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Perception Carolina 12 Kayak Review

Mark Armstrong
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​Sometimes a long touring kayak can be inconvenient for transportation. But with the Perception Carolina 12 kayak you may be able to get the convenience of a recreational yak with the storage and speed of a touring vessel.

We’ve reviewed its main features to see how it fares and to give you a clearer picture of what to expect from this compact touring craft.

Perception Carolina 12Pin
  • ​Length: 12 foot
  • ​​Width: 26 inches
  • Depth: 14.5 inches
  • Weight: 49 pounds
  • ​Weight Capacity: 275 pounds

​Oh Carolina…This Kayak Is Best For…

The Carolina 12 is a touring vessel so it can be a great choice if you’re looking for a craft that you can load up with camping gear and head off for a few days.

It’s a sit-inside so you can potentially paddle all year round, even in colder conditions, as the cockpit is designed to offer you a little more protection from the elements than a sit-on-top. You even have the option of adding a spray skirt to keep you warm and dry during the winter or cold weather.

The Carolina is a short touring yak that could be ideal for beginners, kids or even those with more experience. The sit-inside design may mean that you will need to have had some basic training, such as how to perform a wet exit, before you take to the ocean.

​The Carolina 12 Kayak: Top Features

​The Carolina is a 12 foot sit-inside touring kayak that’s designed to offer comfort during longer paddling trips in a range of water environments. It’s built to be stable and versatile, as well as being aimed at both beginners and more experienced paddlers.

​Cockpit Comfort

Because this yak is designed for long days on the water, the cockpit is geared towards comfort. The ergonomically designed seat features a padded bottom and back and has the benefit of adjustability. The seat back can be adjusted up and down, as well as forwards and backwards.

The seat bottom can also be adjusted to provide extra support for your legs. In addition to this, there are adjustable foot braces, so you can gain a more suitable paddling position.

​Overnight Trip

This 12 foot yak lets you pack a lot into it. It can be ideal for a full day or several nights away.

One of the best features is the dry storage. There are two sealed hatches. The one at the back can hold quite a lot of gear inside the hull, such as a small tent or sleeping bag. The front hatch has a lower volume than the rear but can still hold a couple of dry bags or overnight gear.

Video: Perception Carolina 12 Kayak Overview

As well as the dry storage, there’s bungee rigging at the bow and stern for additional gear. The bungee storage at the front is large enough to store bigger items, such as dry bags.

​Water Performance

The Perception Carolina has a V-shaped hull, which can help boost speed and improve tracking on the water. It can also mean it has good secondary stability, which can make it ideal for a range of water conditions, including oceans.

Because of its shorter length, compared to more professional touring kayaks, this yak can be easier to maneuver, making it a good choice for beginners or kids. It can also be ideal for touring on smaller bodies of water or narrower rivers.

​Carolina 14

Perception Carolina 14 KayakPin
  • Length: 14 foot
  • ​​Width: 24.5 inches
  • Depth: 14.5 inches
  • ​Weight: 53 pounds
  • ​Weight Capacity: 300 pounds

The Carolina 14 is 2 feet longer than the 12, and also narrower, which can give you better speed across the water. The longer length also means you gain more storage space for longer trips, while still benefiting from the same features found on the 12.

The Carolina 14 could be better suited to larger paddlers and if you’re looking for a speedier vessel for longer tours.

​Perception Carolina Alternatives

​Dagger Axis 12

Dagger Axis 12 KayakPin

​The Dagger Axis is a 12 foot sit-inside that features a drop down skeg for better tracking. It has a rear storage hatch and bungee deck rigging at the bow and stern. It could be a good alternative if you plan to paddle in choppier conditions or rapids.

​​Riot Edge 14.5

Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5Pin

The Edge is 2 ½ feet longer than the Carolina 12 and has a narrow 22.5 inch hull, which may give you extra speed for efficient paddling. It features two storage hatches, bungee rigging and comes with a rudder.

> Edge 14.5 – deep dive

​Perception Conduit 13

Perception Conduit 13 KayakPin

The Conduit is similar to the Carolina but is a foot longer and a little wider. It has good storage and stability and could be ideal for both beginners and experienced paddlers looking for a day touring craft.

Questions And Answers

Is a paddle included?

​No, it’s not included.

​There’s no rudder included. Does it need one, or can I install one myself?

​It comes rudder ready, meaning you can install one yourself. It has good tracking without but you could add one for improved tracking in moving water or windy conditions.

​Finishing Off

Perception Carolina 12Pin


  • Compact touring yak
  • ​Speed and stability
  • Good storage
  • Comfortable


  • No rudder or skeg attached
  • ​No rod holders or gear tracks

The Carolina 12 could just be the yak that can let you explore lakes, rivers and even the coast. It has plenty of storage for camping trips and has a comfortable cockpit for long paddling sessions.

If you’ve decided that this yak fits your needs, check it out here. But before you go, let us know what you think by leaving us a comment. And if you want to help guide your fellow paddlers, share this with them.

Perception Carolina 12 - Pinterest ImagePin

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