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Reviews for Catalyst 13.0 Kayak by Dagger


Rated: 9.47/10 Based On: 19 Reviews

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08-04-2013
Submitted by: MichelleSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just purchased a used Dagger Catalyst 13' kayak (about five years old) and took it out on the water today. One word...AMAZING. The kayak glided through the water with such ease. It has an after market rudder installed which makes for much better tracking. It is completely worth the money to buy this kayak. In fact it was so amazing I found it hard to get out of the water. This is my second kayak and I know I will have this for many years to come!!
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07-17-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     If you're on a budget but still want a kayak that tracks and performs well this might be worth considering. The kayak is 13' long and 26" wide with a front and back sealed bulkhead and plenty of storage room for short weekend trips.

The kayak is very stable and perfect for beginners to intermediate. This kayak edges surprisingly well allowing the beginner to greatly improve there skills while feeling safe. The kayak gets a 9 rating because the seat is not that great. However a little foam in the right places resolves this problem.
Overall value for money this is a great choice.

The Dagger Catalyst 13.0 is still available, even though its listed as discontinued on the Dagger website. The only thing that's changed is the name, its now called the Conduit 13 and with a basic web search you will find that its readily available for purchase.

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05-29-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Performance on flat water and class 1 or 2 is great. Rudder can be very useful. The cockpit is roomy for 5'11" 180 pounds, but big for my wife (5'2").

There are some serious comfort negatives - the seat can be a killer after 45 minutes and using the high coaming as a thigh braces contributes to the discomfort. Cushions of various sizes have been tried (several inflatables and several foam) without relief. Perception/Dagger no longer seem to sell thigh braces that fit it, and they say the Carolina thigh braces can't be used with it.

If the seat and thigh brace problems were solved, I would give this a solid 10.

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10-30-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have had this yak for 1 1/2 years now. I was searching for a SOT yak but a friend of mine was selling this at a price I could not pass up considering it came with a Yakima rudder he installed. I have made several trips along the Indian River and the Mosquito Lagoon in Florida. This boat has never disappointed me. It tracks well even w/o the rudder in shallows when flats fishing and can carry enough easily for weekend camp outs on the spoil islands.
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10-13-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     After doing much research and trying the Dagger 13.0 at a demo day I decided to purchase one and sure am glad I did so. I've only had it out on a pretty calm lake thus far and it glided smooth across the water in some pretty strong wind. This weekend I'll be taking it for a river paddle and I have no doubts about it's performance. I'm 6'2 235lb and it fit me like a glove. Initial and secondary stability was great. I highly recommend this boat to anyone.
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01-25-2008
Submitted by: kjsSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     OK, here is my last update. If you scroll down you'll see I have two other posts.
I took another trip to Lake Superior Provincial Park in Canada. After rounding a point in Superior the weather turned suddenly and I found myself about 200-300 yds from shore which happened to be sheer cliffs and 15-20 foot waves crashing on them. I thought I was going to die. I hung in there even with waves breaking and survived. This is a very stable boat. Thinking back of how at times I was surrounded by 15 ft of water in the bobbing waves and the pouring down rain was scary but the boat saved my life. Thanks for building such a stable boat Dagger.

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11-07-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I use my Catalyst 13.0 for river paddling. It's highly maneuverable for its length, so it's great on Class I and Class II rapids. The big bonus is that when you reach the flatwater sections of the river, this boat slips along like a dream. It's got it all -- strong stability, nice speed, great tracking, and great turning. Dagger found the magic formula for both tracking and maneuverability in one hull, which is very hard to come by.

The tracking is still great when going into the wind; however, with tailwinds the back end wants to blow around. Of course, in river valleys in the Upper Midwest where I live, wind isn't much of an issue.

Dagger used to make a boat called the Cypress. The Catalyst seems like a new and improved Cypress to me. I liked the Cypress, but the Catalyst turns much quicker. Plus, with the front and rear bulkheads and hatches, the Catalyst is a seaworthy boat. If big waves splash over the rear deck though, the rear hatch cover will let in some water.

Stability on this boat is awesome. Initial stability is very comforting, and the secondary is super strong and lasts forever, it seems. I'm a paraplegic over 200 pounds, so I'm top-heavy and need some stability from my boat to make up for a lack of trunk stability of my own. I'm paralyzed below my rib cage. The only modification I made to the Catalyst is an extended backrest to reach up into my functional musculature.

I know that Dagger called the Catalyst a touring kayak, but really, it's not a true touring boat. However, it is the best multi-purpose boat I've paddled to date. I've got six kayaks -- different boats for different purposes -- but if I were forced to choose only one boat, it would be the Catalyst 13.0 because I can do anything with it if need be, and it simply excels on rivers up to Class II.

My thanks to Dagger for building a little plastic piece of magic.

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09-24-2007
Submitted by: BJBSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This boat is freakin' awesome. One of the most comfortable, stable, affordable boats on the market. I encourage anybody to buy this boat.
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05-10-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just had to review this boat because I can't stop telling people how much I love my boat. This is my third boat. I got rid of the past two because I found things that I wasn't happy with about them. My first boat was the LL Bean Calypso. Nice boat but tracked poorly and because it was so light (38 lbs.) got easily blown around by wind. I replaced that boat with a Perception Pacifica 12 with drop skeg. Paddled that boat for 15 minutes before I decided I hated it. It plowed terribly. Sold that, and got my hands on this Dagger Catalyst and WOW!!! I love this boat. I've only had it out twice so far but I just love it. It's fast, tracks completely straight (even without the use of the rudder) I had it on the lake the other day when the wind crept up on us and I had such and easy time crossing the lake in whitecaps. I felt completely in control and not nervous at all. Highly recommended!!
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02-24-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I really like my Catalyst 13. This is my second yak; my first being the smallest Mainstream on the market. As all have indicated, the boat is quick and glides very nicely. I also play frisbee, and I use spray silicone on the underside of my frisbee to make it easier to spin on my fingernail. I decided to try some of the spray silicone on the bottom and sides of my boat, and the increase in speed is noticeable. I later tried the spray silicone on all parts of the boat except the inside, and it gives the boat a deeper red and a nice gloss. This is a really good boat; I've used it in many different weather situations (including in winds over 20 knots, and I find I don't need a rudder at all.
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09-05-2005
Submitted by: richardSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I am 300 lbs and 6'2" and I am somewhat satisfied with the Catalyst 13.0 I have probably paddled over 250 miles in it since buying it in May of 1994. I was going to buy the Kestel from Current Designs but my kayak dealer didn't have any in stock, but introduced me to the Catalyst. At first I thought the dealer was trying to unload the Catalyst on me instead of ordering the Kestrel. But after demoing the Catalyst, I really liked it. I find no problems getting in and out of the Catalyst with my large frame and it fits just right in my truck if I place it diagonally in my truck with the tailgate down and a red flag on the part which overhangs.

The only complaints I have is that my long legs over extend the footrests making them useless. But my feet do rest upon the front bulkhead which is actually pretty comfortable. What is not comfortable is the seat. At times it digs into my back and I am going to replace it with a better one.

Overall I like the feel of the Catalyst and I do recommend it, but be sure you try before you buy.

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05-04-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I recently upgraded to the Dagger Catalyst 13.0 from the Liquid Logic, Saphire. An unbelievable difference. I'm not saying anything negative about the Saphire though. As a starter boat, it performed flawlessly. This is my second year kayaking and I was tired of struggling to keep up with my friends in longer boats, so hence the upgrade. Initial stability in the Catalyst 13.0 was good, keeping me feeling balanced and in control of the boat. The boat I have did not come with the skeg and the lack there-of was definitely noticed while paddling in slightly windy conditions. However, it did track fairly well in the lightest of winds and very well with no wind at all. I love the storage capacity and overall shape of the boat.

Well, I have to throw in a few not-so-negative downers. First, for spending almost $800.00 on the kayak I would have expected a company like Dagger/Perception to put just a little more thought into the comfort of the paddler. The seat and backband could be improved so easily with only slight (and welcomed) weight gain to the boat. I think it would be worth it (if you guys at Dagger/Perception are reading this anyway). I plan on modifying the seat/backband area at some point when I find a suitable replacement.

Also, I did feel a little loose in the kayak so I added a pair of thigh braces (your local Yak shop can order these from Perception, they fit the Dagger line perfectly). This was an easy upgrade and made me feel totally secure. It's still a glove like fit, but mucho betta’ anyway.

I hope this review helps someone. I am not all that experienced at kayaking as of yet, so I have to be fair about reviewing this boat. Anyway, I have to give it a 9 because kayaking manufactures (generally speaking of course) can't seem to figure out this whole seat thing. I wonder if they read these reviews?????? Have fun!!!!!!!

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03-17-2005
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My first yak and one that I would strongly recommend. Two nice size hatches that keep everything dry. I invested in the rudder and would recommend it for those rougher periods but in general it tracks well. I would agree with the others that the only annoying fault is the seat itself. It is not comfortable and they shouldn't have cut corners on this one point. If it wasn't for this one item I'd give it a 10. Excellent 1st yak that you probably won't grow out of. I bought a sea yak second but I intend on keeping this one.
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03-07-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I think this is a great boat. Very stable & maneuverable. Can pack loads of gear in both hatches and the bulk heads didn't leak. The rudder worked well in the wind & the boat performed good even in tight spots thru the Okefenokee. Boat tracks really well and is surprisingly fast. My only complaint would be the seat. The seat was very uncomfortable after a couple of hours on the water. Used my PFD for a seat pad to get some relief on a recent trip. Will invest in a replacement to fix this problem. Overall I would give this boat a 9 out of 10. This is a good all around boat that can fit many needs & is very versatile. I would recommend this boat to anyone looking for a Rec/Touring boat.
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09-24-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     OK, I had to update my experiences with this yak. I spent a few days in Lake Superior Provincial Park in Canada. We were on Lake Superior and the first couple days were calm. I had that thing loaded to capacity and it did great. The last day was very windy (luckily at our backs) but the water got quite rough. Still, it wasn't a problem. The rudder saved my life as I surfed some of the waves. It was actually more fun than terrifying. Anyway, all said and done I paddled maybe a total of 15 minutes on the 6 mile trip back. The wind did the rest and we made it in no time. I'm very pleased with my purchase.
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09-01-2004
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I just bought a Catalyst 13.0 and I must say overall I am very pleased. This will be my second kayak, and in my opinion it is a marked improvement over the Riot Stealth (my first). It is very roomy, tracks well, and has plenty of cargo space if you want to take a weekend trip. I'm a marathoner, and was pleased that the cockpit offered plenty of room for my very inflexible legs. My only gripes with it are very minor. First of all, the rudder system works well in chop or windy conditions, but if its clear to moderate out then leave that thing up, as it is so sensitive that even minor touches will have you going in a 45 degree angle from where you intended. This results in doing a constant z pattern rather than tracking straight. (This only applies in flatwater though, as I recently was caught in a bit of a storm and found the rudder to be a lifesaver in those conditions). The seat also caused me some pain, as the back part inflates and is very comfortable, but the seat itself is merely some sponge on a plastic slab. I wish they had applied the pump to the seat part as well. Overall though this kayak seems to be everything it is advertised as and would recommend it highly.
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06-23-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just bought a Dagger Catalyst 13' made from exolar plastic in green. I'm a relative newcomer to yaks, have done years of canoe camping mostly on gentle rivers such as the Current in MO. The claim is that this boat can do day trips, over nights, track well with good speed and stability. Well, it seems to have all of that- it is very stable and easy to handle. Tracks very well; I haven't yet put her to the extreme tests. There are two sealed bulkheads which really do stay bone dry and have outstanding covers. I bought and strongly suggest a cockpit cover. At 51 lbs or so I can easily hoist this puppy up on my shoulder and it's easy to secure to my truck-the security bar is a nice touch. Plenty of storage and bungee cords for camping; the cockpit is larger than most and easy to get into. The seat is a plus-you can inflate the backrest. I've been in the market for over a year to find the right boat- it was worth the wait. Outstanding!
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05-21-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I owned a Hydra Sea Runner 17 for 13 years but was looking for a smaller, lighter kayak with a bigger cockpit plus bulkheads. I'm 5'11 and 200 lbs. The Catalyst meets my needs. A very nice blend of recreational & touring design. The kayak is made of Exolar, a tougher plastic. The seat has inflatable lower back support. If it had a cup holder and thigh braces I'd give it a 10.
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03-29-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I had never paddled a kayak before in my life. My only paddling experience is canoeing. This yak is awesome. I was worried about tipping it since I had no clue what I was doing but it wasn't even an issue once I was out on the water. The rudder is a great feature. I didn't realize you could move so quickly just by paddling. I have lower back problems and was concerned the seat wouldn't give me the support I need. Once again, not a problem. I was comfortable for the couple of hours I was on the water. I'd recommend this boat to anyone.
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