Carolina 14.5

This Product Has Been Discontinued

Carolina 14.5 Description

The Carolina 14.5 is a kayak brought to you by Perception. Read Carolina 14.5 reviews or submit your own review to share with the paddling community. Check out a few other kayak recommendations below or explore all kayaks to find the perfect one for you!

Carolina 14.5 Reviews

Read reviews for the Carolina 14.5 by Perception as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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Of all the kayaks I've owned…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/17/2024

Of all the kayaks I've owned this is the one I will never get rid of. I don't understand why this kayak was discontinued. It's fast, stable, and the most comfortable to ride in.


the retractable rudder adds…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/3/2023

the retractable rudder adds to versitility


I absolutely think this is a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/14/2020
I absolutely think this is a great boat for beginners to intermediate paddlers. On flat I paddle a Aquaterra Chinook and this boat was made to slice thru water like it wasn't even there. Its fast and effortless to paddle. My wife easily stays with me in her 14.5 Carolina. It's a awesome kayak, like a limo.

I upgraded to a 2002…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/11/2018

I upgraded to a 2002 Perception Carolina from an inflatable kayak. The first thing I noticed was how quickly the kayak accelerated and how it just glided through the water. For the most part it is stable once you are seated, though I did capsize it while getting out one time. It was quite challenging getting back in. I have rented hardshell kayaks that were more stable, though not as quick. I suspect that the more expensive and faster kayaks are even more prone to capsize for which reason I believe this to be a good one in which to learn. I am 6'3 and found it a little challenging to get in and out of the cockpit. I found the best way to make an exit is to put both hands behind me and push the kayak forward while lifting my hips upwards so that I'm sitting on top of it. I use the same method to get in, though in reverse.

The only issue I had was that I couldn't bend my knees enough to be able to use the rudder pedal. My solution was to lengthen the wire hooked up to the rudder so that I could move the pedals down 2 inches. This did the trick, however rudder now has less travel. In time I plan on finding a better solution to the rudder problem.


I am a larger paddler…

Submitted by: SpottyJ on 8/13/2018

I am a larger paddler (6'5"), so needed to fit a suitably sized boat, but found the ocean touring boats to be a bit too long for my needs, as well as too narrow cockpit areas. The Carolina 14.5 has generous cockpit and legroom. Stable boat. Rudder, two hatches. Overall a great choice for the larger recreational to intermediate kayak-er. Highly recommended.


Personally, I give this yak…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/30/2018

Personally, I give this yak 5 stars. I love that it can carry so much for my day/multi-day trips. Also I feel that it tracks well and although it's a longer boat, it is still light enough as and sleek enough to get moving with only a couple paddle strokes. Naturally it takes a bit more to make it turn sharply because of the length, but all around I'd say it's my favorite yak those reasons. I just love the efficiency of it all.


Perception Carolina 14.5

Submitted by: Papa_Jay on 6/20/2017

I got interested in kayaking when I moved to Tennessee from Florida. My first purchase was a Perception Acadia 11.5 which I paddled for a year. Wanted a bigger boat, so decided on the Carolina 14.5. I had a lot of fun in this kayak as I could cover more territory in my day trips. After about 12 years, I had health issues which forced me to sell my Carolina. Not thinking that I would be paddling again, I had surgery and after about four months, started feeling better and had a great desire to get on the lake again. Starting all over again and after much research, I decided to go with the Carolina 12 as I am more familiar with the Carolina line of Perception kayaks. The 12 is much lighter, but lacks the speed I had with the 14.5. At 66 years of age and taking things slower now, the 12 serves my purpose, but I sure do miss my 14.5


Nice kayak tracks well, very…

Submitted by: paddler237145 on 9/26/2016
Nice kayak tracks well, very comfy, has no problem keeping up. I am new to kayaking but after some assistance from new friends and this 2007 Carolina 14.5 Kayak by Perception I'm hooked. There's nothing like sea otters swimming by you and seals popping up all around you while you rest. My 24 yr. old son found out up close and personal how big sea lion canine teeth are. Two very large sea lions swam right in front of his bow. I thought how fantastic it was but I was to the left of them. My son stopped for a couple of seconds and then explained how he only saw their huge canine teeth. We both laughed and went on kayaking.

I love nature and nature loves kayakers. I'm just sorry I didn't try this sooner. hopefully we will be able to one day kayak with the killer whales. I've heard its something you will remember for the rest of your life. We have also purchased 2 smaller kayaks for river runs and now I'm loving both types of kayaking. I'm so glad I live in the SF Bay Area because there's water everywhere even during this horrible drought.


UPDATE: A while back I reviewed my Carolina and after a number of…

Submitted by: RikJohnson on 6/24/2016

A while back I reviewed my Carolina and after a number of trips, here are a few additional thoughts.

Once you get used to the tippiness, it paddles well. I had no trouble with wind or waves or wakes though my dog tended to move from bow to my lap when the boat rocked.

It is a fast boat, even loaded with all of my camping junk! Able to keep up with the longer boats if I push it, easily able to keep up if they don't push it. It goes upriver easily and although turns like a truck, once you learn to anticipate, that problem vanishes.

Like me, my daughter finds the cockpit to be tight and we both wish for a larger one. If you like spray-skirts, the small cockpit is good.

The big thing is the thin hull which leads to oil canning.
I had to add sliders onto my storage racks to prevent warping and when I reach the put-in on a hot or even warm day, my saddles cause a deformity in the hull that takes a while to pop out. I don't really care but some people do.

For someone used to a smaller boat and looking for a longer boat for longer camping trips, it is a good upgrade.
For someone used to a better boat, this would be a step down. I intend to keep this boat as a loaner once I find an affordable Tsunami 14 which is my dream boat.


I've had my Perception…

Submitted by: KoryTedrick on 5/26/2016
I've had my Perception Carolina 14.5 for almost 10 years now. I love everything about it (storage, how it cuts through the water, durability and more). I think the thing I like about it most is it's versatility. I've had it on rivers, lakes and oceans. It's been on class 3 rapids in central Missouri, Lakes Michigan and Erie,bays and surf in Massachusetts, and this summer will facilitate my fundraising trip across Missouri as I kayak from K.C. to St. Charles, on the Missouri River to raise money for Living Water International.

I moved to a lakeside…

Submitted by: ogreym on 4/27/2016
I moved to a lakeside community after dreaming of owning a boat for years. I needed to get close to nature, but feel confident that I could explore and get home safely. The Carolina is actually a cross between a touring boat and a recreational kayak. It really filled the bill! I easily loaded it atop my small car with foam supports and straps by myself. Since I'm well over sixty years, it was important to be able to get the boat and gear into and out of the water without being exhausted. While it is not the lightest boat around, it is well within my capability, but can be aided with a small cart that I throw in the forward hatch to make it easier.

Now I can glide across a lake and keep a straight path against crosswinds and current without shortening my trip through exhaustion. I slip quietly into wildlife grounds and snap pics with ease. My Carolina is so maneuverable that I can get into tight places and then take on the entire lake comfortably.

Recently I moved onto a resort canal system. This is where the shorter length 14.5 pays off. I can navigate quickly and cruise comfortably to enjoy, without disturbing, the wildlife in my backyard. I fully intend to launch from my coastal beach, but for now I continue to enjoy the ease of speed and quiet arrival into nature. For all the inexperienced, youthful and more mature kayakers, this is the rig for you!


I have been paddling my…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/13/2015
I have been paddling my Perception Carolina 14.5 foot kayak for two years now and love it. Before I acquired this one I paddled an Old Town 12 foot loon and while I enjoyed it I found it to be a plodder. Before the Old Town I paddled a Pelican 12 footer that while lightweight did not track well at all and required a lot of correction paddling to keep her in a straight line. It was a good Kayak to get started with but my current kayak is fast and tracks true. I highly recommend Perception Kayaks.

I have this kayak and I…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/5/2015
I have this kayak and I bought it used. I had never used a kayak before this one, but I love it. It tracks well and is quicker than the entry level kayaks one can find in the big box stores. I can easily get in and out of it and I've never fallen out. I've only gone in lakes and mild rivers, such as the Hudson River. I've also gone in the Long Island Sound.

After trying to fight wind &…

Submitted by: RikJohnson on 12/4/2014
After trying to fight wind & current upriver on the Colorado AND keep up with Greg in his 16' sea kayak and Maria in her 14' Loon, I decided that I needed a longer and narrower boat. Bookmans Used Books had recently opened a Used Sporting Goods store so I went in and found a 14.6 Carolina against the wall for $380. I traded in a couple bows and some fencing foils to get enough credit to allow me to afford the boat and took it home.

Ok, negatives, the cockpit is small. After dealing with the 'fat-boy' cockpits you find on all rec-boats, getting into and out of the Carolina was a chore. Eventually I learned the skills but....
Second was the boat was a bit tippy! But that is to be expected and it didn't take me long to get used to it so another Colorado trip caused no concern.
Also, being narrower, my sleeping pads no longer fit between the seat and sides but are now on deck.

The small round hatch caused me to rethink my packing options as I was used to the larger hatch on my OT Dirago.
And finally, those extra 2.5' didn't give me as much extra cargo as I expected when compared to my wider Dirago... and turning a longer boat made me think about a rudder-kit.

Ok, these are to be expected. so on to the good.
On the Colorado, I was easily able to keep up with the longer and faster boats. Once I realized that I could slingshot off a whirlpool, I left the rest behind.

Once I repacked for a smaller hatch, and recognized that the extra length was compensated by the narrower width, I was able to rethink my packing strategy and get my usual gear inside. I also cut a foam pad and anchored it to the bow for my Min-Pin who quickly got used to the tippiness.

Ok, the goods and bad.
Is it a good boat? Yes.
Is it perfect? No.
Does it do the job I want? Yes.

What would I change?
I'd make the cockpit a bit longer to make entry/exit easier. And make the stern hatch cover larger. Aside from that, it's a decent camping boat which is what I wanted.


I purchased my 2003…

Submitted by: kedward on 8/11/2014
I purchased my 2003 Perception Carolina 14.5 used for $375.00. It is my first kayak, and I have had it out only about a half a dozen times. At this point, I notice an enormous difference in maneuvering ability when the rudder is employed. With it engaged, turning quickly is a snap; without it, turning is a long and relatively slow process. I'm new to the sport, and I'm sure that my ability to turn well will improve as I gain more seat time and improve my strokes. When it comes to tracking, once again there is a huge difference with and without the rudder.

For the price I paid, the Carolina is a good boat to learn in. It is tippier than my wife's Prodigy, but I prefer the Carolina's smaller cockpit opening. If you can find one for a similar price, I'd recommend picking it up. The 24-25 inch width is wide enough to give beginners a secure feeling of initial stability, but it still encourages one to work on their mechanics.


I purchased this kayak new…

Submitted by: teleskier on 7/3/2014
I purchased this kayak new about 6 years ago as a beginner, and have been very happy with the boat. It is a very durable "plastic" boat that is equally adept for weekend+ camping trips and casual day trips. I have loaded it to the gills inside and out and it has remained stable even in windy conditions on Adirondack lakes. As I have advanced over the years in my paddling skills, I still have not found a need to purchase a new boat. If I had to find one thing to complain about, it would be the lack of a built-in beer holder LOL, but I do believe the newer models have them now.

I've had my Carolina 14.5 for…

Submitted by: paddler234397 on 1/5/2012
I've had my Carolina 14.5 for a couple months now and have to say it is the perfect yak for what I do... Lakes, large slow rivers... It is agile and fast and to me has the perfect balance of speed/stability and flexibility for kayak camping and day trips.

Love the Carolina in all…

Submitted by: abelfus on 7/25/2011
Love the Carolina in all lengths. In my opinion one of the best light touring kayaks made. I've paddled hundreds of yaks and just love the Carolina. Simplistic, carefree paddling. Long enough for large bodies of water, small enough for the river. Can't say enough about this boat.

When you buy your first kayak…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/11/2010
When you buy your first kayak you think you can buy a one that will be long enough for open water but not too long for rivers- you want to have a boat that does every thing, but soon find out why old kayakers have so many boats. But I have to say if any boat comes close to doing that in it's price range the Carolina 14.5 does.

My dealer replaced a 13.5 Carolina Airlite with this model (no rudder), when I had trouble with the airlite material on the previous boat. Though it is heavier and less responsive than the airlite, it is much more durable and grows on you. I have paddled it on Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and in numerous rivers.

I have since purchased a boat for more serious touring (along with a more serious investment) but before doing so, loaded with camping gear I kayaked around Grand Island in Lake Superior with my 14.5. with no problems. I also kayaked the chain of lakes on Drummond Island, MI and from there out to Harbor island with equal success.

I may replace it for a shorter river boat, but this past weekend on a river with many turns I found I was doing as well as some of the other paddlers in 8 and 10' boats. It's flat bottom makes easy to get over close to the surface logs and shallow areas without getting out of the boat, but the sharp bow and stern helps in maneuvering.

I would recommend this boat for beginners who want to get a taste of kayaking before they invest big money in the sport. I would give it a 9 out of 10 for this. A 9 as I haven't compared it to every boat out there.


I am 6'2" and weight about…

Submitted by: paddler233317 on 8/18/2009
I am 6'2" and weight about 190. I purchased my Carolina used in June 2009. The previous owner said he had brought it new about a year ago. I have used it mostly in the Indian River Lagoon. I get about three mph with with a comfortable pace. It handles the chop on windy day fairly well. It does require regular correction for the wind since I don't have a rudder. I carry it on top of my Ford Escape using Malone seawings. I have no trouble getting it off or on the vehicle. So far I am quite satisfied.

While looking around for my…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/18/2008
While looking around for my first kayak, preferably used, I ran across a Carolina 14.5 in a garage sale in Nov 07. It was supposed to be several years old. Although I knew I would want a longer kayak eventually for day and overnight trips, the price was too good to pass up.

I've had it out about once a week for day trips this spring – trying to learn how to paddle and getting into shape. I did replace the paddle that was sold with it with a Werner Camano very quickly.

The Carolina 14.5 fit my 6'1", 200lb. frame fine. Almost too much room. Am tempted to get some foam padding to for the hip and knee area to tighten up the fit so I can try more advanced maneuvers other than paddling in a straight line. It doesn't come with any.

The boat has very good initial stability. Haven't come close to tipping over while paddling which was reassuring as I learned how to kayak this spring and did not want to wet exit nor learn how to reenter the boat while the water was so cold. I live close to the Kentucky River, so have and will do most of my padding there and nearby on mostly flat water. Tracking is better than I expected. Maneuverability is less than I expected. Takes a good while to turn, but haven't tried carved turns yet. Speed is OK I am up to about 8 miles in two hours with no breaks. Could probably average 3.5 mph on longer trips with breaks. Wish it were a little faster. Cargo space seems ample, although I haven't taken it overnight yet, and I have fairly light hiking quality camping gear.

Plastic seems to have held up well. No hint of oil canning yet, but came with lots of scratches – I'm sure I've put on a few at entry/exit points. Bulkheads and covers don't leak. Seat, backband, and footpegs are very basic. Gets uncomfortable after about an hour or so and you have to shift around to get feeling back in your legs and feet.

Overall, I think it works well at what it is advertised to do. A good day touring, occasional overnighting kayak for the novice/intermediate paddler.


I recently purchased a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/23/2008
I recently purchased a Carolina 14 with rudder. I am new to kayaking, and have found the Carolina to be an excellent and forgiving first boat. It tracks well, and offers a stable ride. The adjustable seat is a plus, and makes for comfortable paddling. I would heartily recommend the boat to any first time paddler.

I've owned my Carolina for…

Submitted by: paddler232533 on 4/17/2008
I've owned my Carolina for about one year. I borrowed a friends last year in Maine on a strong flowing river and in the ocean and was really impressed. I bought mine new, but it was the '06 model. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio and I take mine out on the Ohio River and several smaller rivers and creeks. The Carolina is very responsive for a heavier boat and tracks very well. Stability is great - I feel very comfortable sending my kids out in her. The cockpit is easy to get in and out of, but it is tight enough to allow you to brace your knees for turns.

All in all - a great boat for the price.


I have two of these boats…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/18/2007
I have two of these boats with rudders. We love them. Adults and kids (12 and 15) use them. We have two additional kayaks as well.

I love this kayak for when I am going on a longer trip, as I find it is very comfortable and stable. It tracks well and moves quickly with little effort. I'm a large gal, but it's a roomy cockpit. It's harder to get in and out of than my larger Perception (America), but it's still not that difficult. My biggest challenge is that the shell gets bent up pretty easily when carrying on my car.


I own a 2006 Carolina 14.5. I…

Submitted by: paddler232094 on 6/12/2007
I own a 2006 Carolina 14.5. I am 5ft 9inches, and muscled 180lbs. I had paddled a rental 13.5 Carolina for a 3 day excursion in the inland waterway north of Cape Canaveral and basically that is what sold me on the boat, I just wanted a little more length. I have taken one long trip and many day trips with the 14.5. I have considerable canoe paddling experience including in the ocean and class II to III whitewater. I want to stress this as this was my first long trip in a kayak.

The long trip was 7 days in the Everglades, four days were spent in the ocean and 3 in the wilderness waterway. I had quite bad weather the first day, and do not have a skirt, but because of it maneuverability and design, I only filled it once during an 8 hr paddle. It stayed afloat and upright so I simply continued to paddle to an island where I got out, dumped it, sponged it, and continued. With a skirt I think I would have simply ignored the breaking waves and punched through rather than try and correct for each break. Oh yeah, my gear in the hatches stayed dry.

I carried 8+ gallons of freshwater, food, camping gear, and some fishing gear. I still had some room at the beginning for more gear. I only had one bag on the deck in front of me for the cameras, sunscreen and lunch. It tracked well even with the weight.
If I was in freshwater with a water filter, I think I could have carried enough food for multiple weeks.
Getting in or out from the elevated platforms (chickee’s) required some balance as I basically had to stand in the boat while holding the platform, but was not difficult.

My only con is the foot room. I wear shoe size 9.5 and thought it was a bit small. Stretching the legs was difficult in the boat. Otherwise I love this boat, it is easy for me to lift to the SUV top, rotomold plastic can take a beating. Handles weather great. It is still small enough that a strong stroke can effect quick maneuvering.


If you're looking for a good,…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 2/28/2007
If you're looking for a good, sturdy, stable, maneuverable boat, then this the boat to own. In fact, I own 2 of them. I bought one for my wife. As far as gliding through the water, naturally a thinner fiberglass or kevlar boat would be much better. This boat is just an all around awesome boat. Plenty of storage in the rear compartment. The front compartment holds what I need it to. There's also storage (not dry) behind the seat. I would recommend to anyone but especially beginners, as the sturdiness is there from the first time you sit in it and paddle away.

I have owned my Carolina for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/11/2006
I have owned my Carolina for 3 years and have taken it a 64 mile trip on the Connecticut River and almost every weekend in the summmer off the coast of NH/Maine/MA. The boat has performed well in all conditions including 4 ft seas and max flow at the mouth of the Merrimack River and never felt like boat couldn't handle it (although hairy at times). The Carolina is not a speedster but fast enough as I will typically average 4 mph on a 10 mile trip. The seat is conforable, but not the best for rolling, cockpit size is excellent for my 6ft 200lb frame. I am planning to upgrade but have had some great adventures in the Carolina.

Just bought last night the…

Submitted by: paddler231772 on 8/29/2006
Just bought last night the Carolina 14.5 with rudder. I had tried a few boats previous to the 14.5, but none had the combination of speed, design, stability and overall appearance for the price.

The first thing that struck me was the glossy finish. In my opinion, the solid colors look much better than the combo colors - much more glossy and resemble the duralites. I wanted yellow but had to settle for red. Now I match my wife's Pungo 120 and feel like a dork.

I liked the boat during my demo, but man-o-man, my new one really impressed me. I've been paddling in the Delaware lately and there's nothing like a gigantic oil tanker riding up your butt to make you appreciate a decent kayak, especially when your last few adventures were in a SeaEagle inflatable (don't get me started on that). It sits nice and low to the water, the seat is comfortable and it tracks fairly well. Although, when I first got in it, it was pulling to the right alot. I spent some time fidgeting with the seat and footpegs and think I got it right. The rudder makes a huge difference in the wakes and wind but has you compromising speed when in use. For that reason, I usually keep it up so my friends with the $2000 kayaks keep crying that mine is faster than theirs.

Overall, for what I picked this baby up for, I'm pretty satisfied. Now I can cruise for chicks along the Delaware in a decent whip...holla at ya' boy!