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LL Bean Calypso

by Perception

Reviews

The Perception-made Calypso kayak by LLbean is an adequate boat for…

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The Perception-made Calypso kayak by LLbean is an adequate boat for a beginning or occasional kayaker who is looking for an undemanding kayaking experience. It is stable, comfortable, and slow. It's fine for a non-demanding slow and stable paddle on calm water... suitable for beginners. It was comfortably sized for me (5'5, 150 lbs) and my smaller companion; large paddlers might feel cramped.

The Calypso is inadequately geared for for challenging conditions or technical maneuvers and as stated already, it is not fast. Since there is only one bulkhead IMO it isn't suited to rough water or waves since it will pencil easily and is difficult to empty in an on-water rescue.

This boat will not satisfy someone who wants to work on building technical skills. I was bored with it in under an hour. But it does occupy a market niche. If all you want to do is amble around calm water in a stable craft, you'll be pleased with it.

I bought this 12' kayak to use on Lake Erie, the Niagara…

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I bought this 12' kayak to use on Lake Erie, the Niagara River, creeks and ponds and to do overnight camping. It was listed as a touring/overnight kayak, but that is a stretch. Since it is primarily designed for smaller paddlers (women), it has a lower deck height (the actual measurement was removed from the website, so I cannot confirm the true height) and is 24 1/2"" wide, both aspects that are aimed at shorter paddlers.It also is a lightweight 38 pounds, making it easy to carry, but it does lack proper safety lines around the perimeter.

To add front flotation, a large foam barrier has been placed down the middle of the kayak, making stretching the legs or scratching an ankle itch with the other foot a bit difficult, if not impossible. Also, there is no front hatch, which means that to go on an overnight, any gear that does not fit in the rear hatch would have to be placed in even weights on both sides in the front of the kayak. Also, the thigh braces are not adjustable and I found that they were too thin to be of much use for me.

Although the kayak was fine on the Niagara River, easily riding over waves, I still found it a bit more effort to track and paddle than the other kayaks I have used, as well as when on the Erie Canal and on local creeks.

I have narrow hips and thighs, so I fit easily into the cockpit, though at 5'5"" and 140 pounds, I am not skinny. My 6' 155 pound son found it too snug, as did my 5'7" daughter.

Since I wanted to use the kayak for camping, I returned it to LL Bean in exchange for a 12" Wilderness, that has two storage compartments, as well as a much more comfortable seat and usable thigh braces! If the Calypso flotation was added in just the nose rather than as a "wall of foam" separating the entire front of the kayak, it might have been workable. Either way, it is not a light touring kayak, as the LL Bean website stated when I bought mine; rather, it is a recreational kayak. For that use, it is fine. For light touring - not.

Great light weight plastic boat designed for women. Only weighs 39…

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Great light weight plastic boat designed for women. Only weighs 39 lbs so easy to haul to the river. Great for lakes, reservoirs and slow moving rivers. I sank it in a boat safety class, so I immediately bought bow and stern air bags. Fun boat that has held up well for more than six years of heavy use.

The boat is 24.5" wide, with a 32.5" X 16.5" cockpit.…

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The boat is 24.5" wide, with a 32.5" X 16.5" cockpit. It weighs in at 38 lbs. It was designed for women, but works for anyone. It's especially good for anyone who doesn't want a wide boat. I got one of these to replace a kid's boat as my pre-teen needed to size up. Since we put 4 boats on top of a Honda CR-V, weight is a big deal. Out of the 4 boats we have, this is my favorite. I love the width, the weight, the stability. My son & I take turns with it as it is a favorite of both of us. If I could find another with as big a markdown as the one I got, I'd get rid of one of our other boats in a heartbeat.

I recommend it to anyone I know who is thinking of buying a kayak.

My friend Patricia is 5' tall, 110 lbs. and 78 years old…

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My friend Patricia is 5' tall, 110 lbs. and 78 years old. She had never owned a kayak. We bought the LLBEAN Calypso for her and it was a great choice: lightweight, easy to paddle, tracks well and nice appearance. She likes it very much and so do I.
Plus: The Price is less than the Eddyline Sandpiper I have.

I would recommend the Calypso to anyone who wants a good boat for lakes and class 1 or class 2 easy streams and rivers.

This is a great beginner kayak. Inexpensive, easy to handle, lightweight…

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This is a great beginner kayak. Inexpensive, easy to handle, lightweight, and did I say inexpensive? My whole family has used this, ranging from 5'11" & 195 lbs to 5'4" & 120 lbs. We have taken it out in areas ranging from small, slow going rivers, to the Chesapeake Bay, where it was pretty choppy. It handled both quite well!

Bottom line: a great beginner kayak!

After looking for a month at different kayaks, I chose the Calypso…

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After looking for a month at different kayaks, I chose the Calypso... mainly because of its weight, I am 5'2" and 126#. I tried the Manitou Sport and the Dirigo. I am very happy with my choice, I have used it on lakes, ponds and tidal rivers and in some heavy winds... she tracks straight, easy to get in /out of, comfortable adjustable seat and footpegs. Also easy to load/unload.
I love it; gave it a 9 due to only having one storage compartment.

I've had this 12' CALYPSO kayak for one year now and absolutely…

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I've had this 12' CALYPSO kayak for one year now and absolutely love it. This is my first kayak so I've no way to compare but it with anything else. It tracks well, paddles easily, is light weight at 38 lbs, is durable, and is highly visible in the water(green). I have tipped it accidentally once (It was my second time on the water and wanted to see if I could paddle with my legs hanging out- I was playing around)!! Again, I've nothing to compare it to but feel it is a fairly stable kayak. I can only tip it now if it's on purpose when practicing wet exits/entrances.

The seat is comfortable, changing seat and foot pegs while moving on the water is easy and fast. I take it out on large lakes and slow rivers 2-3 times a week. I've taken it out on windy days when there is 1-2 foot waves and it handles itself well though does get pushed around a bit. This is a great kayak and I would recommend it to anyone. If it helps I'm 5'6" and 145lbs.

I transport my kayak with a THULE Glide and set kayak carrier and have never had any problems. I've gone down the highway at 65 mph and never feared loosing the kayak (only down side, no way to lock the carrier or kayak).

I agree with the other recent reviews. I'm a guy, 5'7"…

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I agree with the other recent reviews. I'm a guy, 5'7", 135 pounds. Despite being marketed as a women's kayak, the fit is perfect for anyone of smaller size. The light 38 pounds makes it easy to lift. It tracks well and maintains a decent speed. The initial stability is a bit poor so you need some confidence. It's a slow turner. I like the smaller cockpit entry compared to other recreational kayaks.

This kayak has some nice features for the low price such as the comfortable seat and the bungees. The weaknesses of this kayak for me are the weak initial stability, only one storage area (though large) and lack of a bottle holder. Also, the cockpit edge is sharp, not rounded smooth, so you need a towel on your shoulder for carrying.

I received the Calypso as a Christmas present in 2008. My rating…

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I received the Calypso as a Christmas present in 2008. My rating of a 9 has more to do with the delivery & damage problem, but LL Bean quickly offered an exchange, return, or 15% back (to be considered a 2nd). Their was an obviously repaired area about 5"x3" on the front deck. It has been a pretty deep gouge or something. It was repaired relatively decent and doesn't affect the ride or structure as far as we can tell, so we took the 15% back.

The boat is 38lbs and 24" wide and a perfect fit for me at 5'5", 26 years old, and 135lbs. I can carry it decent distances easily and I can lift it above my head. The proportions and lines on the boat are nice and it’s a very "pretty" boat. My fiance is jealous.

I got the deluxe package with paddle and cockpit cover. DEFINITELY worth the extra $50. The paddle is a $40 paddle and the quality is equivalent to a $50-80 paddle at your local kayak shop. The cover is made by Harmony and fits perfectly, although a little too tight at first. The hatch cover is difficult but gets easier in the sun.

Tracking: almost perfectly straight. I can paddle as fast as I can and the nose barely moves more than an inch or so left or right. The keel in the rear keeps it straight but makes turning a little more difficult than in my fiance’s Dagger Blackwater 12.0. You can still turn around within an extra 2-3' of the boat.

Stability: this is not the most stable boat. I am just moving from canoeing to kayaking but grew up on the water and I think I have great "sea legs". I haven't turned it over, but almost did a couple of times. It's definitely a light touring boat instead of recreational in that it doesn't have that extra flat area that keeps you from rolling a little bit. I plan on rolling it on purpose when it warms up some. If you are a beginner or the least bit uncomfortable/unstable on the water, I would consider something else.

Seating: The Zone seat is great. It’s super adjustable, easy to adjust on the go, and the back part moves up and down. It’s a very comfortable seat even with the minimal padding (actual ergonomic fit versus just squishy, kind of like Toyota versus Ford seats). It would be nice to have some thigh supports for long trips.

Leaks: so far so good. The drains/gutters move the water away from the cockpit and hatch very well. I haven’t noticed any leaking screws and the hatch seals well.

Summary: This is a great boat for women or experienced teens. This plus LL Bean’s amazing customer service and unrestricted return policy make this a perfect fit for me knowing that if anything goes wrong I can just send it back, no questions asked. You don’t get that with any other kayak dealer as far as I know.
A++++ would buy again

Got my 2008 Calypso on 6/30/08; use it on Alsea bay &…

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Got my 2008 Calypso on 6/30/08; use it on Alsea bay & river,& tidewater creeks 2-4 times/week. It was a bit cork-like on the bay swells but I adjusted the footpegs and got better performance. (I'm still learning.) The 12-foot length and hull design make it a good choice for my uses and the lighter weight is terrific!

I've had my Calypso since mid-June and I love it. Perhaps the…

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I've had my Calypso since mid-June and I love it. Perhaps the tracking problem has been fixed, because I've no issue with it. Have taken it into tight narrow streams entering a lake and have paddled open water in a light breeze. There's a trick to putting the hatch cover on. Don't use your nails. Part of the secret is to push down on the very center of the cover with one hand while you ease the edges of the cover over the lip of the hatch. The only drawback is the hatch opening is small. My husband bought a Pungo (delivered today!) and I love the large oval hatch. It's easier to get more gear into his boat than my Calypso. All in all, I love the Calypso.

I love my new Calypso! Had no problems with the tracking. Had…

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I love my new Calypso! Had no problems with the tracking. Had it on open water and in rivers with class I, II rapids where it performed well. It's not as fast in the water as my Dirigo 10 or 12 but comes in a close second. The only design flaw is the rear hatch cover. While this kayak is designed for women, a woman didn't design the cover! Any nails whatsoever and you're doomed to break them when replacing the hatch cover. The design for the Dirigo hatches would be a definite improvement. Also, the rear hatch divider wall wasn't glued properly so water seeps in from the bottom of the kayak and soaks anything in the hatch. I originally thought it was a hatch cover issue but soon realized that wasn't the problem. All in all, it's an awesome kayak (the 8/10 rating is due to the aforementioned issues)! It's light and easily transported.

These reviews are now old news. The Calypso had an acknowledged…

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These reviews are now old news.
The Calypso had an acknowledged tracking problem and Perception reworked the tooling and for the past year it has performed remarkably well. It tracks well, paddles efficiently and is a great light touring boat for inland and protected waterways.

Like the other reviews, I thought this boat sounded perfect - made…

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Like the other reviews, I thought this boat sounded perfect - made for women, lightweight, etc. I took it out 3 times - bay, saltwater marsh, and lake - and the conditions were about the same - light wind, no waves, etc. While I really, really wanted to love this kayak, I cannot get past the poor tracking. It looks sleek, the seat and footpegs are great, and the size and weight allow me to transport easily. It also fits inside the minivan for overnight security on trips. But, the tracking is awful contrary to the description from LL Bean. I had other paddlers try it, too, and they also experienced the same problems. I am sending it back. Kudos to LL Bean for taking it back without hesitation.

The catalog description and conversation with the woman at LLBean convinced me…

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The catalog description and conversation with the woman at LLBean convinced me that this was the last boat I would ever need. I'm sending it back. The adjustable backrest is very uncomfortable and feels flimsy. The center gray support beam (3" wide and running the length of the cockpit) leaves no room for small items. Tracking was fair. Very disappointed overall.

My first kayak. LL Bean and Perception teamed up and built…

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My first kayak. LL Bean and Perception teamed up and built this women-specific kayak. Weighs only 38 pounds. Very easy for me to transport myself. Handles well on the water and very comfortable.

My wife just bought one of these, and it's going right back…

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My wife just bought one of these, and it's going right back to Bean. It sounded perfect for her in the catalog and on the L.L.Bean website, made for a smaller paddler, etc.

First problem, it was advertised as having adjustable thigh braces, but in fact it has none at all. May or may not be a big deal for some people, but it was at best misrepresented. (This has now been changed on the llbean.com website, probably in response to my wife's complaint)

Second problem, it does not track well at all. The thing is just all over the place. I tried paddling it, too, and had the same problem, so it's not just my wife. She can paddle my Carolina straight as an arrow.

On the plus side, it does seem pretty stable, even for me at 5'11" and >200lb. However there are probably many better choices for a smaller paddler, which is the target. My wife may go with the smaller Carolina, or similiar boat.

Some have guessed that this is a re-branded Acadia. I'm not sure about that, but it is made by Perception. In addition to the LLBean logos, it has the Perception logo on the seat and hatch cover, etc.

Since this boat is exclusive to L.L.Bean, you can't go into your local kayak shop and look at it or demo it, so you just have to order it and hope that it works for you. It didn't work for us.