Intex Challenger K1 inflatable Kayak Review (2021 UPDATED)

Is the Intex Challenger Worth It?

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For almost four decades now, Intex has been rolling out high quality inflatable kayaks. One of their more impressive offerings to those who love to get on the water is the Intex Challenger K1.

This one-man vessel stands out from the rest with its incredibly low price tag from a big-name brand like Intex. It’s great for those looking to grab an inflatable kayak on a budget.

It is a perfect inflatable kayak for beginners and offers the kind of performance you get from other entry-level vessels like the larger Intex Challenger K2 and the Sea Eagle 370.

With all the hype it’s getting in the market, just what can you expect from this boat? Let us find out in the following Intex Challenger K1 kayak review!

What inflatable kayak should i buy?

As this review is regarding the Intex Challenger, let’s focus on this particular raft. The Intex Challenger was built for flat water canoeing. It may not hold up well on rough whitewater or in windy conditions.

However, you can expect the best out of it on those calm summer days on the lake or when you want to cruise along ocean bays. Overall, it is the kind of vessel you take on a camping trip.

Rating

Made by one of the most reliable inflatable kayak brands in the market, the Intex Challenger K1 boasts an impressive rating to go with stellar reviews on Amazon.

Its rating stands at 4.3 stars, with more than 11,000 users from across the globe offering their take on the boat’s capabilities. This also makes it one of the best-selling inflatable kayaks in the uk for the retailer, which goes to show just how popular it is with water outdoor enthusiasts.

Intex Challenger K1 Review

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Let us now take an in-depth look at the different specifications on the Challenger K1:

Size

The Intex Challenger K1 measures 9’ x 30’ when fully inflated but it is delivered packed in a storage bag that measures 23′ x 14′ x 8.5′. Once fully set up, the kayak’s weight is around 27lbs, which makes it one of the lightest inflatable kayaks you can find.

It a great choice if you’re looking for convenient portability and transportation. Despite its low weight, the kayak can comfortably support up to 220lbs, which is the weight of a fully-grown man, with extra room for other accessories.

Design

The Intex Challenger K1 was built to serve you for the long haul. It features a PVC construction, which is a standard fabric used on most inflatable kayaks and inflatable paddleboards.

This material is not only flexible but also durable, and allows the boat to come out of any accidental falls or brushes with rock edges and branches inside the water in one piece.

The manufacturer used a blend of green, blue, and grey on the body of the kayak, to make for adventurous colors that add to the experience on the water. You’ll also notice the conspicuous ‘challenger’ logo on the front side of the boat.

Comfort

There are various comfort features on the Challenger K1 to ensure you get a fun paddling experience. For one, the boat is fitted with a fully adjustable inflatable seat that you tweak to achieve the ideal sitting position. This also comes with a backrest, ensuring you remain comfortable even if you stay inside the kayak for a full day of adventure.

A simple webbing strap construction enables the seat to be adjusted both on land and on the water. Meanwhile, the cockpit area is spacious enough to allow for seamless entry and exit for young, as well as old kayakers.

This also gives you more than enough wriggle room for your legs and body when paddling. In case the boat capsizes (highly unlikely) a self-bailing and buoyant system on the Challenger K1 makes recoveries pretty easy!

Maneuverability

If you’re going on a day excursion on the water, this budget vessel can take on anything that a small river or lake can throw its way. However, we wouldn’t recommend it for an obstacle course as making tight turns can be a tall order.

Furthermore, paddling in fast-moving waters is also a challenge, and you run the risk of paddling way off-course.

In essence, your goal when using the Intex Challenger K1 should be to have fun and get acquainted with the basics of kayaking while at it. It is what makes it such a great choice for entry-level paddlers who are taking their maiden steps into the sport. If this is your main agenda, you won’t get a better performance elsewhere!

Speed

As far as speed is concerned, don’t expect to break any kayaking records when paddling this little guy. It’s not the widest boat you can find, and this tends to affect its stability on the water at high speeds.

Nonetheless, this is synonymous with most inflatable kayaks that don’t glide as smoothly as hard-sided models. It is designed to be more of a recreational kayak as opposed to something you can cover great distances with.

As such, the Challenger K1 comes to its own on those calm summer days on the lake with a slight breeze and no waves to rock its sides. Venturing into rough waters with a potential change in the weather is not recommended as the boast isn’t quick enough and chances of getting you out of trouble, in case of any, are significantly reduced.

Tracking and Stability

Stability is one of the first things people look for in a kayak. It is an important feature that helps to keep the kayak stable on wavy waters, ensuring that your experience is trouble-free.

This is something you’d want for rookie kayakers who tend to fidget a lot than it’s necessary. Overall, the K1 offers tremendous primary stability that serves to prevent rocking and keeps the boat centered at all times.

Additionally, the floor of the boat features an I-beam construction, which makes it quite stable and user-friendly. Inflated seams run horizontally along the vessel, making for enhanced rigidity when the kayak bends or flexes. This allows you to stand on the floor without difficulty, which is not the case for other inflatable boats.

The inclusion of a removable skeg at the bottom enables the Challenger K1 to move in a straight line when the wind is mild. However, its performance notably diminishes when the conditions get crazier, meaning the kayak can easily be knocked off-course in breezy situations.

Durability

The PVC material that takes a good share of the boat’s construction holds up well down the line, as long as you treat it carefully. During transportation, you always want to carry the kayak and not drag it, whether inflated or deflated. The boat features different tubes that independently inflate.

This ensures that in the event one tube is punctured or leaking, the kayak manages to remain afloat, giving you enough time to paddle ashore.

All brands of kayaks require constant maintenance no matter how strong a fabric they are made out of. For the Intex Challenger K1, a repair patch is conveniently included in the package for easy DIY fixes in case of any punctures or fractures.

You should also be on the lookout for leaks around nozzles and seams, and take care not to over inflate the boat.

This is a common mistake for novices, which tends to weaken the PVC fabric, thus increasing the probability of damage. If you plan to go kayaking with your furry friend tagging along, the boat is will comfortably accommodate them.

The only thing is that the K1 is relatively small, so only smaller breeds of dog will fit in without overcrowding the space.

Portability

Measuring only 27lbs, the Intex Challenger K1 is possibly the lightest inflatable kayak out there. It comes with a tote-style storage bag and that’s useful when you want to carry or transport the vessel after use.

All the valves are easily accessible and the included hand pump makes for a straightforward assembly.

The same is true when it comes to deflating the boat. You only need to open the valves and the kayak deflates to a compact and packable size that you simply roll into place. However, you want to make sure that the boat is dry before storing it.

Storage

There is a decent amount of storage space in the cockpit just underneath the spray skirt. This should be enough to accommodate a 10L-15L dry bag in case you want to carry some extra accessories. Bungee nets at the top of the kayak’s nose allow you to hold more stuff while paddling, and this will be ideal for things like water bottles.

The netting is easily accessible from your paddling position and very much secure. You can even place up to two dry bags under the nets without the risk of them falling off.

Furthermore, you get a rope at the rear end of the kayak that can be used to secure extra gear or for tying down the boat when you dock.

Overall, the Intex Challenger K1 was not meant to carry too much luggage. It is a boat designed for calm and recreational kayaking, so you don’t want to overburden it with unnecessary extra gear.

Setup

For first-timers, setting up the Intex Challenger and getting it on the water will take an average of about 10 minutes. The first 7 minutes will be spent on inflating the boat while the remaining 3 will be for securing the seat, attaching the paddle, and sliding in the skeg. However, the setup time gradually reduces as you get more used to doing it with every trip to the water.

The process is made easier with the inclusion of a little hand pump that can be slightly awkward to use.

Despite this, it gets the job done and its minuscule size fits nicely inside the carry bag so that you don’t have too much clutter in your boat. Unfortunately, the pump doesn’t come with a pressure gauge, meaning you won’t know the air pressure you’ve attained when inflating the boat.

Because of this, you might have to keep on checking by feeling with your hands to ensure the hardness is just right. The good thing is it’s an entirely easy process that doesn’t require years of experience. In summary, the following steps should help you get your Challenger K1 inflatable kayak set up and ready to go:

  1. You want to start by inflating the two air valves on the boat. Using the hand pump provided, inflate the valve on the floor first before moving to the one on the side, making sure to check air pressure while at it.

  2. Turn your kayak on its bottom and slide in the skeg. This happens smoothly and shouldn’t take much of your time.

  3. Use the hand pump to inflate the seat then secure it to the Velcro strip found on the kayak floor.

  4. Proceed to affix the straps of the seat to the D-rings on the boat’s floor, ensuring that it’s stable enough.

  5. Piece up the paddle together. This comes in 5 pieces that are easily linked up to form a complete paddle.

  6. Lastly, put on your PFD and you’ll be good to get on the water!

Performance

This is where it gets interesting for most kayakers as the performance of the vessel determines the amount of fun you’re going to have on the water. At first glance, I didn’t expect paddling the Intex Challenger would be an enjoyable session. However, my attitude was transformed as soon as I got on the water. This boat holds up better than most inflatables in its price range.

Paddling it is an easy task, even for newbies and its stability on calm waters is very reliable.

The included skeg does a great job of keeping the Challenger moving in a straight line, even though it is not a very fast boat. You don’t want to get into a paddling competition with your buddies; it will put you at a disadvantage.

Still, you require very little effort to propel the boat forward. Gentle strokes from side to side will have you covering some respectable distance and the boat turns quickly and almost effortlessly. From the more than 11,000 most positive reviews on Amazon, it’s clear why the Intex Challenger K1 is such a favourite of many! Just find the perfect conditions to get it on the water, and you can look forward to an exciting time.

Safety

You won’t have to worry about your safety when paddling the Challenger K1. As long as you use it on the recommended waterways, the boat feels very stable and there is no risk of tipping over. Nevertheless, you want to take note of the many safety precautions printed on the back end of the boat. These should ensure that you understand the Dos and Don’ts when using this vessel.

Unlike most inflatable kayaks, the Challenger only comes with two valves as opposed to three. Generally, models with three air valves are significantly safer. In the event of leakage in one of the valves, the other two continue working normally to give you ample time to paddle back to safety.

The fact that you only get two air valves on the K1 notably reduces its safety rating. Having said that, it would be wise not to venture too deep into the water and away from the mainland.

Also, be mindful of the nature of the waters you’re getting on and make sure that the current is manageable. Another thing you want to do is get off the water when you see the weather taking a turn for the worse.

Finally, you always want to wear a lifejacket to enhance your visibility to other vessels on the water and other kayakers in case of any emergencies.

Features and Accessories

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Various features on the Challenger K1 help to improve its functionality on the water and guarantee you a fun experience. Some of these include:

Skeg

A skeg is a type of fin that is placed at the bottom of the kayak to help with stability. The Intex Challenger K1 comes with a skeg, although you can use the boat without installing the skeg. Generally, this feature goes a long way to improve tracking when paddling the boat, which is crucial for your safety on the water. Even when you’re on a calm lake, the weather can change unexpectedly, and the skeg may just be the difference between getting to dry land and capsizing.

Storage Capacity

The Challenger K1 was not meant to carry much, although it doesn’t compromise when it comes to storage options. This boat features a bungee style netting at the top of the nose, which can securely hold trip accessories such as water bottles, extra shoes, snacks, etc. Furthermore, there is extra storage space in the cockpit area for any other thing you want to stay dry.

Accessories

One thing that makes the K1 stand out from other budget kayaks on the market is the wealth of accessories it offers users. Aside from the usual life jacket, the packet also includes a hand pump, footrest, inflatable seat with backrest, nice carry bag, repair kit, paddle, just to name a few. The paddle is good enough for those who are getting their feet wet but will be a little underwhelming for those hoping for more serious paddling.

Pros
  • Easy to set up
  • Paddles easily and turns quickly
  • Good value for money
  • Stable in calm water
  • Nice storage options
  • Multiple extra accessories
  • Nice choice for beginners
  • Durable PVC construction
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Comfortable to paddle
Cons
  • Na paddle holders
  • Not suitable for rough waters
  • Can’t accommodate two people

Conclusion

If you’re a sucker for the outdoors and like going to the lake on those calm and sunny summer days, a kayak is a nice investment to consider. For someone who is looking to try their hand at paddling, an inflatable kayak offers the perfect way to get started. The Intex Challenger K1 is one of the best options available to you on the market.

It is a fun and easy-to-use inflatable boat that guarantees a memorable time on the water. Not to mention that it comes with an entry-level price tag that should match your budget. The Intex Challenger K1 inflatable kayak review above provides you with all the nitty-gritty you need to know about this promising water vessel!

FAQ

Are Intex Inflatable Kayaks Any Good?

Intex is one of the leading manufacturers of inflatable kayaks in the industry. Their products generally boast high sales and good reviews across a range of online retailers, which should point to the kind of quality they offer.

You only have to get the kayak on the water and this will be confirmed to you. So, yes! Intex inflatable kayaks are very good.

What is the Best Inflatable Kayak on the Market?

The competition between inflatable kayak brands is quite stiff in the market. Nevertheless, some models still manage to stand head and shoulders high above the rest, proving to be a hit with enthusiasts looking to buy a new kayak. Some of the models that manage to leave a great impression include:

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak.
Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak.
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak.
Itiwit Strenfit X500 1-person Inflatable Kayak.
Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Inflatable Kayak.

Are Inflatable Kayaks Safe in the Sea?

Generally, inflatable boats are difficult to paddle in windy conditions. If you have to venture into the sea with your inflatable kayak, choose a relatively calm day when there is no off-shore wind to drag your vessel deeper into the sea.

Under the right conditions, you shouldn’t have a problem using an inflatable kayak in the ocean.

How Long will an Inflatable Kayak Last?

Contrary to popular belief, inflatable kayaks are very durable and can last a good number of years. Thanks to advanced technology, the latest models of kayaks utilise hardwearing fabrics that offer a rugged performance on the water.

Ideally, a well-made inflatable kayak should last between 5 and 10 years when properly cared for and maintained.

References

https://intexcorp.com/products/sporting-goods/sport-series-boats/challenger-k1-kayak/

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