Designed for stability and comfort, the Tsomo is our shortest and widest adult’s sit-on-top.

Its compact length makes it convenient to transport on the roof racks of a sedan or on the back of a bakkie (aka ‘pickup truck’). It is also easy to store if storage space is a concern. Naturally, the smaller size and lighter weight compared to the longer models in our line-up make it easy to carry around and load on top of roof racks.

The Tsomo is alert, playful and responsive. It turns on a dime, cruises on flatwater and is a pleasure to paddle. It is not designed to win any races, but it has plenty of speed and glide for such a short sit-on-top. Its width aids stability – a welcome feature when the wind whips up the water.

Its large Tankwell allows you to transport a decent volume of gear, a child or a large dog. Use the front 8″ Screw Hatch for items that need to be stowed away even more securely.

The Paddle Rest on the one side and Bottle Holder on the other side of the seat makes it easy to stay hydrated and keep your hands free when you’re not paddling.

Like the other kayaks in our range of sit-on-tops, the Tsomo has a Sculpted Seat and a footwell that sits lower than the seat for all-day comfort. You might not want to paddle a long distance with this short sit-on-top, but you will be able to spend hours on it.

Length: 275 cm / 9′
Width: 80 cm / 31.5″
Height: 38 cm / 15″
Weight: 19 kg / 42 lb
Ideal paddler weight: 40-95 kg / 90-210 lb
Max. carrying capacity: 120 kg / 265 lb


Not too big and not too long, the Tsomo is a child-friendly kayak that they will enjoy paddling. Its width gives this kayak superb stability, while the Paddle Cutaways allow it to feel narrower and smaller than it is and make it comfortable to paddle for small arms.


The rear Tankwell is spacious and has enough space for a medium-to-large dog to climb on board. If the dog prefers to sit, rather than to lie down, line the Tankwell with a foam mat to prevent their paws from slipping.


A playful kayak, the Tsomo has both forward speed and the ability to turn on a dime.


The Tsomo is not a touring kayak; you’d be better off with a Kasai, Marimba or Tarka.


If you’re keen on kayak fishing, take a look at the Tsomo Angler version of this kayak, which comes fitted with Rod Holders, Deck Rails and an Anchor Trolley.


The Tsomo can cut through breakers and ride the swell but if you’re keen on spending a lot of time paddling on the sea, then the longer Kasai will be more suitable.


Your Tsomo will get you in and out of the breakers, but if you would like to get into doing pan-ams, floaters and airs, our Dumbi kayak is the one to take to the beach.


You can take the Tsomo down rivers and enjoy tripping sections with small rapids. Use the 8″ Screw Hatches and Tankwell to secure gear for full-day and overnight trips.


While we don’t recommend paddling the Tsomo from a standing position, use the Stand-up Platform to stand, stretch your legs and enjoy a height-above-water view to check out your surroundings, while you’re out on the water.

Sometimes all you need is a little kayak that allows you to enjoy the water. Most kayaks on the market that fit into the category of short recreational sit-on-tops are literally just little barges that are no fun to paddle. When I started working on the Tsomo design, I wanted to fit as much speed and comfort into the short length as possible, while still allowing it to carry a decent weight.

The Tsomo hull is based on the same concept as the Kasai hull, but I have tweaked it substantially to make it efficient at such a short length. The hull is very wide in the middle for stability and weight-carrying capacity, while the ends are narrow for speed and tracking. Don’t let this kayak’s width fool you, though. The Paddle Cutaways on the deck work like a charm to make paddling comfortable without bashing your paddle against the deck. In fact, I’ve made sure that this boat is easy-to-paddle for children and shorter people, which makes it a great option for families who want one boat that can be shared.

I added a huge Tankwell in the stern, as I can imagine people wanting to use this boat for picnicking. The large tankwell also works great for crates, for which I added square indents to hold crates in position. The tankwell is a winner with the canine members of the family too.

The deck comes complete with the Paddle Rest and Bottle Holder that features on all our rec sit-on-tops, as well as the sturdy and adjustable Footrests that are used in most of our boats. Two Handles on each side plus handles on each end makes it very easy to handle this boat off the water too.

If you are the type of person for whom paddling is more about having fun on the water right here, right now, rather than using your kayak as a means to get to a destination, then all you need is the Tsomo.

Celliers Kruger, designer of Vagabond Kayaks

Mpho Mapatsi, a complete novice who had never been on a kayak before, had the unique experience of sequentially paddling Vagabond’s Tsomo, Tarka, Kasai, Marimba and the double-seater Mazowe kayaks in a 90-minute session on the water. Follow Mpho’s first experience of kayaking in this video.

We had fun racing our four Vagabond Kayaks sit-on-tops against each other. This video gives an indication of the speed difference between them – of course, paddler experience and ability also makes a difference. Our participants here are all capable paddlers.

The Marimba (green) is on the far left. This is our longest and narrowest and, as a result, our fastest kayak. Perfect for fitness paddling, river tripping and expeditions.

The Kasai (green) is on the inside of the Marimba. It is 50cm shorter than the Marimba, it has a bit more width and, as a result, more stability and weight carrying. An awesome all-purpose kayak for dams, rivers and sea.

The Tarka (pink) is second from the right. Somewhat shorter than the Kasai, the Tarka is 60cm shorter and the same width, it is a bit slower. When you’re paddling normally and not at a flat-out sprint, there is little speed difference between the Kasai and Tarka. Like the Kasai, this is an awesome all-purpose kayak suited to smaller (less than 90kg) paddlers.

The Tsomo (khaki) on the right is our shortest and widest kayak for adults. It has very good weight carrying capacity but not as much speed as its siblings. It is a playful and awesome kayak to paddle for recreation, fishing and bird watching but is not the one for long-distance paddling.