Submitted: 06-12-2007 by ADW
I own a 2006 Carolina 14.5. I am 5ft 9inches, and muscled 180lbs. I had paddled a rental 13.5 Carolina for a 3 day excursion in the inland waterway north of Cape Canaveral and basically that is what sold me on the boat, I just wanted a little more length. I have taken one long trip and many day trips with the 14.5. I have considerable canoe paddling experience including in the ocean and class II to III whitewater. I want to stress this as this was my first long trip in a kayak.
The long trip was 7 days in the Everglades, four days were spent in the ocean and 3 in the wilderness waterway. I had quite bad weather the first day, and do not have a skirt, but because of it maneuverability and design, I only filled it once during an 8 hr paddle. It stayed afloat and upright so I simply continued to paddle to an island where I got out, dumped it, sponged it, and continued. With a skirt I think I would have simply ignored the breaking waves and punched through rather than try and correct for each break. Oh yeah, my gear in the hatches stayed dry.
I carried 8+ gallons of freshwater, food, camping gear, and some fishing gear. I still had some room at the beginning for more gear. I only had one bag on the deck in front of me for the cameras, sunscreen and lunch. It tracked well even with the weight.
If I was in freshwater with a water filter, I think I could have carried enough food for multiple weeks.
Getting in or out from the elevated platforms (chickee’s) required some balance as I basically had to stand in the boat while holding the platform, but was not difficult.
My only con is the foot room. I wear shoe size 9.5 and thought it was a bit small. Stretching the legs was difficult in the boat. Otherwise I love this boat, it is easy for me to lift to the SUV top, rotomold plastic can take a beating. Handles weather great. It is still small enough that a strong stroke can effect quick maneuvering.