Intex Excursion 5 Review

Dinghy Overview

Intex Excursion 5 Inflatable Raft

The Excursion 5 from Intex is probably one of the largest and most comfortable inflatable boats you can buy. This is actually their bestselling boat of all time, considered by many to be one of the best fishing inflatables out there. It’s no wonder it’s a best seller, it’s very big (especially for an inflatable) and highly affordable.

This is a great choice for larger families looking to get something portable to the lake. While it’s meant for recreational use in calm waters, it’s possible to push the limits and take it to some rapids.

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The Intex Excursion 5 measures 12.5 feet in length and 5.5 feet wide, it has an astonishing carrying capacity of 1,000 pounds. It will comfortable fit up to 3 adults and 2 kids, or 4 adults, with room for gear and other necessities. It’s possible to fit 5 adults on the raft but you’ll be pushing the limits and there will not be any room for extra gear.

As with all Intex products, they meet the strictest safety standards. Each inflatable is monitored closely during production to ensure that the highest quality of materials is used. The hull is made out of 30 gauge vinyl, which is very strong and will prevent most punctures. Even though the boat is made from high quality materials, it is still affected by changes in temperature, that’s just how vinyl works. It’s important to keep this in mind when planning your day, inflation in the morning might require some additional extra pumps later on in the day.

There are three separate air chambers. Takes a little longer to fill but it actually serves a function, if the boat were to get a puncture, only one air chamber will be deflated. Leaving you with enough time to paddle back to safety.

The Intex Excursion 5 is equipped with four fishing rod holders, 2 inflatable seats with backrests, two aluminum oars, oar locks, a motor mount and a 360-degree grab line if anyone were to fall overboard. The motor mount will take up to a 1.5 HP motor, anything beyond that will be too heavy for the soft hull.

This is first and foremost a fishing boat; it’s built with fishing in mind. The big size of the boat allows you to bring loads of gear with you. But you don’t have to use it just for fishing, it works just as good for recreation. The huge size makes this a perfect choice for a group of friends looking to spend a day out on the lake, relaxing and just living the good life. It’s called Excursion for a reason, it’s not meant for long distance trips, but rather shorter trips with leisure in mind.

Features

  • Four fishing rod holders
  • Two oar locks and holders
  • Motor mount for trolling motor
  • 360-degree grab line
  • Super-tough vinyl for durability
  • Comes with oars, double action hand pump and carry bag

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 144 inches in length, 66 inches in width and 17 inches in height
  • Weight: 57.6 pounds
  • Carrying capacity: 1,000 pounds
  • Material: Super-tough Vinyl

Our review

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Very large, that’s all we have to say.

Included oars are way too short and fragile

We want to begin this review by saying that this is not something you would want to take into the open ocean or on any longer journeys. Reason one, rowing with the included oars and the oar locks is awkward and very straining. The included oars are just too short to make rowing comfortable. The oar locks are also locked in place, which makes the range of motion even shorter. Rowing this was more like a workout than a leisurely activity, it felt like I had my hands straight up in the air, which was extremely exhausting. Several owners have reported that their oars have broken upon their first use, something you don’t want to happen when you’re out in the open. If you want to row this boat, buy a set of longer and higher quality oars.

Waves and the Excursion 5 don’t mix

Reason two, the body is too soft. While it works wonders on calm water, trying to get this into a wavy ocean will end in disaster. Because the body of the dingy is soft, you will feel each wave going underneath you. Not only is uncomfortable, it makes rowing real hard, you won’t be getting anywhere with the Excursion 5 on a windy day (unless you use a motor).

Ideal for a warm summer day with friends and family

With that out of the way, it’s a fantastic boat if you plan on using it on calm lakes and rivers. The large size makes it easy to carry along all kinds of gear, coolers, water, food, camping gear, dogs, anything you can think of really. We took it out to a calm river with a minor current on a sunny afternoon in July. While rowing was hard and cumbersome (unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to install a trolling motor), the boat was really comfortable. Both me and my wife could lay down on the floor without touching either end. Enjoying a good summer day with your friends is what this boat is all about (and of course fishing).

Get yourself an electrical pump to save time

When inflating the Excursion 5 we recommend using an electrical pump, this speeds everything up and will take just a couple of minutes. Electrical pumps usually do not inflate all the way, so using a dual action hand pump to get the last air in is recommended.

Deflating takes a lot of time, hard to fit back into bag

Deflating takes time since the floor doesn’t have a quick release. We spent about 15 minutes deflating everything all together. Even when completely deflated, it was hard to fit it back in the bag. This is pretty common with all inflatables and the only way to fix it is to buy a bigger bag or learn how to fold it (buying a new bag is easier and faster).

Sensitive seams that could rip easily

The next issue is not something we have personally encountered, but a few of the people we’ve talked with have told us that the seams are a bit sensitive and could rip rather easily. An owner told us he had taken his raft into the ocean and supposedly the waves had made one of the seams rip apart. And he’s not the only one with a story like this; other owners of the Excursion have written that mysterious leaks by the seams have somehow appeared, even with proper care and maintenance of the craft. Whether they were faulty from the beginning or if the leaks appeared from heavy usage we’ll never know. We take it as a sign as to not overuse this boat and push it too far.

The heavy duty vinyl is said to be very abrasion and puncture resistant, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that if I were to go over a sharp rock it would immediately puncture the hull. Remember that most heavy duty boats are made out of PVC, there’s a reason why only cheaper boats are made from vinyl.

Plenty of ways to upgrade it to your dream boat

The Excursion 5 is a popular choice for people wanting to modify their boat with a little bit of DIY skills. There are endless of videos of owners doing all kinds of custom modifications, swivel chairs and hard wood floors being among the favorites. If you’re a handy man yourself and feel the burning desire to take your inflatable to the next level, we can recommend these videos:

  1. Custom Intex Excursion 5
  2. Intex Excursion 5 modifications
  3. Intex Excursion 5 Boat Mod Final

Pros

  • Very large and spacious
  • Comfortable floor and seats
  • Easy to modify to your own needs
  • Has the option to mount a motor
  • Tremendous value for the price

Cons

  • Included oars are weak and too short
  • A few people report problems about leaky seams
  • Difficult to fold back into the bag
  • Floor take some time to deflate because there’s no quick release

Conclusion:

If you like taking it slow with a couple of friends, enjoying the summer breeze and just taking in the views your local lake or river has to offer, the Excursion is definitely worthy of your attention. Just imagine floating down a calm river with your three best friends, all with a drink in their hands.

Fishing enthusiasts will enjoy the Excursion 5 as well, the large size, carrying capacity and the four rod holders make this a great addition your fishing boats. When you grow tired of the inflatable floor, you can install yourself a hardwood floor with swivel seats and lots of other cool accessories, how many inflatables offer you that? If you’re handy enough you could turn this into the ultimate fishing boat.

All in all, it’s a highly affordable and valuable inflatable boat. Probably you’re paying less than $200 for a 4 person boat, just think about that. It has its kinks here and there, but for the amount of money you pay, you can’t really complain.

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