DG_2015_Roam_Paddle_with_Helmet web


L: 9’9”; W: 31.5”; 56 lbs., 250-lb. max capacity (also available in an 11.5’ length)
($855, dagger.com)

The new Dagger Roam is a rare beast: a sit-on-top kayak made for moderate whitewater. The design blends massive primary stability with surprising edging performance, rendering it capable of Class III waters.

How stable? Before settling into the Roam’s comfortably outfitted seat for the first time, one tester decided to gauge how long he could paddle standing on it. In a testament to the boat’s 31.5-inch width and extreme stability, he leaped onto the boat from a riverside deck, and, still standing, rocked the boat violently from side-to-side.

The design blends massive primary stability with surprising edging performance, rendering it capable of Class III waters.

Once properly seated, testers noted the easily adjustable foot pegs, a well-thought seat that engages the thighs, and the thickest leg straps we’ve seen on a sit-on-top—all of which help get this boat on edge and slicing in and out of eddies with ease. Even without the skeg deployed, the Roam tracked better than expected for a boat of its sub-10-foot stature, thanks to a pair of deep channels on the underside of the hull.

This confidence-inspiring boat really did provoke our urge to roam, and with ample storage in the front hatch and rear well even overnight trips are a distinct possibility. Testers loved the mesh bag that removes from the stern storage well and, using the detachable thigh straps, cleverly converts into a day pack.

At a girthy 56 pounds, the Roam is a beast to rack solo. Once in the water, however, the raised seat and plush adjustable outfitting made for hours of uninterrupted, comfy Cadillac cruising. This any-paddler boat can hold its place in the quiver by easily doubling as a fishing platform, crossing over to ocean tours, or getting you confidently on new moving waters. — Joe Jackson