Submitted: 09-15-2009 by JTD
I purchased this Perception Patriot (formerly Mainstream Patriot) from MC earlier this summer for $375. I was hesitant to buy this because low price often means low value but I'm glad I did. I think this kayak is a terrific value for the money and an equal to many costing hundreds more.
My first kayaking experience several years ago was on tidal backwaters in New Hampshire in a 16' or 17’ sea kayak. One vivid memory I have of that was almost falling over trying to get out of the kayak after a couple hours because my legs had gone numb. This thankfully is not a problem with the Patriot as you can move your legs around a lot with the very spacious cockpit. And the spacious cockpit and nice stability make getting in and out of the Patriot a breeze too compared to that sea kayak, my previous kayak, and others I have paddled - I no longer suffer the embarrassment of awkward entries and exits while trying to squeeze my big frame (6’1" 230 lbs) into or out of small cockpits.
So far here in Michigan, I have only taken the Patriot out on smaller rivers with moderate to fairly brisk currents and minor rapids scattered here and there - and that is all I will probably ever use it for. I have been very pleased with this kayak in these conditions. I like the stability it has and its 12' length allows it to track quite nicely. Around obstacles and through rapids it maneuvers quite well and it excels at my favorite activity which is putting my feet up on the deck and just floating along with the current. But if you want to move along for some reason and actually paddle it also seems to have quite good speed.
Overall, if you want to race or are of the hyper-competitive sort or simply feel compelled to get back to your car as quickly as possible this is probably not the kayak for you. If you want to simply relax and enjoy your time on the river with a very competent kayak that will also save you some significant money I think the Patriot is a great choice. My only regret is not buying it sooner.
(As far as I know MC Sports is the only dealer that carries the Patriot. It is frequently if not always on sale for $399.)