BEST FOR: Aspiring touring kayakers.
THE TEST: As the shortest and most affordable boat in the Expression line, the 11.5 isn’t a drag racer. But its big cockpit is inviting, and its smaller size makes it considerably easier to turn (and to get in and out of the water). The medium width of the hull offers rec-boat-like stability, but it’s still narrow enough to trim like a true touring craft. To save weight and keep the price down, Perception eliminated the front bulkhead, making self-rescue all but impossible, so stay close to shore in rough water.
THE VERDICT: Everything a beginner touring kayaker needs—and nothing else. 44 lbs.