Feelfree Adventura Alternatives

Greetings Everyone,

First of all, thank you for the wealth of knowledge that has been shared on this forum.
I have been planning to buy a kayak for about a year now. During that year, I have lurked through the pages of this forum, watched reviews on Youtube, (Headwaters Kayaks in particular,) and rented kayaks.

I originally considered the Dagger Zydeco and I finally decided on the Feelfree Adventura 110. At around $499- $599 depending on the seller, it was in the perfect price range for me. Unfortunately, now that I am finally ready to make that purchase, that particular model is no longer available.

My needs are relatively simple, there is a canal that I like to kayak on, a slow-moving river, a lake, and a bay. The friend who kayaks with me uses an Old Town Heron 11xt for the previously mentioned bodies of water and is very happy with it, but based on my research, I do not believe that is the best boat for me. I would prefer not to buy a boat that is too heavy because I will need to put the boat on the roof of my SUV sans assistance.

I have scoured the pages of Craiglist, Offerup, Facebook Marketplace, and other places for second-hand kayaks to no avail. If someone has a recommendation for a boat in my price range, comparable to the Feelfree Adventura, I would greatly appreciate it. I would need to purchase it online as stores in my state are not open yet. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

You’ve been working on this for a year - why rush a purchase now. You’ve found what looks like a good boat for you, so take the time to find it. Many areas are just starting their boating season, and this whole covid thing is also throwing stuff off - used boats will show up sooner or later.

Basing your choice on a budget for an item with which you have limited or no experience should not be your first step.

You can get useful advice on what could work best for you from folks on this forum if you provide more information beyond budget. What’s your height and weight and fitness level would be a good start. Have you ever been in a kayak? What part of the country do you live in? What sort of “bay” are you considering as a paddling destination? Are you considering going on group paddles with other people who might have longer boats?

Kayaks under 12’ are, for the most part, strictly for light duty use in calm shallow waters. I would never take out any kayak under 14’ in coastal conditions or a large deep lake. Also, a kayak as short and wide as what you are considering is going to be really slow. You will have great difficulty keeping up with people in longer touring kayaks and also trouble if you get far from shore and need to paddle back in when conditions are windy or if there are waves or strong currents. If you are a big guy, an 11’ boat is too short for you. If you are a slim athletic type, having such a wide boat will make it clumsy to control.

The Aventura 110, while better outfitted than most recreational model short kayaks, still is a slug at 27" beam. And at 52 pounds it is no lighter than many longer boats because the width adds mass. Longer boats are also easier to load on a roof rack than short ones because of the simple fact of leverage. Boats 14’ to 16’ tend to be the most versatile for a range of conditions. Volume and hull profile are also important factors in function and handling.

You don’t really specify if you have any paddling experience. Have you ever been out in a borrowed or rented boat or been on a guided trip? It would be useful to know that, and what types of waters you have experience with.

Buying a boat on-line, especially for someone new to the sport, is a really bad idea, IMHO. Fit is very important in kayaks and if you can’t at least sit in a model on dry land, there is no way to tell if it will fit your body dimensions.

It is nearly always best for beginners to buy a used kayak. For one thing, you don’t yet know what you don’t know about kayaking. Getting a used boat and then getting some seat time in it will help you determine what you do and don’t like about it and what your ambitions might be for performance and features for an upgrade. If you spend $600 on a new boat and discover it really doesn’t serve your purpose, you will lose $100 to $200 in value in reselling it. For $400 you could find an older used boat of higher quality and probably re-sell it for close to what you paid for it once you have a better idea of what characteristics you want in your kayak. Or keep it for a friend “loaner”, as many of us do.
Also, often a used boat comes with a paddle, PFD and other gear thrown in, which can save you a couple of hundred dollars. I have bought over a dozen used kayaks over the past 15 years for myself, friends and family. Average price I paid (usually for boats that would have been $800 to $1200 new) was $400 and more than half of them came with a decent Werner or Aquabound paddle that would have been $125 new. And I have usually gotten the same or even higher price than I paid when I have re-sold a used boat.

I would say, be patient and keep watching local ads and/or wait until accessible dealers re-open. Typically used boat sales pick up in the Spring as people start cleaning out basements and garages and consider their own upgrades. Currently people are probably cautious about having strangers come to their homes so you may want to consider holding off on the rush to buy a boat.

But, getting back to “research”: fill us in on some of your metrics and you’ll get more useful advice.

Thank you for your responses. I live in NJ, am a 5’5" 180 lbs female. I mentioned in the third sentence of my original post that I have rented kayaks as part of my research. I am a a novice. So far I have paddled rentals on the D&R canal, Rahway River, and took lessons and a day tour in Greece in the Adriatic Sea.

I really just want to get out on the water and everyone has to start somewhere. Rentals are not an option right now due to Covid, that is why I wanted to buy something.

Here’s a used Necky Manitou in East Stroudsburg, PA, for $550. That’s a good size for you, scaled for your height and weight, and suitable for your intended use. And if you are near Newark, the seller is only about an hour away. They also have a nice Werner Skagit paddle for $60. Both boat and paddle are half the new price. I rented a Manitou 14 a few years ago while on vacation in the Pacific Northwest and it was a nice boat that performed well as far as speed, handling and comfort. Neckys are very durable and well designed. (I am your height, a bit lighter in weight, by the way). At 45 pounds it would be easy to handle. The hardshell kayak I used most is a 15 footer that is 46 pounds.

1 Like


Thank you!

By the way, when buying used boats it doesn’t hurt to show up with cash and see if they will take 10% less (or throw in the paddle if you offer full price). I see it has been listed for a month, so perhaps already sold. But if available they may be anxious to make a deal.

Do check the bottom and make sure it is not caved it too badly (called “oilcanning”) from being stored on a rack or hard surface on hot days. A little flattening will not terribly affect the performance but you don’t want a boat that looks like an elephant sat on it.