pungo 120 vs perception carolina

I am trying to decide between a Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 and a Perception Carolina 12’. I started kayaking regularly last year; primarily lakes and slow rivers. My first kayak is an Emotion Glide that is great, but too slow on lakes. I want something that will be stable and relatively fast. Which do you think is better of the two I listed?

The Pungo has more flexible storage for casual use (the dashboard) and also has the benefit of being able to fit my 3 year old in front. Still, will it be much slower than Carolina?

Thanks for comments.


You’re not going to get fast with a 12 footer.

Bill H.

you’re call
the speed is going to be very similar, the cockpit size is the big difference. do you want BIG? sounds like the kid thing is an issue that should be addressed.


Compared to my9.5’ Glide, anything will be faster. I have decided to go with the Pecpetion Carolina. The more enclosed deck will be better in the long run, and since it is 2" narrower, I am hoping for a little more speed.

As much as the idea of putting my 3 year old in front of me seems fun, by next year, I will be able to trust her in the front of the tandem kayak, and I also have a canoe.

The Carolina just seems more maneuverable than the Pungo. I wish my shop would allow a test paddle.


the caro IS way more maneuverable than the Pungo, but it TRACKS better…both trade-offs. good luck!


I’ve had a smaller 4 1/2 year in the cockpit of the carolina with me before. It’s tight, but doable.

By 5 and 6 (and in flat water!), they’ll happily sit on the back deck and they’re small enough to not effect stability all that badly.

Weight is a factor in most 12’ boats.
If you are over 200 lbs, try a 14’.

I purchased a Necky Manitou 13
Thanks to all for your advice. I was amazed at how quick the responses came in. I ended up at another outfitter in Brewster NY (GBO intials for anyone local), and came away with the Manitou 13. Long, sleek and fast. I am very happy after my first paddle.

I’m not sure if we are allowed to post names of vendors. I was very happy with the service and price at this shop. PM if anyone needs the name or contact info.