I bought my Dagger Roam 11.5 last spring, because I like being on the water. And we are lucky to have a wide variety of local lakes and rivers nearby. This year, my two daughters wanted to get into canoeing and kayaking, and being the gear junkie that I am, I cheerfully researched and selected a good kayak for us.
The Dagger Roam is a sit on top kayak available in 9.5 and 11.5 feet lengths. Dagger says the Roam’s design makes it a crossover boat. The kayak is fun in flat water well and yet it has the chops to take on class 2 and 3 rapids. Check out this video to see how Dagger describes the Roam kayak.
A few factors went into our kayak choice. First, sit on tops are easier to upright and get into if you fall out or even flip the boat over. Sit on tops have holes in the bottom called scupper holes. These are basically open drains that allow water inside the kayak to drain right out of the bottom. Sit in style kayaks usually require a trip to the bank to dump out any water that gets inside.
Scupper holes are a good thing for sit on top kayaks because people tend to get wetter than folks in sit in style boats. Getting wet equals getting cold usually, so that is a factor to consider. Since all four members of my family are using the kayak, easy entry is important and cold weather will not be a factor here in the south.
Stability and handling of the kayak was a factor. There are many hull designs out there. Some kayak designs are for standing up in them to fish while others are to maneuver better in white water. The Dagger Roam has a drop down skeg at the back of the boat. When paddling on a lake, deploy the skeg and the boat will travel much straighter through the water than if you use the kayak without the skeg in the river. On an early trip to the lake, I quickly noticed just how much the skeg keeps the boat straight. On another trip while floating down a river the stability of the kayak really stood out. Passing boats easily dumped our canoe into the water but my young daughter, new to kayaking, stayed upright with no effort.
The comfortable seat of the Dagger Roam is another standout feature of this kayak. Dagger says that “contact equals control” and they made the seat to give plenty of comfort and contact. A couple of wide neoprene straps are there to clip onto the top of the kayak. You drape these straps over your legs to give yourself even more control of the boat. Dagger says you can even roll the Roam using these straps but I haven’t tried that out yet. You can combine the straps with a removable zippered pouch that locks into the rear of the kayak. Attach the leg straps to this pouch to make yourself a backpack and carry gear to a picnic site.
Each Dagger Roam has a large hatch at the front of the boat and a smaller one in the rear. I intend to use the Roam for overnight camping trips and you can expect another write up of one of those trips. The Roam 11.5 has a weight limit of 300 pounds while the kayak itself weighs in at 61 pounds. My daughter and I paddled around in shallow water at a total weight of around 280 pounds. We had no trouble, but of course extra weight is distributed better with camping gear.
Every member of the family used the Dagger Roam 11.5 and we all enjoy paddling this boat. Everyone from 9 year olds to adults handled the boat easily enough. The Roam is plenty fast on flat water and tracks straight with the skeg down. It’s also plenty stable, and no one accidentally tipped it over. This kayak is a blast for us to play in on the water.
The Dagger Roam 11.5 has an MSRP of $959, so the kayak isn’t the cheapest one out there. You get what you pay for and the quality with its versatility make it a great choice for many adventures. Check out the Dagger website for more information and to see all of their offerings.