The Intex Explorer K2 is one of most affordable inflatable kayaks. On the internet a lot of customers share positive experience with this inflatable Intex kayak. Most of the customers can only make a limited evaluation since they have never paddled any other inflatable kayaks than the Intex Explorer K2. We have examined the Explorer K2 carefully and have paddled it on a bathing lake. We have already paddled many inflatable kayaks and are able to give you a solid recommendation for who the Intex Explorer K2 is best suited for.
312 cm (10’2”)
91 cm (3′)
160 kg | 353 lbs
59 x 34 x 41 cm |
1’9” x 1’1” x 1’3”
14 kg | 30.9 lbs
0,069 bar | 1 PSI
Which model has been reviewed?
Intex Explorer K2 from 2018
How did we organize the review?
We have purchased the Intex Explorer K2 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?
Table of Contents
First impressions and assembly
The Intex Explorer K2 comes in a thin transport bag, which does not look particularly robust and the carrying handles are not padded. However, the bag should be sufficient for storing the kayak or for carrying the kayak short distances to the water. The bag contains the boat and all its accessories. If you often want to transport the kayak and accessories a few hundred meters on foot, you should buy a larger transport backpack (e.g. Itiwit boat backpack*).
The transport bag contains the folded boat (weighed 9.45 kg / 20.8 lbs) and all the accessories. These include two inflatable seats, an air pump, a skeg, two double blade paddles including drip rings, a measuring strip (for checking the air pressure) and repair patches.
The included Intex Double Quick II* is a small-volume double-stroke pump with three different attachments. Double stroke means that air is expelled both when the piston is pushed down and when it is pulled up, thus enabling more efficient pumping.
It’s amazing that so many accessories are included for such a low price. This makes immediate paddling possible.
The folded kayak is quickly out of the bag. At first, the material makes a pretty rough impression, but reminds us a little of the somewhat thicker PVC material of an air mattress at the second glance, which air mattresses are made of. Compared to higher quality inflatable kayaks, there are huge differences in the roughness of the used material. That’s why you should be very careful with the Explorer K2 and prevent any contact with stones and branches.
The kayak must be unfolded for the setup. The air chambers can be inflated with the included air pump. The Intex Explorer K2 has two side chambers and a bottom chamber. We really like this multiple air chamber design because it makes the boat safer. If the kayak were to get a puncture, only one air chamber will deflate and the other two will remain still inflated.
The two side chambers each have a Boston valve, which is common for beginner kayaks. The bottom chamber, on the other hand, only has a simple plug valve, which is reminiscent of the valve on an air mattress. It is functional, but still makes a very cheap impression for an inflatable kayak.
Inflating the kayak was simple and quick (less than 10 minutes). Intex has printed a measuring scale on the chambers. With this scale you can see with the included measuring strip or ruler if the right air pressure is on each chamber. This is very useful and important at the same time. A too high air pressure would damage the chambers for sure and a too low air pressure would reduce the driving performance of the boat. As well as the boston valves have been working great.
The two seats were a bit more cumbersome to inflate. But we really liked the Veclro straps on the floor of the boat. They hold the seats in the right position when paddling. The Velcro strap for the backseat is longer dimensioned so that you can adjust the position of the backseat more individually, either more legroom or more space for you gear behind the backseat. Both seats have a backrest with adjustable belts which are attached to the side chambers. All in all, the seats are a good feature of the boat in this price segment.
Stern and bow are equipped with small spray decks that can be inflated as well. These can also be inflated to give them more shape. The side chambers are pretty high compared to other Intex kayaks. Moreover, the Intex Explorer is not suited for white-water at all. We assume that these are intended to give the boat a better look. The carry handles on the bow and stern are really practical for lifting the boat.
After inflating, the boat must be turned to mount the included skeg. This is secured with a split pin. The skeg is recommended for a better directional stability, as inflatable kayaks tend to float on the water rather than in the water compared to rigid hull and folding kayaks.
Finally, the Intex is completely set up. We are especially pleased by the appealing design of the boat. The last thing to do before paddling is to plug the paddle together. You will notice immediately that the paddles are not made for longer paddling tours. They are quite wobbly and that even in new state. But nevertheless, two functioning double-blade paddles for that low price, hard to believe.
Despite the low price, we could not find any manufacturing faults with the boat. The PVC material is welded together in a similar way to an air mattress. Nevertheless, you can see that the boat skin appears thin. The boat skin is a simple PVC foil without any reinforcement (such as a polyester core on the inside).
A big difference between the Intex Explorer K2 and other higher-quality inflatables is the low air pressure that results in very soft air cambers. The Intex Explorer reminds us more of a fun boat than a proper inflatable kayak.
Review of the Intex Challenger K2 on the water
Two people can easily carry the inflatable kayak to the water when unloaded using the carrying handles. The open design makes it very easy to get in. However, the low air pressure compared to higher quality inflatable kayaks or drop-stitch kayaks is noticeable here. The soft bottom and side chambers don’t give a lot of support. When you get in and sit down, it reminds us more like a bathing boat.
However, the soft air chambers and inflatable seats make it very comfortable when the focus is on spending time on the water. The emphasis is on chilling. However, the seats are not suitable for longer and sportier tours as they do not provide sufficient support. Nevertheless, if you only plan short trips, the focus is on relaxing on the water, you don’t go paddling often and you don’t have high expectations, you will be completely satisfied with the Intex kayak to begin with.
What we notice when paddling are the rather high and wide side chambers. On the one hand, this makes the boat more stable and safer on the water. On the other hand, when paddling with the double paddle paddle, you often come up against the wide side tubes, which would be annoying on longer trips.
We were surprised by the speed. You can reach a reasonable speed with the Intex Explorer K2. Speeds of between 5.1 km/h and 5.6 km/h (between 3.2 mph and 3.5 mph) are realistic in good conditions. If you paddle too fast, it becomes a pretty wobbly affair. A change of direction by the person behind also works quite well. It is more maneuverable than the Intex Challenger K2. The skeg supports the directional stability of the boat well. We also have to say that we had good conditions for kayaking with an inflatable kayak that day (no wind or waves).
There is just barely enough space for two adults and a daypack. A small daypack or dry bag can be placed behind the rear seat. There is no room for luggage at the front of the bow, as the person in front would otherwise not know where to put the feet. Due to the more open design, you sit less cramped than in the Intex Challenger K2. Nevertheless, the person in the back must place the feet on the sides of the front seat to avoid having to sit at an angle in the boat. However, this is no problem as the soft side chambers are so flexible.
The paddles supplied (1 kg / 2.2 lbs each, which is not too heavy for a beginner double blade paddle) definitely serve their purpose for beginners and are comfortable to paddle for short distances. However, you shouldn’t expect much more from these double blade paddles. You immediately notice that the double paddles are not intended for long tours. In addition to the high flex of the paddle blade, the double paddle is quite wobbly overall, even when new. But still, for the price, two functional double paddles, hard to believe. On the other hand, the drip rings, which reduce splashing water in the boat, are a positive feature.
Intex Explorer K2 as a 1-person kajak
The Intex Explorer K2 can also be used as a 1-person kayak. The Velcro strip on the floor and the seat straps are long enough so that you can position the front seat in the middle of the kayak. For longer tours, we would personally miss a footrest. A larger dry bag may help here.
There is plenty of space in the 1-seater configuration. There is enough space behind the seat to stow a large backpack or dry bag.
Although the trim of the kayak is still good on the water (despite the low operating pressure), the straight-line stability and speed are logically poorer when using a 1-person kayak. Nevertheless, with the Intex Challenger K1 in the 1-person configuration, you can reach a speed of approx. 4.8 km/h (3 mph), which surprised us.
Dismantling of the Intex Explorer K2
After the use, the Intex Explorer K2 dries quickly. Deflating the kayak is easy as well. So, there is no problem to fold the kayak as it was before. We really liked the drain valve. The boat can be tipped backward, and the left water runs out of the drain valve easily. The boat can be wiped dry without using a sponge to get out the water.
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Intex Explorer Kayak
The greatest strength of the Explorer K2 is not the boat itself but the offer, i.e. the included accessory and the really low price for an inflatable kayak. The less robust boat skin the main weakness of the Explorer K2 which should not be a surprise considering the low price.
+ complete accessories already included + seats can be positioned variably + practical carry handles to lift the boat + very affordable + appealing design + easy boat cleaning thanks to drain valve + good maneuverability as a 2-person kayak + can also be paddled alone + good directional stability with the skeg
– sensitive boat skin – rather a fun boat than an inflatable kayak – little space for luggage and tall paddlers in the back – low air pressure and therefore soft air chambers – seats provide too little support on longer tours – wobbly paddles – short warranty period of 90 days (from the day of purchase)
Conclusion on the the Intex Explorer K2
The Intex Explorer K2 is one of the best-selling inflatable kayaks for a reason. It is easy to paddle for beginners and comes with all the accessories you need for paddling. It is primarily for people who want to spend some time on the water. Covering distance or longer tours (paddling for several hours) are not the main focus. Then the Intex Explorer K2 is a good option.
However, if you really want to go paddling on selected tours, you should spend more money on an inflatable kayak. The Explorer K2 is not designed for longer paddling. The seats do not provide enough support, there is not enough space in the long term and the operating pressure is too low to expect good handling characteristics similar to a hard-shell kayak. In addition, the boat skin is too thin and only seems to be designed for gentle use. We don’t recommend the Intex Explorer K2 for trips on the water with grounding included, that can happen on rivers.
A lot of people wonder what the differences between the Intex Explorer K2 and Intex Challengers K2 are. We have reviewed both in our article Intex Explorer K2 vs Challenger K2. Check also out our article about Intex to get an overview of all his products.
Accessories for the Intex Explorer K2
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.
Other Intex kayaks
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.