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.

intex challenger k2

Technical Specs

Max. paddlers:
Packed size:

351 cm | 11’5”
76 cm | 2’5”
159 kg | 353 lbs
59 x 32 x 41 cm |
1’9” x 1′ x 1’3”

Produced in:

15 kg | 33.1 lbs
0,069 bar | 1 PSI

Which model has been reviewed?

Intex Challenger K2 from 2018

How did we organize the review?

We have purchased the Intex Challenger K2 ourselves.

How intensively has the product been tested?


high 1 bar = 1-3 km paddled (first impressions)
2 bars = min. 1 day/ 2 half-day tours
3 bars = min. 4 tours
4 bars = min. 8 tours
5 bars = min. 12 tours (very intense)

Where have we tested the product?


Calm rivers


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 an inflatable kayak pump. If you want to paddle it with someone else together, you need to buy another paddle. And of course, never forget life jackets!

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 immediately 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 brace for the front paddler
intex kayak deflated
The bottom of the boat with the shaft for the fin

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
Inflating the kayak with the included air pump

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.

Inflating the Intex Challenger K2
Inflating the Intex Challenger K2
Measuring scale of the Intex Challenger K2
Measuring scale on the air chamber

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.

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

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 bungee 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 inflatables. 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 fin. 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 paddling tours

Dismantling the 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

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 affordable + very handy cargo bungee net in front + enough space for luggage and paddlers
+ kayak paddles and pump 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 – difficult to dry and clean due to missing drain valve – short warranty period of 90 days (from the date of purchase)

Conclusion on the Intex Challenger 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.

Accessories for the Intex Challenger K1

The scope of delivery of the boat includes the following accessories:

  • Kayak paddle
  • Inflatable foot brace
  • Air pump
  • Fin
  • Repair patches
  • Transport bag

In addition, we recommend the following accessories:

  • Life jacket: Itiwit BA 50N+ * (good life jacket for beginners, very good price-performance ratio, more details in our test report).
  • Dry Bag: Itiwit dry bag 10L* (ideal for protecting items from splashing water and short immersion in water, good workmanship, with carrying strap, available in different colors and sizes)
  • Transport backpack: only a bag is included, which is intended for storage and short transport of the kayak to the water. If you want to transport the kayak longer distances and more comfortably to the water, we recommend the Itiwit transport backpack*, which is comfortable to carry and has enough space for the kayak and accessories.

Alternatives to the Intex Challenger K2

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.

The post has 1 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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