It’s fair to say that inflatable boats are among the most popular types of watercraft on the market, especially for families. There are several reasons why this is the case, not the least of which being that inflatable boats are often far more affordable than an “actual” boat. When shopping for your family, you need something big enough that it can accommodate everyone while still being affordable, and inflatables suit that description far better than conventional vessels. Throw in the fact that they’re easier to maintain and store than conventional vessels, and their family friendliness becomes clear – but not all inflatables are like that.
Enter the Intex Explorer 200 inflatable boat. On the one hand, it has much the same design as you’ll find in many inflatable boats, but on the other hand, it is in no way as large as most of those inflatables. A typical high-end inflatable boat will often be on the larger side and be able to hold several people, hence why they’re so good for families. However, this model by Intex is designed differently.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the Explorer 200, how it differs from traditional inflatable boats for families, what it brings to the table, and whether it’s right for you.
Our rating: 4.4 / 5
Intex Explorer 200 Features
Before diving into the product features offered by this model from Intex, it’s worth thinking about which features are in demand for inflatable boats – and why.
One of the biggest reasons that inflatable boats are family favorites, apart from their size, is the fact that they’re so accessible. You don’t have to be a boating expert to operate an inflatable boat. That means that they are a lot more kid-friendly.
With that in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into some of the most important features offered by the Intex Explorer 200:
- The unit measures 73 in. x 37 in. x 16 in., weighs just over 7 lbs, and has a weight capacity of 210 lbs (works best with two rowers)
- Plastic exterior
- Welded oar locks
- US Coast Guard certified
- Two inflatable air chambers with air valves
- Repair patch included
- Grab rope located on bow
You can check a good overview video (by RUS) with rigid floor modification here:
One of the first things to note about those features is the size – or, rather, the lack thereof. This is a much smaller inflatable boat than many of the family options on the market. As mentioned above, inflatable boats tend to be larger so as to accommodate large parties. However, this model is not intended to be used by an entire family at once. Instead, the smaller size makes it ideal for children. The weight capacity is such that it can support an adult along with a child, which is what allows this model to still be considered a “family friendly” one.
Still, this is much more a “kiddie” boat than one meant for adults to use on their own. The small size means that it isn’t exactly suited for a bunch of fishing buddies casting a line on a lake together. That being said, a weight capacity of 210 lbs isn’t bad at all for a “kiddie boat.”
Maybe you’re the kind of person who feels for your “fur baby” the same way people do about their children. If so, fear not – this inflatable boat is pet-friendly for smaller dogs who like to enjoy time on the water with their owners.
View this post on Instagram
What is one nice thing about this boat being so light? It doesn’t leave you huffing and puffing as you try to heave and haul it to and from the water. At just over 7 lbs, this is about as light as you can expect a boat to be, making it extremely convenient to pack up. If you’re looking for a portable kids inflatable boat, this is it. Making the transportation of this model even easier is the inclusion of a grab rope.
You will want to be mindful of the fact that the actual floor and sitting area of the boat is smaller than the already-small dimensions given above. The plastic exterior is something that needs to be considered. On the one hand, there are probably more durable inflatable boats, especially among other ones. On the other hand, however, this model has still been cleared by the US Coast Guard, so that says something about its overall quality.
One nice touch this model has in its favor are the oar locks, which are welded into place. Let’s be honest – an inflatable boat designed mainly for children and parents probably could have functioned without this. You could have paddled along with your toddler without oar locks. These are the kinds of things that are more common in those aforementioned larger models. Still, their inclusion here is a nice touch. They make paddling a little easier, and if your child really takes to the water and loves their little inflatable boat, it can get them ready for an adult-sized one once they grow up a bit.
Another important aspect of this model is its two air chambers. Decades ago, one of the biggest fears associated with buying inflatable boats was that they might pop. This fear has abated somewhat now that these models typically use sturdier PVC plastic. Still, though the hull for this model has that Coast Guard reference mentioned above, it still isn’t on par with the strongest materials on the market. This makes the quality of the air chambers that much more important – if you do have a scratch or puncture, you don’t want that to sink your boat. Thankfully, the air chambers in this model prevent your boat from doing that, since if one is punctured, the other can help keep you afloat. Bigger models have more air chambers, but as with the oar locks, it’s nice that such a small kid-oriented model has multiple air chambers at all instead of settling for just one.
In terms of actually inflating those air chambers, it is worth noting that this model comes in a couple of varieties, one of which comes with an air pump. That said, this is a relatively basic model, so if you already have one you probably don’t need it – but, again, it’s nice they offer it at all.
If you do suffer a puncture, fear not – this model also comes with a repair kit. This is obviously not something that your average child will be able to use on their own, but an adult should be able to use it with ease to repair minor issues.
Pros and Cons
The bottom is firm yet cushy, offering a nice balance of stability and comfort.
On the other hand, this model is very simplistic. You aren’t going to be able to do anything that advanced in this boat. Of course, that isn’t its purpose.
The fact that this model is so lightweight and easy to carry with the grab rope is a nice plus.
Is Intex Explorer 200 Worth It?
Our rating: 4.4 / 5
One of the most important things to keep in mind when purchasing anything is the purpose for which you intend to use it. Maybe you love chic nightclubs and restaurants, and maybe you love roughing it in the woods – but you wouldn’t wear heels to hike in the woods. The same goes for buying the right inflatable boat. If your aim in purchasing inflatables is to take your whole family fishing, this model may disappoint.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for some one-on-one inflatable boat bonding time with a young son or daughter, the Intex Explorer 200 may be the perfect answer for you. Its small size combined with the 210-lb weight capacity makes it a good choice for those looking for a lightweight, compact, portable option for kids.
This is driven home all the more by this model’s affordability. You may be willing to spend a fair amount of money on haute couture, but you probably wouldn’t want to spend the same amount on children’s clothes. After all, kids grow out of clothes fast and (let’s face it) often dirty up or outright tear their clothes, and the same is true of inflatable boats for children. This model from Intex offers a rare blend of quality with affordability. It may not offer all the bells and whistles you’d expect of a more advanced model, but do you really need that for a child? What’s needed for an inflatable boat to be shared between a parent and child is affordability, comfortability, and safety and stability.
This model from Intex offers all that, plus a few extras, making it one of the best family-friendly inflatable boats for parents and young children.
If little kid-friendly options like this float your boat, this model from Intex will make a splash with you and your family.