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A long-haul boat that cruises smoothly.

Storage, comfort, and speed over long-haul tours are the name of the game for the Perception Essence 16.5 Kayak which was built for smaller expedition paddlers. Grab your map and plan an extended trip over coastal waters with your gear stashed safely away inside the three sealed hatches. A height-adjustable drop skeg provides additional control over your boat tracking and the slightly rockered bow rides over choppy ocean conditions. Slide into supremely-fitted EXP seating and float out to a new adventure.

  • Zone EXP seating, thigh braces, and Slidelock foot braces offer adjustable support and comfort fit for touring
  • TruTrak Skeg system uses a retractable skeg so you can determine how your boat tracks, a little lose when up or straight as an arrow when down
  • Stash some spare layers, a first aid kit, and some lunch in one of the three hatches built into this boat
  • Soft Touch molded plastic handles make it easy to get a grip when your loading or unloading the Essence
  • SlideLock foot braces accommodate varying leg lengths
  • easily by sliding along a track and locking into place

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Perception Essence 16.5 Kayak

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Here's what others have to say...

i am a 5'6" 155# female, is this too much...

i am a 5'6" 155# female, is this too much boat for me to be able to get on and off the car rack by myself?

Responded on

At almost 60 lbs, it is a handful to load and unload. If you are using J saddles it might help to have the load assist bar installed to support 1/2 of the boat as you move it into the saddles. This boat does paddle very nicely IMO, and tracks well but does respond to edging inputs when you want to turn. Very comfortable to paddle and handles nicely in some chop (I haven't yet been out in big swells). I think this boat is a great value for the money.

5 5

Best of six boats

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

The description says its built for smaller paddlers, NOT. I'm 6ft 1in and over 200 lbs and this is the best boat I've ever been in and I currently own 6. I live on the bay where the water conditions change constantly and sometimes without warning. I've never had to roll my boat to get out of a situation. I've put first timers in this boat and now I have 7 friends that have bought boats based off of how this boat handles. The bulkheads leak but nothing a little waterproofing spray didn't fix. She's fast too. kept up with a 18ft 45 lb skin boat used for racing. Here's mine with a custom built set of outriggers used for fishing that I can take on and off. Thinking about buying a second boat to fabricate a sailing Catamaran.

Best of six boats
Responded on

Yeah, I'm 6'1 and 185lbs and this kayak also fits me comfortably. The 17' Essence may be a little bigger but the 16'5 fits great!
Also, excellent outriggers, good idea!

5 5

Great Poly Kayak

I have 2 kayaks, a fiber and a poly. My poly is this Perception Essence, and in an almost 17 foot package this kayak can move. I use it primarily on the Apostle Islands National Lake Shore park out of Bayfield, WI. Lake Superior has incredulous weather and this kayak really performs well in the turbulent water. With different wind patterns variably changing on the hour, the skeg really helps to stabilize a nice tight trajectory and pushes you towards your target much more efficiently. This model is really narrow and cuts incredibly well while tacking through waves and swell. I think this model is a little more difficult than my fiber to roll, and to be honest I never roll a sea kayak unless I really have too on a trip or if I am goofing around on a day paddle. I have loaded this kayak up with about 35-65 lbs of gear on top of my own body weight, wet suite, spray skirt and pfd. I weigh about 165 and sit nicely in the water with that amount of weight. The cockpit fits me incredibly well (I am 5'10") and has adjustable foot braces to accomodate different heights and leg lengths. I think this kayak is really stable for a narrower base, and is pretty touch to tip. Really other than the fact that this is poly and weighs a lot more than my fiber it performs well and I think is a little more durable. We use it around here because there is a lot of rocks and trees beneath the water and don't want to scape up the fiber because they are harder to repair than the poly and they damage a little more easily. I use this for recreation use and I do some guiding with this as well and it works great in all of those capacities. I would recommend this package for anyone beginning or seasoned and on a budget. The price point is hard to resist and that is one of the reasons I keep buying this model every few years.

Perception's Demo Video

Perceptions Demo Intro video to the Essence.

Dale Hollow Lake

Dale Hollow Lake

November 2011 - camping at Dale Hollow Lake, TN

Responded on

Nice. Can't wait to do some long trips in mine.

Write your question husband...

Write your question husband weighs 230 lbs and is 6ft tall he wants to know if he will fit into this kayak

Responded on

He should not have a problem fitting in this kayak. The cockpit dimensions are 35 X 19.5 which is about average. He can go to a local dealer and try a few models with about the same size cockpit to see if he is comfortable.

Responded on

I'd like to know the same. I'm interested in the 16.5 for maneuverability, but don't want to be too big for it. I noticed that even though the 17" is a little wider, the cockpit dimensions are the same. Its really hard to find this kayak anywhere, kind of makes me wonder if Perception is getting ready to discontinue them. I'm about the same size and weight as your husband.

Responded on

I'm 6'2 185lbs, it fits me fine. He may have a little trouble getting in, but once he is in and settled he should feel very comfortable.

Responded on

Well I got one. At first I thought it was too tight but I actually removed the thigh pads and adjusted the seat and sitting farther up I feel very comfortable in it. The leg area is cavernous.

Responded on

To respond to removing the thigh pads, you should not have to alter a kayak. If you alter it then you change the dynamics of the cockpit and weight distribution. Also on a long tour you could cause yourself some pain without the appropriate features intact. Remember the foot braces are adjustable and this model holds up to 325 lbs total including any gear you may have stowed. If your husband weighs 230 remember with wet suite, spray skirt and pfd, these count towards total weight so what would your husband be using this for? If he wants to tour with it and wants to carry weight he might want to think about looking at a longer model around the 18 foot range. If he is just going to day trip with this then it could be a good fit. Your husbands size should fit the cockpit, but trying a kayak out on the water is the only definitive solution to know what will work and what won't. Some kayaks are not as stable as others. This is a stable kayak for my size, I am 5'10" 165 lbs (and my experience) but for someone with close to 100 lbs on me this kayak may not be as stable as your husband prefers. A lot has to do with personal preference, and some has to do with physics. With a bigger investment, I would get out on the water with a few different brands and feel them out first.

What size skirt fits the Perception Essence...

What size skirt fits the Perception Essence 16.5 kayak?

Responded on

It depends on what brand you purchase as they are sized differently. The cockpit size is 35 x 19.5 inches.

Responded on

Seals skirt size 1.7 according to Seals.. But weirdly enough it says size 2.2 for the 17' version but the cockpit size is the same for both boats. So I'm not sure I understand.

Responded on

The Seals 1.7 skirt fits fine on both the Essence 16.5 and the 17. We have one of each.

Responded on

Spray skirts are very universal, and are meant to adjust to MOST kayaks. There are a select few out there that are designed for one cockpit size. I think if you read the info about the spray skirt specifications it will tell you what will fit and what won't. If you stick with Seals,, Harmony, and some other main streams you will be just fine.

What size is a expedition small paddler...

What size is a expedition small paddler to fit in this kayak.

Responded on

I am 5'9" and 200 pounds and had no issues with being comfortable in this kayak.

What is the small rounded scoop just forward...

What is the small rounded scoop just forward of the bow hatch? Does it have a function? I tried using it for ice cream, but it was a hassle reaching forward with a spoon. :-)

Best Answer Responded on

Maybe you just need a longer handle on the spoon! It's designed for a kayak compass.

4 5

Purchase experience

I'll update my review once I get a chance to actually familiarize myself with the kayak, but until I can, I'll review the process of buying the kayak. The kayak is solid, getting 8 or 9.5 out of 10 on every review I've seen online. contracted a company named "CEVA" to deliver the kayak. They were less than impressive. They called me to schedule a delivery, then on the day of the delivery called again to say they couldn't make the delivery appointment. Their reason was they scheduled a truck too short for the route, and when they actually began loading the kayak onto the truck, they realized it wouldn't fit. Well, I guess I can understand that. Mistakes happen, for whatever reason.

The next day, the rescheduled appointment. The driver passes our house, and then backs the truck up and plows over our mailbox! He says to call the company when we have a replacement cost. shipped the kayak in a cellophane "tarp-like" material, then placed in a long, large plastic bag. While I am sure they come from the factory this way, shipping via an obviously less than completely competent carrier would probably benefit from being packed a little better. These kayaks are tough, but I was a little shocked at how unprotected the kayak was during shipment. There doesn't seem to be any damage, so maybe there is nothing to worry about.

Dealing with was a smooth process. They emailed me on several occasions to let me know the status of my order, and provided shipping info and tracking numbers. While I was less than impressed with CEVA, is obviously satisfied with their performance. I am guessing my case was an unfortunate single occurrence where the shipper goofed.

4 stars out of 5, simply because I have to buy and install a new mailbox.

Responded on

I've used this kayak a handful of times since writing this review. It holds a lot of stuff! I can load up with enough for a 2 night/3 day camping trip and carry everything I need. Granted, that is with several dry bags lashed to the deck, but it still floats! This kayak cuts right through waves, effortlessly, even loaded down with camping gear.

The skeg makes it track straight, but to get any real maneuverability you have to retract the skeg. Once retracted, put a little lean in your turns, and it will whip right around and go wherever you want it to.

The seating is very comfortable, but you have to get it adjusted to your body first or you'll be fighting the boat. Take the time to get the seat back, thigh pads, etc. adjusted for you before heading out. Make sure you also cinch up the "leg lifters" once underway. After the seating is adjusted properly, the boat handles like a sports car. If everything is left loose, it's like paddling a bus.

Responded on

All kayaks and canoes that are shipped, don't have a ton of packaging when shipped to your home. The reason for this is they are not freight packaged, because they come in a single order and they have to be able to fit on the fedex delivery vehicles or whatever other delivery service they are using. You have to be realistic. It has to fit on the bigger distribution trucks and then on the delivery trucks when they also have a hundreds of other packages to deliver. A poly kayak is tough and will do fine with less packaging than a fiber kayak.

What rudder kit does this Perception Essence...

What rudder kit does this Perception Essence 16.5 use? I would like a rudder. Does sell it? Thanks

Best Answer Responded on

Not sure about backcountry but you can get it through harmony gear. Its item Item #: 8025416/8023052 The BTS rudder Kit