Love this kayak. I can take my two smaller kids out with me and it's totally safe and easy to maneuver. The colors are fun and my kids absolutely love it. There is a lot of space to take dry bags, bring water and drinks, and a small cooler. It's not that heavy - I can get it up on top of my car by myself (after a couple tries, easier with two people but can do it alone). Highly recommend.
I bought this kayak over an Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL because of the improved storage and seats. It's been great fun paddling in this boat; there's plenty of room for two people, the boat tracks well, handles waves well, and is all around well made. It is a bit heavy, but that's expected for a tandem kayak this size.
The storage is not as great as I'd hoped; the bags hanging from the screw-on covers do get wet and the opening is sort of small. After one trip on the ocean (a few hours of salt, sand, and sun), the threads got stuck and I had to remove the entire cover piece (remove the screws holding it to the boat's body) in order to unscrew it with the help of a vise.
I love this Kayak, I bought this kayak in January of 2014.
4 years later we've got good family stories and adventures together. We have taken it to: the beach on some pretty choppy water in the Gulf of Mexico; Choctawhatchee Bay, one of those times was real choppy too; and then rivers, creaks, streams, and lakes. Never really been on white water rapids with it. Not sure it's really rated for that though.
It is rated for recreational use and we have certainly proved that.
It is very versatile and has stood up to quite a beating.
This tandem sit on top kayak has three molded seats. Not one, not two, Three! It is called Tribe because of that I think and we have put our Tribe in this kayak.
My large family has fit 4 adults on this kayak. We moved a lot slower but we were still floating and we made it back and forth across the three acre lake. Pretty sure we were over the weight rating, which is 500 lbs.
Another time, my parents and I took my four children down a calm river/creek to see the Real Florida. So that was 3 adults and 4 elementary age children and snacks and drinks. My little daughter liked sitting up front on the bow. Again, we moved slow and we were sitting pretty low in the water but it was another enjoyable time, and the kayak held up.
At 2.8' wide it has been plenty of room and comfortable enough for the larger family members riding with us as well. Multiple molded foot rests at each of the three molded seats for the short family and the tall family alike. Also, with the width and length my kids have used it as a floating dock jumping off and climbing back in when we are out on the lake.
For 13.5' boat it can be difficult for a small one person to load and unload off of a vehicle, but, not really a problem for two, or one adult and a couple little helpers.
It tracks a straight line. Turns like I need it too. When paddling alone I sit in the middle molded seat. I think that helps with maneuverability.
Front and back bungee areas for cargo. The back is nice and deep w/ scupper holes for a cooler or tackle box. My daughter and I have used the scupper holes for rod holders as we get in and out of the tackle-box for bait and hooks,etc.
I believe there are 8 scupper holes; makes it real nice when you're out in the choppy water on a warm/hot day. I bought supper plugs separately so on colder days you can stay dry and warm on calmer waters.
It has molded handles on both sides at the middle of the boat that make it very handy when getting the boat where it needs to go on land.
It also came with bungees and ergonomic handles at the bow and stern to help with handling the kayak as well.
So, if you are looking for a versatile sit on top kayak to fit a small and possibly growing family. I highly recommend the Perception Tribe 13.5' kayak. One might say, why not just buy a canoe? I have a canoe also. You can't tip the Perception Tribe like you would with a canoe. And with the self-bailing scupper holes you definitely can't flood this kayak like you would a canoe. Again, so versatile you can take it to the beach out on the waves or cruise up and down the lakes, rivers and streams.
Had this kayak for 4 months now and I love it. It's perfect for family kayaking. I usually paddle with my 3 year old and my 70 lb lab. I have had no issues with stability and I have no problem being the only paddler. This boat seems like it holds up better than the cheaper options and I believe it will be a beloved adventure friend for years to come.
Pros: Tracks well, comfortable seats, straps for storage, replaceable plastic in back for scraping/dragging., stack-able.
Cons: Fills up with water no matter what - even when storage lids are closed. Straps break easily when carrying them. Not as thick as the Rambler/Rhumba model, so it will crack easier.
We use this kayak for all our Austin Kayak Tours and Rentals in Austin, Texas with http://www.lonestarkayaktours.com . It is a quality kayak that can be paddled single or tandem.
The third seat and other space is great for our grand kids and a dog. We found it easy to carry due to the side and end handles and its light weight.
I am so impressed with this kayak. It was a joy to paddle. My son and I had no problem paddling this yak at all! It was very easy to handle and maneuver. We fit in it VERY comfortably and it was very stable. My daughter was bouncing from side to side, so excited to be on the water. never once did I feel that we were going to tip, let alone flip it over. This is my dream yak and someday I am going to have one!
One thing I really do love about this boat is the front end of the boat is deeper then the back end. So the person in back is kinda sitting up higher then the person in front. There is also so much leg room in this boat for both people. We haven't had the chance to strap a third seat in and go down the river with three people yet but I'm sure it will still be comfortable. Infront of both seats there are turn caps that go down into the boats insides. The screw tops are tied to the boat so they will not be lost and there are little storage bags inside which I think are really neat.
One more downfall that I can't get over is there are 4 scupper holes in the front of the boat. I sit in front normally and two of them are directly in front of the seat and every time we paddle or hit any small waves (which is all the time) water splashes up and gets that whole area of my seat and my legs and everything all wet. The front of the boat is deeper so the holes are not as deep. The front holes by my feet let in a lot of water also and when that water comes in it comes in in little splashes and those splashes hit me I my face a lot. The poor design of these holes are a huge turn off. But there is a very simple cheap solution. Get scupper plugs and plug the holes! I haven't done this yet but I'm sure it will make a world of difference. The scupper holes are meant to help keep the water out of your boat so it doesn't flood so I suggest only use these plugs if your in low tides. But please don't let my scupper hole explanation scare you away from buying this boat. I love this boat!
There are 3 other sit on top tandems at our house we've used many times including two cobra kayaks and an emotion kayak and I love the Perception Tribe 13.5 the best by far of all our boats! It is an amazing boat for many reasons and I highly recommend it (and some scuppy plugs)!!!
The standard seat supports are weak. I wish they were stiffer and higher.
The kayak we rented had no dry storage, paddle holders or adjustable foot rests.
I sat in the stern but felt as thought I was sitting higher than my partner in the bow.
May be OK for recreational use on lakes, but we will continue looking for our dream kayak (light, dry storage lockers, paddle holders, adjustable foot stops, easily controlled in strong currents and wind).
I have nothing against OK and have heard nothing but positive reviews about them. However I believe that the Perception Tribe 13 is the clear winner as far as a tandem that can be converted to solo goes. I took her out for a day trip in the Raritan Bay solo with about 40 lbs of gear. She tracked well for a big wide boat and wasn't as slow as I expected either.
I am sold; extremely happy about my purchase and here are my two favorite things about this boat. 1) it's $200 cheaper than the Malibu Two XL!!!!!
2) go solo and take the two seat straps off and lay down, you wouldn't believe how comfortable it is!!!
I do not work for Perception and am not affiliated in any way with Perception. This glowing review is here because I was overwhelmingly compelled to tell people about it. I did a lot of hemming and hawing and researching before deciding to buy a new kayak and the OK Malibu Two XL appeared to be the best one on paper. Maybe it is a good boat, but if you get a chance to see both of the together you will know why I went with the Perception Tribe 13. Can't wait to outfit it for fishing!!!!
Positive: Tribe 13.5 is very stable, tracks very well, but is good enough maneuverable. This kayak is very comfortable for 2 adults + child, or 1 adult + kids. Having tankwells with bungeed are great for short fishing trips or small picnic items.
If you are looking for a stable and flexible family boat, this one deserves a good look. We can't wait to try it in ocean surf!