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Perception Carolina 14 Kayak Review

Perception Carolina 14 Kayak Review

The following review will go over one of (if not) the most beloved kayaks out there today – the Carolina 14. We tested out the Carolina in an effort to give you a comprehensive summary of everything you should know.

The company known as Perception happens to be a respected kayaking manufacturer and has been part of this industry for over three decades now. Perception was the first company to make a plastic kayak.


The Carolina 14 is rudder-capable. This feature is something that recreational kayaks do not provide – particularly expensive ones you can sit inside.

The weight of the boat can be carried by a couple of toggle handles that are found at both the rear and front sides.
There are foam bulkheads that are sturdy at the stern end. This makes way for improved safety, efficient buoyancy, and large storage areas that are weight resistant. You can access the storage through the rear and front hatches, which are neoprene covered.

The Perception Carolina 14 is outfitted with two paddlers and bungees all throughout the deck. You’ll have ample room to put away your gear and access it when you need to. The bungees, which are situated near the bow, sometimes serve as alternative paddle parks.

Both the Carolina 14 (in addition to the small-sized Carolina 12) are outfitted with deck lines containing reflective safety features. This helps the boat stay visible when you are riding in foggy or low light conditions.

The simple entry cockpit has dimensions of 100 cm long by 55 cm wide (39.5 inches long by 21.5 inches wide). The edges are padded to keep the legs of the paddler protected.

The Perception Carolina 14 comes with a Zone DLX, which is a trimmable and ergonomic seat system. It lets kayakers of all sizes sit comfortably, and is paired with foot braces that are adjustable. Additionally, the base seating comes with leg lifters, which allows paddlers to position their legs comfortably (or have them tilted downwards to make paddling more efficient). Also, the seat comes with lumbar support.

The Performance

The Carolina 14 happens to be a very well-rounded boat.

The hull, which is V-shaped and super-linear, contains soft chines that maintain stability, speed, and a shallow draft.
Paddlers are kept well-positioned and centered when in the water, thanks to the low seats this watercraft has. The extra flotation provided from its bulkheads and the hull (which is stable) makes this boat quite hard to capsize after you become accustomed to it.

As far as maneuverability is concerned, the Perception Carolina 14 responds fairly quickly to all paddle strokes. However, it won’t turn without a little effort. That is par for the course when it comes to touring kayaks. With that in mind, this boat can handle its own when in the water.

The Perception Carolina 14 will track surprisingly well in waters that are calm, such as peaceful bays and open lakes that are sheltered. However, things can change once you enter choppy waters. In such cases, if rudder deployment is feasible, the kayak will track very well, no matter how windy or rough the conditions are.

The Positives


This boat tracks quite smoothly. It lets you achieve tremendous speeds, no matter what type of water you are riding it on. For the price you pay, you’ll get a remarkably fast boat.

The Perception Carolina 14 has been thoroughly tested and is capable of handling itself on small lakes, large lakes, ponds, and slow rivers. You can try using it in seawater, though it isn’t recommended for ocean use. That is because wind and waves could be problematic, as far as turning goes.

This boat can edge quite well, even though it’s a bigger kayak. It’s capable of maneuvering well through twisted springs without issue (which can be aided by buying a rudder).


This kayak is something people usually buy when they are looking to upgrade their device or find something with more room. There is a smaller variation of this particular kayak, but the larger size comes with extra space. Keeping its price point in mind, this will be a fantastic kayak for people 5’10” and/or for people who weigh more than 180 pounds. The Perception Carolina 14 will be able to accommodate people with large legs and extra weight, even if you weigh 250 pounds.

The boat includes bulkheads that are sealed, letting you hold sufficient storage no matter what kind of trip you go on. The additional storage space will be particularly fitting when you’re going on an overnight trip. You’ll be able to pack just about anything you need.


This kayak’s price point happens to be quite reasonable, particularly when upgrading it from another size since a lot of space is included.


The Perception Carolina 14 is surprisingly fast and very light. It’s the perfect kayak if you are either a beginner paddler or an intermediate one.


The Perception Carolina 14 doesn’t come with very many negatives, but there are some to point out.
For starters, the seating is somewhat uncomfortable and could use some improvements. That’s because its seat is thin. It was designed for people in smaller weight classes, despite the fact that the watercraft was developed for larger people. Some people offset this by installing some kind of aftermarket seat, though this could set you back $100 or so, as well as the cost of installation.

Further, anybody who weighs more than 200 pounds will find the kayak’s thigh braces to be somewhat tight.
The kayak’s handles have failed for some people after heavy usage. That may be because its bolts might not be as tight as they should be.

Lastly, when it comes to turns, the Carolina 14 is slightly difficult to control.

In Closing

Because the Perception Carolina 14 was built to be a touring boat, it is worth considering if you’re in search of a vessel that can be loaded up with some camping gear before you go away for several days.

Because you can see inside of this boat, you will be able to paddle in all sorts of weather conditions, no matter how cold it gets. The cockpit will provide you more elemental protection, more so than kayaks you sit on the top of. A unique spray skirt can keep you dry and warm if you’d like to add one during the colder seasons.

Because the boat was designed to let people sit inside, some fundamental training will be needed before you start riding. You’ll need to know how wet exits should be performed before you hit the water.

Robert Johnson

I'm Robert Johnson the guy behind I went to my first kayaking trips with my father as a little boy and immediately fell in love with it. It is still my favorite hobby today. I love to go on kayaking trips with friends and family and I wanted to share my passion and knowledge around this wonderful outdoor activity with this website.

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