Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Speed Tour of the Shire

New Hampshire surfers take a lot of pride in their coastline. When the lines were drawn so many years ago, New Hampshire snuck in between the endless miles of Maine and Massachusetts...just enough to be able to refer to the area as "Sea coast". According to a quick search on Google, we have either 13, 17, or 18 total miles of coastline (the shortest of all coastal states). I'm wondering if the discrepancy comes from coastal road vs shoreline...and maybe high tide vs low tide?

In case you have ever wanted to visit this quaint coastline of ours but live too far away, or don't have the time to drive the entire 13-18 miles, here it is sped up to just under a minute and a half. Unfortunately its a bit hard to see our surf breaks from car height, but perhaps its best we keep those locations secret. If you don't blink, you can see the section of beach NEMO cleans up every month at about 20-21 seconds.

NH Coastline from Michael Sander on Vimeo, courtesy of Pioneers Surf Shop.


Monday, November 23, 2009

NEMO Classroom Lessons #164: Nylon vs Polyester

“What’s the difference?”, you might ask. Nylon and polyester are used throughout the outdoor industry. Since both are synthetic polymers that have existed long before our time, most people don’t think twice about using one versus another. Since fabrics can be ‘finished’ in different ways to increase strength, UV protection, waterproofness, etc., the differences I’m talking about here relate more to the base fabric. Here’s a useful guide to key differences that might make you stop and think about fabrics the next time you’re looking at gear.

It’s not a fair comparison to say that Sugar Ray Robinson, a welterweight (140-147 lbs) is less strong than Evander Holyfield (heavyweight at >200 lbs). In same way, we generally try to compare fabrics ‘pound for pound’ – meaning that they are at the same denier (fineness of fiber). At the same denier, nylon tends to be a stronger than polyester and the difference can be such that a 420D nylon is stronger than 600D polyester. The strength difference shows up when you’re examining tear, abrasion resistance, or something as simple as the fabric’s ability to hold stitches. Since polyester is weaker than nylon, the thread count (and thus weight) can often be higher in polyester at the same denier.

The Cruel Sun
Seems pretty clear cut right? Nylon is stronger… except that in the presence of UV, it will break down and start to degrade much faster than polyester. Polyester naturally inhibits UV. Although the fiber may be weaker at the start, it holds up better over time.

Moisture, Stretch, and All That Good Stuff
Nylon tends to absorb more moisture than polyester. This means that if it rains, you’ll probably lose the perfect tension you had when setting up your tent. Polyester is more resistant to stretching/shrinking than nylon because it won’t take in as much water. In wet weather with polyester, you’ll generally be carrying less moisture which translates into faster drying times.

Dye Transfer
Nylons tend to be easier to dye than polyesters. The majority of dye migration problems I’ve seen have been with polyester. Wet/Damp conditions with polyester can definitely lead to dye migration, especially with darker colors.

Green Concerns:
Right now, nylon is more difficult to recycle than polyester. There are many ways to turn in old polyester for recycling, but very few for nylon. Nylons break down into toxic and hazardous material when melted, and incinerating them to recover the high cost of energy used to make them is expensive.

The decision to use polyester or nylon is almost never clear cut. There's a lot of strategery in adding finishing/coating/lamination methods that help improve performance (and hopefully don't adversely affect other properties). Hopefully, this will give you a good sense of tradeoffs that gear designers go through when selecting materials for use.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Twinkle, Twinkle

It's that Leonids time of year again.

 Photo: J.C. Casaso & I. Graboleda

The first time I ever heard the word Leonids was in 2002 as I was being coaxed onto the creaky roof of a friend's 4-story apartment in Somerville, MA. It was midnight and the show was just taking off. For the next 6 hours (before work) I watched shooting stars glitter across the urban sky while I did horizontal jumping jacks (to keep warm) in my 20 degree bag. The thermometer showed that it was much less than 20 out there, but I didn't want to run inside for more clothes lest I miss one of those magic moments.

Scientists seem to think there will be quite a show this year, especially if you are in Asia. Check here to find ideal viewing times by location (continent, country, or state).

NASA is predicting 20 to 30 meteors per hour over the Americas, and as many as 200 to 300 per hour over Asia.

Start drinking your coffee now, and get your cameras ready...


Hunting Penguins from the Master

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen recounts an amazing experience where a giant leopard seal takes him under his wing and tries to figure out why penguins aren't as tasty to humans as they are to seals.

(via boingboing)


Monday, November 16, 2009

London to Copenhagen, On Foot

NEMO ambassador, Alison Gannett, is embarking on a mission to walk, with skis on her pack, over 200 miles from London to Brussels, then onto Copenhagen, to raise awareness, support, and media exposure of climate change. At Cop15 in Denmark, she'll be working with the United Nations Climate Heroes program to help create a treaty to replace Kyoto. Over 196 nations will be represented at Cop15. President Obama has not yet confirmed his attendance.

In the 2007 IPCC report adopted by almost all countries around the world, including the US, scientists ALL agreed that human-induced climate change and feedback loops will raise temperatures by 7-11 degrees. But how exactly does this impact us? If you’re like the NEMO crew, you like to spend your winters sliding on snow. The OECD report in Europe demonstrates that with a mere 2-4 degree rise, almost half of Europe's ski areas will be without snow, while the CEO of Aspen Ski Area states that "even with moderate reductions (CO2 and energy use), skiing will be hampered if not perhaps gone, by 2050." Climate Disruption is possibly human kind's greatest modern challenge.

Alison is attempting to raise $3000 to help fund her journey from Colorado to Copenhagen. NEMO has contributed to the fund. If you’d like to join us, click here.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Jaws that Bite, Claws that Catch...

The wave report for this weekend in the Northeast is impressive.

As our friends at Pioneer surf shop pointed out, that's nothing compared to the waves earlier in the year at Shipsterns Bluff. Have you seen anything as monster killer-like as #18 in the slideshow?


Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Vehicle for New Adventures

I’ve always loved trucks. I didn’t watch much TV when I was a little kid (and still don’t) but I had an extensive collection of Legos and Tonka trucks. I pretty much split my time between making trucks with Legos and pushing Tonka trucks around in a dirt pile behind my house. The couple square feet I needed for a play area seemed like a universe. Lately I miss the feeling that the world is really big and contains unlimited mystery and possibility.

Back in college in Vermont, my roommate and I and our close friends would take our trucks through Nor’easters and up into the Green Mountains to teach ourselves how to ice climb or do things like rappel into 100 foot deep caves with only a few lengths of 4mm cord to Prusik our way out. It seemed like a big deal back then. Sometimes I miss fear. Sometimes I miss putting myself in situations I seriously doubt if I’ll be able to escape. That fear made us sharp. It gave us a reason to learn new skills, to exercise and strengthen our bodies, to carefully observe our surroundings and to problem solve. Starting and running NEMO has had its share of adrenaline moments, and the general sense among the NEMO folks that we are a first ascent team, deep in the unknown, pioneering and risking everything, has kept us sharp and engaged. But on the personal level, I’ve been coming up a little shy of my quota for adrenaline lately.



BFF will be your BFF

This year has been rife with with film premieres and festivals seemingly every weekend. Warren Miller's new flick Dynasty is making its rounds across the globe as we speak. Meanwhile, the Bicycle Film Festival (BFF) is wrapping up over the next month or so after beginning in late May.

Take a look here to see if you'll be near one of the last couple cities on the tour (hint: boston, tokyo, melbourne, new orleans, miami... you're in luck). For everyone else who wants a preview of the films, look here.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NEMO Classroom Lesson #383: How to Secure your Jake's Foot

Jake's Feet are one of the most functional parts of many NEMO tents. They make that pleasant snap so you know your corner is locked, they provide a convenient hub for your fly/poles/inner tent/footprint, and even cantilever your inner tent corners down to the ground.

My favorite function is that they create a system to remove your inner tent, leaving you with fly/poles/footprint for a lightweight tarp shelter which is perfect for a sunny day on the beach (specifically to keep the wax from melting off my board.)In order to do this, you have to move the Jake's Feet, which are usually attached to the inner tent, to the footprint using tri-glides.

Don't worry if you don't know what that means exactly, here's Steve to the rescue with another NEMO short to help anyone looking to make their NEMO tent into a sun shade now that its November...


Monday, November 9, 2009

Sneak Peak: Morpho 1P

In this installment of Sneak Peaks, we highlight a new AirSupported tent, Morpho 1P. This tent is the 1 person lightweight version of Morpho AR, and a good compromise for folks who are undecided between the elbow-height Gogo bivy and Morpho AR. I took the Morpho 1P with me this summer on a trip to Sun Valley, and really enjoyed the 'sprawling out' room.

We originally toyed with the idea of calling it Morpho 1.5 because it’s definitely large enough for you and your favorite 4-legged companion, or for two people who want to travel ultra light (and who really like each other). We’ve had quite a few people ask us if you can fit 2 in a Gogo, and while it would be pretty tight, those people might really like the Morpho 1P.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Proven Surf/Skate/Snow Film Festival

This week, the Banff Film Fest is knee deep in action. The Adventure Film Festival gets going next week in Boulder. For East Coasters who are looking for a piece of the pie too, check out this year's Proven Surf/Skate/Snow Film Festival.

The film festival features the top 10 surf/skate/snow films from New England's adventure film makers. Starting at 6pm, Saturday November 8th at the Rye Airfield, the event will also feature artwork, food, raffles (including a surfboard), and skate sessions before/after the show.

It seems that lately Rye Airfield has been a happening place. After Tony Hawk's visit last week and the film festival this weekend, we should be keeping a closer eye on the events going on there!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

{Don’t} Follow The Yellowbrick Road

Last spring we were approached by an independent film company with a strange request. They were getting ready to film a psychological thriller/horror movie, not far from the premise of Blair Witch Project, and they needed to borrow a few tents.

Being a big fan of horror movies since the days of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Children of the Corn, I was excited with the idea. A few of my more level-headed (and frankly, wimpy) co-workers, wanted to make sure no one died in the tents. ”You’re NEMO's PR director, think of what this could do to our image, let alone the camping industry?!” So, I made the request, but it was never confirmed. After seeing the trailer and the way the tents were returned, I’m afraid it was denied.

The movie is set and filmed in New Hampshire (our fair state) and will be submitted to film festivals soon. Check out the trailer and let us know what you think. I’ll tell ya, I get goose bumps every time I watch it.