The Nomad offers a lightweight and airy option, with a roomy single bedroom – it’s a good compromise between featherweight backpacker’s tents and more traditional camping models.
Quick to pitch
Good storage space
A tad too heavy to work for backpacking
Not quite enough room to stand
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Sierra Designs Nomad 4 is the latest from a company who specialise in lightweight backpacking tents, tarps and shelters for one or two people. But that lightweight know-how translates brilliantly into a bigger tent like the Nomad 4.
It’s the job of minutes to pitch this tent after a glance at the instructions, and three colour-coded poles offer good protection from high winds, even above the tree line. It might be a tad too heavy for anything but short trails (although not if the load was split between several people), but could still work for bikepacking or motorbike touring.
Two doors and two porches are great for stashing kit, and plentiful pockets inside make it easy to get everything squared away. If you’re planning on camping for more than a few days, and don’t mind the extra weight (5.81kg/12lb 13oz), the roomier Nomad 6 might be worth the extra little bit of cash ($475/£376).
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In the field
We were impressed with the bedroom size and dimensions when we tested out the Nomad on a multi-day camp on Dartmoor – it doesn’t quite offer room to stand but is still far roomier and taller than most lightweight four-person tents on the market.
The Nomad aims to be light enough to work for backpacking and wild camping – we reckon it might still be a tad too heavy and bulky for anything but short trails if one person is carrying it, but if you can split the load across two, three or four people it will work just fine (just don’t lose each other out on the trail…). This tent would also work well for bikepacking or motorbike touring due to its reasonably small and portable pack size.
Although four adults could share the Nomad, realistically three adults or two adults and two children would find it a more comfortable fit, especially on longer trips. That said, the design, with two doors and two porches, plus the well-placed pockets inside, is really excellent for people trying to keep kit organised.
Despite a lowish waterproofing rating of 1,800mm, we found the Nomad reliably waterproof on test, and very quick and easy to dry before you pack it up after a rainy night.
The bedroom doesn’t quite offer room to stand but is still far roomier and taller than most lightweight four-man tents on the market, and we really liked the integrated window, which tends to be missing from most four-person tents of this size and weight.
An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, thegirloutdoors.co.uk, champions accessible adventures.