Fill with air, then head straight to the water- this is the function that briefly explains why inflatable kayaks are great. I owned various inflatable kayaks in the past. Some of them worked fine, and others urged me to call customer service right away.
I have a thing for inflatable kayaks. I can't say that all inflatable kayaks perform well. Still, I love them because they can be transported with ease. I'm always searching for great inflatable kayaks year after year. Of course, Intex inflatable kayaks didn't escape my curiosity.
I bought and tried Intex Explorer K2 recently. This article is my critical review of the Intex Explorer K2 kayak divided into 3 parts. The first part of this article is about the general information of Intex Explorer K2. The second part is the product review proper. The third part is a comparative review of Intex Explorer K2 with other competing kayaks in the market.
Table of Contents
About Intex Explorer K2
The Explorer K2 is one of Intex corp's best selling kayaks. Unlike Intex Challenger K2, Intex Explorer K2 doesn't have a single version. A single version of Intex Explorer K2 soon, but all that you can do for now is wait.
Explorer K2 is Intexcorp's 3rd largest kayak. Intex Excursion Pro and Intex Challenger K2 precede it by 12.7 feet and 11.6 feet, respectively. By the way, Intex Explorer K2 looks strikingly similar to Intex Dakota K2. The only difference with it is that it's finished with a bright color tone. That said, you can treat Intex Explorer K2 as Intex Dakota's more visible version.
Intex Explorer K2 is an excellent recreational kayak and beginner's kayak. In connection, I don't think that it will fair well as a sea kayak or whitewater kayak. I'll explain why on the product review proper. Intex Explorer comes with all the features for recreational use and will be great for occasional visits to rivers and lakes.
In my opinion, Intex Explorer K2 will last for about 2 or 3 years. Its exterior is not too thin nor too thick. The thickness of its material is just enough to allow for safe and secure kayaking on lakes and mildly rapid waters. I managed to find information about this product's lifespan on other online reviews. Accordingly, this product may last a maximum of five years when maintained well.
Intex Explorer K2 is the second most beautiful Intex kayak for me. Its appearance resembles a banana boat a bit. That said, it's a joyful looking kayak that kids will love to have.
Finally, the weight capacity of Intex Explorer K2 is the same as other Intexcorp tandem kayaks. That said, two fully grown average-sized adults can ride this product at the same time. Furthermore, at least 3 children can ride this kayak at once so long as they're between ages 5-10.
Intex Explorer K2 Review
Manufacturers finished Intex Explorer K2 with a black and bright yellow color tone. Yellow color dominates the bow of Intex Explorer K2 while black dominates its stern. Unlike Intex Challenger K2, the black shade doesn't get in the way of this product's visibility in the water. Intex Explorer's black and yellow finish go with each other very well. The black color provides excellent contrast, so yellow stands out.
By the way, the color scheme of the product is the reason why it looks a bit similar to a banana boat and why you can consider it as a brighter version of Intex Dakota. Intex Explorer K2 is a very noticeable inflatable kayak. The black and yellow color of this product makes it highly visible on bluish, murky, and greenish waters.
The design of Explorer K2 is highly similar to Intex Dakota. It has high side chambers, a slightly raised bow and stern, and a robust hull. One look at this product, and you'll eventually notice that it's an inflatable kayak that bears the design of a canoe. A canoe-like design gives this product optimum stability for two-person use.
However, the problem with the canoe-like design is that it doesn't allow for speed. It would have been better if Intex Explorer K2 followed the streamlined design of the Intex Challenger Series.
The Explorer K2 measures 10 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 1.8 feet high. Kids won't have trouble riding this kayak on their own since it's pretty low. On the other hand, it's length and width allows for a cockpit that has enough space for two average-sized adults to ride.
Plus size persons will never get to enjoy this product even if they use it as a single kayak. The cockpit will still feel cramped for large people, even if they remove one of the seats.
In connection, the maximum weight capacity of this product is 180 kilos. Intex Explorer K2's weight is okay, considering that it's a tandem inflatable kayak. That said, I don't have complaints about this product in terms of weight capacity.
This product weighs 30.60 pounds when fully inflated. Therefore, Intex Explorer K2 is massive for an inflatable kayak. Also, its bulky design makes weight more of an issue. This product made me appreciate Intex Challenger K2, which was also heavy but can be carried by hand because of its streamlined design.
I give Intex Explorer K2 Kayak 4 stars in terms of color, size, design, and weight. Explorer K2 earned this because it's a highly visible kayak that allows for basic tandem kayaking. I omitted one star because its cockpit, design, and weight need a bit of improvement.
Notable Features of Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
These are the features that I found great about this kayak:
- I-beam flooring
- 3 Air Chamber
- Well designed air valves
- Adjustable Seats with Velcro Straps
- Inflatable and Removable Spray Decks
- Removable Skegs
- Useful Paddles
Intex Explorer K2 uses I-Beam flooring, just like Intex Challenger K2. However, I prefer the flooring of Intex Explorer K2 because it cushions the feet a bit. Also, it doesn't get hot quickly. These traits of the I-Beam flooring might be due to the vinyl material that manufacturers used for making Intex Explorer K2.
Also, the I-Beam flooring doesn't get stained quickly. As a result, you can rest easy that it will be okay even if you don't dry Intex Explorer K2 immediately after use.
The vinyl material that makes up Intex Explorer K2 isn't very thick or durable. This is why you can still squeeze it's siding when filled with air. To make up for this issue, manufacturers gave Intex Explorer K2 3 air chambers. Having 3 air chambers mean that you can still use this product temporarily if it gets punctured. In connection, Intexcorp only has 3 inflatable kayaks that have the 3 air chamber feature; Intex Explorer K2, Intex Dakota, and Intex Excursion Pro.
The air valve of this product is pretty good. I think it's the reason why Intex Explorer K2 very easy to inflate and deflate. Inflating or deflating this product can be done in 5-10 minutes. Furthermore, the valve isn't prone to leaks even when it starts to wear. I also love the fact that Intex placed a measuring scale. The measuring scale is useful because it prevents you from underinflating or overinflating Intex Explorer K2.
The seats of Intex Explorer K2 are better than that of Intex Challenger K2. They're soft on the butt, and their backrests support the back very well. They even have velcro straps that prevent shaking. The velcro straps don't get worn easily and dries quickly. Quick-drying and resistance to allow the velcro straps to avoid the damage that wetting causes.
The spray decks are useful even though Intex Explorer K2 isn't great for whitewater kayaking. You can use the spray decks to protect your legs against sunlight.
I love the fact that Intex Explorer K2 comes with a removable skeg. The removable skeg allows for easy tracking. Removing the skeg doesn't necessarily affect speed because Intex Explorer K2 isn't a fast kayak after all. However, you might need it for better control. That said, the removable skeg will be useful if the kayak paddles are giving you a hard time.
The paddles of Intex Explorer K2 are great. They're light and sturdy. Their blades don't bend when the water is dense or turbulent. Furthermore, their size is just enough for kids and adults. Also, the paddles come with handles that prevent slipping. As a result, the paddles are friendly on the hands even though their handles aren't very soft.
I give 5 stars to the features of Intex Explorer K2. I give Intex Explorer this rating because of some of the features that it has tried to make up for its weakness. This is the case with the 3 chamber feature. On the other hand, the spray deck provides additional comfort. In a nutshell, Intex Explorer K2 might have issues with its design, but its features are flawless.
The performance of Intex Explorer K2 is average. That means that it lies between the gray area of being a good or lousy kayak. It's effortless to control Intex Explorer K2 on calm waters. However, it doesn't go too fast, no matter how hard you paddle. This might be due to the design of its hull that doesn't reduce drag, which the surface tension of water applies.
I tried this kayak on rapid waters and found out that the statement of other reviewers was true. Intex Explorer sucks for whitewater kayaking, It wobbles a lot, and it's exterior is at the mercy of rocks. Sometimes, it even turns on its own when traversing pools and drops.
The same is also valid for sea kayaking. Intex Explorer K2 can't bear the force of the waves and capsizes. This is also the case even when the removable skeg is installed.
Comparing Intex Explorer K2 with Other Inflatable Kayaks
I also looked into other kayaks and compared them with Intex Explorer K2. I'll briefly discuss how Intex Explorer K2 might be better or worse than other inflatable kayaks in the market.
The Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe three-person kayak might beat Intex Explorer K2 in terms of carrying capacity, weight, and design. Sea Eagle 370 Delux is lighter than Intex Explorer K2 by 4 pounds. It can also carry three persons, each weighing 100 kilos or even more. Also, it's designed to allow for more speed. However, this kayak lags behind Intex Explorer K2 in terms of color. Sea Eagle 370 deluxe has a plain white finish that's not very visible when kayaking on seas.
Sevylor Tahiti tandem kayak might be better than Intex Explorer K2 in terms of weight. It's a very light inflatable kayak. Sevylor Tahiti tandem kayak only weighs 20 pounds. Also, it has a narrow design yet large cockpit. The problem with Sevylor Tahiti is that it's not very stable in the water, and strong winds carry it easily. In a nutshell, Intex Explorer K2 is more comfortable to control that Sevylor Tahiti Tandem kayak.
Advanced Elements Island Voyage tandem kayak might perform better than Intex Explorer K2 kayak for kayaking in long durations. Its ergonomic seats support the back well and allow for very comfortable positioning of the arms, shoulders, and back. However, Intex Explorer K2 is more stable than the Advanced Elements Island Voyage. Island Voyage doesn't track well and wobbles even when cruising in very calm waters.
Intex Explorer K2 is an excellent product to buy for family tandem kayaking. You should get it if you're looking for a kayak that's useful for teaching others kayaking basics. However, this product won't be good for teaching others the basics of whitewater kayaking. This is because Intex Explorer K2 isn't very stable and gets filled with water quickly in rapid waters.
You should also check out the other kayaks that I compared Intex Explorer K2 with. I can't say that they're better than Intex Explorer K2. All that I'm sure about is that the other kayaks that I briefly discussed might be good side purchases if Intex Explorer K2 doesn't impress.