first-time kayak purchase-advice appreciated

hi there, I’m a long time canoeist who is thinking about a kayak for light touring/workouts. Live in Boston area, so considering it for coastal trips as well as rivers and ponds. Ideally the kayak should have enough room for an overnight camping trip, but not essential. I’m 5’8, 145 pounds and father of three kids who might also want to use the kayak. I’ve come across a Perception Tribute 12.0 Airalite Kayak that the seller claims to have been used once only (it’s in pristine conditions judging from the photos). The seller is also including a werner paddle and some foam stands/straps for car transport. All for $850, non-negotiable. My question is whether this is overpriced given the features of the kayak? I love the fact that it’s light and easy to carry around by a single person, and as I understand it well suited for my body type. Your help would be most appreciated!

here’s the link to the kayak (with a slightly higher price):

If I’m right, that is a thermal plastic boat. You should do some checking to see how well they endured. If you go look at the boat, check for stress cracks all over and especially at sharp bends.

Thank you I will, just wanted to sanity-check whether it’s even worth driving for an hour to see the boat at this price level…

The Perception Tribute is a recreational class kayak. These kayaks are generally short and wide, which makes them feel very stable but not go forward that quickly or straightly. One challenge with them is that they don’t have a lot of flotation built in, so often you can not get back in to one if it flips in deep water. What that means is they are meant to be used on in places where the chances of flipping are very small (smaller bodies of water with no currents or waves or major wind) and where you can swim to shore should you flip.

The Tribute does have a rear hatch and bulkhead, so does have some rear flotation, but the front is likely just a foam block, which would not be enough. It might be possible to do a deep water rescue with it, but it won;t be easy and likely won’t work at all.

That said, the boat seems like an Ok price. Not being ripped off, but not a screaming deal either. Depending on which Werner paddle that should be worth at least $50, and quite possibly $100 or more. The foam pads and straps would be $25-50 new.

Just want to add, Boston Craigslist seems to have a lot of good deals, so if you don’t like that one another will come along, especially as summer grows older. Patience pays off.

How about this one?

thank so much for the very helpful feedback–I tried the Valley Gemini ST but unfortunately it sold a couple of days ago. the other options that seemed appealing include the Necky Manitou–specifically the 13 and 14 foot options. Would love your quick take on these if you have the chance. thanks again!


@Doggy Paddler said:
How about this one?

Something you may want to consider - along with the basics of how to make a kayak move and be safe in them, most intro to kayaking courses cover to some level or another what to look for in a boat based on your goals. Day long class is usually a bit more than $100 at local kayak outfitters. Might be worthwhile to do this prior to buying a boat.

I agree with the idea of taking a class. A good place will have several kayaks for you to try out and find one that fits you well. That will give you a better idea of what to look for. And it’ll be fun!

But, that being said, that’s not what my spouse and I did. We bought a boat on Craigslist, paddled it a while, realized it was way too big for either one of us, sold it (at a gain, actually), and went on to buy others that fit us better. Then we started taking lessons, and now we’re planning to perform the same trick again, to sell our current boat (though we’ll keep the Avocet RM!), and find one that fits us even better. Who knows which boats will be the last? :slight_smile:

Everyone says this is just what happens when you get interested in kayaking. You rarely get the just-right boat the first time.

So the way I see it, you can jump in and just buy something cheap, get in the game, and plan to trade up eventually; or, you can take lessons, go to demos, paddle all the boats you can, and then buy in a more informed way.

There will be lots of good used boats. Just be patient. And folks here will give you good advice about models and prices. And maybe be prepared to drive a little bit

If there is a local kayak shop, check them for demo days. My normal advice is get something that is just slightly iffy for you. Something that feels stable to a brand new paddler will get boring pretty quickly. My first kayak was a perception America. It lasted four months before I had moved on.

This one is longer, also super-light, and people seem to like it though it’s not a sea kayak. Sounds like the owner is willing to take an offer.