Dagger Zydeco 11 Review: A Popular Kayak to Give a Try

Dagger Zydeco 11 Review

Kayaks are a favorite hobby for many individuals that love the water, and this Dagger Zydeco 11 review will help to outline the features that make a kayak genuinely great. A kayak is characterized by its narrow body shape, smaller size, and the easily identified double-bladed paddle that moves the craft through the water.

Traditional kayaks have covered decks that help to keep the water out of the cockpit, or seating area and some kayaks will have either one or two cockpits. The coverings on the deck and around each passenger are what differentiate this watercraft from a canoe.

Kayaks are believed to have been around for thousands of years as they have been a staple mode of transportation for the Inuit, Aleut, and Yup’ik cultures.

The oldest kayak in North America that still exists is thought to be from 1577 and currently resides in a German museum called the Five Continents Museum.

What is The Dagger Zydeco 11?

What is The Dagger Zydeco 11

In this Dagger Zydeco 11 review, we’ll talk about the features that make this particular kayak an instant hit with both new and experienced kayakers.

This kayak weighs in at 48 pounds, and 11’2″ which makes it both a reasonably sized kayak for transportation and use in the water.

The lightweight construction of this kayak may make it easier to carry around, but it’s still rugged enough for virtually any day trip, overnight excursions, and other kayaking hobbies that require a bit of gear.

One of the most popular characteristics of this kayak is that it is comfortable and generally pretty roomy in areas where it counts, such as the cockpit and storage. The Dagger Zydeco 11 also has some features often found on much pricier kayaks such as:

  • Adjustable foot pegs
  • A plush foam seat
  • Dry storage areas
  • A secure paddle storage point

One of the reasons this kayak is so popular is that many of the crucial components are highly adjustable so that this watercraft can accommodate users of all sizes and shapes.

This kayak is also designed with comfort in mind as well as stability, so it’s easy to use in a variety of different water conditions.

If you are a beginner looking for a kayak that is both easy to use and highly adjustable but doesn’t cost a lot, then the Dagger Zydeco 11 might be just the right watercraft.

This kayak is made in the USA, and the hull comes in different colors like a mixed blend of black, red, and yellow referred to as “molten.”

Another available color is lime green, blue, and there is also a mix of blue, pink, purple, and grey that is collectively called “Aurora.”

If you want to test out the kayak before purchasing, stores like REI allow free shipping to the store, and the Dagger website also lists options where you can see one locally.

Product Specifications

Dagger Zydeco 11 Specifications

The ideal conditions for this kayak are flat water without much of a breeze, but it’s sturdy construction, and overall weight allows it to be used in less than ideal conditions and also carry quite a bit of gear.

The hull is constructed out of polyethylene that has been rotomolded, and the dimensions are 11’2″ long and 27.75″ wide.

The 15” of depth that this kayak offers also means that there is a bit of storage available and the cockpit size measures 38.5 inches by 21.75 inches.

Although this kayak only has one cockpit and can therefore only accommodate one person, the overall weight capacity is 325 pounds, which is generous for most situations.

In the cockpit, there is also a soft and padded foam seat that is adjustable for users of different sizes and heights. There are also leg lifters and a thigh pad on each side for optimal comfort as you paddle.

The polyethylene hull material also makes this craft responsive in the water and easy to maneuver. When paddling, you can plan on being comfortable as padding exists in critical areas where the body might rub uncomfortably on the hull.

The extended size of the cockpit means that larger paddlers will be able to get into this kayak as quickly as smaller users, and the footpegs shift into multiple positions.

At the stern of this kayak, users will find some much-needed dry storage for holding gear and keeping it dry.

The additional rigging on the deck makes it easy to strap down items that are ok getting sprayed with water but need to be accessible to the paddler.

If you are into taking pictures outdoors or doing other activities such as fishing, then you’ll want to use the “paddle park” feature which is a secure place to hold your paddle while your hands are busy doing other things. If water gets in your kayak and needs to be removed, there is also a convenient drain plug.


The Dagger Zydeco 11 retails for $599 online, but there may be additional costs for shipping to some locations. Many brick and mortar stores will offer free shipping to their store when you purchase the product from them, while other sites such as Amazon tend to charge $99 for shipping.

Keep in mind that since this kayak is over eleven feet long, it is unlikely to ship using the same method as other smaller packages.

Often, this type of item is dispatched using a particular freight service, which will cost substantially more than other companies such as USPS or FedEx.

There are sometimes deals or sales going on at select retailers who are also Authorized Dagger Dealers. On the Dagger website you can find what stores stock the kayak you are looking for and see what the available deals are at that time.

How it Compares

This Dagger Zydeco 11 review would be incomplete if we didn’t look at other comparable kayaks and discuss the features that each one has or lacks.

Many of these kayaks are very well outfitted for their price range, and several of them come in multiple colors and have several adjustable components.

Old Town Vapor 10XT

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Price: $599.95

Ease of Use 4.7/5 Stars

Build Quality 4.7/5 Stars

Warranty 5/5 Stars

The Old Town Vapor 10XT comes with a limited lifetime warranty and a very reasonable price tag given that it is durable, and easily could last for several years. Many users report that this kayak is supremely stable and easy to get into even when on water that isn’t perfectly calm.

This kayak performs well in both freshwater and saltwater, and the padded seats are reported to be “extra padded” for more comfort.

This kayak is equally as adjustable as the Dagger Zydeco 11 and has a similar polyethylene hull, but it is a full foot shorter at just ten feet long.

Despite the shorter length, this kayak his wider at 28.5 inches, and deeper at 16.75 inches. The cockpit size is more extended as well and measures 48 inches by 19.5 inches. This kayak is designed to fit a single person and has the same weight capacity as the Zydeco 11 at 325 pounds.

Some features that set this kayak apart include the carrying handles built into the hull which allow for all 49 pounds of this kayak to be carried more easily.

There is also a molded paddle rest for when you need your hands for other things and more robust thigh pads for additional comfort.

Much like the Dagger Zydeco 11, the Old Town Vapor 10XT has an adjustable foot brace that features extra padding and contoured rubber for a consistent grip regardless of footwear or bare feet. There is also storage in the stern for supplies or even a small dog.

This kayak is ideal for those that are looking for greater adjustability in the seating area and more support of their torso as they paddle.

The padding in the cockpit allows for better adjustability that helps explicitly support a healthy posture, and the Comfort Flex seat is well padded and durable.

This kayak also features a skid plate which the Zydeco 11 doesn’t have, and the cockpit features a cup holder and tray which is also unique to the Old Town Vapor kayak.

This kayak lacks the stretchy on deck rigging that many other kayaks have, and there isn’t an easy way to add it without making adjustments to the hull.

Dagger Zydeco 9.0

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Price: $459

Ease of Use 4.5/5 Stars

Build Quality 4.8/5 Stars

Warranty 5/5 Stars

The three-year limited warranty on the Dagger Zydeco 9.0 offers the customer plenty of time to test out and use their kayak to confirm that it is free from any manufacturing defects or other unusual wear and tear. The reasonable price of this kayak and very durable and high-quality materials is also another bonus.

This one-person kayak also uses polyethylene for the hull and has a soft and cushy seat made from foam coated with a textured cover. This kayak also has adjustable pieces like a backrest and foot pegs.

This version of the Dagger Zydeco kayak also features handles for more comfortable transportation of the watercraft, and stretchy deck rigging for keeping specific objects close at hand. There is also a place to hold your paddle for when you need your hands to do other things.  

One key difference is that this kayak is shorter than both other options at just over nine feet and has a weight limit of 220 pounds.

An advantage that this kayak has is that it only weighs 36.5 pounds, so it’s lighter and easier to move than the others on our list.

Another advantage to this kayak is that the hull is designed for better performance and maneuverability and less for just river floating.

Since the kayak is lighter, it can accelerate faster, and change direction more quickly and delicately in smaller spaces.

Pros and Cons

The Dagger Zydeco 11 is a fully featured kayak that is good for both beginners and experienced users. It’s a stable watercraft with plenty of room for every size of paddler and easily accessible storage for stowing gear for any hobby. Here are some other pros and cons to consider when looking at this kayak.


  • Multiple color options
  • On deck storage and dry storage
  • Padded seat and cockpit
  • Adjustable to fit differently sized paddlers
  • Stable on calmer waters


  • Takes some practice to paddle and keep the kayak moving straight
  • No handles for carrying
  • No cup holder or tray to set items
  • Can be a bit heavy for one person to carry

Final Verdict

During this Dagger Zydeco 11 review, we’ve covered all of the features that make this kayak a great value and the pros and cons of this watercraft. If you are in the market for a reasonably priced and multi-purpose kayak, the Zydeco 11 is an excellent option for kayakers of all skill levels.

Perhaps one of the best characteristics of this kayak is the polyethylene hull that is very durable and will help this kayak last for many years.

Other components such as the cushioning may wear over time and need replacement, but the hull can handle moderate collisions with rocks and other debris in the water with only a bit of scuffing.

This kayak is also well suited to a wide variety of hobbies and can easily handle carrying enough gear for a day trip. It may take some time to figure out how to maneuver this kayak with high precision, but it’s otherwise very beginner friendly.

One drawback is the weight of this kayak and the lack of handles which may not be ideal for more petite paddlers or children.

This kayak is robust enough for most activities and can be easily adjusted to suit any sized paddler. The durable hull will also last several years and is suited for various water activities from outdoor photography to fishing.


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