Perception Carolina 12 Kayak Review


As we said, The Perception Carolina is a super versatile watercraft. It is equipped with features for open water kayaking and its design also enables it to navigate tight waterways such as rivers and creeks easily.

Designed, rotationally molded, and assembled in the USA, this kayak is also incredibly high quality and durable. The high-density polyethylene is made of resists impacts, shocks, and scratches very well and can withstand years of use in the face of winds, waves, rocks, sand, and UV rays. It is even backed by a 5-year warranty.

Its design and features also make it superbly comfortable, stable, safe, and easy to transport. Those features are as follows:

  • V-shaped hull with soft chines for stability and smooth paddling on calm waters.
  • Adapter for attaching a rudder to improve steering in currents and windy conditions.
  • Bow and stern dry hatches and bungee deck rigging for storage.
  • Dual-density hatch covers ensure content stays dry.
  • Zone DLX padded foam kayak seat that is adjustable and offers lumbar support.
  • Leg lifters, Slidelock foot braces, and knee/thigh pads for support and comfort.
  • The cockpit area is roomy, easy on legs, and is compatible with a kayak spray skirt.
  • Built-in buoyancy with leak-proof one-piece construction and sealed bulkheads.
  • Easy to spot red/orange/yellow sunset hues for safety when kayaking on open water with powerboats.
  • Reflective deck safety line boost visibility and offer a place to hold when getting back into the kayak after a wet exit.
  • Soft-to-the-touch carry handles at the bow and stern.
  • Side mounted paddle park for securing the paddle.


Length: 12 ft / 3.66 m

Width: 26 in / 66.04 cm

Height: 14.5 in / 36.83 cm

Weight: 49 lb / 22.23 kg

Cockpit Size: 39.5″ x 21.5″ / 100 cm x 55 cm

Maximum Weight Capacity: 275 lb / 124.74 kg

Material: Perception Kayaks rotomolded polyethylene

Certification: U.S. Coast Guard compliant ID

Warranty: Five Years

User Experience

Portability and Setup: The lightweight and compact design makes The Perception Carolina 12 kayak easy to load on and off a vehicle and transport to and from kayaking destinations. To get the kayak to and from the water, on the front and rear are soft to the touch carry handles that are easy to grab. 

At about 50 pounds, it is a bit heavy and a small person can have difficulties lifting and carrying it alone. If you have to drag the kayak over grass and sand to get it in and out of the water, the hull is built tough and you don’t have to worry about it getting damaged. Once the kayak is in the water, the cockpit area is designed for easy entry and exit.

Usability: Long hours at a time or multi-day excursions aren’t difficult on this kayak. The cockpit area is roomy and big and tall guy-friendly. The opening isn’t as sizeable as the opening on a recreational kayak<span style=”font-weight: 400;”> but it offers adequate wiggle room.

With cushioning and an adjustable backrest that cradles the lumbar area, the kayak’s seat is very comfortable and ergonomically supportive. Even better, the seat is adjustable in six different ways. To find the right seat set up for your frame and preference, all you have to do is pull on straps to tilt the seat up or down, move it forward or backward, and raise or lower the backrest. 

More comfort features include easily adjustable Slidelock foot braces, leg lifters, and thigh/knee pads with inner or outer brace options.

If you want to pack and take with you a lot of stuff for fishing, picnicking, or camping, there is no shortage of storage and attachment spaces on this kayak. This kayak can hold everything you need for a day, overnight, and even multi-day camping trips. 

To start with, both the bow and stern have a hatch for dry storage and bungee deck rigging for securing more items. There is also space behind the seat and in front of items that you want easily accessible such as a bilge pump<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>.

Performance On the Water: Lakes, ponds, and calm coastal waters are where this kayak is at its best. It also does well in slow to moderate creeks or rivers and the open ocean.

With its soft chines, it can handle ocean swells, speedboat wakes, waves, choppy waters, and small to moderate rapids well. You can get it to steer even better in the face of currents and wind by attaching a rudder to the adapter on the stern. The hull design and built-in buoyancy give it great secondary stability.

Even though this is a short touring kayak<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, its sharp V-shape easily cuts through the water enabling it to track outstandingly well for its 12 feet length and much better than the average recreational kayak while still being nimble enough for tight turns when navigating creeks and marshes and maneuverable around obstacles.

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The design makes it fast as well. It is quick and agile with a nice top-end speed. While not a racer, it isn’t difficult to work up a good speed and cover a great distance quickly.


  • Impressively versatile and handles well on a variety of waters
  • Tracks very well without sacrificing maneuverability
  • The seat is comfortable, supportive, and adjustable in six different ways
  • Tough and durable rotomolded construction
  • Plenty of storage options
  • Great buoyancy and secondary stability
  • High visibility hues and deck lines
  • The comfortably roomy cockpit area
  • Easy to transport via vehicle


  • On the heavy side and some people will find it hard to lift and carry it without help.
  • Its tracking, speed, and maneuverability are good but not excellent.
  • Does not come with a kayak paddle. 

Overall Rating

Based on our review, here are our ratings for this Perception Carolina kayak:

  • Price: 95 % – The Perception Carolina 12 is reasonably priced and its durability and versatility make it among the best values in hardshell touring kayaks.
  • Material: 100% – The proprietary high-density polyethylene Perception Kayaks use is extremely tough and highly resistant making this a very resilient and durable kayak that can take abuse from rocks, sand, waves, wind, UV rays, and more for years and have only slight wear to show for it.
  • Design: 100% – Every aspect of the design is well thought out and implemented to achieve durability, versatility, generous storage, comfort, stability, safety, ease of handling, and good performance on the water.
  • Overall: 98% – A well made versatile and durable kayak that is a blast to paddle on a variety of waters and a great value.

Globo Surf Overview

The Perception Carolina 12 is a great all-around kayak. It is a blast when paddled recreationally in lakes, ponds, and calm coastal waters, is also capable enough for open sea kayaking, and small enough for use in slow-moving rivers and streams. We recommend it if you want one kayak you can paddle in all kinds of waters and conditions. 

With its stability, comfort, and ease of control, it suits beginner to intermediate paddlers and kids can paddle it as well as adults. And it is quick enough to keep intermediate paddlers engaged.

Does the Perception Carolina 12.0 sound like the perfect kayak for you? Have you tried it on the water? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comment section below.

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Perception Carolina 12 Kayak Review