some mixed reviews. Some users are super happy with their Intex while others prefer to stay away from them.

So should you buy an Intex kayak?

As always, it depends.

It’s not without reason that Intex kayaks are the most popular inflatable kayaks on the market. They are lightweight, affordable, and quite versatile for recreational inflatables. 

If you’re looking for a high-spec kayak for long tours, whitewater trips, or dedicated angling sessions, then we would recommend you seek out other inflatable kayak brands.

But if you want an affordable inflatable kayak that is perfect for throwing in your car or RV for your next camping trip, or if you want to try kayaking without spending too much, Intex has a kayak for you.

PictureNameSpecsWhere to Buy
Intex Challenger K1Size: 9 ft X 30 in
Weight: 28 lbs
Capacity: 220 lbs
Intex Challenger K2Length: 11 ft. 6 in X 30 in
Weight: 38 lbs
Capacity: 400 lbs
Intex Explorer K2Size: 10 ft. 3 in X 36 in
Weight: 36.7 lbs
Capacity: 400 lbs
Intex Excursion Pro K1Size: 10 ft X36 in
Weight: 37.3 lbs
Capacity: 220 lbs
Intex Excursion Pro K2Size: 12 ft 7 in X 36 in
Weight: 46.7 lbs
Capacity: 400 lbs

Moose started his paddling life on the ponds and rivers in the south east of England. He has slowly worked his way north and has spent the last few years working his way through all things Scottish. As well as being a very experienced and knowledgeable coach and guide across Scotland and the rest of the UK, he spent a summer in Norway and a month in Nepal; apparently they weren’t bad.

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