Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Here Comes the Story of the Hurricane

While people in the Bahamas are boarding up, evacuating, or watching with apprehension as category 3 Hurricane Irene makes her way north, surfers here on the east coast watch the reports with nearly (ok, its hard to compare) as much apprehension. A quick check on the Weed a few moments ago yielded this report for local surf break-The Wall, claiming an unprecedented (in my 6 years in New Hampshire) 23 feet of swell. Yikes.

While I know I won't be out in the water on Sunday, I wish safe and fantastic rides to anyone who braves it. Can't wait to see the pictures Monday. Fingers are crossed for a week full of chest high, fast, and clean to follow.

Perhaps we can even stretch those perfect waves until September 10th for Grain's Surf Re-Evolution event. I'm sure a bunch of NEMOites will be stopping in for the day of surf, fun, food, art, movies and philosophy. If you're near, come join in the celebration and conversation (or just come for the waves and food!)


The Princess and the Pea/Pebble

At NEMO, we always try to have an interesting and innovative take on design. Even for something like a sleeping pad test bench, we set the goal of designing the ultimate sleeping pad testing bench. Here were some of the self-assigned goals when considering the design:
  • Indestructible. Designed so a 400lb Linebacker could Kneel on it anywhere.
  • Have 3 separate compartments (rocks, roots, razor blades, etc.)
  • Have a NEMO sleeping pad storage system inside
  • Quick assembly and tear down
  • Able to be carried on a plane
  • Relate aesthetically to the NEMO trade show booth
  • Look Cool
After some brainstorming, sketching, and quick modeling, here was the final solution: Using 1.25” aluminum poles, removable railing joints, 2 sheets of 1/16” thick aluminum, and about 3 yards of heavy duty hypalon, and a sheet of plywood, we built a sleeping pad testing bench that could support my Jeep.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Things that make your heart drop

One of our designers, Nate, spent a long weekend around the Oregon Coast, and captured this plunge into the Blue Pool off the McKenzie.

This is one of those cliff jumps that, 5 seconds after you jump and are still freefalling, make you question your decision in the first place.


Help Us Vote For The Environment

The Conservation Alliance is a member-based group of outdoor industry companies that disburses its collective annual membership dues to grassroots environmental organizations. CA directs funding to community-based campaigns to protect threatened wild habitat, preferably where outdoor enthusiasts recreate.

NEMO became a member in 2010. If you think about it, it’s a no-brainer. Most everyone who works in the outdoor industry does so because he/she loves to play outside and loves the gear that makes it possible. Our customers obviously love the outdoors as well. And, as outdoor gear manufacturers, if we don’t participate in protecting our open spaces and recreational areas, there will be no need for the gear we make. So, it’s a bit about survival of business and a bit survival of clarity of mind and body.

Photo by Noll Steinweg

In 2011, the Alliance, made up of more than 175 member companies, plans to disburse $1,000,000. They’ve already paid out $500,000 this past spring and the second disbursement will take place this fall. You can see past recipients here. And here’s where you come in. Each cycle, we, as a company, vote on our top 10 grantees, compile the results and submit one vote as a company. We’d like to open it up to you this round. Below is a list of the applicants. PLEASE PRIORITIZE YOUR TOP TEN CHOICES (1=first choice, 2=second choice, 3=third choice, 4=fourth choice 5=fifth choice, 6=sixth choice, 7=seventh choice, 8=eighth choice, 9=ninth choice, 10=tenth choice):

For a slideshow with more info on each organization and what they are requesting funding for, click here.

1. Alaska Wilderness League Preserve the Reserve Campaign
2. American Rivers North Cascades Wild & Scenic Rivers Campaign
3. Appalachian Mountain Club Campaign to Protect Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness Region
4. Audubon Alaska Western Arctic Campaign
5. Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Peel River Watershed Campaign
6. Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy Save East Fork Headwaters Campaign
7. Colorado Environmental Coalition Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign
8. Downeast Lakes Land Trust West Grand Lake Community Forest
9. Foothills Water Network Yuba and Bear River Campaigns
10. Forest Ethics Canadian Boreal Forest Campaign
11. Friends of the River California Wild Rivers Campaign
12. Idaho Conservation League Boulder-White Cloud Mountains Wilderness Campaign
13. International Mountain Bicycling Association White River National Forest Campaign
14. Klamath-Siskyou Wildlands Center Wild Rogue Campaign
15. Oregon Natural Desert Association John Day Wilderness Campaign
16. Raincoast Conservation Foundation Unspoiled Initiative
17. Rocky Mountain Wild Friends of Wolf Creek Campaign
18. Save Our Canyons Wasatch Wilderness Campaign
19. Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition Sacred Headwaters Campaign
20. Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance White River & Upper Desolation Wilderness Campaign
21. Surfrider Foundation Saving Naples Campaign
22. The Nature Conservancy, New Hampshire Chapter Mascoma River Headwaters Conservation Project
23. Tuleyome Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area Campaign
24. Upstate Forever Twelve Mile River Dam Removal Campaign
25. Ventana Wilderness Alliance Last Bend in the River Campaign
26. Wilderness Support Center San Juan Mountains Wilderness Campaign
27. Winter Wildlands Alliance Campaign to Protect Yellowstone National Park
28. Wyoming Outdoor Council Shoshone National Forest & Upper Wind River Valley Campaigns

Email your list of 10 in order to We’ll compile all of the results and submit our vote as a company with your input. Your deadline for submission is Sept. 16th. Thanks for participating.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Fishing Has Never Been so Exciting

The boys over at MOTIV Fishing never cease to amaze us. While only a handful in the office are fishermen, their movies have kept us all entertained with the beautiful places they travel and the drama they always seem to find. Who knew fishing could be so exciting?! Check out the trailer from their upcoming feature. I promise, even if you're not into fishing, this will surely keep your interest.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

What I'd give my left hand to be able to do

The artistry and elegance of Kilian Martin sets his videos apart from almost any other skate video out there.

And is it just me, or have all the skate/surf/ski videos soundtracks evolved a bit from the thrasher-y days to have a bit more depth and texture?


(via kottke)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

LongTreks Morocco - Episode 2: The Musical to Safi

We've been honored to not only support the LongTreks boarders but to become good friends over the last couple years. Last year, they longboarded across Peru and Bolivia. They've just released short videos on this past year's incredible journey through Morocco.

Welcome to Episode 2, where the quest to skate through chip seal pavement is eternal and the music making is plenty.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Sleeping Bag Testers Wanted!

Calling all outdoorsy people who like to use great gear!

NEMO has officially launched its Adventure Product Testing platform through our Facebook Page. As long as I have been at NEMO we have done extensive testing outside of our labs with ambassadors, athletes, ourselves, families, and friends. While we've had a lot of success in excellent feedback from these groups, we are taking big steps to make a more integrated, cohesive, and connected testing program. This means big things for me...lots more information to work with and a direct line to a variety people with all different shapes, sizes, experiences, and needs.

We are unrolling the program with an entirely new category for us - sleeping bags. They've been in the works for a couple years now, and will debut next year. However, before they get anywhere close to a store, we want to make sure we are putting the best and most innovative product out there. We think our unique ideas make a lot of sense, but in the end, it doesn't matter what we think.

In the Adventure Product Testing program we will be integrating feedback from our designers, engineers, ambassadors, athletes, shop employees, and customers. I want to get all of us into a conversation about what makes a great sleeping bag and make this happen. We can sketch and CAD model and lab test all day long, and we'll never get the same kind insights as extensive real world testing. So help me out!

We'll be testing everything from ultralight down quilts to car camping comfort to arctic mountaineering bags. There is something for all adventures, all body types, and all levels of experience. We want as diverse of a testing team as we can make.

You need to visit our Facebook page to enter, but here's the skinny.

First you make a short video with a fake gear review and tell us why you'd make a great member of our testing team. Note: There are no extra points for how hardcore you are or how many sleeping bags you already own. However, there are extra points for creativity, insight, and presenting information well. If the fans like you, we like you, and you've got some testing opportunities coming up this fall, you're on the team. We'll work with you to figure out what prototypes will be most appropriate for your upcoming adventures, and then you are in charge of using the hell out of them. We have several platforms for testers to keep in touch, communicate with each other, and log data points that will be useful in understanding if our designs are performing to their intentions.

Alright, get out there and blow me away with your videos.


Cardiff Kook Finally Gets Surf Lesson (from Pterodactyl)

NEMO's SoCal rep Dan D. sent over this little golden news nugget last night. The Cardiff Kook, a 16 foot tall bronze statue just off the PCH near San Diego, CA had a little makeover Saturday night. Forever immortalized in an awkward stance (whether as an homage to novice surfers or as a failed attempt at depicting a floater), the Cardiff Kook has had its fair share of tough times.

Saturday night, an elaborate volcano/palm tree backdrop was set up behind the statue, complete with a pterodactyl poised to pluck the Cardiff Kook from his frothy spray.

Definitely in the top 3 of Cardiff Kook-isms, no? Check out some other doozies:


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Family Adventure, in progress

I met Damien and Renee last weekend at Outdoor Retailer, who dropped by the NEMO booth to see our new offerings for 2011. Damien is a contributing editor for Backpacking Light, but they both moonlight as editors for their blog Adventure in Progress, which encourages families to get outdoors and go on adventures together. Not just any adventures though, we're talking about multi-day backcountry, all-conditions, put-in-sweat-equity-for-your-dinner type adventures.

For most folks with families, this might seem outside the realm of possibility. But D+R get it done (with 3! children). Talking to them reminds me a bit of a Banff film fest entry from a couple years back called Finding Farley, which details the travels of Leanne Allison and Karson Heurer as they canoe/hike/sail with their 2 year old son from Canmore, Alberta to Nova Scotia.

Check out the blog and movie trailer, and get inspired to bring your family outdoors, one step at a time.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

How Many Steps to Make a Pencil?

More than you think! I was under the mistaken impression that pencils were made by drilling a hole in a cylindrical piece of wood, and then inserting the lead in the said hole. Whether your favorites are 3B, F, HB, or 6H, fellow design geeks should gather round to watch this video. Now.

I am blown away by all the different processes represented in this one video (though it could be the strangely mesmerizing techno music in the background), and may never look at my Staedtler pencil the same again. Check out the testing at 3:11, the 4 coats of paint to cover the wood grain, or the grinding drum at the end that sharpens all the pencils.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

American Fork

Our ambassador, Chris Nance, was gracious enough to take us on an Outdoor Retailer Show cooldown on Monday. Post show, Cons and I were pretty beat and looking for a refresh before jumping on the plane back to New Hampshire. Chris took us to a hometown crag, American Fork, just down the road from Salt Lake City.

The views were not horrible.

We were joined by Elise and Hondo the dog to make a perfect party of five. Hondo made friends with another border collie mix and flirted with the awkwardness of a middle school dance.

Honestly though, who could resist that half cocked ear?

While Cons and I tried our hands in the pocketful limestone slabs, Chris (sporting his NEMO T-shirt like any good ambassador) impressed us all with his two-finger pocket swinging techniques.


Where's NEMO

Here's a picture of the Volkswagen Beetle our friends Freely Creative in nearby Vermont are in the process of covering with their beautiful work. They've been an awesome partner for would not believe how many stickers we make with them every year.

We're psyched to be in such good company with all sorts of sweet outdoor and ski industry brands/resorts. You won't see any flower or smiley face stickers here...

A free sticker pack goes to the first three people who send back the image with the NEMO sticker circled. With the red and white, it's a bit of a throw back to Where's Waldo. Send your image to


Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Peek Into the OR Booth

Our booth at summer OR in Salt Lake City has been slammed for 3 days straight. For those of you who didn't get a chance to make it over, here's sneak peek into the inner sanctum (and a chance to look at some new products if you squint and tilt your head).


Friday, August 5, 2011

New Office Painting Progress

We are winding down on the painting project at our new office in Dover, NH. Still a lot of small detail work and touch ups to go but the major portion is done. Here are a few shots.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rain Storms from Afar

Coming from the Northeast to Utah, one of the things we notice first is that the clouds are so much more dramatic here. Maybe it's the mountain air, altitude, or the terrain that does it. Either way, watching storms move across the horizon, especially at sunset, seems pretty amazing. Here, we're in the sunny part of town, watching a storm roll across the Wasatch.


Sure Signs You've Been Mountain Biking in Utah

Telltale sock "tans" from a day of mountain biking in Park City.

Post-biking (but pre-beer) bliss: