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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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'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.
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.
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!
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).
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 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.
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?