Length: 10' 6" - Width: 28.50" - Starting at: $769.00See More Details about this Kayak
So, what first intrigued me about the Axis was the skeg. With the skeg down this boat tracks like an arrow. Like most recreational kayaks, the Axis is extremely stable. I lean into turns, but have never tipped the boat over. In fact, I have stood up in the boat without tipping it over. It takes some effort to turn the boat over, and I expect that a roll back will be near impossible.
I have taken the boat on trips of 8 to 12 miles and have never been the last in line. I am 5' 7" inches tall weighing around 170 pounds, and I have plenty of room. I love the adjustable foot rests. I can move the foot braces while I travel which is great for the longer trips.
This is by no stretch a touring boat, but there is a roomy rear hatch and compartment in a water tight bulkhead. I have been in 15 MPH cross winds in a six inch chop and had no problems.
This is not a fast boat, but with the skeg down, I can concentrate on my stroke and not worry about keeping the boat straight with each stroke. I can maintain 2.5 to 3.0 MPH for hours. With a snake behind me, I can crank it up to 4.0 to 4.5 MPH., but that takes some effort, and I cannot keep that up for long. I must add here that I am a not particularly athletic - senior citizen. I recently did a short paddle of five miles with an average speed of 3.3 MPH on flat water with no wind using what I thought was an easy going paddle stroke.
It is stable enough to use for nature photography and comfortable enough for an extended stay. However, I do use a couple inflatable cushions in the seat if I know I am going to be in the boat for several hours.
I love this boat. You can put it in your pocket and sail across a wet wash cloth.
The Axis tracks straight as arrow with the skeg full down, but with the skeg in that position it is a little sluggish in turns. After playing with the skeg I found the middle position to be the proper balance between turning and tracking for my paddling. So far all of my rides have only been around an hour, but the seat is very comfortable and the adjustability is great. The footbrace system is great. It nice to be able to adjust the foot pedals on the fly.
The overall fit and finish of the Axis makes it seem like a more expensive boat. I can't wait to try it out some moving water.
Because I didn't want to spend a lot of money (and after having bought both my and my wife's kayaks on deep discounts at end of season sales last fall), I was looking at big box store kayaks. I was considering the Old Town Vapor, Perception Sound 10.5, and the Ascend (Bass Pro) FS-10. The Vapor has good reviews, but I really don't like the enormous cockpit opening. I had trouble finding any reviews on the Perception, and the Ascend is tough to find on sale. What I really wanted was a Wilderness Systems Aspire 105. With it's drop down skeg and 400 pound weight capacity it seemed like it would be the perfect boat. Perfect, that is, except for the price.
While visiting the in-laws in Vermont two weeks ago, we decided to take a drive to New Hampshire and stop in at Eastern Mountain Sports. I was happy to find that they had an Aspire 105 in stock. I thought I would take the opportunity to check it out to see if it was worth spending the extra money. The seat was very comfortable, but I just wasn't as impressed overall as I thought I would be. Then I noticed the Dagger Axis 10.5 and thought I would check it out as well. It's narrower than the Aspire, and the cockpit opening is quite a bit smaller. Even so, I could still get into it fairly easily, and once inside I liked it much better. I like being "inside" a kayak rather than feeling like I'm sitting on top, or out in the open like I felt in the Aspire. The Dagger doesn't have a "dashboard" like the other kayaks do, but it does have a really cool "console" built into the hull stiffener. I liked that feature better than the dashboard. The seat isn't as comfortable for me as the Aspire, but it's better than my Old Town and it is more adjustable. I like the leg lift feature a lot.
I was a bit unsure of buying it because I thought it would be too unstable for me, plus it is more than I wanted to spend. The Axis has a shallow arch bottom, and also some rocker front to back. It leans to one side when sitting on the ground, while the Aspire sits upright due to it's wide, flat bottom. The Axis also has a lower weight rating, so I thought the Aspire would be the better kayak for my needs. Still, there was something drawing me to the Dagger. It's has a lot of aesthetic appeal, and sitting in it just felt good.
After talking to the girl in sales, I found her to be very knowledgeable. She didn't push me in either direction, but said she thinks the Dagger would be good for my needs. She agreed that the Aspire may be a little better for the shallow water, but said the Dagger should still be fine for my application. She said the Dagger would be easier to paddle and turn, and that the stability would still good. Comparing the two designs, it was obvious that the Aspire wouldn't be as efficient or as fast on the flat water, and one of the reasons I didn't like my Heron was because I had a hard time keeping up with my wife without exerting a lot more energy than she was.
I still didn't think I wanted to spend that much on a kayak, but then found out they were having a 20% off sale, plus no sales tax in New Hampshire. That was enough to make me pull the trigger. Not a bad discount for this early in the season, and none of the box stores by me sell Wilderness Systems or Dagger kayaks. I didn't want to go all season in the Heron to wait for another fall sale.
So far I've had it out twice. Once on a big lake with little to no wind, and once down the Swatara. My first trip out on the lake made me wonder why I was ever concerned about the stability. I find it to be more stable than my Heron was, and secondary stability seems to be very good. No issues at all in the stability department. The boat is definitely faster and easier to paddle than my Heron was (at least with me in it), and I had no problem staying ahead of my wife without padding hard. It's also quieter going through the water. Tracking with the skeg up isn't bad on the flat water, and it's excellent with it down. It glides perfectly straight with the skeg down, which is a very welcome trait.
Out on the Swatara, the boat is easy to handle and paddle. The skeg is nice for the slow, deep sections between the rapids. It's no worse than my Heron in the shallow water, and might be better. I did have to portage twice, but once was because I picked the wrong line. Had I picked the right one, I wouldn't have had to. The Aspire may have been better in the shallow water, but I think more the better efficiency and better handling design of the Axis more than makes up for that. Perhaps the Aspire wouldn't have even been better in the shallow with it's wider width. Maybe it would have made it harder to sneak through the really narrow areas with scraping. Tough to say.
Overall I'm very satisfied with my decision. The Axis is very high quality for the price, and it has really nice lines and "curb appeal". The wife says it looks like it "fits" me better than the Heron and the Aspire.
The other choices in this category are the Necky Rip and the Liquid Logic Remix. The Necky just doesn't do much for me, but I've never paddled it. The Liquid Logic is out of my price range, and I don't think I would have bought it anyway due to the reviews saying it's very slow on the flat waters. I think my Axis 10.5 is the best "compromise" for my situation that is also affordable. More color options would be nice, but the Lava scheme is pretty cool. I would highly recommend it to anyway in the market for this type of kayak. The only reason I didn't give it a 10 is because I didn't paddle the other boats in the same category, so it's hard for me to say that it's the best. Perhaps it is.
At 10.5 ft and 50 lbs, the Dagger Axis is easy to load on to car top, even for those of us "vertically challenged". This is a real keeper and ACK (Austin Canoe & Kayak) customer service & immediate shipping (arrived 3 business days after order was received) makes them a 10 star kayak outfitter.
I researched crossover kayaks quite extensively and the reviews for the Dagger Axis 10.5 match my own experience. My paddling venues range from lakes to creeks to slow moving rivers and Class I & II rapids. If your paddling venues are similar, you can't go wrong with the Dagger Axis 10.5. I didn't consider the Axis 12 because I needed a kayak that would maneuver in some of the narrow creeks.
My paddling buddy and I are in our mid-60's and for price and features, this has to be one of the best crossover kayaks currently available.
I can pick it up with one hand at only 50#, it glides better than my Swifty, is only slightly slower than the 11'6", much faster than the 12'6"sot, tracks like a dream with the skeg down, and turns on a dime with it up. good seat.
After 4 not quite right ones, this is a keeper
"Do all" is a very broad term....would you want to take this boat out in the ocean, probably not! Or class 4 rapids such as the "Green River Narrows", you can but I won't be following you! But I would have no reservations taking this boat on a 15-20 mile flat water paddle. With the retractable skeg down it tracks like a 13' touring boat (I have in fact recently did a similar trek with some friends that had 13 footers and had no problem keeping up). Yet it is still short and nimble enough to tackle class 3 rapids.
It's not an ocean kayak and it certainly is no whitewater play boat, but if you are like myself and can only afford one kayak but want to paddle different waters this is the boat for you. With adjustable seating, a back hatch for ample storage, and the ability to add a skirt. This is a very utilitarian kayak. For $750 retail its a bargain. I had considered buying the 11' Zydeco for $550 to save a few bucks but in hindsight that would have been a real mistake. Though its a fun recreational kayak there is no possible way it would track like a 13' and a class 2 is the limit it could do. If you have the opportunity buy this boat!
I can't be happier with my purchase. It's too bad that upon delivery the bulkhead had pulled away from the hull. I figured it was easier to seal the thing myself rather than send it back. It was an easy $4 fix (thanks Geocel!).
Don't hesitate if you have the money.
Submitted by: Paul Marshal - Rating: 10 of 10
|This review courtesy of www.outdoorplay.com|
Submitted by: chaosbound - Rating: 10 of 10
|This review courtesy of www.outdoorplay.com|
After a few months of paddling the otters around, (and I proved my fears of kayaks being so unstable as unjustified)I decided to stroll in to our local kayak store to see what they had on display. I gazed around at the rows of boats standing against the walls while wiping drool from my chin. But... I wasn't looking to buy, only window shopping as it were. After several minutes of looking around I was heading for the door when one particular boat caught my eye. The Dagger Axis 10.5 in red. For a month I thought about that boat until I admitted to myself I had to have it. So I bought it, licensed it and set out for a nearby lake to put her in.
I found the boat to be very roomy. (The Otter forces me to curl my toes due to the low deck height. The Axis has enough room I could wear work boots in it... though I never will...)
The boat is very stable, comparable to that of the Otter and the cockpit is roomy enough for me to get in and out with very little effort. There is NOT a lot of room between the seat and rear bulkhead, but there is a little. Just don't expect to store much behind the seat. The dry storage at the stern is room enough for storing gear for a day trip or an overnighter if you pack light. There is also room in the bow to store some small things if needed.
I was impressed with the forward deck rigging as it comes with a netting of sorts. This is perfect for storing small items that would normally fall through the normal bungie rigging. It also has a console of sorts inside the cockpit with a cup holder and a tray with a couple bungies to stash small items.
The seat is quite comfortable and has an adjustable back.
When paddling the boat with the skeg in the raised position it is very maneuverable if not a little...loose(?)... But once the skeg is dropped this boat will track very nicely even in strong winds.
In all, I am very pleased with this boat and would definitely buy another. My wife being somewhat shorter than I found the deck height on the Axis to be a little more than she wanted. She said it felt like too much boat to her. I ended up buying her a Dagger Blackwater 10.5 which has a lower deck.
Not having much experience in other yaks to compare with, but I still feel these are awesome boats. I feel a little guilty that my canoe has been neglected this summer. But I would rather paddle the yaks with my wife than the canoe solo. They are definitely quicker than my canoe, and much more comfortable too. But don't worry canoe, you will still be my choice in the B-dub next summer.
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