ASCEND 12T Kayak Review – Is It Worth The Hype?

Kayaking is a popular activity that many people enjoy.  But there are a lot of choices when it comes to choosing the right kayak.  In this ASCEND 12T Kayak review, we will look at the features and benefits that make this kayak such a popular model.

Owning a kayak is great.  You can access hidden coves or waterways with kayaks that you can’t always get to on foot or with a bigger boat. The ability to explore places you might otherwise not be able to enjoy is one of the significant aspects of kayaking.

The right kayak can make a huge difference in your paddling experience. Not everyone has a lot of money to spend on a kayak, and the ASCEND 12T carries a reasonable price tag.  It also comes with many accessories, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on extras.

ASCEND 12T Sit-On-Top Kayak Summary

Number of Paddlers:1 (plus you can bring a furry friend)
Weight Capacity:350 lbs
Kayak Weight:77 lbs
Length:12 feet
Width:31 inches
What’s includedKayak, adjustable kayak seat, accessory rails, bungee storage, scupper plugs

ASCEND offers a healthy lineup of kayaks, and they are a very well-known brand. If you choose to buy one of their kayaks, that is an excellent way to go.

The 12T, ASCEND’s most popular sit-on-top model, has been redesigned to be even more comfortable, stable, and functional. The 12T kayak has a tunnel hull design, which improves stability, and tracking. The kayak is designed to be so stable you can stand up and cast from it. 

This model is 12 feet long, 31 inches wide, weighs a hefty 77 pounds, and has a 350-pound weight limit.  The self-bailing kayak comes with six scupper holes and plugs. The kayak is available in several different colors.

There is plenty of storage, including watertight deck plate storage, bungee storage on the bow and stern, and lots of legroom for different sized paddlers.  The kayak is also equipped with two flush-mounted fishing rod holders and rubber grip handles on the front and back.

ASCEND 12T Kayak Features


We talked about stability a little bit earlier, but it’s worth touching on again.  The 12T kayak is designed with stability in mind. If you are in the market for a stable, easy-to-paddle kayak, this model is right up your alley.

The kayak is a one-piece rotomolded, tunnel hull design and gives the kayak excellent stability. So much stability that you can stand up and cast from this kayak. 

Many lower-end kayaks do not give the paddler the stability to stand up, which adds value to the 12T. The design also makes it track really well, and it’s easy to paddle.


The ASCEND 12T kayak comes equipped with a lot of accessories. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on extras.

Port and starboard accessory rails are included.  You can attach a fish finder, GPS, rod holders, or whatever else you want to mount on your kayak. Also included is a molded drink holder for a water bottle or thermos (for those hot drinks on a cold day).

The weathertight storage hatch is great for valuables that you want to keep within reach. Adjustable footrests are great for different sizes of paddlers, or they allow you to stretch your legs out when you need to.  Rubber grip handles help with transporting the kayak to and from the water.


The open cockpit gives you a ton of room, not only for legroom but also for other gear or when you stand up to cast. The bow and stern both have recessed storage areas with flush-mounted bungees.  You can pack a lot of gear onto this boat.

There is also a stern tankwell, located, of course, right behind the seat.  There is plenty of room for a cooler or a milk crate full of fishing gear.  We love the open style of this kayak and all the available storage space. 

You can load up dry bags and have everything easily accessible for a day on the water.  There is plenty of room to take your dog with you too. Unless, of course, your dog is a Great Dane, in which case you should probably leave that one at home.


The ASCEND 12T comes with an adjustable, removable seat.  Sitting on a kayak all day can be hard work, and you need a seat that will offer back support.  The enhanced seating system is excellent for a long day of fishing or just cruising around your waterway.

The included seat is nice because you don’t have to spend extra money on a kayak seat. But, if you don’t like the included seat, you can easily swap it out for a different model. Read more about kayak seats.

Designed for anglers, but that’s not all

Yes, the 12T kayak is designed for anglers.  Attention to detail is the key to this kayak.  There is plenty of room to cast from your seat, and you can feel confident standing up in the kayak with the non-skid cushioned floor.

There is ample room for fishing tackle, a cooler, dry bags full of clothes or other gear.  The great thing about this kayak is it’s designed to be open so you can access your fishing gear and have the range of motion you need to cast without interference.

Some folks like this kayak for duck hunting, too, since there is enough room to store gear and decoys.

Who is the ASCEND 12T Kayak for?

Just because it’s set up so well for fishing doesn’t mean that the average kayaker can’t enjoy this watercraft.  The 12T kayak is fantastic for fishing trips but is also great for anyone who wants an affordable, stable kayak.

You can cruise around calm waterways like lakes, slow-moving rivers, and calm bays.  If you are on the hunt for the big one, the 12T is an excellent choice for fishermen who don’t have an enormous budget.

The size and weight of this kayak are beneficial for larger bodies of water and windy days.  Additionally, you can pair the kayak with a waterfowl blind, and you can turn this into a duck hunting kayak.

The other benefit this kayak offers is customization.  If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on bells and whistles, you can add equipment to this kayak over time.

Who is the ASCEND 12T Kayak not for?

Honestly, anyone can enjoy paddling the ASCEND 12T. Still, if you are in the market for a fast kayak suitable for traveling long distances, or something that will turn on a dime, you may need to consider other options.  This is not a high-end kayak. 

If you are a casual kayaker or a beginner, you may not want to spend the money on a unit like this.  There are great entry-level kayaks that you can buy to have a fun day on the water. 

ASCEND 12T – Other things to consider

Sit-on-top vs. sit-inside kayak.

A sit-on-top kayak (SOT) is a lot more conducive to activities like fishing.  You have a wide-open deck, and with the 12T, you can even stand up.  With a SOT kayak, you have a lot more room and range of motion for casting. 

A sit-inside kayak has benefits, but for activities like fishing, a sit-on-top kayak like the 12T is the better option.  You can read more about the differences between a sit inside and SOT kayak here.


The 12T kayak is kind of a beast, weighing in at 77 pounds.  You will need a way to transport the kayak to and from the water. A roof rack works well but can be expensive. If you already own a roof rack, that’s great, but if you don’t, then that is more money you have to spend.

There are other ways to transport a kayak without a roof rack. You can read more about that here. If you own a pickup, you can haul this kayak pretty easily in the truck bed.  You can also use a bed extender.

Be sure you can lift the kayak onto a roof rack if you go that route.  A 77-pound kayak is not so easy to move all by yourself.  This is just something to think about before you dive in a buy the ASCEND 12T kayak.


Storing a kayak is often overlooked. As we have talked about in this review, the 12T kayak is pretty heavy and very awkward to move by yourself.  Ideally, you have a garage to store your kayak to keep it protected from the weather and potential thieves.

It’s best to keep your kayak off the ground and out of direct sunlight when you store it. If you must store the kayak outdoors, keep it covered and locked up. If you have a covered patio, that can work great to keep the kayak out of the elements.


If you can park close to the water, launching the 12T will be pretty straightforward, but that’s not always the case.  This kayak is cumbersome. We have talked about that.  You may need a kayak cart to get from your vehicle to the water.

A kayak cart is an excellent way to portage the kayak and can take a lot of stress off your back, knees, and shoulders.  Depending on the terrain and how far you have to go, there are kayak carts to fit different needs.  You can read more about kayak carts here.

Maybe all you have to do is cross the parking lot or go down a boat launch. An inexpensive kayak cart can work great for that.  If you have to cover sand or rough terrain to get to the water, you might need to invest in a more rugged cart.


Comes with accessory rails
Seat is included
Tons of legroom and storage
You can stand up to cast
Bungee storage on bow and stern
Tankwell behind the seat
Very stable


Heavy to transport
Does not come with a paddle (but you can choose one that fits you)


Does the ASCEND 12T come with a paddle?

No, the 12T does not come with a paddle, which might be a good thing. Some entry-level kayaks come with a paddle, which is nice because you don’t have to spend extra money on a paddle. But these are frequently not very good paddles.

In the case of the 12T, you want to get a paddle that fits you correctly. This allows you to choose a paddle that is the right size and weight for you. You can read more about paddles here.

Can I take my dog?

Depending on the size of the dog, yes, you can take your dog with you.  Since the kayak is so open, there is a lot of room on the 12T, enough to bring your furry friend with you. 

Conclusion – Ascend 12T Kayak Review

ASCEND 12T Kayak Review - 12T on deck dry storagePin

The ASCEND 12T kayak is an excellent option for folks who want an affordable fishing kayak. But you don’t have to be a fisherman to enjoy the 12T.  It’s a very stable kayak with a ton of storage space and legroom.

The kayak has a lot of room for gear and is stable enough to stand up and cast.  One of the best aspects of this kayak is the ability to grow with it.  With the accessory mounting rails, you can add equipment and accessories down the road.

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Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.

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About the author
Steve Morrow
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.