Submitted: 06-06-2008 by Reding
Two quick notes to start with.
First off, the Patriot I purchased is under the Perception label but every photo/spec I can find online says Mainstream makes them. Second, the only reason I gave an 8 and not higher is that I only have one other kayak to compare the Patriot to.
Now that I have that out of the way all I can say is "wow!" (Ok, maybe more than just one word.)
In March of 2008, I stopped at the local MC Sports and saw they had the Mainstream Streak. At that time the Streak seemed like the kayak for me. I slowly started saving up for one. The more time went by though, the more I realized the lines on the Streak weren't quite what I wanted, and the storage space didn't seem quite up to what I was hoping for.
Today I got to work and found a friend had left me a clipping from this week's MC Sports ad. In lovely full colour was a beautiful looking Perception Patriot in shades of blue. The length was longer than what I originally thought I wanted, but the more I dug around online (took me hours just to find the reviews on here for the Mainstream Patriot) the more I found good reviews and listings for the Mainstream Patriot. After studying what pictures I could find, and specification listings, I concluded the two 'yaks were more than likely one and the same. As soon as I was finished at work I stopped at the store and bought my first "real" kayak. I'm still smiling four hours and sore muscles later.
The only kayak I can compare the Patriot with is my Sea Eagle. To me that seems like apples and oranges, so I will just list my likes and dislikes of the Patriot.
I honestly at this point do not have any dislikes about the Patriot.
As far as likes, its seems very stable. Unless I lean almost all the way over the edge when getting in the Patriot never looked or felt like it might tip. Even with jet ski wakes banging against the hull and choppy waters from the wind on the lake I knew the 'yak could handle whatever I encountered this afternoon.
Despite some reviews I have read, the Patriot tracked great! This afternoon during my two hour maiden voyage I encountered rough wave, little waves, and actual areas with no waves at all. The Patriot always went straight to what I had it pointed at, even more so when I was gliding in still water.
I'm not sure how fast I was going today, but compared to the Sea Eagle it felt fast. I'm sure no where near a touring kayak but for a recreational one the Patriot seemed quick.
The seat was comfortable (although I am partial to gel seats) and the foot pegs left even my short legs (I'm 5'6") in a comfortable position.
I was happy to find a bulkhead separating the aft storage section. Having seen the many different systems for hatches out there the rubber-lid style on the Patriot seemed like a good choice to me. For the type of waves and spray I encountered my gear stayed dry. I also liked how the bulk head left space behind the seat for storing smaller items/bags. The paddle holders on the sides were appreciated as well as the carry handles. Someday I may even try out the pole holders while fishing.
For an entry level rec kayak, I feel the Patriot is worth every cent. It's perfect for my experience level and I can foresee enjoying it still as my skills progress.
As other reviewers have said, this is a good kayak well worth its price and then some!