I would recommend this kayak for anyone who is just starting out or who is looking for a great kayak to go on weekend trips to camp out of.
The Comet is very light weight. It is so easy to get into the SUV by myself. I have a hard time with any of my other boats. I use this kayak a lot for exercise. It isn't easy to paddle a short squatty boat for long distances without wearing yourself out. So I love this boat for the exercise it gives me.
Paddling this short of a boat you really have to understand that it will not go in a straight line like a touring or longer boat will. If you understand that then you will have no problem getting this boat to go straight. I find that yawing the bow side to side a bit allows me to go straighter and faster.
It is very stable. And it can spin on a dime.
Okay so it is a cheap boat. And it is wide and short and my husband calls it a bathtub. And it is slow. But this kayak is a blast to paddle.
The seat back is terrible, I finally took it out and added a back band. Must have foot pegs too or it isn't worth a hoot. Once I added those, I paddled it on lakes, at the Outer Banks - ocean and sound, on flat rivers, on class I, II and even III rivers and creeks. I did my share of swimming though. If one has better than beginner paddling skills (I did and do) then the Comet can to a lot. I even eskimo rolled it. I don't advise using it in surf and class III. I fished in it a lot too, but that tough to do if you land a decent size fish.
I have since bought a Dagger Mamba and Pyranha Recoil which cost 3 times more than a Comet, but it is what got me started and prepared for these boats and the waters they prefer.
Overall, great entry kayaks and perfect for small rivers. I hope to try the Musconetcong soon.
The only issue I have is keeping it tracking in flat waters. That could be a result of the short body of the boat or my horrible paddling stroke. It's pretty frustrating at times, but I have noticed improvements each time I go out, which tells me it's probably more user-error than anything else. But, if I could do it over, I would upgrade to a longer Emotion kayak.
The Comet meets all of my needs at this stage but once I get it into moving waters, I'm hoping it'll do just fine.
The cockpit is a bit small for me, 6' 200lbs but the boat is wide and stable. The main problem for me was it didn't cut through the water very well. The shape of the bow doesn't work well for going up stream or trying to move fast. It is maneuverable though and would be good in creeks or mangroves. I also didn't like the paddle holder on the right side. While convenient, the plastic thing that the bungee attaches to sticks out right where your paddle hand is and once you hit your thumb a couple times, you want to rip that thing off. I will look for maybe a 10 footer that will track and cut through the water better.
Not a bad choice if you are looking for low cost, easy cartopping, and easy entry/exit, but you will get better overall manufacturing quality and better handling if you go up to a slightly larger boat, like the Old Town Otter, Perception Swifty 9.5, or the Heritage Featherlite 9.5 (my favorite in this class by far).
The cockpit opening while generous for a yak this size, was a little tight for my 6' frame, though others who are similar height didn't have as much difficulty. The length of your leg vs. torso probably makes a difference. My leg length also had my knees right up against the edge of the cockpit coming, which took a little getting used too. However, that allowed me to control the kayak using my hips better, without needing knee straps.
The foot pegs are adjustable, but they did not go quite far enough for me. They are also a little trickier to adjust while in the water. The construction of this kayak while largely sound, had little tell-tale signs of cheaper construction in the finer details e.g. the bungee cord for paddle holder came loose on one end. The straps on the ends that attached handles seem a little flimsy also, so far they've held, but time will tell.
It is reported to track straight, but I found my bow ding-donging a bit with my strokes. Could just be my beginner form, but then again it is a shorter kayak.
Paddle length makes a difference. I found a 230cm paddle to be a tad too long, especially since you sit higher up in this craft. A shorter one helps you get a more vertical stroke, and therefore less sideways push.
That said, that maneuverability makes it the perfect kayak to explore little inlets and coves. The one thing that would have been nice, is padding on the side of the kayak, which would help 2 things - protect the edge of your legs when up against it, and made it easier to carry your kayak across one shoulder. The current blow-molded edge is awfully sharp and results inevitably in a cut shoulder when carrying on your shoulders.
The float bag definitely adds buoyancy, and is recommended in the event of that inevitable swim.
Overall, pretty good value for the price, and the 2010 gear of the year rating doesn't hurt.