Intex Challenger K1 Review

Bottom Line:

Experts agree that the Intex Challenger K1 is a great value inflatable kayak that, while unlikely to fare well on choppy waters or for advanced sea kayaking, will help beginners find their sea legs. It even comes as a complete package which includes a paddle, pump, carry bag, and a repair kit.

Price Comparison:



based on 4 reviews

Performance Ratings:

  • Handling
  • Stability
  • Comfort
  • Onboard Storage
  • Portability
  • Durability


Size (length x width)9' x 30"
Weight28 lbs
Capacity220 lbs

Comparison to Similar Kayaks:

Intex Challenger K1 Advanced Elements Expedition Elite Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 Sea Eagle RazorLite 393rl Sea Eagle 380x Explorer
Expert Rating
Size9' x 30"13' x 32"11'2" x 37"12'10" x 28"12'6" x 39"
Weight28 lbs42 lbs31.5 lbs35 lbs40 lbs
Onboard Storage6.

Intex Challenger K1 Review

Reasons to Buy:
  • Amazing portability - very light to carry around
  • Nice and easy to paddle in straight lines and on calm water
  • Reasonable storage and ease of access
Reasons Not to Buy:
  • Thin material and build - won't fare well on rocky or choppy trips
  • Isn't a very comfortable fit for paddlers over six feet tall
  • Only has two air gauges - may be hazardous far away from land

Performance of the Intex Challenger K1

The Intex Challenger K1 kayak has apparently turned a few heads thanks to its incredibly low price. Most experts are happily surprised that this kayak, while a cheap build, actually performs reasonably well on calmer waters close to shore.

Experts agree that this one person inflatable kayak is perfect for gentle trips for short periods. It’s built from a reasonably thin material but is surprisingly buoyant and not necessarily easy to capsize. It offers a handful of storage options, including a front netting that’s highly secure.

Kayakers under six feet tall will likely find this a comfortable fit, according to reviewers. Legroom gets cramped if you’re any taller. However, experts concede that getting in and out of the Challenger K1 is refreshingly easy.

This inflatable kayak’s shining moment, according to reviews, is its portability. It will compress down into a small, portable bag (including accessories) and easily slide into a small space. One reviewer goes so far as to call it the most portable kayak on the market.

The downsides are clear by checking reviews – this kayak is likely to put paddlers at risk if far away from shore, as it only has two air valves. That means 50% of the inflatable kayak will sink if you spring a leak!

It’s also reportedly quite slow, but still steady, to move. That, according to kayakers, makes it a must-buy only if you’re a beginner or fully recreational kayaker and you’re not traveling anywhere with choppy waters or jagged rocks.

For the price of this cheap inflatable kayak, reviewers agree, you’ll likely be very impressed by what the Challenger K1 inflatable kayak can do!

Expert Reviews of the Intex Challenger K1

6.6PaddleTVIt's a great inflatable kayak for someone who doesn't head to the water too often - it comes with everything you need at an amazing price! All in all, this kayak does the job if you're a recreational paddler, but you'll likely outgrow it if you want to advance on the water.Read more
6.0PaddleVenture.comPleasant to look at and great for a calm paddle or two, we like the fact the Intex Challenger K1 inflatable kayak arrives with a luggage net for ease of storage, and that it compresses down so easily. Unfortunately, it's just too slow and too uncomfortable for taller paddlers to take beyond a gentle lake for a recreational excursion.Read more
7.8Inflatable Kayak WorldI had preconceptions about the Intex Challenger K1 kayak that I'm thrilled to say I was wrong about! While it's a fairly simple boat that isn't great for rougher trips, it's easily the most portable boat I've ever used, it's impressively comfortable, and extremely easy to maneuver.Read more
7.3Paddling MagazineThe Challenger K1 is a superb beginner kayak that we found great value for the price. It's a strictly recreational boat, built for relaxed fishing or if you simply want to coast on mild waters. It's not the most durable, but for the price, its portability and comfort are fantastic.Read more

Handling of the Intex Challenger K1

Expert Rating: 6.8

7.5PaddleTVWhile the Intex Challenger K1 kayak will travel well in a straight line (thanks to its removable skeg), and will turn and spin how you'd expect it to, this is by no means a speedy kayak! Read more
6.0PaddleVenture.comThis kayak is nice and easy to maneuver in calm conditions, and it tends to react quickly to directional change. We'd recommend using the skeg to improve stability on the water. While it's a pleasant ride, it can be very slow!Read more
7.5Inflatable Kayak WorldThe Intex Challenger K1 kayak is surprisingly easy to paddle and move around in a straight line. It's pretty slow to move, but it doesn't take much effort to go wherever you wish.Read more
6.0Paddling MagazineThe Intex Challenger K1 kayak is fairly easy to handle, but can be a little slow to move if you want to keep heading in one direction! We found that this kayak handles best with paddlers under 200lbs, particularly as its max capacity is 220lbs. We found the Challenger K1 predictable to handle, but pretty slow on the whole.Read more

Stability of the Intex Challenger K1

Expert Rating: 6.8

6.0PaddleTVIt's reasonably stable and is easy to move around in, and is great on a flat surface. It gives you confidence, and you'll likely feel safe while exploring. However, I find it loses stability rapidly when you tilt onto an edge, also thanks to its air-filled seat. It may flip, even though it feels stable.Read more
7.0PaddleVenture.comIt's difficult to capsize in the water in the Intex Challenger K1 kayak, mainly thanks to its reasonable stability. However, it just doesn't have the air pressure to handle anything stronger than a gentle paddle on a calm lake!Read more
6.0Inflatable Kayak WorldThis inflatable kayak feels nice and steady - I didn't worry about tipping over. That said, it only has two air valves, whereas three are usually recommended for absolute safety. I wouldn't risk using the Challenger K1 too far from land in case you spring a leak.Read more
8.0Paddling MagazineBeginner kayakers shouldn't have too much trouble with the Intex Challenger K1's stability - as a basic inflatable boat, it's nice and predictable to bob around on the water with. It's pretty versatile, but there are much better performers out there that take rougher rapids easier. It's a wide-shaped katak boasting a flat base, and you won't have any problems getting on or off.Read more

Comfort of the Intex Challenger K1

Expert Rating: 7.1

7.0PaddleTVThis is a very comfortable kayak, although there isn't tons of legroom for a rider over six feet in height. It may not be great for long trips, but I fit into it at six foot two reasonably well, however!Read more
5.0PaddleVenture.comThis inflatable kayak offers a pleasant paddling experience, but isn't very comfortable for people over six feet tall! It's quite a narrow, thin build, which isn't always ideal.Read more
9.0Inflatable Kayak WorldThe Challenger K1 offers lots of legroom for kayakers under six feet tall, and the back rest is surprisingly comfy. The inflatable seat remains nice and fixed thanks to its velcro strip and D-rings provided.Read more
7.5Paddling MagazineWe like the Intex Challenger K1's simple inflatable seat for its basic comfort, and it's clearly built with recreational users in mind. The back support wraps around easily enough, though we recommend you invest in a life jacket for best results. There are comfier inflatable kayaks out there at higher price tags.Read more

Onboard Storage of the Intex Challenger K1

Expert Rating: 6.9

5.5PaddleTVThis inflatable kayak arrives with a cargo net for storage and holders on the front. However, the holders can get in the way of paddling! Read more
5.5PaddleVenture.comThere's adequate storage on board this kayak, with the luggage netting being one of the boat's biggest advantages. However, interior storage space is lacking; there isn't much storage behind the seat (plus it's difficult to reach even while paddling) and the interior in the bow is quite narrow, so there isn't much space even for the legs!Read more
8.5Inflatable Kayak WorldThe Intex Challenger K1 kayak provides a nice amount of storage space under a skirt in the cockpit, good for up to 15 liters as a dry bag, for example. It's easy enough to store more under the bungee netting, too, if you wish. It's really easy to reach what you need and secure back up again.Read more
8.0Paddling MagazineThe Challenger K1 more than satisfied our storage needs for a quick recreational trip. It boasts an impressive mesh cargo that can hold food, drink and electrical items if you need to.Read more

Portability of the Intex Challenger K1

Expert Rating: 8.8

8.5PaddleTVThis kayak is extremely light and easy to pick up, even out of the bag. It compresses down into a tiny little package, too!Read more
8.0PaddleVenture.comIt's extremely easy to compress this inflatable kayak along with all of its accessories into the carrying bag provided. It may not be the best carry bag for your own needs, however, so consider shopping around.Read more
9.5Inflatable Kayak WorldI'm confident that no other inflatable kayak is as portable as the Intex Challenger K1. It's extremely easy to compact and store into a super-small space - including the air pump and kayak paddle!Read more
9.0Paddling MagazineThe Intex Challenger K1 kayak is impressively light at just under 30lbs all packaged up, and it's really simple to roll up and carry with you in an exercise bag. That's even including paddles! Grab lines along the boat also make it super simple to carry out of the water with your copilot.Read more

Durability of the Intex Challenger K1

Expert Rating: 5.3

5.0PaddleTVIt's not the highest quality inflatable kayak on the market - it's only got two air chambers. If one of these gets punctured on a trip, 50% of your kayak is losing air! I'd use this kayak close to shore - but it could really benefit from a third compartment.Read more
4.5PaddleVenture.comThis kayak isn't likely to withstand adventures beyond a few gentle paddles on calm waters - it has a very thin material, which puts it at risk of damage.Read more
6.5Inflatable Kayak WorldThe Intex Challenger K1 is a vinyl welded kayak which is, sadly, less durable than what you'd expect from most other inflatable kayaks (built in PVC). It served me well through testing but probably wouldn't handle sharp edges too nicely - I'd advise keeping this boat on the straight and narrow.Read more
5.0Paddling MagazineBuilt using vinyl plastic and held together with welded seams, the Intex Challenger K1 is surprisingly resistant to various knocks and impacts (although, you'd obviously get more durability from a hardshell kayak). We recommend taking care around the hull, in fact, as there's a chance it will spring a puncture. We also advise you to keep it away from UV as much as possible! Read more