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I LOVE this boat. Have had it 2 seasons so far (still plan a few more trips this fall, weather permitting) and have never had a problem. I paddle mostly small lakes, streams and rivers here in Upstate NY, and have taken this boat all over the southern half of the Adirondack Park. liked it so much I went back to Dick's and bought another exactly like it for my wife.
I found that it took me a few miles to get the feel for the boat, because it didn't track as well as my cheapy 10 footer (that boat has a discernible keel to it from bow to stern) and wind was an issue.
I paddled over 100 miles in the boat last year, in every condition from calm to a brisk wind and 6-8 inch chop with no problems. Over last winter i decided to add a rudder kit and WOW, what a difference. Unhappy with the idea of losing the 'locked in' feeling of fixed foot braces I opted to also purchase 'smart trac' foot pedals, which remain in position (you steer with small peddles fixed to the top of the traditional foot braces, so you can lock in, focus on your stroke, and steer around obstacles or correct course with a push of the toes). The boat is SO much more civilized with the rudder. Loved the rudder and steering controls so much I upgraded my wife's boat with the same setup (about $250 with the rudder & peddle kit together) and she loves it.
I am a big guy, 5'10" and close to 275, and I can get in & out of this boat with no problem. The seat is excellent, and with the roominess of the cockpit I can even sit cross-legged if I want to take a break. I've loaded it up and taken it camping with no problems. The initial and secondary stability are terrific, I've never tipped despite some hairy moments with large boat wakes on a wind swept lake. The boat has a lot of glide and is a joy to paddle. Typical trips range from spending a few hours poking around a small lake to day-long, 18 mile paddles up the Kunjamuk River, and the more time I spend in the boat the more I love it. It does what a rec boat should, with performance more like a light touring boat.
If you are looking for a step up from smaller, wider (slower) boats, but don't want to give up a big cockpit with legroom and the stability of a wide rec boat, this is one you should paddle.
I used the kayak off the coast of Maine this year for some island excursions and with the rudder it was a breeze to maneuver thru the chop and wind. Now I know there's much better kayaks for coastal use but for the cost, this is a great place to start, you can always upgrade.
Overall for the average recreational kayaker who wants something durable, works well and reasonably priced it is a great buy.
At 13 feet this boat is a great size and has versatility to handle a variety of conditions for a larger paddler. I'm 6'1" and 155 lbs. It is a bit heavy. Seat feels flimsy but is comfortable.
The boat tracks very well and easily to make some distance without a lot of work. It is very easy to load. One thing that I wish was included was a drain plug.
You really can't go wrong with this easy boat, just get in and go enjoy your favorite river.
This kayak is made of a durable material and withstands being pulled up on shore sometimes rocky pebbles resulting in only minor scratches. It tracks fairly well for an inexpensive kayak. The cockpit has a medium size opening so I don't have any trouble entering it. It also has footrest, however, they aren't padded so requires some footwear so your feet don't hurt pushing against them. The color is orange and yellow which is easily visible on the water. This one also has 2 storage areas to contain your gear and also straps across the top to stash a jacket.
The cons are there is no drain plug so if you get water in you must either sponge it out or tip it over ( it weighs 50 lbs.). The seat isn't very well padded and can cause some hip pain on long treks. I add a 1" cushion which helps immensely. Also, the seat back doesn't stay in its' track. This is very flimsy.
All in all, I'm satisfied and would recommend it for the price. If Perception corrected the few cons I mentioned, I would be willing to pay a little more.
I have noticed a few people complain about the comfort of the seat. I guess I am not going to complain about it although I have sat in more comfortable seats. I do start to get a little sore when paddling for hours on way to a campsite, but I think I would in almost any kayak seat.
In my opinion this a great kayak and if you're looking for a kayak in this price range, I would highly recommend this one.
The lack of accessories is also completely outweighed by this boat's wonderful handling properties. Having only used such smaller rec boats as a Swifty, Otter, and Future Beach Fusion, this kayak is a complete dream. While the others plow through the water, this slices. Of course, this boat does not compare to much more expensive boats, but it is amazing for its class. The extra $200 - $300 worth of length and design that gives this boat such performance over the rec boats is completely justified.
Turning radius and ease is also superior to boats of similar price, the 13 foot length is just long enough to provide good tracking and yet short enough to facilitate sharp turns, especially when the boat is on edge.
These handling descriptions apply to my personal experience on flat water, and I have not used the kayak on chop over 6 inches. According to other reviews, though, it will handle substantial waves satisfactorily.
From my experience, however, this is fast boat, and I am sure that an adept paddler will be able to keep up with a touring group quite well, especially in less windy conditions. If wind proves to be troublesome, however, one may add a Perception rudder kit to the rudder-ready fittings on the stern for $175 on Amazon.
I am exceptionally pleased with this boat, as I am sure any beginner, intermediate, and a few advanced paddlers would think.
When I first started using this kayak I had a really difficult time with its tracking. It seemed to wander all over the place. I have gotten much better with it over time and now feel that most of those issues were due to me as much as to the kayak.
Aside from two problems (described below), I have really enjoyed this boat. Like all plastic boats, it is very durable. It can hold a pretty good bit of gear. The seat is very comfortable and quite adjustable.
Now I should point out the negatives. First is a minor issue. The rear bulkhead leaked. When a lot of water would get into the cockpit, it would flow under the rear bulkhead and wet the contents of the rear compartment. I had to reseal it myself to take care of this. The second problem was much more of an ordeal. The seat has a back which is adjustable and which is able to pivot forward and backward for adjustability and storage. It pivots on what I would call a knuckle joint, which is held in place underneath by a strip of plastic that is riveted in place. On mine, this strip of plastic would easily bend out of the way in use, allowing the seat post to fall though to the bottom of the kayak. This would both shorten the seat and pin it in place where it could not pivot. The only way to get I back into position was to remove the seat entirely and force it back into place. I tried to talk to Perception's warranty department. They were unwilling to help me directly but insisted that I take the boat back to Dick's. Even getting the boat from Dick's originally was a weeks long ordeal, so I was unwilling to do that. In the end I replaced the strip of plastic with a half inch think piece of aluminum bar stock. I have not had a problem since.
I paid 550 for it at Dicks. I feel as if my money was worth it, and I know I have plenty of padding days ahead of me. Perception has always had a good reputation; therefore, I have confidence in this yak.
*8/10 due to the seat
I'm 5'9" and 200 lbs and I've been paddling for a few years, mainly in 9' 6" rec boats and also in a canoe. My main reason for wanting this particular boat is for flat water rivers, reservoirs, and inland lakes (not the Great Lakes). I wanted to be able to more easily travel longer distances on flat rivers especially all while hauling the things my kids bring when we go paddling.
It weighs about 51 lbs, which isn't bad to get onto the roof rack of the car, and being about the same thickness as the rec boats it rides nicely on it's side along with the rec boats. The Kayak Karrier handles are shaped nicely to give a comfortable grip when carrying it too.
When getting into the boat I appreciate the texturing they've added to the top of the decks because I sit on the back deck and then put my feet in, then slide into the cockpit so as to not drag my keel on the rocks. The bottom of the hull is more rounded than the rec boats which makes it less stable but easier to edge which is really nice. When I got it up to speed I decided to see just how far I could edge it and I was able to shift my weight far enough onto each cheek alternately to bring the edge of the cockpit right down to the water and maintain that position while moving. I like to edge while turning but it turns well while sitting straight up but of course it takes a greater radius to do it in. Something else I really like is that the attachment points for the deck bungies are molded above the deck instead of simply having holes drilled into it, thus preventing water from getting through and dripping onto your legs. The footpegs are the same style as I was used to in my rec boats (slide-lock style), and I'm quite happy with them. The seat hasn't gotten the best of reviews but it is height adjustable, and has a strap to adjust the angle. I paddled for 3 1/2 hours and didn't feel any better or worse than any other time I've paddled for that long.
The day I was out was pretty windy for the first half of the trip so I decided to try getting hit from all directions by paddling in large circles out in the middle of the reservoir. The waves were about 6" tall and coming with great frequency. When going straight into or away from the waves the ride was really smooth and of course with them coming perpendicularly I'd bobble back and forth but I never felt as though I'd turn over. Quartering just required corrective strokes to keep on track. The boat has all the points molded into it to add a rudder if you want but so far I don't feel like I'll be needing it.
I didn't have waves washing over the storage hatches so I can't vouch for their water-tightness or not but there is ample storage if I felt like camping out of it.
If I could have anything different for this boat I'd add thigh braces and a small day hatch on the rear deck that I could reach while sitting in the cockpit. Maybe have the cockpit molded in a way that thigh braces could be added by the user if they wanted them similar to how you can add a rudder if you feel the need. I used a splash deck with mesh pockets and my pfd has pockets so I don't HAVE to have a day hatch, but I'd like to have one.
Overall I feel this boat is perfect for someone wanting to paddle flat water trips on inland waterways. As soon as time permits I'll be taking it to a river to see how it does on some moving water.
Stability was very good, and with the hard chine, it edges very nicely, making the boat maneuver more like a shorter boat. Paddling hard resulted in very little yaw, which helps with tracking and glide.
I think there is plenty of dry storage space, and yes a little water got in, I think most from hosing the kayak off when I got home. The seat is comfortable, and offers a lot of adjustment. I wish it had thigh braces, but I think I can work with the foot braces and back rest to get a good hold of the kayak.
Overall, for the money, I think this kayak earns a 9. Tracking in tailwind could be better, but I don't paddle much in wind, so not an issue really. Also, thigh braces would have earned it a 10, but would have also increased the cost. I recommend this to anyone looking to tour some small lakes or deep slower moving creeks/rivers. If you have a problem with tracking, a rudder kit can help take care of that!
+ handles well for a boat its size, is fairly maneuverable and quite stable.
+ its hardy. I pulled in one day after a sudden rainstorm struck. As I was loading the yak onto my car a gust of wind struck and slammed it onto the pavement. There was barely a scratch on it. This is very comforting to know.
+ it tracks pretty well on flat water and on waves.
+ it's pretty light for its size. I have like zero upper body strength and can still carry this 51 lb boat for short distances.
+ roomy cockpit. I am able to take my 10 lb dog out with me and we are both comfortable. I wouldn't try it with a large breed dog though.
+ storage. This model has both stern and bow hatches, which is good because I like to go stay out all day and even enjoy kayak camping
+ glides easily through water. I can stay out on it with little effort on my part.
- the seat is ridiculously uncomfortable. When I'm out I like to be out all day and usually by the end of the day my lower back is sore and bruised from the uncomfortable seat. This is the first yak I've ever had where this has been an issue. Most (Old Town, Pelican, to name a couple) have been so comfortable I could sleep in it if I wanted.
- The hatch covers are rubber. In the heat of the day they are very easy to slip on and off, but in cold weather, they are a bear to get back on. They are such a pain in the ass to put back on that I leave them off in cold weather.
Overall this is an excellent kayak, one I would recommend to friends and family. However, the uncomfortable seat is bad enough that it prohibits me from giving it the full 10 rating.
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