Last updated on March 11th, 2018 at 10:59 pm
If you want to hit the water with a buddy and start having fun without breaking the bank, it’s hard to beat the Intex Challenger K2. While it’s not perfect, it definitely offers excellent value for your money and you’ll be hard-pressed to find something that offers as much fun, dollar for dollar.
The included paddles and pump give the Challenger K2 an extra boost of value. And while the paddles certainly aren’t the highest quality, it means the only other thing standing between you and getting on the water are a pair of PFDs.
Review Summary: Intex Challenger K2 Kayak
- Great value for the money
- Easy to store and transport
- Removable Seats
- Built-in storage
- Quick to inflate
- Included Paddles and Pump
- Lower than average durability
- Paddles are somewhat flimsy
(price updated as of 2020-01-20 at 21:23 – Details)
- Portability & ease of storage – Despite being 11 feet long, the Challenger K2 packs down to about the dimensions of a medium-size suitcase, so it’ll fit easily into the trunk of your car along with your other gear. It’s also easy to stash away in a closet when it’s not being used.
- Quick – Though it still won’t be able to compete with hard-shell kayaks, the Challenger K2 has a relatively narrow hull, which helps it glid through the water.
- Onboard storage – The Challenger K2 has a built-in cargo storage net so you have a place to put essentials while you’re out on the water.
- Removable skeg – The removable skeg gives the K2 improved tracking through the water and reduces side-to-side motion while paddling.
|Weight Capacity||400 pounds|
|Number of Passengers||2|
The Challenger’s 30-inch wide hull is narrower compared to most other inflatable kayaks, which gives it an edge in terms of speed. Though it’ll never be able to compete with hard-shell kayaks, it’ll give other inflatable kayaks a good run for their money.
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.
Being a tandem kayak, the K2 needs to be long enough to accommodate two passengers. This additional length – and its removable skeg – helps it track straighter through the water rather than in a zigzag fashion.
The downside of increased length is less maneuverability. However, because the K2 doesn’t have a sharp hull line, it’s not a severe loss of maneuverability. All the same, it’s something to be aware of.
The Challenger K2, like most inflatable kayaks, has excellent stability on the water.
Its lower seating position helps keep the center of gravity low, which in turn helps to improve the stability of the boat.
The K2 does have a hull width that is slightly below average for inflatable kayaks, which means it’s not quite as stable as some of the best inflatable kayaks on the market.
Despite that, it will still outperform most hard-shell kayaks in terms of stability.
The 30 gauge vinyl used in the construction of the Challenger K2 is on the thin side compared to other inflatables, making it a bit less durable than average.
Despite being a little less puncture resistant, it’s well made and should hold up well for most people – just avoid repeatedly running into sharp objects.
The good news is that if you do manage to puncture the K2, it’s easy to repair.
Unlike repairing a hard-shell, repairing an inflatable kayak doesn’t take any special skill and is fairly easy to do. The Challenger K2 comes with an included repair kit in case the need arises.
While there are other kayaks that will offer better performance or durability, the Challenger K2 is virtually unbeatable in terms of value.
It’s hands down one of your best options for getting into kayaking on a budget. The fact that you can take a partner with you makes it that much better.
If you’re just testing the waters and aren’t ready to drop several hundred dollars on a kayak, the Challenger K2’s price point is pretty hard to beat.
How the Intex Challenger K2 Compares
The Challenger K2 is hard to beat in terms of the value you get for the money, but it’s definitely not perfect.
It’s not built to handle the rough conditions you can find in coastal waters, so it’s best to stick to lakes and slow moving rivers. It’s also easier for splashing water to make its way into the Challenger K2 due to its lower profile.
If you’re not convinced that the Challenger K2 is a good fit for you, here are a few alternatives to consider.
Intex Explorer K2
The Explorer K2 is another of Intex’s incredibly popular tandem kayaks. Like the Challenger K2, it offers incredible value for your money.
It’s wider than the Challenger K2 and its main air chambers are 6 inches taller, which means it’s significantly more stable than the Challenger K2.
The downside is that the increased width makes it slower as well. The Explorer K2 could be a good option if you’re more concerned about stability than speed.
For a more detailed comparison, read the Intex Explorer K2 vs Challenger K2 guide.
Sea Eagle SE370
The Sea Eagle SE370 is definitely a step up in terms of quality and durability.
It’s built out of 38 mil Polykrylar, which means it’s more puncture resistant than the Challenger K2. With a weight capacity of 650 pounds, it can easily handle two full sized adults and can even fit a third person. It’s also wider and more stable and offers a bit more legroom at 12′ 6″ long.
If you want something that’s a bit higher quality or the Challenger’s 400 pound weight capacity won’t cut it, the SE370 could be a great alternative.
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame AE1007-R
If you want the option to paddle in coastal water or want something that’s more performance focused, it’s hard to beat the AdvancedFrame AE1007-R.
The AdvancedFrame AE1007-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.
This is one of the few inflatable kayaks that will rival the performance of a hard-shell. Its only real downside is its price – it’s definitely near the upper end of the spectrum for inflatables.