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Intex Explorer K2 vs Dakota K2 (2022): Which Inflatable Kayak Should You Buy?

Inflatable kayaks are convenient. They are extremely portable, easy to store and painless to set up. If you are looking into getting into kayaking, you should definitely consider getting one since there are many affordable options out there. Intex is one of the most popular brands for any inflatable gear or equipment. In this post, we’ll be comparing two of their most highly rated 2-person inflatable kayaks—the Explorer K2 and the Dakota K2. Are there any differences between the two? And which one should you buy? To start, here’s a comparison chart that highlights their similarities and differences.

Intex Explorer K2 vs Dakota K2 Comparison Chart

ModelIntex Explorer K2 Intex Dakota K2
 Amazon productAmazon product
PriceAmazon productAmazon product
Dimensions10’3″ x 3′ x 1’8″ 10’3″ x 3′ x 1’8″
Weight30.6lbs30.6lbs
MaterialVinyl Vinyl
Capacity2 persons2 persons
Weight Limit400lbs400lbs
Air Chambers33
SkegsLongShort
Long
Paddles2x 86″ aluminum paddles 2x 86″ aluminum paddles
PumpHi-output pumpDouble quick hand pump
BagsCarry bag2x Dry bags
1x Carry bag

Design and Build Quality

The Intex Explorer K2 and Dakota K2 are basically the same inflatable kayaks, but with different color schemes.

intex explorer k2 vs dakota k2 design and build quality
From a top-down view, the only difference between the Intex Explorer K2 (top) and Dakota K2 (bottom) is their color tone.

When you look at the image above, you’ll notice that the Intex Explorer K2 and Dakota K2 are almost identical, apart from their color scheme. They both have two removable and adjustable seats, grab lines and grab handles on both ends, and they have a similar canoe-like design.

The two inflatable kayaks have the same physical dimensions, weight and capacity. They both measure 10’3″ x 3′ x 1’8″ and they weigh 30.6lbs. The two kayaks are designed for two-person use and they have a weight limit of 400lbs. The cockpit is wide enough for two adults to ride comfortably, however, a bigger person might have difficulty fitting inside, even if used as a single kayak.

When it comes to build quality, both the Intex Explorer K2 and Dakota K2 are made of vinyl. These are advertised to be puncture-resistant, but these can still be punctured. However, to make up for that, the two kayaks have three air chambers—two side chambers and a l-beam flooring. Having three chambers means that you can still use these even when they get punctured, so you can make your way to shore.

Setup

Equipped with Boston valves, the Intex Explorer K2 and Dakota K2 are easy to inflate and deflate.

intex explorer k2 vs dakota k2 setup
The Intex Explorer K2 and Dakota K2 come with different pumps, but setting them up requires the same process.

Inflating these kayaks is a simple process. The Intex Explorer K2 comes with a hi-output pump, while the Dakota K2 comes with a double quick hand pump. Even though they have different types of pumps, essentially, these pumps perform the same function.

As mentioned earlier, these kayaks have three chambers. The two side chambers are equipped with Boston valves, while the l-beam flooring sports a basic valve. Having Boston valves on the side chambers is great since this hastens inflation and deflation. It would have been better if the l-beam flooring came with the same Boston valve, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. Overall, these two are easy to inflate and deflate, and they don’t take too much time.

Performance

The Intex Explorer K2 and Dakota K2 are more suited for calm waters.

intex explorer k2 vs dakota k2 performance
Both the Intex Explorer K2 (left) and Dakota K2 (right) have a 400lb. weight capacity.

Since the Intex Explorer K2 and Dakota K2 are essentially the same, their performance is similar. They aren’t the best, but they also aren’t the worst. In short, they perform just as well as you’d expect them to.

Both kayaks are easy to control when used on calm waters. They turn easily without resistance, but they don’t go too fast. Their canoe-like design is likely the culprit for their average speed. The long skeg helps in tracking, but the included short skeg with the Dakota K2 is better.

On rapid waters, these kayaks are not ideal. They will wobble a lot and sometimes, they may even turn by themselves. Since these are lightweight and their hulls are not shaped for cutting through water, they will not perform as well as hard kayaks or other more expensive inflatable kayaks.

These kayaks are best suited for beginners that mostly kayak on calm waters.

Accessories

Both the Intex Explorer K2 and Dakota K2 include everything you need, but the latter has some extra accessories.

intex explorer k2 vs dakota k2 accessories
The Intex Explorer K2 (left) comes with one less skeg than the Dakota K2 (right).

As far as accessories go, the Intex Explorer K2 and Dakota K2 come with everything you need to start kayaking. The Intex Explorer K2 comes with two 86-inch aluminum paddles, a hi-output manual pump, a carry bag, two removable seats with backrest, a long skeg and a repair patch. The Intex Dakota K2 comes with the same set of accessories, but it also comes with an additional short skeg and two extra dry bags.

Verdict

Since the Intex Explorer K2 and Dakota K2 are essentially the same, you should get the cheaper one.

Amazon product

If you are looking to get an affordable inflatable kayak for use on calm waters, the Intex Explorer K2 and Dakota K2 are great. The two are basically the same boat, so their performance is similar. You should pick whichever one is cheaper at the time of purchase.

FAQs

📌 Can one person use the Intex Explorer K2 kayak?

While it is designed for two persons, the Intex Explorer K2 can still be used solo.

📌 Are inflatable kayaks worth it?

Yes, they are worth it if your primary concern is portability. They will never match a hard kayak when it comes to performance, but there are a lot of inflatable models that do their jobs very well.

📌 What’s the max weight that the Intex Explorer K2 can handle?

The Intex Explorer K2 has a max weight limit of 400lbs.

📌 How long will the Intex Dakota K2 last?

It can last between 5-10 years, depending on how much you use it.

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.