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Gear Review: Perception Carolina 12

Gear Review: Perception Carolina 12

Gear Review: Perception Carolina 12

Value Rating: 8
Durability Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 8

Location of Test: Ross Island
Duration: 3 hours

Product Name: Carolina 12
Product Brand: Perception
Best Use: Recreation / light touring
Sizes Available/ Specs: The Carolina comes as the Carolina 12 or the Carolina 14. This review covers the Carolina 12 specifically.
Comes in five colors: Sunset, Lime, Red, Sea Spray, and Roxie.
12' long, 26'' wide, 49 lbs, max weight 275 lbs.

The Full Review

This past weekend I had the opportunity to try out the Pungo 120, the Carolina 12, and the Prodigy 120 back to back to back. This is my review of the Carolina 12. Look for the other reviews to see how they compare.

The Carolina 12 moves in a slightly different direction than the Pungo and the Prodigy. While it is the same length, this kayak take a slight step in the touring direction. The smaller cockpit allows for a sprayskirt to be worn in rougher conditions, even making it possible to roll this kayak if one wanted to. In addition this kayak has a front hatch for more storage and deck lines all around the perimeter of the kayak.

My first impression of the Carolina was speed. This kayak is definitely faster than the Pungo and the Prodigy. Another impression I had was that this kayak likes to go in a straight line. This means two things really. One is that the kayak is harder to turn. The other is that more stroke energy is transferred into forward momentum. This means that this may be a better kayak for people going longer distances in a straight line.

The Good:

I really like the speed of the kayak. The slightly narrower hull gives the kayak a faster top speed. In addition, the smaller cockpit allows for a more aggressive seating position with the knees tucked under the cockpit rim. This allows for more contact points and more connectedness with the kayak allowing the paddler to really drive this boat forward.

The Bad:

Out of the three kayaks tested, this kayak was the least stable. With any kayak more width means more stability and less speed. Less width mess less stability but more speed. So it makes sense that this kayak is the fastest yet least stable out of the three. That being said, I don’t want to give the impression that this kayak is extremely tippy. Next Adventure uses these kayak for our Ross Island Guided Tours and first time kayakers have no trouble staying upright and in their kayaks.

The Bottom Line: 

Out of the three kayaks mentioned I would recommend this kayak to people that are just getting into kayak but have some interest in touring at some point. This boat is a little small for a week long trip but is great for the longer day trips. With the smaller cockpit and deck rigging this kayak can certainly handle rougher conditions than the other two and with the extra speed paddlers can cover more ground in less time.

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