The Roamer 1 is one of our best-selling sit on top kayaks. It is simply excellent for those wanting a kayak for general fun and gentle cruising around on the water. A day at the beach with the family, a short paddle along the coast on a calm day, exploring the lake or canal, bird watching on a quiet river estuary and more. Just sit on and away you go! The Roamer is designed to be very easy to paddle even for the first time kayaker.
A few reasons why we love the Roamer 1 so much:
- We enjoy paddling the Roamer 1 as much as we do selling them, and the Feelfree people are nice to work with.
- They are easily paddled by inexperienced paddlers and still a pleasure to paddle by all.
- There is just enough skeg moulded into the hull to make the boat track well, but not so much as to make it unresponsive when turning.
- All the handles on the Nomad and Roamer 1 have been designed with the carrier in mind.
- The strong scupper drain holes add to the strength of the boat.
Let's take a closer look at this kayak and what makes it a great all-rounder for those who want a recreational kayak for fun on the water.
A well sized grab handle at the bow is moulded into the kayak making for an easy and strong point to carry the kayak. Good for it you use a trolley and need to pull the kayak along from the bow. Also good if you have roped in a friend or family member to grab the handle at the back to carry the kayak between you.
The Roamer has two storage hatches with screw lids. Very easy to open, and mostly waterproof, however if you are looking to keep your phone or car keys we would advise putting these inside a proper dry bag just to be safe. It can get a little damp inside a kayak even those with the best hatches - See Duffers Hatch Discussion Here
The hatch does have a decent sized mesh bag inside to keep the contents within easy reach - it is a right pain when something small slides back into a kayak hull and out of reach, especially when you are on the water and really wanting that bar of chocolate!
One thing that I really like about the Roamer 1 is the moulded-in footrests. To paddle a kayak efficiently, you need to have your legs slightly bent so that you can apply pressure against the footrests and push your lower back into the back rest. This provides good connectivity with the kayak so that you can translate your body movements and paddle strokes into efficient forwards paddling and kayak handling. Some sit on tops have really small foot notches and with wet feet you just slip off them easily... not good! The moulded-in foot notches on the Roamer are deep and this allows your heel and foot to sit firmly against a good area of plastic. This makes for a better paddling experience.
There is also a bottle holder with bungee retainer located in the footwell.
The Roamer 1 can be fitted with either the Feelfree Canvas Seat as shown in the image below, or for those wanting better back support, the Feelfree Deluxe Seat is a great option. For general fun at the beach and short distance pottering around, the Canvas Seat works well. For extended time of the water, the Deluxe Seat is worth going for, just for the extra comfort. We sell the Roamer 1 in value-for-money package deals that will include either the Canvas Seat and Alloy Shaft Paddle (Standard Package) or the Deluxe Seat and Fibreglass Paddle (Deluxe Package).
Just in front of the seat on either side of the kayak there are a couple of flatter areas. These can be used as a grab point to carry the kayak on it's side. These aren't anywhere near as good as proper side handles like you find on the Feelfree Nomad Sport, but they are good enough for one person to carry the kayak a short distance. Got further to walk with the kayak? Buy a kayak trolley!
Alongside the kayak there are some deck lines. These allow you to easily grab the kayak should you end up in the water. Also great for when the kids jump on and off the kayak at the beach - it is easy to them to regain a grip on the kayak before climbing back on. It's a safety feature and a handy one at that.
At the back of the kayak there is a good storage area to carry a dry bag of kit, or maybe your snorkelling gear. Criss-cross bungees will help hold down the gear in the area.
If you haven't already got enough space to store your kit / lunch then there is a second screw hatch at the stern, again complete with a mesh bag. This is not a good place to put something that you need on the water though. perhaps keep small essentials in here that you won't need until you land again.
At the very back of the kayak there is another grab handle that may not be so obvious at first look. There is a moulded-in recess in the stern that makes a great grab point to hook your hand under when carrying the kayak between two people. There is also a small screw-in drain bung - this allows you to drain out any water that may find it's way inside the kayak. Often condensation can form and build up over time. The easy-open screw hatches may also let a few drops through too, especially if you are paddling in the surf or when it is choppy with water regularly splashing over the kayak. That's the compromise for having quick, easy access to the inside of a kayak - See Duffers Hatch Discussion Here
If we take a look at the underside of the Roamer 1, we can see what makes it a great all-rounder for general paddling. There is a good mix of flatter hull under the main length of the kayak, and this provides good stability. The bow is not sharp, nor is it completely rounded. Rounded is good for easy manoeuvrability, sharp is good for straight line tracking. In between is good for a bit of both, making the Roamer 1 fine for a bit of play in the surf when you need some extra manoeuvrability to turn along a wave, but also fine for a bit of general touring with reasonable ability to keep paddling in a straight line.
You will notice a number of scupper holes along the kayak - these allow water to drain from the deck should you get a wave over the side. You can block these up for paddling on flat calm water using some of the Feelfree Scupper Bungs, but we recommend keeping at least two open in the seating area to allow water to drain should water come over the side.
There is just enough skeg moulded into the hull to make the boat track well, but not so much as to make it unresponsive when turning. The Feelfree Roamer can be fitted with an additional skeg which enables almost anyone to paddle in a straight line. The skeg is simply brilliant and is easy to bolt onto the hole at the back of the kayak.
Feelfree Roamer 1 On The Water Review
The images we have selected tell their own story. We won't go into strenuous detail on how these kayaks handle. Feelfree Roamer 1, and the upgraded model the Nomad Sport, are recreational paddling kayaks at its best. These are good hull designs that provide reassuring confidence to even first time paddlers. They will put a smile on your face and at the end of the day that's what a recreational kayak should do! These kayaks are a great way to enter the world of kayaking. Perhaps after a year or two you may desire to go further and faster and do more challenging stuff, for which a different kayak will do a better job. Until then, these great little all-rounders will keep you paddling happy. For most, the Roamer 1 will serve as a great kayak for having fun for many, many years and some of our customers have been paddling these for over a decade now!
Smaller paddlers will get on fine with any Roamer or Nomad. 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. We have other models that we believe would suit a heavier paddler much better. Beach fun and gentle cruising on sheltered coastal and inland waters are what this kayak is best at. Our customers love their Roamer 1 kayaks for recreational paddling.
The Roamer 1 proves to be great for gentle paddling on the coast in calm conditions.
Paddling the Feelfree Roamer 1 in Plymouth
Reviewed by Duffer & Liam at Cornwall Canoes
For Canoe Shops Group