Intex Challenger vs Seahawk

Intex Challenger vs Seahawk: The Ultimate Comparison

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I consider inflatable boats the perfect companion for camping adventures, fishing trips, and other fun-packed aquatic activities. After extensively testing dozens of inflatables, I can tell you one thing for sure: Intex is one of the leading brands that make inflatable rafts.

I’ve saved you the hassle and put together two of Intex’s most popular inflatable boats side-by-side: Intex Challenger vs. Seahawk.

In this article, I’ll cover their key features, how they compare together, and which one is better overall. Let’s dive in and discover the perfect boat for you!

Intex Challenger vs Seahawk Overview

The Intex Seahawk is significantly more durable than the Challenger. It also handles rough waters better, offers a four-person variant, and has an additional 20-25% weight capacity. If you’re on a tight budget, the Challenger will satisfy the casual boater. Otherwise, the Seahawk is the far better option.

Image Product Details   Price
Challenger 3 Intex Challenger 3 Budget Pick, for Casual Boaters Check Price
Seahawk 3 Intex Seahawk 3 Best Overall, Better for Rough Waters Check Price

Key Features Compared

At first glance, the Intex Challenger and Seahawk may appear similar. They both have PVC vinyl constructions, three air chambers, two Boston valves for quick inflation/deflation, and even the same design elements.

So, what’s different? Well, upon closer inspection, I noticed that each boat behaves differently in water. I took them both for a spin and outlined the main differences in construction, handling, and performance.

Construction and Durability

On paper, both boats are made from PVC vinyl that’s puncture-resistant. This high-gauge PVC vinyl can withstand UV damage, sharp obstacles hitting the boat, and harsh chemicals in the water.

When I inflated the Challenger for the first time, I noticed a small bulge growing on its side. The bulge didn’t grow in size after successive uses. However, I was concerned that if it gets any larger, it might affect how it tracks in the water.

This is a problem I didn’t run into with the Seahawk. It inflated nicely without any bulges, even with repeated inflation and deflation.

Both boats have 48-inch aluminum oars. Although both paddles are made from the same material, I found that the oars on the challenger were a little bit flimsy.

Overall, both boats feel the same, construction-wise, but I couldn’t help but notice the Seahawk was built a little better.

Handling and Performance

When it comes to handling, both boats behave differently. The Seahawk rides lower than the Challenger, which is advantageous for several reasons.

First, the boat doesn’t react to the wind as much as the Challenger. This made it suitable for more challenging trips along the river or deeper into the sea. The boat felt stable while paddling and I could get in and out of the boat with ease.

The Challenger wasn’t as stable as the Seahawk, especially in rough waters. The boat felt a little wobbly with two adults on it. There were a few instances when we felt the boat was about to flip over.

I looked into it, and it seems the Challenger feels less stable because the underside isn’t as flat as the Seahawk. It’s a subtle difference, barely noticeable at all. However, it’s enough to make the Seahawk noticeably more stable in rough waters.

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Comfort

Both boats offer almost the same features. They come with a repair patch kit in the event of punctures, which is fairly likely. The 20-gauge PVC won’t stand a chance in the face of a strong impact or abrasions.  

There’s also a grab line and a grab handle, a separate I-Beam floor with its own valve, and an Intex high-performance air pump that makes inflation and deflation much easier.

The Seahawk barely edges out the Challenger with an extra gear pouch on the side and rod holders for fishing trips. Storage becomes an issue on inflatable boats and the inclusion of a pouch can come in handy. The rod holders can’t be used for anything but, well, fishing rods. So, if you’re not a fishing enthusiast, you won’t really feel a difference.

Variants, Size, and Weight Capacity

There are a few variants across the Challenger and the Seahawk. The Challenger has two variants, while the Seahawk has three.

Challenger 2

Intex Challenger 2, 2-Person Inflatable Boat Set with French Oars and High Output Air-Pump (Latest Model)

  • Seats two adults
  • Length: 7 ft 9 in
  • Width: 3 ft 9 in
  • Height:1 ft 4 in
  • Maximum weight capacity: 440 lbs

Challenger 3

Intex 68370EP Challenger 3 Inflatable Raft Boat Set with Pump and Oars, Blue

  • Seats three adults
  • Length: 9 ft 8 in
  • Width: 4 ft 6 in
  • Height: 1 ft 5 in
  • Maximum weight capacity: 660 lbs

Seahawk 2

Intex Seahawk 2, 2-Person Inflatable Boat Set with French Oars and High Output -Air -Pump (Latest Model)

  • Seats two adults
  • Length: 7 ft 9 in
  • Width: 3 ft 9 in
  • Height: 1 ft 4 in
  • Maximum weight capacity: 520 lbs

Seahawk 3

Intex Seahawk 3, 3-Person Inflatable Boat Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air -Pump (Latest Model)

  • Seats three adults
  • Length: 9 ft 8 in
  • Width: 4 ft 6 in
  • Height: 1 ft 5 in
  • Maximum weight capacity: 790 lbs

Seahawk 4

Intex Seahawk 4, 4-Person Inflatable Boat Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air -Pump (Latest Model)

  • Seats four adults
  • Length: 11 ft 6 in
  • Width: 4 ft 9 in
  • Height: 1 ft 7 in
  • Maximum weight capacity: 1050 lbs

My review units were the Challenger 2 and the Seahawk 2. Both boats have the same measurements, but the Seahawk can endure more weight.

You’ll notice this across all models. The Seahawk has a higher weight capacity than the competition. This could explain why I noticed better durability on the Seahawk.

Price

Both inflatables are extremely affordable. They’re probably the best bang for the buck you can get out of inflatable boats.

The Seahawk is slightly more expensive than the Challenger across all variants. However, I noticed that some shops sell them at the same price. I even found a few stores that price the Challenger higher than the Seahawk.

Make no mistake, the Seahawk is considered the more premium model. Make sure you check out different stores to get the best deal.

Conclusion

Both boats are made of the same material and offer similar features. However, the Seahawk edges out the competition with better durability and slightly better handling.

Since the price difference is marginal, I recommend you go with the Seahawk. This doesn’t mean that the Challenger isn’t a lake-worthy boat, but the Seahawk will most likely outlive the Challenger by a couple of summers.