Reviews

Now discontinued for some time, this was Dagger's…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $300 including floatation and paddle!

Summary

Now discontinued for some time, this was Dagger's original whitewater Royalex boat. If you are able to locate a used one, I would encourage you to purchase this fine piece of a legendary canoe maker's history and use it!

Pros

  • Constructed of Royalex (no longer produced)
  • Able to handle anything that you can
  • Turns quick
  • Accerates fast
  • The T model can be used tandem or solo
  • Straight gunwales for easy paddle strokes

Cons

  • No longer available
  • A bit tipsy for beginners

I've owned my Dagger Caper for over ten years now and couldn't be happier with it. I am not an expert paddler and have only used this boat on up to Class III+ whitewater. I frequently paddle this boat on mild whitewater and it is a joy. I paddle mainly on the Hiwassee River, Nantahala River, Little River, Citico Creek, and sections of the Tellico River. I also use this canoe in slack waters on local lakes and ponds. It has been used for overnight 20-mile trips on the Caney Fork River.

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Dagger Caper shown here exiting Devil's Shoals on the Hiwassee River

The Caper was Joe Pulliam's first Royalex whiterwater canoe. It was made here in Tennessee starting in 1988. It measures 14' 4" long with a max beam of 31.5". The Caper weighs in right at 60 lbs. It has 5" of rocker. This Dagger features two kneeling thwarts, a symmetrical hull, and nearly straight gunwales.

I have found that this boat turns lightning fast and is very maneuverable. It is ready to surf to your heart's content. Beginners may find the Caper to be a bit twitchy and tipsy. There is nary a flat place on the hull. It can also prove easy to upset if you are attempting to go tandem. I've only shared my boat once with a well balanced partner and a few times with my daughter and nephew who are both small and have good balance.


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Dropping off the 4' ledge on the beautiful Hiwassee

I have used my Caper on flat water quite often. This is an exercise in patience. This boat is at home in swift moving water, not on lakes or ponds. Nevertheless, once familiar with it, it is not a problem to paddle on still or slow moving water. I've also loaded this thing to the gills with camping gear and did 20+ miles on the Caney Fork River in Middle Tennessee. (I was elected to be the mule since everyone else thought kayaks were the way!) On this trip the versatility of this boat really shined through. I was able to haul over 100lbs of gear and remain stable enough to fish and be quite comfy.


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Going submarine, popping thru the Lesser Wesser (Nantahala Falls) on the Nanty

In conclusion, I would like to say that if you are in the market for a great whitewater canoe and can find a solid used example of this boat, BUY IT! If not, PM me on its whereabouts! I've enjoyed my boat for over 10 years now and hope to be for many more. This is a very capable boat and let's face it, Royalex is a thing of the past now. "They don't make them like they used to" has never rang so true.

Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Great review and excellent photos, Joe! Thanks for sharing them. If you have a full image of your Caper T, I'd love to use it on its product page here, to show others what it looks like.


3 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks, Joe!


3 years ago
Joe Hopper

Thank you Alicia, sorry for the delay in posting extra picture.


3 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

No worries at all, Joe. Thanks for taking the time to share a picture so we can see the full boat (though I love your action shots!).


3 years ago

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