Intex is a household name worldwide for quality and affordable inflatables. They produce inflatable swimming pools, air beds, toys, and boats to name a few. The product we are going to review is their one-person recreational kayak, the Intex Challenger K1.
Challenger K1 along with Intex’s own two-person kayak, the Explorer K2, are best-selling touring kayaks on Amazon and find little competition in the category. This is because they provide the best value for your bucks and are quality products.
When it comes to Challenger K1 itself, it comes with all the necessary accessories to put you on water. It has a rugged vinyl construction which is corrosion and rot-resistant. If you are skeptical about its durability and safety, let me tell you it is US Coast Guard and NMMA certified. This means the construction process of this kayak has been inspected and it passes the highest standards for boat safety set by the industry.
We will be talking in more detail and will put things into perspective. However, if you are looking for a quick review:
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak Review - What Makes it Best-Selling
In this section, we will be going through all the different details of Challenger K1 and will see if it addresses some of the questions that we may have.
We know there may be some general queries and it being an inflatable some doubts about its durability, capacity, safety and efficiency overall. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of Intex Challenger K1.
Construction - Durable Vinyl Construction
The material of construction of a kayak determines its longevity and price. 30-gauge Vinyl is used in the construction of this kayak. It may not be the most puncture-resistant material out there, but it also is not the least resistant. It can withstand quite a few rocks, pointy logs, and pebbles.
Performance - Performs Better Than Expected
When it comes to the performance of kayaks, it can be broadly divided into stability, tracking, and speed.
Stability-wise, inflatable kayaks are not the worst. In fact, they are more stable than most hard-shell kayaks out there. In Challenger K1, it has an I-beam floor design which adds to its stability.
Generally, tracking, the ability to go on a straight line, is not a strong suit of inflatable kayaks. In Challenger K1, you get a removable skeg which improves the tracking to some extent. However, overall, tracking is not one of its strong points.
When it comes to speed, because of its streamlined design, you can get it to some speed. However, starting out and moving it against some kind of wind can be tough.
Inflation and Deflation - Easy Peasy
If we have to pick up one strong point which really stands out in this inflatable kayak, it would be its quick inflation and deflation.
This is because of its high output manual pump which not only puts air when you are pumping in but also when pumping out. This way you get the kayak inflated in half the time you would with a normal pump.
Quick inflation is further helped by Boston valves. This kayak has two of them, one for each chamber. They are what we call one-way values, which means they are either taking air in or letting it out depending on their setting. If you take the top cap off, it will just let the air in, however, to deflate, you will have the unscrew the valve out.
Storage and Weight Capacity - Not Its Best Attribute
This kayak gives you options to store your gear. You can stash your gear at the front of the kayak, which also has a bungee cord to secure it. In addition, you can store it in the stern, behind your seat, and also in the cockpit.
What else makes the bow storage area useless is the fact that it is not waterproof. Thus, your gear or luggage is constantly exposed to water which can render it unusable.
Seating - Comfortable Enough
Intex Challenger K1 comes with one inflatable seat. This seat has two parts, one supports your bottom and one is for the back. The backrest has a nice high position, so you feel comfortable.
The seat is held by straps that attach to the inside of the cockpit and by adjusting these straps you can change your position.
In addition to the seat, there is also one inflatable footrest. You can put this in the front part of the cockpit and use this as a footrest. In addition, this also adds some rigidity to the front part of the kayak.
Transport and Storage - Not A Problem
Inflatable kayaks are highly portable and easy to store and the same can be said about Intex Challenger K1.
It deflates to a fraction of its size and weighs around 11 kg or 24 pounds, which can be easily carried by a single person and you can store it anywhere you want.
Accessories - Everything to Put You On Water
This kayak comes with all the accessories you need to put you on water. In addition to the kayak itself, you get:
- One removable skeg
- One set of 84-inch aluminum collapsible oar
- One Inflatable seat
- One inflatable footrest
- One repair kit
- Instruction manual
- A carry bag
- High-output pump with hose attachments
Price - Mind-Bogglingly Low
Price is definitely the best thing about this inflatable kayak. It comes at around $50-60 depending on the part of the year you are getting it.
This kayak carries an excellent value considering its construction and all the accessories it comes with.
Intex Challenger K1 vs K2
It is time to put things into perspective and see how Intex Challenger K1 fares against similar kayaks.
When it comes to Challenger K1 vs K2, as you can probably guess, these are part of the same series from Intex. K2 is a two-person inflatable kayak as opposed to the one-person K1.
Other than that, K2 is 11 ft 6 inches long and can hold up to 180 kg or 400 pounds. This is opposed to 9 ft and 100 kg of the Challenger K1.
Other than that, they are fairly similar in construction, performance, and value for the money.
|Attribute||Challenger K1||Challenger K2|
|Length||9 ft||11 ft 6 inches|
|Weight||10.8 kg/23.9 lbs||15.05 kg/33.18 lbs|
|Weight Capacity||100 kg/220 lbs||180 kg/400 lbs|
Intex Challenger K1 vs Sevylor Quikpak K1
Quikpak K1 is a similar inflatable kayak to Challenger K1. When we compare these two, there are quite a few similarities and some differences which stand out.
In terms of similarities, they are made up of the same material and come at around the same length. Quikpak K1 is 8 ft 7 inches long as opposed to Challenger K1 which stands at 9 ft. Both can accommodate one person and are suitable for lakes and calm rivers.
Quikpak K1 takes the lead in the fact that it is lighter in weight at 16.5 lbs versus 23.9 lbs of the Intex Challenger K1. There is good news for people who are heavier as Quikpak can hold up to 180 kg or 400 pounds of weight. It also has a more open deck and provides a higher center of gravity than Challenger K1.
In terms of performance, both of these kayaks are easily maneuverable, however, Challenger K1 tracks better with its removable skeg. Speed is almost the same. However, Quickpak has a bit of a rocker, so it handles heavy currents relatively better. Stability-wise, there is not much to choose from and both are quite stable.
When we talk about comfort and user-friendliness, both these kayaks come with all the necessary accessories namely paddle, pump and carry bag to name a few. However, in Challenger K1, the carry bag is a hand carry, but in Quikpak it turns into a backpack, which is more convenient. There is a storage area with a bungee cord in both at the bow. Quikpak K1 features multiple footrest positions in its open cockpit in addition to a cup holder that we do not find in Challenger K1.
However, it comes at three times the price of Intex Challenger K1 without there being any groundbreaking difference in the construction and overall performance. Thus, if you are comfortable with Challenger’s limited weight capacity and relatively closed design, there is no need to spend around $100 more on some bells and whistles.
|Attribute||Intex Challenger K1||Sevylor Quikpak K1|
|Weight||23.9 lbs||16.5 lb|
|Weight Capacity||220 lbs||400 lbs|
|Performance||Tracks better||Moves faster|
FAQs About Intex Challenger K1
If you are not very adventurous both in terms of your hobbies and money spending, Intex Challenger K1 is a good choice for your thrill issues. It is highly portable and easy to store. In addition, its durable construction promises to last you some time if you are careful in handling it.
For our relief, it tracks reasonably well with its removable skeg, is stable and rigid with its I-beam floor. With its NMMA certification and dual-chamber construction, you can tick safety off your concerns. It is almost impossible to topple, however, it has grab ropes on both ends to help you get back on deck if you do end up in the water.
Although we can be critical of it not being self-bailing and sub-standard accessories, it covers most of it in its mind-bogglingly low price.
Table: Intex Challenger K1 Specifications
|Weight||10.8 kg/23.9 lbs|
|Maximum Weight Capacity||100 kg/220 lbs|
|Inflation time||5-10 minutes|
|Type||Sit-on-top inflatable kayak|
- Ease of Use