Mamba or Nomad? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-26-2016   #1
Eden, Utah
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 18
Mamba or Nomad?

I've been paddling a Nomad 8.1 (the old version) the past week on a local IV+ - V- river near my house the past week and I'm diggin' it.

Unfortunately I'm gonna have to return it pretty soon and I need to get a creek boat for myself. I can't drop $1200 for a new Nomad though and I can't find any used ones for sale. The Mamba seems to be quite a bit cheaper *new* but I haven't paddled it so I'm curious as to what you all think of the two side-by-side.

Please let me know your thoughts on the two boats (compare and contrast).


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Old 04-26-2016   #2
Bisters, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 421
Classic planning vs displacement hull decision. Nomad is the tried and true stable displacement hull that is easy to boof but slow. Mamba's planning hull is much sportier in and out of eddies and accelerates better, but hard edges could trip you up in steep/shallow rapids. I prefer planning hulls so my choice would be mamba, but that is based on the types of runs I prefer. Since the brand new nomad is off the table, you are still only choosing between displacement vs planning hull...
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Old 04-26-2016   #3
Eden, Utah
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 18
Appreciate the feedback. What I want in my old age is something that's super stable and forgiving and the Nomad this last week has proven to be just that.

I can handle something a little edgier and it sounds like the Mamba would be so, but that's not a huge concern.

My big concern in my golden years is to not stress about getting worked over when I pound a good size hole. The Nomad seems to just ride over them effortlessly. I assume that's just a function of volume and that the Mamba would perform the same?

The boat I've been paddling for creeking prior to giving this borrowed Nomad a spin is a 20+ year old Pyranha Acrobat 270 which has a relatively low volume stern (compared to the Nomad anyway) and suffice it to say, it does not just bounce over big holes with the silky smoothness that the Nomad does.
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Old 04-26-2016   #4
dirtbagkayaker's Avatar
Poundtown, Wokastan
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,608
From by pov, it a boils down to how much rock bashing your doing. If ur sliding over shallow slabs, boofing boulders, and bouncing off rocks in the runs your on then its Nomad all the way. If your running water that is deeper and your not too worried about hitting shit all the way down the river then its Mamba. If you like to try to catch waves, Mamba. If you just want to punch every thing the Nomad. So, it basically comes down to type of river and style.

IMHO, You really only need a Nomad if your dropping manky 75+ feet per mile runs. That is were the Nomad shines more the the Mamba.
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Old 04-26-2016   #5
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,112
Agree with the above sentiment. Nomad performs better in lower volume creeks, Mamba better in bigger water and river running. That's why everybody in the state of WA has a Mamba and the Nomad is more popular in Colorado.
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Old 04-26-2016   #6
Eden, Utah
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 18
my local river is more or less a Northfork-style run (on a smaller scale). No big straight vertical drops, or boofs, or slides, just continuous waves/holes.

sounds like it's right in the Mamba's wheelhouse.
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Old 04-26-2016   #7
Worcestershire, Midlands, UK
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 55
Just get a Zet!
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Old 04-26-2016   #8
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 728
How tall/fat are you? The nomad 8.5 is only about 78 gallons, small compared to most current creek boats, but goddamn that boat has taken me over the river and through the woods on some legit good times. Get the 8.5.
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Old 04-26-2016   #9
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 73
I've owned both of these and run them down the V's in Cali, Idaho, Colorado, and NM. I bought the Mamba as a Stikine boat and it performed fantastically as it excels in big water pushy situations. Last summer I returned to the Middle Fork of the Kings with the Mamba having last run it in the Nomad. On steep, ledgy, and clutch boof rapids the Nomad is better. But, as the volume picked up on the Kings the Mamba came into it's own and was a joy to paddle.
Another plus for the Mamba is the easy stern access and huge carrying capacity which I really enjoyed on a 17 day river trip in Peru.
I will be getting another Mamba for this CO season.
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Old 04-26-2016   #10
Eden, Utah
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 18
thanks Will, that's very helpful.

It's looking more and more like the Mamba is gonna be the boat for me. I might be able to line one up to try out later this week to find out for sure.
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