Photo courtesy of NOMAD Grills

Dallas residents John Veatch and Cam Leggett invented a portable grill that easily folds and can fit into tightly packed spaces.

The NOMAD Grill works for socially distanced camping trips and outdoor adventures. Veatch and Leggett opened a showroom at 111. N. Bishop Ave.

How did the concept of the NOMAD Grill come about?

Veatch: There are a lot of grills you can take on an outdoor adventure. However, there aren’t many that’ll easily get there and then come back in one piece. Early on, we saw … 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.

How long did it take, from conception to launch, to bring NOMAD to life?

Leggett: All in all, it took us over three years to get this product fully baked and ready to take to market. We developed NOMAD with a single purpose; to build a grill that matches strength and sturdiness with endless applications and perfect portability. Turns out, it takes a minute to make a thing that can live up to those standards as well as the expectations of today’s savvy outdoor consumer.

Photo courtesy of NOMAD Grills

What were some challenges you ran into while developing NOMAD?

Veatch: Execution is always challenging. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but bringing a polished consumer product and hardware program to life can certainly test your mettle. We’re pretty persistent guys, so staying the course over the long haul was never a concern. However, most of the components in our grill are pretty difficult to manufacture, given the materials, the tolerances, and the detail in part profiles. Plus, our parts involve a bunch of different disciplines — everything from die-casting to investment casting, to stretch-forming, to injection molding. That all said, we encountered a lot of “no’s” and a lot of “can’ts” during R&D, and in our quest to source a proficient supply chain. However, being told that something’s “not possible” tends to fuel our fire.

What technology is utilized in the NOMAD Grill?

Leggett: We discovered we could quickly dissipate a significant amount of excess heat away from the grill by integrating heatsinks, using multi-layer construction, and by decoupling components with thermal breaks. The result allows outside shell temperatures to stay remarkably low, enabling you to set the grill on some pretty unconventional surfaces for a barbecue grill, like a wooden table or a plastic-lined tailgate. Other technological details like rare-earth magnets, known for holding up to extreme heat, help keep moving parts from rattling around while assisting in ash containment when the grill is on-the-go. A dual-purpose lid integrates a second cook box offering double the grate space for table-top grilling. We’ve got a few different patents pending on our grill, but those are really just nice-to-haves. Where we really excel is performance and versatility. This thing turns a lot of heads and when people ask what it is, we often describe NOMAD as, ‘Part grill, part smoker. Big performance in a small package.’

Where can people buy one?

Veatch: Our model is direct-to-consumer, so most sales occur online via NOMAD’s website. However, as half our team is local to Oak Cliff, we have an office, shop and showroom in Bishop Arts District. We welcome barbecue enthusiasts to come kick the tires on our grill or even let us set up a live-fire cooking demo to highlight what makes this device so special.

What’s next for you two?

Leggett: Just like our grills, we want to grow a sustainable business that’s built to last. Low and slow is our approach to just about everything we do. We’re not planning to jump the shark and launch an umbrella hat, but we’re keenly interested in building out a lifestyle brand that fits well under the umbrella of the barbecue category. For example, in September, we’ll be launching a subscription service for our forthcoming 100% all-natural charcoal called NOMAD Fire. It derives from a dense fruitwood and is one of the best combustibles we’ve come across in terms of burning longer and hotter while emitting less smoke. We’ve got a few other irons in the fire in terms of ancillary products that we think will fit in well with their active lifestyle of our customers and that we’re stoked to introduce soon.

Photo courtesy of NOMAD Grills