Last updated on March 11th, 2018 at 10:54 pm
If you’re on a budget and looking for an economical option for hitting the water with a buddy, it’s hard to beat the Intex Explorer 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 wallet-friendly price would be a bargain if it just included the Explorer K2 kayak itself, but Intex goes above and beyond by including two paddles as well as a pump. 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 Explorer K2 Kayak
- Great value for the money
- Easy to store and transport
- Very stable
- Quick to inflate
- Removable seats
- Included Paddles and Pump
- Lower than average durability
- Slower than average
- Paddles are somewhat flimsy
(price updated as of 2019-09-15 at 02:51 – Details)
- Portability & ease of storage – Despite being over 10 feet long, the Explorer K2 packs down to about the dimensions of a small suitcase, so it’ll fit easily into the trunk of your car and give you plenty of room to spare for your other gear. It’s also easy to stash away in a closet when it’s not being used.
- Stable – The Explorer K2 not only has a wide hull at 36 inches, it also has larger than average air chambers, which means it’s very stable even compared to other inflatable kayaks.
- Reinforced Bow & Stern – The reinforced sections around the Explorer’s bow and stern help it endure impacts with other objects.
- Curved Bow & Stern – Having an upward curve along its bow and stern helps punch through light chop and waves.
- Removable skeg – The removable skeg gives the Explorer improved tracking through the water and reduces side-to-side motion while paddling.
|Weight Capacity||400 pounds|
|Number of Passengers||2|
Like most inflatable kayaks, the Explorer sacrifices performance for the portability and storage benefits that come with being an inflatable kayak.
With its wide hull, it’s not likely to win any races, but the included skeg will help minimize the zigzag motion that can be an issue for some kayaks.
The Explorer is on the shorter end compared to other tandem inflatables, which makes it more maneuverable and help you make quicker turns in the water.
Its higher than average profile also means that it’s a bit more susceptible to being pushed around by the wind, which makes the Explorer better suited to paddling on calmer days.
On the flip side, its higher profile and curved bow and stern mean it offers some shelter from waves and choppy water.
This is one of the areas that the Explorer K2 really shines. Inflatable kayaks are already known for their stability, but the Explorer is particularly stable even compared to other inflatables.
Its wide, 36-inch hull gives you a nice stable platform to paddle from without feeling like it’s about to tip over. It’s also very easy to get in and out of.
The Explorer K2 has a fairly high profile, which also helps to improve its stability on the water and making it much harder to tip.
Intex uses a 30 gauge vinyl to build the Explorer K2, which isn’t quite as heavy duty as some of the more upscale inflatable kayaks on the market.
The best inflatable kayaks will typically use tear resistant fabric like nylon as part of their construction. But at the Explorer K2’s price point, it’s not really reasonable to expect top of the line materials.
Despite being less puncture resistant, the Explorer is well made and has some reinforcing along its bow and stern for added toughness.
All in all, it should hold up well for most people – just avoid repeatedly running into sharp objects.
One important point to note is that if you do manage to puncture the K2, it’s easy to repair.
While repairing a hard-shell kayak can require specialized tools, repairing an inflatable kayak is pretty straightforward. The Explorer K2 comes with a repair kit just in case you do find yourself in need.
While there are other kayaks that will offer better performance or durability, the Explorer K2 is really tough to beat in terms of the value you get for your money.
There aren’t many alternatives that will get you and a buddy on the water at such a wallet-friendly price. The Explorer K2 is cheaper than most solo inflatable kayaks, let alone other tandems.
It also includes two paddles, a high-output pump, and a storage bag. You could easily spend more on two paddles than the total cost of the Explorer K2 package.
Admittedly, the included paddles aren’t the highest quality and you may want to upgrade them down the line, but they’re definitely enough to get you started.
Legroom – The Explorer K2 is shorter than average for a tandem, so the legroom is a little limited in the back seat. Fortunately, the seats can be adjusted to give you a bit more room. All the same, the rear seat might be a bit too cramped if you’re much over 6 feet. The front seat has plenty of room as long as you don’t have too much gear.
Storage space – The Explorer doesn’t have any dedicated storage compartments but there is a good amount of space behind the rear seat and near the front of the boat. The nice thing about this arrangement is that you can use the space for extra legroom if you don’t have much gear.
Inflation – There are 3 main air chambers that provide buoyancy, which means if one does get a leak, you’ll still stay afloat. It’s also easy to inflate and should only take about 5 minutes before you’re ready to hit the water.
How the Intex Explorer K2 Compares
While the Explorer offers incredible value and solid stability on the water, it’s definitely not perfect for everybody.
It’s not really designed to handle rough open water conditions, so you may want to consider something else if you want to paddle in coastal waters on days that are less than perfect.
Likewise, the Explorer is near the lower end of the spectrum in terms of durability. If you don’t want to worry as much about getting a puncture, look for something that is made of tougher material.
If you’re not sure the Explorer K2 is a good fit for you, here are a few alternatives to consider.
Intex Challenger K2
The Intex Challenger K2 could be a good option if you want something with slightly better performance than the Explorer.
It’s very similar to the Explorer in terms of build quality and durability but is a bit more focused on performance. The downside is that it sacrifices some stability for improved performance.
It also has a lower profile, so it’s less affected by the wind but more likely to get water splashed inside the kayak by waves or chop.
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 from the Explorer in terms of quality and durability.
It’s built out of 38 mil Polykrylar, which means it’s more puncture resistant than the Explorer, and with a weight capacity of 650 pounds, it can easily handle two full sized adults with room to spare. It’ll even hold a third passenger in a pinch.
The SE370 is also longer than the Explorer by more than 2 feet, so if you want some extra legroom or space for gear this could be a good alternative.
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame AE1007-R
If you want the option to paddle in coastal waters with less than perfect weather 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.