Atomic breaks into the helmet market with the Nomad LF, a helmet that our testers found functional, if not super comfortable. With a myriad of features, such as Live Fit, Size Adjustment, Dual Zone Ventilation, and removal earpads, this helmet has enough bells and whistles to compete with the best on the market. What seems good in theory is sometimes harder to achieve in practice, and our testers found the Nomad LF coming up short in several categories, especially when compared to long-time classics such as the Smith Vantage or Giro Zone MIPS.
Atomic Nomad LF Review
Cons: Imperfect fit, uncomfortable ear pads
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Atomic Nomad LF
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|Pros||Relatively cheap, well ventilated||Comfortable, warm, vents well, style points||Toasty, comfortable, really well-built||Great interior fit, stylish look, warm||Well made, proven over the years, good ventilation, sleek|
|Cons||Imperfect fit, uncomfortable ear pads||Pricey||Expensive and a little heavy||Ear flaps can be noisy||Heavy|
|Bottom Line||A well ventilated helmet at a good price.||Deemed best of the best by our testers, there isn't a better combination of performance available from any model we have tested at OutdoorGearLab.||A top of the line helmet for the avid skier.||A high-end helmet at a price that is a step down from other top models.||A top scoring helmet without any major flaws.|
|Rating Categories||Atomic Nomad LF||Smith Vantage MIPS||Smith Quantum MIPS||Giro Zone MIPS||Smith Variance|
|Goggle Compatibility (10%)|
|Specs||Atomic Nomad LF||Smith Vantage MIPS||Smith Quantum MIPS||Giro Zone MIPS||Smith Variance|
|Measured Weight (in ounces)||23 oz||17.7 oz||21 oz||17.9 oz||19 oz|
|Adjustment System||Back dial||Boa Fit System||Boa FS360 fit system||In Form 2 Fit System, Vertical Tuning||Boa Fit System|
|# of Vents?||15||18||22||14||18|
|Number of Sizes||3||3||4||3||3|
|Removable Ear Covers?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Certifications||CE EN 1077:2007 CLASS B, ASTM F 2040||ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077 Class B||ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077 Class B||CE EN1077||ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077 Class B|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Nomad is a well-built helmet with a lot of nice features that will, theoretically, put it in competition with some of the more established ski helmets.
Fit and Comfort
Atomic had all the right ideas when they set out to design and build the Nomad LF but despite the multiple comfort and fit features, our testers found this helmet to be slightly lacking. Atomic fit this helmet with an easily adjustable wheel at the back of the helmet. We had no problem adjusting the fit on the fly, which helped this helmet fit a range of head sizes and shapes. Atomic's Live Fit technology is a band if memory foam around the helmet that is supposed to provide breathability and custom fit. Our testers, however, did not find it to be that effective. Lastly, the ear cups on the Nomad have a nylon center, presumably to aid hearing, but ended up pressing on our testers ears, causing pain after time. For a more refined build with a better fit check out any of the Smith helmets, such as the Vantage or Maze.
While testing the Nomad LF during an early-season cold snap in Lake Tahoe, our testers came to realize that it is not the warmest helmet on the market. The helmet, with its adjustable wheel, fit fine on the head but we found the ear cups to be stiffer than helmets such as the Smith Variance or Smith Vantage. The ear pads did not hug and conform to our ears, and for this reason, we were forced to wear a thin beanie or buff under the helmet. Despite being able to close the vents we did not find this to be one of the warmer helmets we tested.
Ventilation is a testing metric where the Nomad LF did well. Thirteen vents on two different sliders allowed our testers to pick and choose just how much ventilation was needed to regulate our temperatures just right. Although we found it a little hard to operate the sliders with a gloved hand the action on them was smooth, and they are easy to find. The vents on the Nomad are oriented well to encourage airflow, and this helmet competes in this category with higher-end helmets such as the Smith Vantage.
We tested the Nomad LF with two different style Smith goggles and found the interface between the helmet and the goggles acceptable. The seal created was tight, and we couldn't feel any wind blowing between the two. The only issue we ran into was with a tester who had a slightly smaller head and a slightly larger framed goggle. He reported that the helmet was forcing the goggles down onto the bridge of his nose but reported the helmet feeling too big for him in the first place. If the helmet was sized correctly, that goggle compatibility was spot on. As always, if you have any questions about how your goggles are going to fit, bring them to a shop when you are trying on helmets!
Weight and Bulk
The Nomad LF falls at the upper end regarding weight but felt light enough on the head of our testers. It has a sleek look and fit under the hood of our jackets well on storm days. This helmet is by no means bulky but if you're looking for one of the lightest helmets on the market be sure to take a look at the Smith Maze for a lightweight, comfortable, and well-made lid.
Style is a personal choice, but our testers found the Nomad LF to be sleek and stylish with no major flare, a helmet that looks good without standing out. The orientation of the vents make it look fast, and the subtle visor provides a new-school look. If you're in the market for a different look with a skate-inspired feel be sure to check out the Smith Maze or Giro Ledge.
The Nomad is a great middle of the road helmet for the dedicated skier who's looking for a one-lid quiver. This helmet, with a thin hat on underneath, will handle the cold while still being appropriate for warm spring days with all of its vents run wide open.
The Nomad LF falls in at the upper end of the cheaper helmets we reviewed. It's but not nearly as well built as the much more expensive Smith helmets such as the Vantage or Quantum. For this price point, you won't do much better if you're looking for a helmet with an easy adjustment system and a lot of ventilation.
The Atomic Nomad LF is a solid helmet with all the right features. It comes off as stylish and user-friendly without being super pricey. With that being said, you get what you pay for and if you're looking for a top of the line helmet with similar features, look no further than the Smith Vantage or Smith Quantum.
— Sam Piper