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Reviews for America 13.5 Kayak by Perception


Rated: 9.2/10 Based On: 45 Reviews

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08-16-2010
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     We bought this Kayak used nearly six years ago. My wife just loves it. I get to paddle it once in great while, it really handles great and is perfect for tall paddlers with loonngg legs.
I've had a Twin Otter, Pungo 120, Cayuga 14.5, But I would love to find another Perception America. I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

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09-08-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My first kayak and after two years of paddling lakes and streams, I feel it was an excellent choice. Extremely durable, fast... even with an old guy paddling. The large cockpit has been great for taking grandkids along. Have used this boat more than I could have ever imagined... a great relaxing getaway.
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05-10-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've had my Perception America for about 3 or 4 years and have used it on mainly flat water. The tracking is superb, and it has great stability. As for access, this is the next best thing to a sit on top.
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04-09-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     We bought two of these for family outings. We've kayaked a bit before, always renting. We had a wonderful time. Cara (15) cruised very quickly and Cindy (mom) found hers comfortable for a larger frame. We were in a large river with motor boats and also spent time up small rivers where we needed to navigate through obstacles quite a bit. We found it easy to navigate and faster than expected - the wake from the boats was quite manageable. The bald eagles weren't even scared of us! The only problem at this point is for us to decide who gets which color! A great experience - looking forward to next weekend!
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07-03-2006
Submitted by: JLBSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've only had my America 13.5 a short time but I love it! I have been using a 10-ft kayak and the America does so much better in the open water. The dry storage in the stern is nice. I am very impressed with the boat's glide and tracking. My only complaint was that when strapping it to my car (I use the foam blocks) the person at the store over-tightened one of the straps and the hull dented slightly on the bottom. The America is a thin-skinned kayak. The thin skin is the only reason I couldn't give this kayak a 10. But, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.
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05-17-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've been paddling the America 13.5 for about a month now. I can't add much new information since just about everything about this kayak has been covered at least twice. I'm a big fella, I'm 6'5" 300#'s.

There's not a huge selection of boats for people my size but I found a few and paddled them. I tried the Pungo 120 but didn't really care for it on choppy water. The Pungo 140 handled the chop and tracked better then the 120 but I didnít care much for the seat and the hull design since I'd be using this kayak in shallow rivers. I only sat in the Sundance 12 and it was nice but once I sat in the America 13.5 and paddled it I knew this was the boat for me.

The America 13.5 has plenty of leg room for me and the cockpit is big enough to stretch when I have to. The seat back adjusts and since I have a bad back I usually adjust it once or twice during a trip. I'm not able to sit still for long because of my back but I can stay on the water for three to four hours easily in the America 13.5 and that's saying something.

This boat tracks real well and is very stable. I've had it in class 1+ so far and it didnít have me worried at all. I've had the America out in one foot chop and I never felt like I was going for a swim. One thing you do want to get is a spray skirt if you plan on doing any white water since the cockpit is fairly large. Bottom line is that I love this kayak and for me it was the best choice out of the boats made for big boys. I'll post an update once I take the America through some class II.

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05-11-2005
Submitted by: SteveSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I paddled several others in this category before buying (Dagger, Old Town, etc). The "America" is simply the best. I have had it for 4 years now. Simply the best for 1) Larger paddlers (I am 6'5", 220#) 2) Fishermen (stable and roomy) 3) Taking pet/small children along 4) Beginners (stable and easy access) 5) Weekend trips (Enough room for several nights of camping).

If you are looking for something between a rec boat and an expensive touring boat, the America fits the bill. If you want a great all purpose boat with a ROOMY COCKPIT, this is it!

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02-14-2005
Submitted by: tetzelSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Update on my America 13.5...just added a rudder kit and what a blast!! Wanna turn right? Just push the right footbrace...what a concept! Don`t let anyone tell you this isnít a fantastic combinationÖa Cadillac that steers like a BMW!!
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02-07-2005
Submitted by: M LSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     The Perception America 13.5' is my first kayak and a great one at that. I tried the Loon and found it to be like paddling a barge. The America tracked great and rode pretty good sized swells at Lake Mead great. The entire time I felt safe and had a ball.
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12-19-2004
Submitted by: tetzelSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I chose this boat so I could have enough room to take my grandaughter with me. For those of you who want to share your experience with a little one...it`s perfect!!
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10-17-2004
Submitted by: J. Williams
Rating: 8 of 10

     Prior to buying this boat I had a lot of whitewater kayaking and canoeing experience. I bought this boat with plans to do some fishing and some general river tripping.

My stepdad bought one of these as well. He is 6'2" and 300#. No problem at all with stability and the boat sits level in the water, definitely a good boat for larger paddlers.

I have paddled some lakes (staying fairly close to shore) and a couple of river trips now. The skeg really helps keep the boat going straight in the wind. If you are buying this boat only river tripping or fishing, save the money and forget the skeg.

For river tripping, this will store enough gear for a weekend trip (I'm used to backpacking though, so it seems like I have a LOT of room). I'm 195 pounds and even with a weekend worth of gear, the handling is not affected at all. Class I and II rapids are okay with a good skirt, although given the large cockpit you are likely to get a little wet.

Now for the bad stuff: The bulkhead leaked when I got it. I had to reseal it. The bottom seat really sucks. There is a little lip that seems to cut off circulation to your legs. A good seat pad will rectify this. I have even read on the net where people have put a SOT seat in this boat as a replacement. NO secondary stability. Of course you should be able to see this by the style of the boat. Large cockpit, while good for paddling with the dog, is bad when river conditions cause water to wash up over the deck.

Overall for a good multipurpose fishing/rivertripping/light lake boat I give this a 9. Just go into the purchase knowing you are not getting a touring or whitewater boat.

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09-29-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     A nice kayak for a big person. I'm 270 lbs, 6ft2in, and my America is just fine for me. It's easy to get in and out, tracks very well, and glides through the water easily. I quess I'm not really saying anything new... A good, stable boat that can haul a lot of gear if needed. We plan on getting another one for my wife, we would have bought it already if I was not between jobs. Then we will be kayaking all the time! We want to go out on the water all winter. Sumertime kayaking is fun, but it gets over 100F here and that gets old. In the winter we will have the lake almost to ourselves!
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08-04-2003
Submitted by: CHCSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I recently purchased the America 13.5 after testing the Pungo 120 and Pamlico 120. I'm 5'10", 250 lbs with a bad knee and hip. I found all three kayaks relatively easy to enter and exit. All three were also comparably stable and tracked fairly well. The Pungo and Pamilico kayaks were fairly boring though. The learning curve in these two kayaks was relatively fast. The boats handle well, but again they were boring.

The America on the other hand was a few ticks better in turning quicker, being faster on the water, tracking straighter and I found the seat more stable, supportive and comfortable compared to the Phase 3 System. (which says a lot!)

To date I've used the America in a protected saltwater bay with a fair current (3-4kts) which can get breezy and choppy. The America has handled all the conditions very well. I'd buy it again!

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07-17-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     This is a nice kayak for the money. It compares reasonably in handling qualities to a Carolina or a Monterey, which run about $100 more unless you find a good sale. Maybe not perceptibly as fast, but they have a lot of the same feel to an inexperienced person like me. (Just because you're not Mario Andretti doesn't mean you don't appreciate a fine car, does it?) Speaking of cars....

In my limited experience in a demo of the America, it reminds me of a Cadillac--quite smooth, comfortable, not jackrabbit quick, but fast enough once you get going. You don't have to spend a great amount of effort to go straight, either, even with a wind. The hull turns fine--not as quick as a Swedish hull or a much shorter boat, but I preferred the tracking of the America to the amount of work needed to make a shorter kayak go straight. No, it is not paddling technique in this case. In calm water, a double stroke or two will straighten you out in just about anything. In wind, and a poor boat, you could stroke on one side forever. I didn't find this necessary in the America.

I am neutral on the value of the large cockpit. While it is easy to enter and exit, it also leaves you with nothing on which to brace your knees--unless you want to brace them on the hard cockpit edge. To be fair, you could probably pad this, but it doesn't look like the design will be too forgiving of this modification.

The America also offers a hatch--nice if you need to store gear. However, if I don't do overnight jaunts or trips requiring a lot of gear, I don't plan on accessing that hatch in the water, either!

Thanks to its cost, the America just made my "short" list for next year. I've also seen reviews which comment on the America's weight range (advertised as 57 pounds). For me, it would get lifted six times per trip--out of the garage rafters, onto the car, off the car to the water, then repeat in reverse. The majority of the time it is in the water holding ME up, weighing just about nothing. If 7 pounds makes that much difference, maybe I should just carry 7 pounds less gear! Another note--this is an honest 8. I don't give out "modern Olympics" 10's. I haven't paddled a 10 yet.

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07-09-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Like many, I knew I wanted to become a kayaker after my first experience with a "sit-on-top" at a resort. Deciding which one to buy was much harder, especially in a sport where skinny people (& skinny kayaks) are so prevalent. My 6 ft, 220 lb (reduction in progress) frame required a bit more boat than most. Luckily, Kayaks, Etc. of Vero Beach, FL, offers on the water "demo days". I was able to try six different designs from three different mfgrs, finding positive qualities in all. The one with the most positives for my needs was the Perception America. The wide & stable (27") beam was perfect for my (current) dimensions, and its 13'4" length enables very good tracking without a skeg or rudder. The huge cockpit makes entry/exit much easier, as well as the ability to reach various items stored around the paddler. Storage is ample for well-equipped day trippers in this fun to paddle, low-impact exercise machine. It is quite possible that I will obtain a higher performance boat someday, although the America performs so well that it sure isn't an immediate issue.
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06-19-2003
Submitted by: GeorgeSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This boat is a great choice for most recreational kayakers. The large cockpit allows for easy access to stuff like cameras, fishing stuff, etc. Dog likes it also. I own two other touring kayaks that may be slightly better for long trips. If your tours are just a few hours, save money and go with the America. You will have money left for beer and space to put it where you can get it!
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05-28-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased my Perception "America" three years ago in June. I have two boats and use this one 99% of the time. At first I didn't like the low seat back because I used it for fishing and wanted something I could lean back on so I installed a different seat which I use when fishing for hours and hours, but when out paddling I use the seat back which came with the boat. It is fine by me. I have rigged it to hold a fishing rod and have a white running night light which I installed behind the cockpit. It handles like a dream, tracks very straight. I have a rudder on this one but seldom use it, only when running across strong running tidal rivers. Helps on windy days too. This boat sits outside under a tree and holds up well in all weather conditions. The only other thing I would do for this boat is get rid of the front flotation and put an inclosed hatch up front. Otherwise it is Perfect to just take on a paddle or Fish from. Had a 30"+ Stingray take me for a 35 minute ride before I broke the line last year. Just loved it. One other thing they didn't use to make an aparon for this boat and may not now, use to make me mad as all get out... Then I found a half cockpit aparon made by another manufacturer and it was the cats meow.
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05-27-2003
Submitted by: GladesCacherSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     As a newby, i have been very happy with mine on approximately 30 paddles. Primary use is fishing/photography/camping in Everglades and fishing in urban canals. Plenty of room for 1-2 nights of camping. Easy to outfit for fishing. Easy on the $$. Dont have anything to compare it with as far as handling.
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07-23-2002
Submitted by: Kenneth
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought a Perception America basic kayak about 4 weeks ago and have taken it out 5 times already. This is my first kayak but I have a lot of experience in canoes. First of all kayaks are superior to canoes in everything but carrying capacity so from now on I am a kayaker. I did a lot of research and tried several models before buying the America. This is important because half of the models I tried were uncomfortably small ( I'm 6'2", 250 pounds). I love the design of the America. I think all kayaks have to make compromises in the design and perception has made a very versatile boat. It has good speed, maneuverability, cargo capacity, stability and tracking. I don't think the skeg is necessary, I would like a bulkhead but because dry bagging is still required I didn't think it justified the $100 price increase. In this price range I think it is very well done.

I do have a complaint though. My boat seems to have been made of softer plastic than the other boats I have tried. I ordered it rather than buying it from stock. When I went to pick it up it had been sitting in the hot Texas sun upside down with another boat lying on top of it. This left a dent in the hull right under the front of the cockpit. The store owner assured me that this was normal in a plastic boat and that lying the boat flat in the sun would quickly restore the shape. He was right but a small dent has returned in the same place a few times when tied to a rack or stored upside down. I am concerned and am watching this carefully but I think if I store it properly and avoid leaving it in the sun it will be OK.

I would also add after using this boat for fishing that I can see the advantages of a sit on top design if fishing is your primary goal and you are not in an area with a cold climate. While the large cockpit of the America is easy to get in and out of, with a sit on top you could get out in shallow areas and you would have more places to mount equipment. I am giving the America a 9 out of 10 because of the soft plastic.

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07-03-2002
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Being a long time(30+ year) canoer I wanted something that I could solo paddle in. I looked at/tried out many small/medium sized yak's and knew I had found what I wanted when I sat in a America Basic at Galyans. They really made up my mind when they put it on clearance. I am a little larger than average, 6'4-230#, and find the overall fit to be excellent-with the exception of the seatback. But that is a common thing for me at my height. I have since made a new one from marine plywood, bending it with steam. I also made my own rudder for it as it does windvane if given the chance. A small price to pay for the excellent tracking due to length. My yellow Basic is so stable I would rather be in it than one of my canoes! I bought it early May 02' and have been out with it about a dozen times on everything from flat water to mild rapids to Lake Michigan. My spray skirt gets used only when there are waves. The large cockpit and my 240 cm paddle keep the water out just fine. I thought that having a Basic would it would be hard to stow gear but I dry bag everything so I just put them up forward or aft of the seat and all done. So manueverable and a breeze to paddle all day long. I just came back from an up/down river trip of over 30 miles that still has me smiling. It goes on and off the top of my Saturn wagon so easily I can't believe it. Overall I have to give my America Basic a 9 out of 10. A 9 due to the seatback and I don't believe that anything is perfect. Well done Perception!
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06-21-2002
Submitted by: ChadSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I am a beginner kayaker and the Perception America is my first boat. I have been out twice on Long Island Sound ( scary at first ) and my boat is AWESOME! It is so stable and tracks beautifully. I was nervous at first but after only a few paddle strokes I realized that this was the perfect choice. I plan on some overnighters out to Charles Island. I am at work and can't wait to get back to the water. I got the Expedition model with the skeg and it tracks just as well with the skeg up as it does with it down. I would recommend this boat to anyone.
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06-20-2002
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     For decades to come people will pose the question "where were you on the morning of Sept.11th.. I was on the Erie Barge Canal in my firecracker red Perception America with its green shamrocks. When the patrol boat pulled next to me and answered my 'what's up' greeting, with the terrible news I thought for a moment and realized there was no place I'd rather have been than on this tranquil and beautifull piece of water in my America. For an entire summer that kayak allowed me to put on 100 plus miles in complete security which I guess best describes Perceptions America,
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05-13-2002
Submitted by: MichelleSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My boyfriend and I bought a couple of kayaks at the end of last summer and instantly caught "the bug". We love to take them out to local ponds and rivers. I have a 5 yr old daughter and we wanted to include her in our fun. After trying to fit her in the cockpit of the Dagger, we realized it wasn't big enough. She ended up getting hit in the head every time we moved the paddle. Then we thought about buying a tandem for her to have her own seat. We rented a Loon, but found that you really need to have two able paddlers to be able to control and move the tandem. This year was the first time I saw the America and it's extra large cockpit. It's big enough to fit me and my daughter, but not so big that I can't paddle it on my own. The price was easy to handle too. We love it! Now the whole family is included and we go kayaking as often as we can.
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04-30-2002
Submitted by: Big Bear
Rating: 10 of 10

     I am as green as you get, only canoe exp. so when I got tired of waiting on my buddies to go canoe, I started to think of a kayak. Now I am a big guy, 6'3" 335lbs. Needless to say there were'nt too many choices. I started in the Cabelas catalog drooling over the Old Town Loon 138. I then wiped my face off and went to Galyans to begin a hands on research. It came down to the America, Palmico, and Loon 138. The america blew them all away in value, comfort, and features. After sitting in the showroom, looking like a kid in a candy store, my wife did something that I'll never forget. I finally decided on the America, w/ a skeg, dry hatch in back, and in green, as I'm sitting in the showroom in an America, she comes up and says "is that the one you want?" I replied "yes, but it is a bit more than what I was planning on spending." She looks at me and says "well it's your's." You could've kicked me in the jimmy and I would've been less surprised. She said I had the same expresion when she told me she was pregnant w/ our daughter. So now that you have been so gracious to read my story here is the real deal. I like to get out any time any where with my yak as long as it wet. Right now I have practiced on a small lake in western New york, and a smooth running creek. I have to admit I was nervous as hell the first entry. But I'm happy to report no rolls, yet. The handling and forgiveness of the America is saint like. It is an exceptional daytripper. I haven't had the oppurtunity to use the skeg yet, but it's time is coming soon. This is the best time legally I have ever had. I highly suggest that everybody get one of these. I told my wife that I would quit hunting and fishing. Well I lied, this kayak is perfect for both. Plenty of room for all equipment. More updates to come in the future. I have to run for now, my students are pestering me about an education or something. The nerve! Happy yakking!
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04-17-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I am a beginner kayaker and purchased 2 America's as I got a great deal for both of them. My girlfriend and I have gone out 3 times so far and found that they work great for the kayaking that we have done. I have to agree that the seat backs are horrible. The rest of the boat seems solid. We just came back from a 3hr kayak down a tidal river and found that they moved well against the current and wind. Overall we were both very satisfied with the America's.
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12-20-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought my America last summer. This is my first kayak so I'm pretty much a newbe. I bought it for the huge cockpit and stability. I'll be 60 in a few weeks and am not as limber as I once was. My one complaint seems to be fairly common and that is the seatback but I think I can remedy that next spring. I really like being able to pull my legs up and out of the cockpit and stretch out once in awhile. Stabilitywise, I think a person could almost dance in this boat. I sold a Dagger Sojourn solo canoe when I bought the kayak and one had to be constantly on guard in that boat or you could be in the river instantly. I use the boat on the more quiet sections of the Peshtigo river including a flowage behind a hydro dam and haved no complaints about it's handling. I'd recommend this boat to any first time buyer.
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09-26-2001
Submitted by: KCDSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     MMy blue Perception America, purchased 1/01 (name of "Waimanalo") is my 2nd kayak. I've paddled it 10 months now and I like it better and better. I bought my 1st kayak, a Perception Sierra, in October of 2000. I chose the huge cockpit in both cases because I'm 250++ lbs. and I ---and the beginners I take paddling who use my boat---enjoy ease in entering and exiting. The large cockpit also gives me many options while paddling on a long trip, like folding my legs in front of me and paddling "tailor-style" for a while, or putting my feet up on the deck. I was sold on the America when, in a 3/4-day private lesson, I got my Basic Sea Kayaking certificate paddling an America for the first time. It is similar to the Sierra, but the Sierra is 11'1" and the America is 13'4". Those inches make a big difference in tracking and speed. I can easily keep up with my husband's Carolina which is 14'7". You seem to get a lot of bang for your buck with each stroke. (I use a Lightning carbon-fiber paddle that I bought on sale from Lightning Paddles --- it was blemished and looks a little "off" but paddles like silk.)

The America edges well for such a beamy boat and it's rollable---- by no means the easiest to roll, but it's possible. I don't have a roll yet but am developing some reliable braces.

I am 5'3" and female and find its 52-lb. weight fine for solo cartopping ("Kayaking for Women" by Shelley Johnston has some excellent tips), but a bit much for long carries (read: "long drags"). My husband and I dislike all of perception's seats and replaced them with backbands which are lower than the boat's deck---- this means if you have to re-enter the boat from the water it's much easier than clambering over a seat back that's sticking up gouging you in the ribs and diaphragm. Self-rescue is reliable in this very stable boat. I found the seat front somewhat uncomfortable due to the tipped-up lip (a common, and yucky, perception plastic boat feature). Right now I get by rolling up a jacket and stuffing it in the gap between the seat lip and the hull, but I'm thinking of going to kayakfit.com and buying some hard-cell foam to glue in there permanently. I had a custom neoprene sprayskirt made by sealsskirts.com; this is fantastic for breaking waves, cold conditions, or roll/rescue practice.

The America has plenty of room for storage, yet you can keep up with the shorter (i.e. 14-foot) touring kayaks. I chose to use floatation bags and not get a bulkheaded boat, though I'm thinking about adding a rear hatch. For sloughs, lakes, class I and II rapids, and bays (>3-foot swells) it is a great boat. It did fine in class 2 rapids, being stable, yet very nimble for being quite wide. Most of our trips are half-day trips of less than 10 miles. Fantastic for bird watching and fishing. Without a rudder it does weathercock. We took a long trip down Tomales Bay and had about a 12-knot wind at our back on the return trip with 1--2 foot wind waves. Every other stroke was a correction stroke, but I attribute that as much to my need to have a greater repertoire of strokes as to not having a rudder. It's your choice and depends on where you'd be going out to paddle.

For a larger and/or taller paddler this boat is comfortable, stable, and yet a good enough tracker. Any boat is a series of compromises and this one does it well.

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08-31-2001
Submitted by: sherlock holmesSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     After a summer of open top kayaks my friend and I decided to try "a real one". We contacted a dealer in Tulsa and for a nominal fee arranged a 9:00 to 4:00 sunday of instruction and an opportunity to try out 7 different kayaks by 3 different mfgs. If I could give any one advice it would be to try as many as you can. In the end we chose the America over a Dagger. I really wanted the optional (100.00) paint job Dagger offered. I found however that the most important feature for this "newby" was the large America cockpit that offers the safety of an "easy out".

The stability is comforting to a new person. We chose the Expidition with the hatch and opted for the rudder. There is a lot of wind in Oklahoma and in open water the rudder really helps. I have a yellow one on order and my friend bought a blue one in stock. It seems that people both like and dislike this boat for the same reason. If the young man who gave it a 2 would have tried it out the way we did he would not have made the mistake. ALL BOATS CANNOT BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE. If you are new and want something stable and fun to get started, this is the boat. Now how about next year when I am ready for a 17 ft. cigar boat

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08-06-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 2 of 10

     I thought I was "trading up" when I went from my Wilderness Systems Manteo to the America. In the showroom the seat was comfortable, the rubber hatch covers were great, easy to get into and a surf rudder. On the water my first impression was that it was so stable you could almost stand up. Past the dock though and it's all down hill. It handles like a floatplane's pontoon, and don't be in a hurry, because it's real slow. Doing the same distances that I normally did in my Manteo were exhausting in the America (about 12km each day on Lake Ontario). After two days I wanted my Manteo back. I ended up with a Cape Horn 15ft....worth every penny!! If you enjoy kayaking try something else! The America is just no fun!
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07-06-2001
Submitted by: Wheels WanzerSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I just got my America last Saturday and tried it twice now. I really like it. I'll be using it in the canals and bay areas in South Bethany/Fenwick Island Delaware. It seems to go pretty fast when you push it and it hold a line pretty well. I'm not used to it yet. Still feels like a bit of work, but I like the quiet and solitude of being out there in this tiny boat. I'll put out another review after I become a more 'seasoned' paddler. Anyway, for now I like it. I think I'm going to love it as I gain experience.
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06-28-2001
Submitted by: Al from S.I., NYSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just sold my Wilderness Systems Rascal today because I wanted a bigger boat. I saw the America at EMS, and thought it would be great to take my daughter with me. I had never seen a kayak that offers this capability before! Now that I saw all of your reviews, I'll be going tonight to get mine! Thanks everyone, and thanks Perception for allowing me to spend excellent quality time with my daughter - something I didn't think was possible to do in one kayak! I would have never thought of this without seeing this boat at EMS.
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06-21-2001
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased my America Basic Model about a month ago, and found it to be a great boat. I am 6'6" tall and weigh 265lbs, and the only adjustment was to move the keeper foot brace track forward by 6" and I only had to drill one new hole on each side. I chose the Basic instead of the Expedition model so it can hold more camping gear. It is almost impossible to turn the boat over, and in fact it begins to take on water long before it gets anywhere near flipping. I don't even use the spray skirt that I bought, and have been in water with a lot of boat traffic and wake/waves (Although I would in cold conditions to repel paddle drips mostly) I found that it tracks perfectly straight with no skeg or rudder, and turning it is a breeze after a kayak lesson. I would suggest the boat to any taller boaters looking for a less expensive boat.
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06-14-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought the America for 2 reasons. Stability and Cockpit size. I am using paddling to help me lose weight, and I wanted something in which I could take my son out with me in. I didn't want not having a babysitter be an excuse not to go kayaking. I'm very happy with it, though I don't agree with the tracking of other reviewers, I find I have to use my rudder most of the time. The other good things about the America make up for it.
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05-22-2001
Submitted by: MattSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have an evergreen Perception America Expedition, and it is my first kayak. After the first time out on the lake, I know that I'm going to be quite happy with this boat for a long, long time. I plan on using the boat for paddling around the lake and occasionally going down class I-I.5 rivers. It was a tough choice between this boat and Daggerís Blackwater Expedition. The Dagger accelerates a bit quicker and is more maneuverable, but this boat won out because it was better suited to my plans for (almost daily) lake workouts and the comfort factor. Even though I don't consider myself a large paddler, at 6'1" and 175 lbs., I really appreciate the large cockpit and the fact that I can move my legs through a few positions in the boat. I can even kick my feet up on the sides and relax for a few moments. These features really help when out on the water for at least a couple of hours at a time. It's a convenient boat to own and operate.

This boat has very good initial stability, great tracking, and plenty of space. At first, I had trouble turning the boat as quickly as I wanted to, but found after a little over an hour that I could move the boat 90-plus degrees to either side with just one stroke of the 230 cm. paddle. I think that as I get more used to the boat I will be able to perform almost any maneuver I want (within reason!). I agree with what Bob had to say about the tracking, stability, speed/acceleration, etc. One clarification about what another reviewer wrote: The (2001 model) America is 13'4", not 12'4". I would advise you to get the Expedition model, but donít bother with the skeg. I rate it a "9." There is no "perfect boat," but this one is a great compromise between what is wanted and what is possible in a recreational kayak. Happy paddling!

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03-27-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have a yellow Perception America with a rear hatch. My wife bought it for my anniversary present. She picked a winner, because it's everything I wanted in a kayak: roomy, plenty of storage, stable, easy to paddle...I've taken my 5-year-old son out, and delighted in watching two river otters with him. I took my dog, a beagle, out in it, but she slipped off the side, so I'll wait until the weather warms before taking her again. Anyway, the America is a solid all-around boat, good in my opinion for beginners on up to intermediate paddlers. My only complaint is that I have scraped my hands a few times on the sides, but that might be prevented with a longer paddle. It is a bit heavy, but I'd rather sweat a little bit and know it's not going to crumple on the first rock I hit.
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11-06-2000
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I am not a rank beginner as a kayaker, but I must admit that even after having kayaked casually over a number of years, I am still rather a novice by most definitions. I tell you this because I think it's worth considering when you read my evaluation. I very recently moved up from a Perception Caspia to the Perception America Expedition. I wanted a boat which was faster, a bit more buoyant and which gave me the space for overnight camping trips. However, I didn't want too big of a kayak because hauling and storing it becomes a big problem. I echo here what others have said, "this boat is a very intelligent set of compromises". I offer my thoughts:

TRACKING - excellent. The kayak holds a straight line and coasts nicely after you stop paddling.
STABILITY - excellent. The boat feels very stable at all times. In fact I think you'd have to really work hard at it to capsize it in calm water. It's even relatively stable when you are getting in and out of it.
SPEED AND ACCELERATION - very good. The boat whispers along quickly and nicely, and if you really dig in with the paddles, she'll respond for your efforts.
MANEUVERABILITY - good. My Caspia is more maneuverable, but then it is a much smaller boat. I think it's a lot to ask a 13+ foot boat to turn on a dime. Can you really have both excellent tracking and excellent maneuverability?
SPACE - very good. The hatch space behind cockpit is more than adequate and easily accessed. There is also quite a bit of space up front beyond the foot braces. I made a solo overnighter already and with no problems I carried a tent, sleeping bag + pad, backpacker stove and fuel, food, tent, drinking water and extra clothes. You really do have to think like a backpacker when using this kayak (and most other kayaks) for camping, however. The cooler full of beer, the porta-potty and the golf clubs will need to be left behind!
STURDINESS - If my Caspia (made of the same material) is any indication, the America should give me many years of rugged kayaking, even on some mild whitewater (class I and II). Caution: I'm told, these plastic boats should be stored only on a flat surface because an improperly stored boat may sag over time. This may also be true for all kayaks. I really don't know.
COMFORT - The oversize cockpit is absolutely superb! It was probably the number one selling point for me. I am well into middle age and while I'm probably more fit than the average for my age, I don't just pop in and out of the boat like a spry teenager (Oh, to be young again!). I also like the big cockpit because you can easily pull your legs outside the boat and rest them on the front, or dip them over the side and into the water. The seat leaves something to be desired, but seat comfort can be greatly improved with some padding.
CONVENIENCE - As I said above, the America is an excellent set of compromises. The boat is large enough for overnighters, but is small enough to store and haul. I can toss the America into the back of my full size pickup and by placing it caddy-corned with the gate up, only about 3-feet sticks out the back. A single bungee cord to keep it from sliding around (my truck has a cap on the back) and a flag tied on the end of the boat for visibility/safety, and off I go! At 13' 4" in length, the America also fits nicely into my utility shed for storage.
ESTHETICS - The America certainly has nothing to apologize for. The lines are clean and simple and the decals are tasteful. The elastic hold-down bands placed just ahead of and just behind the cockpit are not only useful, but also make the boat a bit more interesting to the eye. I bought the yellow boat because I thought it would be more visible on the water than other colors (watch out for those power boaters!).
OVER-ALL - I would have no hesitation in recommending this boat to any recreational kayaker. It is a very good buy for a relatively inexpensive kayak.

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10-19-2000
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     An excellent example of a boat that will do many different tasks without making significant compromises. Lakes, streams, rivers, minor rapids. Haven't yet found the need for a rudder. Comfortable. Tracks well. Good speed....will go fast if you're willing to paddle that hard. Not too heavy, too wide or too long for easy mobility. Wonderfully sized cockpit for large paddlers. 6'1" - 240# with plenty of room left over for a child, medium sized dog, fishing gear, or..... The America certainly has to be one of the best choices if you're in the market for a recreational kayak that gives you dry storage and enough capacity to pack for light touring / camping. 11 mile day trips of a mostly flatwater river are quite enjoyable. Cool name....America!
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09-18-2000
Submitted by: SBTSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I am a first time buyer and purchased the America Expedition from a local outfitter. My paddling friend purchased the basic model and as far as I can tell, for flatwater the basic model is all that is needed. I live near a river and have found the America to handle well in class I rapids, although not designed nor intended for real whitewater. It is durable, plenty of storage for my purposes- day paddles- and has a nice look. I purchased it mainly for the size of the cockpit so I could take my dog along on short paddles.Make sure you know your dog will handle the difference between a canoe and Kayak as mine hasn't adjusted to the difference. Guess I'll use the extra room for fishing equipment! If you are looking for a roomy craft in the recreational class, I highly recommend the America.
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09-06-2000
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have now tried the America on a mild river and in a couple of large lakes. For its beam it moves with little effort and tracks well. In the river it was not much problem dodging the rocks. I was surprized how nimble it could be. The large cockpit is a plus as I get bigger, 6'1", and larger, 210. My only complaint is that the seat back is uncomfortable. Specifically it is too short for my taste.
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08-28-2000
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I spent a few months researching recreational and light touring plastic kayaks. I enjoyed doing the research because I find it to be fun, and I didn't want to end up buying a kayak that I'd be unhappy with. I've been kayaking on and off for over ten years. I certainly don't consider myself an expert, but I love to kayak quiet waters, bays, inlets, etc. and always have a great time paddling.

To begin with, I'm 68 years old, and weigh "over" 225 lbs. I'm physically sound, but the only exercise I do is paddling a kayak. I can paddle for two, three hours, perhaps more with no problem. This is not non-stop paddling I'm talking about. I paddle ten minutes of so, stop, and the kayak continues to glide, I take in the beauty in between strokes, and have a ball. I mention all this because my physical condition had to be taken into consideration before I purchased a new kayak. So, I now began researching for a new kayak. I read all the paddle magazine kayak reviews that I could. And, of course I read every review on this very website, paddling.net/Reviews. Of course, the only way a serious paddler should buy a kayak is to "try before you buy". Simple as that. And of course, that's what I ended up doing.

Most paddlers have different needs, and I was no different. I've paddled some beautiful boats, that you couldn't give to me for free. I saw a beautiful Old Towne Loon 120 that could handle my weight, and the finish coat was a beauty to see. But, I like to "drag" a boat in the sand for a bit when "beaching a kayak", and knew I'd have a "fit" when I saw all the bottom scratches that would occur eventually. I almost bought the Perception Acadia because she paddled, and tracked great, which is on the top of my requirements. I then went to Eastern Mountain Sports, and saw the Perception America with its huge cockpit, and began to "salivate", since I've gotten so tired of getting in and out of "small" cockpits, and the America seems too good to fit my requirements. First: she was 27 1/2 inches wide. I immediately assumed she'd be too "slow". Second: She was 50 lbs.. My last kayak was 38 lbs, so I knew the America would be a bit too heavy for me. I made up a list of kayaks that would accommodate my 225 lbs. Old Towne Loon 138, with a 18x55 cockpit was just too wide and long.

Dagger: Edisto, Cypress, and the Savannah, all great kayaks, but all had cockpits of 19x34. Necky: Zoar, and the Zoar Sport, cockpit, 17x32, too small.(Great quality)Perception:Vizcaya,Captiva,Carolina, and Acadia, all great ones. I found myself putting the America back on the list, then taking it off, for about three or four times., until I decided to test paddle it in Long Island Sound, N.Y. I use the Yakima Roof rack system, with four cradles, but at 50 lbs. I had to have my wife pick up the other end, and put it on top of the car. The water at Long Island Sound was not the smoothest on that day. What I was looking for in this kayak was straight tracking, and a good amount of speed, and of course a comfortable cockpit. And that's exactly what this boat did. I took the boat back to EMS. I didn't buy it. I liked everything about the kayak, but I still wanted to think about it. I'm retired, so, I've got plenty of time to have fun researching. A week later, I walking into EMS, and saw that the America was on sale of $475, and bought it.I really didn't care for any of Perceptions hull colors, but I decided on "Firecracker", (red). Its the Basic model, not the expedition. I purchased flotation bags, for the bow and stern, and I was on my way up to Cape Cod for two weeks of paddling, and swimming. I crossed one beach, to another, all sandy of course, with the greatest peace, and tranquility ever. I found the America to be fast in quiet waters, even in a bit of a chop. I paddled at times, with my legs "over" the cockpit with no problem. The bottom of the America is "flat", so its got great "primary stability". As for secondary stability, I can only guess, that its not good. My last boat had great secondary stability, but for the kind of paddling that I do, the America, with its super primary stability leads me to think that Perception had someone like me in mind when it first went on the drawing board. Another reason I bought the America, is that since the cockpit is so large, I could sit my 6 year old grandson in front of me and have him paddle for a while, and then, I would. There's an option child's seat that I could have bought for $25 extra, but my grandson had plenty of room in the cockpit without it, so I didn't buy it.

He now talks to me about going "kayaking" up at Cape Cod again. While at the Cape, I tried to re-enter the boat, from about four feet of water, and could not. I even tried it with a paddle float, with no luck. The reason: I have so few muscles left, that I can't even get into my son's 14 foot runabout. But I do believe the America's probably one of the easiest kayaks to re-enter due to its large beam, and flat bottom. If I were in better shape, I know I could have hopped onto the stern, keep my head low, and just slide into the cockpit, without even using a paddle float.

One last point: My daughter kayaked the America a few times, and I noticed that she could not go as fast as I could. I cannot emphasize buying the "Proper paddle". I do believe that my daughter couldn't go as fast as me was because my paddle is a "fixed left hand control" paddle. Meaning that, if you're a right hand control paddler, as most people are, you'll have a bit of a hard time adjusting to MY paddle. I now intend to buy an "adjustable" paddle so ANY paddler can adjust it to left, or right when using my kayak. You'll not only go faster, but you'll feel no pain or strain on your arms, and upper body. So, for me, I've found a kayak to love for a long time. It may even be my last kayak. The America is made of Roto-molded superlinear polyethylene. Some of those boats I mentioned above were simply great, Dagger, Necky, and Old Towne, but with my "girth", I had not much of a choice, and luckily, I'm as happy as a "pig in mud".......One last point: Canoe & Kayak magazines August edition, did a review on 6 recreational kayaks. The Perception America was one of them reviewed. The last part of the review said, "We found it much more pleasant to relax and enjoy the kayak, rather than push it through maneuvers it was not intended to make". That's what originally helped to "turn me off" on the America. The "push it through maneuvers, etc," had me thinking negatives against the kayak. Well, I certainly can go as fast as I wish, and am elated over the great tracking, while I "relax", and paddle with ease, the "maneuvers, that this happy paddler always "intends to make"... "Have fun paddling".

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08-21-2000
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I recently purchased an America to use for mangrove and swamp paddling in Fl. Found it to be very good for twisty mangrove creeks and streams and extrememly roomy which is important for a big guy. I gave it a nine rather than ten due to dissatisfaction with the dealer, not the boat.
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08-21-2000
Submitted by: SteveSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Chose America over Old town's loon 138 and Dagger's Delta. Overall very happy with purchase. Better tracking and speed than any other Kayak in the "rec"class. Good stability too...rapids schmapids. Only reason it is a 9 and not a 10 is for the seat back, but fis that with some work. Excelent investment.
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05-27-2000
Submitted by: Cam
Rating: 9 of 10

     Excellent starter kayak. Extremely stable, versatile boat. For touring I'm going to buy a 17-footer, but for messing around, fishing, and class I or II rivers, it seems to be a dandy craft. I've been down a class I.5 river in it, sort of expecting to have trouble, and had none. It's maneuverable enough to get around obstacles and is lightning fast compared with other river craft. For touring it would be tough, however, as it has a wide beam and is not efficient enough for that. But for a first-timer who wants a wide variety of uses, this is the one. Comfortable, fairly sleek, very safe, and good looking too!
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05-06-2000
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     The snow's barely off the ground, and I couldn't wait to see how the America fared - high winds and almost freezing temperatures greeting me in my maiden voyage, and I couldn't be happier. Others were being blown around, but the America tracked beautifully! Bought it for the extra large cockpit as I hope to take my dog during the warmer months. Spent the extra $ for the expedition, and love the really large oval cockpit cover - very easy to get things in and out. Light enough to carry by myself - love the built in skeg. A great all around multi-purpose kayak. Thanks, Perception.
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04-12-2000
Submitted by: JoelSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My first kayak, I chose the America over the Acadia because of the larger cockpit and overall size...all 6'2" 200lbs of me can easily fit inside (and wet exit in a hurrry as i found out last weekend...brrrr) along with enough gear to camp/fish for a few days. Good balance between straight tracking and easy maneuverabilty for a larger boat. The model I chose was the "basic" without the rear bulkhead...I coulden't see spending an extra $100 for it, instead I took out the rear foam flotation wall and replaced it with a dry storage/floatation stern bag from NRS, which works great. She's stable and fast, would recommend for anyone who likes lake and river fishing/camping.
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