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2016 Dagger Nomad kayak review

Dagger Nomad kayak

By Phil Carr

I had the opportunity to have a brief paddle of the new 2016 Dagger Nomad (#newmad). This particular shell is the large Prototype V3, which is pretty much what the production model will be like. The large Nomad due to be in stores any time now. Smaller versions will be available in due course.


I had first seen the Newmad in the flesh at Paddle Expo and since posting those images taken at the time it has been pretty clear, from the associated statistics from Unsponsored, that this boat has a great number of people very interested. But what are my initial thoughts?

Firstly, if you are one of the many who have pre-ordered a new Nomad without seeing one in the flesh or having even paddled one I can put your mind at rest. You have made a solid choice!

I am a huge fan of the Contour outfitting system. It still remains my favourite, so it’s great to see it in the new boat and working as well as ever.

Dagger Nomad kayak

The system is designed around ease of use and adjustment. For example the front edge of the seat can be raised or lowered through the use of the same kind of ratchet system that we are all familiar with on kayak backrests. The hip pads come supplied with a range of shims that can be added/removed to provide the optimum fit.

A couple of quick release buckles allow easy access to the back of the pads to add/remove the shims. The backrest provides a broad support base and adjusted via two ratchets positioned near the front of the cockpit.

The only real difference to say the Contour system found in the 2013+ Dagger Mamba is the fact that the storage tray has been removed. This has been done in order to save weight. To me that does seem like a sensible move. It doesn’t make the new Nomad a lightweight but every little helps.

Dagger Nomad kayak

The Nomad is supplied with a fully adjustable full-plate footrest system that incorporates a system that allows the plate to expand, thus eliminating gaps between the footrest and kayak shell thereby reducing the changes of foot entrapment. It is relatively weighty system but is does work really well.

On the water
In the water this large model doesn’t look, feel or paddle big. It does have both great stability and speed yet remains a dream to control. Although quick, I didn’t feel as though it was running away from me, it remained poised and composed throughout.

Dagger Nomad kayak

I was expecting this Nomad to be very similar to the old one but have found that the #Newmad is a totally new beast. It has more volume, more rocker and definitely more speed. However, if you liked that fact that the old Nomad would look after you when the going got tough, you will happily find that the 2016 Nomad does exactly the same but is a much more modern boat.

From the moment I jumped in, it simply felt comfortable and familiar. I do need more time in the kayak and on a wider range of water but at this stage it definitely feels like my kind of boat. I am looking forward to getting hold of one in a week or two.

Dagger Nomad kayak

About thepaddlerezine (654 Articles)
Editor of The Paddler magazine and Publisher of Stand Up Paddle Mag UK.

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