Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Trials Riding

Crux, one of the films from last night's Banff Mountain film festival in Arlington (MA), features Ryan Leech. He manages to boggle our mind every year with his physics-defying trials riding. Ryan is exactly the kind of creative and adventurous athlete that gets us psyched to design outdoor gear and be a part of the industry. For those of you who won't get a chance to check out the film, take a moment to watch the videos on youtube.


Banff E-Raffle Winners

Thanks to everyone for entering the NEMO raffle in support of this year’s Arlington Banff Mountain Film Festival. In addition to the grand prize of the $100 NEMO Gift Certificate, we also decided to give away three 2nd prizes of NEMO Ditto bags (reusable tote bags made from recycled tents) because of your great support. The random number generator has been cranking away, and the winners are:

Winner: Jim Langill
2nd prize: Michael Paolucci, Amy Fullerton, and Pete Yorgey

We will be in contact with the winners about getting prizes to you. Enjoy the films this week and keep supporting the New England outdoor community!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Banff Raffle

The Banff Mountain Film Festival is rolling through New England this week. NEMO is sponsoring our "local" show in Arlington, MA on February 23-25 at the Regent Theatre. We are raffling off a $100 gift certifcate to people on the Arlington Banff email list. For all of you New Englanders, sign up to be elgible for the raffle, and get more info about the show. Just say "sign me up for the Banff list" in your email. Don't fear spam, this list is only used to send out reminders that Banff is coming to the area, and will allow you to get tickets ahead of time next year. See organizer Paul Nager's website for more information concerning the Arlington show.

As mentioned in an earlier post (January 20th), the Banff Film Fest is a series of awesome/spectacular/death-defying/beautiful/crazy adventure films not to be missed. There is always a mix of culture and adventure that make it impossible to leave the theater without being inspired, and is something the NEMO crew looks forward to every year. Banff shows in 38 states and over 30 countries. To find when it touring near you, check the schedule.


Friday, February 13, 2009

What's Behind a Logo?

There’s a story behind the NEMO logo. We call the black and white part of the logo the "shield." The shape of the abstract “N” is reminiscent of a coat of arms and of an actual medieval shield. When I started NEMO in 2002 and designed the logo, it struck me that medieval arms made a great metaphor for climbing and mountaineering equipment: artisans would spend as much as several years making the perfect sword or piece of armor, putting an amount of care into the object proportional to the gravity of its use. I wanted NEMO to have this same spirit: if somebody's life or comfort would depend on our gear, we should put tremendous care into making it. Additionally, the association with a coat of arms is really about family and tradition, something which NEMO is just beginning to grow, but which I hope to develop a real sense of.

The word NEMO originated from New England MOuntain Equipment, but we quickly dropped the longer name in favor of a short and memorable acronym. (Before Finding NEMO was a Disney hit.) The letters NEMO on the red background are meant to loosely resemble shapes from nature. The “E” is like a river, the “M” like mountains and the “O” like a pond. I chose red because it is the first color your eye goes to.

Also, I forgot to mention it, but part of the reason for the black and white shield was so a portion of the logo could be separated and used as a stamp or machined logo. The shield is deliberately sized and shaped to be easy to machine and easy to place on a small product.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

TED Talks and Design

NEMO’s conference table is home to a sticker which reads ‘design like you give a damn’. I like to think of this sticker as shorthand for the passion, deliberation, creativity, usability, and innovation we put into NEMO products.

Tangentially related, the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference is just wrapping up for this year. TED defines its mission as “ideas worth spreading” and has made its lectures (Ted Talks) available to watch online. We call them “videos worth watching”. In these talks, speakers (whose job titles range from “maestro” to “sculptor” to “astronaut”) are challenged to give the 18-minute talk of their lives. The talks are arranged according to themes (which helps somewhat to sort through the overwhelming number of compelling videos), including ‘Design Like You Give a Damn’. Even if you’re not a design geek, it’s worth hearing Segway inventor Dean Kamen's talk about designing for good, IDEO’s David Kelley’s discussion on human-centered design, Bill McDonough’s cradle to cradle design strategy, etc.

In this year’s TED talks, a favorite of mine has been Elizabeth Gilbert’s moving discussion on creative genius. Sit down, get a snack, and turn up the volume.


Monday, February 9, 2009


One of NEMO's sponsored trips, The Kyrgyzstan Plan, just wrapped up a couple weeks ago. The expedition (and film project) is aimed at initiating a community based yurt-stay/ski touring program, providing alternative income opportunities to the families who shape their livelihood in Kyrgyzstan's remote Tian Shan mountains.

K-plan mastermind Ryan Koupal and Co. took Tenshi out into the remote mountains of Kyrgyzstan in search of endless and untouched powder (can you find it below?).

Ryan explained to us that just about all of the basic resources needed to initiate such an operation are there in Kyrgyzstan. They are just waiting for someone to come along, inspire the idea, and work with others to put the pieces together. More plans are in the works, so if you dig the idea or want to give support, check out the link above.

The K-plan blog is full of beautiful pictures and great stories:
"Look, Mister, you cannot go to that place. You will be eaten by wolves." A lone Kyrgyz guest sat across the table from Sabyrbek, anxious to make direct eye contact with the two crazy Americans who were dead-set on heading to live for a week in the mountains of the remote Suusamyr region. The guest spoke up, and Sabyrbek turned to us with a translation: "This man, he is from the countryside. He is a hunter. He says that the wolves will eat you." I looked at the man. He looked at Sabyrbek. I looked at Ellis. This was something we hadn't considered.

"Do you have a gun?" Sabyrbek asked. "No...we have splitboards. And ice axes. And a tripod." The hunter spoke again. "It's love-making season. He says many wolves will be together, not just one. One is OK...but many will be a problem for two American boys." More words from the hunter. "He says you should wait until February 22."

Stayed tuned for more stories to come.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

457 boxes of tents in the shop, 25 lbs. of garbage no longer on the beach

Friday was a big day at NEMO. Our largest shipment to date arrived: 457 boxes of brand spankin’ new 2009 tents. Seeing as many of us hadn’t gotten our daily workout in, we rolled up our sleeves and started lifting the boxes into the shop. Two and a half hours later, you couldn’t see the floor and we were exhausted.

Our 2009 product line is expanding from 7 tents to 12 tents, 3 sleeping pads and 1 backcountry pillow. While we’re still unpacking all of the boxes, here’s a sneak peek at the line up: NEMO 2009 Catalog.

Once we’re all unpacked, these babies will be ready for their next adventure.

In other news, we also conducted our monthly cleanup at Jenness Beach on Friday afternoon. It was a cold one, with snow blanketing the shore above the high tide mark. Charlotte, my dog, didn’t even dip a paw in the water it was so chilly. But she did do her share of cleaning up 2 tennis balls left stranded on the beach. This month was one of our slimmest cleanups – just 25 lbs. collected. Maybe we’re making a difference.



So far this winter, Nashua, New Hampshire has received 49 inches of snow. It seems every extra inch of space around town is piled high with cleared snow. Last week the temperature warmed during the day, and bright sunlight created a slow melt of the accumulated snow. By early afternoon the snow would practically be running off the roof only to be refrozen when the night cooled off, creating some beautiful ice sculptures. These shots were taken on the fire escape and roof lines of the NEMO headquarters.