There is plenty of room for myself & either one of the kids. I haven't taken both of the kids in the same boat yet because I think the kids would shove each other overboard. I have let my 7 yr old paddle with me & it is no problem as long as we match our stroke. I have taken the dog a couple times too but he won't paddle the boat. Paddling alone is great too. I can adjust the seat to the center to balance the boat or leave the seat back & store a large cooler in the front.
I have become the storage boat on all day trips because the boat has so much room, also I think my friends want to load me down so they can keep up. This boat is fast.
For a wide rec kayak it tracks very true, cuts thru waves & chop but is still very easy to turn. I'll keep this kayak in my fleet even after the kids are paddling their own kayaks.
The only reason this kayak gets a 9 instead of 10: When paddling with the 2 year old I have to put the seat about a third way from full back position to balance weight. In that position my feet rest right in between the 2 sets of foot pegs. That makes a 4 hr trip a bit uncomfortable but may also just be a matter of shifting weight around.
The seat is comfortable and adjustable, although the line/cleat locking system takes some getting use to. I purchased a KayakSailor 1.6m sailing rig which is very high quality and very user friendly. I also purchased a Sealect kayak rudder, also high quality. I did have to add a separate gudgeon, modify the location of the control pedals and enlarge the rudder blade to obtain proper control for sailing. Once completed I tested it on a fairly windy day, it sailed fine. I did have to move the sailing rig forward to obtain proper balance, now it's much better. I can now sail or paddle. I find it moves easily paddling and I can achieve a nice speed without working hard. When the wind pipes up, I raise the sail and off we go. The boat handles waves and chop very well, even though the cockpit is large(20X80 inches), I have had no water splash into the boat.
Considering the price I feel this is an excellent kayak. There is enough useable storage space for camping gear with a weight capacity of 450lbs to take an extended trip. If I were going to go in colder weather, I would probably add a spray skirt.
One last comment, Harmony supplies all Perception accessories, and they're not the best quality. The rudder was poorly designed and didn't work correctly. I will say Harmony did refund my purchase price. I also purchased a traveling cover which seems to be decent quality.
Overall I'm quite satisfied with this kayak and would recommend it to anyone. Possibly if you are a more experienced kayaker you might be more interested in a more expensive kayak, but for a novice like myself, it's fine.
This is easy to paddle, relatively easy to turn for its length, and either my 3 year or or 8 year old are comfortable in the front space on the small foam seat. The "passenger" seat is loose, not attached to the boat at all.
Our most recent outing, my GPS says we paddled 3.8 miles (round trip distance on flat water), and we were out probably an hour and a half, including site seeing, and a stop back at the dock to rearrange kids.
I did not purchase the rudder option, but on one of our trips encountered some water currents that made me think a rudder would be a good addition. We have one on the 14.5 and it allows for much lazier turning, though I can't say how much it helps in the current or wind.
The cargo hold and the hatch on the hold are both substantially larger than the hold on the 14.5 prodigy II. The larger hatch makes it easy to put your dry bag or other items into the space. The seat adjustment mechanism is fairly easy to change from tandem configuration to a more centered position. I am able to do it on the water, and I would say it is easier to shift the seat while you are sitting in it.
What do I like:
+ the larger cargo opening and hold
+ easy adjusting seat and foot braces
+ nice straight tracking, it doesn't seem to push out of line while I paddle
+ easier paddling than some older sit-on-top tandems I've had the opportunity to compare
+ lots of room in the front for my kid without them getting into my leg room or paddle space.
+ leg pads on the combing to brace against without a sharp plastic edge
+ very stable, I've never tipped it over. The kids always lean to the side to play with their hands in the water while I paddle. The cockpit is deep enough they aren't in any danger of falling out.
Things I don't like or would like to improve (these are all quite minor):
- the hatch cover cord is too short to have the handhold tab where it can be used from the seat. An extra 6 inches of string would have been nice to allow the cover to rotate 180 degrees for easier opening from the seat. (you can open it, but you don't have a tab on the end you can reach easy)
- this is a bit heavy, though manageable. I can load both the 13.5 and the 14.5 on the roof rack of the truck by myself, but it is much easier to have help. If you often have to lug it to the water, a cart is very useful.
- The foam passenger seat is sized in a way that makes it not stay in place on the bottom very well. It is just slightly wider than the ribs (sorry, I am sure there is a technical term for the lengthwise bumps along the inside of the hull) in the bottom of the boat so the seat is always tipped left or right, and never flat and stable on the centerline of the boat. Making it a few inches narrower or wider would allow it to stay in place better. Or even better to make the bottom of the seat contoured to fit the boat.