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Axis 12.0 Reviews

by Dagger
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Lime
  • 12' Length
  • 27.5" Width
  • $909 MSRP

Average Consumer Review:

(34 Consumer Reviews)

Read reviews for the Axis 12.0 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!

Great hull design, not sure on the rest.

I bought the Axis to replace a Kestrel 120. What a huge difference. I LOVE the hull design. This boat turns like a dream, or drop the skeg and it tracks great. It honestly reminds me of a 9' boat. The skeg design allows you to easily get rocks and mud out. I have another skeg boat and it is horrible for this.

I'm not sure what Dagger was thinking when they built the seat. If I can find a set that will fit this boat I will replace it. The stock seat is flimsy and not well designed. Things I don't like..The seat back is way above the coming. If you are using a skirt it traps water against you. I did modify my seat a bit but it still is above the coming. The back also inhibits you to do a proper stroke, upper torso rotation. The seat back locks your lower back in position. The seat bottom frame looks really flimsy and I don't see it lasting long. It is designed to flex and support your legs but I think they made it too flimsy. I owned a Dagger Mamba 8 and would love to put that seat in this boat.

The stiffener that runs down the middle traps every little bit of dirt that gets in the boat. There is no good way to clean it out. I thought about taking it out and drilling a few holes in it for that purpose. But of course it is a total pain to get to the 4 bolts that hold the seat in. I finally gave up.

I bought it in the Molton color pattern. Love it but hate it. The few times I have paddled it I have came back with bits of the outer coating gone. It looks like the outer coating is sprayed on after the hull is molded. It is rough in texture and doesn't seem to be too durable. It will look like hell shortly but most do.

All in all I do love this boat but I think Dagger fell short with the seat. Change that out for something better, or at least a back band style, and the rest is minor.

Great Kayak for Ozark Streams

I use this kayak mainly on Ozark streams such as the Current River and Jacks Fork. I did a lot of research and the axis 12 won out over the WS Pungo 120 and 14 footers such as the Carolina. I like this boat because it tracks well with the retractable skeg, great storage for an overnighter, and the more aggressive cockpit for shedding water.

This boat also is very maneuverable due to its hull design and length. Will handle class II no problem and will handle those tight turns on the streams I float. Love this boat....be aware the storage area is big for multi day trips if you use ultra light gear...not if you use standard gear so keep that in mind.

My wife and I have paddled...

My wife and I have paddled matching Dagger Axis 12.0 kayaks for over one year and they are excellent multi-purpose recreational watercraft. We generally paddle on lakes, rivers and bayous in Southeast Texas. We often experience strong headwinds and motor boat wakes when paddling the larger lakes and the Axis 12.0's are very stable in such conditions.

The drop-down keel keeps us on track in all open water and the ability to raise it allows us to navigate Class I rapids and shallow bayous with aplomb. Anyone looking for a stable, yet quick and maneuverable kayak will be happy with Dagger's Axis 12.0.

My husband and I purchased...

My husband and I purchased 2 of the Dagger Axis 12.0 kayaks at Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin this past spring. We visited all of the kayaking booths to gain knowledge of what kayak would fit our needs, since we are 1st time kayakers. After much discussion we decided to purchase the Axis 12.0.

All I can say is, "WOW"! There are so many comforts and design features that I love with this model.

We love the stability and the ease of maneuverable that this kayak offers, especially since we do not have the experience of kayaking. This kayak is made from polyethylene plastic that is very strong. With the combination hull and retractable skeg, this is a great kayak to maneuver just about anywhere. You will love the roomier cockpit, adjustable padded seat and leg braces that allow you to travel in comfort every time.

We would recommend this model to anyone and everyone…You can't go wrong with this one!

Up in Northern Wisconsin...

Up in Northern Wisconsin we have a small livery business on the Bois Brule. Renting to over 10k customers a year we have tried almost every type of canoe and kayak on the market, beginning in 1962. To our great satisfaction, we were lucky enough to come across the Dagger Axis 10'6 and 12'. Our best rental recreational boat we have rented both versatile and simple, easy to adjust foot braces, hatches etc. We haven't seen a hole in one yet, and started renting in 2012. Our only complaint is broken foot braces on almost every kayak we have, but fairly easy to repair.
Current Design Solaro is comparable but much heavier.

Bought a Dagger Axis 12...

Bought a Dagger Axis 12 (in late June of 2015) after a few really enjoyable rent-a-yak floats down my local river with some buddies. My obsessive hobbyist tenancies activated and the next thing I know I was spending all of my time at work researching and reading about Kayaks. I had spent a great deal of time canoeing and fishing with my father as a kid, so I think my predisposition to river boating had been in my blood. I was also looking at the wilderness systems tsunami 12, pungo 12, the hurricane santee 116 and 126, elie sound 120, and the old town diringo 120. Some of these I have been able to try out.

Anyhow, after about a solid month of shopping around, I settled on the Dagger Axis 12. I live in Michigan, which has a great diversity in water: great lakes, rivers of all sizes and temperaments, and tons of inland lakes and swampy areas. I love to explore, so having a Kayak that could handle all of this was what I desired - and I genuinely feel that I made the best choice. Have taken it out on 20-30 trips in a matter of a few months.

The Axis turns on a dime, no more than a few strokes, with the skeg retracted. And really, the tracking is absolutely excellent for a rec boat with the skeg down. It's also surprisingly fast - maybe not so much as my GF's hurricane santee or a 14ft+ boat, but its cruise speed is great, which can be attained with only a few strokes. The Kayak is a bit shaky initially, but the secondary stability is excellent. I have yet to tip my kayak.

I've taken it down class 1 and 2 rapids with ease and it is a charm to handle through rougher patches of water. With more skill, I'd consider taking it down class 3 with a skirt (which I purchased). I took the Kayak out to paddle around Belle Isle (Detroit) on a day with much rougher waters than normal. 2-2.5 foot swells with the occasional 4 footer from barges... it was definitely beyond my skill level at the time, but completely exhilarating. I also didn't have a skirt at the time, so I ended up turning back after a few hours cause I was starting to take on water. I was super happy with how the kayak handled it though. I've yet to take it on the great lakes yet, but my Belle Isle experience should be some what similar. Been mostly taking it down the many wonderful rivers and inland lakes of Michigan, for which it performs wonderfully. I've done a handful of overnighters and have had plenty of room for necessary gear. It would be tough to go longer than 2-3 days, unless you go pure backpacking food. I do plan on Kayaking to the Manitou islands next year, so we'll see how it holds up on a 3-4 day trip.

The only downsides are that I find the seat a tad uncomfortable - discomfort in my lower back, likely caused by unfamiliar pressures from my legs and a weak core. But the pain has begun to alleviate, albeit slowly, as I have continued kayaking. A lumbar pad has helped immensely. The front and back handles, while well made, are not designed for greater stresses (don't use them to strap your kayak down for additional security while driving through a storm, they will break and it will be terrifying... very rookie mistake). Anyhow, that was my fault. I've heard the spring in the drop down skeg wears out after a while, but that has yet to happen. I also wish it had flotation in the front, nothing a purchased float bag can't fix, though.

In conclusion... if you need a truly versatile rec boat, something on the upper end that can handle great lakes, rivers, basic whitewater, and inland lakes, then this is a boat you should absolutely consider. I have extremely satisfied with the purchase. The only reason I am knocking off a point is for the seat - and that's only because I have experienced the wonder that is the Pungo seat.

I purchased a new Axis...

I purchased a new Axis 12.0 two weeks ago. I am new to kayaking, 52 yrs old and diabetic. The kayak is to augment the bicycle that I don't ride enough. I wanted a long kayak because I want to race the MR340 in 2016, but I wanted a versatile yak that I could use everyday. This really has fit the bill. I've been out on local lakes 7 times in 2 weeks, including a 5K show n go race. All of the other yaks in the race were LONG expensive racing boats, and I didn't win, but I feel certain that I was in the right boat for me. I love it.

Love this kayak. I take it...

Love this kayak. I take it thru class 3 rapids on a regular basis. I bought this kayak for camping and longer trips but it is my go to kayak for most days of paddling.

A very stable boat which...

A very stable boat which is great for beginners. It's construction is very solid and it's comfortable to sit in for extended periods. If you intend on paddling this boat in estuaries or bays in winds of 15knots or over, buy a sea kayak. I live in Australia where rivers are usually heavily snagged and tight, this boat is great for these types of applications. Also excellent as a platform for photography.

I'm 57 yr. old guy, 163 cm...

I'm 57 yr. old guy, 163 cm tall and weigh 70 kg. I hail from Australia and live on the coast. Unlike you US folks, the nearest rapid is about 70 miles away, nearest slow moving river about 50 miles away. The Axis 12 primarily is used on estuaries with light to moderate winds, choppy open bays. I’m happy to report the Axis 12 revels in those environments.

I have three other kayaks, including Hobie Revo 13 and a Sea kayak, the Axis 12 gives them all a run for their money, its easy handling, comfy, has good cruising speed, excellent stability, looks great.

This is my first Dagger kayak and I will have no hesitation buying a Dagger again, excellent build quality. All in all, it's a very nice kayak, good all-round, great value for the price. I do recommend it wholeheartedly.

    Specifics:(1 being lowest performance, 5 the highest)
  • Build quality – 5
  • Weight – 5
  • Speed – 4.5
  • Stability – 5
  • Tracking – 4.5
  • Manoeuvrability – 4.5
  • Edging – 4.5
  • Seat comfort – 4.5
  • Foot pegs – 5+
  • Skeg – 5+
  • Storage – 4

Bought this boat for my...

Bought this boat for my wife because she wanted something sportier than just a touring kayak but still wanted the tracking she would get from a longer boat, and she wasn't let down at all. We use this on flat lakes around the house and have even gone down some class 2 rapids and it handles like a champ no matter what we throw at it.

I've had my Axis 12.0 for...

I've had my Axis 12.0 for a couple seasons now, and look forward to another starting soon. I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and we have every kind of water imaginable. I own 6 kayaks, but if it were mandated that I could have only one, the Axis 12 would be my choice. I could do anything from the open seas of Lake Superior to Class III rapids. Is it as fast as my 17-foot sea kayak? No way, but it is far faster than a 28-inch 12-foot hull has any right to be. I've paddled as much as a 20-mile day on flat water with it, and it's not too tedious.

Basically, Dagger hit a home run with this boat. Tracking is okay with the skeg up, while maneuverability is excellent -- not as good as my whitewater boat of course, but decent. Tracking with the skeg down is awesome, and the skeg itself has never clogged up on me, even when I slide through mud. This boat is well-engineered, and the hull design is a work of art and science. It's a big boat that performs beyond all expectations.

I got an Axis 12.0 this...

I got an Axis 12.0 this past summer. Great stability and has no problem with faster currents. I was on the Kokosing in early summer. We went through the factory rapids easily. This is not a white water kayak. It is good for Ohio's class II or III rapids though. I did put thigh braces on my kayak for a more stable ride, not to roll.

6 mos update! Not only is this a great river camping kayak, but…

6 mos update!
Not only is this a great river camping kayak, but my wife and I did some lake camping this summer at Priest Lake ID and this boat was great for her to paddle and she had plenty of room for camping gear and food/water. It may be the closest thing to a great all around do everything (except class IV) boat!

I've used this "crossover"...

I've used this "crossover" Dagger on a variety of waterways this past summer, mostly with the skeg retracted to improve my paddling skills, which it has. It is highly manuverable, with good tracking unless you encounter white cap wind and waves, where it's white water rocker make the upturned bow a weathercocking sail; time to drop the skeg down to assist.

Primary and secondary stability is very good, with a very comfortable adjustable seat that allows for eskimo rolls and has adequate behind the seat storage where I usually keep a foam style paddle float and rescue/tow bag, the center tunnel has bungies for a liter sized bottle.

I did add the two specific Harmony float bags in the bow and the thigh braces; the stern hatch seals well in all weather. I have other kayaks, and think the product delivers as advertised by Dagger. I would have preferred to pay a little more for a front bulkhead and hatch to make it more versatile and help reduce bow rise when loading the stern hatch compartment.

A great mutli-purpose play boat for calm or light winds that handles moderately turbulent water well

My son and I bought a pair...

My son and I bought a pair of Axis 12' kayaks over a year ago. They are molded in plastic, they are perfect for the type of kayaking we like to do, which is a mix of everything, everywhere. It is a very stable sit in boat, it tracks well and the skeg that comes standard with the boat is great specially in windy situations.

We have taken our Daggers on the bay, we have cruised around the beach, we have done a few river trips (no big rapids). This week we are going on a 3 day kayak-camping trip in the Saco river in NH, and so far it seems we'll be able to take all of our gear in them.

The only thing I wish our boats had is a front dry storage area, but the rear one is much larger than it looks and can take a lot of gear and supplies.

It is a very nice boat, great value for the price, I do recommend it.

Bought this for river...

Bought this for river running but it has to hold 5 days camping supplies and paddle well on flat water. While not quite as nimble as a Liquid Logic Xp10 But it did great on a 5 day paddle down the Smith River in MT

We are beginners and chose...

We are beginners and chose the Axis 12 due to the comfortable seating, stability and the skeg. We are pleased with them so far and they have made the learning experience enjoyable. The weight (55lbs.) is manageable and they look and handle well. With the skeg down, they track within 5 degrees of true course. The seats are comfortable and adjust well from the cockpit, and there is plenty of storage. The dry storage has enough room that I was able to put in a small cooler easily and the hatch was watertight. Too bad the cooler wasn't and leaked melted ice all over my car keys, jacket, etc. Lesson learned!

The cockpit is roomy, I'm 220ish and I didn't feel cramped. There was plenty of room for adjustment for the foot braces as well. I would add a spray skirt or cover though as I managed to ship a fair amount of water past the drip guards on my paddle into the kayak. Probably just poor newbie paddling technique!

Overall we are very pleased with all aspects of the kayak and would choose the same model if we had to do it all over again.

Nice boat but we found it...

Nice boat but we found it to be a bit slower than our Pungo 120s with the skeg down, and didn't track at all with the skeg up so we had to work harder to get where we wanted to go. Did not run it in faster water so may be a better boat there.

I have had my Dagger Axis...

I have had my Dagger Axis 12 for several years. I love the kayak, lots of volume for a 290 pound person.

I fully support the...

I fully support the positive comments made by the other reviewers. I have had the Axis 12.0 for three months now. I also own a sea kayak and a sit on top fishing one. This is a splendid all around kayak. Both initial and secondary stability are excellent. Track very well for a recreational kayak. I have tried other brands recreational kayaks and I haven't found anything better yet.

With the skeg down, it tracks like an arrow, very useful on a larger lake with a rear-side wind. The large cockpit makes it very easy to come in and out even for larger paddlers. It also comes with a very comfortable seat and plenty of room for the legs. The hatch lid is tight and totally leak-proof.

My wife and I have used it on flat water, small and large lakes. My wife loves it because she feels very secure and it is so easy to control. I have used it on Class I and II rapids and again it handles very well. My only word of caution would be to add a flotation bag up front; otherwise if you capsize the nose will quickly dive down. In a rapid this can result in causing damage to your boat and on flat water it will facilitate recovery. Mind you that on flat water if you wear a spray skirt and know how to brace, it becomes very difficult to capsize considering how stable the boat is.

In short, we are fully satisfied; I can only recommend this kayak very strongly.

Great all around kayak....

Great all around kayak. Light and sturdy. Standard skeg is very effective in moving currents. Wish it had more storage space in the front.

I am 19, 165lbs, and I'm 6'2". The Dagger Axis looked amazing…

I am 19, 165lbs, and I'm 6'2".
The Dagger Axis looked amazing in person, even better than it did online, so that's a plus. The longest trip I've taken it on was 11 miles of flat/slow moving water from the Yamhill launch site in Dayton, to the Dundee paddle launch site (Oregon).

Specifics:(1 being lowest performance, 5 the highest)
Stability - 5
Seat comfort - 5
Skeg - 5
Weight - 5

So it pretty much aces my test. Dry Storage..It's my first kayak but I don't see how any other kayak could have much more dry storage space unless it was longer than 12ft. The lid to the dry storage is pretty hard to get off and on until you get used to it, it kind of breaks in.( I've only opened it 3/4 times).

I would TOTALLY recommend this kayak to everyone, great boat.

Just completing my second...

Just completing my second season with the Axis 12.0 and I couldn't be more pleased. Have paddled on lakes and rivers with it and find it tracks well, the seat is extremely comfortable, has reasonably good speed for a hybrid boat and plenty of room for my stuff. This is my second Dagger. First was a Zydeco. I stick with the brand because of its quality, design, comfort and performance.

This is an exceptional...

This is an exceptional kayak! It's light enough that I can load it on top of my suv by myself. It's stability on the water is great! Speed and maneuverability are both impressive. The skeg lets you track wherever you want go.

Update: I own dagger 12 ft...

Update: I own dagger 12 ft love this boat easy to handle went down the pine river mi, river was high and fast no problem. just went down Pere Marquette. lake Mich. and lake Hamlin during a chop axis no problem.

I bought this boat just...

I bought this boat just about a month ago. I've used it on the Monongahela between Morgantown and Fairmont, WV, and I've also used it on the Savage River Reservoir in MD. While I didn't necessarily need the whitewater capabilities, I went for them as I wanted a more nimble boat if the need were to arise.

It is nearly impossible to express just how much I really love this boat. It is faster than I'd hoped, and I can almost keep up with my wife in her Tsunami 120, a sleeker speed demon of sorts. Plus, the skeg is amazing. As advertised, if you drop it, you're going to paddle in a straight line. As a point of comparison, I'd also tried out other beginner boats such as a Pungo 120, a Pamlico 120, and a Perception Zydeco. Why anyone would purchase one of those over this sweet Axis is beyond me, but then I suppose others have their own needs. But all of those above felt and maneuvered like tanks, often veering to wherever they wished, while this one just makes every stroke a joy.

I should also mention that it has some pretty nice storage solutions. The deck bungees are great, obviously, and I really like the mesh on the bow, but it's the rear storage compartment that won me over. It doesn't look like much, but last weekend I stuffed a soft cooler full of drinks, fruit, and sandwiches - and ice - in it, and there was plenty of room for at least one more, plus something else. I think I could camp for a week out of it - maybe only three or four days, but certainly it holds more than I'd expected.

Finally, though, I should mention that I am a really large person - width wise, that is. I am 6' tall, and I weigh in at 330. There is room to spare in the cockpit, which is great as I really hated the wide open cockpits in the other boats I'd tried. But this one fits me beautifully, and it's not too tight a squeeze to get into or out of. It's pretty simple, actually. And I also suspect that once I lose some more weight, I will actually be able to keep up with my wife in her boat, but in all, I could not possibly be happier with my purchase. I hope this boat lasts me forever; although, that may be tough as I intend to use it A LOT!

I got to demo this boat...

I got to demo this boat and I was surprised by how much I loved it! It’s like a recreational kayak on steroids. It's stable, faster than my Blackwater and I can even edge into turns. 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

I love this kayak. I have...

I love this kayak. I have owned many, and this truly is an all around boat. Flat water handling is excellent and edge turns are super sweet. The cockpit is ULTRA roomy, I am 6ft. 1" and weigh in at 245lbs. Cargo area is more than enough. That is to say if you have scaled down backpacking gear, which you probably do if you are looking at this there is plenty of room for a weeks worth of supplies. The fit and finish of this kayak scream quality. The hull is VERY sturdy. The foot pegs are very easy to adjust from a seated postion should you need to adjust from a more relaxed flat river position to a more aggresive moving river postion in order to take advantage of the optional thigh braces for added control. Go ahead and spring for the optional thigh braces, you will be glad you did. The seat adjustment is awesome, especially the ability to lift the front of the seat, it really makes a difference when you are in the water for extended periods. I have had this boat on a week long self support trip and I absolutely love it. It truly is the best of both worlds and handles flat water and up to class 3 with ease. By the way the skeg is aluminum and solid. Just don't forget to raise it before the fast sections. Get a skirt too you'll need it. ROCK ON!!! I could say much more but you'll have to see for yourself.

Purchased my 12' Axis in...

Purchased my 12' Axis in Jan. 2011; I'm 61 yrs old 6'1" 225lbs. Used my Axis about 3x once on lake another on a river fishing the boat was outstanding it did every thing great. Tracking very good with skeg down. Love this boat can't wait go again... planning on some class II river soon.

I've owned this boat for...

I've owned this boat for only a short while, but in the few times I've used it, I've grown to really like it. My previous boat was a Perception Prodigy 12, and on the smallest of river rapids around here, it would dive like a submarine, so I wanted something more capable on the rapids, without going to a whitewater boat.

The Axis is just what I was wanting. It handles small rapids without a problem. I've had it on class II, and stayed dry. And on flat water with the skeg down, it tracks well, actually better than the Perception Prodigy 12.

This boat does exactly...

This boat does exactly what it was designed to do and that is cross over between lakes and slower rivers nicely. The added volume in the bow worked well in smaller rapids (Upper Delaware) keeping you confident and dry! The boat also tracks well in open water and is fast enough to make a long 5-6 hr trips enjoyable. The seat is fantastic and super comfortable! Nice boat!

I have had my Axis 12.0...

I have had my Axis 12.0 for 4 months now. I totally love it. I live in the west side of Michigan and have had the Axis on both the Michigan rivers and Lake Michigan. It has been a great experience. I had a Dagger Blackwater before and the Axis is far superior. It handles great on streams and on open water. The skeg works great when needed. They really retooled it from the previous Blackwater model. A great buy for the money and I would totally recommend it.

I bought the boat based on...

I bought the boat based on web reviews and the ability to "cross over" from flat to moving water. First and foremost, I REALLY like this boat, the cockpit is a nice size (I'm 6'2" ~225#) without feeling like a big open rec boat. I do think that it is better suited to moving water, but the drop skeg does help track, as does good paddling style.

I am not sure the company claim "beginner" is accurate, as a rec boat with full keel may feel a bit more stable primarily - the Axis does hold its own, but more so on secondary stability I think. The hull is a sort of V/U hybrid shape that gives the best of both without limiting the design (where the crossover comes in).

If you can only have one boat I think you would be very happy with the Axis - I am, but I knew what I wanted going in! I have flat water boats and river rigs, I wanted something that I could travel with and do both pretty well instead of bringing two boats that do separate things very well. I wouldn't expect the 12 footer to bomb down some III/IV water - especially rocky, but anything less would be a-OK.