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Perception Swifty Deluxe 9.5 Kayak Review

Mark Armstrong
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The Perception Swifty Deluxe 9.5 is an affordable recreational kayak that can be great for beginners and novice paddlers, as well as the occasional angler.

  • Length: 9 foot 6 inches
  • Width: 28.5 inches
  • Weight: 44 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 325 pounds

It is an American-made sit-inside kayak with a short hull that’s designed to be easy to paddle. This is the smaller version of the Swifty 11.5 but has the same maximum capacity. It also comes with a five-year limited manufacturer’s warranty, highlighting its durability.

This can be the ideal kayak for recreational paddling and fishing in small lakes and slow-moving rivers. While it does have some storage space for day paddling, it may not be sufficient for a long day on the water or an extended trip.

If you’re looking for your first sit-inside kayak, this could be an excellent choice. If you’re looking for top-quality features and high performance, this one may not be for you.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Perception Swifty

The Perception Swifty Deluxe 9.5 is a recreational kayak at the lower end of the price scale, so it can be an ideal starter kayak if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option.

A good thing about this boat is that it can be used by kids as well as adults, with a maximum capacity of 325 pounds. This can make it a versatile choice if you’re looking to let everyone in your family take turns in taking it out on the lake.

Having a sit-inside design, it can be a good choice for paddling in all seasons, with the enclosed cockpit helping to provide a little extra protection from the elements compared to a sit-on-top kayak.

However, the Swifty has quite a low profile so you may find it’s less enclosed than some other sit-inside kayaks, meaning you may still be exposed to the elements or splashes.

This is a compact kayak that can be great for smaller bodies of water, such as ponds and narrow rivers. Its excellent maneuverability means it can turn quickly and easily in small spaces.

If you’re looking for a kayak with all the bells and whistles, then this is probably not the one for you. This is a basic budget kayak with limited features and may not be the best choice for long trips. It’s also not designed for rough water or open water.  

However, it can be ideal if you’re after a budget fishing kayak, as it does have fishing rod storage.

Top Features Of The Perception Swifty

Great Maneuverability

One of the best features of this little kayak is its maneuverability. With its short hull it’s designed to turn quickly and easily, which can make it a great boat for ponds and smaller rivers.

Being easy to maneuver can also make this kayak easier to paddle and control if you’re a beginner and particularly if you’re a smaller person.

Video: Perception 9.5 Swifty DLX Kayak Review

It has a multi-chine hull with excellent stability on flatwater. It performs best on lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers.

It’s also got pretty decent tracking, which can make it easier to paddle in a straight line without veering off course too much, which could help to minimize fatigue from correcting the direction of the boat. However, it’s not the fastest kayak.

The compact hull can also mean this boat is easy to maneuver off the water as well as on, which could mean carrying it to the launch is less awkward.

Day Storage

For a small boat, it does have decent storage. However, it’s not a touring kayak, so you probably won’t be able to load it up with camping equipment.

One of the best storage features of the Swifty is the 10-inch storage hatch in the stern. This can be great for storing a dry bag filled with your essentials or lunch. There’s also bungee rigging on the top to help secure the lid and keep other items tied down to your deck.

Additionally, there’s a dashboard storage tray in front of the cockpit for keeping smaller items within easy reach of the seat. The molded-in cup holder is positioned just in front of the seat, inside the cockpit.

There are two rear flush-mounted rod holders to store your fishing rods if you want to do a little angling. A bungee cord paddle holder is conveniently located at the bow so that you can keep your paddle safe when you’re tending to your catch or baiting your hooks.

The amount of space for large fishing gear, however, is limited. For example, there’s no room for a crate or kayak cooler. But there should be ample room for casual fishing equipment.

You might need to get creative with DIY skills if you want to fully rig this boat for a serious fishing trip. But you could install additional accessories (sold separately) by mounting gear tracks or other mounts (not included) if you wanted to create a custom fishing kayak using this boat. 

Video: DIY Kayak Fishing – Perception Swifty

Roomy Cockpit

A nice feature of this recreational kayak is the spacious cockpit. This means it can be easy to get in and out of, which can be particularly useful if you’re new to sit-inside kayaks or new to paddling in general.

The cockpit is less enclosed than some other sit-inside kayaks, which could feel more comfortable and less confined compared to narrower sea kayaks. However, the more open cockpit may not keep you as dry as the more enclosed cockpits found on other kayaks and it may not be compatible with a spray skirt.

Inside the cockpit, you’ll find adjustable foot braces designed to suit different leg lengths. The cushioned seat features a high backrest that can be adjusted using the straps to tailor the level of recline. However, the seat may not be the most comfortable if you plan to paddle all day.

As well as being easy to get in and out of, the larger cockpit also means you can move around a little more, for example if you need to access gear. You may even find there’s room for a small dog to join you. But you might struggle with a medium or big dog. 

Kayaks suitable for carrying dogs

Easy To Transport

One of the best things about having a compact kayak like the Swifty 9.5 is that it’s easy to transport. This is a lightweight kayak that can be convenient both to load on a car roof rack and carry to the water’s edge. Its compact hull also means you might be able to fit it in the back of some pickup trucks.

To help you carry the kayak and load it on top of your car easily, you’ll find molded-in carry handles at the bow and stern to give you a secure and comfortable grip.

The compact size of the hull can mean the Swifty is easy to load and unload by yourself, as well as being less awkward to carry to the water on your own.

You may also find that because of its more compact size, it can be easier to store at home as it can take up less space in your garage or on your wall.


The Perception Swifty is made in the USA – in Greenville, South Carolina. It is made from tough and durable high-density rotomolded polyethylene, so it’s able to handle the various knocks and bumps that are generally inevitable if you’re a new kayaker.

This durable construction is backed by Perception’s limited five-year warranty for manufacturing defects. So this may give you a little extra reassurance on the quality of the craftsmanship and materials. 

We think the Perception Swifty 9.5 Deluxe is a fantastic starter kayak for exploring quiet rivers and backwaters. After checking the internet to see what the rest of the world thinks, it turns out we’re not the only ones who are loving this kayak’s performance on gentle rivers.

Perception Swifty Alternatives

1: Wilderness Systems Pungo 105

Wilderness Systems Pungo 105Pin


  • Fully adjustable seating system
  • Stable hull
  • Large cockpit


  • Expensive

The Wilderness Systems Pungo 105 can be a great alternative if you’re looking for increased comfort and upgraded storage but it is more expensive. This stable 30-inch wide sit-inside kayak is a foot longer than the Swifty 9.5 and is crafted for stability and comfort on long fishing trips.

It can be ideal for recreational paddling or angling and benefits from having a removable dashboard with a dry box, Slidetrax accessory rail and battery recess. This boat is also compatible with spray skirts so it can be a good choice for paddling or fishing in colder conditions.

The Phase 3 Airpro seat is one of the best features and can be fully adjusted to offer lumbar support. There’s a large storage hatch and bungee cords on the deck for additional gear.

2: Perception Swifty 11.5


  • Efficient on the water
  • Tracks well
  • Spacious cockpit


  • Basic seat

The Perception Swifty 11.5 is two feet longer than the 9.5 version and an inch wider. It’s also only 3 pounds heavier, so it’s still a lightweight option that can be easy to carry and load on a roof rack on your own.

Being a little longer, this kayak can be a good alternative if you’re looking for increased speed and tracking. It’s a stable vessel that is designed to handle the same conditions as the smaller version but with more efficiency on the water.

It has all the great features found on the shorter 9.5 version, including the same maximum capacity. But it has a little more space in terms of leg room in the cockpit, so it can be more comfortable if you’re taller. It can also offer more room in the cockpit if you want to bring along your dog.

3: Azul Kayaks Expedition 10 Deluxe


  • Affordable kayak
  • Very lightweight
  • Great for beginners


  • Basic features

The Azul Expedition 10 can be an excellent alternative to the Swifty 9.5 if you’re looking for an even more affordable and lightweight boat. This 10-foot sit-inside kayak is made for recreational paddling and weighs just 39 pounds.

It features a mesh-covered rear storage deck for keeping larger gear secure. It also has deck bungees at the bow for additional gear and a fishing rod holder. Another nice feature of the Expedition is the front storage hatch, which can be ideal for keeping smaller items safe and dry, such as your keys or phone. But the hatch is not waterproof so you may want to use a waterproof bag before you put anything in the hatch.

This budget-friendly kayak also comes with a paddle included so it can be an excellent option for beginners.

Final Words


  • Great maneuverability
  • Ideal for small bodies of water
  • Sit-inside kayak
  • Easy to paddle


  • Minimal storage
  • Basic seat

The Perception Swifty 9.5 can be a great first kayak for beginners, especially if you’re looking to do a little fishing while you’re on the water. With its spacious cockpit, getting in and out can be easy even if you’re new to paddling. It’s also easy to paddle and turns quickly and efficiently in small spaces.

If you think the Swifty could be the starter boat for you, you can check it out here. Let us know what you think of it and if you found this helpful, share it for others to discover.  

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