Last article update: September 15th, 2021 (11:06 pm)
Intex Explorer K2 opinion
The Intex Explorer K2 gives you a low-cost option to get on the water. The package contains everything you need to start kayaking, including paddles and a pump.
However, the low price is also reflective of the quality of the boat. The Explorer K2 is meant for leisure activities. If you want to do real kayaking, you will need to look elsewhere.
The Intex Explorer K2 is the best-selling inflatable kayak on Amazon. What’s more, it has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 (January, 2022), showing that it is popular and well-liked.
I bought this kayak for $99 a year ago, but I read that you can find it for $69 at times.
What can you expect for that much money?
Let’s find out in the Intex Explorer K2 kayak review.
Features of the Explorer K2
The main selling point of this kayak is that it is an affordable, complete kayak kit. Indeed, it includes everything you need to start paddling for around $100. I’ve noticed they increase the price considerably before and during summer to over $200, but I would not recommend you buy it above $100.
The Intex K2 Explorer Kayak is made of pretty thin material. It is marketed as heavy-duty SUPER-TOUGH™ 30-gauge vinyl over a 1200 denier nylon shell. I didn’t know you could TradeMark the words Super-Tough 🙂 But despite the name, it is not super tough.
Anyhow, it’s not super tough at all, but I’m sure you weren’t expecting much at this price point. The material can take some scrapes, you’ll be able to drag it across the beach, but it will develop punctures with rough use.
Be especially careful if you’re kayaking in shallow rivers where you can ground the bottom. In fact, I would not recommend extended river kayaking in the Explorer K2 at all. It does not have an extra layer of protective tarpaulin on the bottom, and the base material is not durable enough.
It is certified by the NMMA for manufacturing standards, so that’s a plus. This means that the kayak complies with the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) standards and recommended practices, and the U.S. Coast Guard Regulations.
The kayak has 3 main air chambers:
- 2 side chambers with Boston valves
- 1 I-beam floor with cheaper budget valve
There are 2 additional small air chambers on the front and rear splash guards. The valves on these are the types you find on inflatable balls.
The 3 separate air chambers ensure that if any single chamber is punctured, the kayak will not sink, and you’ll have enough time to make your way out to the shore.
The air bladders are somewhat soft even after full inflation. When you step into the I-beam floor, your foot lowers the bottom quite a bit. This means that you should not enter the kayak in super shallow water, since you risk grazing the bottom.
The Intex Explorer K2’s capacity is 400 lbs, which is enough for an adult and a child. Two adult men would not fit comfortably into the kayak; it would sag and degrade performance.
This kayak has 2 vinyl carry handles and 2 grab lines to make moving it easier.
The Explorer K2 comes with a removable skeg that you can easily attach via the slide-in box.
You may have noticed the bright yellow paint job of the kayak. You may like it or hate it, but it is a good thought for a boat that many children will use. The bright yellow provides maximum visibility. It is easy to spot even at a distance, which is great for when kids use it alone.
Can you take a dog in the Intex Explorer K2?
Yes, the material of the Explorer K2 kayak is strong enough to resist the claws of dogs. You can safely go paddling with your pet, but just to be sure, I would place a blanket in the front where the dog is.
You can reach average speeds when you start paddling. Thanks to the buoyant body, it turns quickly without resistance. But this comes at a price: bad tracking.
The skeg definitely helps, but the Explorer K2 will not track straight even with it installed. It just sits too tall, and the hull is not shaped for cutting through the water.
I used it on a sunny day, but I can imagine that the tall, light body would be adversely affected by wind and waves as well, if weather conditions become bad.
However, the Explorer K2 is stable. You will not tip over by accident, so it’s a good option for beginner paddlers.
All in all, this Intex kayak is not a great performer.
Thanks to the soft, non-rigid floor, the Intex Explorer K2 is comfortable to sit in. The seat would not provide enough support for longer kayaking trips, but that is not what the boat is for anyhow.
These seats are for “chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ ” on a sunny day at the lake.
Even though it is a tandem kayak, it is too small for 2 adults. It does not have enough legroom for the front paddler when 2 adults sit in it, not to mention space for gear.
Here are some 2-person inflatable kayaks if you need more room, I would not recommend the Explorer K2 for tandem kayaking.
There is a comfort feature that is missing though! Paddler holders. It would be have been much better for Intex to place some cheap velcrow paddler holders on each side of the boat, so you don’t always need to mind the paddle when you’re relaxing.
One of the best features of the Explorer K2 package is that it includes everything you need to get on the water.
This is a great advantage for families looking for a kayak for vacationing with the kids, since it provides an affordable way to have fun on the water.
The pack includes:
- The kayak itself
- 2 paddles (86 inch – 2.2 m)
- Manual hand pump
- Carry bag
- 2 inflatable seats
- Removable skeg
- Repair patch
Intex Explorer K2 kayak specifications
|Capacity||400 lb (182 kg)|
|Dimensions||10’3″‘x 3’ x 1’8″ (3.1 m x 0.91 m x 0.51 m)|
|Weight||36 lbs (16 kg)|
|Vinyl||30-gauge vinyl over a 1200 denier nylon|
Setting up the kayak is as easy as most inflatable kayaks. You simply unfold the yak, inflate the tubes, and you’re ready to go.
The air chambers are not high pressure, so inflation is not strenuous. You don’t need an electric air pump.
Packing it away is relatively easy, as it has Boston valves to let the air out quickly.
It also has a drain plug that needs to remain closed while on the water, but can help drain water out of the hull before you pack it away. Simply open it, tip the boat so the water drains out, and dry the inside with a towel.
Thankfully the material dries easily without much effort. Leave it in the sun for 15 minutes and it’ll be completely dry.
Intex Explorer K2 alternatives
The Intex Explorer K2 is not a high quality inflatable kayak. It is more of a toy boat for leisure activities.
Don’t get me wrong though. If you just want to take a toy kayak to a nearby lake to have something to float, it would suffice.
It can get you on the water kayaking quickly, but I would not rely on this boat for real kayaking trips.
Here is a list of dependable inflatable kayaks for you to consider.
Intex Explorer K2 vs Dakota K2 vs Tacoma K2
It looks like Intex likes to create various models of the same kayak. Looking at the specs of these 3 kayaks, they are identical:
Their hull look identical as well, so we can safely conclude that the Explorer K2, Dakota K2 and Tacoma K2 are the same boats.
I noticed in the list of accessories that the Dakota comes with an extra shallow water skeg, and the pump is a bit different as well.
Reviews of other users
Seeing that the Explorer K2 is the most popular inflatable kayak on Amazon by far, I was intrigued to find out what customers had to say about it.
Here are some common themes people were talking about in their reviews of the Explorer K2.
- Many customers use the kayak when they go away on vacation, so they don’t have to take their more expensive kayaks with them.
- It is a little short for two people. With two paddlers in the boat, it feels cramped, and it lacks legroom.
- Reentering the kayak is easy, it does not flip.
- The kayak is stable.
- The seats do not provide much back support.
- It is easy to set up and break down.
The manufacturer – Intex
The company that makes the Mariner inflatable raft is Intex. It was founded in 1997, and is based out of California. During the years, it has grown to sell its products in over 100 countries.
Intex manufactures many types of inflatable products, from air beds to pools to toys to boats.
It’s good to know that they do provide support for their products, unlike far-eastern “brands”. You can buy replacements part directly on their site. So remember, if you ever lose the Boston valve cover, you can order replacements from Intex directly.
The Explorer K2 has a 90 day limited warranty, which is not much. This is a testament to the quality of this kayak.
Here are a few official resources you might need.
Opinion of the Explorer K2 kayak
The Explorer K2 is the best-selling inflatable kayak on Amazon because it is the cheapest kayak with a brand name behind it.
Intex is not known for making high-quality products, but their pricing reflects this strategy.
If you want a recreational inflatable kayak for relaxing on a calm lake, this kayak is a good choice. It will make camping with the family and water activities affordable and enjoyable.
There are situations where this kayak will suffice, but let’s be honest. The Explorer K2 is more of a toy than a reliable kayak.
If you want to go on real kayaking trips, I would not recommend the Explorer K2. For this purpose, you’ll find much better kayaks on this page.