Welcome to this installment of Flylords’ “Small Business Spotlight” series. When it comes to fly fishing and the outdoor industry as a whole, constant innovation and ingenuity are synonymous with the spirit of sport. That being said, new products are constantly being released, many of which don’t really meet any actual needs of anglers. However, every now and then, something comes out of the woodwork that really catches the eye and makes one think, “Wow! Now, this is a game-changer”. In an effort to support the foundation of the industry, Flylords is looking to bring a spotlight to small businesses we believe in. Here, we’ll highlight the up-and-comers in the industry we hope to see in every angler’s loadout one day.
This week, we’re jumping out of the frying pan and into the… charcoal, to check out a brand that encapsulates the spirit of adventure that fly-fishing has become so synonymous with. This is a brand that aims to change the way anglers float, camp, and otherwise relax on the water. Here we present, NOMAD Grills.
It’s all about adventure. A lot of time in fly-fishing, it’s not about how many fish you catch, but the time you had on the water. Many anglers would argue that a fishless day of side-splitting laughter and memorable stories shared holds far more value than those of plentiful haul (then again, it never hurts to have both). This is largely in part due to the newfound communal nature fo the sport, and its ability to brings friends and strangers together for a day of enjoying a universal truth that nature offers.
With this nuanced view of fly fishing, it’s important to remember that when looking at the gear you’ll need for the day(s), to not stop at the gear specifically designed to catch fish. Sure, you’d be hard-pressed to find any skiff or drift boat without a cooler full of ice and barley-based-beverages in it, however, we as anglers must always remember to ask ourselves, “Can we do even better?” Upon asking this question, we find the answer to often be, “yes”.
It’s in engaging these internal dilemmas that we came across NOMAD Grills. Fresh off the presses in Texas, Nomad offered a sleek and shiny answer to the question of, “How far can we push this fishing rig?” Immediately after chatting with the team behind the grills, we were giddy with excitement to test out this briefcase grill.
(Location: Some beach by Morris Island Lighthouse, SC.)
The second we were able to pull the grill from its cardboard housing, we knew we were in for a treat. Upon primary inspection, we were extremely impressed by the robust nature of the aluminum frame. The build of the grill itself was astoundingly solid, but what felt truly unique was the engineering behind the design of the metallic briefcase. It felt like it was something out of a NASA laboratory. The external shell floated around the magnetically sealed hexagonal grate, all tightly locked together with the two compact latches.
While it looked sexy, it was time to put the grill to the test. We poured some of the included charcoal into the steel chimney starter and set it ablaze. As the flames began to settle, we poured the embers into the base of the grill. One of the most unique aspects of the grill was that we had been told it was safe to use on a boat. We were definitely skeptical towards this claim, as our intuition cautioned us against placing a steel box of flaming coals on the gel coating of the skiff. However, we were pleasantly shocked after performing a few “hand tests” on the bottom of the grill and being able to deem it safe for the casting platform.
As the sun set, we kicked our gears into full relaxation mode. As chicken kabobs, and whiskey-washed pineapple slowly roasted over the burning embers, we sat back and soaked in the sweet smell of charcoal smoke and the fading light of the evening. Once the food was finished sizzling, we cracked open some liquid joy and enjoyed the splendors of our work. As we indulged, Banjo, our four-legged canine companion, barked his heart out at some passing dolphins, providing some of the best entertainment we could have asked for. As we wiped away tears of laughter and bits of pineapple from our beards, we could confidently confirm that the NOMAD was surely a piece of gear we’d be keeping around for a good long while.
We also had a chance to sit down with Cameron Leggett and John Veatch, two of the founders of NOMAD Grills to share their own accounts of his small-business’ story.
Flylords: What is NOMAD Grills?
Cam: Part grill, part smoker, NOMAD Grills is big performance in a small package. It’s heavy-duty while remaining completely carriable, so it knows no bounds in terms of where you can take it. We built these grills to go places — to be out in the wild, fitting into the active lifestyle of our customers.
With those features in mind, we doubled down on the portability as well as the aesthetics while ensuring we exceeded expectations in terms of what a grill should deliver: simplicity, craftsmanship, performance, and versatility. Where we landed is a timeless look that hits that perfect form-meets-function balance — somewhere between a high-octane hibachi and a Mil-Spec attaché.
Flylords: What was the inspiration behind the brand?
John: There are a lot of grills you can take hunting, fishing, camping, or tailgating. However, there aren’t many that’ll easily get there and come back in one piece. Early on, we saw a race to the bottom in the portable market that highlighted a simple need for a portable grill that wouldn’t rust out or fall apart mid-adventure. That shortcoming set us on a path to build a better grill — one you could take places, one that could keep pace, and one you’d be proud to show up with and use.
Performance characteristics at every level are what really set NOMAD apart. A dual-purpose lid integrates a second cast cook box offering double the grate space for table-top grilling. Thoughtful details like rare-earth magnets, known for holding up to high heat cycles, help keep moving parts from rattling around while assisting in ash containment when the grill is on-the-go.
We’re big believers in nailing the details and we think that attention to design elements is apparent when someone gets their hands on a NOMAD Grill.
Flylords: What’s one of the coolest places you’ve seen a NOMAD travel to?
Cam: In just the first few weeks since launch, NOMAD has journeyed to live-fire fanatics living in Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Europe, and we have customers standing by in South America, Australia, Dubai, etc… NOMAD is Made To Move!
Flylords: What has been one of the most difficult aspects of being a small business in the outdoor space?
John: We’ve engineered a product that lasts, and aim to build a company that does the same. Our biggest challenge now is building trust in the outdoor community and conveying what people glean immediately when they get their hands on a NOMAD – it’s badass.
Flylords: What is the best way for someone to get their hands on a NOMAD?
Cam: Visit www.nomadgrills.com for fast and free FedEx shipping to the USA and Canada, with global shipping available to roving barbecues from Seattle to the Serengeti.
Thank you to Cameron, John, and the rest of the NOMAD team for taking the time to share their journey with us. If you’d like to learn more about, and support, the NOMAD initiative, CLICK HERE!