Intex Challenger K1 Kayak Review – An Affordable Inflatable

If you are in the market for an affordable inflatable kayak, our Intex Challenger K1 Kayak review is on point. This review will dive into this popular inflatable kayak, exploring the features and benefits that make it unique.

Kayaking is a popular outdoor activity that many people enjoy.  One of the great things about kayaking is the ability to explore places you might not be able to enjoy otherwise.  Kayaks allow you to access hidden coves or waterways that you can’t always get to on foot or with a larger boat.

One great aspect of kayaking is that you can get started without spending a ton of money on equipment.  Of course, just like many other sports and outdoor activities, you can spend a lot of money if you want to.

One of the notable features of the Intex Challenger K1 kayak is how affordable it is.  The kayak comes with everything you need to enjoy your day on the water.

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak Summary

Number of Paddlers:1
Weight Capacity:220 Pounds
Kayak Weight:27.2 Pounds
Length:9 feet long
Width:30 inches
Material:Vinyl construction
What’s in the box?Paddle, air pump, carry bag, removable skeg

Inflatable kayaks have come a long way over the years. The K1 kayak is not some pool toy like you might think.  Intex produces a lot of inflatable products, so they are well versed in this area.

The Challenger K1 kayak is made from heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl, with two separate air chambers.  An I-beam is added to the floor for added stability. The kayak is easy to inflate and can go with you just about anywhere.

Included are a paddle, hi-output pump, a removable skeg for better tracking, and a carry bag.  You have everything you need to enjoy a day on the water. This is an excellent entry-level kayak for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money on kayak equipment.

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak features

Easy to inflate and deflate

One of the best features of this lightweight and portable kayak is how easy it is to inflate and deflate.  It comes with a hi-output hand pump, coupled with Boston valves, which will have your kayak fully inflated and ready to launch in a matter of minutes. You can spend less time pumping and more time paddling.

The Boston valve is excellent because air goes in one way when you are pumping. You don’t have to frantically screw the cover back on when you are finished pumping.

In addition to easy setup, the Challenger kayak has an inflatable, adjustable seat that provides the paddler with some back support.  Some folks complain that the seat is too high if you inflate the bottom and prefer to only inflate the backrest and not the bottom.

This kayak gives you a comfortable and stable ride at a low price point.

Comes with a paddle and a pump

The Challenger K1 kayak comes fully equipped so you can hit the water in just a few minutes. This is one of the major selling points of this inflatable kayak. It is equipped with everything you need to start paddling. 

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak - Blue, green and black tonesPin

The K1 kayak comes with an 81-inch aluminum paddle that breaks down into four pieces.  The paddle has flexible plastic blades.  Not the most efficient paddle, but it will get the job done. The paddle is very durable and works well with this kayak.

You won’t need to buy a bunch of extra equipment since the K1 comes with everything to start paddling.  If you don’t own a life jacket, you will need to buy one. Read more about life jacket recommendations.

Great price point

The entry-level price makes the K1 an attractive option for many people. The Challenger K1 kayak is excellent if you are a beginner or need a kayak that is easy to take with you.

The Intex K1 fits easily in the trunk of a car, and it’s great to take with you in an RV.  At this low price point, you don’t have to worry about lugging a heavy, awkward hardshell kayak when you are traveling. When you are on the move, just grab the carry bag, and you are on your way.

Other features

The Intex Challenger K1 is a very nimble, durable kayak that includes some other great features.  The kayak has tough grab lines on both ends, a removable skeg that helps with tracking, a front cargo net for storage, a closed deck, and a removable seat. 

All of this is what makes the Intex Challenger K1 an excellent value for people who want to spend a leisurely day on the water with friends.  Oh, and the carry bag lets you keep everything together, paddle included, in one convenient space.

The bright colors of the K1 make it sporty and easy to spot on the water, helping to keep the user safe.

Who is the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak for?

The Intex Challenger is ideal for people who enjoy casual kayaking on calm water like lakes and slow moving rivers.  If you occasionally enjoy a calm lake on a warm summer day, the K1 is an excellent option.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy a day kayaking your favorite (calm) waterways. The Intex Challenger K1 is an affordable way to paddle.  If you are looking for an affordable all-in-one kayak pack, this is right up your alley.

If you own an RV and want a compact, affordable inflatable kayak that you can easily pack with you, the Challenger is a great way to go. Or, if you are road tripping, you can easily stow this kayak in your trunk or backseat of a car.

Who is the Challenger K1 Kayak not designed for?

If you spend a lot of time on the water, you may want to look at different models.  Many avid kayakers may want higher-end features that you don’t get with the Intex Challenger K1.

If you are overnight camping, or speed is your game, then the Challenger K1 is not for you.  The K1 is not designed for speed or carry a lot of gear, and there are better options to choose from.

The Challenger kayak is also not meant for long-distance kayaking. If you are planning days long kayaking trips, you will want to invest in a different kayak.

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak – Other things to consider

Storing the Challenger K1 is simple.  One of the top benefits of owning an inflatable kayak is how easy it is to store. 

Once the kayak is deflated, you can put the kayak, paddle, pump, and the removable skeg in the carry bag.  You can store the carry bag in a closet inside your house or in a garage.  This also helps keep your kayak safe from thieves.


The Intex Challenger K1 has a cargo net on the front of the kayak, so you can store some items.  There isn’t much room, nor can the kayak support a lot of weight, so if storage is a necessity, you might want to look elsewhere. 


Inflatable kayaks are easy to transport, making them very popular. You don’t need to buy an expensive rack for your car, truck, or SUV.  Inflatables will fit in the trunk or backseat of most vehicles. 


Essential maintenance includes drying the kayak entirely before putting it back in the bag and storing it for long periods. It’s easiest to dry the kayak while it’s inflated. You may need to deflate after you are finished paddling and re-inflate when you get home so it can dry before you store it away.

Also, check for leaks while the kayak is inflated. Repairs are pretty simple.

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak price

The Challenger kayak is extremely well-priced.  You get a durable, easy to inflate kayak that can last a very long time.  Compared to other entry-level inflatable kayaks on the market, it’s hard to beat the K1 from a price and value perspective.

The included pump, skeg, paddle, and carry bag give you everything you need to be on the water quickly.


Easy to inflate and deflate
Comes with all the equipment you need to get started
Low maintenance
Comfortable ride
Sturdy and durable
Tracks pretty well with the removable skeg
Excellent value for the price


Doesn’t have much storage space
It can be tough to paddle in high winds
Some people complain the seat sits too high (can be fixed by not inflating the bottom)


Is the K1 good for fishing?

You can definitely go fishing with the Intex Challenger K1. Many people do. If you are an avid fisherman, you will want a fishing kayak. If you are just out on a lake and want to drop a line, no problem.

There isn’t a lot of space to store fishing gear, so keep that in mind.  If you are a casual fisherperson, then, by all means, you can take the K1 fishing.  Be careful, these kayaks are tougher than you might think, but a large fishing hook might leave you in a pickle.

Are inflatable kayaks safe?

You can read more about inflatable kayak safety.  If appropriately used, inflatable kayaks are safe. You need to make sure you have a repair kit and pump with you if you do spring a leak.  If you stay away from jagged rocks and other obstacles, you should be fine.

Is the K1 kayak good for rough water?

The Intex Challenger K1 kayak is designed for calm water like lakes, reservoirs, slow moving rivers, etc.  Some users have said the kayak works on small rapids, but it’s not designed for that type of use. If you are into whitewater, you will need to look for an inflatable kayak designed explicitly for that.

Is the Intex Challenger good for camping?

If you are talking about kayak camping specifically, the answer here really depends on several factors, like how far you plan on traveling and how much gear you plan to take with you. If you take the seat out of the kayak, you can pack more gear. 

Keep in mind, the kayak is designed with a 220 weight limit. This is not the best option for kayak camping. 

If you plan to take the Challenger kayak on a camping trip, where you will be driving to the campsite and using the kayak on a lake, then that’s no problem.  The K1 is ideal for camping trips because it’s compact, lightweight, and durable and inflates it quickly.

Can I take my dog on the Intex Challenger kayak?

Okay, so here’s the rub. You can take your dog on the Intex Challenger K1. People do it all the time. You have to be careful and understand there is a risk with doing this.  Yes, the vinyl construction is very durable, but a dog’s nails could potentially puncture the kayak.

Also, keep in mind the 220-pound weight limit.  If you have a small dog, you might be okay. It might be best to leave a bigger dog at home.

Other Advice

  • Take some pictures as you unfold the kayak for the first time. This will help you fold it correctly when you put it back in the bag.
  • Make sure you completely dry the kayak before storing it long term. Use a towel and let it air dry if necessary.
  • Read the instructions on how to repair a vinyl kayak.  This is valuable information to have BEFORE you need to actually repair the kayak.
  • Inflate the kayak before you use it the first time.  This can save time and help you become familiar with setting the kayak up before your first outing.

Final verdict

The Intex Challenger K1 kayak is an outstanding value.  The kayak is well constructed, durable, lightweight, and easy to inflate.  If you are in the market for an affordable inflatable kayak, you will be hard-pressed to find an alternative in this price range that offers so much.

The kayak comes with everything you need to hit the water, including a collapsible paddle, hi-output hand pump, carry bag, and removable skeg.

If you would like more information or other inflatable kayak recommendations, check out my article here.

If you are interested in the larger, two person version, check out the Intex Challenger K2 review here.

Happy paddling!

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About the author
Steve Morrow
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.