Kayaking is a fun hobby that keeps you fit and healthy while allowing you to spend plenty of time outdoors.
It’s never too early or too late to get into kayaking, as long as you take it slowly and go with someone more experienced. The most important thing you will need to do is get yourself the right equipment, starting with a kayak.
Whether you are a seasoned kayaker or a novice, choosing the right kayak is very important. You need to think about what you will be doing on your kayak.
If you will be leisurely paddling in still waters for up to a few hours at a time, then you will need a different kayak to an experienced kayaker who intends to take on white water and choppy open sea.
If you are going to use your kayak to go fishing, then you will need one with plenty of storage space and somewhere to keep your fishing rods.
We have reviewed the Perception Outlaw 11.5 so that you can decide whether it is the right kayak for you. Keep reading to find out more about this product, what features it has, the pros and cons, and whether we would recommend it.
The Perception Outlaw 11.5 is made in the USA. Perception kayaks have been manufacturing kayaks for over 40 years, focusing on simple and practical designs that give their customers a hassle-free experience on their kayak. Each kayak is hand assembled in California.
This single person sit-on-top kayak is 11feet 6 inches long, 35 inches wide, and weighs 77 pounds. It has a maximum weight capacity 425 pounds which leaves plenty of weight allowance for gear and equipment.
The kayak is designed to be ideal for fishing but is also great for beginners and intermediate kayakers who just want to get out on the water recreationally. It is most suitable for lakes, ponds, rivers and creeks rather than open sea and white water.
The Perception Outlay 11.5 is made out of high density polythene which makes it lightweight yet durable. The polythene is molded into one single piece with no joins, which makes for an ultra rugged and leak proof construction.
The kayak has a rigid structure with excellent tracking performance. The tri-heel dual arch hull design with an elongated middle keel allows the kayak to maintain direction as it smoothly cuts through the water.
The kayak is not particularly nimble, but still manoeuvres quite well with the use of a paddle.
The seat is ergonomically designed with an elevated position. It sits 5 inches above the deck for a better high vantage point for fishing. The seat height also allows you to easily transition between sitting and standing.
The only downside is that you cannot lower the seat, which can make paddling more difficult. When you are paddling, especially in rough waters, having a lower center of gravity helps with stability and paddling performance.
The seat is made from a breathable mesh material to increase airflow which will help to keep you cool on a hot day, but the trade off for this is that there is no padding on the seat.
One of the best features of this kayak is the versatility in terms of how you have your deck setup. You can have the seat in it’s fixed position. You can remove the seat and stow it away, which allows you to use the whole for standing.
This large deck space is ideal for those people who like to customize their own kayak. It also gives you plenty of room to take a dog with you on your kayak.
If you leave the seat in the car before you hit the water, you can replace it with a 35 litre cooler which you can sit on instead. This gives you a combination of sitting and standing space.
As we mentioned earlier, this kayak has been designed to be perfect for fishing. The versatile deck space is great for this, but there are some other excellent features too.
There are two double barrel rod holders which allow for a multi rod fishing set up. There are also attachment points for rigging as well as 3 mount recesses to prevent the need for drilling holes- one on the center console and one on each cockpit gunnel.
The kayak has plenty of space for storage of all of your equipment. There are large tank wells in the bow bow and the stern of the kayak, and a frontal storage area on deck with a mesh cover to keep your items safe.
There are molded cup holders and trays for your refreshments, and to help you keep your important items easily within reach. The kayak also has a transducer scupper on the hull so you can mount a fish finder.
The traction pads on the floor provide extra grip for your feet and help to reduce the sound of your footfall so the fish aren’t frightened away.
There are side handles on the kayak which double as gear tracks, and molded in handles on the bow and the stern which double as paddle holders. The skid plates make it easier to drag the kayak in and out of the water.
It is clear to see that this kayak has a lot of things going for it, but it also has a couple of drawbacks.
- The kayak is reasonably priced, especially considering all of the useful features.
- The kayak has a sturdy design with great tracking.
- The versatile deck space is useful and means that the deck is walkable
- The seat has a high vantage point for fishing.
- There are multiple rod holders and attachment points for rigging.
- The kayak has plenty of storage space for fishing equipment.
- The kayak is not very nimble and it is difficult to build up speed.
- There are no water tight storage hatches.
- There is only one height option for the seat which makes it difficult to paddle in rough conditions.
- There are fixed position foot pads but no footrests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the kayak come with any additional accessories?
There are no additional accessories with this kayak. There is a saddle bag that you can purchase separately which is ideal for tackle storage.
What other accessories will I need?
You will need a good quality paddle. We also recommend that you get yourself some good safety equipment, like a helmet, a whistle and a life jacket.
If you intend on doing any kayaking in poor lighting conditions then make sure your life jacket has reflective strips or high visibility material. It might also be useful to get yourself an anchor kit so you can stop the kayak at good fishing spots.
A dry bag is also useful to have as you can keep your personal items safe and dry, and attach the bag to the kayak.
Is this kayak suitable for rough water?
This is a durable kayak that can take a bit of bumping and bashing, and the tracking is very good. However, it is not particularly nimble. The high seating position can make it challenging to paddle through rough waters, as your center of gravity is not low enough to maintain a stable position.
This kayak will perform best on flat waters like ponds and lakes, and gentle to medium flowing water like rivers and creeks. It is not suitable for white water or open sea, as you could easily lose control of the kayak and it could flip over.
What is the difference between a sit-in kayak and a sit-on-top kayak?
A sit-on-top kayak has a flatter profile with no cockpit. If it flips over, it won’t take on water. They are usually easy to get on and off of, but offer little protection from splashing water and wind.
Sit-in kayaks are more rounded with a sunken cockpit for you to sit in. This offers you more protection from splashing water and wind, and you can brace yourself against the cockpit to help with stability.
They can be difficult to get in and out as you have to step down into the cockpit, and if the kayak flips it will fill with water. Sit-in kayaks are usually designed with scupper plugs so you can easily drain the water out if this happens.
Now that you know about the features of the Perception Outlaw 11.5, is it the right kayak for you to buy?
If you are a total beginner you will be alright on this kayak, but there are cheaper models that might be better suited to you for your first season of kayaking.
If you are an intermediate recreational kayaker who likes to take a lot of gear with them, or even a dog or two, you would get on well with this kayak.
If you are into fishing, then this kayak is a great choice for you. It has lots of practical design elements that will give you a hassle free fishing trip.