Intex Explorer K2 Review | 2021 Kayak Guide
The Intex Explorer K2 kayak is an ideal option for those new to kayaking. This inflatable kayak might be an affordable choice, but you will not have to settle for second-rate build quality and materials. In fact, this lightweight kayak is incredibly durable, with a puncture-resistant construction that will provide peace of mind when paddling.
Intex Explorer K2 Review
This is a kayak that has been designed with the beginner in mind, with its streamlined hull engineered to make paddling and manoeuvring as effortless as possible. It also offers good levels of rigidity, providing you with exceptional stability and impressive buoyancy performance. The roomy cockpit interior and inflatable seat and backrests also make this a comfortable choice of kayak for those looking to get out onto the water for hours at a time.
Explorer K2 Build & Materials
Measured up against other inflatable tandem kayaks on the market, the Intex Explorer K2 is fairly typical in terms of size. This streamlined kayak has a total length of 10.3 feet, with a fairly narrow width of just three feet. The dimensions of this kayak provide you with a good balance of stability and speed potential. It is stable enough that the beginners will have no trouble getting to grips with the basics, but is narrow enough that those with a little more experience can start pushing the limits of speed.
The Explorer K2 will not disappoint when it comes to durability either. This kayak is made from super-tough vinyl that is highly resistant to tears and punctures. Even if you find yourself coming into contact with rocky shorelines or sharp debris, you will not have to worry about the hull becoming easily damaged. However, accidents do happen and even the most durable of kayak hulls can suffer damage. Thankfully, the Intex Explorer K2 has some contingencies factored into its design. Three individual I-beam air chambers make up the floor of this kayak, providing excellent buoyancy at all times. The inclusion of three air chambers also leaves you with peace of mind in the event you do experience a puncture. Should one chamber become damage and start leaking air, the other chambers will provide you with sufficient buoyancy to keep you afloat until you make it safely back to the shore and carry out any vinyl repairs with a patch kit.
The I-beam floor of this kayak also provides you with excellent balance and stability all times. When properly inflated, you will not have to worry about any imbalance affecting your performance on the water. The I-beam provides the kayak with excellent rigidity, keeping things level and stable, even when two users are sat within the cockpit. Another great thing about the I-beam is that it accounts for the fact not all users will be the same weight. The Explorer K2 has a maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds, with the I-beam ensuring an even distribution of weight across the kayak. This prevents unwanted sagging at ends occupied by heavier occupants, meaning buoyancy and stability is never compromised.
Durability & Performance
Although an affordable option, the Intex Explorer K2 should not be discounted as an inferior kayaking option. The high-grade materials used in the construction of this kayak means it will hold up well against everyday bumps and scrapes, while also ensuring the occupants are sufficient protected. While this kayak is certainly a good option for those looking to spend less on an entry-level model, it will last for a long time if properly cared for and maintained. The Explorer K2 can be put through its paces with little fear of it suffering significant damage, although a repair patch kit is included along with the kayak itself so you can tackle any punctures and scrapes as and when they occur.
This kayak will hold its own when used on calmer waters. If you are looking to familiarise yourself with paddling basics and core manoeuvres on still water, the Explorer K2 is a good option. It is perfectly suitable for use on lakes and on rivers with milder currents. However, you should avid using this on rivers with harsher currents. It is also unsuitable for use on coastal waters. As with most inflatable kayaks, the air chambers of the Explorer K2 are not designed to withstand the relentless impact of waves and rapid currents. You may also wish to upgrade your paddles. Although this kayak does include a pair of aluminium paddles, they are not the most robust of oars. They should perform well enough when kayaking on mild waters, but if you can afford to invest in a sturdier set, this is definitely something to consider.
User-Friendly Design & Easy Handling
The Intex Explorer K2 kayak has been designed with ease of use in mind. This inflatable kayak is fairly lightweight when fully inflated and easy to manoeuvre when you are on the water. You should have little trouble maintaining directional stability and paddling in a straight line with this kayak. If you need to tackle slightly choppier waters, you may wish to add the removable skeg to boost rigidity. Once added to the kayak, this skeg makes cutting a straight line through water a breeze. The streamlined design of the Explorer K2also facilitates easier paddling, while the inflatable I-beam is on hand to provide you with added balance and rigid support when you need it. All of these design features combine for a kayak that is perfectly attuned to the needs and limitations of the beginner. However, it has to be said that those with more experience on challenging waters will probably find this Intex kayak a little restrictive.
One potential downside of an inflatable kayak is the amount of time it takes to fully inflate the hull and get it ready for the water. However, this Intex model includes a high-output pump to make quick work of this essential task. The air pump itself is lightweight and compact, meaning it will take up minimal room in the trunk of your vehicle. It is also incredibly simple to use, requiring next to no effort to fully inflate the kayak air chambers. This Intex kayak features premium Boston valves, with one-way valve openings for easy operation. These valves feature two different ports for inflating and deflating the kayak in minutes. The inflation valve allows you to completely inflate the kayak, without the worry of air escaping from the valve as you do. The larger valve port is designed for quick and easy deflation. The larger openings of these valve ports means greater quantities of air can escape more quickly, saving the overall time it takes for the kayak to fully deflate. This makes quick work of packing away your kayak at the end of an exhausting day. A carry bag is also included, providing a place for you to store and transport your deflated kayak.
Before you decide to invest your money in the Intex Explorer K2 tandem kayak, you should think about what you intend to use it for. This is a kayak that is designed for more casual, recreational applications. Compare it to hardshell alternatives and more advanced models and you will notice the Explorer K2 has a relatively low profile. This kayak also has a flatter hull design than some kayaks, which is a clear indicator this is an inflatable model designed for recreational kayaking. Despite this, the Explorer K2 is a rugged and heavy-duty option. With a higher tail and nose than many other inflatable kayaks, this Intex model impresses with its superior balance and buoyant performance. The streamlined silhouette of the Explorer K2 is also surprising for a kayak at this price point. The narrower width and fairly lengthy hull means you can still expect to enjoy respectable speeds and easy steering here. The cockpit dimensions are also decent, providing each occupant with a comfortable seated position from which to steer. The inflatable seats and ergonomic backrests ensure each user can remain in position for long periods of time, without suffering from fatigue when paddling.
The 400-pound weight limit also means you are unrestricted when it comes to recreational use. The weight capacity means it can be used for tandem paddling with users of all shapes and sizes. It should also provide you with a little bit of leeway for carrying additional items and accessories with you. This kayak is also easy to get out onto the water and drag back to the shore. Grab handles are included at the nose and tail, while a grab line is also included at the nose end of the kayak. It would have been nice to see some additional storage solutions here, be it mesh netting or D-ring attachments. However, this doesn’t really detract from the appeal of this affordable entry-level kayak.
– Lightweight design and easy to transport
– Very affordable, even for an inflatable kayak
– Effortless inflation and deflation
– Very durable design and rugged construction
– Generous dimensions offer plenty of legroom
– Comfortable seating and backrests
– Easily reconfigured as a solo kayak
– Average build quality
– Best suited to mild rivers and calmer waters
– Usual limitations of inflatable kayak
– Included aluminium oars are fairly average in quality
– Carry handles are a little awkward
Intex Explorer K2 Verdict
If you are looking to upgrade you existing inflatable kayak to something more substantial, the Intex Explorer K2 may prove a little limited. However, novice kayakers looking for their first boat will find plenty to get excited about here. This user-friendly kayak is an ideal entry-level purchase for those looking to get to grips with the basics of kayaking. Unlike premium inflatable boats and hard-shell kayaks, the Intex Explore K2 is not cut out for use on whitewater rapids, but it will holds its own on calm rivers and mild currents.
The relatively low price of the Explorer K2 will certainly appeal to the kayaking novice. However, when compared to other kayaks in this price point, the Explorer K2 stands out with some impressive features. The inclusion of removable skegs is definitely a win for anyone looking for improved directional stability. With a skeg added, this kayak will cruise easily in a straight line, even if you are faced with adverse weather and a significant wind factor. The inclusion of removable inflatable I-beams is another welcome feature of this kayak. When fully inflated, the I-beam floor will ensure good buoyancy at all times. The build quality of this kayak will also impress those unsure about the heavy-duty capabilities of an inflatable kayak. The puncture-resistant materials will mean you will rarely find yourself reaching for the repair kit. In the event of a puncture, the multiple air chamber design means you will not find yourself taking on too much water before you can make it back to shore and carry out repairs. Should you run into any trouble out on the water, the bright yellow exterior of the hull will ensure you maintain excellent visibility at all times.
The spacious yet streamlined design of this Intex model also means you have adequate room to paddle alongside a fellow kayaker. The inflatable seats include generous backrests to keep each user comfortable when paddling, while the second kayak seat can be removed should you want to kayak solo. With its impressive length and ample width, the Explorer K2 provides you with plenty of space to move around, without compromising on stability. It is also narrow enough that you can expect to achieve good cruise speeds when you are on the water, while turning should not be a problem provided you have removed the skeg from the underside of the hull.
If you are searching for a kayak well matched to recreational applications, the Intex Explorer K2 will not disappoint. For the price this kayak retails at, the level of craftsmanship and durability on offer here is extraordinary. Admittedly, there are a few areas where the Explorer K2 is lacking, but there is more than enough to appeal to the beginner.