Last updated on March 11th, 2018 at 10:57 pm
The Intex Challenger K1 is a solid entry-level inflatable kayak that will get you out on the water and having fun without breaking the bank.
The built-in storage cargo net gives you enough space for essentials and the removable skeg will help you move in a straight line through the water, rather than swerving side-to-side. The included paddle and pump means that the only other thing you need to hit the water is a PFD.
While it won’t win any awards for speed and you’ll want to avoid ramming into too many sharp sticks, the Challenger K1 excels at what it does best – offering you a great value for your money.
Review Summary: Intex Challenger K1 Kayak
- Great value for the money
- Easy to store and transport
- Built-in storage
- Quick to inflate
- Included Paddle and Pump
- Not the most durable
- Included paddle is somewhat flimsy
(price updated as of 2020-01-20 at 21:04 – Details)
- Portability & ease of storage – The Challenger K1 doesn’t require any special gear like car racks for transport. It packs down to about the dimensions of a medium-size suitcase, so it’ll fit in the trunk of your car and can be stored in a closet when not in use.
- Nimble shape – With a short and narrow hull, the Challenger K1 is built for maneuverability.
- Onboard storage – The built-in cargo storage net give you space to store the essentials for a day on the water.
- Removable skeg – The Challenger K1’s removable skeg gives it improved tracking in the water and helps keep you moving in a straight line.
|Weight Capacity||220 pounds|
|Number of Passengers||1|
The shape and size of a kayak’s hull has a significant impact on the way it performs in the water. Typically, inflatable kayaks aren’t able to compete with traditional hard-shell kayaks in terms of performance.
Despite that, the Challenger K1 does a decent job.
At a width of 30 inches, the Challenger K1 is on the narrow side, meaning it’s better able to cut through the water and move faster. In fact, out of all our inflatable kayak reviews, the Challenger K1’s hull is one of the most narrow.
With it’s shorter than average length of 9 feet and tapered bow and stern, it’s built for maneuverability, helping you to make quick turns on the water.
The downside to increased maneuverability is that it doesn’t track as well in a straight line. While its skeg helps to reduce the side-to-side movement you get while paddling, the Challenger K1 probably isn’t the best choice if you’re traveling long distances on the water.
Like most inflatable kayaks, the Challenger K1 has good stability on the water. It has a fairly low profile, with the paddler sitting close to the water. The lower center of gravity helps to improve the K1’s stability on the water.
The only reason it didn’t receive a 5/5 for stability is its narrower than average hull, which makes it slightly less stable compared to other inflatable kayaks.
If you want to further boost its stability, it’s possible to lower your seating position further by slightly deflating the included inflatable seat.
The Challenger K1 is constructed out of 30 gauge vinyl, meaning it’s not as durable as some other more expensive inflatable kayaks. Despite that, it’s still surprisingly durable.
Like any kayak, though, it’s a good idea to avoid hard impacts with sharp sticks and rocks.
One nice benefit of vinyl construction is that it’s relatively easy to repair if it does get punctured. Unlike most inflatable kayaks, polyethylene hard-shell kayaks are actually quite difficult to repair if they do get punctured.
The Challenger K1 comes with an included repair kit just in case.
This is where the Challenger K1 really shines; the excellent value it offers you for its price. If you’re on a budget or just not ready to invest several hundred dollars in a kayak, the K1 is going to be one of your most affordable options for getting out on the water.
While it’s not the highest performance or most durable option around, its low price point makes it hard to beat in terms of value.
How the Intex Challenger K1 Compares
The Challenger K1 is definitely an entry level kayak, and it’s really only designed to handle flat water like lakes and calm rivers.
While you’ll be hard pressed to find a kayak that offers as much value, there are few alternatives if you want to take a step up in quality.
Sea Eagle SE330 Solo Package
The Sea Eagle SE330 is a big step up in terms of quality. It’s made out of 33 mil Polykrylar, which is significantly more durable than the Challenger’s 30 gauge vinyl. It’s also rated for up to class III rapids, so you’ve got more options on where to paddle.
The SE330 has a 34” wide hull, making it more stable than the Challenger K1 and it’s also more than 2 feet longer, giving you extra storage space.
Sevylor Quikpak K1
Like the Challenger K1, the Sevylor Quikpak K1 is built to be nimble on the water. The Quikpak is a little shorter than the challenger but has a 36″ wide hull making it a bit more stable. It’s also a sit on top style kayak, so it’s easier to get on and off of compared to the challenger.
One unique feature is the Quikpak’s carrying pack that doubles as the seat for the kayak, which makes it a bit more portable if you have a long walk or want to hike into your paddling location.
Intex Challenger K2
If you think you may want to occasionally paddle with a friend, consider Intex’s tandem version of the K1, the Challenger K2. It’s right around the same price as the K1 but can carry two people.
It’s essentially the same as the K1 but built for two people. Apart from being able to paddle with a buddy, the extra space could come in handy if you’re a taller paddler and need some more legroom or want to paddle with some extra gear.
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame AE1012-R
If you really want to take a step up in quality or also want the option to paddle in coastal water, it’s hard to beat the AdvancedFrame AE1012-R.
The AdvancedFrame AE1012-R has a built-in aluminum rib that greatly improves its performance and gives you a similar experience to paddling a hard-shell kayak. It’s also incredibly durable.
Its only real downside is its price – several times the cost of the Challenger K1.