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Buyers Guide & Information

Perception Kayak Reviews

Known for reliability, innovation, and quality, we have reviewed all the Perception kayak information you need for a variety of models.

by

Buyers Guide & Information

Perception Kayak Reviews

Known for reliability, innovation, and quality, we have reviewed all the Perception kayak information you need for a variety of models.

by PITeam

by PITeam

Water sports have been making a splash in both the casual and competitive scene for a while, but it can be a hard sport to get into. There are so many specific types of kayaks out there to choose from; sit in, sit on top, white water, fishing, touring, tandem, inflatable, and more.

Not only that, but there are a ton of brands, specialist or general, so it can be hard to know which is best for you. Of all the Perception kayak reviews, this one is perfect for helping you learn which Perception kayak is ideal for you.

Image

Product

Length

Type

Check Price

Perception Sound 9.5 | Sit Inside Kayak For Adults...

Perception Sound 9.5

9 Feet 6 Inches

Sit-In

Perception Prodigy XS Sit-Inside Kayak for Kids...

Perception Prodigy XS

10 Feet

Sit-In

Perception Pescador Pro 10 | Sit on Top Fishing...

Perception Pescador Pro 10

10 Feet 6 Inches

Sit On Top

Perception Rhythm Sit in Kayak for Touring - 11.0

Perception Rhythm Sit in Kayak for Touring

11 Feet

Sit-In

Perception Expression Sit-Inside Kayak for Touring...

Perception Expression 11.5

11 Feet 6 Inches

Sit-In

Perception Kayak Access Sit On Top for Recreation

Perception Access 11.5

11 Feet 6 Inches

Sit On Top

Perception Pescador Pilot 12 | Sit on Top Fishing...

Perception Pescador Pilot 12

12 Feet

Sit On Top

Perception Conduit | Sit Inside Kayak For Adults |...

Perception Conduit

13 Feet

Sit-In

Perception Kayak Rambler Sit On Top for Recreation

Perception Rambler 13.5

13 Feet 6 Inches

Sit On Top Tandem

Perception Kayak Carolina Sit Inside for...

Perception Carolina 14

14 Feet

Sit-In

Perception Kayaks History 

Founded in the early 1970s, Perception kayaks are one of the oldest modern kayaking brands. Perception pioneered the modern rotational, or roto-molded, plastic kayaks, which transformed the kayaking industry into what it is today. While Perception initially specialized in white water and recreational kayaks, the acquisition of Aquaterra allowed the brand to branch out into touring kayaks. Now, Perception has a wide range of kayaks to choose from and take pride in helping the general public get into kayaking.


Why Choose Perception Kayaks?

Perception is an experienced and trusted brand that produces quality kayaks that are durable, innovative, and perfect for beginners and veterans alike. Perception designs, makes, and tests all of their kayaks in the US and have a wide range of sizes, designs, and features to choose from. A brand that has lasted for nearly fifty years has to be doing something right.


Choosing the Best Perception Kayak

1. Where will you be using your Kayak?

While some kayaks are versatile enough to work well in different water types, most kayaks are suited to different kinds of water. Where will you be using your Perception kayak? Calm lakes and rivers? Coastal water? White water rapids? Will you kayak in salt or freshwater locations? Deciding where you will kayak most often (before searching) will help you narrow down your kayak choice.

2. Do you want to Sit-In or Sit-On-Top?

A sit-in kayak is, as the name suggests, a kayak with an enclosed cockpit. Sit-in kayaks are great for those who kayak in colder conditions or rough ocean water. Sit on top kayaks have open cockpits that are easy to board and exit and are perfect for warmer weather and flatter water.

3. How long do you want the boat to be?

That depends on what kind of kayaking you want to do. As a rule of thumb, longer boats cruise efficiently and have more storage, but smaller hulls turn faster. A good kayak for white water rafting is around 7-9 feet long. Sea kayaks should be at least 14 feet long and up to 18 feet if you plan to paddle in open and rough water. Recreational kayaks are often between 9 and 14 feet long. Touring kayaks are on the long side, averaging between 14-18 feet. A surf kayak typically ranges from 9-11 feet, and sports kayaks are 10-14 feet long. 

4. Do you want a lightweight or heavy-duty model?

This is another tough question for newbies to answer. Lightweight kayaks are great for flat sheltered areas and are often easy to use and transport. Heavy-duty kayaks are better for more windy or rough conditions and those who want to play sports. Once again, knowing your preferred kayaking activity and location is best for deciding these questions.

5. What extra features are important to you?

These days, kayaks are more than just a shell with a handle or two. They can come with all sorts of features to help make your kayaking sessions a smooth experience:

  • Bungee or dry storage                                   
  • Navigation tools
  • Reflective lifelines
  • Safety features
  • Flotation bags
  • Spray skirts
  • Seat cushioning
  • Handles
  • Dashboard
  • Leg padding
  • Footrests

6. How much do you want to spend?

This is one of the most important questions to answer before searching. Take a careful look at your budget and find a kayak that suits your needs and costs less than you planned. Kayaks can cost anywhere from $200 to $3,000 depending on the make, model, and extra features. For example, inflatable and plastic models are great for beginners and cost anywhere from $200-$1,000. On the other hand, sea kayaks often cost anywhere from $1000-$3,000 and are great for intermediate to professional level kayakers. Read on to see some examples and decide which is right for you.


10 Best Perception Kayaks Reviewed

1. Perception Sound 9.5

Best recreational fishing kayak

Weight of Unit

38 lbs

Type

Sit-In

Length

9 Feet 6 inches

Width

28 inches

Max Load Capacity

300 lbs.

Body Type

Polyethylene

If you love both recreational kayaking and fishing, this is the kayak for you. Available in five different designs, the Perception Sound kayak is versatile enough to take for a casual paddle and intensive fishing sessions. Its shape and all in one leak-proof design mean that the kayak is stable enough to stand and cast a line on.

The ergonomic seat is comfortable and has an adjustable backrest for your personal comfort. With plenty of leg padding and two adjustable footrests mean that people of any size and experience ultimate comfort in nature. The molded-in dashboard and ample rear open storage mean that all of your equipment and fishing gear are within easy reach. Bright bungee cords keep your belongings upright and in place to prevent losses or spillage, and molded-in handles in the front and rear make it easy to transport the kayak from your home to the water.

Rod holders keep your fishing poles in place and leave your hands free to grab gear or enjoy the water. This Perception kayak 9.5 is priced at the lower end of the market and can often be found on sale. If you want to indulge in two hobbies with one kayak, this is the model that you want.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to handle
  • Large rear storage with bungee handles
  • 5 colors
  • Built-in dashboard

Cons

  • No dry storage
  • Does not come with a paddle

2. Perception Prodigy XS

Best perception kayak for kids

Weight of Unit

26 lbs.

Type

Sit-in

Length

10 Feet

Width

23 inches

Max Load Capacity

150 lbs.

Body Type

Polyethylene

If your little one has started learning the ropes, the Perception Prodigy XS is the best Perception kayak for kids. Available in four cool designs, this model is lightweight enough for young teens to pick up or move on land and is even easier to handle in the water. The cockpit is open, making it easy to enter and exit during paddling sessions. 

With comfortable adjustable seat and footrests, this kayak can grow alongside your child and their abilities. While the Prodigy XS is best on calm rivers and lakes, it can withstand a small amount of choppy water. One big drawback for those looking to purchase their teen's first kayak is that this model does not come with a paddle. 

However, since children grow quickly, this is a blessing in disguise. Perception's Prodigy XS costs can be considered a lot of money for a child's kayak. However, it is a quality investment that should last for around five years or so, perhaps even longer, depending on how tall your kid becomes over time.

Pros

  • 3 cool designs
  • Comfortable interior
  • An open cockpit that is easy to enter and exit
  • Lightweight model – lightest on this list
  • Easy to handle

Cons

  • Does not come with a paddle

3. Perception Pescador Pro 10

Best value perception angler kayak

Weight of Unit

57 lbs.

Type

Sit on Top

Length

10 feet 6 inches

Width

32 inches

Max Load Capacity

325 lbs.

Body Type

Polyethylene

For fishers looking to find a great deal on a new fishing kayak, look no further than the Pescador Pro 10. This Perception sits on top kayak is an angler kayak that is versatile enough to glide across different water types. With 6 different designs to choose from, you are sure to turn some heads on the water.

The Pescador Pro 10 is not all talk though; with integrated accessory rails on each gunwale, large open front and rear storage, and a unique, comfortable chair, you have everything you could ever need in one package. The lawn style mesh chair is breathable and adjustable while there are two large storage spots complete with bungee cords.

This kayak is both sleek and stable on the water and is easy enough to maneuver to your preferred fishing spot. That being said, this is the third heaviest model on this list with the third-highest weight capacity, meaning that it may not be the fastest with all of your gear loaded up. The price tag seems steep, but many more expensive models offer lower quality constructions and less extra features. For the best value Perception angler kayak, this is it.

Pros

  • 6 color options
  • Stable
  • Comfortable and easy to handle
  • Lawn style adjustable chair
  • Large open storage in front and rear

Cons

  • Some users report their kayaks arriving with scratches
  • Does not come with a paddle

4. Perception Rhythm Sit in Touring

Versatile Model

Weight of Unit

47 lbs.

Type

Sit-In

Length

11 Feet

Width

28. 5 inches

Max Load Capacity

275 lbs.

Body Type

Polyethylene

One of the lighter and longer models on this list, The Perception Rhythm is a great choice for long touring trips. All of the classic Perception features are included: plenty of bungee rigging, an ergonomic, comfortable, and adjustable seat, adjustable footpegs, and a flotation bulkhead. The spacious sit-in cockpit provides more stability and warmth when paddling in rougher or colder waters.

The generous dry hatch has a strong seal to protect your belongings in bad weather or the event of the kayak capsizing. While there is only one color option on Amazon, there are even more on Perception’s website. Easy handles and a light weight mean that this kayak is easy to transport from the garage to the water. In terms of price, this kayak is often priced in the mid-range of the market.

If you need some more accessories, Perception has plenty of matching pieces of equipment to give you a hand on the water. While this does not come with a paddle,  it is still an excellent option for your next camping trip.

Pros

  • A generous rear dry hatch and bungee rigging
  • Comfortable seat and leg padding
  • Adjustable footpegs
  • Spacious cockpit

Cons

  • Only one color option on Amazon
  • Does not come with a paddle

5. Perception Expression 11.5

Best perception Kayak for Light Touring

Weight of Unit

44 lbs.

Type

Sit-In

Length

11 Feet 6 inches

Width

25.75 inches

Max Load Capacity

250 lbs.

Body Type

Polyethylene

If you prefer going on shorter tours that last a day or two, we would recommend the Perception Expression as the best Perception kayak for light touring. Perfect for beginners and pros alike, there are three designs to choose from and standard Perception features on each one: a quality seat with cushy ergonomic padding, adjustable footrests, molded-in handles, and plenty of bungee storage.

The easy entry cockpit is spacious, and sprays skirt compatible for those braving wetter conditions. The adjustable seat has an adjustable backrest and bottom as well as thigh padding for ultimate comfort while on the go. This Perception sit in kayak’s large dry storage hatch has a superb seal that will keep your belongings away from the water.

In terms of tracking, the TruTrak skeg keeps your kayak on the straight and narrow with ease and is easily controlled from the cockpit. We recommend waiting for a sale to get the most bang for your buck as it can cost close to $1000.

Pros

  • TruTrak skeg with cockpit control
  • Plenty of storage
  • Light for the size
  • Easy to handle
  • Fast with good tracking

Cons

  • Has arrived with minimal packaging and scratches
  • No paddle included

6. Perception Access 11.5

Best perception recreational kayak

Weight of Unit

55 lbs.

Type

Sit on Top

Length

11 Feet 6 inches

Width

31 inches

Max Load Capacity

300 lbs.

Body Type

Polyethylene

Available in four different colors, the Perception Access 11.5 is an excellent recreational kayak. The molded-in high seat has a leg lifter to increase your comfort while on the water. Being a sit on top, this particular model is easy to exit and enter and has plenty of molded-in storage wells complete with bungee cords.

Stable and easy to maneuver, this kayak not only has integrated fishing rod holders but also molded front rear and side handles and a replaceable skid plate. There is even a drink holder to enjoy your favorite beverage while out and about. As with all Perception kayaks, the shell is UV, abrasion, and impact resistant.

Thanks to its length, this kayak has enough room to fit a small-to-medium dog on board along with your gear. Perception access kayak reviews often praise its design and movement in the water. This kayak is best suited for calmer water and is available for a mid-range price. This offers value for money for a high-quality recreational kayak.

Pros

  • Contoured high seat back and cushioned seat
  • Built-in drink holder
  • Stable and easy to maneuver
  • Can accommodate small pets
  • Replaceable skid plate with decent tracking

Cons

  • Minimal packaging has allowed damage in transport in some instances

7. Perception Pescador Pilot 12

Best perception pedal drive kayak

Weight of Unit

85 lbs.

Type

Sit on Top

Length

12 Feet

Width

33.75 inches

Max Load Capacity

475 lbs.

Body Type

Polyethylene

For those with a higher budget looking to make a splash on the water, look no further than the Perception Pescador Pilot 12. Available in six different color designs, this is no ordinary fishing kayak; it’s a Perception pedal kayak. The Pescador Pilot 12 is a pedal-driven vessel with a quality pilot drive pedal system that is easy to drive and access.

There is plenty of front and rear open storage in this Perception fishing kayak as well as extra storage under the removable captain’s seat. Other features include four rod holders, gear tracks, and fish finder consoles, as well as two integrated accessory rails for even more gear and tech. The mesh lawn chair-style seat has two different levels of adjustment for maximum comfort on the water.

Best for calm lakes, ponds, and rivers, this kayak is stable enough to withstand a standing cast and has a 360-degree turn radius. While this is the heaviest and most expensive kayak on this list, it is certainly worth it for fishing aficionados.

Pros

  • 475-pound weight capacity
  • Pedal driven
  • Integrated accessory rails
  • Four rod holders
  • Drink holder

Cons

  • Heavy – difficult to transport
  • Expensive due to extra parts

8. Perception Conduit

Best rated Sit-In Perception Kayak

Weight of Unit

51 lbs.

Type

Sit-In

Length

13 Feet

Width

26.5 inches

Max Load Capacity

295 lbs.

Body Type

Polyethylene

Another excellent touring kayak, Perception Conduit 13 kayak reviews praise its speed and handling in the water. Available in three colors, the Perception Conduit is a fantastic choice for those looking to sit inside their touring kayak. Despite its incredible length, the Conduit is lightweight and comes with multiple soft-touch handles to make transportation a breeze.

This model comes with many classic Perception features, such as ergonomic and comfortable adjustable seating, generous front and rear dry and open storage, adjustable footrests, spacious and comfortable cockpit, and a flotation bulkhead. The hull is UV, impact, and abrasion-resistant as all Perception kayaks are so that it can keep up with your active lifestyle no matter the weather.

This extra stable kayak with excellent first and second stability is great for beginners to get their bearings on the water. Perception’s Conduit kayak is the best-rated sit-in touring kayak and comes at a reasonable price. While some customers have noted the lack of paddle and little packaging, we think that this is a great model for new and seasoned kayakers alike.

Pros

  • Fast and versatile
  • Spacious cockpit
  • Front and rear dry storage
  • Secondary stability is good

Cons

  • The packaging is not great

9. Perception Rambler 13.5

Best Tandem perception Kayak

Weight of Unit

78 lbs.

Type

Sit on Top tandem

Length

13 Feet 6 inches

Width

34 inches

Max Load Capacity

550 lbs.

Body Type

Polyethylene

If you prefer to get out on the water with a buddy or two, then a tandem kayak may be perfect for you. The Rambler 13.5 is the best Perception tandem kayak for those looking to do more recreational kayaking. Available in two colors, the Rambler is a sit on top kayak that has two comfortable molded-in seats and backrests that are both removable and adjustable.

There are plenty of footrest options to accommodate people of any size, and there is some bungee storage at the back for equipment. Transportation is easy for two people, thanks to the multiple handles. For those with small children or furry friends, there is another built-in seat at the center.

Whether you prefer lakes, slow-moving rivers, or light surf, the Rambler has your needs covered. The open cockpit is comfortable to enter and exit and the kayak is fully US Coast compliant with its hull identification number. If you want a secure paddling experience with your loved ones, we recommend putting aside you dollars and waiting for a sale to get even more for your money.

Pros

  • Two molded-in seats
  • Room for a kid or dog
  • Suitable for various waterways
  • Large rear bungee storage

Cons

  • Heavy model
  • Buy paddle separately

10. Perception Carolina 14

Top of the Range

Weight of Unit

53 lbs.

Type

Sit-In

Length

14 Feet

Width

24.5 inches

Max Load Capacity

300 lbs.

Body Type

Polyethylene

The longest model on this list, many Perception Carolina 14.5 kayak reviews love its quality and more than reasonable pricing. Available in four different designs, the Carolina comes some excellent features to keep you safe and comfortable while paddling. There are two generous dry hatches as well as bungee rigging in the front and rear for your equipment and plenty of handles for transportation.

Despite its long length, the Carolina is only 53 pounds, making carrying it from storage to the water a breeze. In the spacious cockpit are a comfortable and adjustable seating system, adjustable footrests and knee and thigh padding for maximum comfort.

For those who want to keep warm and dry, the cockpit is spray skirt compatible. Perfect for lakes, ponds, and calm ocean surf, this top of the range kayak can hold up to 300 pounds and has an integrated flotation bulkhead to keep you afloat. The kayak is fast and versatile enough to provide a lasting experience for you and your loved ones.

Pros

  • Four color options
  • Front and rear open storage
  • One dry storage unit
  • Tracks well and glides smooth
  • Stable and quick

Cons

  • On the expensive side

Comparing with Other Brands

While Perception is a highly respected brand in the kayaking world, it does have its fair share of market competition. Dagger is one of Perception's oldest competitors, and both provide exceptional kayaks for similar prices. Many customer reviews note that Perception provides higher quality kayaks than Pelican and Oru. Overall, Perception kayaks are stronger models that offer plenty of features; they are even recyclable. What more could you want?


Essential Kayaking Accessories

Of course, a kayak is not the only thing needed if you are planning to hit the water. There are various Perception kayak accessories to choose from for your next adventure.

  • Paddles
    The other key component in kayaking, a paddle is a tool that allows you to propel yourself through the water while kayaking.
  • Anchor Trolleys
    An anchor trolley is a kit that allows kayakers to anchor their kayaks safely once they have reached their destination.
  • Paddle Holders
    As the name implies, paddle holders are metal or plastic components that grip your paddle and free up both of your hands.
  • Rudders
    Another important but not necessary kayaking accessory, rudders attach to the bottom of the kayak and help you glide straight even in rough water.
  • Life Vest (PFD)
    An essential kayaking accessory, a life vest is a wearable flotation device that is designed to keep your body afloat if or when you enter the water.
  • Cockpit Cover
    Best used when storing or not using your kayak, cockpit covers are simple plastic, wood, or metal boards that cover your cockpit to prevent debris or animals from getting inside your kayak.
  • Repair Kit/Patch Kit
    It is always good to be prepared for anything, and repair kits can help. These kits can help patch up a scratch, hole, or other kinds of damage on kayaks to help keep you safe on the water.

Kayaking Safety Tips

Getting out in nature is great for your health, but kayaking can also be dangerous, thanks to unpredictable weather and water currents. We have covered essential tips in our Essential Kayaking Tips For First-Time Paddlers piece, but there are some more precautions to bear in mind while preparing for your next kayaking trip:

  1. 1
    Dress and prepare for the weather in your kayaking area
  2. 2
    Follow local boating rules
  3. 3
    Don’t become intoxicated while kayaking
  4. 4
    Stay below the maximum weight capacity of your kayak
  5. 5
    Seek qualified instruction before going on solo trips
  6. 6
    Notify an official or loved one of your route, activity plan, and estimated time of return before setting off
  7. 7
    Stick to your planned route and activities
  8. 8
    Wear a helmet while paddling in a surf zone
  9. 9
    Stay hydrated and bring energizing snacks
  10. 10
    Do not litter or dump things in the water
  11. 11
    Research currents and shoreline conditions when kayaking in a new location
  12. 12
    Do not push yourself too hard – stick to your skills and experience range
  13. 13
    Bring an experienced kayaker along to new areas

Care & Maintenance

It is true that Perception kayaks are durable and built to last, but you can help them live longer by giving your model proper care and maintenance regularly. Roto-molded kayaks need the least maintenance, but make sure to use a rigid bar sport rack and a kayak cradle to transport and store your kayak on a car. This is to ensure that the heated and mouldable plastic does not temporarily deform.

For composite kayaks, which are often made from fiberglass or Kevlar laminate, you need to put in a little more work. Buff away scratches or superficial abrasions with a rubbing compound and make sure to pick up a composite repair kit to prepare for harsh impacts and resin fractures.

In terms of cleaning, a quick but thorough spray of clean water is all it takes. However, sometimes, you may need to wash your kayak down with mild soap and water before rinsing and leaving the kayak out to dry. Always inspect your kayak for debris, scratches, or punctures both before and after each trip. To protect your kayak’s design, use an ultraviolet protectant.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are Perception kayaks made of?

Depending on the model, Perception kayaks can be made of polyethylene, fiberglass, or Kevlar laminate. Accessories and other features can be made of foam, plastic, or metal.

How much weight can a Perception kayak hold?

The maximum weight capacity of a Perception kayak ranges from 150 to 550 pounds depending on the model.

Can I replace or upgrade my perception kayak seat?

It is possible to purchase a new seat from your local Perception dealer or on sites such as Amazon.

Do Perception Kayaks come with warranties?

The hulls have a 5-year limited warranty while parts and accessories come with a 1-year limited warranty.

How do I contact Perception kayaks’ customer service hotline?

You can find help on Perception’s website or by calling 888-52-KAYAK between 9 am and 5 pm Eastern standard time.

Where is a good place to buy Perception Kayaks online?

Perception kayaks can be purchased from Perception’s website or on Amazon. We recommend Amazon for their fast shipping and outstanding customer service.


Conclusion

Perception has earned the respect of the kayaking community thanks to its quality kayaks, reasonable prices, and years of experience. After reading this list, it is easy to see why. Of all the Perception kayaks we reviewed, we would recommend the Perception Conduit or the Perception Pescador Pilot 12 thanks to their quality, versatility, and design. If you would like to keep shopping around, please see our other kayaking guides or kayak buyer’s guides for more options and information.

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