Intex Challenger Kayak K1 Review


The Bottom Line

The Intex Challenger Kayak K1 is a lightweight, single-person inflatable kayak ideal for someone just getting started in kayaking. Compared to inflatable kayaks in the same category, it is definitely “value for money.” A bonus includes a full set of accessories such as a hand pump, collapsible oar, repair patches, and carry bag. A detachable skeg is also included.


At a Glance

220 lbs

27.2 lbs

Inflated Dimensions:
9′ x 2’6″ x 1’1″

Solo or Tandem:


  • Easy to inflate
  • Affordable
  • Easily portable


  • Not as durable as hard-shell kayaks
  • Mediocre tracking and speed
  • Comfort levels are limited

Inflatable Kayaks are becoming increasingly popular, especially for those living in apartments with limited space, and a rigid hull kayak would simply not fit. Once folded, they are easily stored in a cupboard and can be placed in the car’s trunk, thus saving on the additional costs of purchasing a kayak roof rack.

The Intex Challenger Kayak K1 is an inflatable, solo kayak that is lightweight, durable, and, at its low price, well worth considering for a pleasant kayaking experience on lakes and slow to mild-flowing rivers.

The bright green color and eye-catching design make it easily visible on a lake or river.

Due to its compact size, when folded, it is easy to store in a cupboard at home and be popped into the trunk of your car, enabling you to go kayaking wherever and whenever you want.

The Roots of Intex

Intex Recreation Corp. has over 50 years of experience and an excellent reputation for producing high-quality products at affordable prices. They are well known for manufacturing many PVC products such as airbeds, above-ground pools, spas, toys, furniture, and inflatable kayaks.

There is a wide range of inflatable kayaks from solo, tandem, 3, 4, and 5-seater boat sets. All sets are made with rugged vinyl and designed for stability and comfort at an affordable and competitive price.

The Intex inflatables are suitable for use on lakes and fairly deep rivers where there is no danger of impacting sharp-edged rocks or submerged tree stumps.

What’s in the Box?

This kayak comes with a Hi-output manual hand pump and an 84-inch aluminum oar that can be broken into three sections, allowing easy packing in the carry bag supplied. Patches for repairing the kayak are also included.

An inflatable, adjustable seat with a backrest is included. The seat is easy to install and adjustable. The seat is secured to the Velcro strips on the kayak floor, and you can attach the seat straps to the D-rings on the floor. There is also an inflatable footrest included.

All these items: folded kayak, manual pump, aluminum oar, inflatable seat, and inflatable footrest fit into the sturdy carry bag. The bag’s total weight, including all the items mentioned, is 28.4 lbs.

Being fairly light makes it relatively easy to carry from your vehicle to the edge of the lake or river you want to kayak on. The kayak can then be inflated and constructed close to your entry point, from there a short distance to putting your kayak into the water and starting your kayaking experience.

inflating intex challanger kayak

Inflating the Kayak

The Boston valves are one-way screw valves attached to the kayak, making it easy to inflate or deflate the kayak using the Hi-output manual handpump.

Two separate chambers, a bottom and a side chamber, must be inflated. The bottom chamber is filled first, followed by the second chamber consisting of the sides and deck of the kayak. If one chamber is punctured or leaks, it can still get to shore with the remaining chamber.

Do not overinflate, as this could cause the seams to split open.

It takes to assemble the kayak, from removing it from the carry bag to putting it in the water, is about 10 minutes. Initially, it may take quite a bit longer until you become more proficient in assembling the kayak. The assembling includes inflating and fitting the seat, footrest, and attachable skeg if you will use it.

Intex Challenger K1 Skeg

Design Features

Inflatable I-beam

It has an inflatable i-beam on the floor to provide the craft’s comfort and stability.

Low Profile Deck

The low-profile deck is designed for use on lakes and slow-moving rivers. It is not suitable for whitewater rapids or strong ocean currents.

Removable Skeg

The skeg adds to the kayak’s directional stability, making it easier to paddle and keep the kayak in a straight line, requiring little or no effort to propel the kayak forward. With the skeg attached, the kayak turns quickly and easily.

Grab Lines

Grab lines are fitted to either end of the kayak, making it easy to place or remove the kayak from the water.

A cargo net on the bow allows you to store items that can easily be reached when required while kayaking, e.g., a water bottle, lunch, a towel, and anything you deem necessary. A large storage space behind the seat in the stern would be perfect for a sleeping bag or even a small cooler bag. These items would not be accessible while on the water.

Build and Durability

The material for constructing this kayak is a 30 gauge PVC that is durable and rugged enough to be used in water conditions. It was designed for calm, slow-flowing rivers, lakes, and dams.

It has an inflatable i-beam on the floor with a lower profile deck and high buoyancy side chambers, making it a stable inflatable kayak.

Best Uses For the Intex Challenger K1

The K1 is ideally designed for use on lakes and slow-moving rivers. For recreational purposes, this kayak is perfect for children and those just starting the kayaking experience.

It is perfect for someone just beginning to learn the art of kayaking without spending a lot of money. You will be able to practice and learn how to maneuver the craft and become proficient with handling a kayak.

Due to its low purchase price, getting a few Intex Challenger Kayaks is possible to enable the whole family to go kayaking together. Due to its color and easily seen design, you can be assured that you can always keep an eye on your family.

Front of Intex Challenger K1

Things Not to Do with the Intex Challenger Kayak K1

  • It is important not to over-inflate the kayak. Although the kayak is durable, over-inflating could cause the seams to split open.
  • Although it is made of strong, durable material, it only has one layer, making it more susceptible to punctures or more severe damage if used in fast-flowing rivers, rivers with submerged tree trunks, or jagged-edged rocks.
  • It is also unsuitable for white water rapids, the sea, or the lake’s choppy water conditions.
  • Compared with the rigid hull fiberglass kayak, it is a fairly slow-moving kayak and will not be able to compete with these kayaks in competitions. Remember that the K1 is designed for recreational use on calm lakes and slow rivers. 
  • When folding the unit up after use, ensure it is dried thoroughly to avoid mold growth while being stored.
  • The cockpit is small and cramped for anyone over 5 feet 9 inches tall.
  • There have been a lot of reviews indicating that the oar is not very strong.

What We Like About the Intex Challenger Kayak K1

  • The low price for this product combined with many positive features makes this product very good “value for money.”
  • It comes in a complete package consisting of the kayak, manual pump, aluminum oar, inflatable seat plus backrest, and inflatable footrest. This fits comfortably into a handy, lightweight carry bag that is easy to carry.
  • It folds up to a small compact size that is easy to store at home and place in the trunk of your car. No car rack is required.
  • Easy and quick to inflate and deflate.
  • Kayak is stable and difficult to capsize. It is still advisable to wear a life jacket.
  • The skeg (fin) improves the kayak’s performance on the water.
Seat of Intex Challenger

Comparison of Intex Challenger Kayak K1 with Explorer K2 Kayak

Another option is the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak. This table explains the differences between the two options:

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
Challenger K1FeaturesExplorer K2
SoloSolo or TandemTandem
16.25”x 23.13”x 8.5”Pack Size23.3”x 17”x 14.2”
28.4 lbsPack Weight35 lbs
9”x 2.6”x 1.1”Inflated Size10.3″x 3.0”x 1.1”
23.9 lbsKayak Weight30.6 lbs
220 lbsCapacity400 lbs
2Air Chambers3
YesSkeg IncludedYes
YesRepair KitYes


Suppose you have seen people using a kayak on a lake and having great fun and are now considering getting a kayak for yourself, but the rigid hull fiberglass kayaks are far too expensive for your budget. In that case, the Intex Challenger is the ideal kayak.

You will not be able to go down white water rapids or fast-flowing rivers, but if you intend to come out for a leisurely paddle on a smooth lake when the mood hits, you can have great fun on this little kayak that is very stable while at the same time honing your kayaking skills.

The full set of accessories needed to get your kayak ready for the water is included in the set. Inflating and getting all accessories fitted takes about 10 minutes. When not being used, you can easily store it on a shelf at home, and when you want to go to the lake, pop the carrier bag in the trunk, and you are on your way.

 The “cost-effective price” combined with the kayak’s quality, comfort, and performance make this a very popular kayak that first came onto the market in 2013. Since then, very few changes have been made to the design or materials used.

The Intex Challenger Kayal K1 is a rugged, well-designed craft with a competitive price. We would recommend considering this unit when looking for a kayak to purchase.

Nathan Chilcott Author

A UK native, passionate writer, and outdoorsman, Nathan enjoys piercing words together to share his knowledge on cycling, kayaking, and camping in intriguing and engaging ways. As a father to twins and a keen runner, he is passionate about helping people make the most of their time and health.

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