The Casual Outdoorsman Reviews the Perception Carolina 145 Kayak

The Carolina 145 is a sit in recreational touring kayak manufactured by Perception, a company headquartered in South Carolina and part of the Confluence Outdoor family.  Perception is the company that pioneered roto-molded plastic kayaks over 40 years ago. That daring move changed the the kayaking landscape forever and is the reason so many people have been introduced to the sport.



At First Glance: 

The Carolina, at 14.5 feet offers sleek lines, bright colors and ample storage. Its one piece construction means that unlike some other boats, the hull is a solid continuous form with no seams that can separate or leak. It also comes equipped with bow and stern bungees on the deck as well as adjustable foot pegs. The legs braces on the coaming are a nice touch and add to the visual appeal of the boat. Cockpit size is average at 32.5 x 19.5 inches.  It’s approximate weight is 54 lbs.  Not too heavy but not light either when compared to boats made of other materials. Though it does not come with a rudder, one can easily be added. It has a weight capacity of 300lbs. which is average for boats of this size and design. It comes with a padded seat with a strap adjustable back rest that moves the seat back forward and back. Ample dry storage can be found both fore and aft with “Tupperware” style sealed covers which keep things dry.


On The Water:

Entering the cockpit of the Carolina was easy, but I am not a tall person, larger people or people with long legs might find it a bit more challenging. Initial stability was good, but not as stable as I had expected. I never felt like the boat was tippy, but at a stand still, it did not feel as stable as other boats I have tested. Sitting in the cockpit was a tight fit for me. The leg braces held my legs firmly making me feel like I was “wearing” the boat which is a good thing because it gives you better control, but, for me it was a little too tight.  The seat pan is adequately padded, but I thought it lacked air flow and did make me sweat a little. The backrest provided some support, but not enough for me to be comfortable for all day long paddling.


Once you are in motion, the Carolina stabilizes and the boat tracks straight due to its hull design.IMG_2290

I was very impressed with the tracking of the Carolina. It gets up to hull speed  quickly and glides through the water keeping you on line with minimal effort.  When maneuvering the Carolina, turning flat takes a lot of effort due to it’s length and the water holding design of the hull, but with a slight canter of the hips, the Carolina goes onto her edge and becomes a highly maneuverable boat.



  1. Roto-molded plastic is tough and virtually indestructible
  2. Generous dry storage
  3. Rudder capable
  4. One piece construction
  5. Tracks straight



  1. Seat could use more venting and back support
  2. Cockpit is tight for larger people
  3. As of the time of this article, this model has been discontinued.



The Carolina 145 is a good boat for someone who wants to day tour on lakes and ponds, slow flowing water or calm coastal areas. It has enough capacity to carry enough gear for an overnight trip or even a full weekend. It’s tough roto-molded construction will last for years if you take care of it and is suitable for both beginner and intermediate paddlers who are looking to move from a pure recreational boat into a more performance oriented hull design. Though this boat is discontinued, it can still be found on the “used” market and would not be a poor investment if you found one at the right price.


Find your headwaters,





4 thoughts on “The Casual Outdoorsman Reviews the Perception Carolina 145 Kayak

  1. I have read many reviews on this boat on several good kayak sites and it is said that there is abundant room in the cockpit for large people. Some of them are six and a half feet 6’3″ and so on. When you say this is a tight cockpit for your size and don’t give your size that makes moot your statement. One guy I think was 240 lb and said it was comfortable others 200 to 220. This also makes me want to ask what kind of kayak you are used to paddling in so that I can discern whether there’s some bias at play here which would make what you say to be taken with a grain of salt. I’m only interested in accurate truth because I want to make sure I get a kayak that fits and did not steered by inaccurate assessments.


    1. Every boat is different. I have nine different kayaks all for different purposes. What I meant by a tight fit in the cockpit was it was a little snug for my preference. It’s a touring boat and in touring boats, I like a little more space.I am 5 foot eight 200 pounds. The best advice I can give you is paddle a boat before you buy it.Just because you read it’s a great boat, It may not be a great boat for you. Remember all of us that write reviews are giving you a subjective opinion. You should Identify what you’re going to be using it for to determine what type of kayak you need. Then determine what features you want, (hull material, design, rudder etc. )then test out different boats that meet that criteria. Never buy a boat without having paddled it first.

      Thanks for reaching out,



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