Necky Manitou 13 vs Dagger Blackwater

I’m looking to get my first kayak. I’ve never even been in one yet. I’ll be using it on a small local river (the Big Sioux) and on a bigger river (the Missouri) occasionaly. I can get the Necky Manitou for $550 on clearence, but I’m worried that at 12’10 it may be to big for my purposes. Recently looked at a 2007 Dagger Blackwater 10.5 and it seems like it would be a lot easier to transport and I wouldn’t have to get it registered in my state (under 12 feet), but from the review on this forum I’m worried it might be pretty hard to paddle. I would like to do some ovenight trips in it, but I have all ultralight backpacking gear and could do a weekend with the space in the Blackwater easily. Any thoughts?

Depending on your weight
the Dagger Blackwater 10.5 may be too small for overnighting, and very slow. I’ve enjoyed the speed and capacity of the Manitou much more than I did the Blackwater 11.5 I used to have. I now have two of the Manitou Sports that I use for guest boats. They are ideal for twisty little streams and fast enough and carry enough for overnighting. If you have Wilderness Systems or Liquid Logics available in your area I’d recommend either of them over the Dagger or Necky boats. More comfort, better build, and the price will be about the same.

Manitou for sure
I had a 10footer and it was a slug. Good maoeuverability . I bought the Manitou 13 and quite like it. It feels like a bigger boat. Tracks very well but you have to learn to lean a bit to turn. Has enough space for an overnighter. I’m a bad back guy and the #1 consideration was comfort. The Manitou is very comfy for me 5’11" and twixt 180-190lbs. depending how much of a slug I’ve been…Best thing is it’s cruising ability and it’s very stable.

From what I’ve been reading on this site the Manitou 13 sounds like a faster and better kayak. My only concern is manoverability on smaller streams and ease of transport.

Manitou is a good kayak

A lot of it has to do with paddler skill…

Unless your streams are narrower than the Manitou is long, you should be fine once you get comfortable leaning and edging.

Woody Calloway paddling the Pisgah
puts on quite a show on section IV of the Chatooga. I love the back ground music, too.