For those who love the sea, there is something magical about the bond between boats and those who pilot them. All around you is a vast expanse of water, and all that’s keeping you from getting soaked or sinking and drowning is this singular vessel. The bond between a boat and its owners can be seen as a watery equivalent to that of a horse and its mount – keep your boat in good shape, and it’ll take you wherever you want to go.
Whether you share it with your family, fishing friends, or forge ahead yourself, an inflatable boat on the water is a symbol of freedom – as long as it’s up to the task.
That’s where the Intex Excursion 5 comes in. Intex is an established name in the inflatable boat industry, and this is yet another offering in a long line of inflatables designed to be family friendly and up to adventure. So how does this latest model stack up, and is it worthy of being the boat you trust to take you where you want to go?
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
Intex Excursion 5 Features
Before we get into the features offered by this model itself, it’s worth first reflecting on what makes a good inflatable boat in the first place.
The industry has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades. Once upon a time the biggest concern with inflatable boats was that they were vulnerable to popping. That’s obviously still a concern of which any buyer should be aware, especially when choosing between an inflatable or hard-shelled boat, but durable inflatable materials have come a long way in recent years.
The same can be said about the features offered by these boats. Where they used to be simpler, today’s leading inflatable boats regularly offer different features to help improve their performance on the water. Traditional boating logic states that hard-shelled boats track better on water thanks to their firmer frame. That’s still true overall, but with firmer bottoms thanks to those aforementioned sturdier materials and superior molding, inflatable boats have started to close the gap. You shouldn’t get an inflatable boat expecting a speedster, but you should expect better handling and a bit more speed than the inflatable boats on the market a decade or two ago could offer.
As you can see, that’s a long list, which is honestly one of the best aspects of this offering by Intex – it definitely doesn’t skimp on the features.
But what about the features themselves? What do they mean for someone looking to actually take this boat out on the water?
Well, it depends a great deal on what you’re intending to do with it. The size and capacity of the boat, for example, are ideally situated for families, who tend to be big users of inflatable boats.
Here you can check a good video overview by Jason Olbinski:
On the other hand, the PVC material from which it’s made has raised an eyebrow or two. It isn’t necessarily bad, but as we’ll detail below, it isn’t as high-grade as some other options on the market.
Pump and Oars
The high-output pump is good for someone who doesn’t already have one. If you do, however, there isn’t anything special about this pump by comparison. The same can be said about the oars. They aren’t bad by any means, but they aren’t world-beaters, either.
That’s a common theme with a lot of features offered by this model – good for families and first-timers, but not exactly the sort of thing that will wow regulars.
Still, there is something to be said for the convenience offered by this model in the form of its repair kit and carrying bag. Again, these are relatively standard features that you’ll find in most packages of this kind. That being said, most packages that offer as much as this model tend to be a lot pricier than this offering from Intex, which prices out at just around $250 – or just $50 per person if you fit a whole crew of five in there.
That, however, can be a bit complicated by the fact that the oars are on the shorter side. This isn’t too big of a problem, as they’re still perfectly functional, and if you have other oars you can slot them in easily. Of bigger concern is the fact that this model’s PVC plastic molding is a bit weaker than others. That doesn’t mean there’s a serious danger of this model popping, but you’ll definitely want to be extra careful in areas with jagged rocks or anything that might scratch the hull.
US Coast Guard Certification
Still, those concerns are alleviated in large part by the one-two punch of the US Coast Guard certification and the three chambers. The latter in particular provides some good insurance against sinking, as even if the weaker hull does get scratched or is punctured, the secondary inner chamber should still keep your boat afloat.
What’s more, these are all sacrifices that you’d have to expect for a boat in this price range – and make no mistake, this boat is incredibly affordable compared to the competition. If you want a family-sized boat that can hold four to five people comfortably but don’t want to pay a king-sized ransom for it, this model may be your best opportunity.
Fifty-seven pounds is reasonable for a boat that can hold five people, and the layout of the interior ensures that this model from Intex can do so comfortably. This model is indeed quite comfortable, with the seats and backrests both being soft yet firm enough to provide solid support for hours. Anyone who’s ever been on a boating trip for hours knows how important it is to have soft yet firm seats that won’t leave you feeling sore, and the Intex definitely delivers there.
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Finally, the price range is doubly impressive given the sheer number of features offered with this model. The rod holders and gear pouch are great for those looking to take it out for a fishing expedition. The grabline and handles make it that much easier to take to and from the water. The motor fittings are easy enough to use. The I-beam also adds some much-needed firmness to the floor, with the material here quite solid, providing further insurance against the boat sinking. All of this and more make this a great value inflatable boat.
You don’t see that kind of value often, and it’s this model’s affordability that arguably most helps set it apart from the pack.
Pros and Cons
As you can see, the pros definitely outnumber the cons. That being said, the fact that this model can have problems with drifting is a bit of a concern. As mentioned above, while this was a little more acceptable in past years, today’s inflatable boats tend to be a bit better in this regard. This boat isn’t hard to control or anything, you just need to be a bit more vigilant while paddling.
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
Part of the challenge of finding “family-friendly entertainment” in any form is affordability, and the Intex Excursion 5 has that down pat. Add to that the wealth of features it offers and the combination of its size, comfortability, layout, and weight capacity, and you’re looking at a solid bit of boating freedom that can be enjoyed by family and friends alike.