The Intex Excursion Pro is the manufacturer’s latest inflatable kayak on the market. At first glance it looks very similar to the Intex Explorer K2. The differences are not only in the design, but especially in the material and equipment as well as in the accessories. With the Excursion Pro, Intex has a much higher quality inflatable kayak in its range than the Intex Explorer or Challenger. In this review we would like to show you whether the extra cost is worth it and the strengths and weaknesses of the kayak.
384 cm | 12’6”
94 cm | 3’1”
180 kg | 397 lbs
62 x 58 x 32 cm |
2′ x 1’9” x 1′
17 kg | 37.5 lbs
0.08 bar | 1.16 PSI
Which model has been reviewed?
Intex Excursion Pro from 2020
How did we organize the review?
We have purchased the Intex Excursion Pro ourselves.
How intensively has the product been tested?
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?
The kayak has some of the features of a fishing kayak. However, we will not go into these features in this review, as we are not anglers ourselves.
Table of Contents
Set-up and first impressions
The Intex Excursion Pro comes with a very large carrying case. Compared to the bags of other Intex boats it is coated and much more stable. With this bag we do not have the feeling that it will tear or get a hole after a few uses. The dimensions of the bag are very large. But that makes sense. Because usually you never get the boat folded up as compactly as it was when delivered. This also gives you the possibility to get the boat into the bag a bit untidily folded (in case you are in a hurry).
As usual with Intex, the boat is offered in a complete set. In addition to the larger and more robust carrying bag, there is a larger double action air pump for fast inflation of the kayak and two plug-in double paddles. In addition to the other Intex inflatable kayaks, the following accessories are included in the delivery:
- Valve key to tighten the valves
- good repair kit
- foot brace for the front and rear paddler
- manometer to check the correct air pressure
- inflatable seat pad for a higher seating position in the boat
- several fishing rod holders
- one skeg each for shallow and deep water (instead of a general skeg)
We can already say that the additional accessories are a useful addition.
Meanwhile, Intex has replaced the bag with a lightweight transport backpack with padded shoulder straps. This makes the kayak much more comfortable to transport, for example, if you go by train or bus to the lake or river.
Although the manual says that the boat should be built on a surface without stones and other sharp objects, we did not quite stick to it. If the boat skin would not withstand these small stones, we would like to know that. Of course we don’t want to force any damage, but the boat skin inspires confidence, because it is not just a PVC skin. The boat skin consists of a polyester fabric coated on both sides with PVC. In case of damage, the boat skin can be mended with the enclosed repair kit.
First the bottom and then the side chambers are inflated. The bottom and the side chambers are separate from each other, i.e. each air chamber also has its own valve. This multi-chamber system is common on inflatable boats in order not to sink in case of a hole on the water.
Inflating works well with the supplied pump. Admittedly, the air pump is nevertheless quite small and not very robust. Also the stand is very small. But that is not surprising. You should not expect miracles from the included accessories, especially not if they are in the scope of a cheap complete set.
As soon as the air chamber reaches its final shape, check the air pressure with the supplied manometer. The chambers can be inflated up to 0.08 bar (1.16 PSI). This is not much for an inflatable kayak, but a little more than for the Intex Challenger K2 and Explorer K2. If you have been on the water with the boat for a longer time, you should check the air pressure during a break on the shore. If the air and water temperature are significantly different, the air pressure in the chambers will drop and they will become slightly softer. But this is quite normal for an inflatable boat and here it helps to pump up. In the case of inflatable boats with a higher pressure (e.g. Gumotex or Grabner), this effect is not that significant,
We found the handling of the valves less good. It is a little tricky to open and close the valve spring. The valve spring is covered with a screw cap, so that the valve is not accidentally opened on the water. The cap is only attached with a very thin string.
Inflatable kayaks generally have the disadvantage compared to fixed hull kayaks that they have a worse directional stability. Therefore a fin can be attached to most inflatable kayaks to improve the directional stability. With our model we unfortunately had to find out that the fin holder is not attached straight. The sloppy mounting of the fin holder is annoying, because it will make the kayak even worse in terms of directional stability.
Both the foot braces and the seats can be placed in different positions in the boat. For the foot brace there are 3 positions each for the front and rear paddler. You can also fix the seat variably to the ground with a long velcro strip. Especially the foot braces surprised us, because something like that is not common in this price class.
Since we are quite tall, we use the whole interior space to place the seats and foot braces. The backrests of the seats are attached by two belts, each of which can be fastened to the side chamber with a plastic carabiner.
At the bow and stern there is a small spray deck each. A wave from the front (e.g. from a passing boat) would still get into the boat because the spraydeck is sagging downwards.
The spraydeck is primarily used to attach the carrying handles. The boat is equipped with a robust carrying handle at both the front and the back, so that two people can carry the boat. The carrying handles make a robust impression. Unfortunately the opening of the carrying handles is a bit too narrow for big and strong hands.
There are also small safety lines at the front and back of the outer edge of the boat. These are quite practical to pull the boat ashore. In addition to the D-rings, which are used to secure the backrests, there are two more D-rings in the front and in the back for securing equipment (e.g. the belt of a dry bag).
On closer inspection, we could not find any processing errors or unclean spots in the gluing, apart from the skeg holder.
In the scope of supply an additional seat cushion is included, which can be placed under one of the seats. The seat cushion increases the sitting position and is intended for children or very small persons, so that it’s easier to put the paddle blade into the water.
Review of the Intex Excursion Pro on the water
The Intex Excursion Pro has robust carrying handles, so that the kayak can be carried well to water together with another person. However, the low air pressure is noticeable when carrying it. Although the kayak is not very long for a 2-person inflatable kayak, it hangs noticeably when being carried. If you paddle the kayak slo and have to carry it around on river tours, you definitely need a canoe trolley in our opinion.
The open construction of the kayak allows easy access to the kayak. Nevertheless, the bottom chamber gives way noticeably when entering the kayak. If you use the deep-water fin, you should only enter the kayak when the water depth is sufficient.
Due to the variable placement of the seats, you can paddle it solo as well. In the following photo you can see that the effective length of the boat on the water, i.e. the waterline, is much shorter than the total length of the boat. The reason is that the weight is mainly concentrated in the middle of the boat. Nevertheless, the Excursion Pro can be paddled without problems with a deep water fin. The speed and the directional stability as a 1-person kayak are alright for short trips.
The seat cushion is high enough so that you don’t have to sit in the wet if water (e.g. splashes when paddling or waves from a passing boat) gets into the boat. The backrest gives only limited support and makes a rather unstable impression. When paddling it supports only a small area of the lower back. If we lean into it properly, it bends away to the back.
Cheap inflatable kayaks rarely have a foot brace. A foot brace not only gives you a much better hold when paddling. A foot brace also makes paddling easier overall. Since the feet and therefore your torso have a better hold in the boat, you can get the necessary power for the paddle stroke mainly from your upper body instead of your arms. This makes you less tired when paddling. However, since cheap inflatable kayaks are not designed for long paddling anyway, many of them come without a foot brace.
Although the Intex Excursion Pro is only designed for short and comfortable trips due to its low air pressure, wide and yet quite short hull for a 2-person kayak, the foot braces are a nice feature as long as the paddlers are not too tall. For each seating position in the boat (front and back as a 2-person kayak and in the middle as a 1-person kayak) there are 3 positions each for the foot brace.
For tall paddlers the foot braces are rather unsuitable on longer trips. Because even when the foot braces is attached in the outermost loops, we have to bend our legs too much when using the foot braces (see photo below). For short tours this is not a big issue. On half or day tours, however, it becomes uncomfortable. For small persons the foot braces can be a nice support to find enough hold in the boat.
If you are paddling the boat solo and are tall, we recommend that you use the front bottom loops (which are actually intended for the 2-person configuration). Apart from the footrest, the interior offers plenty of room for a solo paddler.
In contrast to the 1-person use, the kayak with a 2-person configuration lies much better in the water. Also in comparison to the other Intex kayaks there have been some improvements. The directional stability are noticeably better due to the length of the boat, the air chambers have become somewhat more dimensionally stable and the maximal load capacity has increased by 20 kg. A speed of 3.1 – 3.4 km/h is quite realistic. The interior is spacious enough to provide enough room for two large paddlers.
The double-bladed paddles (with a length of 218 cm / 2’2”) are well designed for the kayak and for the average paddling beginner, but too wobbly for longer tours. Unlike other portable double-bladed paddles, it’s made not only of 2 or 4 pieces, but even 5 pieces. This increases the compactness of the paddle, but at the same time reduces the stability. For intensive use the plug system of the paddle shafts seems to wear out quickly, which would make the paddles even wobblier in the long run.
For occasional and small paddling trips on the water, the paddles are still useful. Nevertheless, the paddles show that the complete set is only designed for occasional and short paddling trips.
After a two-hour paddle tour with numerous landings on the shore, the kayak remained unharmed. The stress on the boat skin and on the boat itself were comparatively low in our review. There were good conditions (no wind) and the lake had only gravel banks. This is exactly what we consider the boat suitable for. In our opinion, the kayak is not the best choice for river tours with possible ground contact as well as half or day tours on lakes.
Dismantling the kayak
If there is water in the boat, the drain opening in the stern can be used before dismantling the kayak. This way you make sure that most of the water can drain out of the boat. To do this, tilt the boat at the front and the water in the boat will run out of the drain opening. You only have to wipe the interior dry without taking out the water with a sponge. The boat skin can also be wiped dry easily. The seats on the other hand have a slightly fabric-like coating that cannot be wiped dry. These should let air dry.
The air went out of the air chambers without much effort and the boat let was easy to fold up so that it fit back into the bag. However, the folded boat did not reach the original pack size.
Strengths and weaknesses of the Intex
It is difficult to identify a concrete strength of the kayak. For a inflatable kayak in the lower price range it has reasonable dimensions and comes with a lot of useful accessories. Due to its generous dimensions the kayak offers much more space inside than comparable kayaks in the price range. The directional stability and the performance on the water is good for comfortable tours on lakes and rivers.
Nevertheless, from our point of view, the Intex Excursion Pro is a beginner inflatable kayak for occasional use. The air chambers are not stiff enough due to the low air pressure, the backrests do not give enough support when paddling on longer tours and the paddles are too wobbly. The boat skin is much more robust than the Intex Challenger or Explorer. But it does not look as robust as the skin of a Gumotex or Grabner inflatable kayak.
+ easy assembly and dismantling + robust and large carrying bag included + more robust boat skin than other Intex inflatable boats + good driving characteristics (good compromise between speed, manoeuvrability and directional stability) + complete set – also suitable for anglers + enough interior space – very good manometer + useful equipment (e.g. additional D-rings, safety line, handles, seat elevation, …)
– wobbly kayak paddles – fin holder was not correctly attached for our model – front and rear spray covers offer almost no protection against splash water and smaller waves – no luggage net – low air pressure and therefore soft air chambers- a lot of packaging waste (each part was individually packed in plastic bags) – bulky packing size considering the boat dimensions – foot braces are unsuitable for tall people
Conclusion on the Intex Excursion Pro
The Intex Excursion Pro is a successful further development with numerous improvements of the previous Intex inflatable kayaks and goes in the right direction. We had called the Intex Challenger and Explorer more bathing boats than kayaks. With the Intex Excursion Pro we see it the other way around. But it is definitely not a touring kayak either, it is much more a recreational kayak for occasional use. The running characteristics were better than expected, especially when the kayak is paddled by two persons. Two paddlers give the boat more drive. Also, the higher weight and better weight distribution increases the waterline of the boat. However, our afternoon review cannot conclude how durable and robust the kayak is in the long run.
If you want to find out more about Intex and his products, make sure to check out our overview of Intex boats and kayaks article.
Recommended Kayaking Equipment
The Intex Challenger Excursion Pro already includes a paddle and pump. However, you definitely need to get a life jacket. You also want to consider a dry bag and a proper transport bag for the inflatable kayak.
Accessories for the Intex Challenger K1
The scope of delivery of the boat includes the following accessories:
- Kayak paddle
- Inflatable foot brace
- Air pump
- 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 Excursion Pro
There are many other manufacturers, which make also great inflatable kayaks. Sea Eagle for example is very well-known in the US and they have a very wide range of inflatables. The Sea Eagle 420X comes with a drop-stitch floor and is available in a complete set (paddles, air pump, bag). It’s more expensive than the Excursion Pro but you will also get more for your money.
If you look for another affordable kayak, then the Itiwit x100+ might be a good kayak for you as a beginner. It’s a well-designed boat with good materials and quality but due to the hull the driving performance isn’t outstanding. It’s a good leisure boat for slow and comfortable tours on calm waters.
But if performance on the water is important to you, then you should check out kayaks from Advanced Elements. They have some really good boat, which can compete with solid kayaks.