As the old saying goes, two’s company, three’s a crowd – but not when rowing a boat. On the contrary, for those who love spending time on the water, the more the merrier. However, not every boat embraces that all-inclusive ethos. On the contrary, there are a ton of boats out there that can leave even two people feeling cramped, to say nothing of all the one-seater kayaks on the market. These fill niches of their own and can be fantastic boats, but where does that leave you if you’re looking for something a bit bigger?
The answer may be nestled in the inside of the Intex Challenger 3 Inflatable Boat. It presents itself as a boat that offers all of the benefits of an inflatable option while offering more room than many other options on the market. Does it live up to those big promises? Let’s take a look.
Features of Intex Challenger 3
Among the most notable features to keep in mind when evaluating the Intex Challenger 3 Inflatable Boat are:
There’s a lot to unpack there, literally and analysis-wise, and that’s a good thing. When considering a purchase this big, you want to make sure you’re getting everything you want, and this inflatable boat offers a good deal.
Dimensions & Capacity
For starters, we can see that its size and capacity are good signs for it being able to support multi-person crews as promised. At 11 ft 8 in. long and 54 in. wide, there is plenty of interior space for people, making good on that promised three-person capacity, allowing two people to ride in the comfort of cushioned seats while a third can stand or sit on the deck itself. The weight capacity of 560 lbs should be more than sufficient to allow three people to climb aboard, bring their gear, and be just fine weight-wise.
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Stability and Sturdiness
The inclusion of an I-Beam is also quite welcome, since it means a sturdier floor. If you plan on standing up and fishing, you don’t want to be left stumbling about on a floor with squishy unstable rubber with lots of give. This setup allows just enough give to keep the floor from being uncomfortable for those left sitting on it while being more than sturdy enough to stand on, and that I-Beam is the main reason for that fantastic balancing act.
The Boston valves promise to make inflating and deflating this inflatable boat a lot easier and faster.
The 48-inch oars are a nice touch, while the mount fittings also help expand this boat’s versatility. For as welcome as the inclusion as those oars is, there are still other water-going activities that may be better with a motor. After all, motors allow you to operate the boat in a hands-free manner, which in turn can make it easier to fish, eat, or do yoga while onboard.
The 20-gauge PVC material ensures this boat’s sturdiness. Inflatable boats have come a long way over the past couple of decades, and that progress is on display in sturdy PVC-hulled boats such as this.
What Do Users Say?
As noted, the biggest aspect of this boat’s identity is the balance between its inflatability and size, and on that point, users have found it essentially praiseworthy. While this boat is on the larger side, 17 lbs is incredibly lightweight, making this boat quite portable. That’s definitely a surprise given its size, and a welcome one at that. When booking a boating getaway that’s a long way from home, it’s always a challenge to figure out how you’re going to transport your gear there. The fact this boat is so lightweight makes that a lot easier, and all without sacrificing anything in the way of size, as this boat is plenty long and spacious for a three-person crew.
Here is an interesting video when one of the owners installed a custom sun conopy on the Challenger 3:
In addition, users have found this boat good for fishing. Given that that’s one of the primary reasons why people buy boats like these in the first place, that’s a great sign for the overall appeal of this boat. There are several reasons for this, from the sturdy I-Beam making the floor sturdier and easier to walk on to good storage space to the weight capacity.
They have also found inflating and deflating the boat easy due to the Boston valves. Users have also found the 20-gauge PVC material quite sturdy and able to stand up to routine boating abrasions.
As with any inflatable boat, there are a couple minor foibles to work around. While the inclusion of a hand pump is a nice touch, it isn’t as strong as other pumps. The same can be said for oars. That being said, this is less a glaring weakness and more a sign of potential for further growth in future models.
Pros and Cons
Our rating: 4.4 / 5
It can be hard to find a balance between size, comfort, accessibility, and durability, but this inflatable boat manages to pull it off. It offers a ton of good features and finds a way to bring them all together in such a way as to offer a fantastic boating experience.
If you are looking for a good inflatable boat that’s great for fishing, the Intex Challenger 3 Inflatable Boat might be your catch of the day.