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Intex Explorer K2 Review

This boat is fine if money is your bottom line, but it paddles poorly and has lackluster performance across the board
Intex Explorer K2
Credit: Intex
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Price:  $250 List | $111.36 at Amazon
Pros:  All-inclusive package, inexpensive, lightweight
Cons:  Tracks poorly, tacos when fully inflated, deforms at full pressure, questionable durability
Manufacturer:   Intex
By Maggie Nichols ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 18, 2022
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 17
  • Handling - 25% 5.0
  • Comfort - 25% 6.5
  • Ease of Set Up - 20% 6.0
  • Portability - 20% 6.5
  • Durability - 10% 4.0

Our Verdict

The Intex Explorer K2 is a full tandem kayaking package that's about the cheapest option we've found. It includes everything you need to get out on the water beside a life jacket. It doesn't track well, has a fairly small cockpit, and it's challenging not to smack paddles with your partner. With a low maximum inflation level, the Explorer K2 tends to feel a bit like sitting in a hot dog bun. But if you want a quick way to get out for a short jaunt on very calm waters, this complete package may be the easy option you're searching for.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Intex Explorer K2
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Intex Explorer K2
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Price $250 List
$111.36 at Amazon
$519.93 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$350 List
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$250 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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75
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45
Star Rating
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Pros All-inclusive package, inexpensive, lightweightHandles well, high durability, fast, stable, fabric is water resistantAll-inclusive package, adjustable seating, can paddle tandem or solo, comfortable seatsEverything included, affordable, durable, easy backpack carry, everything becomes part of the kayakVery inexpensive, everything included, low and stable
Cons Tracks poorly, tacos when fully inflated, deforms at full pressure, questionable durabilityHeavy, floor difficult to inflate, hard to drainAwkward bulky bag, foot pump is small, wobbly paddlesPoor paddle, rides high, blunt bow, fabric retains water, difficult to drainNot durable, pump is inefficient, average portability
Bottom Line This boat is fine if money is your bottom line, but it paddles poorly and has lackluster performance across the boardWith excellent handling, a long lifespan, and great comfort, this kayak will go the distanceAn inexpensive and more comfortable way to get out on the water with your friends or by yourselfFor a decent kayak at a fraction of the cost of the competition, we love this backpack yak from SevylorWhat it lacks in finesse and durability it makes up for with a shockingly low price tag and decent handling
Rating Categories Intex Explorer K2 Advanced Elements A... Sea Eagle 370 Pro Sevylor Quikpak K5 Intex Challenger K2
Handling (25%)
5.0
9.0
6.5
5.5
4.5
Comfort (25%)
6.5
8.5
6.5
5.0
3.5
Ease of Set Up (20%)
6.0
5.5
6.5
6.0
6.0
Portability (20%)
6.5
6.0
6.0
7.5
5.0
Durability (10%)
4.0
8.0
5.5
6.0
2.5
Specs Intex Explorer K2 Advanced Elements A... Sea Eagle 370 Pro Sevylor Quikpak K5 Intex Challenger K2
Measured Weight (boat and storage bag only) 26.2 lbs 33.25 lbs 42.8 lbs 23.4 lbs 27.5 lbs
Capacity Tandem; 400 lbs Single; 300 lbs Tandem; 650 lbs Single; 250 lbs Tandem; 400 lbs
Kayak Size (length x width) 10' x 3' 10' 3" x 2' 9" 12' 6" x 2' 10" 10' x 2'8" 11' 5" x 2' 11"
Packed Size (length x width x height) 27" x 15" x 17" 33" x 16" x 15" 36" x 20" x 8" 22" x 17" x 9" 28" x 18" x 12"
Included Accessories Repair patches, pump, and paddles Repair kit Foot pump, repair kit, paddles Pump, paddle, spray skirt Repair patches, pump, and paddles
Material/Construction Polypropylene Aluminum ribs in bow & stern, PVC-coated polyester 38 mil PVC Heavy duty polyetster bottom, 24-gauge laminated PVC 30-gauge PVC vinyl, I-beam floor
Features Removable skeg, bow & stern grab lines, adjustable backrest, manual drainage hole Adjustable backrest, bungees, pressure relief valve in floor, skeg Seatback pockets, bow & stern grablines, drainage hole, adjustable seats, two small tracking fins, converts to solo boat Backpack carrying system turns into seat , storage area, bow and stern bungees, accessory D-rings, spray skirt, skeg Bow & stern grablines, cargo net, skeg

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Intex Explorer K2 is a tandem kayak with a 400-pound capacity. It's made of polypropylene and comes with two paddles, a hand pump, and repair patches. It features a removable skeg, adjustable seatbacks, bow and stern lines, and a manual cockpit drainage port.

Performance Comparison


Intex Explorer K2 inflatable kayak - getting out on the water in the inexpensive intex explorer k2.
Getting out on the water in the inexpensive Intex Explorer K2.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Handling


The Explorer K2 sinks a lot when loaded with grown adults, adding drag to the paddling experience. It sits lower in the water than most other tandems, even with lighter people inside. Though it has shorter paddles to try to match its length, we still found ourselves clashing blades with our partners frequently. A removable skeg helps a bit with tracking, but the bottom of the boat is quite flat, lacking that cutting quality. This lower profile does help it catch less wind, though we still wouldn't recommend paddling this boat on a windy day. The cockpit has a drainage port in the back, but it's the type of valve you have to squeeze open with your hands, and so it is utterly useless for emptying the boat while you paddle.

Intex Explorer K2 inflatable kayak - this kayak sits low in the water, even when not fully loaded.
This kayak sits low in the water, even when not fully loaded.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Comfort


As a very squishy watercraft, the Explorer K2 feels relatively comfortable to sit in, easily conforming to your shape and boasting adjustable seatbacks. The seats clip into place and velcro to the floor of the boat — which certainly stops them from sliding but also makes them very difficult to adjust to the appropriate amount of leg room for both passengers. Riding lower in the water is a different paddling experience than a higher-seated boat, most commonly resulting in a wetter excursion. While this lower seat makes getting in a fairly straightforward affair, getting back out proves to be more challenging.

Intex Explorer K2 inflatable kayak - the length of the explorer k2 is better at accommodating the leg...
The length of the Explorer K2 is better at accommodating the leg room for a single person, but the seat placement options mean we had to remove the seats completely to make it a solo boat.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Set Up


The hand pump included with the Explorer is quite small, and it takes a long time to inflate the boat. Ours also fell into pieces the third time we used it, though we were able to easily put it back together again. The boat itself has five chambers (two are just tiny tubes on the bow and stern to hold the splash guards taut), and each seat is a single chamber. However, there are three different valve types, forcing you to swap out pieces to get the right fit. The valve in the floor is challenging to reach, as the sides inflate over the top of it, so you have to remember to inflate it first and deflate it last. The fin on the bottom is so incredibly difficult to get fully into place that it's easy to want to give up and leave it behind. Deflating this boat requires constant attention, as the floor, bow, stern, and both seat valves are the type that requires you to squeeze them open for air to come out. This proves challenging with the floor in particular, as the valve is on the inside, so you're actively rolling up while still trying to deflate. Fortunately, the storage bag is oversized and easily fits all the components of this kayaking kit.

Intex Explorer K2 inflatable kayak - the explorer k2 has three different types of valves on board...
The Explorer K2 has three different types of valves on board, including this nearly useless cockpit drainage plug that requires you to hold it open to function.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Portability


Impressively, this tandem kayak weighs just 26 pounds. That's on par with many of the single boats we've tested. Of course, this is achieved in part by being rather small and constructed of very thin materials. It's not horrible to cart down the path to the beach, though the duffel-style carry bag without any padding on the handles isn't the most comfortable over long distances.

Intex Explorer K2 inflatable kayak - the best thing about this boat is that it's lighter than most...
The best thing about this boat is that it's lighter than most tandems and has an oversized bag that makes it easy to fit everything inside.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Durability


The Explorer K2 suffered no tears, rips, or punctures during our extensive testing. However, we have little faith that it's up to many difficult tasks involving rocks or submerged sticks. It's made of some of the thinnest material of any boat we tested and lacks any additional layer that might protect it. The sides also deform when the boat is fully inflated. The internet is filled with reports of the seams breaking and the patch kit not working, which doesn't fill us with the same confidence we have with so many of the beefier models we tested. Even compared to other kayaks in our lineup that are sold for around the same price point, the Explorer is one of the thinnest-walled options.

Intex Explorer K2 inflatable kayak - the walls of the explorer k2 bulge and deform under the...
The walls of the Explorer K2 bulge and deform under the manual-requested pressure and with regular use.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Should You Buy the Intex Explorer K2?


It's tempting to see the price tag on this all-inclusive kit and think it's a great value item. But when it comes to performance, the Explorer K2 just can't compete with the others. If you can spend just a little more, there are several better all-inclusive kits that far outperform this one for not all that much more money.

What Other Inflatable Kayaks Should You Consider?


The Intex Explorer K2 is a low-cost tandem kayak that includes everything but the PFD. If money is your bottom line, this may be a tempting option, but we were underwhelmed by most aspects of its performance. Our favorite tandem is the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Tandem, but it will cost you a lot more. If tandem on a budget is strictly what you're after, the Sea Eagle 370 Pro is our favorite, though the Intex Excursion Pro K2 is also a solid bet. Both will cost you more than the Explorer K2, but the increase in performance (and decrease in frustration) are more than worth it, in our opinion.

Intex Explorer K2 inflatable kayak - if saving money is your top priority, then this budget watercraft...
If saving money is your top priority, then this budget watercraft can still provide a decent time out on the water.
Credit: Penney Garrett

Maggie Nichols
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