As soon as the kayaks arrived we inflated them on the lawn, checking for any glitches, leaks or other problems that might arise with their first use. It was a simple process, and any concerns about quality of the the material used were laid to rest. The material was quite thick and seemed very sturdy.
We did discover one issue regarding getting the kayaks totally deflated and fitting them into the provided carrying bags. This was later resolved by using the larger K2 bag for the smaller Challenger and buying a larger duffel type bag for the K2, which we nicknamed the 'banana boat' for obvious reasons.
We were aware that there was a potential problem with the skegs, that ever-so-important fin on the bottom of the rear of the boat, on these two models, since, in our research, we saw a review on Amazon that mentioned this. Well, first time out, the Challenger lost its skeg. On these models they slide in, back to front, via a grooved piece on the bottom. So, if you drag the boat or scrape something in the water, they can slide out. Our solution to this was to drill a small hole in the skeg and secure it to one of the lines on the back of the boat. That way, if it does come off, at least it's not going to sink to the bottom of the deep blue sea.
(from Amazon.com, not posted by us) COMPLAINT: Intex ... has deplorable customer service. I tried to get a new skeg and after lots of run-around, I gave up.
I personally like the openness of the K2. It is meant for two and there is room for our small dog (although we didn't take her out on our maiden voyage, she has gone with us several times since). We put a yoga mat on the floor to prevent her from her nails from puncturing the rubber. I will admit that we were overly cautious about this. The rubber is very thick.
The problem with the K2 is that placement the seats is severely limited. I like back support and to achieve a comfortable level, the seat had to be placed far back. When there is only on person in the boat, this throws the maneuverability off, especially in a wind. Also, the seats are not well designed and are a bit on the cheap side. It did take two of us to carry the boat to the water, not so much because of the weight, but it is long and a bit awkward for one person to carry.
The Challenger is more comfortable, especially if you're not too tall. The seat is right up against the rear of the cockpit which adds support (it has the same seat as the K2). Even though the leg room is a bit cramped under the front, you can sit in an Indian style position to change up the positioning. In fact, we bought a second Challenger. The only style of Challenger, despite pictures to the contrary on Amazon, is the one in the photos on this blog: the green one. We ordered the blue/gray one and the green one came. Amazon apologized and sent what was supposed the be the correct style next day shipping and with a free return slip for the one we'd just received, but, nope, the one that came the second time was still the green one. We gave up and just kept the green.
Set up time for the inflatables is about 15 minutes on the front end and 20 on the back. It is a bit difficult, because of the placement of the nozzles for inflation, to get all of the air/water out. At the end of the season we had to inflate the boats at home and dry them out with a cloth and a few hours in the air out of the direct sun. It was easy to load and unload the boats in their bags once we switched out the bags.
Clary Lake is quiet. The several times we've been there we've only encountered a canoe and a pontoon boat. You can spot fish jumping out of the water, loons, ducks and an assortment of other birds. It was a great place for our first outing and we will continue to visit this lake.