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Perception Tribe 9.5 Review

Mark Armstrong
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There are a lot of recreational kayaks on the market, which can make it difficult to narrow down your search. Do you want a craft that can handle the surf? Or are you looking for a stable yak to learn in? The Tribe 9.5 could be what you need.

We’ve looked at the features on the 9.5, the 11.5 and the 13.5 Tandem to see what they have to offer, how they compare and how they might be able to help you on your next paddling trip.

Perception Tribe 9.5 KayakPin
  • Length: 9 foot 6 inches
  • Width: 31.25 inches
  • Depth: 16.25 inches
  • Weight: 46 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 300 pounds

A Tribe Kayak Is Suitable For…

The Tribe can be an ideal craft if you’re looking for something that can handle a few light waves in the ocean, some surf, as well as the calm lakes and slow moving rivers that you like to paddle in.

The Tribe 9.5 can be a good choice if you’re looking for a compact, easy to maneuver vessel that you can paddle on your own. Its short hull means it should be easier to transport to and from the water by yourself, and it should even fit in the back of your pickup with the tailgate down. It’s also pretty lightweight if you have to carry it.

While the Tribe can handle the ocean, if you’re after a more streamlined yak for paddling longer distances you might be better with a touring or sea kayak, which might also be able to give you more storage options.

However, if you’re looking for an easy to use yak – whether you’re a beginner or not – the Tribe might just fit the bill.

The Features That You Should Care About

The Perception Tribe 9.5 is a compact recreational sit-on-top kayak that’s built for versatility and fun on the water. It comes with an adjustable padded seat and is designed to offer stability on a range of water types.

Versatile Hull Design

The Tribe is designed to offer a high level of stability in a range of water conditions. This means you can paddle in the ocean, the surf, calm lakes and bays, as well as slow moving rivers. So if you like to explore different bodies of water in your yak, then this could be a good choice.

Video: Perception Kayaks | Tribe Overview

The stability it can offer can also be helpful for beginners. Additionally, the added stability can be beneficial if you like to fish, take photographs or watch wildlife while you’re on the water.

Comfort On Deck

For added comfort when you’re paddling, there is a padded seat with an adjustable seat back, so you can stay on the water for longer. The molded foot rests provide you with a comfortable seating and paddling position, which can allow you to stabilize your craft a little easier.

To make sure you can have easy access to your favorite beverage while you’re paddling, there’s a cup holder in the center just in front of the seat.

Store Your Gear

There’s plenty of space on board to store your gear for a day on the water. The bow and stern benefit from having storage areas with bungee rigging to let you keep your items safe and secure. As well as this, there’s a handy storage hatch in the center, where you can keep smaller items, such as your keys or phone, safe and dry.

Easy To Handle

The Tribe features a lightweight hull, which can be easier to lift and carry if you’re on your own. To make it easier, there are molded-in carry handles on either side, which can give you a better and more comfortable grip while you’re carrying it. There are also toggle carry handles at both the bow and the stern.

The short hull of the Tribe 9.5 can also make transporting it to and from the water a little easier, as it can be compact enough to fit in the back of many pickups, or can be carried on a roof rack of a small car.

As well as being easy to handle out of the water, the 9 foot 6 inch hull means it should be pretty easy to maneuver while you’re on the water too. This can be more convenient for navigating through smaller bodies of water and can be beneficial for smaller sized paddlers who might struggle with a longer or heavier boat.

When Two “Tribes” Go To War (Well, 3 Actually)

The Tribe 9.5 is part of a family of kayaks, which includes the 11.5 and the 13.5 Tandem. The numbers at the end of each of the names correspond to the length of the hull, so with each size you’re gaining an extra 2 feet compared to the 9.5.

Tribe 11.5

Perception Tribe 11.5Pin

The Tribe 11.5 is a 2 foot longer version, giving you added storage space and a 50 pound higher weight capacity. It’s also an inch narrower in the hull, which could improve speed and efficiency on the water.

It’s designed with the same versatile hull shape as the 9.5 and could still be a good craft for beginners, as well as more experienced kayakers looking for a fun, stable vessel.

Tribe 13.5 Tandem

Tribe 13.5 TandemPin

The Tribe 13.5 Tandem can be the ideal yak for family adventures, whether you’re hitting the beach or enjoying a picnic at the lake. It’s spacious, has a high 500 pound capacity and comes with two padded seats. There’s also room for a third non-paddling passenger, such as a child or a dog.

The Tandem also benefits from having two small storage hatches; one in front of each seat. This means both paddlers can keep their small essential items or valuables safe but within easy reach.

The Tribe 13.5 is also two and a half inches wider than the Tribe 9.5, which means you should have extra space on deck, either to improve your comfort or to bring along more gear.

Perception Tribe Alternatives To Consider

Ocean Kayak Caper

Ocean Kayak CaperPin

This 11 foot Ocean Kayak Caper could be a good alternative if you’re after a couple of different storage options. This one benefits from having a Click Seal storage hatch at the bow, so you can keep some of your gear safe and dry. There’s also a large tank well at the rear, with bungee rigging to keep larger items tied down.

It costs a little more but is roughly the same weight as the Tribe 9.5 and also comes with a padded seat.

Vibe Skipjack 90

Vibe Skipjack 90 KayakPin

The Skipjack 90 is a 9 foot long, 32 inch wide yak designed for stability and fishing. It could be a good choice for beginners because it’s compact, stable, easy to maneuver and comes with a paddle to get you started.

It’s in the same price bracket at the Tribe 9.5 but has a few extra features for the anglers out there, such as four rod holders and two dry storage hatches.

> Here’s our full say on the Skipjack 90

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100Pin

The Tamarack is a 10 foot yak that’s 31 inches wide to give added stability for beginners or anglers. It’s designed for fishing but can be used for recreational paddling as well.

It has plenty of storage, including two hatches and front and rear storage decks with bungee cords. So it could be ideal for carrying fishing gear or some light camping gear. It also comes in at a lower price than the Tribe but benefits from built-in rod holders.

> Here’s the 12ft version

Questions And Answers

Is the Tribe any good for tall paddlers?

Yes, the Tribe has a spacious cockpit area and there should be plenty of room for legs. 

Is this kayak good for the ocean?

Yes, its hull is designed to handle light ocean waves and surf, as well as calm water. 

What’s it like for tracking?

For its compact size, the Tribe can track well, thanks to the shape of the hull and the more defined keel at the rear.

Wrapping Up

So you’ve seen what the Tribe can offer you; stability in a range of conditions, ease of transporting and it can be ideal for beginners. It can let you get out and have on the water, no matter what size you go for.

Perception Tribe 9.5 KayakPin


  • Stable
  • Versatile
  • Easy to use
  • Compact 


  • No dry storage
  • Not built for speed

If you want to check the Tribe out for yourself, click here. And if you have any thoughts or opinions on this yak, leave us a comment. Also, don’t forget to share this review so others can check out the Tribe.

Perception Tribe 9.5 Review - Pinterest ImagePin

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