I am purchasing kayaks to use with campers at our center and on overnight trips. We are considering Perception Carolina and Current Designs Solara. We would like to use the kayaks for preteens, teens, and adults. Our trips are likely to be 1-3 nights so storage is important. Because their primary users will be kids stability and durability are also very important. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
try before buy
Can you paddle each boat in advance with some typical users? Assuming each in roto poly, wear and tear will be same. Unless you really need to standardize for storage or bulk purchase deal, buy some of each to offer choices to campers and then determine if one edges the other out.
Storage space and stability
We do have a bulk purchase option with two different vendors. We were able to try out the Solaras which seem to be fantastic for different sized paddlers and there is a ton of space for trips. We have not had the chance to try the Carolinas but I know quite a few people use them for rentals. I am a little more concerned with using them for tripping.
My 2 Cents
I owned a Perception Carolina 14 and a CD Whistler. I MUCH prefer the Whistler and sold the Carolina.
Build quality,stability,rigging of the CD are superior.
I lend the CD out to my nieces (tweens) and a brother in law who is smaller and lighter than I. Everybody jumps in and paddles with confidence.
Kids are more stable than grownups
Don’t worry about stability , if kids are capsizing it’s because they’re trying to. For kids around 5’ the Solaras will feel too deep. What kind of water are you paddling on ?
Along with what type of water you will be in (asked by another), which models of each of these boats are you considering?
I ask because the CD is more of a recreational boat where the Perception is more of a day touring, depending on size you are looking at.
In general, for a few days worth of camping, you’d want at least 14 feet of boat. A wider boat does usually allow more carrying capacity, but at a cost of performance. And only if that boat has decent sized sealed bulkheads, which which the wider rec boats often do not have.
We usually do flat water either rivers, marshes, or small lakes. We plan to start kayaking with our campers who will be 7th grade and up during the summer but we want to offer family trips as well. So we need to accommodate average sized adults too.