Perception Rambler 9.5
Judging by the looks of it, Perception’s Rambler 9.5 is a kayak you wouldn’t expect to have much fun in, and yet, prepare for a surprise. This sit-on-top recreational boat performs pretty well in waves, currents, and light surf. It is ideal for kids or the ones young at heart.
Perception Rambler 9.5 is one of the kayaks that can exceed your expectations. It has a user-friendly deck you can stand on and stretch after a paddling session. Its design and remarkable stability are more suitable for beginners and kids, but many paddlers buy this boat for the whole family as well. Low-cost recreational kayaks can rarely glide waves and ocean surf as the Rambler does. Let’s dive into the positives and negatives of this boat so you can decide whether this kayak is what you need.
Size and Weight
The Perception Rambler is a compact kayak. It is 9’6″ (290 cm) long and 32″ (81 cm) wide with a deck height of 13.1″ (33 cm). The kayak weighs 47 lbs (21 kg). It won’t be a problem for an average-sized paddler to load it onto the vehicle and haul it to the launch site. Securing the yak for transportation can be a bit tricky because it does not have sturdy carrying handles to fasten the straps around.
Its maximum load capacity of 250 lbs (113 kg) is rather modest compared to other kayaks with similar dimensions. If we take a look at the Perception Tribe 9.5 model, there’s a difference of 50 lbs. This is significant when you need to choose which items to take on your camping trip.
Perception makes their kayaks from a proprietary High-Density Polyethylene material using the company-specific, one-piece rotational molding technology. The process involves pouring beads of polyethylene into the mold, which gets heated up and slowly rotated so that the material fills up every nook and cranny. After the mold cools down, you get a one-piece, leak-proof construction that is extremely rugged and durable.
This isn’t going to be a long section because the Rambler 9.5 doesn’t come with a lot of features.
It features carrying handles at the bow and stern and two molded-in grip handles on each side of the cockpit.
The bow offers a molded storage tray that is too shallow and lacks bungee cords to secure the items you put there. You can easily add a bungee cord yourself, and it would make a big difference for its overall storage capacity. However, this is a dynamic vessel made for cruising waves and currents, so you should only load this section when paddling slow rivers and calm lakes on a windless day.
The cockpit is spacious and has six scupper holes for draining the water, but can also let some inside the kayak if you load it to capacity.
The Rambler 9.5 has molded footrests. There have been some complaints from paddlers that those aren’t large enough to fit bigger people’s feet in between the grooves.
The molded seat and backrest are padded, offer some lumbar support, and are comfortable enough for a short period of time. The backrest is adjustable, but if you plan on spending a whole day on the water, you’d better bring extra padding for the seat base. Users recommend plugging the scupper hole under the seat to avoid getting wet.
The Rambler includes a molded center console that lets you modify the boat by installing custom gear.
In the rear, there’s a sizeable tank well secured with bungee cords where you can stow a cooler or a crate.
The Perception Rambler 9.5 offers great stability in calm, slow-moving waters, fast currents or open bays. It doesn’t perform very well on choppy, open lakes. The boat has great secondary stability making it adaptable to longer waves and prone to capsizing on lakes because of the flimsy primary stability.
Tracking and maneuverability are satisfactory considering how shallow of a draft it has. There are many negative reviews on this subject, but we need to be aware that when cruising the right water types (excluding open lakes, especially in windy conditions), this kayak is very easy to paddle and steer.
The Rambler doesn’t excel in maneuvering, of course, but overall, it is unrealistic to expect it to perform well in conditions it isn’t designed for.
Perception kayaks are warranted against material or manufacturing defects in the hull and deck for 5 years from the date of the original purchase of the kayak. Parts, accessories, and outfitting are warranted for one year.
To learn more about Perception Kayaks’ warranty terms and conditions, click here.
Specification: Perception Rambler 9.5