Feelfree Nomad Sport Kayak Review

We love the Nomad Sport. It is the kayak that ticks the most boxes for our customers who want a sit on top kayak for general fun and light touring and exploring use. It's just one of those kayaks that does a bit of everything and this makes it a great first kayak for many. Fun at the beach with the family, a gentle cruise along a canal or sheltered estuary, exploring a little way along the coast on a nice day, a day paddling on the lake and more. The Nomad Sport will do it and put a smile on your face! 

The Nomad Sport paddles well for a 10ft / 3m SOT and first-time paddlers will be able to sit in this kayak and quickly be an expert. It has that good mix of stability and forwards performance. Some sit on tops are too stable at the expense of forwards speed. Great for the first few sessions as you learn the ropes, but many paddlers will soon outgrow a big wide stable kayak and want something that actually paddles reasonably well. The Nomad Sport is great for this!

Stick some thigh straps on the Nomad Sport and go have some fun in small surf. Thigh straps are an accessory that helps hold your legs down to the kayak. This allows you to have great connectivity with the kayak and you can more easily use your body movements and body weight to control the kayak... good in the surf! You will still get trashed in a wave every now and then but that really is all part of the fun! 

Some customers also like to take a fishing rod with them, and the Nomad Sport does indeed have dedicated spaces to fit a couple of Flush Mounted rod holders behind the seat. Let's not kid ourselves here, this is not an all-out fishing kayak. There are much better options if fishing is your thing, but if you just want to occasionally take a rod and line to catch some Mackerel for tea, then the option is here with the Nomad Sport. 

So that's now gentle touring and cruising, general paddling fun, surfing and now a spot of kayak fishing! The Nomad Sport really is a versatile sit on top kayak!

It's not too heavy too at just 20kg. Here's the full specs:

Specs

  • Length: 3m
  • Width: 78cm
  • Weight: 20kg
  • Manufacturers Weight Capacity: 150kg

We need to talk about that last one... The manufacturer tells us that the paddler could be up to 150kg (23 stone), but we think they're having a laugh. In our opinion, 100kg (15 stone) is plenty for a Nomad Sport. This general rule of thumb applies to most sit on tops - take the Max Weight Capacity and stay around 2/3 of the way to it as the Max Paddler Weight. Whilst we are sure a 150kg person can sit on a Nomad Sport... they may not stay upright for very long! At the end of the day you want to enjoy your kayak and that is best done the right way up! We sell many other models of kayaks that will suit a larger paddler.

Time to take a closer look at this kayak...

The Feelfree Nomad Sport

Any good kayak starts with a proper handle. We all have to carry these things off the water and a proper grab point makes it so much easier to move a kayak off the water; whether you are just dragging it 10ft out of the water, carrying it between two people down the beach or pulling it along from the front handle on a trolley. The Feelfree Kayaks have some of the best front handles we have seen and the Nomad Sport is no exception. 

Bow Handle on the Feelfree Nomad Sport

The footrests on this kayak are also very good. These are not just a little ridge of plastic to try and hold your foot against. These are dedicated mouldings within the footwell that allow for your whole heel and much of your sole to rest against the plastic of the kayak. This does wonders for comfort whilst paddling and allows you to brace against the kayak to offer better control.

Between the footrests there is a simple bungee bottle holder - always useful!

Feelfree Nomad Sport Footrests

Just in front of the seating area there is a hatch with a rubber cover. This is conveniently located for access whilst on the water. Care must be taken when opening hatches on the water! The rubber hatch cover is a good snug fit to the hatch rim - great for keeping almost all the water out but they can sometimes be a little tough to put back on - see Duffer's hatch rant! If you ever find that the hatch cover is getting harder to put on, there is an easy fix. Just spray a little silicon spray around the rim and inside of the hatch lid and it will slip back on much easier. This applies to all rubber hatch covers! 

Hatch on the Feelfree Nomad Sport

Inside the hatch there is a mesh storage bag which is very well sized - plenty enough room to hold a scrunched up jacket or even your lunch. The hatch cover is leashed to the hatch itself so in theory you shouldn't lose it!

Hatch Open on Feelfree Nomad Sport

The seating area is well shaped to take a kayak seat. We sell the Nomad Sport as either a Standard Package, including the Feelfree Canvas Seat, or as a Deluxe Package, including the Feelfree Deluxe Seat as shown below. The Canvas seat is good for general fun use at the beach and in the surf. The Deluxe Seat is the better option if you are planning to be paddling for several hours - it is more comfortable and offers more back support.

All clip-points on the Nomad Sport are recessed into the kayak. Less fittings to catch on means less chances of breakages! 

Feelfree Deluxe Seat fitted to the Nomad Sport

The rear storage area offers a good amount of space for a dry-bag of kit. There are criss-cross bungees fitted to keep your gear secured down. The area could also be used to hold a small kayak trolley. A drain bung is located right at the stern - a good point to drain water from should any find it's way inside. At the very stern is a small hole - this allows for the attachment of the Feelfree Skeg accessory. This is a small fin that bolts to the back and helps improve straight-line tracking. A useful accessory if you are planning to paddle a few miles. 

Rear storage area on the Feelfree Nomad Sport

The Nomad Sport has a paddle holder, great for holding the paddle as you drift along or when pulled up ashore. 

Paddle holder on the Nomad Sport

Nomad Sport with Paddle in Paddle Holder

The side handles on the Nomad Sport are really good. Proper moulded-in handles offer a good strong grab point.

Side Handles on the Nomad Sport

These handles are great for carrying the kayak under your arm - not too bad if you only have a short walk to the water, or for moving the kayaks round at home.

Carrying the Feelfree Nomad Sport using the Side Handles

These handles are also perfectly positioned for picking the kayak up and lifting over your head for loading onto a roof rack.

Lifting the Nomad Sport Kayak

The Wheel-In-The-Keel

The Feelfree Nomad Sport comes with the option of having a 'Wheel-in-the-Keel'. This is a handy extra and makes moving the kayak around on firm surfaces much easier. It will dig into soft sand so a proper trolley may be the way to go if you have a low walk over the beach, but for most short walks to the water, this wheel makes things much easier!

Wheel In the Keel on the Feelfree Nomad Sport

It also has the added bonus of reducing drag-wear on the keel when you pull the kayak into and out of the water. This makes this kayak very popular with our trade customers who hire out kayaks - they can get a bit more life out of a kayak with a wheel built into the keel compared to one without!

We are often asked if the wheel slows down the kayak. The simple answer…. Yes and No. There must but some level of drag caused but this will be negligible at the speeds you will be paddling the Nomad at. We have paddled Nomads both with and without the Wheel and couldn’t tell any difference on the water.

Nomad Sport with Wheel

The Nomad Sport has 6 scupper holes – these allow water to drain from the deck should any come over the side. You can buy scupper hole plugs to block up the holes, but it is usually sensible to leave at least two open if you are paddling on the sea, in case a rogue wave splashes over the side!

Nomad Sport – Hull Shape

The Nomad Sport takes it's hull design from the long-standing Roamer 1 hull design. We still sell the Roamer 1 and it proves to be almost as popular as the Nomad Sport. The Roamer 1 is very much the predecessor to the Nomad Sport, or in better terms, the Nomad Sport is the newer, more modern version of the tried and tested Roamer 1! In fact the Roamer 1 used to be called the Nomad, but we won’t confuse you too much. Just know that people were as happy paddling these kayaks 20 years ago as they are today.

Hull Shape of the Feelfree Nomad Sport

Now that I’ve mentioned the Roamer 1, here’s another question we are regularly asked…

What's the difference between the Feelfree Roamer 1 and Nomad Sport?

With the under-hull shape practically identical between the two models, they paddle much the same on the water. The deck side is where we find the differences between these two models. The Nomad Sport has a number of upgraded features that aren't present on the Roamer 1, these have all been mentioned above. 

  • Nomad Sport features solid side handles - Roamer 1 only features grab 'notches'. Solid side handles are much better for carrying the kayak on it's side and for lifting over your head for putting the kayak onto roof racks
  • Nomad Sport has a hatch located in front of the seat for easy access on the water. The Roamer 1 has one hatch on the bow and one hatch at the stern. Neither are too easy to access on the water.
  • Nomad Sport has a rubber hatch cover – tighter to put on, but very waterproof. Roamer 1 has screw hatches – quick and easy to put on but less waterproof.
  • Nomad Sport has a larger rear storage well - but this is only due to the extra hatch taking up this space on the Roamer 1.
  • Nomad Sport has a paddle holder. Roamer 1 does not.
  • Nomad Sport has spaces to fit flush mount fishing rod holders. Roamer 1 does not.
  • Nomad Sport comes with the option of being supplied with a Wheel-in-the-Keel. Roamer 1 does not.

Feelfree Nomad Sport - On-The Water Review

There are 1000’s upon 1000’s of Nomad Sports being paddled all over the UK. From those having fun at the beach in the summer holidays, to those living beside the water and paddling as much as possible. From those exploring the lochs in Scotland to those paddling out from quaint fishing villages in Devon and Cornwall. From the family wanting the kids to have some fun, to couples wanting kayaks for exploring together. We have customers paddling the Nomad Sports all over the place and they love them! The Nomad Sport must be the most popular solo Sit On Top in the UK and for good reason. It’s a fantastic all-rounder and a brilliant option for the first-time paddler wanting to get their first kayak.

Our staff love them too – here are some videos showing our staff using their Nomad Sports and having some great fun!

Reviewed by Liam at Cornwall Canoes - April 2022

For more information on this model, with details on how to buy, please visit our website here: Feelfree Nomad Sport and Feelfree Nomad Sport with Wheel