First things first: I’m not going to get into too much gory detail about what you need to look for in inflatable kayaks. If you’re reading this, you probably already know what the best inflatable kayaks are, and now you want to know how they perform out in the real world.
That’s what I’m here to do today. I’ll show you what I experienced using the Challenger K1 and the Challenger K2 from Intex and how they measured up.
This is the solo inflatable kayak from Intex. I love the fact that the K1 is cheap, it works and it’s always ready to go…although it only wants to go on slow moving water. The Intex Challenger K1 is somewhat of a leader in its field, and the best part about it is that it’s very affordable.
- As I’ve mentioned before, the price of the K1 is amazing considering you’re buying an actual kayak. Normally lower price would equate to lower quality, but Intex definitely didn’t let monetary value set the trend for quality materials.
- The K1 is lightweight and durable because it’s made from super tough vinyl.
- It will easily hold up to 220lbs floating on the water, so you can trust that it’s not going to let you down.
- I cannot stress just how much I appreciate its portability. The K1 deflates and easily fits in the back of regular car trunks, so it means the end of bulky travel kayak-on-top style.
- Stability is the K1’s middle name thanks to the I-Beam support, something I loved simply because it allowed me to stand upright in the kayak – without taking a swim – when the need called for it!
- The cockpit is awesome and very comfortable with the heaps of space and the addition of an extra inflatable seat back for extended paddling. To keep the cockpit uncluttered, the cargo net is a handy and very useful addition to the K1.
- You might feel a little 80’s inspired with the colors of the K1, but it’s as safe as could be. You’re visible and that’s all that matters.
- Oh and as a sweet bonus to the deal, Intex throws in a 84 inch aluminum oar, a high output hand pump and a puncture repair kit with the purchase of your Challenger K1.
The Not So Great
Everything in life has a flipside, and so does the K1.
- The K1 will only be a good kayak if you take it out on placid waters or slow moving rivers, and any kind of current will rattle the K1’s abilities.
- It’s crucial to think about what your intended application is for your brand spanking new inflatable kayak, and if the white waters are your thing, the K1 isn’t.
- The included oar that Intex throws in there…yeah not very good at all. It just about sucks. It’s not durable and I wouldn’t recommend using it for anything other than a backup plan.
The K1 is a great (albeit not the best) Intex product and it’s one of the cheapest and most reliable ways to get out into the water with a kayak. I recon this is an awesome beginner’s inflatable yak because it’s easy to maneuver; it has all the space you need and is pretty damn reliable. For the more advanced paddlers the K1 isn’t going to offer you anything great or new, and adding it to your fleet really isn’t going to enhance your life.
The K2 is Intex’s answer to the demand for kayaking being a more sociable experience. Lo and behold – the tandem inflatable kayak. Sure, there are a bunch of inflatable tandem kayaks out there, but there’s a lot that sets the K2 apart from the competition. The K2 is similar to almost every aspect of its cousin, the solo K1, but with more space for an additional passenger and an increased weight capacity.
- From seeing what the K1 lacks, it makes sense that the K2 would have to somehow make up for those flaws. For starters, it’s still cheap and now boasts room for one additional paddler.
- It boasts the same super tough vinyl material that the K1 is made from. This means your inflatable kayak is puncture proof and UV damage resistant. If you do happen to smash into some serious rocks, the puncture kit is there to lend a helping hand!
- It also has the I-Beam for added support and to prevent capsizing risks, but what’s different with the K2 is that it boasts a whopping 350lb weight carrying capacity. That more than covers two people and their gear.
The Not So Great
- Unfortunately, the same issues I had beef with in the K1 can be found on the Challenger K2.
- The oars are still horrible and not what any skilled paddler would want to use, except for maybe as a backup plan. With the K2 you get twice the amount of crappy oars, which means it’s twice the problem, because you’ll have to buy two replacements.
- You still can’t take the K2 out on waters other than flat and slow moving, but with the weight of 2 people instead of just 1 onboard, you’ll be able to take on slightly stronger currents, but don’t push it!
The K2 seems on the whole, just like a replica of the K1, except for the fact that you can throw your paddling buddy onboard with you! The K2, just like the K1, is best for beginners who are just finding their sea legs…wait slow moving water legs. Nor the K1 or K2 is an advanced paddler’s cup of tea. However, for their price and their abilities, the Intex Challenger K1 and K2 are the best value you can buy into for the lowest price.
And that’s it. My 2 cents worth on the Intex Challenger K1 and K2, bringing you the best bang for your buck. And you really can’t argue with value!