Perception Expression 15 Kayak Review

We have waited a long time for the true replacement for the Perception Carolina 15 that we used to know and love. The Carolina 12 and 14 do not quite fit into the UK touring kayaks stable, but the Expression certainly does.

Perception Expression 15 touring kayak

What is the diference between Recreational Day Touring, Touring and Sea Kayaking?

"Nothing much" is the truthful answer, other than kayak length, distance paddled and paddler experience. Longer narrower kayaks are usually paddled by more experienced paddlers over longer distances. On that basis, the Perception Expression fits perfectly into Touring. More performance and forward speed than a Day Touring kayak, but not as quick as a sea kayak which can cost twice as much, and more.

This was our first opportunity to paddle the Expression. It was bitterly cold, snowing with a stiff easterly wind blowing off the South Downs. We had given the Expression a serious Mk1 eyeball test and a good cockpit test at Nuremberg and both sizes are comfortable stunners. The bow and foredeck lines are very pleasing to the eye and if Perception had made a boat that did not paddle well then it’s time to throw in the towel.

Edging the Expression 15 touring kayak

Paddling the Perception Expression 15 Kayak

Expression has a slight V shaped hull which felt very reassuring yet responsive. This is a limited test until we can get the boat to sea in more interesting and warmer conditions. Expression is not unduly tippy and responds to edging as a Touring kayak of these proportions should. In fact both the 14 and 15 footers behaved like Ronseal Boats and did exactly what it said on the tin.

The skeg deployed and retracted as it should but there was no way we could test its effectiveness in quartering seas and breezes.

Retractable skeg on the Perception Expression 15 kayak

Skeg control on the Perception Expression 15 kayak

The hull shape, bow entry, fore deck and rear deck are classic UK touring kayak designs.

The Venture Easky’s and Dagger Charleston’s now have a Touring kayak competitor from Perception in the form of the Expression.

The wrinklies have also had chance to paddle Expression and they loved it.
Perception Expression is actually better than we first thought. For flat water paddling it is simply superb and efficient, and when in the bouncy stuff its manners are impeccable.You can feel very quickly what the hull is going to do and there are no nasty surprises and no sudden losses of stability. Expression 15 is equally as good, if not better than the Easky 15.

Bow on the Perception Expression 15

Stern Hatch on the Perception Expression 15

Seating System in the Expression 15 Kayak

The cockpit configuration is good and the Zone DLX outfitting is very comfortable. Despite the fact that there is a lot of adjustment, like everything on the market these days the seat back is too high and fouls your spraydeck and buoyancy aid a bit. This is regrettably par for the course - "one must take one's armchair to sea with one". Gone are the days when we taught paddlers to sit and paddle correctly, said a grumpy Old Duffer.

A 2022 Update

The Expression is now available with a real paddlers backrest fitted - the EXP backrest. This makes laying back on the deck to roll the kayak even easier and  makes a very good kayak even better.

So the Perception Expression is with us at last. Good news for touring paddlers as the choice of great touring kayaks has just got even better.

Bow Profile of the Expression 15 Kayal

Perception Expression 15 Touring Kayaks

Spraydeck Size For Perception Expression 15

The Perception Expresstion will take a range of spraydecks in UK size 5 (R5 or N5). We recommend the Palm Loweswater or Roanoke spraydeck for those looking for a neoprene deck, or a Palm Coniston for a Nylon deck.

Perception Expression Stats

Size Expression 14 Expression 15


4.42m / 14'6" 4.56m / 15'


59cm / 23" 61cm / 24"

Max. Capacity

130kg / 286lbs 140kg / 308lbs


24kg / 53lbs 25kg / 55lbs

The Expression 15 and 14 also have a little sibling, the Expression 11. This little beauty will make a great number of smaller paddlers very happy indeed. A Day Touring kayak that has the Fridge Fairy thinking. She who must be obeyed is testing Expression 11 alongside her beloved Elie Straight 120

Reviewed By
The Chilly Willy’s from Brighton Canoes
Codger and Ken
The Canoe Shops Group Ltd.   

For more info on this model, and details on how to buy, please visit our website here: Perception Expression 15