Tribe 9.5

9' 5"
Width (in)
Weight (lb)

Tribe 9.5 Description

The perfect sit-on-top for price-conscious paddlers who love the active lifestyle.

The Tribe 9.5 is an affordable, easy-going, great looking sit-on-top that performs terrifically in light surf, but is also speedy and maneuverable on flat water and lazy rivers. With side handles built-in, plus additional bow and stern handles, carrying and car topping is a breeze.

Tribe 9.5 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

Where to Buy the Tribe 9.5

Tribe 9.5 Reviews

Read reviews for the Tribe 9.5 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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we have had these for over 7…

Submitted by: paddler2730319 on 12/27/2023

we have had these for over 7 years and other than a few scratches and a broken storage door ring they have been fantastic.


Love this Kayak! I bought…

Submitted by: JLB77 on 6/14/2022

Love this Kayak! I bought her new from a local Kayak/Canoe store AND she was on sale! Amazon wanted $100 more and 1-2 month wait, and $300 more for the color I got! Deja Vu. I love it!! Tracks like my Access 11.5 but sooo much more manageable for me to sling around on my own. I love the way its constructed. I feel safe out there with my girl friends. This sport has changed my life. Ive never had a hobby. I'll probably always buy/recommend Perception kayaks. I really want the paddle board one.. Cant think of the name of it. That thing looks amazing!


I absolutely LOVE this…

Submitted by: paddler1880018 on 2/22/2022

I absolutely LOVE this kayak. I purchased two of them. I previously paddled a Lifetime Tamarak and upgraded to this model recently and felt an immediate difference in speed and maneuverability when I hit the water. I also purchased a carbon fiber paddle to go with it. I am going to have so many great trips with my little dog. He loves kayaking too.


Love this boat! Really. I'm…

Submitted by: Seafarer on 7/10/2020
Love this boat! Really. I'm 6ft - 195lbs, the Tribe 9.5 fits me like a glove. I have the Deja Vu, not an illusion just a cool blue - the Tribe colors are stunning. I do mostly lakes, occasional rivers, easy coastal and a little surf - the Tribe 9.5 does it all with fun to spare. Very stable, tracks pretty well, so easy to get in and out of, even with my tricky back. Tweak the seat to suit and you'll have a comfortable ride. Takes on a little water when a wave slaps over but otherwise quite dry and quieter than many. Wish it had paddle holders so I could drift and dream - but I can fix that myself. Listen up paddlers. You want recreational fun on the water - get a Tribe! It truly does it all - beginner or beyond. Go on, get one!

I love this kayak! Tracks…

Submitted by: paddler779169 on 5/21/2020
I love this kayak! Tracks well, very easy to maneuver. Room enough for a big guy like myself but not at all bulky. Very comfortable seat, good storage areas and a handy water bottle holder. Light enough to load easily by myself, but with enough weight to not get pushed around in the wind. It's very versatile, I use it mostly on rivers and lakes but occasionally take it to the beach where it's fun to surf with.

Quite sturdy...Quite…

Submitted by: Pharaohess on 5/9/2020
Quite sturdy...Quite fast...Quite affordable...And all while looking quite cool!

Purchased 2019 Perception…

Submitted by: paddler770206 on 5/3/2020
Purchased 2019 Perception Tribe. Bought the boat for guest to paddle in our cove. The good: flush seat gives good back support. Flatter bottom makes it easy to enter for a novice, foot rest locations work even for a tall person. The bad: tracks a bit to the right, heavy for one person to lift, no paddle tie to hold paddle securely to boat when at rest.

Love my tribe! Super stable!…

Submitted by: paddler510226 on 7/29/2019

Love my tribe! Super stable! It has a higher seat back than most which makes it very comfortable! The cup holder could have been a little deeper, so sometimes I use the dry storage compartment for a cup holder also... That's the only downfall, most sit on tops have you sitting in water, this one only gets a little water around your feet. Definitely 5 stars!


As a beginner, this kayak…

Submitted by: KeilaM on 6/19/2018

As a beginner, this kayak has been great. It has inspired confidence in the water while paddling. I recently completed 10 miles down the Brazos River and would not have wanted to do this trip using anything else.


Neither I or my husband had…

Submitted by: jsharyn27 on 2/12/2018

Neither I or my husband had ever kayaked until we vacationed in St Thomas one year and the hotel had them for guests to use. We liked it so much we started shopping around, read reviews on and decided we wanted a Perception Tribe. We went with the 9.5 because they're a size & weight we (in our 70s) can handle. We love them! They're sturdy, they glide through the water on a straight path, they're wide enough to be stable and they look good. We love the molded-in handles and sleek lines. Our friends have a different type and ours look so much classier and handle so much better. Had them 3 years now and they look great and we still love them as much as ever.


I love my Tribe. Very…

Submitted by: croakie on 1/25/2018

I love my Tribe. Very comfortable even after hours, easy in/out, lots of storage and easy to paddle. Very well made boat.


I started paddling about six…

Submitted by: paddler237122 on 9/16/2016
I started paddling about six months ago and instantly fell in love with it and knew I had to get my own kayak. Because of my size (5'2" and 260#)I was incredibly insecure about the idea of getting in and out of a sit inside and also concerned about the stability. I wanted something I could feel confident using. Having tried both the Ocean Frenzy and a Lifetime Tamarac I had a good idea of what I wanted. Lots of research in I decided to get the Tribe. Only I was really torn between the 9.5 and 11.5. For the purpose of loading and unloading the kayak onto the car I opted for the 9.5.

I love this kayak. The first time I paddled it I was in heaven. It's so comfortable and tracks nicely for being so short. On slow moving rivers or still water I couldn't ask for more. But when I'm in something with a stronger current I really wish I had gotten the 11.5. The extra speed and ability to cut through the water would be great. However, when I load and unload by myself, I know I made the right choice overall. The cup holder, dry hatch for my keys/phone and storage space for coolers or overnight camping make it everything I was looking for.

I gave it an 9 instead of a 10 because at 46 pounds it is still a bit heavier than some.


I was looking for a SOT that…

Submitted by: paddler236881 on 6/20/2016
I was looking for a SOT that was lighter than my wonderful Tarpon 140. I read lots of reviews and finally settled on this model. It's half the weight and 4.5 feet shorter than I'm accustomed. I have to say that I'm thrilled with my choice. I was prepared to give up some maneuverability, and am nicely surprised at this little boat. It tracks very well for a small kayak and it turns wonderfully. I live in the Florida Keys and enjoy exploring narrow creeks through the mangroves, and the Tribe is fantastic for this. It has enough room for a cooler, me, and my dog. I miss the stow space, but it's a small sacrifice for the ease of loading on and off my SUV. The only flaw I find is minor: I like to have a built in bungee clip for my paddle. The Wilderness systems had one on each side, and some Perception models have at least one. I've ordered a leash, but I'd prefer to snap the paddle alongside when I need to. I've been an avid paddler for 25+ years, and I'm quite happy with this downsizing!

Our school applied and was…

Submitted by: billjmiller on 5/5/2016
Our school applied and was awarded a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife and we purchased 16 Perception Tribes; eleven 9.5 boats and five 11.5 boats. We have been extremely happy with our purchase and have figured out we choose the best all around sit-on-top kayak. They are easy to use by beginners to advanced and allow paddlers to experience all of the basic kayaking skills. They are stable for larger paddlers yet easy to maneuver for younger users. The 9.5 tracks really well, turns fairly fast, and is easy to re-enter when doing a wet exit. If we made the purchase again I would just get all 9.5 boats. We purchased the 11.5 for our larger students, faculty and community members thinking they would be more stable..... they are but the 9.5 works well with the big guys also. Our boats have taken five years of school use and are still holding up well. They have been on flat water, moving water, streams, ponds, tidal pools, mangroves, storm surf, extended trips, overnight trips, and class 2 white water. I wouldn't trade them for anything. They stack four high for storage, can hold a lot of gear, and easily portaged by students, and nest well for trailering. I have been on all types of sit-on-tops and no other 9.5 boat compares to the 9.5 tribe.

This is a great boat! I have…

Submitted by: croakie on 4/12/2016
This is a great boat! I have knee problems and can't get in and out of a sit-in kayak anymore. I researched and the Perception Tribe 9.5 had great reviews so I went with it. I love this boat! I have no trouble getting in and out of it, just sit down and stand up. The seat is very comfortable and you can move around a bit more than a sit-in kayak to help alleviate the stiffness you can get from sitting in one position too long. The boat tracks very nicely and is very easy to paddle (I use it on flat water).

I have rheumatoid arthritis…

Submitted by: paddler236513 on 9/12/2015
I have rheumatoid arthritis and for years, it has gotten progressively more difficult to paddle and enjoy the water. This kayak changed that for me. It is well-balanced, easy to maneuver, and despite a fairly wide beam, cuts through the water very cleanly, with minimal effort. Most of my kayaking is done on an ocean embayment north of Boston; calm, but always a few surprises. The balance and responsiveness of this kayak has given me back my joy on the water!

The Perception Tribe meets…

Submitted by: Suza on 7/1/2015
The Perception Tribe meets all my needs for an affordable, well built recreational kayak. It is easy to enter/exit from most any situation(my first priority) and light enough for one person to maneuver on land.

With this SOT, you have many options for sitting position and can easily move about while on the water, making longer paddles more enjoyable. Molded in grab handles and foot rests assist in this.

The Tribe comes equipped with a decent seat, although I use a self-inflating lumbar cushion under the seat for extended journeys. Launching is quick and easy; a replaceable skid pad is a plus.

Most of my paddling is on calm lakes and slow moving rivers/streams. But, for the adventurous, it will handle Class I/II streams, though it is hard to maneuver through rocky places due to the wide beam and forward v-hull. But, it's easy get out and carry when you get stuck on rocks! I understand it is suitable for surf, as well.

There is plenty of room for gear on the front and rear decks (dry bag required), a small child, or if you like to take along your dog. As with any SOT, you do get somewhat wet, especially in choppy water, although with scupper plugs in the seat well I seldom get soaked.

This is my first kayak, so I have no comparison, but the Tribe seems to maneuver exceptionally well for a short and stable boat. It is responsive with better than average tracking and little adverse wind affect. I have no problem keeping up with my husband in his 11' sit-in. I would recommend using a longer than normal paddle because of the wide, 31.25" beam. I get a lot of paddle drip using a paddle recommended for my height.

In summary - great value for a versatile, well-built kayak priced under $500. I highly recommend the Tribe 9.5.


I've had my Tribe for 3 years…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/1/2015
I've had my Tribe for 3 years now and I'm totally satisfied with boat. Easy to load on top my car and the side handles make it easy to get from the car to the water.

It tracks great on rivers and in the marsh but where it really shines is in the waves and surf at the shore.


I had the chance to take the…

Submitted by: jessture on 9/23/2014
I had the chance to take the Perception Tribe out for my very first kayaking day trip. As a first timer, this sit on top kayak gave me the confidence to conquer the 11 Point River in Southern Missouri. It tracked easily and I could coast a bit and relax. It was easy to steer and balance. I didn't have any tipovers! Oh, and this kayak had plenty of room on the back for a small soft cooler and a portable grill. I would recommend it to any beginner kayakers.

This is one 'GREAT' little…

Submitted by: Meiraky on 9/22/2014
This is one 'GREAT' little kayak. I have used it on rivers and lakes and it tracks wonderfully. The Perception Tribe is very stable and there is nothing more fun than waiting for a large motorboat to pass and then turning to paddle over the motorboats waves. You will be absolutely surprised about how fast this little boat can cross a lake and sneak up on some egrets. This grandma is totally 'in love' with this little sit-on-top kayak. It literally 'makes my day' out on a beautiful lake or river.

The best sit on top kayak out…

Submitted by: billjmiller on 9/3/2014
The best sit on top kayak out there. Good on lakes, streams, rivers and in the surf. Stack-able, light enough to throw on top of a car. The tribe is stable for novice paddlers but is an awesome boat for intermediate/advanced paddlers. 9.5 turns quickly yet tracks well for a sit on top.

Have 2 of the 9.5 Tribes. I…

Submitted by: paddler235906 on 9/3/2014
Have 2 of the 9.5 Tribes. I use them in the ocean on the east coat; very stable, handles ruff surf with no problems. Have also fished off of them in the Gulf, as well as fresh water. My 12 year old daughter loves them. My son is 6'3 210 pounds, he looks like a pro in big waves on these. These also haul great, have taken them 1200 miles one way in a standard rack.

Have the Tribe 9.5 and it…

Submitted by: rnsparky on 8/20/2014
Have the Tribe 9.5 and it found it to be great in the surf and going down class I and II rivers. The fact that the boat has no hatches is a plus to me as less areas for the boat to take on water.

I'm 6 ft tall, 220 pounds and the boat is NOT too small for me. Like that it easy to carry and fits inside my SUV.


I just recently used the…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/25/2013
I just recently used the Tribe 9.5 on a short trip down the canal. This boat is very stable and tracks well for a little boat. It is perfect for still to slow moving water. I would have given a 10 but I think the 11ft model would be a better fit for me.

Bought this kayak Sunday and…

Submitted by: paddler234089 on 6/30/2011
Bought this kayak Sunday and took it out today. I was really impressed overall with this boat. For a 9.5 ft kayak it paddles really well and turns on a dime, due to it's length. I had a hard time deciding between the 11.5 and the 9.5 but most of the time I am loading into J hooks myself, therefore the 9.5 won out. Paddled this out in Wells Harbor at the peak of high tide and 1 1/2 hours after high tide. In the harbor this impressed me as much as my Wilderness Pamlico 100. I have also paddled the harbor from an Otter and an OC Frenzy. This blows away the Frenzy in comfort, speed, and there is minimal bow slap compared to a Frenzy as well.

I think this is a good SOT for the length and can't wait to paddle again and hope for a few swells to see how it handles them.


My first outing with the new…

Submitted by: paddler233708 on 7/21/2010
My first outing with the new 9.5 proved it to be just right for a marsh rat who sometimes has to cross larger bodies of water. It is maneuverable but held the line better than my other short yaks. It tracks well but not fantastic. It turns and back paddles very nicely. The waves were small this day but the wind was not small. It seemed to handle the wind without any weathercocking at all. First impression is that it is just right. My other short yaks were like paddling a beach ball in the wind. This one behaved well.