I feel your pain, except you have experience, my wife and I are just starting out on our kayak adventure. I live on a island which requires a ferry ride to the mainland where all the stores are.
Yesterday we had enough need to venture over, its a all day affair.
We looked at three popular stores, and the pickings were very slim, and the forecast of more, and when, uncertain…thank you virus…not.
We tried on some, just to get a idea, etc, and then came home and found some after much searching, and bought those, NRS brand, online, with free shipping and return.
I too opted for the mesh back, after putting some on, even the ones with a little full back padding seemed too much for me, and the seat on my yak is comfortable as is, so I did not want to chance it…
I also got to look at the stock of sit on tops kayaks as well, and now that I have mine, came all the way, shipped, from Georgia to the Pacific Northwest, and not a scratch on it, for only 79 bucks, which I almost have to pay to just go off island and back to buy one…and I am glad I did, after looking at what was available at these 3 stores, the ones we bought (2 of them) I am really happy with…
Yeah, internet shopping has it challenges, matter of fact one of our reasons to go over yesterday was to return 4 pairs of shoes my wife bought online at a big retail store, as they did not fit…arg.
Can’t wait now till start paddling when it warms up…we live on the water (salt) but have already laid out trips to lakes later in the year. I have a boat on a trailer, but I have a travel trailer and can’t pull both, so we got the yaks to have fun when we leave the island…CAN’T WAIT!
BTW, this site is really helpful, read lots of the post…THANK YOU ALL FOR SHARING