Sit-on kayak test by the team at H2Outdoor. The H2Outdoor team were offered the enjoyable task of testing and comparing two of the top recreation Sit-On kayaks on the market, and so we took on the task and put them both through their paces in a variety of conditions and with a selection of people with varied paddling experience.
|Fatyak Kaafu||Perception Scooter|
|Price||£344.00 (inc Kayak + Sports Seat)||£399.00 (Comfort Spec)|
As you can see from the spec on each kayak, they are very similar and we were looking forward to getting them on the water to see how they performed. First we had a good look over the kayaks to check out the differences and immediately found advantages and disadvantages with each of them.
It was great to see that both kayaks have the moulded in handles which makes them much easier to carry, much less likely to break and also forms a structural solid loop which enables you to secure and lock the kayak when storing or while on roof bars. As we picked up the kayaks, the first thing we noticed was that the front handle on the Fatyak was a lot smoother to hold than the Perception which made it a lot more comfortable to carry when doing this with another person, one at the front and one at the back. Then we tried carrying them on our own and found that even though the Perception had a nicer feel grab handle on the side, the way the Fatyak seat area is moulded made it more comfortable when placing it on our shoulders.
The load area at the back of the Fatyak is a lot larger than the perception and we very much liked the double hatches featured on the Fatyak as they are a sealed unit and not just a hole into the hull of the kayak with a small net bag as is featured on the Perception. We also like the fact that the hatch nearest the seat is much easier to access when on the water rather than having to stretch forward and de-stabilise the kayak to access it.
Both kayaks look high quality with clever design ideas and would be a great addition to any fleet. However when we looked a little closer, we could see aspects of the build quality that gave the Perception the upper hand when considering its use for our kayak centre and hire fleet. Features such as the drain bung and attachment loops didn’t appear to be as strong and this was quickly confirmed as within minutes we had snapped off the plastic turning piece that enables the opening of the drain bung. I know that Fatyak are working on this and sent us plenty of spares in case we broke any others!
We have always loved the look of the Perception Scooter with its smooth lines and funky colours, so we knew that this was going to be a hard for the Fatyak to beat. We were pleasantly surprised when we first saw the Fatyak Kaafu with its solid appearance and cool looking logo and we all commented on how similar it was to the Perception Scooter, we were all finding it difficult to say which we thought looked better. I like the variety with the blending colours concept that Perception use such as the “Sea Spray” and “Sunset” but I know that this isn’t everyone’s choice and I think I prefer the range of Solid colours used by Fatyak. They are both great looking kayaks and I believe it will just come down to the buyer’s preference but the general consensus from our team of testers, was that the Perception looks like it was made for lots of fun on the water and the Fatyak had an edge that made it look like it was more ready for business!
It was time to get them on the water and we chose a nice sheltered bay to start from so we could get our instructors testing the kayaks before taking them into the rougher stuff and put them through their paces. We have used the Perception Scooters lots of times before and so it was more about getting the Fatyaks on the water to see if they were as good as they looked. The first thing for us to get used to was the different seating position on the Fatyak, as there is a hatch between the legs which isn’t on the Perception. Some of us didn’t find this a problem but some of our smaller paddlers felt that this was a less comfortable sitting position than the Perception. The Perception has more grooves on which to place your feet but the Fatyak has slightly larger footrests and they seemed to be in the perfect place for my feet, but again this wasn’t the case for all paddlers.
Once we had got used to the seating position, it was time to see what they were like to paddle. The first major difference was that the Fatyak was much better at tracking due to its more pronounced bow and a lot less effort was required to keep the kayak going in a straight line. Having said this, it was very easy to turn and we were all really impressed by the handling of the Fatyak. The Perception also handled well and was great in and around the rocks with its great handling and stability. We found that the Fatyak was just as good, however once in the swell around the rocks, it wasn’t quite as stable as the Perception and even though this wasn’t a problem for our confident paddlers, we knew some of our beginners would prefer the stability of the Perception.
As we swapped around we definitely found that the Fatyak was performing brilliantly with everything we could throw at it, however it wasn’t quite as good for the larger paddlers. As you can see from the above kayak specs, the Perception has a higher max capacity load and we found that as soon as we had anyone in the kayak of more than around 14 stone, they were much more unstable and were getting a very wet bottom! This extra buoyancy did however mean that we were sitting slightly higher in the perception and found that we were slightly more prone to being blown by the wind than in the Fatyak.
As part of our testing, we thought it would be a good idea to get our customers to use both kayaks during their session with H2Outdoor and to let us know what they thought of each and to see if there were any aspects that made either of them better for the beginner. We found that the Fatyak was a clear winner for those who found it hard to keep the Perception going in a straight line and others preferred the ease of manoeuvring the Perception around the rocks. We also found that those who started the session in the Fatyak preferred this kayak and vice versa, however we did find that the smaller paddler performed better in the Fatyak.
|Fatyak Kaafu||Perception Scooter|
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Both the Fatyak Kaafu and the Perception Scooter are brilliant little sit-on kayaks and are versatile enough to let you explore stretches of the coastline, practice your surf skills, journey on small lakes and canals and even try out some easy white water. We have used both kayaks a great deal all season in a variety of conditions and for customers with a wide range of paddling experience, and can testify that not only are they robust and great fun to paddle but also small enough to easily fit onto the roof of a car or into the back of a VW Transporter sized van.
It has proved almost impossible to say that one kayak is better than the other but each have their own advantages. We would say that overall the Perception Scooter is slightly more robust than the Kaafu and has stood the test of time and with a bit of care and maintenance, will last for many years. If you have a kayak centre you will find this robustness an advantage as well as the fact that the Scooters stack better than the Kaafus. The Perception Scooter has lovely smooth lines and will generally give most paddlers enough floatation, and with the effective scupper holes, it will keep them sitting out of the water for a pleasurable paddling experience.
The Fatyak Kaafu is a brilliant looking sit-on kayak that will do almost anything you throw at it. It is perfect for the smaller paddler and is wonderful to use on the water with fantastic tracking, manoeuvrability, enclosed easy to access hatches, loads of storage space, additional features such as the paddle keeps and it will save you a few pounds at the checkout. The Kaafu comes in a huge selection of colours and is available with many different seat options and features to help you create the perfect kayak.
For more details or if you want kayak demos or tuition, check out our kayaking section