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Reviews for Carolina 14.5 Kayak by Perception


Rated: 9.08/10 Based On: 13 Reviews

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07-03-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased this kayak new about 6 years ago as a beginner, and have been very happy with the boat. It is a very durable "plastic" boat that is equally adept for weekend+ camping trips and casual day trips. I have loaded it to the gills inside and out and it has remained stable even in windy conditions on Adirondack lakes. As I have advanced over the years in my paddling skills, I still have not found a need to purchase a new boat. If I had to find one thing to complain about, it would be the lack of a built-in beer holder LOL, but I do believe the newer models have them now.
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01-05-2012
Submitted by: AmbroinazSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've had my Carolina 14.5 for a couple months now and have to say it is the perfect yak for what I do... Lakes, large slow rivers... It is agile and fast and to me has the perfect balance of speed/stability and flexibility for kayak camping and day trips.
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07-25-2011
Submitted by: AndySend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Love the Carolina in all lengths. In my opinion one of the best light touring kayaks made. I've paddled hundreds of yaks and just love the Carolina. Simplistic, carefree paddling. Long enough for large bodies of water, small enough for the river. Can't say enough about this boat.
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08-11-2010
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     When you buy your first kayak you think you can buy a one that will be long enough for open water but not too long for rivers- you want to have a boat that does every thing, but soon find out why old kayakers have so many boats. But I have to say if any boat comes close to doing that in it's price range the Carolina 14.5 does.

My dealer replaced a 13.5 Carolina Airlite with this model (no rudder), when I had trouble with the airlite material on the previous boat. Though it is heavier and less responsive than the airlite, it is much more durable and grows on you. I have paddled it on Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and in numerous rivers.

I have since purchased a boat for more serious touring (along with a more serious investment) but before doing so, loaded with camping gear I kayaked around Grand Island in Lake Superior with my 14.5. with no problems. I also kayaked the chain of lakes on Drummond Island, MI and from there out to Harbor island with equal success.

I may replace it for a shorter river boat, but this past weekend on a river with many turns I found I was doing as well as some of the other paddlers in 8 and 10' boats. It's flat bottom makes easy to get over close to the surface logs and shallow areas without getting out of the boat, but the sharp bow and stern helps in maneuvering.

I would recommend this boat for beginners who want to get a taste of kayaking before they invest big money in the sport. I would give it a 9 out of 10 for this. A 9 as I haven't compared it to every boat out there.

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08-18-2009
Submitted by: TerrySend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I am 6'2" and weight about 190. I purchased my Carolina used in June 2009. The previous owner said he had brought it new about a year ago. I have used it mostly in the Indian River Lagoon. I get about three mph with with a comfortable pace. It handles the chop on windy day fairly well. It does require regular correction for the wind since I don't have a rudder. I carry it on top of my Ford Escape using Malone seawings. I have no trouble getting it off or on the vehicle. So far I am quite satisfied.
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06-18-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     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.

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05-23-2008
Submitted by: SAH
Rating: 10 of 10

     I recently purchased a Carolina 14 with rudder. I am new to kayaking, and have found the Carolina to be an excellent and forgiving first boat. It tracks well, and offers a stable ride. The adjustable seat is a plus, and makes for comfortable paddling. I would heartily recommend the boat to any first time paddler.
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04-17-2008
Submitted by: GibbySend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I've owned my Carolina for about one year. I borrowed a friends last year in Maine on a strong flowing river and in the ocean and was really impressed. I bought mine new, but it was the '06 model. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio and I take mine out on the Ohio River and several smaller rivers and creeks. The Carolina is very responsive for a heavier boat and tracks very well. Stability is great - I feel very comfortable sending my kids out in her. The cockpit is easy to get in and out of, but it is tight enough to allow you to brace your knees for turns.

All in all - a great boat for the price.

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09-18-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have two of these boats with rudders. We love them. Adults and kids (12 and 15) use them. We have two additional kayaks as well.

I love this kayak for when I am going on a longer trip, as I find it is very comfortable and stable. It tracks well and moves quickly with little effort. I'm a large gal, but it's a roomy cockpit. It's harder to get in and out of than my larger Perception (America), but it's still not that difficult. My biggest challenge is that the shell gets bent up pretty easily when carrying on my car.

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06-12-2007
Submitted by: ADWSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     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.

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02-28-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     If you're looking for a good, sturdy, stable, maneuverable boat, then this the boat to own. In fact, I own 2 of them. I bought one for my wife. As far as gliding through the water, naturally a thinner fiberglass or kevlar boat would be much better. This boat is just an all around awesome boat. Plenty of storage in the rear compartment. The front compartment holds what I need it to. There's also storage (not dry) behind the seat. I would recommend to anyone but especially beginners, as the sturdiness is there from the first time you sit in it and paddle away.
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10-11-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have owned my Carolina for 3 years and have taken it a 64 mile trip on the Connecticut River and almost every weekend in the summmer off the coast of NH/Maine/MA. The boat has performed well in all conditions including 4 ft seas and max flow at the mouth of the Merrimack River and never felt like boat couldn't handle it (although hairy at times). The Carolina is not a speedster but fast enough as I will typically average 4 mph on a 10 mile trip. The seat is conforable, but not the best for rolling, cockpit size is excellent for my 6ft 200lb frame. I am planning to upgrade but have had some great adventures in the Carolina.
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08-29-2006
Submitted by: JMLSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Just bought last night the Carolina 14.5 with rudder. I had tried a few boats previous to the 14.5, but none had the combination of speed, design, stability and overall appearance for the price.

The first thing that struck me was the glossy finish. In my opinion, the solid colors look much better than the combo colors - much more glossy and resemble the duralites. I wanted yellow but had to settle for red. Now I match my wife's Pungo 120 and feel like a dork.

I liked the boat during my demo, but man-o-man, my new one really impressed me. I've been paddling in the Delaware lately and there's nothing like a gigantic oil tanker riding up your butt to make you appreciate a decent kayak, especially when your last few adventures were in a SeaEagle inflatable (don't get me started on that). It sits nice and low to the water, the seat is comfortable and it tracks fairly well. Although, when I first got in it, it was pulling to the right alot. I spent some time fidgeting with the seat and footpegs and think I got it right. The rudder makes a huge difference in the wakes and wind but has you compromising speed when in use. For that reason, I usually keep it up so my friends with the $2000 kayaks keep crying that mine is faster than theirs.

Overall, for what I picked this baby up for, I'm pretty satisfied. Now I can cruise for chicks along the Delaware in a decent whip...holla at ya' boy!

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