There is something to be said for the particularity and passion with which boating aficionados regard their boats. We live in a “disposable society.” Mass production, mass marketing, and the resulting mass isolation have helped separate us from a feeling that things we buy are actually “unique.” Don’t like your TV or laptop? Simply go out and buy another of the same model, or one that’s similar but “better” (according to advertisements for them).
But those who truly love boats don’t just love any old boat, they are specially bonded with “their” boat. That’s one reason for the cliché “the captain goes down with their ship.” Boats aren’t merely vessels to take us where we want to go, but an extension of the self. Buying a boat, therefore, isn’t a huge decision in only a financial sense but a personal one as well.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the Intex Excursion 4 and see if it’s worth the financial and emotional investment on your part.
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
Intex Excursion 4 Features
Before getting into the specific feature list offered by the Intex Excursion 4, it’s worth taking a look at what makes a “good” inflatable boat. After all, while preference of different models is a matter of taste, there are certain things that are objectively important.
Inflatable vs. Rigid Structure
For example, you always want to make sure you’re looking for a boat that is sturdy and won’t pop and plop you down in the middle of the river. That sounds self-evident enough, but that naturally clashes somewhat with the idea of an inflatable boat such as those offered by Intex. On the one hand, these boats are made of inflatable materials, and are thus less dense, less hard, and are thus perceived as less durable than hard-shelled models.
However, perception is a long way from reality there. Sure, the hardest hard-shelled boats still boast stronger builds than their sturdiest inflatable counterparts, just on the basis of the materials used. That being said, the materials used have changed over time, with PVC plastics being common today. Where the inflatable boats of the past could sometimes feel like glorified water balloons that might pop at any moment, today’s top-line inflatables are far sturdier and can stand up to a fair amount of punishment.
Even if they do pop, the best inflatable boats still won’t immediately sink. They often feature multi-chambered designs so that, if one chamber pops, the boat can remain afloat. At the same time, they also often come with repair kits that allow you to fix them on the fly.
More Durable Than Ever
So what’s so great about inflatable boats as a concept anyway? Why choose them over hard-shelled options? For one thing, they are often more affordable, which is always a nice touch. They are also often much more portable and easy to carry from site to site. A boat that is lighter and can be deflated is going to be much easier to transport than a boat that is hard, heavy, and inflexible.
With all of that in mind, we can now zero in on the exact features offered by the Excursion 4:
- Measures 24.3 in. x 21.2 in. x 16.35 in., weighs in at 55.1 lbs
- Durable vinyl construction
- I-Beam for added durability and tracking ability
- Comfortable interior
- Grab line and handles
- Two fishing rod holders
- Gear pouch
- Inflatable seat cushions with comfortable backrests
- Oar holders
- Three-chamber design
- Motor mount fittings for attaching an engine
- Can comfortably fit four people with a weight capacity of roughly 880 lbs
You can check a good overview video by Rubberboats here:
That feature list is a good example of what you can expect from a solid inflatable boat, and this offering from Intex definitely fits into that category.
Plenty of Space
For one thing, it is big enough to fit four people comfortably, though you can probably squeeze an extra person or two in if they’re on the slimmer side. This makes this model great for families. If you want to introduce your kids to the wonder of fishing or going out for a boating adventure, but don’t want to pay for an expensive hard-shelled or larger boat, an inflatable one such as this option is perfect. It is affordable, easy to use, and has enough space for everyone.
Interior & Seats
In addition, the interior of this boat is nice and comfortable. You can love fishing all you want, but if you are forced to lean over in an uncomfortable position because there isn’t much room and the boat is too cramped, or the seats are so hard they leave you feeling sore, you aren’t in for a fun time. Thankfully, none of that’s the case here. This model from Intex does a good job of spacing the seats out so as to afford you plenty of space. The seats themselves are also nice and cushy.
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There is a downside to that, however, as is the case with so many inflatable boats, namely that of durability. We touched on this above, and this model from Intex does take steps to try and mitigate those durability issues. For example, it features an I-Beam to add a bit more rigidity and stability to its floor and underside, which has the added benefit of helping to improve its tracking relative to other inflatable boats. Even so, there’s no getting away from the fact this boat’s underside is still softer and more vulnerable than other models.
What’s more, this model may be more lightweight than some hard-shelled options, but at just over 55 lbs, it isn’t exactly the most lightweight boat on the water, either.
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Even so, there are plenty of other areas where this model scores points. It’s nice to have the option to mount a motor onboard, and the fittings make doing so a breeze. This model features a three-chambered design, which does help mitigate some of the durability concerns. The grabline and handles make it easier to carry to and from the water.
Finally, you get a bunch of nice smaller features that help flesh out this model and make it feel less bare bones. For example, it comes with a nice gear pouch, which can help with storage. It also offers a couple of fishing rod holders, which are always nice to have.
Pros and Cons
The upsides to this model are clear and numerous. The weight capacity is fantastic and, combined with the spaciousness of this model, make it one of the most convenient in which to fish. You can go fishing with a group of three or four other people and not have to worry about a lack of arm room as you cast your lines. The considerable weight capacity means you should be able to fit a small party of four or perhaps a couple more in there with ease. This spaciousness combined with the gear pouch means there is plenty of storage space. The durable I-Beam at the bottom of the boat adds some much-needed strength and rigidity, keeping the floor from being too squishy. It also helps the boat maneuver a bit better than some other inflatable options.
On the flip side, it is precisely the bottom of this boat that proves its Achilles heel. Some users have reported that it’s too weak for them, and have complained of holes. While these may be easily fixed, and things such as the I-Beam do help, it’s definitely something to watch out for. Some users have counteracted this by modifying the bottom by adding their own, stronger material. While this may satisfy DIY types, it isn’t the sort of thing you should have to do to stay afloat.
That said, for many individuals, this boat is more than durable enough, especially when used by its target audience – families. Sure, this may not be a boat suited to the rigors of white water rafting, but that was never its primary purpose. Instead, with its portability, affordability, comfort, and ease of use, this is a model ideally suited for family boating days.
Is Intex Excursion 4 Worth It?
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
If you are indeed looking for an inflatable boat for your family, this option is uniquely well-suited to fill that niche. While it doesn’t have the durability of some other models, as long as you steer clear of rougher waters and rocky areas, you should be in great shape. This model from Intex is incredibly comfortable, and its fantastic weight capacity and size mean a family boating party can fit on it with ease. Add in a few nice extra features such as the fishing rod holders and gear pouch, and you have a model that’s built for casual boating fun.
It may not be quite “one of a kind,” but this option from Intex is, far from “disposable,” one you and your family may be eager to keep for years to come.