Dagger vs. Perception Quality


I am wondering if anyone has any comments and/or experiences in the quality of Dagger kayaks vs. Perception. The kayak I am interested in purchasing from Dagger, is also made by Perception and as far as the specs. go, it’s pretty much the same boat. But I have read a-lot of people not being happy with the quality of Dagger, ie: backbands being cheap and not comfortable, bulkheads and hatches leaking, cupping etc.

If anyone has been in my suitation please give me your thoughts.

Thanks :slight_smile:

May be made in the same factory, by the
same people. The Dagger factory in Harriman TN was closed.

The main attraction of some Dagger designs is that they were done when designer Steve Scarborough was “hot”. Unfortunately I cannot tell you much about the various kayak designs, only about some of the canoes.

My opinion
I looked at a Tandem similar boat between Dagger and Perception also. (The Blackwater 13.5 and the Acadia II) Both companies are actually owned by a parent investing firm, but both have seemed to retain individuality and their own “mission”.

I’ve often felt that I when comparing Dagger to Perception that I was comparing Ford to Mercury, where the Perception (Mercury, in my view), had better fit, trim and finish.

I would probably feel both companies are on the middle end of the quality scale, but I also feel that they provide good value (good boats for good money). QCC and similar would probably be the “Lexus” of the line.

I did chose the Perception Acadia II over the Blackwater, but in the end, it was so close, it was simply price (got a great deal on my Acadia).

I am already planning on (gently used) Pungo 14 for my next boat (a solo), since I am mostly into flat water, and I like what I hear and see about Wilderness Systems’ boats.


I have a Dagger Meridan alone with 7 other canoes and kayaks. It is a great boat to paddle but the attention to detail is the worst of the boats. I couldn’t I dislike the boat though. My wife’s Mystic is so much better built.


Perception for me
like the high seat back and racheting adjust seat back as well as the seat cushioning. Good boat for the money. Haven’t tried a dagger though. Have used wilderness systems boat a liked it too. The phase 3 seating was nice but like my seat better. Have to agree Perception is a middle line quality boat, not top end but worth the money.

I can talk about Perception.
I don’t have a clue about Dagger, but if Perception is still putting the same quality into their boats as they always have, they are good.

I have a seven year old Eclipse, and my wife has the same age Shadow, and they have thousands of miles on them, in every kind of condition, and they keep on ticking with out any sign of problems.

I have read all kind of posts on other yaks that have had problems with leaking hatches, and we have never had that problem. We have paddled in conditions with the compartments loaded to the hilt, and breaking waves coming over them, for hours at a time, and when we open them, they are as dry as a bone.

I have heard bad things about the new plastic rudders that they are using, but ours are the metal ones, and are industructable.

In the past I have read Perception bashers bitch about the their thin plastic, but if that were true, ours should have been worn through a long time ago from all the shell beaches that they have been surfed and dragged onto.



It’s the same company now
A friend who’s a dealer for both brands is lamenting that they’re now using the same crap plastic that Perception used in the Dagger boats.

built in Mexico
Watermark has moved composite construction of Dagger and Perception to a Mexican facility(firing all the US composite employees in the process).

Have ya seen the new ones?
They got rid of the stupid rod…

I read that in 2004…
Dagger and Perception rotomolded kayaks are going to be made of something called “Exolar” instead of whatever plastic they used before. It is supposed to be tougher and lighter but that’s all I know.

The details are sketchy…

– Last Updated: Jan-21-04 5:47 PM EST –

...but one thing is certain, it's still polyethylene. While it sounds like it should be an improvement over what they've been using, like any material, it depends on how it's applied. If it's stiffer and more durable and they use it as they have in the past, the boats should improve. If they decide to try to use less material in order to cut costs instead, then there will still be problems. Considering all the cost cutting measures they've made, I'm not holding out a lot of hope.

None of the above.
I can’t think of a current boat made by Dagger or Perception that doesn’t have a better competitor made by someone else. Well, maybe that is too strong. But I would say expand your choice set and try some other brands.

I’m sure that all the new employees will be wearing their PPE as directed.


Composite Perceptions
I was under the impression that the composite Perceptions were made in Canada by another company, and not made in the US.

Do the research.
I agree that there are many boats that compete with the dagger and perception line. But some of us are stuck with the Oldsmobiles and Chevies of life. that’s were Perception and Dagger fit in.

For my next boat, I will become more “upscale”. Living life high on the hog and move up to a Wilderness Systems product. Whoo hooo!

My recommendation.

What do you want in a boat? What design features? What Amenities? is dry storage a MUST or an extra? What is your budget? Find the boats that match your criteria on Buyer’s Guide, then check the product reviews on those boats. believe it or now, those two factors were 100% of my final decision.

I Have …
a Dagger Ultrafuge and Perception Shock (and Riot) white water boats. For short boats, I am more concerned about the volume and hull shape then the actual plastic. Since the boats are short, they are not going to be that heavy nor get stressed out on a rack in the sun. Interestingly, the ultrafuge, at slightly higher volume, is heavier than my riot. I think the Dagger is using a thinner plastic or molding thinner. But it performs fine.

Personally, with longer boats, I’m not sure I would be too keen to get another plastic boat of any brand (I can be convinced though). The reason being that I just like the lighter weight of composite, S&G and, most of all, SOF. But it all still comes down to the boat’s size and performance for what the type of paddling I do.

If the Japanese entrepeneur that is developing a factory boat based on a low volume Greenland design ever ever ships the boats over, I would be on it in a heartbeat.


not in canada anymore, eh
P. used Upstream Edge in Canada to manufacture its composites. After Watermark bought them they had Dagger building the P. boats for a while prior to moving the operation south of the border.