Axis 10.5

by  Dagger
10' 6"
Width (in)
Weight (lb)

Axis 10.5 Description

Amazing versatility on lakes, reservoirs, intercoastal waterways, and pond. The Axis provides excellent tracking from a height-adjustable drop skeg that keeps it moving straight. Defined chines add maneuverability, and the Axis accepts a sprayskirt and can be fitted with thigh braces for more challenging environments. The Axis 10.5 is ideal for the eclectic paddler who appreciates relaxing day trips on the lake, but might also enjoy the challenge of a running river and is unmatched in its class.

Axis 10.5 Specs and Features

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Additional Attributes

  • ConTour CFS Seating System
  • ConTour Knee/Thigh Pad
  • SlideLock Foot Brace System
  • Stern Hatch
  • Bungee Deck Rigging
  • Mesh Deck Cover with Bungee
  • Soft Touch Handles
  • Stern Bulkhead
  • TruTrak Adjustable Skeg System
  • Hull Beam
  • Paddle Park
  • Optional Thigh Braces Available

Axis 10.5 Reviews

Read reviews for the Axis 10.5 by Dagger as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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I love my Dagger Axis 10.5!…

Submitted by: paddler2559775 on 12/27/2023

I love my Dagger Axis 10.5! I have owned it for a few years now and always recommend it to those that can afford more than a cheap box store kayak. It tracks straight in an open lake, with the skeg all the way down and is fun to take through the bends of a decent paced river, with the skeg up. I really like that they place the fabric under the bow rigging. It helps keep my speaker or other items I place there, staying put. The seat is very comfortable and I like that the back portion is height adjustable. The ONLY small niggle I have, is when out on large lakes (the Great Lakes we have here in MI) if there is a decent amount of chop or waves, they will come up and over the bow, getting you a little wet.


BEWARE!! Do not buy this…

Submitted by: devo1065 on 2/1/2022

BEWARE!! Do not buy this kayak!

I'm talking about SHODDY WORKMANSHIP... I ordered a Dagger Axis 10.5 from my local REI store. The kayak arrived, and I was super excited to get it.

After getting it home, I decided to have a real good look at my newest purchase. was no where up to the assembly standards I'm used to seeing when purchasing a brand new kayak. You could easily see the bulkhead behind the seat was hastily "thrown in" and had huge globs of glue smeared around it. Then you could tell it was removed, and had a larger bulkhead forced into the space in front of the original one. Then huge globs of glue was smeared onto and around the new foam?? Huh?? It was a total mess inside the dry hatch with glue smeared everywhere and left to dry. The foam bulkhead wasn't even in the space vertically. There was a one inch gap across the bottom that I could slip my fingers in up to the second knuckle. I was beyond livid at this point! I called the factory and sent them pictures of it, and their only answer was to send me more glue? WTF?

On the build card that comes with the kayak said "Builder #12" was responsible for building this boat. You know what? Builder #12 sucks...

So, the next day I call REI back and explain what happened. So I have them get another Axis 10.5 from their warehouse and have it shipped to the store. At this point, I've paid for TWO Dagger kayaks until I return the first one.

A week later I'm at REI again to do the exchange. They bring the new kayak out and I look at the build card.


The new boat REI got from their warehouse had the exact same problem...but worse!!! Arrrrrgh!


It's obvious that Dagger has no quality standards when it comes to their products.

With Dagger, you're "scraping the bottom of the barrel" when it comes to quality standards. I don't understand how those boats even got out of the factory like that?? Didn't anyone look at them before they left?

After this experience, I'll never buy another Dagger product EVER...

If you want a top notch kayak go with LiquidLogic. Their build and quality standards are the best I've seen.

I could go to WalMart or Dicks sporting goods and buy a SunDolphin kayak that has better quality standards than Dagger.

What a joke...


Love this kayak. Finally got…

Submitted by: kmdw on 5/20/2021

Love this kayak. Finally got it out for the first time. Out on the bay, a little wind and some boat wakes. This kayak is solid. Tracks good with the skeg up and even better down. Good stability, I was pleased about that since I was upgrading from a flat pelican. Can’t wait to get out on a river.


I don’t see how anyone can…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/28/2021

I don’t see how anyone can go wrong with this great multi-purpose kayak. For the last eleven years I have used it on lakes and streams here in the Midwest. It tracks great, is tough and durable, very stable and super fun in the rougher ripples and Class I I have used on. The seat comfort is amazing - I can go all day and never have the need to get out to stretch (I am 5’ 5”, 135 lb female). By utilizing the rear hatch, the area behind the seat, the area in front of your legs plus storage on top you can load this baby up for a weekender if you plan right. I just upgraded to a Dagger Stratos (which I don’t believe is going to haul as much gear) but refuse to sell my little Axis. Others I have let use this trusty little go-to love it just as much as I do. For what it is designed to do and how well it accomplishes it I give it five stars.


This is a nice all-purpose…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/5/2020
This is a nice all-purpose boat. It handles well in both flatwater and whitewater up to class II. I know several people who own this kayak and use it on flatwater and whitewater because it is so stable, turns easily, and tracks well with the drop-down skeg.

Absolutely love this kayak,…

Submitted by: paddler863756 on 8/26/2020
Absolutely love this kayak, they say it’s ideal for flat water, rivers, lakes and coastal waters. I’ve been out in 30mph gusts in Poole harbour, brilliant fun however hard work paddling. I wouldn’t advise going out in more than 15mph gusts, I’m just a thrill seeker and like to push the limits!

Just had the maiden paddle in…

Submitted by: Jonnybran on 8/23/2020
Just had the maiden paddle in my new Dagger Axis E10.5 on the Thames and adjoining Surrey river network. After reading reviews I modified the cockpit by dropping in Contour Lite hip pads and thigh braces to tie me into the boat a bit more, they all work great as performance accessories. I also have a bow flotation bag on order to fill out the bow space, which is a shame Dagger did not fit a dry bulkhead upfront in case of a capsized. Anyway took it out in good conditions and it performs very well, maneuverable with both skeg in the down and up positions and obviously tracks very straight with the skeg down. Very happy with the Dagger Axis 10.5, which is often described as a recreation boat, which seems a bit disingenuous, but modify the cockpit, throw a spray skirt on (Palm Roanoke size R6 fits), combine with a decent set of paddles like Werner carbons, and you have a boat the performs as a crossover should with complete versitalty. Not tested on above Class I moving water, but would be comfortable on Class II in this boat. All in all a very strong boat for intermediate paddling.

This kayak is a great…

Submitted by: paddler837402 on 7/29/2020
This kayak is a great multipurpose boat that paddles well in flat water, holds a line with any direction wind with use of the skeg and good paddling techniques, and is very stable for moving water up to Class II rapids. Haven't taken it into any significant Class III, and due to the relative difficulty in rolling a wider chassis like this one. The body is very strong and this is a great boat in every sense.

This is by far the best all…

Submitted by: Dianaprince on 7/27/2020
This is by far the best all puto it se kayak I have ever owned. I’ve had it out in class 3 whitewater,, it is very manoeuvrable, turns quickly and yet stable. The high bow is great for stoping a lot of water from enter the boat. I’ve also taken it out knot open water, in 4 foot swells, I just released the stop down skeg and paddles through those swells with no issue at all. It handled itself in open water almost as good as a 14foot sea kayak. It’s fast in open calm water and easily capable of handling an overnight trip with the very roomy waterproof stern bulkhead. Now to the seat, it has all the comfort and adjustability one has come to expect from Dagger. This has become my go-to kayak. Thank you Dagger for putting out such a great product!!!

I purchased a used Dagger…

Submitted by: paddler797388 on 6/14/2020
I purchased a used Dagger Axis 10.5 for my first kayak and after using it for a month I can comfortably say it's been an awesome kayak to learn on. Maneuvers through the water beautifully, very stable. The drop down skeg has been great when I want to keep a steady pace while traveling. It's made of a thick sturdy material so I never worry about damaging it if fallen tree branches scrap underneath me. I was skeptical how I would fit in the kayak as I am a plus sized woman, and currently weigh 270 lbs. It's a little tight on my hips where I sit but there's lots of leg room and the kayak doesn't sit too low in the water with me in it. Overall I'm extremely happy with this kayak and will be looking at Dagger again when it comes time to upgrade my kayak.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my…

Submitted by: heathlance1 on 5/3/2020
I have thoroughly enjoyed my Axis 10.5. It is big enough for me to do two and three day river oriented camping trips. Obviously in a minimalist fashion. The size allows me be to able to do some great fishing, The drop down keel is great for lakes. The crossover effect of the bowed bottom lets me switch to river fun. I am able to put a skirt on it, and have been in class 3 water with this kayak. I have very pleased. I would like to get a"play" boat for more aggressive rapids, but it would never give me the versatility of my Axis.

Great boat, no issues at all…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/10/2020
Great boat, no issues at all apart from doing self rescues, the bow of the boat sank!! Luckily I was at the edge of a deep lake, what do people recommend for bow float bag

My husband and I each have a…

Submitted by: paddler443130 on 9/4/2019

My husband and I each have a Dagger Axis 10.5 kayak, and we both love them! They fit small women and large men comfortably. They are easily controlled in both winding rivers with class 2 or 3 rapids and in lakes with wind and waves because of the option to use the skeg. The only issue we have had is that the skeg on one of them gets stuck occasionally.


New to this kayak and on a…

Submitted by: KayakerEA on 7/29/2019

New to this kayak and on a relatively quiet, narrow river it's great! Paddled yesterday on the wide Fox River in Green Bay in some considerable chop! Not my favorite experience. Had skeg at 50% which helped a bit but it was a slog for several miles. She rode the waves okay but tough and tiring to control. I like it but will use my touring Wilderness for lakes and wide rivers in the future!


I picked up two of these a…

Submitted by: kirothehero on 7/9/2019

I picked up two of these a year ago - one for my wife and one for my 16yo son - and they adore their Daggers. The boats are stable and easily manageable. They find the seat very comfy and easily adjusted to their needs. Some other reviewers have complained of the knee padding coming off but we haven't experience that. The retractable skeg on these boats make a big difference in how they track. The cockpit size is pretty nice as well - small enough to resist overspray, but big enough to fit my 40 lbs border collie in with my son or wife. Plenty of gear lashes and storage for a 1 or 2 night adventure, if you know how to pack lightly. Great boats!


The thigh pads and seat…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/2/2018

The thigh pads and seat rivets have ripped out in only 8 trips down the river. Now the scag isn't working handled great in all the rapids I've taken her through but I'm very disappointed......


I've owned my axis less than…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/11/2018

I've owned my axis less than 1 month. I've had it out 5 times, about 70 miles. The fabric on the sides, the thigh pads, has totally come out from the rivets on the left side and now the right side is also pulling loose. I've contacted the dagger manufacturer and they are going to send me replacement pads and hardware. But....I'm I the only one who has experienced this problem????


Great boat can well carry my…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/6/2018

Great boat can well carry my 82 kgs. Good speed and efficient to paddle, I always end up front in a group and it's not me it's the kayak.Easy enough to throw on roof of my car .


The Dagger Axis 10.5 is a…

Submitted by: JanetH on 7/31/2018

The Dagger Axis 10.5 is a great kayak for novice and experienced paddlers. The v-shaped hull and drop-down skeg allows it to track straight for paddling long flatwater stretches and it's shorter length makes it very maneuverable for paddling down creeks with class I-II rapids. This is a great choice for an all around multi-purpose kayak.


After starting with a big…

Submitted by: NFA on 6/20/2018

After starting with a big box store kayak, I recently upgraded to the Dagger Axis 10.5, and I could not be any happier with it! Plenty of storage, handles great in the water, and is super comfortable for those long trips. Paddle on!


I live in mid-Missouri and…

Submitted by: bobhansen on 6/18/2018

I live in mid-Missouri and often travel up north to Wisconsin, so my primary floating locations are Ozark streams, Missouri reservoirs, and Wisconsin rivers and lakes. I wanted just one boat and decided on a crossover. After a lot of research, I decided on the Dagger Axis 10.6 and it was a good decision. Is it super fast? No, but it does pretty well when I need speed, and it is stable, tracks well with the dropable skeg, and turns as quickly as needed. Yes, I gave up on having a great whitewater kayak but it does just fine. A really good buy for me and I appreciate it more and more each year.


Great for exploring rivers,…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/18/2018

Great for exploring rivers, creeks and lakes. I love the skeg. Ready for anything!


It is great for both river…

Submitted by: paddler443130 on 6/18/2018

It is great for both river and lake kayaking. Went out today on Lake St. Clair with some wind and it had no problems handling the waves. The only issue I have had is that the skeg spring is not working properly anymore. I would definitely recommend this product.


Love it! Really comfortable…

Submitted by: paddler425727 on 4/12/2018

Love it! Really comfortable and flowed through the water easily.


Good little Rec Boat

Submitted by: Terry-S on 6/20/2017

The Dagger 10.5 was my first kayak. It's one of those boats that pretty much anyone can just hop into and paddle confidently. Pretty comfortable for a day trip, nice and stable, and the watertight bulkhead behind the seat gives some flotation in the event of swamping plus a reasonable amount of dry storage.

I've dragged this through numerous rock patches and it just keeps going. It's a super tough little boat and with me at 170 lbs it doesn't draft more than probably 3 inches. At one point I took this boat up a stream that got so small that by the time I dragged bottom I had to get out of the boat to turn around because the stream had gotten narrower that the boat was long.

For lake or big river paddling this boat doesn't track in the wind as well as a boat with a rudder, but the drop down skeg makes it tons better than most recreational boats. Plus, you can retract it if you are in the shallows and just keep on cruising without fear of breaking anything vital.

This boat is super stable because of it's width, but it's so short that it's still easily maneuverable. The down side is that the same features that make it so stable make it pretty much impossible to paddle it in flat water at anything much above 3 mph. it's width also make it next to impossible to roll upright if you are somehow able to get it upside down.

I say "next to impossible" because somewhere theres probably some kayak guru who can do it no problem, but I'm not him. I put it in the pool and intentionally flipped it about 10 times (really have to be motivated to get it to flip) and I was never able to roll back upright. Some of this is probably due to the absence of thigh braces, limiting the ability to get a good hip snap, but mostly it's just so wide that the stability that works for you when you're upright tends to work against you when you're upside down.

Overall, it's a great little recreational or day trip kayak for either inland lakes, rivers or creeks. I'd have no problem at all taking this over some shoals or day tripping down a river or inland lake, just don't think that this is a purpose built whitewater boat or touring kayak.


I ordered a Dagger Axis 10.5…

Submitted by: Janell on 10/13/2016
I ordered a Dagger Axis 10.5 at Canoecopia in March. Picked it up in May and have been paddling it since. The seat in the kayak is superb! Very comfortable. Many adjustments can be made to make the seat perfect. Can sit many hours paddling without getting fatigued.

We have now had our Dagger…

Submitted by: Fishnut on 6/16/2016
We have now had our Dagger Axis 10.5 kayaks for 2 seasons. We love them, we have used them on the lake and in class I and II waters, they handle great in moving water. And also track great with the skag when paddling calm stretches. It is also easy to let the skag to help in the calm water to aid in tracking better. The seats in these are very comfortable, with the back rest being able to raise or lower and the seat pad will also raise to with the angle of your legs to help when coming into a little faster water. The storage in the rear of the boat is plenty big enough for day trips or over night trips also. The only negative thing we have noticed is the lack of a drain plug. So, if you are not using a spray skirt in rough water be prepared to bail a little water. It is easy enough to install a plug in the boat, Dagger might consider installing them as to help with emptying them for the smaller kayakers. We would definitely recommend these to other beginner and intermediate paddlers.

This is a preliminary review…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/27/2016
This is a preliminary review based on one initial use of a couple hours in a local small lake\\marsh area, as well as a comparison to what I have been paddling for the last 10 years - an Old Town Otter.

My initial impressions of this kayak were very good. About the only negative thing is that it seems to be a bit thinner plastic than the Otter is. Still very tough, but I'm not sure yet if it will prove to be as tough as my Otter, which has endured hundreds of miles in the back-country lakes, granite-filled rivers, and marshlands of northern Ontario.

But I LOVE this kayak. The skeg is FANTASTIC. This was the first thing I wanted to test, and it proved to be a wonderful solution to my complaint about the Otter. I did some specific testing of this feature, and it's just incredible how this little skeg can keep you straight.

Being a photographer of wildlife, this is perfect for my needs. No longer do I have to contort my body while trying to capture that moose on the shoreline while my kayak starts turning the second I put my paddle down to grab my camera. This thing just stays straight. The rear hatch seems plenty large and capable of holding all the gear which I stuffed in a dry bag behind the seat of my Otter. Deck cords seem good. The Otter had no deck cords so I can't compare. For my Otters I drilled holes in the deck and used U-bolts with strong bungee cords - a VERY strong system which held gear down in all sorts of weather and river conditions. Time will tell if the Axis cords will handle my type of use.

I have loaded my Otter for up to a 5 day river trip. I am confident that the Axis will have no problem doing the same. The paddle holder works and is a welcome addition since the Otter had nothing. May come in handy for photography. The seat is comfortable and adjustable. I do wonder though, if the lift mechanism will fail long before the kayak does.

I typically am not a fan of more moving parts than are necessary, but it is nice to place that back exactly where needed. Having said this, I never once felt I needed a more comfortable seat than what was supplied with my cheap Otters. I have spent entire days in my Otter with zero discomfort. And the Otter seat has been indestructible (MUCH thicker plastic than the Axis seat).

The other thing I'm not sure I will like is having a fabric seat. Although comfortable, once it gets wet, it stays wet. With my Otter, I could just wipe out the seat before getting in, and have a dry seat every time. Not sure how I will handle this with the Axis.

Foot pegs adjust very easily and seem to be good quality. I have never had (or felt I needed) foot pegs, so can't compare them. The grab handles are great. Love the fact that they retract. I never liked having dangling handles on my Otter. Although I didn't like having dangling handles, the handles on the Otters have proven to be VERY strong. Whenever we portage with the Otters, we never carried the kayaks. We dragged them through the rocks and woods, full of gear, with a rope tied to the handle. 10 years of doing this, same handles. Will the Axis hold up this well? Time will tell.

Stability is close to what the Otter is. The Otter is slightly more stable but not a huge difference. I had no problem adjusting to the slight difference within a couple minutes. Turning this kayak is very easy, with the skeg lifted of course. Even easier than the shorter Otter.

Shallow water paddling is very good, but not quite as good as the Otter, which is to be expected, since it's shorter and flatter. While paddling in back-country areas, you often encounter LOTS of downed trees and logs that are just below the surface of the water. Going over them with the Otter is fairly easy, as you can stick your paddles in the muck and push right over in such a short kayak. With the Axis, it's a bit more challenging, being a bit longer, but it actually slides over the logs easier than I had expected.

The bottom of the Axis sits just a bit lower in the water than the Otter so there were some logs which I normally would have cleared with the Otter, which I had to push myself over with the Axis. No big deal. Keeps it fun.

Cost of the Axis is over-priced when you consider I paid approx. $250 for my Otters. I don't see the Axis being 3 times more valuable. 2 times, yes, but certainly not 3. The plastic is no better than the Otter, which has PROVEN itself in my 10 years of use. The Otter may even be thicker and more durable.

The Otters have no features, other than being TOUGH. So the only cost difference would be in the extra features. So, the question is, are the following extra features on the Axis worth $550:

1 foot longer | Retractable handles | Deck cords | Drop-down skeg | Sealed rear hatch | Paddle holder | Padded adjustable seat | Adjustable foot pegs | Padded knee\\thigh area
Although this may seem like a LOT of extras, and it is, there really isn't a lot of cost associated with these extras. Most of them are mere small plastic parts with some inexpensive small-diameter bungee cord. In my opinion, these extra features are worth, at most, about $300, and certainly no more than $400, making the Axis about $150-$250 over-priced. But I do LOVE that skeg.

Recommendation: This is a great kayak for sure, and one I recommend (based on my preliminary testing and observation) for those wanting a cross-over kayak. The skeg is AWESOME. But if you are a bit tight on cash, you might find a better value from Old Town.


I have owned this Axis 10.5…

Submitted by: paddler236552 on 10/4/2015
I have owned this Axis 10.5 for one season, I'm a newbie. My first yak was a Trip 10. While i haven't mastered this boat yet, I'll go anywhere I feel my skills will take me with it. i also recently bought a Katana and have a lot of learning to do. What everybody says about this boat is true and can't add to it. I love this boat. The best I can add is it does foster paddler progression. if that's you and you can afford it, BUY IT.

After spending a year and a…

Submitted by: tmcblane on 9/16/2015
After spending a year and a half paddling cheap kayaks, Sun Dolphin aruba and Pelican Matrix I decided it was time to move up the ladder a bit. I started out by limiting my search to 10-12' kayaks which there are a thousand of and finally decided that I really like the Pelican I had at 10' so opted to look for something closer to that. I had picked a few out and started going through reviews and this Dagger Axis stood out like a sore thumb.

My biggest complaint about the Pelican was tracking. In doing a 2.5 mile trip I would end up probably doing 3 miles with corrections. I needed and wanted something better but also wanted to be able to take it on the river and mild rapids.

This crossover Kayak is perfect! When I first took it out to demo it I put the Skeg down and it went so straight that it was hard to turn with the skeg down! Raise it up and it handles like on doing a race car! I am super pumped about the weight, the size, the handling and the looks of this cool Kayak. I don't see how you could go wrong if you are a lake and mild river runner!


I had written a review right…

Submitted by: paddler224975 on 4/15/2015
I had written a review right after buying my Axis 10.5, but had never had it in swift water. I'm starting my second season with it and finally got the chance to see how it handled in some whitewater. It was all class I and IIs (don't know if I would take it in any bigger water) and it handled great. I was with a couple of guys in creek boats, and while they could out maneuver me, I was still able to have fun and do a lot of the same things they could. Plus I could out run them in the still water sections.

I'm finding the Axis to be a great all around boat. One thing I would suggest if you want to get the most out of it, invest in the thigh braces. Really helped me make the tight turns in the rapids and makes you feel like you are part of the boat.


I have had the Dagger Axis…

Submitted by: paddler235799 on 7/30/2014
I have had the Dagger Axis 10.5 for over two years. I needed a 10 foot boat because it would fit INSIDE my mini-van. It is so convenient not to have to deal with roof racks. I had owned other 10 foot kayaks, but none of these tracked very well, and had no "glide". When you stopped paddling the boat would turn off of straight.

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.


Last fall I decided to get…

Submitted by: paddler224975 on 7/20/2014
Last fall I decided to get back into paddling and bought a Perception Sport Swifty 9.5 rec boat just to play in. This spring I was hooked again and wanted a better boat so I bought the Axis 10.5 after reading a bunch of reviews. Where I paddle offers a lot of varying conditions depending on the amount of rain we have been getting. I live in the upper Ohio Valley and usually paddle a couple miles up a creek off the river. With a little rain the current can become a challenge and if the river is up the current can be a challenge coming back the other way. The day before the Axis was delivered we got about 2.5 inches of rain and I would have never thought about going up stream in my other boat, but I really wanted to give the Axis a try. When I first pulled out from the landing I was all over the place. I couldn't believe how maneuverable the Axis was compared to the shorter Swifty. I dropped the skeg and headed up stream.

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.


I'm a 6', 250lb guy who was…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/30/2014
I'm a 6', 250lb guy who was looking for a "short" kayak in the 9.5-11' range to paddle down small rivers/creeks that get very shallow in places. Heavy people in small kayaks in shallow water does not make for a great combination, but that's what I had to work with. The reason for the short boat is mainly because the Swatara Creek near where we live is relatively small, and not suitable for a large kayak. Also the convenience plays a role, and I needed to have something at least somewhat similar in length to my wife's 9.5' boat so we can carry them both at the same time, one person in front, and one in back. The kayak I had before buying the Dagger Axis 10.5 was an Old Town Heron 9 that I got for a little over half price at Cabela's. It was O.K., but I wasn't satisfied with it.

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.


fantastic stable fun boat for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/23/2014
fantastic stable fun boat for beginners like me or for experienced kayakers too, all very good reports and a good build quality except for the flimsy skeg...
9 out of ten !!!

Great crossover kayak. Having…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/2/2014
Great crossover kayak. Having come from an Old Town Otter XT to the Dagger Axis 10.5 the difference in handling characteristics is phenomenal. The drop down skeg makes for extremely good tracking. Pull the skeg up and the Dagger Axis turns quite easily. Paddling speed with less exertion is a real bonus. The adjustable seat is very comfortable, especially since both the seat bottom & seat top are independently adjustable. The polyethylene construction appears to be on par with the Old Town Otter XT which is almost indestructible.

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.


this a great kayak for…

Submitted by: rdjobin on 10/7/2013
this a great kayak for advanced paddlers. Handles well; a little tippy but is a great comfortable kayak; the seat adjustments are awesome

Male, 72, 220#, 6'0", size 11…

Submitted by: paddler235080 on 7/5/2013
Male, 72, 220#, 6'0", size 11 shoe. I don't fish, camp, or ww. I have had two 9'6", one 11"6", one 12'6" kayaks. And now the 10'6" Axis. I wouldn't trade all of the rest together for one Axis 10.5 This is the one I have been looking for.

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


There may not be such thing…

Submitted by: paddler234901 on 2/24/2013
There may not be such thing as a "Do All" anything, but in the world of paddling this comes pretty close. I bought this boat 4 months ago but have waited for the "NEW" to wear off so that I can give a unbiased review..... unfortunately I don't believe that is possible! I am without a doubt Biased towards this kayak. I live in the mountains of N.C. which allows for paddling as diverse as the people of this region. From "Conservative " flat water lakes, to "Moderate" slow moving rivers such as the French Broad River, and "Liberal Radical " class 3 and 4 whitewater like the Nantahala and Green River.

"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!


We recently started hitting…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/29/2012
We recently started hitting class II and small III rapids. The Dagger Axis 10.5 kayak is the Cadillac/Porsche of crossover rec kayaks. It handles perfect on big water( flat or rough) with the skeg down. Put the skeg up and it handles like a Porsche. We bought Old Town Otter XT kayaks 2yrs ago. They were good starter kayaks. Two yrs later and it's time to upgrade. The Dagger brand is very high quality. I'm a large guy 6' 230lbs and it is roomy and comfy. Very easy to load and unload from your vehicle. Thanks Dagger for such a great product.

YES! I did a lot of research…

Submitted by: paddler234069 on 6/20/2011
YES! I did a lot of research before I finally settled on the Axis. I saved a good bit of money by opting out of the Liquid Logic (whose comparable skeg equipped model now escapes me). So far I've only had it on flat water, and with the skeg dropped, the things tracks straighter than I could have ever imagined. Another point about this boat that's worth mentioning is that I have already overloaded the thing by 30 pounds and still managed to keep up with the pack; no sinking, no bogging, no problems.

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.


I got to demo this boat and I…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/30/2011
I got to demo this boat and I was surprised by its versatility. It's like a recreational kayak that's fun on mild whitewater. I don't think I'd run anything bigger that class II in it but it was cool that I could. And on flat water, you just drop down the skeg and go. I picked a spot on the horizon and hit it with no issue. Love the mesh desk and bugging rigging. I put my water bottle up there and it didn't slip around at all. When you need one boat that will do everything then get an Axis!

I bought this boat a few…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/30/2011
I bought this boat a few months ago. This boat is great. It's got great primary stability. The cockpit is comfortable with a fully adjustable seat and padded knee braces make this a boat that you can paddle for hours and hours. The storage in the back is big enough for a day trip, or a night or two of camping if you pack light. The drop skeg works fantastic. I've had no issues with it at all. It's a bit wide, and not as fast as a sea kayak. If you are into speed, this might not be the boat for you. If you like to paddle at a comfortable pace, enjoy a stable platform which is perfect for sitting back in the seat, ideal for photography, and want the durability of a rotomolded boat, the Axis 10.5 is a great choice. I am 6'2, 200lbs and have been very comfortable in this boat. Full size adult males can ingress and egress without issues.

Several months ago my wife…

Submitted by: paddler233844 on 10/18/2010
Several months ago my wife and I decided to try kayaking. I went to our local sporting goods store and found us a couple of the Old Town Otter XTs at a cheap price and bought one for each of us. Having never been in a kayak and believing them to be unstable, I wasn't all that willing to put much money into the sport. The Otters were cheap enough to get us on the water to try it out without breaking the bank.

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.


I have been canoeing for 10…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/5/2010
I have been canoeing for 10 years. Boundary Waters, lake and river paddling, etc. This spring my wife decided she wanted to take up kayaking, and without ever trying one out, she bought an Axis 10.5, and ordered another one for me. Since then we have paddled in Lake Michigan, the WI River, several other lakes and small rivers in north-central Wisconsin.

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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