Tribe 11.5

11' 5"
Width (in)
Weight (lb)

Tribe 11.5 Description

A great all-around sit-on-top for almost any sized paddler.

The added length on the Tribe 11.5 gives a boost of speed, extra storage and even adventure potential over the smaller size. Beginners and veterans alike will find the Tribe a joy to paddle in flat water, like lakes and lazy rivers, and light surf.

Tribe 11.5 Specs and Features

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Additional Attributes

  • Comfort Seating System (CSS)
  • High Back Sit-on-top Seat
  • Molded-In Foot Wells
  • 6" Deck Plate w/Catbag
  • Tankwell with Bungee
  • Molded-In Side Handles
  • Soft Touch Handles
  • Skid Plate
  • Hatch Centerpoint Marked
  • Stackable
  • Self-Bailing Scupper Holes

Tribe 11.5 Reviews

Read reviews for the Tribe 11.5 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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Awesome rec kayak ,…

Submitted by: JamesAz on 12/27/2023

Awesome rec kayak , perfomance very well

good tracking . comfortable did change to harmony seats personal choice nothing bad about the originals

easy to paddle very stable and i can be maneuvered pretty easy

great set on top for any weekend


The Tribe is a good solid…

Submitted by: paddler871894 on 9/9/2020
The Tribe is a good solid kayak... But I've definitely noticed a couple of things. I'm 6' 5" tall and long-legged. I sought out the Tribe 11.5 for the leg length. I wasn't disappointed, as I can stretch my legs out flat and just barely touch my toes to the very end. However, that position isn't conducive to paddling, and the first set of footrests before the end are too close, causing my knees to lift up too high. The perfect position for me would be about two inches past that last footrest... the only way I could possibly get the perfect position would be to glue some 2" blocks to the bottoms of my water shoes. I also noticed this year that the molded handles on each side of the gunnels seem to be separating... they used to be moulded in nice and flush, now the seam around them is raised. I bought the kayak brand new and have only had it for about five years, and I think the handles may eventually pop out. I did notice this summer that there my items in the dry storage weren't dry when I pulled them out... first time in five years I've seen water inside the hull. We keep our kayaks outside all year, but mounted on racks so they're off the ground, and in a spot where they see no sunlight... in winter I throw a tarp over them. All said, I like the boat - but I will probably sell it this year and try to find something with adjustable/sliding footrests, so I can dial in the position more accurately for my absurdly long legs. Hopefully I can find something a little lighter as well. My wife paddles an Ocean Kayak Venus 10, and at only 37 pounds I can throw her boat on my shoulder and carry it to the truck. The specs on the tribe claim it is about 54 pounds, and that extra 17 lbs makes a difference! I would bet it's actually heavier than that.

I have had numerous kayaks…

Submitted by: paddler819843 on 7/10/2020
I have had numerous kayaks through the years and own several now, my favorite is my Tarpon 160 and Native Slayer 14.5. The trouble is, as I've gotten older, these bigger kayaks are harder to load and transport, so I've been looking for a smaller kayak to take my dog in, that I can easily load and unload from the back of a short-bed pickup. I saw a used 11.5 Tribe and I quickly snapped it up. As a small kayak, I expected it to track horribly and be overloaded by my 6'1" frame and 275 pounds, but it does neither. Yesterday, I paced quite well with a friend in a Prowler 15 (not a slow kayak in any stretch of the imagination) headed upstream in Florida's Rainbow River. It easily handled my weight and snorkel gear and tracked almost as well as my beloved T160. I can easily carry it with one hand and there is plenty of room in the rear tankwell. The ONLY reason I give it a 4, is the front should have an open hatch - like the OK Malibu 11.5 does. I bought my 14.5 Slayer so my dog could ride up front (my experience is that kayaks are tippy with dogs in the back), but its a monster to load by myself. He rides in the front of this one which has a slightly recessed depression in the front, but I put a seat cushion under him and any slight wave tosses him overboard. I understand that may be too much to ask for at this pricepoint, so overall this is an EXCELLENT all-around kayak. I'm paddling it almost exclusively this summer while the kayaks mentioned above and my Hobie Adventure sit in the garage.

Got it because wanted to…

Submitted by: bertkell on 9/4/2019

Got it because wanted to float with lab. Easy to load bit a little tipsy. But we’re figuring it out. Overall love it.


We love our Perception Tribe…

Submitted by: psurack on 9/4/2019

We love our Perception Tribe sit on top kayaks. They are lightweight but sturdy with handles on the side for easy carrying. Made in America with quality construction/craftsmanship. We have rented and borrowed other kayaks but nothing else compares. We have the yellow to green gradient colors so they are easily seen by other boaters. They maneuver very well, even in fast moving water. They are comfortable and roomy. We have plenty of room for our clothes, gear, and cooler. There are criss cross elastic straps to help keep our things safe.


I used to have a sit-in…

Submitted by: paddler464241 on 8/30/2018

I used to have a sit-in kayak but knee problems make it impossible for me to get in and out now. For 3 years I have saved and researched sit-on-top kayaks and decided on the Tribe. I absolutely LOVE this kayak!! It is so easy to get in and out, just sit down and stand up. Even with my knees I had no trouble at all. The seat is extremely comfortable and I love that you can move around a bit if you start to stiffen up in one position. The boat tracks very well and if the weather and water is calm you can stop paddling and the boat will just sit. I would definitely tell everyone to get this boat.


I've had my Tribe for about a…

Submitted by: BigJim on 11/5/2015
I've had my Tribe for about a year now and I'm truly impressed how it handles all types of water. It is terrific to take down rivers with easy rapids, fun in the surf, and when the chop and boat waves pick up on the lake it is super stable. Oh yea, it tracks like an arrow. Don't have any reason to ding it from a 10!

This is a good kayak, it was…

Submitted by: Coopb117 on 8/19/2015
This is a good kayak, it was very stable on the flat water I paddled it on, it was so stable I could stand on it though it was difficult it is possible if you are not very tall. It has a good amount of storage, but it has no dry storage. I think it could be used as a fishing kayak but not effectively. As a rec kayak it is a good option, not the best, but a good option. Would definitely recommend this to a friend. As a day touring kayak unless you pack ultra light you might want to get something with more storage.

The Perception Tribe 11.5 is…

Submitted by: Coopb117 on 8/19/2015
The Perception Tribe 11.5 is a good sit on kayak. It has great stability, it has a little bit of storage but no dry hatch. It could be used as a fishing kayak with a few mods but I would probably look elsewhere. It is a good rec kayak.

The perfect non-fishing SOT?…

Submitted by: rnsparky on 2/18/2015
The perfect non-fishing SOT? Possibly so given all the things it does very well. Responsive and stable out in the surf. The occasional flips are more due to my limited experience.

It's a blast to take down rivers. Decent speed in the flat sections and a hoot in the rapids plowing thru the standing waves. At least once a month I also like to go to the lake and just putter around. I just laugh and wave at the maniacs in their bass boats and jet skis trying to swamped me in my Tribe. So far they had no luck!


In my quest to find the right…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/1/2014
In my quest to find the right (and affordable) sit-on-top kayak, my 2nd choice (after a Jackson Riviera) is the Tribe 11.5. I've gotten to try one several times at my favorite kayak rental place, and it's a pleasure to paddle. I appreciate the self-bailing scupper holes, the bungee rigging fore and aft, and the stability of the craft. In a recent outing on Lake Grapevine, I was able to easily keep up with most of the sit-inside kayaks, which I'm told is unusual for a sit-on-top.

The only real downside to the Tribe is that the molded-in footwells aren't in a great place for me. For some reason, my knees kept getting in the way of my wrists as I paddled! I couldn't use the next brace down, because I was on the farthest footwell (I'm a female, 5'9). It wasn't a constant problem, but enough that I took note of it. Has anyone else run into this problem? Also, while the seatback was comfortable, the seat bottom kept sliding forward, so I would have to brace myself and scootch backwards every ten minutes or so.

I certainly don't DISlike the Perception Tribe, and would be happy to have one of my own. But I would probably change out the seat, if I got one.


This is a great boat…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/23/2013
This is a great boat especially in surf. I have Scramblers and cobra boats the ability to paddle through waves is phenomenal it holds a line and floats over breaking waves and whitewater with very little draw back over falls.

My 1st fish trip with the easy to add rod sockets on flat area behind seats make it a good all rounder the center rod holder I don't advice it is not strong enough.

Riding waves is fantastic with these boats where a scrambler will turn too parallel to the wave and often quickly flip these boats have a perfect curved chine at water lever that causes a nice foil and holds a nice line racing across a wave in open face or soup. Have not ridden it in bigger stuff but it is super fun with the ability to put my kid on the bow and it still rides waves nicely. Very light and handles are balanced and give boat palace to run a cable or chain to lock
5 stars especially for price!


Have to say I like this kayak…

Submitted by: fishnmusicn on 9/7/2013
Have to say I like this kayak a lot for what it is - light to carry, just enough length for decent speed, nice tracking, stable, easy to sit side saddle. Inexpensive, easy enough to customize if you fish.

The only con I can come up with is some hull slap in light chop, but not extreme. Compared to the Ocean Kayak Scrambler XT (about the same length) seems like it will fit larger paddlers a lot easier with room for the hips width wise.

I definitely prefer sit on tops over sit insides for fishing and have owned a Cobra Tourer, Prowler 15, WS Ride (old style), Cobra Expedition, Perception Napali and a Cobra Marauder. I've always had to sell my sit on tops due to my crappy job before.

Things being better now, would I prefer a longer sleeker kayak for bigger water, yes - down the road, but this one does just fine on the big lake I usually fish and on a Delaware River float trip last weekend. The light weight and just long enough length are great for a jack of all trades kayak that is a pleasure to paddle and it is a keeper and will stay that way even as I eye a longer SOT next year.


After many things got in the…

Submitted by: paddler233708 on 9/24/2012
After many things got in the way for the last couple of months, my new Tribe 11.5 got a nice try out this afternoon. It has been from Rockport, TX to Alabama and back across to the mountains of New Mexico and now back to Rockport, TX. I am 5'8" and 200 pounds.

The yak can best described as moderate in all things. The foot well stayed wet the whole time. The only thing onboard besides me was a liter of water. No fishing equipment or other things this time. It paddled well. I tested it for turning over. It was not touchy at all. It seemed that I would fall off before the boat came anywhere close to turtling. A hint of wind cocking but not enough to really cause trouble. It was quiet going into the one foot waves. The turning was easy and reasonable.

Being a high boat it notices wind a bit more than some. That same higher sides keeps wave splash out of the boat. The seat is a wet ride. the drains are slightly higher on the back of the seat than the bottom of the seat area. Thus a seat puddle of about a 1/4 inch.

Over all it seems to be a very good general purpose boat.


First off I am a 5'-11.75"…

Submitted by: paddler234100 on 7/1/2011
First off I am a 5'-11.75" and 255# novice kayaker. I got the Tribe 11.5 SOT because I want to be able to get in and out of the water to swim and get cooled off while kayaking and I read that a person should plan on capsizing at some point (good advice - surprising how many people I talked to in the paddle club said "I don't plan on capsizing" - go figure, who "plans" on capsizing?). I figured that I probably couldn't get back into a SINK easily if at all (in my shape) and that there would be times when I want to kayak alone (I plan to kayak calm lake water for fun and exercise - though the possibility still exists with this kayak to float the numerous creeks and rivers in my area - river floating is very popular here - ARK/MO/OK region).

This is my first kayak and the very reasonable price was a major motivating factor in choosing this kayak over others, though not exclusively so, and I tried this kayak out on smooth calm water before buying it. One of the features I like most about this kayak is the self draining scuppers located in all the right places: seat well, both fore and aft storage wells and, of course, where your feet go (I hesitate to call it the cockpit?). Also I really like the molded hand holds amidships on the gunnels - very sturdy/durable and not in the way! It sets atop my sedan (hull up) very well (the slight rocker almost matches the car top contour - enough so that padding is only needed in the middle) and it rides quite securely tied down with two 15' straps in the middle and paracord at bow and stern. The replaceable skid plate is a pretty good idea too.

I just got this kayak, but on the first day I racked up over three miles on it (I'm a GPS mapper so I know almost exactly how far I went too, it wasn't just a guess) and have the sore muscles to prove it! As far as a "workout" machine I got exactly what I wanted - a kayak that wasn't exactly a barge (though I have referred to it as such in jest) - it has decent tracking (this is coming from a complete novice though - as I haven't actually experienced "good" or "excellent" tracking as far as kayaks go) and maneuvers well enough for it's weight and length. I'm not sure how it will handle in moderate or heavy wind, but in fair wind situations it seems to behave well.

For my experience level and purposes it is a very good first kayak. The only cons I can think of might be the lack of protected storage in the bow and stern tank wells with bungees (though this didn't bother me since I am using it recreationally for swimming and exercise).

I bought a 2010 model so it didn't come with any kind of seat (I'm no masochist but I suppose it's my old school upbringing that makes me think that it isn't possible to actually be "getting exercise" while sitting in a seat more comfortable than my camping chair) or scupper plugs. So that might be a drawback for some folks (although it is kind of a good thing that both seat and scupper plugs can be purchased separately at a later date when funds are available) I think of this kayak as a "fair weather" machine for sure. A couple of times I thought that a seat back would have been nice, though I was able to just lay all the way back and rest when I needed to - the stability of this kayak is very good - you can sit with your legs over the edge and it won't throw you out. It could be fished out of easily with the right accessories - and any handyman with access to web articles about attaching stuff to plastic kayaks could do it and save $$ if need be. I plan to paddle and swim with mask and fins mostly though and this product fits the bill nicely. I would recommend it to others who have this purpose in mind for a kayak.

Incidentally, I was able to re-enter the kayak once I remembered to let my legs and feet float up toward the surface of the water first (though it wasn't as easy as I though it would be in my less than stellar physical shape). I got the blue fade color which I like really well, though I notice it doesn't come in red - a really cool kayak color. If I'd had the money I would have bought a longer yak - like the OK Prowler 13 (tried that one out at a local lake a couple weeks before - really liked that one), but for the money this Tribe 11.5 seems to be made of good quality solid materials and workmanship.

I'm not a big fan of the "pull starter" bow and stern handles, but they have held up to carrying and tie-downs thus far. If Perception incorporated molded handles fore and aft as they have amidships, then this would be the perfect recreational swimming platform!


I have owned many kayaks,…

Submitted by: paddler233716 on 7/26/2010
I have owned many kayaks, both SOT and sit-ins and I have to say that this is a great kayak. It is fast for an 11 foot SOT, very maneuverable and tracks straight. The price also cannot be beat. I picked mine up on sale at EMS for $414. There is really no hull slap, it provides a dry ride and is stable enough to sit on sideways and I even stood up on it! I would definitely recommend this boat.

I'm posting a follow up as…

Submitted by: paddler233585 on 6/17/2010
I'm posting a follow up as one person asked if after having it a month I still liked this kayak. The answer is -yes-. I take it out 2 or 3 times a week to play in small surf (1 - 3 foot high waves). I think this kayak is just about perfect for what it's designed to do, general purpose fun kayaking. I'm able to catch and maneuver in small waves pretty easily and it works equally well in flat or choppy water. I think it's plenty comfortable and the grab handles are sheer genius. My next kayak will definitely be a wave oriented boat, but for now this works nicely.

First, about me: I am about…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/14/2010
First, about me: I am about 5'7" tall and 180 lbs. I have owned quite a few SOTs and test paddled many others, so I have a good basis for comparison. I bought the Tribe without test paddling, but I have now paddled it three times on Lake Erie. Two of those days were calm, one day had some moderate sized rolling waves and whitecaps, etc.

Relatively lightweight, has built-in carry handles on the sides of the cockpit area, has a skid plate on the stern, nice selection of fun colors (I got the purple fade), comfortable fit, super stable, tracks well but also has some maneuverability, great fun in waves!

I wish it had a hatch or two. Not a big deal though, because I just keep my items in a dry bag and stuff it under the bungees. That's all I can think of for the con side.

General comments:
It could be my imagination, but I think this may be the fastest SOT I've paddled. Surprising because of the 30" beam, but maybe it's the sleekness of the bow entry - better designed than most SOT's in my opinion. It has enough rocker to be maneuverable and fun on waves, but tracks reasonably well also. This will probably end up being my "throw and go" kayak for local outings.

Other SOT's I've owned: Islander Ventura (my second favorite SOT of all time), Tarpon 100, Phoenix 140, Islander Reggae (fun in waves), Emotion Exhilarator (nice, but had some heinous bow-slap), OK Aegean (let us never speak of it), OK Scrambler (fine if you have narrow hips), OK Sidekick (for fun with the pooch). I've also paddled the Tarpon 160 (nice!), Cobra Tourer (I liked it), Cobra Navigator (nice except for bow slap), and I'm sure there are others.

I only mention the others to give a basis for comparison. Overall, I think the Tribe 11.5 may be my favorite SOT yet.


I am a relatively new…

Submitted by: paddler233585 on 5/13/2010
I am a relatively new kayaker, but otherwise experienced waterman (30+ years surfing and other ocean sports). I bought this kayak for general fun / surfing in small / less than ideal surf conditions. I am 6'5" tall and about 230 lbs. I've only got about an hour of use so far in 1 to 2 foot ocean waves, and about 12 knot winds and ocean chop.

The boat fits me well, plenty of room around the hips, and long enough so I can stretch my legs. This kayak easily fits a larger guy like myself. Due to my weight, I sink the boat pretty well, so the floor is always wet, but I was still able to get up some speed pretty well.

Stability is excellent, I had no problem boarding and paddling straight out through the breakers. The kayak tracks very easily, probably due to it's long, straight rockered keel. I had no problem catching the little waves, but had to really lean back and dig my paddle in to turn while surfing. Construction of the kayak seems excellent, part of the reason I chose it over an Ocean Kayak Scrambler. The side grab handles are an excellent idea.

Overall I think I'm going to enjoy this kayak, although I'll need more experience with it to see how well I'll be able to maneuver it in surf.

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