04-21-2013Submitted by: RDM
Reviews for Carolina Kayak by Perception
Based On: 103 Reviews
- Rating: 10 of 10 Love the Carolina 14.5 comfortable boat to paddle, tracks well and is great value for the $$. Sold mine to my son in law a while back and have regretted it as they are no longer available. Good news, it's coming home! To the few goofs that slammed the boat, try paddling one before you cut it up, all you do is make yourself look like what you are, an idiot
06-29-2007Submitted by: mfowle
- Rating: 9 of 10 Bought a new 2005 Carolina 14.5 with rudder on sale last weekend. Took it out for its maiden voyage on Lake Erie in 2-1/2 foot waves and it rode great. This is my first kayak, but I have extensive paddling experience in canoes. I need to work on my kayak strokes and gain some more confidence, but I'm sure this will be a great boat for me long term. I tried a 2006 model, but the thigh braces were too tight for me to fit comfortably in the boat. I'm 6'1" and weigh about 210. The 2005 model is comfortable, and easy to paddle. The people at Ohio Canoe Adventures near Cleveland are great people to deal with. They are very knowledgeable, asked a lot of questions about how I planned on using the kayak and then made sure that the fit was right.
01-24-2007Submitted by: xscot
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is my second ever kayak after upgrading from a rec yak. I was very happy with it for about a year until I really got the urge to upgrade. It is very stable and it tracks very well. A fast moving current or some wind does not phase this when you drop the rudder. I have had this out in turbulent seas on the ocean and never had a problem as long as I kept moving and stayed vigilante but you could take a moment to stop on the swells and have no problem staying afloat. I paddled approx 400 miles on this and I have never rolled a kayak so I am still pretty amateur. At this point I desire somthing a little longer, thinnner and faster. This boat has taught me a lot and I have to give it credit. I got a great deal on a used it used like brand new. Bulkheads stay pretty dry. Rear always and front lets in a little. The seat is not the most comfortable but it is not too bad. This is low maintenance and durable. I would recommend to anyone seeking a stable day tour yak. Also note I have the older model 2002 so I can't speak for the newer models refinements.
07-31-2006Submitted by: myylf
- Rating: 5 of 10 Just got 2006 Carolina 14.5. The backrest is very uncomfortable; it doesn't support the whole back well. Experienced backpain after paddling for 2.5 hours. I could paddle whole day on my Amecica 13.5 with no such problem. I'd like to see some reviews about the backrest on 2005 Carolina, which had different design and materials.
07-21-2006Submitted by: Deb_in_NH
- Rating: 8 of 10 Novice Kayaker. Stable, tracks very straight (rudder helps on windy days). very pleased with it. Will run it for a few years and save up for a faster boat as my skills improve.
06-19-2006Submitted by: Okiepaddler
- Rating: 9 of 10 I just upgraded to the Carolina 14.5 with rudder and have to say I'm very happy with it. It tracks better than the Sundance I had and the rudder is nice but I found it handled as well without it. I haven't had it out in very rough water but so far it's very stable and paddles easily. Overall, it's a keeper. I can see myself keeping it for quite a while.
04-17-2006Submitted by: weasley
- Rating: 8 of 10 I purchased my Carolina 14.5 Poly boat last year (2005) in February. I was really pleased with the boat, but as my skills have increased I had a longing for a longer boat with a narrower beam. At 24.5Ē the Carolina is not excessively wide and for a novice paddler the high initial stability is very comforting. The boat handles well in 3 - 4 foot ocean swells, but due to its hull shape does not edge well. The boat has fair speed for its length and beam. I am not totally happy with the "thermo plastic" rudder that came with my boat. Seems a little cheap, but does the job when I need it. I noticed they have gone back to the metal Yakima rudder a year later.
To summarize this boat is great for a novice paddler or someone who occasionally paddles. Great for "recreational" paddling on flat water and protected harbors with an occasional trip outside the breakwater for excitement. The stability gives one great sense of comfort when paddling. My friends have thoroughly enjoyed paddling my Carolina. They were comfortable with it within minutes of paddling. BTW as someone else had written, I had a missing rudder bushing too and also was told by customer service that I really didnít need it, but they sent me one just for G.P. That is an improvement their customer service. The only change I would make is switching out the plastic rudder for a Yakima rudder.
04-05-2006Submitted by: burruss
- Rating: 3 of 10 This is a ral pig of a boat. I paddled one once a while back and thought it was basically a decked canoe and a poor one at that. I assisted a friend of mine that was looking for a boat. The Carolina was on sale at a local dealer. We both paddled both the 14.5 and the 16. The 14.5 was fair, the 16 is simply a bus on the water. I should have spoken up and discouraged my friend from buying one ( a 14.5) but did not. He purchased one and does not seem real pleased with it. He will probably try to dump it off in a trade this spring.
01-30-2006Submitted by: jaws
- Rating: 2 of 10 14.5 carolina exolar. I have had my carolinba for about 6 months. It is a very stable kayak. Not perticularly fast. For a 5 foot 10 inch person the seat is very comfotable. Now for the bad news! As I am new to kayaking I had no clue that brand new kayaks can possibly not be straight. After explaining to fellow paddlers that my kayak constantly steers to the right I was given several explainations. Most said I was paddling strong on the left as compared to the right. Others said I was sitting with more weight on my left cheek as compared to the right. But now I have found the real culprit. My kayak is not straight. After going for a paddle I laid the kayak in my yard upside down. I could"nt help but notice that the last foot and a half curved off to one side. After looking at it I realized the curve would cause the kayak to steer to the right. SO all this time I was doing sweep strokes and leaning to my left so I could go straight was not my lack of experience. Just to prove my idea I bought a new kayak and found I can paddle it perfectly straight! Now I have a 6 month old carolina that I don"t paddle unless I want to be frustrated. I am tempted to take it back to the dealer to see if they can do something but after this long I assume they will not be of help. So as a final word of caution I would hope any new paddler who assumes their new kayak will be free of defects should be wary. If you suspect anything wrong with the way your kayak tracts take a long hard look at the bottom. If it appears crooked it probably is.
08-22-2005Submitted by: mcgratke
- Rating: 10 of 10 This yak is so great!!!! It fits like a glove moves swiftly in the water, is very comfortable and there are just too many things to say about it. I love it and would recommend it to ANYONE! I have been researching and demoing boats for about 1-1.5 years. I wanted to make sure I got the boat that suited me the most, and as soon as I slipped into this boat it was like magic. I am bout 5'8 250lbs. I was worried about my weight being a problem, but it was wonderful. Not even an issue. I have been paddling it so much this season I canít keep my paddle out of the water. It pays to do your homework!
07-04-2005Submitted by: P.J.S.
- Rating: 9 of 10 Just purchased a used Carolina 14.6 (Poly) to add to my fleet for day trips etc. The boat is very stable and has no problem with tracking. My boat came with a Perception metal rudder which was replaced with a Yokima right away. Great boat for lakes, slow rivers, and some open water.
I used the boat on a camping trip recently and the storage is fantastic. TONS of room and very comfortable.
I paddle in Baltimore's Inner Harbor with 200+ ft. commercial boats and have had no problems. I used it in the Ocean recently and aside from a small bulkhead leak, the boat was great.
The only downside to this boat is that the material is a bear to maintain. I have a kevlar boat and Iím used to water washing. All that aside, it was a great buy and a great boat.
I would say that this boat is a great buy for the all-around paddler.
06-09-2005Submitted by: Kevin
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've rented a lot of old town rec' kayaks, but I just bought my first kayak, a Perception Airalite Caroline 14.5....it's GRRREAT...easy to car top on my outback with Malone Super J kayak racks....it feels tippy at first, and I went over only once this year, when I first tried climbing in...it's stable, and VERY fast. If you have qualms about airalite, get over them....most kayaks will be made of this material in the future, albeit they will use different names for it. The airalite hatch covers are flush, covering neoprene covers, which keep most water out...I haven't rolled it yet, but I'm sure that will happen soon. Great boat, the girlfriend will be getting hers soon!
05-02-2005Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 2005 Carolina 14.5 w/o Rudder. This is a great boat. Last year I bought a Blackwater 12.5. It was an okay boat, but after a few times I wanted something that tracked better and was faster.
The 2005 with the new longer cockpit was just the answer. It tracks well and in Missouri a rudder is really not needed. It has a comfortable seat and with the longer cockpit I can easily pull my legs out while sitting. I now know why no one sells these boats used.
10-05-2004Submitted by: hawksnest
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have been paddling a new Carolina Airalite since June 2004. We paddle lakes, rivers, and small (100') streams. The Carolina is a joy to paddle. Very stable, moves easily, and is a beautiful boat and easy to keep clean. The storage compartments so far seem to be waterproof. Other than the weight for a 14.5' boat, 60 pounds checked on a scale, it is a super nice handling boat and can be leaned way over. I hardly use the rudder unless going cross wind or current. The Smart trak rudder allows the foot rests to stay in place while using the rudder, a big plus.
10-05-2004Submitted by: pattersr
- Rating: 8 of 10 '97 Carolina bought used 3 years ago. Been down/up Class 2+ water lots, X large cold unpopulated stormy lakes & surfing behind 100 ft paddlewheeler & on 2+ ft storm waves. Short enough for tight creeks. Stable enough even my wife enjoyed it. A "Chevy Malibu" and deserves to be around forever. Hull takes lot of abuse inverted on truck rack, still no "oilcanning". Likes weathercocking/wallowing w/o rudder, depending wave height/wind. Totally safe boat.
08-23-2004Submitted by: mikesafh
- Rating: 9 of 10 My first Perception Carolina 14.5 Airalite had to be returned (it had a hull-length slice and/or got crushed before it made it to my car rack, so it was not what you'd call seaworthy). This has admittedly spooked me a bit on the durability of Airalite, but many other folks have said it's quite strong. The other one I bought has had no such problems, and has already stood up pretty well to some unorthodox pressures, shall we say.
I've been out on it a few times, in the C&O Canal and Potomac River, and am quite impressed with it. It's easy to get in (and out) of the cockpit (with some caveats, below), its 41lb weight makes it easy to handle by yourself, and it's very stable (primary and secondary). Pretty responsive, too, for maneuverability and speed.
The things I'm finding aren't quite worthy of a 10 rating are: the foot pegs, with the rudder, don't stay where they are (by design), making it hard to get your feet nice and snug sometimes, until you push the rail forward; there are no deck lines or painters suitable for helping you get back into the boat; and my aft bulkhead leaks.
All in all, I'm looking forward to many years of enjoyment with this boat.
07-19-2004Submitted by: luvs2yak
- Rating: 10 of 10 Carolina 14.5 Airalite. I have had this boat a few weeks and thus far am VERY pleased with it's performance. I have paddled several miles in some differant conditions on the Delaware River. Some pretty decent chop with power boat wake, smooth water, against the tide and with it. Some pretty strong wind conditions and calm. The tracking is excellent with and without the rudder down. The rudder operates well. Secondary stability is very good. I am pleased with the weight of the boat and ease of cartopping. I do recommend this boat highly.
06-14-2004Submitted by: kayakdan48
- Rating: 8 of 10 I've had my Carolina 14.5 for two months now. It's a 2004 with new material and design...very stable..gains speed well. It's the one I let inexperienced people use and they love it. It's also the boat I use for solo night paddles when I want to absolutely stay upright. Only problem so far was being blown off by Perception's customer service. A bushing for the rudder was not in the bag...and he said I didn't need it...but I really do since the sloppy action of the rudder is so bad I hate using it. I wanted to rate it lower...but the rest of the boat is really nice.
05-10-2004Submitted by: Njoy_Kayak_N
- Rating: 10 of 10 I am a newbie and 5'10" and 200 lbs and I wanted a second kayak to take friends out whenever I went kayaking so the Perception 14.6' Carolina (poly) w/ Yakima rudder was my first new Kayak purchase after I read all the postive reviews. My Carolina is a 2003 model. I have an older 17.5' Perception Aquaterra Sea Lion (poly) I purchased used. I've not have much time in my new Carolina kayak (Yellow) but the time I have had, I really liked it. I was stable and secure and comfortable. I look forward to many fun hours in my Perception Carolina 14.6' Kayak.
05-03-2004Submitted by: Nick
- Rating: 9 of 10 I am 6'2" 215lbs beginner. I have taken four lessons and have learned the basics in kayak handeling in the ocean (Monterey Bay California). I have paddled one set on top and four different closed deck kayaks - one kevlar Pechena and the Carolina 14.5 Airalite. I spent 4 hours in the Carolina including some paddling in 15 kt winds in 2 - 3 foot swells. The Carolina was the best for stability and I felt very secure. If you are looking for a secure kayak that has great performance the Carolina is an outstanding value. Try this boat before you buy.
04-28-2004Submitted by: sailorman
- Rating: 9 of 10 Since this is my first touring kayak I do not have alot of experience to draw from but I think the carolina 14.5 will be in my family for a long time. It is stable and easy to paddle, with the rudder it makes a excellent fishing craft. many days I just let the wind push me along the shoreline and use the rudders to steer while I fish, hardly ever having to touch the paddle. I recently paddled it in 20+knot winds and used a traction kite to pull me all over the lake, I never once felt like i was going to flip. It's not the lightest boat out there but for the price it was a good trade off. I'm sure I will get another kayak someday but I will keep this one too because it will be a great boat to teach friends and family in. Great investment!
04-12-2004Submitted by: Jonathan Peacock
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have been kayaking on lakes, creeks, and rivers for three years. I have two of the Carolina 14.5 rotomold kayaks, a 2002 and 2003 model. One has a rudder and one does not. I started with out a rudder to learn my paddling skills first. I have been in very rough conditions on the lakes and the Carolina handled like a champ. I never had the fear that I was going to go over in the big waves or high winds. Itís big enough to be stable and track well in the lakes and small enough to wind through narrow creeks. It is amazing what this kayak can do. The rudder becomes a must in winds or trips up stream. I recently took a solo trip down the Buffalo National River in Arkansas in the month of March. I got more than I bargained for because of recent rains. The river was one foot away from being closed. I experienced class I Ė lower class III rapids. I cant tell you how lucky I was that the Carolina handled like it did. I had two close calls due to strainers and the ability of myself and the Carolina pulled me through. The trip was a four day three night trip. I had the hatches filled with gear and a rear deck bag filled also. The weight was close to max. Me being 6í 205 pounds, made for some of it. The kayak never felt unstable with the weight. This is a great kayak for beginners and experts as well. I am ready to add a 2004 model to the fleet. They have changed the design some and I cant wait to try it.
12-22-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 I purchased a second-hand Carolina with rudder (in very good condition) this spring for $600 and took it out on the Great South Bay of Long Island (NY) about half a dozen times in various conditions. It moves pretty well, and on the Great South Bay the rudder definitely helps you to hold your line against wind and waves. It has plenty of stability but you can still tilt it easily for turns etc. I find it very comfortable too, and if you adjust the seatback and foot pedals properly it all feels real good and easy to use. There is plenty of storage for small gear.
It isn't too big or too heavy to cartop by yourself, either. All in all, I think this is a very good kayak for someone who wants a true sea kayak but who isn't a kayak fanatic and doesn't want to spend a small fortune to have fun.
09-17-2003Submitted by: Andy T.
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've had my Carolina 14.5 for almost a month, and have taken it out 3 times. I can't speak to it's ability to handle rough water, but I have used it in fairly swift running rivers. I have been very pleased with it's performance. It is certainly not as stable as some of the wider tandem kayaks I've used, but it is plenty stable for a beginner like me. I have not experienced any tracking problems, although I would highly recommend the rudder option. Great kayak for the price.
08-20-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 I purchased a new 2003 Carolina 14.5, with rudder, about two months ago. I've used it in a bay, a lagoon, and on the ocean. I'm 6 ft. tall and about 210 lbs. I'm a beginner. I have little experience with other kayaks, so it's difficult to make any comparisons. I tried the boat out before purchasing it, I read all of these reviews, looked at several other boats and asked a lot of questions. It seemed to me that the Carolina was the best boat I could get for the money I was willing to pay ($870.) Other boats in the same price range had a cheap look to them. And, in this case, looks were important to me. I wanted to look down on my boat and admire it's beauty, not wish that I had something else.
I'm a big fellow, but the boat is roomy. I seriously questioned whether I needed a rudder, but it's a nice feature. Very luxurious. I was concerned about the seat after reading the reviews here, but I have not noticed any problems. I've sat in the boat for three hours straight without feeling uncomfortable. It makes me wonder if other people are paddling or sitting in it differently than I am. My only complaint is the Tupperware-like covers that seal the storage compartments. They're a pain in the butt to get on. I suppose if one is patient and works with them, they close fine. But it takes work. For $870, you would think come up with a better method. Other than that, it's a fun boat. Happy paddling.
08-11-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 6 of 10 I have a 2003 Carolina with rudder- I got it as a "guestboat" so that I could bring along uninitiated friends on paddles. I tested the 2002 model, and bought the boat this spring because I felt it was super stable, handled easily for beginners (tracked well), and had a roomy enough cockpit in it to accomodate many body shapes. I was right on those counts....
I live on Lake Champlain, which has the scale of a Great Lake- so we get all kinds of weather/water conditions. While I have not taken friends out in really choppy weather, I paddled this boat through 3-4 foot swells, and felt very comfortable. Watertight hatches too!
My complaints are on two counts: the seats in the 2003 models are horrible. I paddled it twice when I first got it, and realized nobody was going to be happy with that seatback after about an hour on the water. The first two people to paddle it agreed- and we are all different heights. I took it into my local dealer, who could not have been nicer about switching out the seat back for Perception's higher seatback. But now I am left with the issue of getting a sprayskirt to accomodate the higher back. Perception needs to fix this for 2004.
My other issue with the boat is that it did oilcan pretty quickly. I have a Yakima rack system with rollers, and I set them properly, yet the boat dented within weeks, despite being careful with how I tied down.
Summing up: if Perception changes the seat for 2004, and you carry teh boat on its side or upside down on your rack, then this is a perfect beginner boat. It is a pleasure to paddle for just about anyone, though a more advanced paddler is going to want a little refinement.
06-16-2003Submitted by: Axiom
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is my first boat. Blue in color and with a rudder. I also installed a paddle clip. Its a heavy kayak but its all good as long as you use a kayak cart. It's a very stable boat and handles well. I'm glad i bought it.
06-06-2003Submitted by: RCKlueg
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've had my 2002 Caroline for a year now, so it's time to give my long-term impression. It is the first kayak I have owned, though I have tried out others belonging to friends and have had canoing experience. I am 5'7", 160 lbs. Most of my use is on a lake, usually 2 or 3 times a week when the lake isn't frozen over, plus a bit of river use. I could not be more pleased with my experience. Despite winds and motorboat wakes, I never feel any danger of flipping over. I think a boat would have to directly hit me to flip me. And I can't imagine what use a rudder would be, it tracks and handles for me as well as I need. I did have a little problem with the "oil can" effect on the bottom, but I put some weights on the part where it was bowing (just to the front of the seat), and it flattened out again most of the way. For my money, it is a great kayak.
06-04-2003Submitted by: Milhouse
- Rating: 10 of 10 Recently purchased the 2003 model of the 14.5 Carolina w/ no rudder. This is my first yak and have paddled it several times including an overnighter. Nothing but good things to say--tracks well, even when heavily loaded, cuts the water as well as expected for a poly boat, EVERYTHING. No complaints, good boat to start with. However, I replaced the low seat in favor of a high back and removed the thigh braces as my legs are rather large. Other than that, great boat!!
05-22-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 You can fix the "popping" deck rigging by loosening the screw on the clamp and looping the bungee around the outside of the screw instead of the way it clamps from the factory. Rigging has stayed put since I did this....
04-02-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 Three years ago I got a Carolina exp. model with no rudder. It has held up very well. Yes I can't turn and manuever as with a whitewater boat, and longer boats are faster on the bay. But overall the boat is fine for up to Class III water, not too hairy rock gardens, any estuaries. The Carolina is tough, tracks well, cuts through swells, is stable, holds much gear, has pretty lines. It's fairly heavy, but any mid size hybrid touring kayak in plastic is. A great value. Perception has enlarged one hatch to hold wider articles - a good idea, and they have improved the seat backrest, also good.
03-31-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 The Carolina is the only touring kayak that I've paddled, but it's awesome. It moves through the water a lot better than any of the recreational kayaks that I've kayaked with. It seems extremely stable too. I was really surprised how easy and stable the kayak was. My only complaint is the seat. You should buy a really comfortable seat for it because the one that mine came with hurts your back after paddling for miles and hours. Overall, an excellent kayak.
03-24-2003Submitted by: ALD
- Rating: 10 of 10 I purchased the kayak about one year ago. It is my first kayak that I have owned. I am new at kayaking. I enjoyed my kayak vary well. It is stable, and not very tipse. Use a lot on the bay. I like its storage space it has. So if you are looking for a good long vacation on the river or on sea, than I highly suggest this kayak.
03-24-2003Submitted by: tandems
- Rating: 6 of 10 The kayak is easy to paddle. But after a hour you've had it. Perception changed the seat in the Carolina and others for 2003. The seat back is really bad, to low for comfort. So when you test their kayaks, go out for a few hours. I had a 2002, you could sit in it all day. But it came with a hole in it and was returned, 3 monthes later I received the 2003. They will sell you the old set for $45. I give it a 10 with the old set in it.
03-10-2003Submitted by: dlinnane
- Rating: 10 of 10 I currently own several carolinas, one corona, and a pachena dx. I am extremely satisfied with all. The pachena is extremely comfortable, the corona is fast, and the carolinas are my choice for dealing with questionable weather. 4 or 5 ft waves are no problem, tracking-no problem, and moving at a reasonable speed through choppy water is a lot of fun. i've been rescued in the bay of fundy(corona-very stomy weather--really, really bad idea) and the pachena floats like a cork and is extremely light but tends to move with the wind, but the carolina ignores wind, tracks straight(with rudder), and moves fairly fast. I like the carolina a lot and would recommend it to anyone that would like to try rivers, large lakes, and ocean voyages. if you are just into enjoying kayaking, this model works well-i'd give it a 10, but would recommend any seat enhancements available because the back of the seat ends at at a bad point in the lower back.
11-27-2002Submitted by: dcrockz
- Rating: 9 of 10 I purchased the 2003 Carolina last month, my first kayak. I have had the chance to take it out (flat water) about ten times and love it. It is a very comfortable boat with lots of room for storage. It is a tight fit for me, 6'3" @ 200lbs. Only problem is that the tracking is not perfect. Takes a little effort to go straight with any kind of a wind. I am going to add the rudder option, I should have started off with it. That should give this craft a ten. I would recommend this boat to anyone looking for a good, affordable day tripper.
07-25-2002Submitted by: Peter
- Rating: 10 of 10 I love my carolina, I am 6'3 13 shoe 200 lbs. and I love it...nice snug fit for the rivers and great speed for the lakes. I give it a 10!
07-16-2002Submitted by: Ken Dawg LI NY
- Rating: 9 of 10 Great boat! I have torture tested the hell out of this thing... whitewater, surfing, used it to go down the side of a mountain during a snow blizzard, it fell off my truck, still rides like a charm and for the price you really dont have to worry about beating it up a little. Only complaint is that its a little tight in the cockpit for someone thats 6'3" but thats not perceptions fault.
07-16-2002Submitted by: Congero
- Rating: 6 of 10 I bought a Perception Carolina about 3 months ago. I have owned a Dagger Crossover for a year, and was looking for a light touring kayak that could haul more camping gear.
The Carolina handles well. The rudder is useful in the wind, and I would definitely recommend it if you plan on crossing large bodies of water.
The bulkheads work well, and the kayak fits well (I'm 5'9" @ 180lbs, size 10 shoe). I installed hip pads, which really help when putting the kayak on edge.
My only complaint(and it's a big one) is the plastic. After a month, the kayak already developed an oil can. The plastic scratches too easily, and it already looks as bad as my year old Dagger. The Dagger Crossover can be used in class 1-2 whitewater use, so I can see where the Dagger plastic would be stronger. However, I have serious doubts about the longevity of the Carolina.
I will definitely enjoy the Carolina while it lasts, but I will not buy any plastic boats from Perception in the future.
06-05-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 I like itÖalot! I've been paddling a Swifty for a year now, and felt that I was using that boat past its capacity. My last trip was a two-day 20 mile overnight trip with camping gear... a little like camping on your motorcycle. I liked the looks and feel of the Carolina in the show room. It fit me like a running shoe. My dealer wouldn't allow a try out so I wouldn't buy it from him. I went on to try a Wilderness Systems Cape Lookout and a Current Designs Breeze and hated both of them passionately but for different performance flaws. Then I went back to my Perception dealer during a clearance sale and bought the Carolina with rudder (year 2000 left over) for $725 with the agreement that if I didn't like it, he would give me a refund. (Minus a large restocking fee for each scratch!) I live on a lake and have been out in it four times so far and I love it! I got the small hatches but I'll make do, remembering my Swifty camping days. GPS speed measurements: effortless cruising at 4.5 to 5 mph over a 1-mile course (could have gone on all day!). Max speed 6.5 sustainable and touched 7.0 mph briefly. The Armor-all on the hatch covers makes all the difference in the world to their fit and sealability. I have the indication that the bulks will be dry because the rubber hatches bulged slightly when I parked it in the hot sun and the air in the space expanded. Cons? Don't really have any but I can't give a 10 to anything that doesn't involve at least some sex. I do have some cautions though: I'm going to take the advice from other paddlers and car-top upside down to avoid hull dents. I also recommend the rudder, go ahead and splurge you won't be disappointed. Always try several boats that seem great on land out on the water before you buy. Its really strange but true that my opinion may be a polar difference from yours on any one boat. Trust your instincts and turn your deaf ear to the dealer because he has inventory to push. Last, this boat is a heavy 58 lbs. The kayak cart I built from a golf trolley makes a big difference.
05-31-2002Submitted by: Fryeguy
- Rating: 9 of 10 Great boat, very stable for the beginner (like me) biggest concern is fit. I'm 6'1 and 190 lbs and feel that I'm on the upper limit of fitting comfortably in the cockpit. My size 12 feet barely fit while on the foot braces. So much so that I must wear an aquasock of bare feet just to fit. While paddling I must streach my legs out periodically to prevent my feet from falling asleep. Any other big foots out there with similar problems? Otherwise very happy with boat.
05-13-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 A friend lent me her Carolina the 2nd time out and I at once felt at home and determined to buy one. This I did at REI within the month and have never doubted my decision. The Carolina is a roto-molded plastic polymer. It is very well made and the lines are attractive and seaman-like. She carries a lot of cago in her two wells fore and aft. The tupperware covers do tend to leak so use waterproof bags for stuff you wish to keep dry.
The kayak seems to know where I want to go and I rarely use the rudder except in heavy winds or currents. I consider the Carolina to be an excellent beginner to mid level boat that you may never get tired of. Price-wise it is a steal!
04-17-2002Submitted by: cragar
- Rating: 6 of 10 I'm glad I rented before buying. I'll stick to my Wilderness Sytems Pamlico - an open cockpit tandem. Despite being heavier and wider, it's a whole lot faster and tracks better. I had the itch to go to a narrower single - I'm still looking.
04-15-2002Submitted by: Tim
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have the Carolina EXP W/Rudder. I love this boat! It does everything they say it will. I am 6'1", 225 pounds, but easily fit into the boat. I find the seat very comfortable too. All the compartments have stayed 100% dry, even the cockpit with only a nylon spray skirt. I have not noticed any problem with it's tracking in the wind, even without using the rudder, nor does my boat plow through the water as noted by other paddlers. I live on Lake Tapps in Washington State, and paddle nearly everyday. I haven't taken it out on the Puget Sound yet, but plan to in the near future. I expect the Carolina will perform as good in the Sound as it does on the lake. I'm looking forward to many years of paddling in this boat!
11-05-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 I bought my Carolina Expedition w/o rudder for $690 at EMS in NY. I rented one first and tried a number of other boats. I was impressed with its intial and secondary stability. It also tracks very well in little or no wind. But once the wind comes up I am definitly wishing I had a rudder. I thought I was going nuts with the boat in a tail wind veering to the left. But It was the wind because when I used the boat in calm water and little wind the boat tracks straight as a arrow. I haven't loaded it down yet, but the front compartment seems small. The boat seems to plow into anything more than a ripple. But all in all for the money I paid I feel I got a great deal especially when most of my paddling will be in close to shore or in the harbours of North shore of Long Island NY. I wish I could have a eddyline Merlin but the cost is not in my budget at this time.
10-29-2001Submitted by: Chris
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've had my Carolina for about 6 or 9 months now and untill today had ontly paddled it on calm days. It was a good boat. It tracked well even though I was too cheap to buy a rudder. I took it out today in a 3 foot chop and 20 knot winds and I really got a feel for the boat. First, the boat cuts through the wave effortlessly, but I would strongly suggest a sprayskirt and waterproof paddling jacket for anything more than a ripple (perhaps a little more floatation in the bow compartment would help?)It tracked okay heading into the seas and wind but when I was riding waves back in and even just normal paddling in a following sea left me wishing i had sprung for a rudder although it really didnt surprise me. The boat handles just fine in tight places with a little boathandling skill.
The hatches on the 2001 model are plenty large and havent leaked a drop so far. Im 6'2" and would have liked to see another notch in the footbrace adjustment. The cockpit opening is very roomy and gives me confidence should I get into a situation demanding a wet exit. This boat is extremely stable; Ive rolled it pretty far in its side and it gets harder and harder to flip the farther you tip it. As a boatbuilder and commercial fisherman, I would favor a more distinct chine although not a full on hard chined hull. Good boat but not perfect.
09-17-2001Submitted by: RC
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have just recently purchased the Carolina after trying alot of boats. I wanted one that I could fish out of and also enjoy paddling. The Carolina was pefect. There are faster boats and there are more stable boats, but I belive the Carolina to be the best comprimise. The rudder I added realy helps in the wind and when you are drifting. It helps to keep the Boat pointed in the right direction when fishing. The stability and large cockpit makes it possible to pull you legs our and stretch them.
08-20-2001Submitted by: ME
- Rating: 8 of 10 I use my Carolina on the upper Delaware River, the NJ Pine Barrens rivers, and occassionally in Barnegut Bay. Excellent beginner's boat, and great for the money.
The good: good stability and tracking, reasonably good on turns, cruises well for a 14 foot boat, and has plenty of storage for weekend trips.
Drawbacks: Hatches on older models are too small, must be cartopped upside down or you will distort the hull, seat on basic model is uncomfortable for many people after a few hours of paddling.
For a casual tourer, this is a very good boat. If you are more than an intermediate paddler or price is not a concern, then you should consider any number of other boats.
08-06-2001Submitted by: George
- Rating: 9 of 10 My wife and I bought a corolina expedition with rudder new for $799. Though we have kayaked quite a bit it was my wife's first boat. She loved it as did everyone else that used it. We were on a windy bay and she sailed straight and narrow with her rudder in the water. I tried keeping up in my Wilderness systems Seacret (without rudder) and it was alot of work. I would normally give it a 10 but that is reserved for great looking babes.
07-10-2001Submitted by: cool hand
- Rating: 6 of 10 I just paddled the Carolina at a demo. I liked the Carolina until I paddled it. I felt that the Carolina is over priced for what you get. The workman ship is poor, and the hatches are cheap. This boat is very slow I have paddled other boats that are shorter, and much faster. Over all I feel that the Carolina is over rated.
07-10-2001Submitted by: Tom
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought 2001 Carolina (expedition model) yesterday and took it today to the lake. Being a beginner (this is my second kayak) I can only comment based on my previous boat which was OT Loon 138. I had it for two months but returned it because it had warped hull. At this point I knew that I wanted a boat that would allow me to go a little further than Loon could (perfectly nice boat for fishing, birding and weekend cruising with kid or dog - but it is so rock solid stable that you cannot learn much from it). So I decided to overcome fear of tight-cockpit and give Carolina a try. Took it for 20 mile spin around Lake Travis (Austin TX). All the positive reviews from this site proved correct. Boat is very stable and not intimidating for a beginner. It fits very well even larger paddler like me (6'/230lbs) although I would advice to sit in it for few minutes when you buy it just to be sure. Because of the tighter contact with the boat you develop better sense of stability and Carolina seems to give you quite a bit of advance warning if you do not pay enough attention. Seat and paddling position are very comfy (I think that padded back support is 2001 feature). Deck rigging seemed solid - there were some complaints about it on this site before. Rear hatch is big (again I think it is 2001 feature) enough for any tent or sleeping bag. Boat is fun to paddle - it is responds very nicely and it is easy to keep it cruising at a decent speed without too much effort. If you are a beginner and you want a boat that will allow you to expand your skills toward sea kayaking then you should take a look at Carolina. I would advice buying one with the rudder - in a strong wind that boat tries to go into it. My only complaint with it is that plastic hull is not very stiff (as compared to eg. Polylink3 on Loon) and you must be extra carefull when you move the boat - if you are using foam blocks to tie it on the top of the car then you MUST tie it upside down or else you will distort the hull. It scratches but not excessively.
06-18-2001Submitted by: email@example.com
- Rating: 9 of 10 I just bought the Carolina and took it out on a very windy day on LI sound. The boat handled and tracked well. The hatch problem has been fixed. My 2001 model has a larger hatch in the back. It is large enough to stuff a sleeping bag in without a problem. The hatched do not leak. On my maiden voyage I encountyered 2-3' seas. Lots of vaves were breaking over the bow and stern, no leaks. Thanks Perception. My only complaint, the boat does not handle well in really tight spaces but thats what I have an Acadia for. Great boat for $799. Thats correct. I got the 2001 expedition model with the rudder for $799. Great boat for the money. Happy paddling. I hope to see you on the North Shore of LI. Like Perception logo says, "Lifes a trip, Bring a paddle"
06-11-2001Submitted by: RK
- Rating: 8 of 10 I have a Carolina with a rudder. I tend to paddle mostly lakes and slow moving rivers. It tracks well and has average speed for 14'7" boat. The boat feels comfortable in windy, choppy water. The rudder really helps in open water. When I am paddling bigger water with high winds, the rudder makes life much easier! Like everyone else, I wish the boat had bigger hatches. I also notice the hull material is very soft, which adds little support and scratches very easy. I have a Dagger Blackwater which seems to have a much harder hull material. It scratches much less and has more support throughout the boat. Overall I am very happy with my Carolina. It's a great light touring boat for a reasonable price.
06-07-2001Submitted by: bab
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've had my Carolina since june of 99, bought it for around 600 dollars. Its been great, very comfortable, easy to maneuver. I mostly kayak along with canoes so i'm always the fastest compared to them. Its suitably maneuverable to chase girl scouts who are beginning canoeists all over the lake. Its stable in coastal waters, and stable enough to eat a floating breakfast in without spilling the orange juice. Although some complain about the seat, I find mine very comfortable, and can sit in the boat all day without discomfort. All in all, its a very enjoyable kayak.
05-29-2001Submitted by: no name
- Rating: 8 of 10 In NJ where we can paddle the ocean, rivers, lakes and small winding streams. To take advantage of all of these with one boat necessitates some compromise. I settled on a 14 foot boat because it would be long enough for big water and short enough to get around those tight turns on the Pine Barren's rivers. (Anyone who has paddled them knows what I'm talking about)
Here is why I chose the Carolina. All the boats I tried were great for their size. Some tracked better, some turned easier. The Carolina handled and fit well. I'm 5'6" and 150 pounds. Tracking is great, turning is not bad. I had a little trouble in some fast moving water, but that could have been more me than the boat. My 12 year old had no problem with it on a windy and choppy lake. I liked the idea of two hatches for storage and the fact that there is less cockpit space to clean out after getting in and out on the muddy/sandy banks around here. The hatches could open and close easier. Some of the reviews talked about them leaking, but after 2 very wet trips, they remained dry.
The last reason, I bought the Carolina was the price. I got mine for around $820.00 with the rudder. (it was on sale) Most of the boats that interested me were around $800 without a rudder or skeg. In my experience, a rudder usually isn't necessary, but when you need it, it's great to have it there. You can definitely get a better touring kayak than the Carolina, but everything has a price. for the money I paid, this a great boat.
05-22-2001Submitted by: CGUY
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've been renting and trying what I can, which isn't easy in Utah. Tried the Ocean 149; large hatches & great storage but it doesn't perform well. I've read every review around on the Carolina and others. Bought the '01 Carolina with rudder and new hatches. Would be nice if it tracked a little better and that's why I knocked off a point. But it's pretty responsive to corrective paddle strokes and responds well to the rudder. Speed is on par with other recreational touring boats in this class. Better equipped than many I've been looking at. Responds well to the built in braces and leans. Use a little silicon spray on the hatch covers and they'll slip on easily. It's spot-on for what I purchased it for, which was mostly for the family. I bought a plastic Perception Eclipse for myself.
05-10-2001Submitted by: tp
- Rating: 8 of 10 I purchased my Carolina used as an entry level boat. For the price I paid, compared to my friends $2500 Necky, I got a good deal. The Carolina is stable and handles easily. With the knee braces, the cockpit was confining for me at 6'0 and 220. However, the knee brace was easily removed and I find the cockpit roomy. My lower back gets tired after a few hours due to the seat back. I think the seat back has been improved on newer models. It is somewhat slower than the Necky Looksha IV, but what boat isn't. However, when paddling alone I find my self moving at a good speed without much effort. I don't have too much difficulty keeping up on most occasions. I've found that the Carolina tracks very well, and I've been out for hours without using the rudder (depending on wind and wave conditions). I've crossed somoe sizable wakes from boats and like the way the kayak rides over the waves instead of wanting to go through them. There are typically issues with a used boat, and this one is no exception. There is on place where the plastic hull is deformed a bit from sitting in some strain for a period of time. However, that doesn't seem to hurt the performance. All in all, well worth the money and a great entry level kayak.
03-18-2001Submitted by: W.H.
- Rating: 8 of 10 Initial Stability, was an excellent A+, but Secondary wasnt so great. Hatch entrance seemed small, and hard to bend rubber to put on/take off but room inside was superb. Tracking wasnt so great, for me it loured to the left often as I found myself correcting its mistake often. Of what I know, all kayaks do this but dont hold my word for it. Speed sucked. I suppose it was alright for its length but i was next to some 16-17 footers and got wasted, not in race but just overall. If speed isnt an issue, but major stability, menouverability and cargo space is, get the Carolina. Overall a pretty nice kayak.
03-16-2001Submitted by: Steve C
- Rating: 9 of 10 My brother and I each purchased Carolinas last Spring. Like them very much, except for the small hatches. Purchased another Carolina this Spring for my wife, so now I also have one with a larger rear hatch. Much easier to pack. The only complain I have is the dealer had a hard time finding a kayak that wasn't already oil-canned. I don't mind it so much if I store or transport it improperly, and it oil-cans, but shouldn't have to accept it that way from the factory. The one I bought last year shows no sign of oil-canning. Maybe the newer ones are being made thinner?
03-14-2001Submitted by: Bill Cook
- Rating: 9 of 10 The perception is just about a perfect all-around boat. I have paddled it a number of "slow" rivers, lakes/reservoris and a choppy Lake Erie, all without problem. It is a difficult boat to roll, making it perfect for the person new to the sport. Other reviews here talk about it's lack of speed with larger touring boats, but I've (and friends that have paddled the Perception) noticed that it blew away anything in a more recreational class (this may be obvious). There's also plenty of convenient room in the hatches or on the deck for anything you want to carry along.
02-19-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 After skimming through several reviews, I thought I'd add this: Spray ArmorAll on the top of the rubber hatches and they will go on so easily you won't believe it. I've had mine for two years and I've loved it. Been on lakes, rivers, blackwater (where the shorter lengh was an advantage in tight corners), some ocean and surf. Perhaps the best compromise first kayak out there. Yes, I had the rigging popping out problem, too. Maybe not the fastest kayak, but I'm strong and like a challenge and so far have had no problem keeping up with much faster kayaks - and I'm now ready for something new. But I'll still keep the Carolina.
02-09-2001Submitted by: Al
- Rating: 6 of 10 I had purchased a Carolina in the fall of 2000. At the time, I was new to the sport of kayaking and I was looking for a very stable kayak. I had compared the Carolina to similar models from Old Town(Castine), Wilderness(Manteo), and Walden(Vista, Passage). The Carolina was the best of the group that I had tried. The kayak felt comfortable and it seemed to paddle well. I purchased the Carolina based on the size, the cost, and the reviews listed at this web site.
At the time, I was looking for a good recreational-touring kayak. In hindsight, a recreational-touring kayak is a contradiction in terms. The best feedback that I can offer is, don't under estimate your abilities as a beginner. The kayak was comfortable and very stable. However, I quickly found the Carolina to be heavy and sluggish in the water. I felt like I had to push the kayak to keep a decent cruising pace. The 25" width doesn't sound like much, but I would repeatedly bang the sides of the hull while paddling. The added width also made it difficult to turn the kayak without making a big circle. The hatches seemed to have a good fit to the hull and appeared dry after my various trips. I did find the hatch openings to be on the small side. For this reason, I never used the front hatch.
I had always hung the kayak from straps in the garage. I also used kayak saddles on my roof rack. I still noticed a tendency of the hull to have the "oil can" effect that is common in some plastic kayaks. The kayak is comfortable and stable, but you give away a great deal of performance and speed for the comfort. This kayak may be a good choice for use on a lake as recreation. It would be good for casual paddling or novice paddlers, but I would not recommend it for any serious touring. It is not a bad kayak, but there are many other kayaks that have a lot more to offer. I quickly decided to sell the Carolina after only 6 weeks.
Demo as many kayaks as you can. If you want to paddle for a few hours and go to different areas, look for a longer, lighter kayak that will not limit your ability. Think ahead of where you want to paddle and how long your trips may last. Make your decision on that type of touring and don't sell yourself short. I realize that this review may contradict many of the other comments about the Carolina, but I hope it will prevent the next buyer from buying twice!
02-07-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 6 of 10 I purchased my Carolina Expedition last spring and have had it on Lake Michigan through the summer, fall and continued paddling through the winter (dry suit of course). I would rate this boat as a solid and sea worthy beginnerís boat. At a length of 14.5 feet and a beam of 25 inches, this boat is maneuverable and has good primary stability. It handles well in waves and surf. However, I have three criticisms: 1. The Carolina is slow; I paddle with others in their 16-18 ft glass boats and Iíve had a very hard time keeping up; 2. Poor secondary stability, it wants to be upright or upside down, it is hard to lean and very hard to roll; and last (and least); 3. The rear hatch is too small for larger items such as sleeping bags and dry bags. If you are looking for an economical kayak for day trips and you wonít be trying to keep up with longer, faster boats, youíll probably be very happy with the Carolina. However, it you want to take longer trips and/or learn to roll, you should invest in a longer and narrower kayak.
01-02-2001Submitted by: Walt
- Rating: 9 of 10 Purchased one Carolina and one America early last summer. (My wife felt more comfortable with open cockpit) She soon realized that America was much slower. We happened to luck out and pick up a model from last year from a priviate seller and now we have two. Love the boats. We have rudders, which even though they will slow you a little bit they are needed in any kind of crosswinds. Need to keep cables lubicated with silicon. We live on a freshwater lake and are surrounded by saltwater here on the eastern tip of Long Island. Looking for a wetsuit so I can paddle in the winter. Anyone have a reccommendation? Only gripe is lack of seat padding. Butt falls asleep and so can you legs.
12-10-2000Submitted by: Joe Giaimo
- Rating: 8 of 10 I've had my Carolina for over one year.I'ts a great boat. I'ts very comfortable,tracks well and handles great.my big complaint,however, is that the hull compresses when I mount it on my roof rack.I'd like to know if anyone else is experiencing this problem with their Carolina. IF you are, please e-mail me.
10-26-2000Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 I recently bought my Carolina, Perception must have been listening to the reviews, because they have enlarged the rear hatch, for storage of larger articles. The boat is a great comprimise, it is not the fastest or most agile, but it serves the kayaker with a lot of options. I have taken the boat out in the chesepeake bay, lake, inlets and river; forwhich the boat acheived quite well. I am new to the kayaking, but from testing and research, this boat seemed to be the best fit for me. I hope that if you are in the market for a new boat, that you will consider the Carolina by Perception. In the tidewater area, Appomatax Paddle Company will set you up right, Thanks Guys.
09-05-2000Submitted by: SSW
- Rating: 9 of 10 I bought my Carolina late spring at REI for $800. At that price, this kayak is a real bargain for what it delivers. The plastic will tolerate some rough usage, and its weight is reasonable for solo loading. I would qualify that it's really more appropriate for someone, who like myself, is somewhere lower in the learning curve. It's not the fastest boat; I have to do twice the work of my paddling buddies in their considerably more expensive boats in order to keep up. But the boat is extremely stable and confidence inspiring, even in some surprisingly rough conditions. It's also a great tracker; I'll only use the rudder in windy conditions anymore. I haven't had any of the problems I've read about with the bungee system breaking, and I've jammed all kinds of junk under them. Also, the newer padded backrest is very comfortable, although the thin butt padding tends to put my feet to sleep on a long haul. The small bulkhead openings are probably the boat's biggest shortcoming; they've been a bit of a nuisance on some weekend trips where a little creative repacking was required. All in all, I have no regrets and can highly recommend the Carolina.
09-02-2000Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 I shopped very carefully for quite some time before buying my Carolina Expedition (no rudder). I have had it out a few times and am very impressed with it. I wanted a boat I could make some speed in on open water and also get up into small creeks. Of course there are compromises to be made. A longer glass boat would have been faster in the open and a smaller boat with more rocker would have been more maneuverable in the small creeks. I have been surprised at how well this boat does in both situations. It tracks very well and can be turned easily if you lean it over a bit. I paddled and considered a Dagger Savannah but am glad I got the Carolina instead. The Carolina is much more comfortable for me (5'7", 155#). It also seems to have less resistance in the water than the Savannah. I paddled the Carolina about 7 miles today and was very comfortable. I especially like the fact that the thigh braces are included on the Carolina. They add immeasurably to the comfort and feel of being in solid contact with the boat. I read here in reviews about the problems with the deck rigging hardware and bulkheads that leak on earlier Carolinas. My deck rigging is very well secured. I give it a workout with lots of stuff stuck onto and under the cords and they hold it all without coming loose. I intentionally filled the cockpit with water today when I was cleaning mine up and the fore and aft compartments stayed bone dry. I think Perception must have been paying attention and corrected these two problems. The one shortcoming to this kayak is the small hatch covers and the fact that they do not seem tough enough. I will be venturing offshore some as soon as I get more experienced with this boat and learn how to roll it. For the money this boat is a definite "10".
08-31-2000Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 Took my friend's Carolina out for a spin on a calm harbor day, and could not get over the boats feel: incredibly stable with great edging characteristics! I was coasting along in a daze when I realized it had been a couple of minutes since I'd dipped the paddle in, and found myself drifting straight and narrow and still a brisk pace: excellent tracking, low resistance. I've been thinking about an Old Town Nantucket or Millennium 160, and will need to try them out, but they are going to be measured against the Carolina! (I like the Polylink 3 that Old Town uses, but am a touch concerned about reports of weak craftsmanship). Much impressed with the Carolina! I'm looking for great prices on the Carolina as we speak, and stopped by here to see what other's thought about this fine boat.
08-16-2000Submitted by: Jerod
- Rating: 9 of 10 I bought my Carolina new in 1999 for $620. It has no rudder, but came with deck-rigging and thigh-braces. This was actually less than I had planned to spend, but I didn't want to go nuts on my first boat.
I think this is one of the best value boats out there. Two hatches, a good amount of storage for a 14'-6" boat, and pretty solid speed, tracking and stability. Perception makes the most comforable boats out there too, which is a bonus on long trips.
The only problem I have is with the hatch size, a lot of stuff is a pain to work through the tiny openings, and the cheaper rubber caps don't keep my stuff nearly as dry as my girlfriend's Eclipse with the neoprene gaskets and plastic covers. Of course her boat was used and still $250 more than mine. The Carolina is, however, an awesome boat for little $$$. I've put tons of miles on, touring, surfing, and just meandering around my house. I can honestly say that I wish I'd have gotten a longer, faster boat, but for the money the Carolina is a really solid package. Highly recommended !
08-10-2000Submitted by: JAH
- Rating: 10 of 10 After paddling my Carolina for a year on a very large lake I have found this plastic beauty to be my perfect water toy. It is stable, tracks well, is fast and provides enough room between the paddler's legs for a 3 year old passenger to take a nap. I am never limited by weather and waves and often look forward to surfing the waves on the homebound leg.
07-19-2000Submitted by: B.D
- Rating: 9 of 10 Ii love my new Carolina. it is my first kayak. The optional rutter I would highly recommend. It makes the kayak a lot more agile and fun. I have gone over 3 miles with it and if you've ever kayaked before you know one of the most important aspects of a good touring kayak is confortability. This kayak is reletively easy on the back and butt. I still envy the fast fiberglass boats, by for now im happy with my Carolina.
07-17-2000Submitted by: Tim Stone
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought my Carolina used(once by the original owner) based on the affordable price and the excellent reviews posted here. Having already bought a brand new kayak first for my wife, I was more opportunistic than picky on buying a second kayak. I was somewhat disappointed on not being able to pick out my own boat. The Carolina has erased all of that disappointment. Although shorter and wider than other, sexier(and pricier, I might add) touring kayaks, this boat performs admirably. First, it fits like a glove. I am 5'8", 220 lbs. The seat is comfortable and the padded thigh braces hit in exactly the right spots. I am able to comfortably brace my knees in the cockpit to aid in balance and tight turns. With the rudder it tracks straight and is very responsive to turning(unable to comment on tracking without the rudder - have not tried it, ocean kayaking only). It's easy to paddle and quick in the water. This boat is also very good in both initial and secondary stability. I've already been out in 20-25mph winds and felt no anxiety as the boat handled the waves beautifully, even with whitecaps breaking over the bow repeatedly. I've had no issues with the deck rigging as I suspect I have the upgraded version. The hatches, though, are still hard to put back on. A minor inconvenience easily overlooked with regards to all of this boat's good qualities. It handles so well my wife and I take our friends(all newbies with no prior kayaking experience)out in it and they have no problems at all. All said, this is one great boat - affordability and performance combined. If you're thinking of buying one, you will not be disappointed.
06-08-2000Submitted by: Duncan
- Rating: 10 of 10 Despite my being a novice paddler I have replaced paddling for sex. Words cannot express how much fun I have had while paddling on lakes and rivers in the North GA. area. Huck Finn and Tom had it all.
05-18-2000Submitted by: Bryan
- Rating: 9 of 10 My wife and I got two Carolinas for Christmas and we're extremely [pleased with them so far. We're new to kayaking, but feel the Carolinas will grow with us as we move from inland rivers and lakes to the Great Lakes and mild ocean yaking. The tracking isn't perfect, but neither is our technique (yet), and we haven't mastered tight turns either, but those are our only "complaints" and we expect those to go away as we get better. For its price, I can't imagine a better boat than the Carolina. I highly recommend it for the beginner and intermediate paddler, and hopefully, for the experts we hope to become.
05-06-2000Submitted by: Scott
- Rating: 10 of 10 Bought a Carolina for my wife. No prior experience and I wanted a boat she would REALLY like so she would want to go with me. This boat has been everything everyone said. I relied on this board to help me decide. She took to it like a duck on water. Very stable & not slow at all. Turns good & she now uses her rudder like an expert. I highly recommend this kayak!
03-05-2000Submitted by: Thaddeus
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've owned 5 kayaks and have tested several more and I find that the Carolina is the best boat I've owned so far. She's fast, tracks very well without a rudder and feels extremely stable in all conditions. I had a Sea Lion, and I think the Carolina is a safer, more stable yak. The cockpit is comfortable (190# 5'10") and my dog rides in the back (I cut out the small rear hatch and made a custom cockpit for my pooch) My girlfriend got a Carolina too and *LOVES* it. She's new to kayaking and she's already planning a trip to the Keys. If you plan to go out in the ocean, get the rudder option, otherwise you really don't need it.
P.S. - Perception has fixed the bungee problem as far as I can tell.
03-03-2000Submitted by: Alex Williams
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is the first boat I ever owned. I am 100% (completely) satisfied. I have no troubles using the hatchs, no bungee problems, I find that is is pretty easy to turn for a novice like my self. It is very stable, i found 34 golf balls paddling around lake lanier, and didn't tip once. it tracks remarkably well. I feel that this boat will be a good friend to me for along time. the only problem i have is that i am 6'3 205lbs, this is a little tight fitting, and i wish that they had another inch or so to give for pedal space. Other than that this is the perfect boat for anyone who wants to get in to the sport, or who is already in the sport and doesn't want to spend a fortune.
02-25-2000Submitted by: James
- Rating: 10 of 10 Excellent boat. If you are looking for a kayak, but hate buyers' remorse... GET THIS BOAT!!! I have had no problems with the smaller hatch size. I found "creative" ways of packing (i.e. long narrow stuff sacks). If you are a luxury camper and feel the need to bring an 8-man tent and a 4-burner stove, yeah there could be some space issues, but then you shouldn't be using a kayak. I did experience the bungee-popping problem discussed by other carolina owners, but it was easily fixed. I loosened the three-pronged brackets and re-positioned the elastic bands so that they passed around the outside of the bracket. Now, rather than being held only by a single plastic prong that softens up in the sun, the bands are solidly kept in place by the anchoring screw. This only takes a few minutes to do, and I have had no problems since.
01-27-2000Submitted by: Rob Wallace
- Rating: 10 of 10 Very Satisfied! I've paddled quite a bit this summer on the Chesapeake, which can be very ocean-like at times, and even in windy 2-3 foot chop felt very confident. even though the wide hull tends to ride the tops of waves and slap a bit.
Surfs well, with nose high. Front & Rear bulkheads with good - sealing rubber hatch covers. Tracks dead straight. I rarely use the rudder anymore unless in heavy water. Very inexpensive and plastic, so you don't feel bad about dinging it up in shallow creeks. Light enough for 1 person cartopping.
01-24-2000Submitted by: Lee Wilder
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have paddled many different models of sea kayaks at demo days etc., and my choice of the best all round sea kayak is the Carolina. My first sea kayak was a more "high performance" model, a boat that I never felt comfortable in. One day while offshore in my "performance" kayak, a storm blew in. My "high performance" kayak scared me to death. Through many braces and much prayer I made it to shore , vowing to get a more stable craft. The Carolina was my answer. I have taken it out in high winds , huge swells, and breaking surf and it performs like a champ! I feel comfortable taking it anywhere in any situation. Tracking and maneuverability are excellent as the boat is fast for its length. Stability is excellent. Enough said! Take it from someone who has gone the "high performance" route, buy a Carolina. You cant go wrong.
01-18-2000Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is my first kayak and it is the best purchase I have ever made. I am more advanced now, but I will always keep my Carolina around. Tracks great, turns great, is excellent in rough seas and the price is unbeatable. hatches are a little difficult, but the fun you'll have with this kayak far outweighs the minor hatch problem. No! I don't work for perception, but I wish I did they produce an excellent product.
12-02-1999Submitted by: RC51Mike
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've sampled a few boats, longer, shorter, lighter, heavier than the Carolina before I bought mine and I believe it represents the best compromises of any boats in its class. If most people would realistically consider how they will actually use their kayak as compared to how they fantasize using it, there would be even more Carolinas on the water. The stability is good for newer paddlers and the compromise between tracking and maneuverability is spot on for how it will likely be used. Mine will see most of its time spent on meanandering rivers and creeks on the Chesapeake. The hatches are small but it's not much of an inconvenience. There have been complaints about bungies popping out, but mine have nuts and bolts holding them in place. It's entirely comfortable for a day long paddle. Unless you plan on spending piles of money on a kayak, even with the price increase, go buy one right this minute. Oh, yes, it is also a real nice looking kayak.
11-08-1999Submitted by: C.W.
- Rating: 9 of 10 I purchased my Carolina on Saturday morning, and paddled on the lake all afternoon. I found the secondary stability excellent, with motorcycle style leans. The boat feels very fast, agile, and sea worthy. I'm giving the boat a 9 because of the seat which lacks confort and will need padding for extended trips. But thats not going to stop me from saying that this is a wonderful boat. BUY ONE! FYI. The salesman at my boating shop said the Carolina is going up in price about 80 dollars.So if this boat is in consideration, you may want to move on it,and spend the extra 80 somewhere else.
10-16-1999Submitted by: hutchtracker
- Rating: 9 of 10 I added a review back in June and gave the Carolina a 10. I still love this boat, and since have bought another one.[guiding has been good this year in Maine!] I have dropped the rating by one point ONLY because I have run into a few very minor problems storing some gear in the small openings. But, other boats I've tried I could fit gear in but just don't stack up to the Carolina's overall stability coupled with maneuverability.
10-16-1999Submitted by: GL
- Rating: 8 of 10 Every boat should do what it is designed to do, without violating the laws of physics. If I were going to design a cockpit type boat that wouldn't scare off beginers and yet still offered fun for Intermediate paddlers, this is about the best I could hope to do. The boat is faster than a sit on top, while offering the same initial stability and better tracking. It offers good secondary stability and is comfortable to sit in. You can load it up (hatch problem not considered). You can relax and watch the sceanery while the boat offers nothing to struggle against. Now, don't paddle it too fast or it will slap the water somewhat, don't imagine that it will turn on it's axis (even narrower boats have trouble doing that). If you are considering one of the shorter recreational boats, this one will offer a real step up without any real tradeoffs. If former President Bush or Carter wanted to get bragging rights from completing a two day kayak trip, this is the kayak their aids would choose for them. It is a boat fit for a Kennybunkport trip.
08-05-1999Submitted by: Ken Sharpe
- Rating: 9 of 10 Great boat! I just bought a Carolina from Ocean State Adventures (good place with very knowledgeable staff) in Bristol, RI. I had been paddling a Walden Vision. I very dissatisfied with the Walden tracking ( a lot of one armed paddling) and had to put a 20 lb bag of sand in the aft hole to give me any tracking ability at all. The Carolina tracks like an arrow! On my first two trips I went out into Mt Hope Bay in windy choppy conditions. I never had to paddle more than twice in a row on either side to maintain heading and this was with the rudder raised. It is a very comfortable kayak and it is easy to maintain a good pace even in chop. She even surfed quite nicely when I was going with the wind.
07-25-1999Submitted by: Dennis Paine
- Rating: 8 of 10 Bought my Carolina early this spring from LL Beans. (Wife works there) :>) I have paddled canoes for the past dozen years and wanted to expand my paddling to some of the offshore islands on the Maine coast. I also paddle weekly with several friends on various bodies of intercoastal water, rivers and ponds. I have two smaller whitewater kayaks also. The Carolina has met all my expectations +. I bought a spray skirt for wave splash and paddling in the rain. Last week while deer scouting/pond fishing I spent the evening on a pond in the pouring rain. It was amazing how cozy, dry and comfortable I remained with raingear and the spray skirt. Something hard to do in my Mad River canoe. The Carolina tracks very well. I cannot find fault with paddling resistance, 10 miles trips are easily accomplished. I put my 67 year old mother in it last week on a calm pond and couldn't get the smile off her face! At 6', 180 pounds I find the Carolina very well situated for my frame. Yep, I'm pleased and this kayak will satisfy me for quite some time. Hey, when I'm ready to drop a couple of thousand, sure I'd like a fiberglass touring kayak, for a few hundred, the Carolina is a value. Nice tip on spraying silicone on the deck hatches! Doing it tomorrow! Buy one folks, you won't be disappointed. Perception, I will accept gratuities! :>) Dennis.
07-21-1999Submitted by: Jim Lukken
- Rating: 10 of 10 Recently got my Carolina -- and I'm very impressed for all the reasons stated by others. As for the hatches -- I can't make them any bigger -- but you'll find that a light spray of silicone on the underside of the hatch covers makes them infinitely easier to use. The difference is amazing. The people at Perception have turned out a great boat here!
07-19-1999Submitted by: Jason, NC
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've just purchased my 2nd kayak yesterday and got a chance to test drive my new Carolina today. For it's class, this is a great boat. The first thing I noticed about the boat is it's excellent stability. This boat is especially ideal for the novice, and since it's first passenger, my girlfriend, was a beginner, she had no worries with rolling.
Another great quality is the tracking of this boat. Normally I paddle a Dagger Meridian with a skeg, and was quite impressed with how straight the Carolina performed in comparison. Although it doesn't go dead straight, as my Meridian does, it tracks very well, with much less course correction than I expected. The channeled hull on the Carolina works well as intended. If you plan on using this boating only in calm water, the rudder accessory is definitely not needed.
For a novice this is the perfect first boat. You get a large, roomy boat with great performance at a very low price. I was lucky enough to get a brand new Carolina for $500 since the hull was slightly scraped, something that seems to happen anyway the first time you take it out. The only real complaint I see with the boat is the weight, but that's normal for a plastic boat. In regards to the deck fitting flaws that I've read about in the other reviews, I haven't had a chance to check it out yet. Hopefully I got a boat with the improved fittings. :) The hatches are a bit difficult to open, and are small, but I think this is insignificant for a day-tripper. Another big plus... bulkheads... waterproof bulkheads are a big plus on any kayak. If the Carolina did not have them, I would not have bought the boat.
My only suggestion is that if you have $1500-3000 to spend on a first boat like I did, go ahead and get a fiberglass or Kevlar hull. The performance difference is tremendous. This will prevent you from "outgrowing" the boat as you gain experience, thus keeping each outing interesting. However, if you are value minded and/or want just a great boat for a fun day on the water, the Carolina is definitely the boat to buy.
07-12-1999Submitted by: mrainer
- Rating: 9 of 10 I just spoke to Perception about the deck bungeeís popping out of the deck fittings. They told me it was an unanticipated design problem. They used a newly designed tri-clamp deck fitting to hold the bungees on the Carolina. It wasnít until they got out in the field that they realized that they wouldnít hold very well on the curved deck surface.
They redesigned the tri-clamp piece and made it out of a stiffer plastic but they still popped out under pressure because the deck plastic softened in heat and sunlight. Perception apologized for the trouble and told me they would send me replacement deck hardware, at no cost. The replacement hardware is a more traditional fitting like on the deck of the Spectrum. Iím happy with the way they took care of me as a customer.
07-08-1999Submitted by: Andy Szymczak
- Rating: 7 of 10 I just purchased the Carolina for my 15 year old son last week. This past weekend I had the opportunity to try it out myself. The positives are the affordability, tracks well, good initial and secondary stability. The negatives are the hatch covers are quite small and the rigging pops out of the deck hardware.
In comparison to my own kayak (Kit built Cheasapeake 17 made of marine grade mahoney plywood) The Carolina can't hold a candle to it. My boat is 10 lbs. lighter, is far easier to propel across the water (MUCH faster), has large hatch covers and the rigging is solidly attached to the boat. I rate the Carolina a 7 and my boat a 10!
07-07-1999Submitted by: Laurel NH
- Rating: 10 of 10 We purchased two Carolinas this spring and we are very pleased with our selection. The tracking and acceleration are superb and the stability is impressive. We have fished from the boats, and been out in small waves in protected ocean bays.The roomy cockpit and comfortable seat are a plus. Our children aged 10 and 14 are willing to join us on long paddles only if they "get the Carolinas."
07-05-1999Submitted by: mrainer
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have had my Carolina since early spring ('99) and paddle it a couple of times a week. It is truly one of the nicest Kayak's I have ever paddled. I wanted a boat that I could take on weekend river trips, inland lakes and out on Lake Erie. It has exceeded all my expectations in all three conditions. I was initially concerned that I wouldn't be able to keep up with friends in long boats, out on the lake, but the Carolina is very fast I have not had any problems.
It tracks as straight as an arrow and turns easily (no rudder needed). It has very good initial and secondary stability and has a roomy comfortable seat and cockpit, although tall people may find the leg room limiting. The seat back is taller than most and is also comfortable. The cup holder in the seat is about useless.
Although some have complained that the hatch openings are small (they are) they will accommodate most items need for a full day of paddling, the rest can be strapped to the deck. I'm sure that Perception used this hatch design to maintain hull integrity and rigidity (larger openings weaken hull strength) and save cost (hatches are more expensive).
The only complaint that I have is that the deck rigging keeps popping out of the deck hardware. This happens even when applying only minor pressure on the shock cords. I have tightened and retighten the deck hardware only to have it happen again. I must fault Perception for a poor job engineering the deck rigging. If it did not have this problem I would have given it a ten.
If you comparing this boat to any other in its class I'm sure you'll agree that the Carolina is by far the best boat in its price range. Go try one at your local dealer TODAY and BUY IT. You won't be sorry. My other kayak is a Perception Prism (great boat, lots of storage).
06-23-1999Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 Great boat for beginners or the experienced paddler. The "Expedition" model has it all at a great low price. Only con (slight con) are the hatches, they have small opennings and they are a little difficult to open/close.
06-15-1999Submitted by: JD
- Rating: 9 of 10 I am brand new to kayaking. I tried many different brands and models of kayaks and found the Carolina perfectly suited to my needs. I love the stability, manueverabilty, speed and comfort of this kayak! Granted, I haven't tried it on anything but a small lake in fairly calm conditions. I'll be taking it on an extended trip off of Cape Cod later on in the summer and will post my updated review then.
On the negative side, I think the hatch openings are too small and the rubber hatch covers can be difficult to handle and that's what stops me from giving it a 10 out of 10 rating.
Given the relativley low cost of this craft and all of it's fine attributes I highly recommend this kayak (again I am just getting into the sport so take my recommendation for what it's worth!).
06-15-1999Submitted by: Larry Dolloff
- Rating: 10 of 10 Tim's review of the Carolina is right on. These are our first kayaks, my wife and I love it. The only real fault is the hatch opening. There is alot of storeage space but the opening is very small and not easy to use.
06-14-1999Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 PLUSSES of Carolina: 1. Tracks very well in flatwater, bays, moderate whitewaters. 2. Good initial and secondary stability. 3.Comfort- able cockpit and foot braces. 4. Rudder slot in hull can be used as place to lock boat! 5. Bottom hull tracks help grab boat for loading. 6.Quite affordable. 7. Smooth ride over or through small waves with pointy rockered (raised) bow. 8. Relatively low profile means less resistance when windy. MINUSES: 1. Hard to get a locking waterproof seal with stiff rubber hatch covers - esp. when ON water. 2. Hatch cover openings too small for some gear. PERCEPTION: Go to a larger hard 'shell' hatch cover, maybe with an inner flexible cover, and opening! 3. Slow turns, difficult to manuever very tight creeks. 4. At 54 naked pounds quite heavy. 5. Some complaints from others that deck rigging (bungee cord) can pop out of fasteners. 6. Low seat back requires P. cushion, gives limited back support.
Carolina's competing models I'd grade at 4 to 8 score.
06-14-1999Submitted by: Dennis Gonzalez
- Rating: 10 of 10 My wife (kim) and I have had a canoe for a few years and we always wanted to try kayacking. We went out and tried many different boats and when we tried the Carolina it was a perfect match for both of us. We purchased two of them and yhey are extremeny stable, quick on the water, tracks well and is very manuverable. It is far better than anything that we tried in it's price range ($700 Expedition model - no rudder). Needless to say we are extremely pleased with our purchase.
05-17-1999Submitted by: hutchtracker
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have recently aquired a Perception Carolina Kayak. Wow! I am a Registered Maine Master Guide And I am truely impressed! The combination of tracking and turning is unheard of! This is really a state of the art boat.
03-28-1999Submitted by: John
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've been looking for an affordable sea kayak for a long time. I wanted something to paddle down a Michigan river and when it hit a Great Lake (they all hit a Great Lake sooner or later)I wanted to be able to keep on going. I also wanted a front and rear bulkhead and I wanted it to be affordable. Just about any kayak under a grand only had a single bulkehad. I discovered the Perception Carolina at the Rutabaga canoe sale a couple of weeks ago and was amazed to find a double bulkheaded boat for $700. So I got one and I'm very impressed. I've test paddled lots of Daggers and Wilderness Systems boats costing hundred more with just one bulkhead and this one feels as good or better than any of them. Tracks great but turns easily when you lift a knee or sweep. The seat's adjustable and there are knee braces and full deck rigging.
03-02-1999Submitted by: John VT
- Rating: 10 of 10 After canoeing for several years I wanted a kayak. As a beginner to kayaking I immediately liked the "feel" of the 14'6" Carolina and I ended up buying the boat. My first time out was with friends that have the Necky Kyook and the Wilderness Systems Sealution. I found the Carolina very stable, quick to respond and accelerate, tracked well without the rudder, and kept right up with my friends for a 5 mile paddle. The Carolina weighs in at 54 pounds, not as light as my kevlar canoe, but still manageable. Looking forward to improving my kayaking skills to test the boat even further. Something I've not been able to do with kevlar for a long time, I ran the Carolina right on the beach at full speed (yea for plastic). The Carolina is a good value for it's features and merits consideration.
02-11-1999Submitted by: Scott Church
- Rating: 10 of 10 I love this boat and would highly recommend it to anyone, beginner or expert. It is very ,very stable, fast and dry. Turns easily without a rudder. Affordable (Basic $600) Drop what you are doing and go out and buy one of these right now. This is a brand new model. I was out in some waves and never once felt like I was going to roll. Cockpit had about a thimbleful of water after a day's hard paddling with no skirt! I just can't say enough about this boat! No, I don't work for perception....
Don't Miss the Paddling.net Weekly Newsletter!
90,000+ people can't be wrong!
The Paddling.net Newsletter is a must if you like to canoe or kayak! Each week it is packed with great articles, photos, product reviews, and special features. Better yet, we promise not to sell your email address to anyone; that's right ZERO spam! Sign up today and find out what you've been missing!