I took the Prijon Capri out for a ride in 1' to 2' waves in fresh water on Lake Michigan. I don't know if the Capri was meant for this kind of weather, but these are my thoughts on the Prijon Capri:
NOT SAFE:, I don't think the Prijon Capri is sea worthy for anybody under any conditions unless an additional flotation bladder is added to the bow. The bow (front) has no buoyancy whatsoever, When I did a submersion test, the nose sank right down and was too heavy, when submerged to lift in order to evacuate water from the kayak. The back end does have a rear bulkhead so it will float like a fishing bobber while the nose sinks. If you own a Capri, I strongly suggest that you get a flotation bladder for the bow of the kayak.
WEATHER-COCKING: The Prijon Capri does a surprisingly good job in the wind. I did not notice any significant degree of weather-cocking.
POOR SECONDARY STABILITY: I felt that the Prijon Capri was pretty wobbly especially even in small waves.
TRACKING: The Prijon Capri does a surprisingly good job of tracking even in wind and waves. I did not feel the need for a skeg or rudder. The Capris cuts a straight line which is unique for a 12' boat.
AGILITY: Despite the Capri's ability to track a straight line, it is still pretty maneuverable. This is probably due to the short 12' length. Cutting tight turns by edging will require good paddle skills due to the poor secondary stability
NO DECK LINES: Often left of of recreational kayaks, the Prijon Capri also does not have functional deck lines. I would add these as a safety item.
SEAT/SADDLE: The seat-back of the saddle is clumsy with some kind of metal pegs that stick out and are supposed to fit into some grooves in the seat along with some elastic cables and webbing to secure the seat-back to the cockpit. The seat-back is not secure and falls down onto the seat when entering the cockpit. This could be remedied perhaps by post-purchase jerry-rigging something to hold the seat-back in place, but the problem is a poor design in the first place.
SPACE BEHIND THE SEAT: For some reason, there is space between the back of the combing and the rear bulkhead behind the seat. This creates a space for water to collect when evacuating water from the cockpit with the kayak upside down. In general, there are several design flaws that make water evacuation from the cockpit difficult and incomplete. This would make water rescues marginal at best with plenty of water remaining in the cockpit even after doing a complete and successful T-rescue.
HULL MATERIAL: The hull material is stiff and robust which is very good especially for a plastic kayak. It did not oil-can and it was noticeably strong when mounting on the car-carriers as it did not collapse or dent or deflect when putting it under strong tension from the straps.
CONCLUSION: My opinion is that the Prion Capri is a higher end recreational kayak with design flaws that should be left to the lower-end kayaks: most importantly the lack of a sealed bulkhead in the bow and the difficulty in evacuating water from the cockpit. It performs well for beginners on flat water, but would be have challenging stability issues for novices in choppy water.
I liked the Prijon for several reasons: This German designed and made kayak seems to emphasize design and performance over unnecessary bells and whistles (e.g. cupholders); it is thermoformed instead of rotomolded, which makes it the strongest plastic kayak in the industry - it will easily take Class II rapids; the cockpit is small enough to accommodate a spray skirt (but not as small as a sea kayak).
On the water, it tracks great. The hatch gets just a trace of water. The cockpit is very comfortable - good seat, good foot pegs, nice thigh braces. It has no bow flotation, so I added a bow flotation bag. It has no deck perimeter line, so I added that, too.
I'm still hoping to get a sea kayak in another couple of years, but the Capri Tour will allow me to paddle small lakes, rivers, and Class II rapids for years to come.
An earlier review questions the stability of this boat, but it is very stable even while fishing out of it and landing large fish, even my brother (who is a beginner) had no trouble fishing out of it in a river with an 8 mph current. I have also had it in 4ft. swells that is about its max as it tends to submarine the waves at that point. The speed and glide is very impessive and not far behind my 14 footer. The tracking of this yak is very good as there is no rocker, but still maneuvers easily.
The cockpit is comfortable but a gel pad is needed for the seat for extended trips. I added a float bag to the bow and perimeter deck rigging, as well as rigging behind the seat for paddle float rescues. I never had a failed paddle float re-entry as the cockpit is fairly large. The rear hatch is the only negative to the yak, as I have had to pump it out after practicing paddle float re-entry. The hatch also is a pain to close from in the yak and the opening is small. All the other Prijon yaks have great hatches.
The weight of the Capri compared to most other 12 ft. plastic yaks is light and can be easily put it the rack on my truck. If you are looking for a 12 ft. daytripper the Capri is probably the best on the market.
I tweek mine a little by adding strips of minicell foam in the v under the seat and on the underside of the seat front 2" chunk to stabilize the loose seat issues and I also filed the thigh braces flat against the combing about 2.5" from the back to get a more comfortable shoulder carrying position plus I velcroed in a 7/16 foam seat pad.
Nice little boat!
I have had this boat for about a year and it has been on estuaries, marshes, rivers and lakes. Not a tripping boat but one of the few rec boats that paddles like a short sea boat. Lots of fun for the money.
My experiences with the Capri have all been positive. It is relatively light (42 pounds) and the blowmolding makes it stiffer and more resistant to scratches and other damage. Mine actually flew off the roof of the van on the trip back from the kayak shop (at 65 mph) and only suffered minor scratches.
The interior is good. The seat is comfortable and has a removable seat pad that I usually forgot to use. The footpegs are a little difficult to adjust at time but are functional. There is plenty of room for my size 13 feet. The thigh braces are a nice useful feature. My only complaint is that the hatch is a little difficult to close. You have to apply steady pressure over the entire hatch lid and even then it sometimes doesn't completely thread. The hatch provides adequate storage for a daytrip but it might not be sufficient for an overnight trip.
The Capri tracks well and is very maneuverable. I found it to be easy to paddle, as did my kids, one of whom is 10. I used my GPS on one trip and averaged about 4.5 mph with a peak of 6.1 mph on flat water. I also found the Capri to be very stable, even on a hard/sharp turn. I didn't find the wind to be a problem as the Capri is built with a low profile.
Although my paddling experience is limited to one summer and only 4 different boats (Perception Carolina and Acadia and an Aquaterra something) I would highly recommend the Capri. It has a good combination of good performance and stability that make it a pleasure to paddle.
Also, you won't see it on the photo on their site, but the inner cockpit rim has a good set of thigh braces. They're not padded, but can be if desired. The seat on my boat is not padded and there's no cupholder. The contour of the seat is fine and I've found it to be better than some cushier seats. There's other ways to bring drinking water along. I'm 5'11" and 200 lbs. and the boat is a very good fit. Someone who's taller and wears shoes bigger than a 12 may be cramped. The rear bulkhead is watertight and the screw-on hatch works well.
Be sure all the threads are engaged when closing it so it doesn't leak. I've never rolled a kayak before but I was able to roll this one. I'm sure a more experienced paddler will find it easy to roll. In case of a swim, a paddle float re-entry can be very awkward, but a re-enter and roll is very easy. Even without a paddle. On the subject of self-rescue, the Capri Tour has no bow flotation whatsoever. A flotation bag that's 42"-45" long works well. The footpegs will hold it in place without having to tie it in. Stability is quite good. Not the rock solid primary stability like a lot of rec boats, but pretty good once you’re seated.
Overall, an outstanding kayak. Can't say it enough; be sure to demo as many boats as you can, but give this one a try if at all possible.
I have taken on large lakes with boat wakes and wind, as well as curvy, narrow streams, and they do very well indeed. I am 69 inches and about 170 lbs; harder perhaps for anyone over about 210 lbs to get a proper fit. I agree with the other reviewers about the seat, and thus the ding of one point on my review. The seat pad is removable and thin, and the seat position is not adjustable (like its big brother the Calabria--see my disappointed review). The main gripe is the low seat back, which is not adjustable up or down as it has two metal posts that must be secured to the seat bottom; would be nice even at my moderate size to get the seat back higher; this is not adjustable. The screw on hatch is very waterproof, but there is no front hatch so I agree with reviewer, this is a rec boat perfect for several hours of cruising, but not for overnight gear, tents, etc.
This is my second Capri, and the first is used by my wife and kids. That is a very strong validation that I would, even with the plethora of kayaks available, choose the same one again. And I am a picky son-of-a-gun, too! So, I really have no regrets, and dollar for dollar, this is the fastest and best darn boat going. I have a GMC Sierra, and the 12 footers slide right in back with about 2 feet off the tailgate; couple of ratchet cables and we are ready to rock n roll. I thought about the Capri tandem, but then you cannot use alone, and I find that having two is better, more flexible, and when my 10 year old son tires, I throw him a rope and pull him with ease. The boat is that smooth through the water. Enjoy and support Prijon.
To provide some idea of what I am using as my base for comparison, my other boats are an a 12.5ft Necky Cruiser SOT, a 14.5ft Wilderness Pamlico,a 18ft Cobra Expedition and an 18ft QCC 700 Kevlar/Carbon Sea Kayak.
I compared the Capri to the Necky Manitou, the Current Design Kestral, the Perception Acadia, the Walden Vista and the Dagger Blackwaters 11.5 & 12.5. All of these are in the same class by length, weight and price. The weights go from 37lbs to 53. Each is just different enough to attract a paddler who is primarily interested in slightly different things as most important.
For the reviewer below, the double line running in the cockpit fore to the bow, is intended to allow easy placement and retrieval of storage or float bags in the bow. It’s a simplified pulley rig.
I agree that no kayak should ever be purchased without paddling it first. Also, several similar boats should be paddled before a decision to buy is made. Sometimes this means going to several different shops because each carries only a few manufacturers. Also, local paddling clubs provide a wide variety of craft owned by their members on every paddle they schedule. Paddlers are nearly always willing to let you try their boat for a spin.
What sold me on the Capri were in the order of their importance to me:
Narrow boat less than 25" wide;
Narrow fore and aft for more streamline shape;
Smaller cockpit, just enough to do a cowboy entry and exit or pull the knees up to rest on long paddles;
Hatch that can be opened while sitting in the boat for calm rivers without firm banks and having a leisurely lunch;
Greenland style that has most of the length of boat in the water and not wasted on attractive upsweeps in bow and stern that add little but wind resistance;
The multichined hull, though I am not sure how much this added to the control of the boats stability.
In ten minutes on the water, I knew that this boat was a good fit for me both physically sitting in it and in the way it handled. I recommend this to anyone seeking a 12ft plastic boat. Try it, you may like it.
The hull design and construction and 25" beam provide you with performance opportunities that grow with your skills. Some beginners may interpret the willingness to j-lean as instability, but that's not the case. The lean drops that hard edge and enables you to carve like it's on rails. Related to this, don't expect the padded thigh braces touted in the outdated promotion copy. These were eliminated after the first year. But, the deck is molded to accommodate knee and thigh control, and you can glue in the padding. The hatch and footpegs work well.
Either toss the funky seat pad or glue it in. The meager Velcro strips included all but ensure you'll loose it on a shuttle. There's a line under the foredeck that runs fore and aft, but I haven't discerned its function. The deck net is a handy addition, especially considering the poor bottle-holder placement that Prijon insists on incorporating in its seats. Trust me, if you're in the habit of icing your bottle prior to summer runs, you won't be comfortable with the location unless you've recently had a vasectomy.
I was also puzzled by the published paddler weight range, since it easily takes on people the north side of two hundred. Only thing I can speculate is that they were viewing it as a tripper and allowed for gear weight.
So, we all agree it's a fast, lively, lightweight and rugged boat, but is it worth the price tag for recreational applications? I found a number of dealers willing to discount heavily. My theory is that the nebulous product positioning has made it a slow mover and the dealers are willing to deal. I was able to buy one for well under the price of a 12' recreational barge. Better boat, lower price makes this close to a ten.
I agree with another review that you should definitely demo the kayak before you decide upon one. I bought mine from Jersey Paddler in Brick, NJ. They let you demo several kayaks. I demo’d the Necky Manitou, the Dagger Element, and the Jolt 116. The Necky Manitou was the closest in comparison.
I picked the Capri Tour because I really liked the way that it tracked (even w/out the optional rudder) and I had really good speed. The cockpit was very comfortable, and I like the thigh braces, which most other kayaks did not have in this class. Also the storage area is 5300 sq in, which is much larger then any I looked at. The Kayak is made of HTP, which is a high performance polyethylene. It is lightweight and easy for me to get on and off my truck.
The only strange thing I found about this kayak was that Prijon rated this kayak for paddlers up to 180 lbs? I am 5’11” 195lbs and I have no problems with this kayak. If you compare to others in this class/size they rate them up to 250-300lbs. I may add more after I have had the kayak for a longer time.
We have gone mainly on lakes, and some kayaking along Pamlico sound off of the outer banks of NC. I love my 12' Capri. I am a beginner, but have had no problems staying afloat with the Capri when encountering wind, waves, or boat wake. It is a little tippier than most flat bottom rentals, or the wife's Necky, but I found balance comfort came very quickly. The Capri seems to be a very fast boat. For flat water lake use it is just great. I especially liked the more closed cockpit with knee support to really be able to control the kayak with hip and knee movements for turning. My wife preffered the more open cockpit of the Necky which allows her to pop her legs out for a stretch much easier. The Capri will handle waves, but the bow is not upswept so large waves will give you a good soak. The Capri shines on open, fairly calm water, where it is a sweet little red sportsyak.
I ultimately chose the Capri because it was very comfortable to sit in for me, I liked the molded knee braces on the cockpit for control, the boat seems much faster than other boats I tried -- it zips along, and the boat is a bit lighter (to carry to the water) and stronger (pressure molded plastic) than some others. My Wife's Necky was also on the lighter side ... we carry both of them together a ways to drop in. Consider weight my friends if you have to carry your kayak more than 50 feet to the water and you're not 21 anymore
After much more experience with kayaking and trying different kayaks after I bought my Capri, I'm even more sure that the Capri was the right choice for me ... it's a great little rec kayak.