[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[pct-l] Nomad Tent -Report

The Wanderlust Nomad lite is designed for thruhikers, particulary the
AT. Kurt, on his website, theorizes that 1/3 to 1/2 of the stops on an
AT thruhike may be town or shelters--no tent needed. For this reason, he
designed an absolutely minimal tent.  In reality it is a tent for
someone who would ordinarly carry only a tarp.

My view is that the Nomad is a LOT better than either a tarp or a bivy
sack. At 2 pounds it weighs less than most tarps and bivy sacks while
providing better bug and rain protection. Anyone who is considering
either should look carefully at this product. However, be warned, I
never hike without a tent so I don't claim to be an expert on tarps or
bivy sacks.

I purchased this product to be a tent. My need for the tent was for a
one person shelter on a normal one to two week backpack in the
California Sierra in July/August. Unlike a thruhike, the tent would be
set up by mid-afternoon and provide living space for 4-6 hours in the
afternoon. If it rained the tent was a shelter. If the mosquitoes hit it
was the retreat. In the sun it was the shade. Understanding that I was
using the Nomad outside its design goal, how did it work out?

Of the three (3) main functions of a shelter it did two (2) reasonably
well. It is waterproof and will keep the rain off. Assuming you trench
around the small footprint you will stay dry [The "door" is noseeum
netting and extends too close to the ground to provide protection from
standing water in a serious storm. Trenching along the front of the tent
under the tarp is required to keep ground water out. However, this is
not difficult since you will be under the flap and out of direct
rainfall if you need to do this.] It is also a reasonable haven from
evening mosquitoes. Although it takes some effort to seal the door with
the velcro closure, the tent will seal up and keep the bugs out. In the
sun it is NOT the shade. It became unbearably hot very quickly in mild
California weather at 11,000 feet. It would be of no use in really hot
conditions. My son learned very quickly to set it up in the shade. This
was the ONLY area where it was inferior to a tarp. In all other areas it
would outperform a tarp. 

The tent I have weighs 1 pound 12 ounces including stuff sack and tent
stakes. It looks like the NEW design on the website but is about 6
ounces lighter.  To gat a shelter at that weight you make certain

First, hiking sticks may look like tent poles but they have tungston
steel tips. These tips will rip even the ultra tough [though this stuff
is really amazing] silicone/nylon cloth the tent is built with. The tent
must be very carefully set up and tensioned correctly or even a moderate
wind may blow the stakes out of their plastic holder and rip the fabric
of the tent. [If I was suspecting a windstorm I would duct tape the
poles to the plastic "peak" piece they fit into. I would NOT rely the
tent poles to stay in place in any kind of a wind.] You can set the tent
up within two (2) miniutes but you cannot set the tent up WELL within
two (2) miniutes. After the tent is apparantly set up [about two (2)
miniutes] you must alternatively extend the adjustable hiking poles and
reposition the tent stakes to insure a rigid setup. This is more like a
five (5) miniute job even in soft ground using titanium stakes [very
thin and easy to get into the ground]. 

Second, the tent flaps in the wind. My tent has an elastic cord that is
intended for use on the vestibule pole. My son doubled it within two (2)
days. The elastic cord did not have enough tension to keep the tent from
moving in even a light wind. In a real storm you would need to tie the
vestibule to real cord and stake it down about 10 feet from the tent.
You might be able to use 1/2 of the vestibule pole but not the entire
length. Either way an effective "sail" is created.

Third, as with all single wall tents, condensation on the inner walls
may make you think it is raining inside the tent. The vestibule [or
"sail" as described above] must be left open in a "tarp-like" position
to provide adaquate ventilation for the tent and reduce condensation.
Because of this need for ventilation there is no easy way to completely
close the vestibule [AKA flap, sail]  down around the tent. [I would
modify this tent to provide two (2) grommets on the vestibule that would
allow the user to pull the vestibule tight against the tent from the
inside and stake it to the ground. This would completely seal the tent
in rough weather. This would make the tent a lot more stormworthy. The
condensation would be fierce but at least the tent  wouldn't blow away.
I would wipe the inside of my tent regulary with a small pack cloth to
remove condensation as Jack Stephenson recommends.]

In my less than humble opinion, the best tent [regardless of price] to
thruhike the PCT [not necessarly the AT for which the Nomad is designed
for] is a Stephenson 2XS with the lightweight pole option [Basic 2X = 2
pounds 5 ounces, add 5 ounces for windows, subtract 2 ounces for the
lightweight pole option] at 2 pounds 8 ounces, 7 ounces more  than the
new Nomad using hiking poles as tent poles. As Kurt points out on his
website, the Stephenson tent is very pricy compared to the Nomad.
However for the extra bucks and weight you get (1) a stormworthy tent
(2) a tent with cross ventilation with the windows open and (3) a tent
that won't be damaged by tungston steel tips [it has real poles]

However, if every ounce counts, as it does to many thruhikers,  and $500
is just too much of the budget to spend on a [Stephenson] tent then the
Wanderlustgear Nomad Light is a good choice for the PCT thruhiker [and
even better if modified to withstand serious weather.]

* From the Pacific Crest Trail Email List |  http://www.backcountry.net   *