Nomad Series

5 out of 10

Nomad 8.5

I'm 5'11", 190#. I spend the majority of my boating time on creeks. I consider this to be one of my best boating years because I've only had to playboat the three days when a creek wasn't running. I like to paddle a lot of different boats and have had a goodly number of creekboats that preceded the Nomad.

I would say the Nomad is the first creekboat that I've felt kept me really on top of the water. The hull speed is good. The safety features are great. It's more work to boof than some of the short, overly-rockered boats I've owned previously. It's also the first boat I've had that allowed me to wear full-on shoes. I've had it 10 months and consider it one of the best boats I've ever had, and by far the widest.(maybe a little too wide)


The seat is the major downfall of this boat. As far as looks go, it seems well made. It is certainly rugged enough. It's got a nice pad already installed. But there are several issues that should indicate the seat needs to be redesigned.

#1. ACCELERATED HULL WEAR. The hull on the boat flexes up anytime the boat goes over a shallow object. When the point of the flex reaches the leading edge of the seat it meets a firm point of resistance. The result of this is an accelerated wear pattern at the leading edge of the seat. It may look minor from the exterior, but inspection of my boat from the inside shows that it has worn nearly through the hull in less than 10 months of use. All nomads I have seen show various stages of this wear pattern. I'm hoping to finish wearing through the hull before my warranty degrades to a pro-rated option. This is certainly the biggest disappointment to an otherwise awesome, and dedicated creek boat.

#2. DIFFICULT TO OUTFIT. The sides of the seat are too far back. This makes it very difficult to position hip pads far enough forward to secure you in the seat as opposed to just displacing you forward. The times I notice it most is when I need to roll and find I'm hanging from the boat instead of part of it. The tendency to compensate for lack of hip security is to tighten yourself between the backband and the bulkhead, keeping excessive amounts of pressure on your feet and legs. This translates into numb feet and legs. I've added thigh blocks to the outside of the thigh hooks, a foam wedge at the front center of the seat under the pad and heel wedges to the bulkhead. This has helped considerably, but I'd gladly trade that seat for almost any other in which I've been. I also think the flip lock mechanism gets in the way of good outfitting. Whatever benefits it adds aren't worth the space it takes up in the hip pad region. Optimally the straps that are routed to the backband should be routed outside or through the seat pillars instead of the current location.

#3. ADJUSTIBILITY. The seat is not adjustable. I managed to move mine forward about 1/2 an inch. It took an entire morning and a lot of persuasion. I'd like to have another inch or more, but that would require a whole lot of modifying of the outfitting, and I'm not sure it would work in the end. In this era of boating, there is no excuse for designing a seat that is not adjustable. Paddlers are not at all built alike.

#4. UNUSEABLE SPACE. The opening behind the seat is too small to fit anything into the stern. Even a breakdown paddle is a major chore to get through the opening.I can't imagine getting a paddle in and out with airbags installed. Don't even think about a pelican case. Overnight gear? Yeah Right. This is probably more of a combined problem of the hull and seat, but going back to point #2, if the seat pillars weren't soooo far back, there would be a ton more room to fit stuff into the space behind the seat. To be honest, I really like the low deck behind my back, so I'm less inclined to complain about this than the aforementioned items.

That about sums it up for the seat problems. It could be that these are all problems unique to me, but I would wager that they represent complaints of most who have owned this boat. These issues should have become well apparent to Dagger by now, particularly the hull wear problem. I believe they have dropped the ball by not addressing them with a redesign of the seat.

All complaining over. I love my Nomad. I'd probably buy another one, even if they didn't fix the seat. I'd just get rid of that seat and find something better before it ruined my boat again.

As an addendum to this review: The hull wore through in about ten months, leaving me swamped on the Blackwater, WV on a cold and snowy day. I stuffed some minicell under the seat and finished the run. Dagger was prompt and straightforward in fulfilling their warranty obligation. This was largely due to the excellent and proactive service that my dealer arranged. Basically, He gave me a boat he had in stock with Dagger crediting him for that item.

Upon receiving my new boat, I removed the seat and added a .75" layer of foam that completely covers and extends beyond the seat both front and back. It did change the handling characteristics slightly. It now feels much more like a Gus, but I'll take it. Hopefully the seat won't wear the boat out again so quickly.
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