6 Best Crossover Kayak Comparison with Reviews for 2021

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So, you're keenly interested to have the best crossover kayak. Really, you're quite brilliant! 

Kayaking has the advantage of allowing you to choose between whitewater rapids and calmer sea waters, both of which will get your adrenaline flowing. Touring kayaks, on the other hand, are terrible at handling drops, and whitewater kayaks will have you spinning in circles on a calm lake. 

Crossover kayaks have been increasingly popular in recent years because of their versatility and ease of use. Some of the greatest crossover kayaks, such as those from Jackson, let you enjoy both types of paddling. Whatever the water conditions, crossover kayaks can handle them with ease.

As a result, crossover kayaks let you have your cake and eat it. Crossover kayaks are flexible, versatile, and ideal for all sorts of waters, Crossover kayaks are flexible, versatile, and suitable for all sorts of waters, unlike other types of kayaks that need you to pick between them. To that purpose, these are the 10 best crossover kayaks for your next great kayaking trip.

How To Pick The Best Crossover Kayak?

Length, material, comfort, and features are all factors to consider while selecting a crossover kayak. And, more significantly, you must be familiar with kayaking jargon. So, what do we seek in crossover kayaks? Continue reading to find out more.

Are you a novice to the thrilling sport of kayaking? Read up on the Best Kayaks For Beginners if you want to know more. Or, maybe you're looking for a family-friendly kayak? In that case, check out the Best Inflatable Kayaks for Families.

Kayaking Jargons

When looking for kayaks, you'll hear terms like boofing, edging, tracking, etc. To begin, edging or carving means tilting the kayak to one side and raising that side out of the water. It is common for kayaks to have carved turns, which increase water friction and allow the kayak to turn more quickly. As a result of water flowing over a rock, it creates a hole. Kayaks are frequently pulled and trapped in such holes. 

Boofing is a dynamic forward stroke movement that allows you to run a drop without getting caught in holes. 

Tracking is the measurement of how effectively a kayak stays in a straight path while being paddled. As opposed to, Chine is the sharp angular change in the hull’s cross-section, and it can be either soft or hard. 

Moreover, these are whitewater runs with a lot of big stones that provide a lot of different paths. Stability, on the other hand, might be primary or secondary. Kayaks feel different when they're on edge than when they're flat.

Waterline/Rocker

The waterline of a kayak measures how much of the kayak's hull is in touch with the water and determines how quickly it will cut through the water when it's in the water. The rocker, on the other hand, determines how much the boat curves from bow to stern.

In general, the more rocker a kayak has, the easier it is to maneuver it about. Consider the type of water you'll be paddling on most often when choosing a crossover kayak. Kayaks having a greater waterline for speed and tracking are ideal for flat water paddling. Our recommendation for whitewater kayaking is a kayak with a greater rocker. 

Rudder/Skeg

In comparison to sea kayaks or touring kayaks, crossover kayaks have shorter and flatter hulls, hence they tend to fall short. Since crossover kayaks aren't specifically intended for flatwater or whitewater, they're outfitted with additions to boost their performance. A drop-down skeg or pedal-driven rudder, for example, can improve speed and track on flat water. However, skegs are also helpful for crosswind paddling. When you're whitewater rafting, you can do the same thing.

Width, Size, And Material

Having wider kayaks means you'll be able to carry more equipment on longer kayaking adventures. In these situations, longer crossover kayaks with larger bulkheads and hatches are ideal. Moreover, shorter kayaks with higher waterlines are more maneuverable and faster on flat water. 

Plastic crossover kayaks manufactured from rotomolded polyethylene are one of the best options when it comes to construction. You can use them in rocky or harsh areas without fear of their breaking. The kayak's weight capacity and seat size should also be considered in order to guarantee that you'll be comfortable when paddling in both calm and stormy water. 

Comfort

Kayaking and the selection of crossover kayaks require a balance of stability, comfort, and support. To accommodate different types of water, most crossover kayaks include an adjustable grip and cockpit fit. Make sure the crossover kayak you pick is equipped with adjustable seats, thigh braces, hip pads, and footplates. You should also make sure that the cockpit is spacious enough so that you can stretch out and not feel claustrophobic while paddling. 

Can Beginners Use Crossover Kayaks?

Crossover kayaks are, in fact, highly recommended for beginners. They’re one of the most versatile kayaks ever as they combine the best elements from different types of kayaks and are also one of the best sit-in kayaks. First off, they can work and navigate well in many different kinds of waters, including calm lakes and gushing whitewater. That’s because crossovers combine the attributes of whitewater and recreational kayaks. So, they work well for beginners who’re just entering the world of kayaking and are figuring out what they like better. Thus, it’s perfect if you’re a beginner and plan to go kayaking just about everywhere – the ocean, rivers, lakes, etc.

Top 6 Crossover Kayaks: At A Glance

1. Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 Crossover Kayak
2. Perception Carolina 12 Crossover Kayak
3. Dagger Kayaks Zydeco 9.0 Crossover Kayak
4. Dagger Katana 10.4 Crossover Kayak
5. Dagger Axis 12.0 Crossover Kayak
6. Dagger Katana 9.7 Crossover Kayak

6 Best Crossover Kayaks Reviewed

1. Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 Crossover Kayak 

Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 Crossover Kayak

(Best for Tall Guys)

The Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 is one of the best crossover kayaks on the market. In addition to long-distance tracking and excellent maneuverability, it will give you the very best of both worlds. There is no doubt that the kayak's spring-loaded and drop-down skeg is one of the best features. If you remove the skeg, you can simply transform your versatile and maneuverable kayak into a long-distance touring vessel. Aside from that, you'll discover a well-appointed interior, comfortable and form-fitting seats, and enough storage space for your belongings. 

In just a few sweep strokes, the kayak can be turned around 180 degrees. On those long, multi-day kayaking adventures, elegant, contoured chairs, a flexible backrest with specific foam padding, and additional under-leg cushioning provide comfort. Also, it makes the journey more pleasurable.

Specifications:

  • Length: 10 ft. 6 inches
  • Width: 29 inches
  • Weight capacity: 400 lbs
  • Cockpit size: 51.5 inches

What I Like

  • Comfortable
  • Adjustable seats
  • Extremely versatile
  • Lots of storage facilities
  • It is remarkably maneuverable
  • Outfitting that is highly functional
  • For paddlers who are above 6 feet tall

What I Don't Like

  • Costly 
  • Weighty

2. Perception Carolina 12 Crossover Kayak 

Perception Carolina 12 Crossover Kayak

(Best for All Types of Waterways)

Even though a long crossover kayak can seem tough to transport, the Perception Carolina 12 isn't one of those kayaks. The sit-inside kayak is developed with comfort in mind for long days of kayaking on all types of waterways. To begin, it has an ergonomically built seat with a cushioned back and bottom that is adjustable. The fact that the seat may be moved not just up and down, but also front and back, is a huge plus. It's also possible to add a spray skirt to keep you warm and dry in the winter.

Two sealed hatches on this kayak provide dry storage, really one of the best features. In the front, there's a smaller one that's perfect for overnight stuff and a pair of dry bags. Its back compartment is much bigger and can even store sleeping bags and tents. There's also bungee rigging for extra equipment at the bow and stern. It is possible to store larger goods, such as dry bags, in the frontal bungee storage. 

Specifications:

  • Length: 12 ft.
  • Width: 26 inches
  • Weight capacity: 275 lbs
  • Cockpit size: 39.5 inches

What I Like

  • Ergonomic and comfortable sitting.
  • The cockpit is large and comfortable.
  • An adjustable skeg ensures accurate tracking.
  • Assistive side handles make it easier to get in and out of the kayak.

What I Don't Like

  • The kayak is rather weighty.

3. Dagger Zydeco 9.0 Crossover Kayak 

Dagger Kayaks Zydeco 9.0 Crossover Kayak

(Budget-Friendly & Best for Beginners)

If you're searching for the best portable crossover kayak, you should choose the Dagger Kayaks Zydeco 9.0. This Dagger Kayaks model is designed for recreational use rather than tough rapids. It can, however, tackle moderately sized whitewater. 

This model is both stable and maneuverable. It's a good choice for novices who are just learning how to paddle a kayak.

Aside from its portability, the kayak's lightness and compactness are noteworthy. Just one person is able to handle or move it from one location to another. Another benefit is its ability to be transported with ease via a car. 

As if that wasn't enough, the Zydeco is also reasonably priced.

Specifications:

  • Length: 9 ft. 1 inch
  • Width: 28.5 inches
  • Weight capacity: 220 lbs
  • Cockpit size: 38.5 inches

What I Like

  • Budget-friendly
  • Lightweight, compact and portable
  • Stable and easy to maneuver in the water
  • Cockpit setup that is both comfortable and adjustable
  • Recreational kayak performance that is second to none

What I Don't Like

  • Storage space is limited
  • Extreme whitewater isn't recommended

4. Dagger Katana 10.4 Crossover Kayak 

Dagger Katana 10.4 Crossover Kayak

(Our Top Pick) (But Tall paddlers may find it a bit tight)

The Dagger Kayaks Katana 10.4 is undoubtedly the best Crosswater kayak for touring, whitewater, and recreational use. It is capable of paddling in any sort of water. If you want to try out different kayaking situations and want a boat that can handle it all, this is the boat for you. Consequently, this boat allows you to enjoy the benefits of being in a variety of different water situations. 

There is a good balance between the rocker and waterline of this kayak, which gives it a very versatile characteristic. Aside from that, it's really responsive and maneuverable.

The Katana is capable of managing rapids of up to class three. Crossover Kayaks can surf waves of all sizes and even flat water. 

It's outfitted with Contour Ergo. Because of this, it includes an adjustable back-band and hip straps that give comfort while increasing the boat's stability when navigating whitewater.

Accidental contact with rocks will not damage the rotomolded plastic hull and its rounded bow and stern permit it to release water, making it more tolerant on whitewater courses. You'll be able to keep up with folks in recreational boats because of the boat's length and the drop-down skeg for tracking straight and speed on flat water. 

Watertight stern storage and an interior bulkhead provide adequate storage for longer trips. The bungee deck rigging will allow you to connect dry-bagged things to the hull in case your stuff is too large for the internal storage compartments.

Specifications:

  • Length: 10 ft. 4 inches
  • Width: 27.25 inches
  • Weight capacity: 285 lbs
  • Cockpit size: 37 inches

What I Like

  • Contour Ergo outfitting for comfort
  • Comfortable carry handles are included
  • Excellent primary and secondary stability
  • Drop-down skeg system for tracking straight
  • Fits all types of waters; rapid, moderate, and flat
  • There is plenty of interior, and exterior storage space
  • Hip pads, thigh braces, leg lifter and a back band are all adjustable

What I Don't Like

  • Tall paddlers may find it a bit tight.

5. Dagger Axis 12.0 Crossover Kayak 

Dagger Axis 12.0 Crossover Kayak

(Perfect for Larger Paddlers)

The Dagger Axis 12.0 is perfect for people who want a touring kayak that can handle moderate, fast-moving water, yet occasionally want to go out on it. In comparison to the Dagger Katana, the Axis is longer and has more waterline, making it a better touring boat that can tackle whitewater. 

On flat water, the Axis can cut through the water with its strong chine and comparatively narrow bow. With the bulkhead and big hatch storage, you'll have plenty of room to store all your stuff in this long-term usage kayak! As an added bonus, the cover and deck bungee is made of mesh, making it easy to attach other kayak accessories. 

To ensure your comfort, the ConTour CFS-R seating system is entirely adjustable. On lengthy trips, paddlers may raise their knees and stretch their legs by bringing their legs up.

As well as side locking foot braces, knee and thigh pads are used to give support, although a thigh brace is available as an alternative if needed.

Knee and thigh pads work in conjunction with side locking foot braces to give support, but more difficult situations will need the use of a thigh brace, which is an optional addition.

Class I and II whitewater is extremely pleasant and maneuverable in this boat thanks to its low center of gravity. As a result of its longer hull and greater waterline, it's less maneuverable in class III+ whitewater. 

Specifications:

  • Length: 12 ft.
  • Width: 27.5 inches
  • Weight capacity: 350 lbs
  • Cockpit size: 38 inches

What I Like

  • Very stable and versatile design
  • A great speed with superb tracking
  • An appealing design and premium feel
  • Kayak crossover skills are quite good
  • Plenty of storage space, both interior, and exterior
  • Comfortable cockpit setup with multiple adjustable settings

What I Don't Like

  • In class 3 rapids, maneuverable is not so good

6. Dagger Katana 9.7 Crossover Kayak 

Dagger Katana 9.7 Crossover Kayak

(Designed for Smaller, Beginner & Expert Paddlers)

Designed for smaller paddlers, the Katana 9.7 is a hybrid kayak that can travel fast on flat water and handle the twists and turns of white water. Paddlers of every skill level will appreciate Katana's combination of stability and dynamic design. 

Paddlers who wish to enjoy both calm water and whitewater can utilize the crossover kayak design. A multi-expeditionary watercraft, the Dagger Katana 9.7 is ideal for explorers who wish to enjoy water adventures. Whitewater kayakers who don't want to limit themselves to only whitewater paddling will like the hybrid character of this kayak. 

Additionally, the ConTour Ergo seats are noteworthy. Paddlers who enjoy longer and more frequent excursions have prompted manufacturers to design a seat structure that is suitable for longer voyages and repeated visits. There is thigh and knee padding on the seats to guarantee maximum comfort and safety when sitting in the cockpit for lengthy periods of time. 

As a result of its balanced rocker profile, the Dagger Katana 9.7 has excellent stability, which is quite important when it comes to designing this craft. On the water, it guarantees that this is one kayak that will remain stable in most circumstances. 

Inexperienced paddlers will like this feature, as it assures that they won't have a hard time learning the basics of navigating the craft while attempting to stay balanced. As an alternative, you can use the TruTrak skeg technology, which can be adjusted for windy weather and choppy water. 

Carrying handles are also included on the Dagger Katana 9.7, which are placed along the stern and bow. This makes it easier to move and carry the craft around. 

Legroom lovers will like the cockpit's large size. Others have had the misfortune of being confined in a very small and cramped cockpit. A 20-inch width and a 35.5-inch length give this cockpit plenty of room. 

There is a lot of storage space on the Dagger Katana 9.7. It has reinforced hatches as well as detachable bulkheads. Paddling for a long journey requires a lot of stuff, and this boat has plenty of places to store everything. On the deck, you will find bungee cords for extra storage. 

Specifications:

  • Length: 9 ft. 7 inches
  • Width: 27.25 inches
  • Weight capacity: 210 lbs
  • Cockpit size: 37 inches

What I Like

  • Plenty of room for gear and other stuff
  • Large cockpit for easy moving & paddling 
  • ConTour Ergo chairs are ideal for long-haul journeys
  • Versatile hybrid kayak for paddling in whitewater and flatwater 
  • Additional control in serious situations thanks to TruTrak adjustable skeg
  • No matter the water conditions, the balanced profile assures maneuverability and speed

What I Don't Like

  • Not perfect for larger people

Finished for now, thank you very much for reading!

If you're looking for a fun, multipurpose vessel that allows you to explore a range of waters, a crossover kayak is a great option for you! 

For both novices and more experienced paddlers searching for performance and adaptability, these kayaks might be excellent.

With the ability to carry a large amount of kit and the ability to tackle whitewater, crossover kayaks are a great option for lengthier adventures on the water.

We'd love to hear what you think about crossover kayaks. This information is also a great resource to share with anyone who might be a bit unsure about what sort of kayak to purchase.

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