Intex Explorer K2 Kayak Review 2020

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Do you want an affordable kayak that isn’t flimsy?

Such kayaks are rare, but here is one of them.

The Intex Explorer K2 is the best inflatable kayak in the budget segment.

It has awesome features yet it doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Here is why it is so amazing.

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Intex Explorer K2 Kayak – Comparison Table

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak – Review

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak Review

Build Quality

The K2 is made from sturdy 30-gauge vinyl material and 1200 denier nylon shell. On the floor is a solid I-beam construction that gives it structural rigidity. This heavy duty construction makes it immune against abrasions from rocks or branches. At an affordable price point, Intex has made a reliable boat that will last many years.

Color

The bright yellow not only looks vibrant but provides high visibility. This is good for security as one can easily spot this color from afar.

Size

The K2 is 10.3 feet long and 3 feet wide. Its sides are 20 inches, that is taller than the sides of similar kayaks.

Despite being a two-seater, the kayak just weighs 31 lbs, which is less than similar inflatable kayaks. This makes it highly portable and easy to carry in your hands or on your shoulders.

Seats

The seats can be adjusted for a person’s height. The seats are also removable and can be attached to the floor with velcro straps. The back rest is high and stays firm which is really important for comfort.

On the sides of the seats are sturdy buckles that keep the seat secured for back support.

 

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Design

The Intex K2 challenger kayak is meticulously designed. It has three air chambers, so if either of them were to get punctured, the boat would still stay afloat. Grab line on both ends adds to your convenience and the grab handle can be used to carry the kayak when going in or out of the water. The outer layer of the kayak is sturdy and can’t easily get punctured.

Looking at its design carefully, you can’t help but appreciate the attention to detail that has gone into it. Both the front and the rear of the kayak are curved that allows it to cut easily through water and even tackle rough waters. Both ends are further covered with skirts that prevent water from coming in and make it handle shocks easily.

It can support a total of 350 lbs or 158 kgs of weight, usually enough for two average-sized adults or an adult and a child. It comes with two 86-inch aluminum oars, which are good quality but a bit short, as per user reviews.

The kayak comes with an inflation pump, two oars, two inflatable seats, a repair patch, a skeg and a carry bag.

Overall, the Intex K2 has a solid build quality. But it is still inflatable so it is meant for calm water or small waves. Some users mentioned that the kayak is slightly short for two adults when one of them is 6’ tall. So keep this in mind before you set out to kayak with your tall friend.

Performance

It has remarkable stability on water. You can stand on the floor without rocking it. This really helps when you are getting in or off the boat. Even as you paddle, the boat maintains its stability and you can enjoy your time knowing that it won’t tip over.

Inside the Package

  • Kayak
  • Two inflatable seats
  • Two 86-inch aluminum oars
  • One removable skeg
  • Carry bag
  • Repair patch
  • Inflation pump

Set Up

The kayak is easy to set up – just follow the instructions and it can be ready to go within minutes. When you’re done, it can be taken down in just ten minutes. After deflation, it can be kept in a car trunk or taken along with you on a public transport.

 

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Paddles

The paddles are a bit short. But what is really concerning is that as you paddle, your hands tend to rub against the seam on the sides, which hurts your hands and makes it uncomfortable to paddle. The solution is to buy longer paddles or wear gloves to protect your hands.

The removable skeg keeps the kayak stable, i.e. it can move in a straight line. The kayak moves smoothly on water unless there are strong winds. It is easy to maneuver.

The kayak has a large front profile, so when there are strong winds, it requires a ton of effort to keep it stable. However, the boat handles small waves really well. Its stability on water is amazing.

Boston Valves

The K2 also has boston valves that make inflation/deflation quick and easy. A boston valve only allows the airflow in one direction, so when you’re inflating, air doesn’t leak out of it. And when you’re deflating the kayak, no air is left inside.

The valve on the floor chamber is a regular one and not a boston valve. So inflating/deflating it can be harder than the side chambers.

Hand Pump

The supplied hand pump can quickly inflate the kayak in as little as ten minutes. The pump is not high quality, but it does the job.

 

hand pump

 

Spacious

It is remarkable how spacious the kayak is. There is plenty of room to keep gear and supplies. It is much more spacious than any other kayak in this segment. This really makes it stand out. However, when both seats are set up, there is a small leg room for the rear paddler.

Stability

There is a reason it has thousands of positive reviews from customers. The kayak is an all-rounder. While inflatables can be wobbly or unreliable, this one is the exact opposite.

It can take anything you throw at it except extreme winds and waves, for which it wasn’t made in the first place. Although it is smooth and stable, make sure to bring safety gear with you including buoyancy jackets, while you use this kayak.

Safety First

Having the repair kit with you at all times is essential even though the kayak is strong and sturdy. One must be prepared for all kinds of unexpected things on water. So make sure you know the safety measures and techniques. For example, you should know how to self-rescue if the boat capsizes.

Good for Recreational Purposes

The flat hull makes it a perfect kayak for recreational kayaking. Its stability allows you to park the boat on a beautiful spot and just enjoy fishing or other recreational activities (sans alcohol). There is enough space on board to keep cargo and gear as well.

 

skeg

 

However, make sure to use the skeg as it makes the kayak move fast on water and in a straight line. Without the skeg, the boat will lose tracking. Also, the supplied bag is flimsy and you will be better off buying your own bag if you are going to use the kayak often.

Overall, the Intex K2 explorer is a fun and practical product. For the price you pay, it offers an overwhelming amount of functionality. It comes with almost everything you need and has good handling and stability on water. Whether you are new to kayaking or have a long experience, you’ll be impressed with this kayak.

Pros
  • Impressive build quality
  • Spacious
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Lightweight
  • Resistant against punctures
  • Paddles included
  • Supports two persons
  • Remarkable stability
  • Comfortable seats
  • Three air chambers for water safety
  • Suited for recreational use
  • Boston valves
  • Everything included in package
  • Easy to set up or take down
  • Carry handles, grab line
Cons
  • Short paddles make your hands rub against the seam on the sides

Verdict: The Intex K2 Explorer Kayak is the best inflatable kayak you can buy on a budget. It has everything – build quality, comfort, space, stability and speed. However, it is meant for calm waters or small waves.

Comparison with Similar Kayaks

Intex Explorer K2 vs Intex Challenger K2

The most noticeable difference in the Intex Explorer K2 vs the Intex Challenger K2 is the width of the kayaks.

The Explorer K2 is 36 inches wide, while the Challenger K2 is 30 inches wide. Hence the Explorer is 20% wider, which makes it more comfortable and suited for those recreational trips.

The K2 Explorer is also more spacious than the challenger for carrying any additional gear or supplies.The K2 Challenger has space too, but not as much. The challenger also has a bungee net in the front, unlike the Explorer K2, to store small items. The legroom on both kayaks is more or less the same.

However, the narrow design of the Intex Challenger K2 makes it faster in water.However, the Explorer K2 more than makes up for it with its spacious and wider cockpit design. The Intex Challenger K2 has 400 lbs weight capacity as opposed to the 350 lbs. of Explorer K2.

Maneuverability

Both the K2 Explorer and the K2 challenger are stable and track well on water. Both are comfortable and meant for recreation. However, the K2 explorer has a wider hull that makes it a little easier to maneuver. Both come with essential tools such as paddles, repair kit and an inflation pump.

Open vs Semi-open Design

Another thing worth noting is the open cockpit. The Challenger is a semi-open kayak, so it doesn’t allow water from errant waves to come inside as much as the Explorer K2. Although there are spray skirts on the Explorer K2, they aren’t as effective.

Drying Up

Another major difference between the two is that the Explorer K2 comes with a drainage valve at the rear of the kayal, while the Challenger K2 doesn’t have any. Experienced paddlers know how hard it is to dry up a kayak using nothing but a sponge. This makes the Explorer K2 easy to take down or collapse after use.

Chambers

The Explorer K2 has three air chambers while the Challenger K2 has only two. This makes the Explorer K2 safer on water and improves its rigidity.

Overall

Overall, both kayaks are high-quality inflatables. The Challenger is meant to be fast, while the Explorer is meant to be more agile and stable. Explorer K2 is more spacious, has better features and is easier to maneuver. It is also lighter and has carry handles for portability.

Intex Explorer K2 vs Excursion Pro

The Excursion Pro is the more expensive variant of the normal Intex Explorer K2. Here is how they are different from each other:

The Excursion Pro is built from better materials: three-ply construction using a high molecular PVC core, 30-gauge vinyl material and super-tough laminate. This material is anti-abrasive and can resist damage from impact or sunlight. Its super tough build makes it a suitable option for those who want the sturdiness of hard shell kayaks along with the easy portability of inflatables. Despite being a heavy-duty kayak, it is highly affordable.

It inflates at high pressure which makes it more rigid and stable on water. It has some useful upgrades from the normal variant, including footrests, sturdy steel D-rings on which you can tie dry bags and gear, two fishing pole holders, booster pad for inflated seats and accessory bar.

Just like the normal variant, it comes with 86-inch oars and a high output inflation pump. The Excursion Pro has two skegs, one more than the normal variant, making it easier to maneuver on water. The excursion pro can be used like a one-person or two-person boat, just like the normal version.

Its weight capacity is slightly greater than the normal K2 explorer. It can support 400 lbs. of weight. The Excursion pro is 12’7” long while the normal K2 explorer is 10’3’ long. The longer design allows the Excursion pro to glide through water faster.

No doubt, the Excursion pro has better maneuverability on water due to its double skegs and a longer design. Its sturdier construction makes it more stable as well.

So if you want a better quality boat that comes with nice-to-haves such as adjustable footrests, go for the Excursion Pro. If you want a kayak that just provides decent performance and comfort, the normal K2 explorer is for you.

FAQ about Intex Challenger K2 Kayak

  1. What is the difference between Intex Explorer K2 and Challenger K2?

The challenger is narrow, so faster. But the Explorer K2 is more spacious, portable and easier to maneuver on water. The Explorer K2 comes with a drainage plug which helps in drying up the kayak after use, the Challenger K2 doesn’t. The Explorer K2 has three air chambers while the Challenger has two.

  1. How long do inflatable kayaks last?

If you take proper care and maintain a kayak well, it should last anywhere from 5 to 10 years.

  1. Does it come with a bag?

Yes, the Intex Explorer K2 kayak comes with a carry bag.

  1. How much weight can it carry?

The Intex Explorer K2 can support 350 lbs. of weight. Its “excursion pro” variant can support 400 lbs.

  1. Can it convert into a one-person kayak?

Yes, the inflatable seats can be removed as per your liking. You can add only one seat for a solo ride.

Final Thoughts

The Intex Explorer K2 kayak offers a tremendous value for money. We were amazed with its stability and maneuverability on water.

Of course, a solid build quality, good performance and spaciousness are hard to come by when your budget is tight. But the Intex K2 Explorer has them all.

In short, it isn’t a toy, even though it is a budget kayak.