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Reviews for Carolina 12.0 Kayak by Perception


Rated: 9.06/10 Based On: 17 Reviews


Carolina 12.0 Kayak by Perception

Length: 12' 0" - Width: 26.00" - Starting at: $889.00
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07-20-2014
Submitted by: SimonSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Being new to kayaking, I did a lot of research -- read a lot of reviews on paddling.net, YouTube, etc. -- and went to several dealers and attended a number of in-the-water demo events that allowed me to try out a variety of kayaks. I was not interested in shooting rapids or ocean kayaking, just going out on lakes for some fitness and stress relief.

Early on, I realized that recreational kayaks were not for me. I needed something that handled better, tracked better, and in general, performed better. I needed a touring kayak. Among the boats I tried were Wilderness Systems Tsunamis in several lengths (which I liked), Pungos (which I didn't care for), Dagger Alchemy, Native Watercract Inuit 14 (which I thought I was going to buy, til they stopped making them) and Carolinas. I rented Carolina 14s quite a number of times to take out on lakes and liked them. The new ones, like the one I bought, are even better. I decided on the 12, partly for ease of transport in the back of my pickup and partly because it just felt better to me than a 14.

I've been extremely happy with my decision. The boat handles well, tracks well, is pretty quick, and is comfortable. I'm 5'9" and 165, and it's a good fit. I basically like everything about the boat and plan on using it a lot. Now if I could only find a PFD that's comfortable....

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07-29-2013
Submitted by: Dana MitchellSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I rate this yak a 10 for a short touring yak in its class... I have 2 of them and this boat is extremely versatile. It can take you exploring in the smallest streams, ponds and backwaters while still being maneuverable enough to turn around in tight areas. And is still fast enough to cover great distance with ease. I have also spent 4 days at a time ocean kayaking off the coast of Maine and with a spray skirt and rudder can handle pretty much anything the open ocean can throw at you, I have done 5 mile open ocean crossings with 30mph white caps and 8ft rollers and was more than impressed.

It is a fun kayak to take out into the ocean and play, without any fear of smashing it into ledge and dragging it up on the barnacles while your delicate carbon fiber baby rests safely at home. I would recommend this yak for the person that wants to kayak everywhere in every type of condition with one boat!

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07-26-2013
Submitted by: Indyyaker
Rating: 9 of 10

     The Carolina 12 is my first kayak. I researched kayaks for several months before buying the Carolina. I have paddled it many times this spring and summer on the reservoirs near my house and on Wildcat Creek. It is very stable. I've never tipped it or fallen out. To illustrate how stable this boat is, I foolishly went kayaking on Sunday afternoon at Morse Reservoir, and crossed the reservoir when it was packed with speed boats doing circles around me, leaving me to cope with 4 foot wakes that were bouncing off the dam and coming back at me (no joke, it felt I was in the middle of the perfect storm or a blender). I was so scared I thought I would surely tip. But the Carolina was steady as a rock. I can't think of a better test for this kayak.

The boat has good speed and tracking. The bow and stern hatches provide good storage and safety in case of a rescue. I'm a 46 year old woman and I can load this on top of my Ford Explorer without much problem.

The seat could be more comfortable. I use a kitchen seat cushion on top of the Zone seat. I wish it had a day hatch so I could store my stuff. I settle for using a plastic ziploc bag that I store behind the seat.

So, it is a great first boat for me. Highly recommend it. I would have given it a 10 except for the seat.

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09-12-2012
Submitted by: Fred PSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Excellent touring boat, quick, paddles well and tracks great. Not as stable as most rec boats. Only reason for a 9 was water in the hatches on most outings and the hatches are on the small side
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06-20-2012
Submitted by: PetraSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This is my first Kayak and I did quite a bit of research before settling on the Carolina. I was looking for a boat that would take me on rivers, streams, and lakes (Lake Michigan), so far its exceeded my expectations. I tried out several different kayaks (Wilderness Systems Tsunami, Pungo, Dagger Alchemy) and this one was the perfect width for me and was not too enclosed, but not too open either.

I like the dry storage in the front and back, and there is plenty of room behind my seat and in front of me to put items that I would like accessible. So far the choppiest water I've been on is by the Hoan bridge on the Milwaukee river and it handed very well, it was only me that felt a bit unsure due to lack of experience.

I am thrilled with this purchase and look forward to many days paddling with my Caroline. The only reason for not giving a 10 is because it is a bit heavy and I have some problems transporting it, but I am figuring it out. Keep that in mind if you are a small individual.

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07-26-2011
Submitted by: MarjaSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     We have the extra small version of the 12 ft, up to 120lbs. It is the perfect kids boat. Our very light weight 11 year old son out paddles me every time. The only thing missing is a hatch for some gear, the completely open design also means that when he goes over (has only ever happened on purpose) it holds a lot of water even when properly rescued. If we did any kind of rough water we would probably put the float bags in.
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07-19-2011
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This is a beautiful little kayak. I have a Pungo 120 which I like a lot for my kind of flatwater touring. The Caroline 12 is a little more narrow and cramped for my 6' 200 lb frame, but still quite comfortable with the multi-adjustable seat and so on. And man does it fly! It's quick off the mark, stable for its width, and a good tracker.
Great little boat.

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05-31-2011
Submitted by: GarySend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I'm a tall 6'1" and 190 lbs and am very comfortable in this yak. I've had this boat for for 2 years and think the world of it. I use it mostly on rivers, large creeks and lakes. It's not as stable as some other boats I've paddled but haven't tipped over either. It tracks straight, but turning is still pretty easy (if you're having a hard time it's your technique) It's light weight at only 50 lbs. I've paddled an Old Town Dirigo, Perception Prodigy, Wilderness System Tarpon and by far like the Carolina the best.

I did much research before buying this boat and I'm thrilled with my decision. My only disappointment is with accessing the dry hatches while on the water, not so easy, but this was fixed by adding a deck dry bag and have no other complaints.

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05-30-2011
Submitted by: David Hill - Rating: 10 of 10
This review courtesy of www.outdoorplay.com

     I purchased the Carolina 12 because I was looking for a boat that had storage for short trips, was short enough for easy transport, had a roomy cockpit and was reasonably fast. I paddled every 12' boat I could find (10-15 different models) and the Carolina 12 was the only boat that I felt achieved the compromises I wanted. Basically, every other boat that was faster than my Prodigy 10 had such a tiny cockpit that my enjoyment of my time on the water would have been limited. I like to be able to have free access to cooler and camera, wiggle around, and hop in and out to swim and explore. I'd actually like this cockpit to be a bit larger, but I can live with it in return for the greater speed and fore and aft bulkheads. I've paddled 8-10 miles each of the last four days in conditions varying from calm to 2' powerboat wakes to 15 mph wind, and must say it has met my expectations well. I like the adjustability of the seat, but I'm not sure I've found the right spot and actually think the fixed Prodigy seat might have been more comfortable, but I'm sure a pad or something will resolve this problem if I can't find the right adjustment. If you are looking for a rec boat that can easily handle short trips, then I think the Carolina 12 is the best choice!
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05-30-2011
Submitted by: Steve Good - Rating: 8 of 10
This review courtesy of www.outdoorplay.com

     I was looking for a boat that would be capable enough for coastal sea kayaking yet small enough for use on rivers and with enough dry storage for overnight camping. The Carolina 12 fit the bill perfectly. The boat was reworked for 2007, and now has front and rear hatches and more then adequate tie downs. The seat was also completely changed. The Carolina 12 now sports the “Zone multi adjust outfitting system.” This means, that you get a padded seat with an adjustable backrest. The backrest is adjustable from a ratchet system on the side. The boat handles very well. It is stable yet quick. I have taken this boat from Esker Point in Connecticut to Fisher’s Island, NY and crossed the nearly two miles of open sound with ease. It even handled the boat wakes well. I have also used it to kayak camp overnight in the Boston Harbor, NP. The storage compartments are large enough for a overnight if you travel light. I find the cockpit very comfortable. I chose this boat partly because of the open cockpit. The opening is not as large as on a recreational boat but big enough to give you room to move around. Overall I am very pleased with this boat and would recommend it to people of all abilities.
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04-12-2011
Submitted by: JamesSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I am an amateur paddler and recently upgraded from an Inflatable whitewater boat to the Perception Carolina 12. An inflatable boat is a great starter and general all around boat, but I was ready for something with a little better tracking and handling.

I have paddled the Perception Carolina 12 a handful of times so far and I have been very impressed. I have been on the river as well as the lake. I primarily enjoy flat river water paddling and this boat suits my needs well. I am a big guy (5'9" 275 lbs) and this boat is what I call "big guy friendly". It has superior tracking and stability. I will say that it is very hard to turn, but it is a touring boat that is made to go straight. My most recent paddle was up river in high water and moderate winds and I had no problem getting it to go.

I bought this boat used after some research and reading reviews and I will say that it has lived up to what other people have said. I paid about half of the $1000 retail price and found a boat that was in great condition. Both dry hatches have stayed completely dry and they offer a decent amount of storage. The seat is pretty comfortable and is plenty wide enough for me. The back rest adjusts up and down and forward to rear. The cockpit is large enough to allow and easy in/out and even allowed enough room for my dog. The foot pegs are adjustable from the seats reach with a quick adjustment bar.

If you are looking for a boat that tracks well and has good stability, I would definitely recommend the Perception Carolina 12.

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07-22-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This is a great Kayak. I was given this kayak when my niece out grew it. Although my kids were 2 and 4 at the time they loved it. This year at 3 and 5 they paddle it as well as any adult. It is quite sturdy! We also purchased the Arcadia Scout this year as a second kid kayak. Although good it is not nearly as sturdy as the Carolina. The only thing it has that is better is the weight. The Scout is lighter than the Carolina. You can't go wrong with the Carolina though. I would have bought two of them if I had it to do over again.
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05-30-2008
Submitted by: J GrahamSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased the Carolina 12 because I was looking for a boat that had storage for short trips, was short enough for easy transport, had a roomy cockpit and was reasonably fast. I paddled every 12' boat I could find (10-15 different models) and the Carolina 12 was the only boat that I felt achieved the compromises I wanted.

Basically, every other boat that was faster than my Prodigy 10 had such a tiny cockpit that my enjoyment of my time on the water would have been limited. I like to be able to have free access to cooler and camera, wiggle around, and hop in and out to swim and explore. I'd actually like this cockpit to be a bit larger, but I can live with it in return for the greater speed and fore and aft bulkheads. I've paddled 8-10 miles each of the last four days in conditions varying from calm to 2' powerboat wakes to 15 mph wind, and must say it has met my expectations well. I like the adjustability of the seat, but I'm not sure I've found the right spot and actually think the fixed Prodigy seat might have been more comfortable, but I'm sure a pad or something will resolve this problem if I can't find the right adjustment.

My top speed in the Carolina 12 is 5.2 mph, compared to 4.3 mph in the Prodigy 10. Those are sprint speeds that I couldn't possibly maintain for more than a few minutes, but the comfortable cruising speeds are comparable, about 3.8 vs 3.2 depending on wind and energy level.

Again, if you are looking for a rec boat that can easily handle short trips, and can't live with a tiny cockpit, then I think the Carolina 12 is the best choice!

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08-10-2007
Submitted by: David SmithSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I was looking for a boat that would be capable enough for coastal sea kayaking yet small enough for use on rivers and with enough dry storage for overnight camping. The perception Carolina 12 fit the bill perfectly. The boat was reworked for 2007, although most websites including perception show the older model. The boat now has front and rear hatches and more then adequate tie downs.

The seat was also completely changed. The Carolina 12 now sports the Zone multi adjust outfitting system. This means, that you get a fixed roto-molded padded seat with an adjustable backrest. The backrest is adjustable from a ratchet system on the side. The seat is the only downside to the boat. While it hasnt presented a problem yet I think the backrest just feels flimsy. Furthermore, when I bought the boat the backrest was missing a piece and the ratchet had been installed backwards. The Kittery Trading Post, where I bought the boat made an exchange. KTPs customer service is top notch.

The boat handles very well. It is stable yet quick. I have taken this boat from Esker Point in Connecticut to Fishers Island, NY and crossed the nearly two miles of open sound with ease. It even handled the boat wakes well. I have also used it to kayak camp overnight in the Boston Harbor, NP. The storage compartments are large enough for a overnight if you travel light.

I find the cockpit very comfortable. I chose these boat over similar models from Old Town, Wilderness Systems, and Liquid Logic, partly because of the open cockpit. The opening is not as large as on a recreational boat but big enough to give you room to move around. I also liked the fact that their was nothing between your legs around you to adjust you position a little more then on some other boats.

Overall I am very pleased with this boat and would recommend it to people of all abilities.

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01-22-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Actually ours is an Umiak, which is the same boat as the Carolina 12. Though its design shares nothing in common to the Carolina series, Perception changed the name for marketing reasons I suppose. Nice boat, perfect for young kids. Lightweight, fast, nibble, decent tracking, its all there. This boat is rocket! When my daughter puts her mind and paddle into it, I have all I can do to keep up with her at times. However, one thing this boat definitely needs is a back band. I installed one called the Reggie from Immersion Research, which fits the boat quite well. Also, I installed front and rear split floatation bags from NSR, something that one should consider as the OEM foam block floatation will probably keep the boat from totally submerging, but not much more. What a fun boat for a kid!
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10-16-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My 10 year old 60lbs. daughter took her Carolina 12 out for the first time and it was great. The kayak did well in winds as fast as 10mph, not to mention easy to control and fast. We look forward to some longer trips this winter and a trip to the Sea of Cortez this summer. I'm also glad we chose this model over Perception's "Scout" the extra length of the Carolina 12 is worth the money. Excellent first boat...
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08-23-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My two children (8 & 9) have been paddling the Carolina 12.0 for the last two summers. They've been great boats for them. The narrower width gives them great control over the boats, and has allowed them to learn proper paddle strokes from the start. It also makes the boats fast! Our kids have no problem keeping up with us. They also been very stable in the wind and waves on the Columbia River. We're looking forward to our first overnights this summer. My only complaint - I wish they came with a backband installed!
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