Canadian Wilderness Partner: MRS Nomad – Camping Hiking Adventures
Canadian Wilderness Partner: MRS Nomad

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Canadian Wilderness Partner: MRS Nomad

We are delighted to share Steve Calverley's experience with you today. He has been enjoying exploring our beautiful Canadian lakes in his MRS Nomad. Here's his story: 

 

In the spring of 2023, I bought an MRS Nomad with ISS internal storage, spray deck, and a deck storage bag, from CampingHikingAdventures. 

I’ll share my impressions of the craft and my experience with CampingHikingAdventures, but what I also want to tell you, is the Nomad lets me experience places that would be otherwise inaccessible to this 68-year-old. 

So, this is a product review. But a little more.

The Nomad and CampingHikingAdventures

My experience with CHA was '10 out of 10'. I inquired about the packraft by email and spoke to Elizabeth on the phone. All my questions were answered and I didn’t feel pressured to buy.

The Nomad sounded like the right craft for me because I wanted to camp and explore lakes connected by portages and I wanted something light so I could portage everything in one pass of the trail. That’s partly because this is black bear country - and partly because at 68, I carry less than I did at 28.

The Nomad arrived on time. I looked it over closely. It was constructed carefully. Every seam looked perfect. We were off to a good start! 

I inflated it in the rec room and tried different ways of storing my gear. Depending on the weather, the length of the next paddle and portage, I have different ways I do that.

How the Nomad handles

My first time out brought a very pleasant surprise. The Nomad tracked better than I expected and moved along more quickly that I thought it would. Perhaps I wasn’t expecting much from an inflatable, but I was very satisfied. It was also stable in choppy water, unlike my sea kayak.

It’s very comfortable. The adjustable air seat is great. So is having an easily accessible waterproof deck bag.

I try to avoid sharp objects, but I don’t baby it too much. I’m very satisfied with its durability. And that’s especially importantout in the wilderness.

The only improvement I can think of would be a way to adjust the air pressure while underway*. The rigidity of the craft does change within a few minutes if you’re in the shadows on a narrow stream but move into direct sunlight on a lake. That hasn’t been a showstopper though.

So, yes, I am super-happy with it and the service at CampingHikingAdventures.

Wilderness adventures

Last spring and summer, I went on three solo wilderness trips that included a variety of portages. The Nomad sets up fast. I have a USB rechargeable air pump I purchased later. It inflates the raft quickly.

The first trip was 33k including two short and two longer, 400 metre portages. I did the portages and about 20k the first day without any difficulty. Lots of stops for pics. I do this for the experience, not the bragging rights.

The second trip was a four day, ten-lake loop. The longest portage, a ‘quite doable,’ 1,400 metres. 

It was one of the most memorable trips I’ve been on, beginning and ending at Dunlop Lake, just north of Elliot Lake, Ontario. The photos are from that trip. 

And on that trip, the MRS Nomad graduated from a well-made consumer product to a real wilderness partner. 

A new season is ahead and we’re looking at maps again!

I’m not receiving anything for writing this story. My reward will be reading a future story of your adventure. Enjoy!

 

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*Editor's note: 

Thanks Steve for the feedback about inflating your packraft mid-paddle. Our cold Canadian water makes the air condense and can sometimes require a top up. We now carry an extended inflation valve accessory that makes it easier to top up while you are seated and paddling. 


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