After paddling around in the S1 I can see some ways of improving it. So I did.
Replace the inflatable backrest with a plain foam backrest. The backrest which came with the boat had already been repaired twice and, unless it’s at the back of a packraft, who needs an inflatable backrest anyway? It’s more about support than weight-bearing comfort. As on my Seawave, a foam backrest (£12 on ebay; 200g) does the job and is one less thing to blow up. The press-pivot clips from the old backrest fitted on easily, and even though it only has 4 straps, not 6, it works fine. I trimmed about a foot of excess from each strap.
I bought some mesh zip pockets about 6” x 10” off ebay costing next to nothing from China. Not quite sure where I’ll fit them yet – maybe on the back of the new backrest for starters, and on the front deck. Either way, they’ll be handy on the kayak as well as the packraft.
Fit an Anfibio footrest cushion. You lose some inflating there, you gain it here but the Nomad’s seat is too far from the bow for efficient bracing, even for me, and moving the seat has it’s limits. The cushion (a prototype; finished ones will be in black nylon, like the seats) allows me to brace my feet and push on my new foam backrest. With a better connection to the boat, more paddling effort gets translated into forward motion. For flatwater I may not even need the thigh braces.
Top-up pump. The Nomad’s large volume takes a lot of tempering (topping up) to get it firm, but I can only do so much by lung. With a bit of hose on the end, the £3 pump (below) should enable a higher pressure to make the raft firm enough on the shore in one inflation, not doing it twice on the water, as I found I was doing.
But it doesn’t really work (or would take forever). I think it just hasn’t got what it takes. By comparison the bulkier K-Pump Mini (right) effortlessly packed in enough air to firm up the Nomad like a drum. So if it’s that important, the K-Pump it will have to be.
Quicker detach seat base. I replaced the knotted-in laces with long, thin unzipped zip-ties threaded through the holes to make the seat easier to remove for land use or for drying and cleaning the boat. Any similar plastic wire-like thing will do, as long as there is no puncture risk. But it’s still not clip-off easy. I have a better idea.
I replaced the blue MRS air bag with a brightly coloured Anfibio one. Visibility is the rationale: because packrafts lack somewhere to stash this important item, with a neon green bag I’m much less likely to forget it when packing up (done that before). It could also be handy to wave as a rescue aid if stuck on a stormy skerry in the North Atlantic (not done that yet).
For the same reason I stuck some hazard tape on the skeg, although unlike my IKs, the Nomad’s skeg is not essential to make it track well.