Kayak advice

I am a beginning kayaker. I would like a kayak that I can grow into and not outgrow in one season. I would like a boat with the ability to tour/camp, but one that also performs and handles well in all types of conditions.(I will be using it primarily on lakes and slow moving rivers)

I am currently looking at 2 boats right now…

Dagger Blackwater and a Perception Pacifica both in the 12’ range.

Any suggestions/comments would be greatly appreciated.


Demo, but one…
…additional boat to try is the Prijon Yukon


You’ll either love it or hate it.

My Beginner Boat…
was a Cape Horn 15. I think it’s a great starter boat.

prijon kodiak
Is what I have, I like it. Tough,stable,and good quality. Lots of room and it moves along nice and tracks well.

Both The Same
In the past I asked about the Pacifica and someone told me it was the same as the Dagger Blackwater. I just now went to their websites and compared them. Yeah, they are almost identical, the Pacifica is .25 inches narrower. Cockpit size is identical. Photos look identical. Remember they are both made by the same parent company. They are really almost twins.

Not clear what you want
You say:

“I would like a boat with the ability to tour/camp, but one that also performs and handles well in all types of conditions.”

Neither of the boats you mention qualify if you take this statement literally. What do you mean by “all types of conditions”? Six foot waves? Thirty knot winds? Tour for a week? Overnight?

my beginner boat was
an Aquaterra Chinook…only choice at the time

"Grow into"
What do you mean by that? As alluded to in a prior post, if you mean stuff like rolling in flat water and/or dimensional water that’s a whole different thing. For that kind of use combined with camping you probably want a boat with two sealed bulkheads, one front and one back, which moves you into a longer boat that would be listed as Touring boat. Also a better fit with smaller cockpit.

For camping you might want that anyway - even Dagger doesn’t rate the Blackwater in their Expedition boats. That group tends to be longer and has two sealed bulkheads plus stuff that helps self-rescue like deck rigging.

If you have stability concerns - you can become comfortable with the stability on flat water with boats like these in about two hours of paddling. You can go longer and skinnier and still be in something that you’ll acclimate to quickly.

don’t we all…
" I would like a boat with the ability to tour/camp, but one that also performs and handles well in all types of conditions."

If you go to a tire store & say "I want a tire that will perform & handle well on all types of road surfaces & weather (rain, snow, dry, etc.) and if they’re honest, they will answer “we have tires that can handle all those scenarios adequately but are not exceptionally good at any one.”

But do you really need three or four sets of tires or can you make do with one?

Most of us can make do with one set of tires, unless we’re serious drivers.

but the difference between boats & tires is, most of us here have more than one boat! We all started out with one but realized it couldn’t “do it all.”

Best advice is “try before you buy.”

Checkout SmartMoney article…
There’s an interesting kayak evaluation article in the August 2006 issue of SmartMoney magazine. Olympic gold medalist Joe Jacobi tested 5 12ft kayaks:

Liquidlogic Stingray 12. 1 star rating. Sluggish and feels like “paddling uphill”.

Current Designs Kestrel 120. 2 star rating. Sleek design but hated the seat.

Wilderness Systems Pungo 120. 3 star rating. Great comfort but slow.

Riot Enduro. 3 star rating. Best performance but too sensitive for beginners. Would be at the top of Jacobi’s list if he were buying.

Perception Sundance 12. 4 star rating. A great blend of agility and comfort. SmartMoney Award winner.

I’ve been saying wonderful things about the Sundance 12 for two years. This rec kayak is highly under-rated.

I love mine.

12 ft rec boats vs touring boats

12 ft boats are fine for short recreational jaunts on small lakes and slow rivers, and the boats you list and SmartMoney lists would all work.

But you say you want a boat for all day tours, camping, and you want a boat able to handle many different conditions–and a boat you can grow into. That’s not a recreational kayak you’re describing; it’s a touring kayak, which usually means 15ft or longer, 2 bulkheads, and narrower for better performance. Dozens and dozens of boats fit these specs, and with a couple hours of instruction, a motivated beginner will be fine in most of these boats.

I’d recommend a boat on the shorter end of touring size (ie, 15 to 17 ft long, 20 to 23 inches wide), so you can take it in small spaces, but also take it touring on big lakes.

Another fine 12-footer
Prijon Capri Tour. Decent speed, tracks very well. Very good quality poly. The cockpit is smaller than on most 12-footers. I’ve had mine for 10 months and have learned edging, bracing and rolling. Good stability, rolls quite easily and good recovery from deep high bracing. Anyway, another choice in a good group of boats.

Try a Liquid Logic Pisgah
I’m just starting kayaking as well. I paddled a lot of boats and settled on the Pisgah. It’s 14 feet long,23.5" wide. Stability is good . Nice cockpit which fits me well and the overall quality is good. Try one if you can !

Maybe not.
It has no thigh braces, does not have a front bulkhead, and is designed for “open cockpit” (i.e., no spray skirt). It may be a fine rec boat but it is not a touring boat and cannot handle “all conditions”. I wouldn’t even take such a boat out in one to two foot waves.

lots of 12ft boats.
demo some kayaks.