Submitted: 06-18-2008 by dperkins
While looking around for my first kayak, preferably used, I ran across a Carolina 14.5 in a garage sale in Nov 07. It was supposed to be several years old. Although I knew I would want a longer kayak eventually for day and overnight trips, the price was too good to pass up.
I've had it out about once a week for day trips this spring – trying to learn how to paddle and getting into shape. I did replace the paddle that was sold with it with a Werner Camano very quickly.
The Carolina 14.5 fit my 6'1", 200lb. frame fine. Almost too much room. Am tempted to get some foam padding to for the hip and knee area to tighten up the fit so I can try more advanced maneuvers other than paddling in a straight line. It doesn't come with any.
The boat has very good initial stability. Haven't come close to tipping over while paddling which was reassuring as I learned how to kayak this spring and did not want to wet exit nor learn how to reenter the boat while the water was so cold. I live close to the Kentucky River, so have and will do most of my padding there and nearby on mostly flat water. Tracking is better than I expected. Maneuverability is less than I expected. Takes a good while to turn, but haven't tried carved turns yet. Speed is OK I am up to about 8 miles in two hours with no breaks. Could probably average 3.5 mph on longer trips with breaks. Wish it were a little faster. Cargo space seems ample, although I haven't taken it overnight yet, and I have fairly light hiking quality camping gear.
Plastic seems to have held up well. No hint of oil canning yet, but came with lots of scratches – I'm sure I've put on a few at entry/exit points. Bulkheads and covers don't leak. Seat, backband, and footpegs are very basic. Gets uncomfortable after about an hour or so and you have to shift around to get feeling back in your legs and feet.
Overall, I think it works well at what it is advertised to do. A good day touring, occasional overnighting kayak for the novice/intermediate paddler.