Feelfree Nomad Sit On Top Kayak Review
Length: 9′ 6″ (2.9 m) Width: 29.25″ (74.5 cm) Weight : 46.2 lbs (21 kg) Capacity: 330 lbs (150 kg)
The Feelfree Nomad is probably my favourite compact, do it all, Sit On Top Kayak. About as small as you can go for a full adult size boat and weighing only around 20kg but they haven't skimped on the construction. It is constructed of a good thickness of the better quality medium/high density polyethylene for robustness, long life and good hull stiffness and stands up to abuse very well as witnessed by the fact that Feelfree boats are often used by hire and adventure centres where they tend to be tortured every day! Beware of cheaper lighter boats around the same size as they are usually made of low density polyethylene which is softer and not as robust or long lived. They may look like a bargain but it is often a case of buy cheaper buy twice!
Due to the low weight and the fact it has got solid moulded in side carrying handles, as well as front and rear handles, it is easy to carry around and to get onto the car roof. For preference go for the optional Feelfree Deluxe Padded seat which is much more comfortable and supportive than the standard canvas seat and one of the most comfortable Sit On Top Seats I have ever used - Your back will thank you after a couple of hours on the water! It has a handy storage compartment with a rubber sea kayak hatch and internal storage net bag located where you can get to it between your legs whilst afloat and a good size tank well at the stern handy for carrying dry bags with your picnic gear etc.
Although it will take a full size adult most children will find the Nomad easy enough to manage. The rated carrying capacity is 150kg but I'd stay below not much more than 100kg or so if you want it to retain performance and not to take in more water through the scupper/drain holes than it lets out. Heavier people may be better off looking for a larger boat wiith a little more volume as it is always important to match your body, and any expected cargo you want to carry, weight to the volume of the boat if you want it to perform as designed.
The Nomad is very similar to an improved version of the MK I Perception Scooter kayak (see separate review for the Scooter - which in turn is almost identical to the Feelfree Roamer 1 - The model below the Nomad), I used to own but adds every improvement I would have liked to see on the Scooter and a few more besides. It tracks easily in a straight line, is comfortingly stable for absolute beginners and yet it is very manoeuvrable and will spin on a sixpence. It has a slightly sharpened bow line to aid it cutting through flat water but add a pair of the optional thigh straps, which work like the thigh Braces in a Sit Inside Kayak to keep you in contact with the boat and allow you to "edge"/heel the kayak with your body and legs, and it makes a pretty good boat for playing in the surf. If you want a Sit On Top specifically for using in the surf then the Perception/Wavesport Scooter MKII (or a more specialised surf kayak) might be a better option for you but if you want a good all rounder then the Feelfree Nomad is a great little kayak and is probably slightly more efficient at touring on flatter water due to the more defined bow and higher, slightly more protective, sides than the Scooter MKII.
I have paddled the Feelfree Nomad on the still waters of the Norfolk Broads, on some fast flowing water, and in the waves on the North Norfolk coast (and a very similar boat on the coast and estuary in Cornwall) and it was great fun and easily handled every situation. Even though these days I have some much more expensive and sophisticated kayaks at my disposal I still enjoy paddling the stress free, and easy to get in and out of, Feelfree Nomad. Thoroughly recommended!
This canoe shops group video gives you an overview of the Feelfree Nomad kayak
This American video shows the Feelfree Nomad (Green)
and Feelfree Roamer 1 (Blue) doing some coastal rock hopping