Intex Challenger K2
Review

The Intex Challenger K2 is the largest inflatable kayak from the inflatable boat manufacturer Intex. It measures a total length of 11ft 6in. Also, this boat is available as one-person kayak, named as Intex Challenger K1. There are lots of customers giving positive feedback for the Intex Challenger K2. We wanted to know how good this kayak is and have tested the Challenger K2 for you. We have already paddled many inflatable kayaks and are able to give you a solid recommendation for who the Challenger K2 is best suited for.

If you are hasitating between the Challenger K2 and Explorer K2,  make sure to read also our review about the Intex Explorer K2 and our Intex Challenger vs Explorer article. 

Technical Specification

Nr of Persons: 2
Length: 11ft 6in
Width: 2ft 6in
Weight: 33.53 lb
Pack Size: 24. 25″ x 17″ x 9. 5″

Max Load: 352 lb
Pressure: 0,0069 bar
Material: PVC
Manufacturer: Intex

Set-up and first impressions

The Intex Challenger K2 is delivered in a light and thin transport bag. The bag doesn’t make a rough impression but for short transports or storing the kayak at home the transport bag should be sufficient. The Challenger K2 is not a very lightweight inflatable. Everyone who wants to transport the kayak some hundred meters by foot should buy a transport backpack. 

In the transport bag fits the complete folded boat and all the accessory. So, it comes with two seats, one double-blade paddle and a pump. If you want to paddle it with someone else together, you need to buy another paddle. And of course, never forget life jackets!

Intex_kayak_transport_bag
Transport bag for the kayak.
intex kayak accessoires
The kayak comes with a paddle and a pump.
Thanks to the wide opening of the transport bag it’s easy to get the boat out of the bag. Once you unfold it on the ground, you immediatly see the shape of the kayak and it looks quite complete. It only misses some air actually. The front paddler has a little air cushion in the bug, used as a foot rest. This foot rest provides the front paddler a better support when paddling. The paddler in the back already has a good support with its feet by the front seat.
intex challenger setup
Once unfolded it already looks like a kayak, just missing some air.
kayak foot support
Foot rest for the front paddler.
The bottom of the boat with the shaft for the skeg.

The inflated kayak consists of one ground and two side air chambers that are inflated via boston valves with the included high-output air pump. The air pump is quite small. So, this means it takes a bit to inflate it completely. You could also get a bigger air pump and the inflation would go much faster. However, a bigger air pump needs more space, which should be considered as well. 

intex challenger kayak how to setup

The printed measuring scales on the chambers are quite handy. In case of the right air pressure, the scale is 10 cm long. The right air pressure on the chambers is very import. A too high air pressure would damage the chambers and too low pressure would reduce the driving performance.

inflate intex challenger k2
Inflating the Intex Challenger K2.
Measuring scale of the Intex Challenger K2.

The seats can be inflated by mouth, like an air mattress. Inflating the seats was a bit cumbersome because before you get the valve closed you have some air that escapes. However, we think with a bit pratice this shouldn’t cause a real problem.

intex seat
Frontside of the seat.
Backside of the seat.

The floor of the boat is covered with some Velcro straps for attaching the seats. The straps for the backseat is longer so that you can adjust the position of it. If you want to have more legroom you should put the seat more in the back and if you want to have more space for luggage then you should place the seat more in the front. Due to the Velcro straps, the seats remain where you have put them when paddling. In addition to that, the backrests of the seats are attached to the ground chambers with adjustable belts.

Once inflated the seats are placed quickly in the kayak.
intex challenger kayakseat
Velcro straps for attaching the seats on the ground.
air chamber intex kayak
Click closure to attach seats on the side chamerbs.

A nice feature is the spacious cargo net for storage in front. A day pack and shoes can be stored in this cargo net without disturbing and taking any space from inside while paddling.

Cargo net of the Intex Challenger K2.

Review of the Intex Challenger K2 on the water

Once setup it’s very easy to put the kayak on the water. However, some carry handles at the stern and bow would be very useful. Most of the inflatables we know have these kinds of handles and we don’t really want to miss them anymore. So, we had to use the string at the thin ropes and the back and front to carry the kayak.

If you have got some experience with inflatable kayaks, you will also notice that the material is not as thick as used for high-quality inftlables. So, the boat skin can’t be very resistant and solid. Therefore, you should really try to avoid any contact with the ground. Be also careful outside with the kayak that there are no sharp stones or branches on the ground. 

review intex kayak
It's easy to carry the kayak to the water

The Challenger K2 has a reasonable speed for a beginner kayak with a relatively low air pressure. The directional stability is also provided by the skeg. Paddling too fast (more than 3,8mph) results into a quite wobbly experience. Compared to other kayaks, the Challenger K2 reacts quite slowly to changes of the direction. It requires some strong paddle strokes from the paddler in the back.

intex challenger review
The kayak isn't very spacious but offers enough space for two paddlers.

The Intex Challenger offers enough space for two adults and some luggage. The cargo net is a huge benefit on the water because it’s very easy to access on the water as well.

The seats allow you to rest on comfortable relaxation. The emphasis is on relaxation. For longer trips the seats are not designed for because they are too soft and provide too little support. Also, the Challenger K2 has a quite low air pressure (0,6bar). Higher quality inflatable kayaks have a 3 – 5 higher air pressure which results to a much better performance on the water.

On calm water and sunny days, the Intex is a great boat for short afternoon paddling tours

Dismantling of the Intex Challenger Kayak

Dismantling the boat has proved to be harder than the setup. On one hand it was not easy to wipe out the water. The Challenger K2 has some hard-to-reach areas (especially in the bug) that makes wiping the boat dry quite difficult. Whereas deflating the air chambers was easy thanks to the Boston valves

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Intex Challenger Kayak

The greatest strength of the Intex Challenger K2 is the unbeatable price including the accessory. And, that’s why this kayak is so popular. You have got everything to start paddling. But for this low price you shouldn’t really expect a high-quality kayak. Intex kayaks look great and professional regarding design but at a closer look you notice big difference with inflatable kayaks from other manufacturers that cost much more.

The operating pressure is quite low and the material of the boat skin is too thin. On our first day, we had already two little holes in the floor chamber and we have started paddling yet. We could repair it quickly without any big problems. But the used material for the boat skin is very sensitive and the greatest weakness of this inflatable boat. So, we can only partly recommend the Intex Challenger K2. We wouldn’t call it an actual kayak but rather a fun bathing boat. For paddling  from time to time a bit on a calm and small lake where you want to relax the Challenger K2 is great option. But this boat is not a good option for anybody looking for a real kayak. If you want to do regularly some longer tours, you should invest in high-quality kayak.

intex challenger k2
+ very handy cargo net in front + enough space for luggage and paddlers + very affordable + complete accessory already included
– missing carry handles on bow and stern – rather a fun boat than an inflatable kayak – wobble double-blade paddles – sensitive boat skin – low air pressure – cumbersome to dry and clean due to missing drain valve – short warranty period of 90 days (from the date of purchase)

Final notes on the Intex Challanger K2

The Intex Challenger K2 is a very affordable inflatable kayak and very popular among beginners. It’s delivered with an astonishing amount of accessory and there is nothing missing to start paddling immediately. Considering the low price, you should not expect a proper inflatable kayak, but rather a fun boat which can be paddled as a kayak. The air pressure is too low and the used material is not robust enough for real kayak tours. We have experienced two tiny pits in the material without paddling before. It was possible to repair the pits but however it has shown that the material is not very resistant. That’s why we can only partially recommend the Challenger K2. It’s only designed for little tours on bathing lakes where the bathing fun and the relaxation on the water stand in the foreground. It’s not a boat for people and ambitious paddlers who intend to make tours of several hours.

Recommended kayaking equipment

The Intex Challenger K2 already comes with two paddles and a pump. However, you should also get a life jacket and consider buying a dry bag as well as a backpack.

Life Jacket

Life jackets should always be used when paddling, no matter how well you can swim and how nice the weather is. Large and flowing waters can be unpredictable, and your own clothing can make it difficult to swim if you capsize. A life jacket also gives you the buoyancy you need to get back to the surface quickly. It can also be very helpful to bring the capsized boat to shore. When buying a lifejacket, buoyancy should be chosen according to your body weight.

Dry Bag

A dry bag should not be missing on any paddling trip. Dry bags are available in many different sizes. As a beginner and for smaller trips we recommend a small and compact bag. It offers enough space for valuables like your mobile phone and wallet and protects them from loss or damage. A small packsack does not take up too much space in the boat and can also be placed between your legs if necessary. Make sure that the dry bag  has a strap so that you can easily carry it around when leaving your kayak.

Backpack

Many inflatable kayaks come without any backpack, but only with a light carry bag. This is perfeect for storage or to transport if on short distances. But if you want to take your inflatable kayak with you on public transport or carry it without any bid efforts, we strongly recommend a comfortable and large transport backpack. Normal hiking backpacks are not suitable for this because of their small opening. Sevylor offers an additional backpack designed for the transport of inflatable boats. A large opening makes it easy to put the boat inside the backpack. The outer pockets are the perfect place for the paddles.

Other Intex kayaks

A similar inflatable kayak is the Intex Explorer K2. The biggest difference is the design. We have also an article where we compare both boats: Intex Challenger vs. Intex Explorer.

The Intex Excursion Pro looks quite similar to the Explorer K2 but here there are especially differences regarding material and quality. The Excursion Pro is the most expensive inflatable kayak from Intex but the boat skin is much thicker and it has much more features. If you are willing to pay more, then this one might be the better choice for you.

Intex Excursion Pro

2 persons kayak

Intex Explorer K2

2 persons kayak

Intex Challenger K1

1 person kayak

Other alternatives to the Intex Challenger K2

Intex is by far not the only brand when it comes to inflatable kayaks. There are many other brands that sell entry-level kayaks as well as high-quality ones. Sea Eagle for example has a very wide range of inflatable boats and if you look for an affordable kayak from them, the you should check out the Sea Eagle 330.

Another good inflatable kayak, which is a bit more pricey, but worth checking out is the Itiwit x100+. It has a drop-stich floor that gives the kayak some more stability on the water. The quality and material are pretty good regarding the price.

If you are asking us for the best inflatable kayak on the market, then we could barely answer your question because it depends on your needs. However, we personally like the inflatable kayaks from Advanced Elements, especially the Advanced Frame Convertible Elite. We went on many paddling tour with it and it has a really good performance on the water.

Sea Eagle 330

2 persons kayak

Itiwit x100+

2 persons kayak

AE AdvancedFrame Convertible

2 persons kayak

This Post Has One Comment

  1. The comments on the K2 were really informative and helpful. Both my wife and myself are retired. So there is no desire to go kayaking for miles and miles. Just a steady and slow float around the Life Guard area of our favourite beach at Bigbury On Sea here in Devon. We’re not too bothered about the pro’s and Cons you mentioned. As we both improvise, adapt and overcome by using a common sense approach to some of the pit falls you mentioned. This didn’t put us off buying a K2 Kayak. Though life jackets are a MUST. Anyone who thinks that NOTHING will happen to THEM, are in for a culture shock when it does. I know. I served at sea for 40 years. So I am well aware of those hidden dangers that the sea can throw at the unwary and foolhardy. Sometimes at an unfortunate loss.

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