Intex K1 Challenger Kayak Review

Canoes and Kayaks

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak as the name suggests is for single person use. Their inflatable kayak design make them ideal for mild water like lakes, canals or slow moving rivers.

In terms of price, these are available on Amazon for under $200 making them ideal for newbies starting out in the sport as a kids kayak, or for occasional use on that long awaited vacation.

But how does the Intex Kayak Challenge K1 stand up in terms of build, durability, usability and safety?  We put it to the test.

intex challenger k1 kayak new

Intex Challenger - Out of the box

intex challenger k1 kayak manual

For such a low entry level price we were surprised at the quality of these kayaks. The vinyl material seems quite heavy duty and sturdy, which should make them resistant to tears or punctures, capable of withstanding a fair amount degree of wear and tear.

Should a hole or tear occur, the kayak comes with several patches to keep you going. It goes without saying to steer clear of sharper rocks and branches in an inflatable kayak.

The Intex kayak k1 includes a high output air hand pump that’s feels quite flimsy not to mention how small it is. There doesn’t seem to be any elegant way to inflate a kayak using this pump (it requires sticking the bum out to get in a good rhythm). It may pay to make sure no-one is around capturing your style on their phone!

The collapsible paddle feels a bit flimsy as well. Once assembled however, they don’t feel too bad and work perfectly fine in the water. If extra speed is your thing then upgrading your paddle will probably allow you to go that little bit faster.

The Intex inflatable kayak weight limit is 100kg or 220 pounds.

intex challenger kayak k1 series

How to inflate the Challenger K1 Kayak

The very first time you set this up expect to take around 20 minutes to get you kayak water-ready. Once you get the hang of where everything goes you should be able to easily cut that time in half and even get down to around the 7 minute mark.  We suggest you take some photos the first time you unfold your Kayak to take away a bit of the confusion when it comes time to fold it back up.

Deflation of your kayak is generally going to take that little bit longer than inflating to expel all of the air so you can fold the thing back into a small enough size to fit in the carry bag.  Be sure to have a stash of towels handy during this process and dry it completely as you go to keep the mould at bay.

It may be worthwhile do a test inflation and deflation in the comfort of your own home to learn how to inflate the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak.  This is a great way also check for leaks before launching it on the water.

intex challenger k1 kayak how to inflate

Inflatable Kayak Safety

The Challenger K1 Kayak feels stable when paddling with no worry of tipping at all and feels quite safe and stable on the water.

One thing to keep in mind with this inflatable Kayak is that there are only two air valves on this kayak as opposed to three, which is usually the case.

Having three air valves in an inflatable kayaks make them safer because if one section develops a leak, the other two other fully inflated valves will return you safely back to shore.

For this reason, only two air valves doesn’t rate as highly in terms of safety. As such, we recommend not to travel too far from shore and make sure you always wear a lifejacket.

The Experience

Is the Intex Challenger K1 kayak a fast smooth ride? No, of course not.   Is it extremely fun to paddle and comfortable to sit in? Absolutely.  

The adjustable inflatable seats provide plenty of cushioning and even allow for lounging back for a spot of sunbathing if that’s your thing.

This kayak tends to sway back and forth a bit especially under heavy paddle, however the detachable skeg on the bottom help keep you headed in the right general direction.  You won’t win any gold medals in this kayak but you’ll certainly have a heck of fun.

are inflatable kayaks safe
how to use inflatable kayak

How much space is in the Intex Challenger Kayak?

There’s a little storage room under the front spray skirt where you could fit a 10L -15L bag.  There’s also a mesh cargo net on top of the bow and grab line around the stern for more storage

Behind the seat you could easily fit another dry bag or backpack size bag.  Access to these bags while paddling is another thing however, so don’t  put anything here you need while out on the water.  For those items, there’s a mesh cargo net on the bow and grab line around the stern so you can strap more gear on top of the kayak. 

As for human space, there’s a reasonable amount if you’re average size but may be a bit squishy for larger individuals.  If you’re over 6 foot then this might not be the kayak for you.

inflatable kayak for ocean

Pros & Cons of the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak


  • Affordable
  • Adequate leg room
  • Easy to transport
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable 


  • Slower than a conventional fibreglass kayak
  • The carry bag quality is not great
  • Only has 2 valves
  • Takes time to inflate/deflate
  • Not great in heavy wind and waves
inflatable kayaks pros and cons

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak Review: The Verdict

Purchasing a Intex Challenger K1 inflatable kayak is a bit of a no brainer if you’re looking for some fun on those lakes and mild rivers and don’t want to break the bank.  While it’s not as fancy or fast as the more expensive fibreglass kayaks, it usually leaves its users with a smile on their face.

This Kayak is one of the most sold inflatable Kayaks on Amazon. Don’t be surprised to see other enthusiasts out on the water in the same boat having just as much fun as you.

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