03-29-2013Submitted by: mssmilie
Reviews for Essence 16.5 Kayak by Perception
Based On: 7 Reviews
- Rating: 10 of 10 We like these boats. Bought two and used them a lot in the wet year of 2011. Water conditions were not conducive to lots of use last year but hope to get more use this year.
The boats track well, are stable in most conditions, and fast on the water. The only complaint I have is the hatch covers, which are very hard to put on unless the weather is blisteringly hot.
12-18-2012Submitted by: Denny Waters
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have the airlight model. Been out 3 times now. After 30 minutes of hard paddling I was still next to my buddy with his Loki carbon fiber rig. Looks like it splits the waves good, but haven't been in anything over 10 inches yet. Used the drop down skeg, just to check it out, and no more side wind problem compared to before on my other boats. I have the "Sonoma" 13.5 ft that is made of the same material for maybe 5 yrs now and it has held up well. Seems like this is going to be a very cool boat. Hatches seem very water repellent. I weigh around 185.
01-11-2012Submitted by: AD
- Rating: 10 of 10 I purchased this kayak this previous fall, and have used it as much as I could before it started getting cold.
This is my first kayak purchase. I always had a desire to get into kayaking, and "window shopped" at my local retailers at the various brands and models available. All they carried in stock were enthusiast kayaks under 14 feet, with most being in the 12 foot variety. I wanted a kayak that was long enough to be comfortable, and with enough storage to carry enough cargo for a couple of days camping.
I kayak solo. I just don't really know anyone else who is interested enough to invest in a kayak. So when I go camping, I go alone. Good in that it allows me some much needed 'alone time', but bad in that I must carry everything needed myself, without having another boat to share the cargo carrying.
I can load the boat with everything I need for a three day/two night endeavor. The storage compartments in the boat carry my tent (2-man), my sleeping bag, a self-inflating bedroll, a couple of bottles of water, four or five cans of soup, a backpacking stove, my camera tripod, folding saw, etc. Most everything I need fits in the cargo holds, and the only things I have to strap to the deck webbing are a folding camp chair, waterproof bag containing camera equipment (DSLR body and lenses), a waterproof bag containing a couple of changes of clothes and extra shoes, extra paddle, and my hand pump for bailing out water.
The seating of the kayak is quite comfortable once you learn how to adjust it. If left loose, I got sore fairly quick, but if you cinch up the back to fit and adjust the thigh braces properly, I could paddle much more efficiently as well as the boat responded much better. Much more comfortable to boot!
The kayak as a deployable skeg which makes a big difference in how the boat tracks. In the stowed position, the boat is maneuverable and turns well, but does not track all that great. Deployed, the kayak stays on course but is difficult to turn. The skeg is adjustable from fully deployed all the way to fully stowed, any amount in between. I find myself going "half open" sometimes which gives a happy medium between straight tracking and turning ability. The skeg fills with mud if you drag it across the ground, and must be cleared before the skeg is usable. Yep, I found that out the hard way after setting out on the water before cleaning the mud in the skeg box!!
I'm happy with this purchase, and recommend the Essence 16.5 to any intermediate paddler. Beginners will find it is a kayak they can grow into. It is stable enough for a beginner to learn with, and capable enough for a more advanced owner to enjoy.
05-19-2011Submitted by: Mykayak
- Rating: 9 of 10 Back to update my review on this kayak.
I have been paddling for just over a year now and have gained some experience and know how although still learning.
Lets start by comfort. The cockpit is big and the seating system is very decent but the foot pegs are a little small, which means that I’m constantly re-adjusting my feet or the foot braces to compensate at times. You need to get in and find the right seat adjustment and once done usually there is ample room in the back of the seat for safety gear, water bottle etc.
I give it an 8/10 for comfort.
Stability is good and secondary stability is excellent, this kayak wants to spring you back when edging. Perfect for learning and very maneuverable. I have only tipped on purpose and once when taking lessons as I was trying to stabilize my over-extended body with the paddle’s angle and did not quite get the blade of the paddle on the proper angle, my fault not the kayaks.
I give it a 9.5/10 for stability.
Speed is decent, although not a race boat I was able to average about 4 – 5 km cruising speed for a 12 KM excursion in Algonquin Park's Opeongo lake (sorry you will have to convert to miles yourselves) and this against a strong head wind and whitecaps. The boat will cut through the waves.
I give it a 7.5 for speed.
Tracking and maneuverability (ability to go straight and turn) is ok if no wind, but I found mine weather cocks in any significant wind, this is resolved by deploying the built-in skeg which I love because the lever is recessed on the left side of the boat and can be adjusted according to your needs. In hindsight, the kayak would probably not weather cock as much if weight were added to the bow as when fully loaded I noticed a significant improvement without having to deploy the skeg in windy conditions.
I give it a 9.5/10 for tracking and maneuverability
Volume is adequate enough that I can load this kayak for a 5 day trip (this includes a small cooler that collapses, a 3 man tent, sleeping bag, tarps, cooking gear, extra clothes, and a variety of comfort accessories) and I did not use most of the smaller items I brought along so I'm sure I could extend my outings by a few days by packing a little smarter. So for a 16.5' kayak this can hold quite a lot, in fact people are amazed when I show them pictures of my gear once unpacked from the kayak.
I give it a 9.5/10 for storage volume considering its size
In short I was happy when I bought this thing after trying it out and am still happy, My instructor is seriously looking at getting a few for his students after trying it out. I would recommend this boat if you're looking for a plastic kayak as it's very tough and I feel safe in any conditions my area can throw at me.
Wet exits are a snap and re-entry is very easy as this boat's stern sits very low in the water, which makes it a good rolling boat as well I’m told, although I still don't have the technique to do so I will be working on that soon enough ;)
I will lower my score slightly because of gained knowledge but I haven't tried a plastic kayak yet that would make me swap mine out.
Perception did a very good job on this. Only wish they would make the foot braces a little bigger.
06-14-2010Submitted by: Mikayak
- Rating: 10 of 10 I'm new to kayaks and after trying this one I bought it from Paddle Shack in Ottawa. I had only tried the 17 foot version of this kayak and one from Boreal Designs. As luck would have it there was someone there who owned one that was heading out and I got the chance to chat a bit. I decided on the Perception Essence 17 but the store only had a 16.5 version, I had originally sat in that one when setting up the try out so I took it.
Now I had no lessons to begin with and my first time out was the try out which lasted about 5 minutes max on 2 kayaks. I took this thing out on the lake and loved it.
I haven't tried rolling yet (because I wanted to work on basic paddling first) and I can honestly say it tracks very straight with the skeg down. Keep in mind I'm nearing 50 years old and although I paddled canoes, this thing is a bit different.
Found the seat comfortable and the side adjustment (strap?) is easy enough to reach for the foot pegs and the skeg control is recessed on the outside of the boat and is easy to operate and you do see a difference. I keep it down when going straight and bring it up when I need to maneuver after I tried a few hard turns with both
I purposely went into wakes of big boats to get a feel of it and I'm happy. I don't think I will be outgrowing this craft soon but even with my newbie skills I was happy with the speed.
I may change my mind after a few more outings but I can't see that happening in the near future. So for now I give it a 9.5
06-03-2009Submitted by: mark
- Rating: 9 of 10 Back again for another review of this boat.
I have been out in it several times since my last review, and have more information for anyone who may be interested in this kayak. Initial quality and fit and finish are excellent, as is the seating system. It does track fairly well, but you really need the skeg deployed to appreciate truly straight tracking. I rolled it over (intentionally) to perfect my paddle float re-entry, and after several times, the hatches were dry as a bone.
The secondary stability on the boat is fabulous, as mentioned in my previous review, it edges very well, and the handling is very predictable. My only gripe is that the top end speed could be be a little better given it's length, width, and hull design. But hey, I'm out to have fun and not to break any world speed records.
I'm about 6' 200lbs. and this boat fits me very well. By the way, this is for the poly version of this boat, not the composite model. All in all, I am very happy with this kayak, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a boat in this class without breaking the bank. I got mine new for $1260, and it is worth every cent. I'm keeping my score at a 9 due to the somewhat sluggish top end speed, other than that, this baby's a keeper!
05-13-2009Submitted by: mark
- Rating: 8 of 10 Just picked up this boat last week, and took it out for the first time on Ayer's Lake in Barrington, NH... a little breezy out, and this boat tracked straight as an arrow. The skeg helps out a lot too. Very comfortable seating system as well.
I'm still somewhat of a kayaking rookie, having only been out in my bathtub of a rec boat for the last couple of years. What a difference it makes going from a rec boat to a true sea kayak. The initial stability on the Essence is pretty good. The secondary stability is where this boat shines. I don't think I could have capsized this thing if I tried. Well, OK, I was really hoping to not go over, as the water temperature here in NH is still pretty cold this time of year.
I'm giving it an 8, only because of my relative inexperience with kayaking. I'm sure with a little more time on the water, I'll be dancing with this thing, and will be changing my score to a 10. Also, if you live in the NH area, and are in the market for any type of kayak, you owe it to yourself to visit the Contoocook River Canoe and Kayak Co. in Concord. Happy Paddling!
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