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Reviews for Carolina 13.5 Kayak by Perception


Rated: 9.09/10 Based On: 11 Reviews

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09-06-2014
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have used my Carolina Airlite 13.5 for a variety of water from rivers to the Great Lakes and love the way it handles. I find that the 13.5 length to be very versatile and the weight makes it easy to move on and off my car and to the water by myself.
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07-27-2011
Submitted by: JMM
Rating: 8 of 10

     I purchased a pair of 13.5 Carolina Poly kayaks a month ago. My wife is a perfect fit in her boat, but mine is a bit tight. I am 6' 3" and weigh around 250 pounds. It was necessary to remove my knee pads to be comfortable, but with the seat set all the way back, I'm OK. Getting out of the kayak is a bit fun for friends to watch. We haven't taken them into the ocean yet, but we have enjoyed spending afternoons among speeding boats in the intracoastal, with no tipping. We had an excellent encounter with a friendly sea turtle last week (much better than alligators) and hope to see more interesting wildlife. That was the closest I've come to tipping my kayak. Getting 2 of these boats in excellent condition for $700 total with oars, was too good to pass up. I just wish one was a bit larger. I would have to agree that these kayaks are best for smaller paddlers.
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04-28-2008
Submitted by: TacomaJaySend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I recently purchased a used version of the Carolina 13.5 in airalite. As a larger paddler (6'1" 185lbs)I was a little worried that size might be an issue... quite to the contrary, I found this boat to be comfortable, stable, and extremely maneuverable.

As the waters I frequent are often unpredictable and bitter cold, I needed a boat that could handle well in three and four foot swells and severe crosswinds. Perception's Carolina 13.5 fits the bill. Our first adventure together found us deep in the Puget Sound, caught in the middle of a spring storm a mile and a half from shore. With the rudder down she ran circles around the longer boats of my companions,(17ft) its light weight still allowing me to keep up. I actually had the opportunity to perform two assisted rescues on a current designs Squall who was forced to wet exit in the rough waters.

All in all I have found this boat to be a dream and would recommend the airalite version to any paddler, beginner or advanced. Limited storage and relatively short length compared to other touring and day touring models is the only thing that kept me from giving this boat a 10 but a careful packer could easily stretch a three day tour.

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05-08-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Just bought my '06 Carolina two weeks ago...and so far so good.It's a sweet little boat with good stability,not bad speed and great turning ability.My only complaint,mine tracks to the right.No matter with current or against,paddling or gliding,leaning left or right...it wants to slide off to the right.The line of keel looks to be very straight so I do not know why.That is my ONLY complaint.I really like just about every other aspect of this boat.I wish now I had bought the airalite but the poly is tough as nails.
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10-13-2005
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I tried several boats before seeing this online. I knew it was the one for me- despite NOT trying this one! My husband got the 14.5 and I got the 13.5 (poly) boats. I have LOVED our boats- from color, to weight, to tracking, storage space & seat comfort, to handling fast & smoothly in our calm lake in Upstate NY to being stable & responsive in rushing tide waters (and 1-2 foot swells) on Long Island coastlines. We look forward to years of enjoyment with these boats.
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09-21-2004
Submitted by: dbs
Rating: 10 of 10

     I tested many boats before purchasing the Carolina. I wanted a boat that was a bit more high performance keeping in my price range. It also had to accommodate my dog and handle large (sometimes rough) lakes. I love this boat! The seat lets you custom fit. The only drawback is the weight when you cartop. If you ever kayak with your dog, use a lifejacket. They get tired too.
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06-15-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     Purchased this rotomolded, plastic kayak online from REI. Tried it at the lake for the first time over the weekend. The cockpit is a nice fit. I feel like I'm a part of the boat. The seat is comfortable with the air pump. Tracks very well and the rudder works good too. I moved the knee braces all the way forward and feel it could use a bit more adjustment to more forward more, but overall it's a good fit. The hatches stayed dry. Also purchased the 303 Aerospace Protectant (Manuf. claims 100% UV protection), which is supposed to prevent color fading and plastic breakdown. I've toured mostly in fiberglass, double kayaks and this is my first solo kayak. Purchased it for the price and weight (51 lbs w/rudder). I'm a medium build female and am able to load the kayak on the roof of my truck by myself. Looking forward to trying it in the Sea of Cortez/Mexico surf with the nice upswept bow. This should be a fun kayak for me over the years.
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05-10-2004
Submitted by: KristiSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I LOVE this boat!! The Carolina 13.5 is extrememly stable for being so narrow and moves fast on any type of water. The tracking is great, the seat is very comfy, and there's lots of storage for overnight trips. I got a 2004 on sale at Galyans for $550.00 and feel like I got the deal of the century. If you want a stable, yet fast boat that can handle all types of water (except whitewater), i would go buy this boat. the only negative is that it is a bit hard to turn, but hey, you can't have everything.
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04-26-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Just bought a Carolina 13.5,and being used to a Swifty, It's no surprise that it seemed a bit difficult to turn. However, as longer boats go, I would have to say it's easier than others I've tried that were shorter. It's quite stable and can take quite an edge before it feels like it wants to go over. Weathercocking was a very minor problem and it was easy to compensate with only a slightly longer stroke on one side. The cockpit is roomy enough to carry lunch or snacks and with two hatches you can add the stove and campgear. Plenty of bungees for anything else. I give this one a 9 only because I opted out of the rudder and that's all it would need to be a perfect 10.
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07-17-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Tried out seven kayaks in a demo today. Of those under $800, the Carolina was second on my list (to a Monterey), and a very good second.

Biggest surprise: This narrow kayak is very stable. Manufacturers and dimensions would suggest that a 22 (or 23) inch wide kayak would require you to do balance beam on one toe to keep it upright. Not this one--it felt more stable than some of the 27-29" beam kayaks I tried. Speed was probably the best of the lot, and the seat gave firm support when more effort was exerted. People like giving their dimensions here--at 5'8", 158, I've run track, wrestled, trout-fished canyons, done modest weight-lifting, and still consider myself a bit out of shape. What a good seat does is make you forget the seat is there. Carolina's was one of these.

I give this nice kayak a 9 because I think something better is possible. The Perception Monterey (13.5) seemed to be just as fast, tracked as well, and yet turned better. Turning the Carolina was actually difficult, leaning, full sweeps--I'm sure somebody out there as an instant fix for this (levitation, maybe?). Plus, the Montery offers a skeg instead of a rudder, which seems (big "seems," like "I really can't prove it") more durable and less likely to get knocked off by its clumsy owner--or a curious volunteer.

After trying it, I can see why so many shops carry them. Excellent stability for such a criminally narrow boat! Hope to try out some Old Town's this year or next year and try out that "awesome" heavy hull design.

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04-08-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     Tried out over 25 other kayaks before I bought the Carolina 13.5, and this was by far the best boat for me.Highly recommended it...especially if you are small...I am 5'2" and about 115 pounds. I love to paddle the Neuse/Pamlico Sound estuary system, and this boat is perfect...small enough to get back up in the creeks and big enough to handle open water. Most comfortable seat and thigh braces.... handles and tracks great. At 49 pounds, I can even load and unload it myself!

I would personally give it a 10; but no kayak is perfect for everything or everyone so that's why I give it a 9.

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