Expression 15

Width (in)
Weight (lb)

Expression 15 Description

Like its smaller sister, the Expression 15.0 offers forgiving handling and stability expected of a touring design with the performance of an expedition kayak.

The progressive rocker offers maneuverable handling for confident paddling in tight, technical waters and coastlines, while the slightly larger cockpit and additional length make it a little faster and roomier than the 14.5.

Expression 15 Specs and Features

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Additional Attributes

  • Zone DLX Seat
  • Adjustable Padded Thigh Braces
  • Bow and Stern Hatches
  • Bungee Deck Rigging with Reflective Static Perimeter Safety Line
  • Molded Thru Handles
  • Bow and Stern Bulkheads
  • TruTrak Adjustable Skeg System
  • Rudder Capable
  • Keepers Foot Brace System

Expression 15 Reviews

Read reviews for the Expression 15 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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Submitted by: Razz on 7/27/2020

The perception expression is…

Submitted by: dghaessig on 6/18/2018

The perception expression is a fairly good boat. It doesn't quite have the rocker or turning ability of the dagger Stratos but it does have a much better price point. The drop-down Scag works very well to prevent weather cocking even while out on Lake Superior and quartering Winds.


A smooth comfortable ride in…

Submitted by: gondola on 8/11/2016

A smooth comfortable ride in a sleek long boat. A bit tippy though and one of the two hatches leaks. The drop-down skeg feature ensures tracking straight as an arrow.

I purchased this boat in August 2012 as a kind of lake paddling/ river camping/ sea kayaking combo boat. It hasn't disappointed in any of those regards. The dual hatches allow for a fair amount of storage, though perhaps with less capacity as one might think. There's plenty of cording over both decks and around the bow and stern too; thus there's plenty of space to lash gear on top of the boat as well as inside it. (My back hatch has had a small leak from the very beginning, though from an unknown source -- not a crack.)

The foot pedals are comfy and very easy to adjust.

The seat is extremely comfortable, resulting in nicknaming the boat "the Padillac."

The boat is fairly tippy, resulting in not one but two kayak novices taking a swim after using it the first time and having to dodge around.

Overall, a good boat, but if I could do it over again I'd probably have purchased Wilderness Tsunami instead.


I will first start by saying…

Submitted by: hedlight on 5/26/2016
I will first start by saying this boat is VERY stable for it's length. I've read a lot of complaints about the seat with not being able to roll. However, the stock seat is incredibly comfortable and I'm not changing it. The boat is very easy to enter from shore, I feel like if you leave the seat back lose you could enter easier if you need to re-enter from the water.

The cockpit is plenty roomy for a person of my size (230lbs), and doesn't make me feel quite as claustrophobic as some of the other touring cockpit designs. Storage hatches are nice size, and keep the boat afloat when you capsize. Pedal length is adequate for a long legged person such as myself.

The drop down skeg definitely helps out when the wind starts to get a little crazy. The deck lines run pretty close to the cockpit so you can easily mount a cooler or dry bag. It runs about 60 lbs, its a little difficult to carry by yourself but it is manageable.

This is a great boat for what I paid for it ($500 on clearance) and is awesome for our Missouri River trips. Boat is incredibly stable and I feel pretty safe from all the hazards the river can throw at us out there. It's a simple boat but seems durable and is perfect for your average leisure trips.


I am on my third season with…

Submitted by: dghaessig on 3/18/2016
I am on my third season with this boat. I bought it for mostly overnight trips on Ozark streams. It handles that duty well. I also use for teaching beginner kayaking classes as it is good for re-entries (after replacing the seat back with a back band). It turns well when put on edge. The only complaints are the original seat back and that it tends to oilcan easily.

This is an update to my July…

Submitted by: rfpssp on 7/2/2014
This is an update to my July 5, 2013 review. I've since taken the Expression 15 on a couple of overnights to Lake Lila in the ADKs as well as extended day trips in the same area. With the back band installed this is a very good touring kayak with plenty of room for gear. It's heavy, but not unbearably so. I have used a set of wheels to manage some longer carries and have even dragged it through some short carries. Would not dare do this with a high end glass hull!

The weight can be an issue but the price delivers a lot of kayak for the money. Tracks like a train with the skeg lowered, and very good turning with it up when you're paddling some tight streams and flows.


I've been holding off on…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/9/2013
I've been holding off on writing this review for a quite a while to put it "through the ringer" and give it a thorough review. I purchased the kayak in January 2012 and have put in a good number of different trips; anywhere from shorts trips down the river, to 20+ mile day trips, as well as a 4 day expedition through the St. Regis Canoe area in the ADK's.

Having never owned a "touring" kayak, this boat has been a pleasure to own. It tracks great and has decent speed through the water (although I've been in faster boats) and the seat is very comfortable and highly adjustable. That said I do have a few gripes about the boat.

  1. The seat (back).
    The back seems too high and interferes with rolls. I will admit that I'm inexperienced with doing rolls, and could probably do them in this boat without changing the backrest with more practice but I'm currently looking into replacing it (It also touches the back of my lifejacket and gets in the way of my spray skirt). Another reviewer elsewhere complained about not being able to re-enter after a wet exit. This is NOT an issue for me. I'm 6'0" and 175 pounds wet, and have been able to re-enter first time, every time after a wet exit (with a paddle float).
  2. The seat (bottom).
    The "leg lifter" straps that run under the leading edge of the seat bottom follow though two plastic guides on either edge of the seat. The second time out on the boat, all the sudden the seat bottom just dropped and would no longer raise up. Upon inspection, the guides bent under the weight of my legs and the straps were no longer in place. I tried putting them back in, but they would come right back out every time. I modified the seat so the straps no longer have this problem. I drilled two holes in the area where the straps pass through and threaded on two split rings. The leg lifter straps now pass through the rings (just remember to spray WD-140 on them to keep from rusting).
I still give it a good rating despite its shortcomings. It has everything I need (but wish it had a day hatch), tracks well, and holds enough gear for a multi-day expedition. If you're looking for a great priced boat that's a step above the recreational kayaks this might be the one for you.

I've replaced the seat back with a touring type seat back. Still can't roll it, but my spray skirt fits much better and my lifejacket is no longer rubbing the seat back.


I purchased my Expression 15…

Submitted by: nomany on 7/30/2013
I purchased my Expression 15 at the beginning of this year. When I looked to add another kayak to my fleet of 6, the Expression was at the top of my list to consider.

I'm 5' 10.5" / 200 lbs. I seem to keep upgrading every number of years. Started with 9.5' rec kayaks, from there, 12' rec kayaks, 13.5" Current Designs Breeze transition/touring kayak, 14.5' Current Designs Whistler transition/touring kayak, and now a 15' Perception Expression 15 touring kayak. All my kayaks are plastic since they are expected to get some abuse.

Love the Perception Expression 15. I would have considered purchasing this one over the Current Designs Whistler. The Expression 15(24" x 15') has nice rocker for manueverability and rough waters. An efficient profile to easily travel thru the water. The spring-loaded skeg works well although I would wish for a stiffer skeg. The seat is comfortable but the seat back is too high. I wish I was able to lower the seat back to just above the cockpit rim. I'm going to remove the thigh pads and just add padding to make getting in and out easier one of these days, I do not need that high level of control afforded by the thigh pads.

I don't give 10 grades; this one one is an easy 9 but I just wish the seat was lower. I highly recommend this kayak for anyone looking in the 12' to 15' range. Its a bargain for the value of this boat. I would buy another one if my wife would let me.


Have had this kayak since…

Submitted by: rfpssp on 7/5/2013
Have had this kayak since Sept '12 and I have paddled it quite a bit since then and when the ice melted this year in upstate NY. I like the way it tracks with the skeg down but learned to not like the high back on the seat. I recently replaced it with the Wilderness Systems back band, using the video that's on-line. Not too hard a job and the comfort level has improved greatly. I had some problems with sciattica with the former seat back, but that's been eliminated with the back band. Also, much easier to get in and out of the cockpit. I want to learn how to roll as well as self-rescue this year and this back band will make it that much easier, I hope!

I had previously posted a…

Submitted by: paddler234828 on 6/4/2013
I had previously posted a review on 05-06-2012. This is an update after a year of usage...
It is still very stable in choppy sea conditions, surf well, fast enough to not be in pain following fiberglass ea kayak. I have ordered a backrest to replace the original one that is to high at safety level for rolling or re-entry. A day hatch would have been wonderful. After more than 20 day touring navigation, I don't plan to replace it

Bought my Expression 15 a…

Submitted by: paddler234864 on 12/19/2012
Bought my Expression 15 a year ago. I am 5'11" and around 225 lbs. I found the boat to be stable and enjoyable and have used it a great deal. During last winter's pool sessions, I decided the standard seat back was a problem with re-entries, rolling, etc. I found instructions on YouTube on how to convert to a back band. The kit is available from Austin Kayak, Topkayaker, and Amazon. The kit is around $50. The instructional video is at:
or got to YouTube and search for: confluence watersports phase 3
You will need a long 7/8" socket or some other aid when working with the seat bolts. A piece of duct tape on the end of your finger will aid in getting the nut and washer back on during reassembly. The end result was essentially identical to the seat in a friend's Wilderness Tempest 170.

This is an excellent "Good…

Submitted by: paddler234847 on 11/26/2012
This is an excellent "Good for many tasks boat". As the other reviews attest it is somewhat difficult to roll due to the higher backrest but not impossible, however the seat is very comfortable once adjusted properly.

I purchased the boat early this summer and have spent significant time in it in many conditions from class 3 whitewater to Lake Superior. I also did several overnight trips. Running whitewater was with a buddy and his Dagger cross over whitewater. I had no issues keeping up with him but you will need to lean to edge this boat to turn sharply. I live on a large flowage of the Wisconsin River so most of the seat time was on the flowage. Generally the boat tracks like a freight train with the skeg down and is beautifully maneuverable with it pulled up.

The general outfitting, hatches and deck lines are all well designed and very functional, skirts stay on well and seal to the coaming fine. The boat hides away a load of camping gear below decks and drives nicely with the added weight.

This is a great play boat if you'd like some extra speed, space and the ability to pull up the skeg and play in some foaming whitewater. For the price I couldn't find a better all around boat. The hull stiffness is a little on the "thin" side of things and the skeg mechanism seems like it may not hold up over time. I don't have any issues highly recommending this boat and would buy another one.


AN ok boat for rivers and…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/21/2012
AN ok boat for rivers and surfing. Backrest SUCKS. Too high for rolling and the seat makes my legs go numb. The people at perception would not sell me the touring seat so I made my own. Overall an ok boat could be a whole lot better.

Just bought this kayak…

Submitted by: rfpssp on 9/14/2012
Just bought this kayak yesterday and spent it and today paddling around Great Sacandaga Lake (where we keep our "big boat"). It tracks very well, especially with the skeg down and especially in a cross wind. I was all set to buy the WS Tsunami 140 but when I "tested" the Expression 15 out on the floor of the retailer I liked the fit better and the skeg was a nice added feature at a final lower price that the Tsunami.

I'm 5'10" and around 200 lbs and have absolutely no problem with this boat. I like that the deck height is not as high as the Tsunami as my paddle stroke is somewhat shallow due to shoulder injuries. The seat? Absolutely a winner. Since this boat and WS boats are made my the same company the seating systems are very similar and I like the padding and variability of the entire system. Raising the thigh supports helps me "lock in" and really "wear the boat". I paddled consistently for over 3 hours and was not sore or having any numb spots. The gear carrying capacity seems ideal for an overnight or two (or three or more) and I plan to test that out next year.

I started practicing lean turns and although I'm still a novice at it I felt very secure in the cockpit. Excellent secondary stability and a great step up from my tried and trusty Pungo (that will be racked with its new "buddy" in the garage this winter).

Great boat and great service from the retailer. No complaints about the seat height at all. If I need to self-rescue I'm going in with a paddle float on the side or bringing it in closer to the shore so I can stand up. No way is this old dude paddling in early spring/late fall waters!


Recently bought the…

Submitted by: paddler234754 on 9/6/2012
Recently bought the Expression 15. Like the handling and stability. Do not like the seat back due to the height when lowered. I wrote Customer Service but never got a response. I called and asked if I could put the seat that is in the Essence in the Expression. The guy I talked to did not seem to know much about the seats. He only said I could put a 3XP Backband in. He also said he did not know how to do this. Very poor customer service.

I am new to touring kayaks. I…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/29/2012
I am new to touring kayaks. I have been recreationally kayaking small rec boats for a few years and wanted to step it up a bit. I soda lot of research about this boat before purchasing and everything I found was the same thing, people complaining about the seat. Well I don't seem to have any issues with it. Never having to do a self rescue before I figured I should learn and it went very easy. After my 3rd attempt I got it down and can now do it every time, I see no issues with his boat. It tracks well, handles well in rough and calm water, not too heavy (I carry and load it on my Toyota 4runner alone).

I am very pleased with my purchase and recommend it to any beginner wanting a touring kayak (don't be scared of what everyone says about the seat back being to high).


I wished I had read…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/3/2012
I wished I had read "DDintruffs" review before I had bought this boat. I bought this boat 2 weeks ago and had put approximately 25 miles on the Black River in Northern New York without problem. My initial impression was this was an excellent boat. However, yesterday I took the boat out to Southwicks Beach on Lake Ontario. There was a pretty good chop with 2-3 foot swells. My purpose for the trip was to practice deep water self rescues and rolls. I took the boat out about 100 meters and dumped it. I've done stern entries on other boats with no problem, however the Expression was a whole different ball game. I popped up on the rear deck with no problem, then my dilemma. As I scooted forward, the seat back presented as a four inch high groin / thigh hurdle, even with the seat bottomed out. After approximately 25 attempts with only 3 successful entries, I was cursing the boat and the heavens. My groin had taken multiple shots, my thighs, knuckles, and other body parts were freely bleeding from catching the sharp edges of the seat back . Additionally, if you don't clear the seat, it folds forward and you find yourself sitting on the back of the seat, with no way to correct it without bailing out. I was exhausted and livid. I was thankful I hadn't tried this on the ocean or in a Florida / Georgia swamp, chum comes to mind.

All joking aside, this is a very serious design flaw and could have been fatal had I been much further out. I called Perception about this issue this a.m. and their rep indicated the "design was not intended for open water self rescue, it's more of a recreational boat". Perception does not advertise this boat as a "Recreational" boat. The rep stated that if I planned on open water rescue and rolls, I would need a back band set up. He gave me a part # 8023007, Phase 3 XP Back Band. They wouldn't comp me for the replacement. Perception needs to not advertise this boat as an "Ocean Touring Sea Kayak", until they retrofit their boats with the appropriate back bands..

Although I have enjoyed the boats overall performance, the seat issue is really scary. So for the time being I'll be sticking close to shore. This has not been a good start to my relationship with Perception.


I am the type of person that…

Submitted by: paddler234622 on 6/26/2012
I am the type of person that over thinks every big purchase like this. I was nervous buying a new model kayak that didn't have many reviews. But I am glad I did. I took this kayak out onto a lake with high winds and very rough water and it handled great. The seat is the most comfortable kayak seat ever produced. It is adjustable in so many ways and it fits perfect. The cockpit is small and can be difficult to get into but once you are in it feels great. The kayak handles waves great and tracks perfect. I did not see the need for the skeg while using the kayak although it did help while surfing waves because with out it the boat tries to pull a 180. The skeg does shake back and forth which can get annoying and I would have preferred a wire skeg so that it would be easier to let down quickly (necky does this).

I also purchased a Carolina 14 so I will compare the boat to that because they are similar and I can see someone debating between the two. I find the Expression overall a better looking kayak. It is much sleeker than the Carolina and has smoother lines. The front of the boat curves up much more than the Carolina 14. As far as other features, they have the same seat but the expression has a smaller cockpit and has different knee braces. One thing that I don't like about the Carolina is how the back of the kayak looks if you don't have a rudder. It does not look appealing because it has this ring with a hole in it (hard to explain). The Expression has a hole setup for a rudder If you would like to attach it but it looks SO MUCH NICER. It is a sharp end and looks just like the bow.

Overall I highly suggest buying this kayak. The only reason I gave it 9/10 instead of 10/10 is because of how the skeg is very flimsy.


The Expression 15 handles…

Submitted by: DDintruff on 5/7/2012
The Expression 15 handles well in wind and waves. If handling was my only concern I would give it a 10. However, I'm confused about why they put a seat & back that one would expect to find in a recreational kayak. The high seat back just isn't safe on big water: it gets in the way when attempting a self rescue and makes a roll just about impossible. I wrote the manufacturers about obtaining a touring seat and back like they put in the Essence... but I never heard from them. So because of safety concerns and poor customer service, I'm reducing my rating to a 5, and will refrain from using my Expression on big water until I solve the safety issues presented by the high seat back.

Excellent kayak. Fast, stable…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/6/2012
Excellent kayak. Fast, stable for beginners, maneuvrable or very directive when skeg is down. Mine is equipped with the XTC rudder for the Bic sail. After 4 tries 4 to 5 hours each, I really enjoyed the comfort, the speed and its capability to surf even small waves. I do not rate it 10/10 because it is still weighting 25kg without the rudder that is not very easy to carry on and put it on the roof of the car. But excellent compact sea kayak

I'm a complete novice so…

Submitted by: paddler234507 on 4/25/2012
I'm a complete novice so don't read too much into my review or rating, but since there have been numerous inquiries for a review on the new Expression and I've now got about 20 miles of paddling in one as my first boat I'll at least share my impressions.

I like it! No construction or quality issues found. Hatches and bulkheads are tightly sealed. Seat is quite comfy by my standards (though I've not been in it for more than 2 hours consecutive yet).

I'm a long-legged 6' 210#. I have the foot pegs at the end of their adjustment, sometimes pull them up one click if I want to be extra snug. I use it in wide-water rivers for fitness, day trips. All of my paddling has been unloaded so far.

I don't think I'm qualified enough to comment on stability & such. Will say that it has one trait that I haven't noticed before in that once it starts to turn, it wants to carve even more of a turn. (Put the skeg down and that behavior goes away). That tends to have me work a little extra hard sometimes to correct, and a tendency for me to over-correct. Would love to get others feedback on that - common to all boats or just a dim-witted paddler?

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