In a Nutshell:
The original Florida powered beach wheelchair, the Nomad has been in production and being continuously refined for more than a decade. An exceptional, versatile, rugged machine. Expensive and more geared toward adventurers and people looking for a go-anywhere design that can also handle a day on the beach. Probably too much of a chair for the casual beachgoer.
Ease of Use
Are you looking for a powered beach chair, and more? A true all-terrain outdoor mobility aid that can take you just about anywhere you’d care to go?
If so, then you’re going to love our in-depth review of the mighty Nomad.
Offered by Beach Mobility, one of the largest and most respected Florida Beach Wheelchair companies, the Nomad Beach Wheelchair has been delivering outdoor experiences for more than a decade, and the guys at Beach Mobility have spent more than a decade refining every aspect of its design.
These aren’t mass produced, assembly line chairs. Each one is hand built to their owner’s specifications. Sure, you can order the stock model if you want to, but given the opportunity to have precisely the all-terrain wheelchair you’ve always wanted, who could pass that up?
We’ll tell you all about the Nomad in the sections that follow, and as you’ll see, it doesn’t have many weaknesses. By the time you finish reading this review, you’ll know whether this is the chair you’ve been looking for, or if your search must continue.
Ready? Let’s jump right in and see what it can do!
An Overview of the Nomad All Terrain Wheelchair
The first thing you’ll notice about the Nomad power wheelchair is the fact that it looks more like a go-kart, minus the steering wheel, or maybe a riding lawnmower, minus the cutting deck. Either way, it doesn’t look much like your typical beach chair.
Most beach wheelchairs have those comically large tires that make them stand out. Not the Nomad. It foregoes those for heavy-duty, super-tread all-terrain tires that can take you just about anywhere you want to go, including the beach.
Right away then, you know that this isn’t going to be your typical powered beach chair. It will serve you well in that function, absolutely, but it’s much more than just that. This is a genuine, all-terrain, go-anywhere chair.
Nomad Power Wheelchair Specifications
Here are the basic stats of the Nomad:
Note that these are the chair’s standard options, but since the company custom builds each chair for their individual owners, if you exceed the maximum weight recommendations of the chair, need more range, etc., the guys at Beach Mobility will work hard to make it happen.
The only thing we’re a little underwhelmed about here is the range. Ten miles is fine for a casual beach chair, but this brute was designed to go anywhere you’d care to take it.
As such, we would love to have seen a bit more range out of the standard options package. Again though, there’s an easy fix for that, so we can’t count it as a significant negative.
We’ll have a lot more to say about this in the next section, because although the stock Nomad all terrain wheelchair is only moderately adjustable, it’s virtually infinitely customizable, which in our book is the superior of the two.
You’ll find that the seat reclines, the armrests adjust and can be ordered to swivel out of the way for easier transfer into and out of the chair, but that’s about it. Note that the footrest is not adjustable, being a steel panel welded to the frame.
Comfort-wise, the Nomad is quite good in its stock configuration, and again, if you want extra padding, hydrophobic cushions, or even a particular type of seat, arrangements can be made to do that for you as part of the custom work, so at the end of the day, it’s as comfortable as you want it to be.
The sky’s the limit here, given that as much as possible, Beach Mobility offers virtually unlimited customization to their customers. Several options are standard, including:
Again though, if you want something extra and you don’t see it on this list, odds are that they can make it happen for you. Just call them up and tell them what your needs are.
In addition to that, you can order your Nomad power wheelchair in any paint color you want, and even a custom two-color paint job if that’s your preference.
Even better, because these machines aren’t mass produced, the company encourages its customers to contact them with special requests. While they may not be able to accommodate every single request, they do make an effort to add unique, personalized “extras” that their customers want and need.
The only small gripe we have here is that the default onboard storage space is underwhelming. Granted, you can engineer your way around this problem, and the guys at Beach Powered Mobility can certainly add additional storage if you want or need it.
That said, if you plan on using this chair to the fullest of its capabilities, then you’ll find yourself wanting more storage that comes standard.
The Nomad off road power wheelchair can take you deep into the wilds if you want it to, and one little storage bag that’s hanging off the arm isn’t going to allow you to carry all the gear you’ll want to take with you.
Not a Portable Wheelchair
While the Nomad Beach Mobility wheelchair has a lot of strengths, portability isn’t among them. The wheelchair weighs far too much to lift, and you can’t collapse it to reduce its footprint or break it into sections.
Your only real options then, in terms of moving it from one place to another are a flatbed pickup truck with a ramp or a lift mounted on the back of your vehicle. You may be able to fit it into a full-sized, wheelchair accessible van, but even that would be a stretch.
Base Model Only Has a Slight Learning Curve
Although the steering mechanism is different, driving around in a Nomad feels more like driving a go-kart than a wheelchair. It’s big, broad, sturdy and powerful. Even better, the controls are intuitive, so you’ll get the hang of it in a matter of minutes.
That said, given the fact that you have virtually unlimited freedom to customize your chair, you could wind up adding a sufficient number of features that you’ll increase the learning curve somewhat. That’s not a bad thing though, because since you’re picking and choosing only the features you want, it will be fun to learn to use them in the context of your new, go-anywhere mobility machine!
Not Intended for Indoor Use
This will be a short section. It should go without saying, but the Nomad isn’t designed for indoor use. It’s an outdoor-only chair and trying to use it indoors would be a bit like letting your full-grown pitbull sleep in the living room.
Pros & Cons of the Nomad Off Road Power Wheelchair
In our view, these are the best features of the Nomad:
On the other hand, here are a few reasons you might give it a pass:
In our view, none of these are deal breakers, but we recognize that one or more of them might put some people off.
Nomad Beach Wheelchair Review Conclusion
So, where does that leave us?
Most of the other powered wheelchairs we’ve reviewed are very much geared toward leisure activities. Take the Cruzr 4 2, for example. It’s quite capable, but designed for couples to enjoy a fun, relaxing day of surf and sand (and the same can be said of its smaller cousin, AJ’s Cruzr.
This isn’t that type of chair. It can be, but it’s more expensive than purely leisure-oriented chairs, and as such, whether or not you decide to buy the Nomad beach wheelchair is going to depend a great deal on how you intend to use it.
If you envision yourself engaging in a variety of different leisure activities across a broad range of terrains that includes time at the beach, the Nomad is the superior choice. It can handle the challenges of sand every bit as well as the other models you’ll find on our site, but except for the more expensive Outdoor Extreme Beach Cruiser, is pound for pound more capable, and will serve you better on other outdoor terrains.
Basically then, if all you want is a beach cruiser, this is probably more chair than you need. If you enjoy hunting, hiking, camping and the like, then the Nomad is an exceptional deal and will serve you well as a general-purpose outdoor activity chair that’s nimble enough to handle the unique challenges that sand presents, on top of everything else.
On that basis, we strongly recommend it for active outdoorsmen and women and don’t recommend it for those looking for a chair for casual use only.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES