Friday, February 25, 2011

Breaking our Backs to Close the Loop

Our Garage Sale and yearly donations have rid the office of usable samples, and all that remained was a sad pile of beautiful tents that were unusable in one way or another. Combine that with our Ditto Tote inventory being empty, and you know its time for a tent cutting party.

Through the cutting help of nearly all NEMO employees, Connie and I were able to travel down the road to our local sewer (the kind with sewing machines, not a stinky pipe system) with a car completely full of fabric tent panels.

Next step, making tent panels into bag pieces. Here's a photo essay. It involves a lot of binder clip and a super sharp fabric saw:

After 10 straight hours of standing over a cutting table on concrete floors, my back was nearly broken and I had a new appreciation for all of our manufacturing partners. My back pain has since diminished and I'm left with just being truly psyched that we were able to save so much waste from the landfill and give beautiful fabric a second chance.

Keep your eyes out. Ditto Totes, back in stock soon.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's Deep in Tahoe

NEMO friend and photographer, Jed Conklin, just sent this video over. He's supposed to be working on a NEMO photo shoot, but it appears he's been working harder on his powder turns. The Lake Tahoe area has received upwards of 12 feet of snow in just 8 days. Amazing.

Behind Jed, you'll notice samples of 2 new NEMO tents, Alti Storm 2P and 3P. The video's a quickie, but the terrain sure looks enticing.

Be safe out there Jed!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Best Snowboarding Video Ever? (This line is getting old)

Is it just me, or do these action sports videos just keep getting better? Below, the trailer for The Art of Flying, a snowboarding video from the folks at Brain Farm Digital Cinema and Red Bull Media House.

via Josh Spear


Packaged Weight vs Minimum Weight, redux

A customer (DD from Illinois) emailed today to ask how we define packaged weight. Good question, since it is not as straightforward as one might think.

As of 2011 product, NEMO defines min/packaged weight as the following:

Packaged weight: the total weight of all the included pieces/parts/components shipped with a tent from the factory including stuff sack, tent body, fly, extra vestibule, poles, gear lofts, gear caddies, pole sleeve, repair kit, instructions, tags, stickers, plastic bag that protects it from dust, rubber bands wrapped around poles, etc.

Minimum weight: the total weight of the tent body, poles (if applicable), and fly (if applicable). In the case of airbeam supported tents, we count the airbeam and pump in the minimum weight since there are no poles. Stakes, stuff sack, guy lines, extra vestibules, etc are not included. Basically, these are the bare essentials that you would need to make a weatherproof/waterproof shelter.

Pre 2011, we used to define packaged weight differently. We defined it as all the parts and pieces you would take with you if you were going camping in a realistic and reasonable manner. Which means, you would take the stuff sack, only one vestibule (not two different options as you might get on a tent like Espri 2P/3P), repair kit, stakes, guy lines. But we wouldn't include hangtag, stickers, plastic bag that it comes in. I think this pre-2011 definition is much more realistic, but it didn't conform to industry norms (i.e. REI), so it was causing confusion with our customers.

As an example, Espri 2P has a minimum weight of 3 lb, 7 oz (which we list in 2010 as 3.5 lbs). The packaged weight in 2010 says 3.8 lbs. For 2011, the packaged weight is 4 lbs, 10 ounces. Nothing has changed with the tent but remember this tent comes with 2 different vestibule options, a gear loft, etc. When you add in the stickers, hangtag, and every little other piece of minutiae we include, this really bumps up the weight. Like I mentioned before, I'm not convinced packaged weight is a helpful number in itself to base your purchase decision (and actually discourages manufacturers from including extras like removable gear lofts, stickers, or even extensive instructions.) So make sure you understand what is included in each weight when you compare head to head.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

2011 Banff Film Festival in the Northeast

Collectively, our favorite film at the Portsmouth, NH showing of the Banff Film Festival was Eastern Rises, a fly fishing film by Felt Soul Media. The trailer is below, but doesn't even begin to touch upon the humor, sarcasm, excitement, and joy that you see in the film. More than any other adventure films last night, we left thinking, wow... I would actually like to hang out and get a beer with these guys.

Eastern Rises - Mountainfilm World Premiere from Mountainfilm in Telluride on Vimeo.

For you Massachusetts folks, the Lenox and Arlington showings are upcoming. Arlington has 3 different show days next week (Feb 21-23). Monday/Wednesday has the same lineup of films, and Tuesday has a different set of films.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Best Skate Video Ever?

via Nau


Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Dusty Camel

In 2009, we were contacted by a guy who was getting ready to hike the AT and was looking for a tent; not an unusual call for around here. But when the guy called from the trail asking to buy a larger tent because he had made some friends along the way, things started to get interesting. He later called to buy a Fillo and a Tuo pad. Since those first days, Ian has become a friend of NEMO. While we thought we might not hear from him for a while, after his successful AT hike, we were wrong. He's back with The Dusty Camel and I think this is just the beginning. ~Kate

In 2009, I journeyed out on a solo mission to complete the Appalachian Trail, like so many before me. 4 months, 5 days, 14 states, and 2,178 miles later, I was at the end. Regardless of the terrible weather, from the freezing cold to blistering heat, and bone dry to sopping wet, I had the time of my life.

I had kept a live journal for my family and friends to read along the way, and just gave daily accounts of my life on the trail as means to ease the worrying minds of those who care about me. Soon, I had strangers following along, meeting me on the trail, and helping out along the way. What I didn’t expect was, after I returned home, to get contacted by two people who told me because of my journal and ability to get a glimpse into the life of a thru-hiker, they had decided to hike the AT as well – and so The Dusty Camel was born.

Stemming from the trail name of my buddy (whom I met on the trail) and I, The Dusty Camel was created to bring adventure to anyone strolling on the Internet and inspire them to go out on their own, and have experiences that will change them for life. We realized through all the towns, and run-down parts of the trail we went through, that there was a very apparent need to protect the wild lands that America has left. Our theory is, the more people out in the wilderness, the more people there will be to protect it.

With this simple thought, we began to network our organization, and soon partnered up with Freedom to Roam – an organization that battles legislative barriers, and make wildlife corridors protected so that animals and humans alike can enjoy it.

With all the talk of adventure, protecting the wild, and having experiences, (but only after our feet stopped throbbing every morning) we decided to tackle the next beast – the Pacific Crest Trail.

I began reaching out to my favorite companies, and my friends at NEMO were the first to answer the call, and give their support to our sprouting organization. With their help, and the support from eight other companies, we are able to begin the next trek and put together a feature length documentary of our journey; if we can’t get people to read our journal every day for 6 months, we may as well give them an hour and half movie.

While all this was great, we realized we could not base an organization solely on our own adventures, so we put together the Camel Chronicles. This is a hub for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts to share their stories, document their travels, and help do their part to protect the lands they love.

As part of our organizations mission, we will document, and bring to the average American an adventure. An adventure that we hope will get them to use their legs and experience nature first hand – even if for a day. We want people to understand the true power that nature has, and learn to respect and appreciate it.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

2011 Sneak Peek: Zor series sleeping pads

We've been talking a lot about our new sleeping pads for 2011, but that's because we have so much more of a complete line planned for this year. NEMO first introduced our Tuo series sleeping pads in 2009. Looking back on customer reaction to these pads, they were certainly big on comfort but ultralight folks were left wanting a little more (or less, I supppose).

In the years ensuing, we've developed an ultralight sleeping pad called Zor that strips away all the unnecessary material, but doesn't leave you with an aching back in the morning.

How did we accomplish this? We developed an ultralight exterior material, Airlock Elite, that is a multilayer laminate fabric. Even though it is a very low denier, the lamination is engineered to hold strong welds and be completely airtight. Our NEMO shield pattern is also embossed on the front, which I think looks subtly classy (no bias here). The emboss is nice because it adds tear strength, doesn't use ink, and leaves a very nice surface texture, as opposed to the more plastic-y feeling of heat transfer graphics.

The open cell foam inside the pad is a key component of achieving such a low weight. We had to be careful here -- using too lightweight a foam (i.e. low density) can make the pad feel too flimsy. We use a specially selected foam that hits our density and loading targets, and employ a process called 2-axis coring to eliminate all unnecessary mass. You can see in the diagram below the vertical and horizontal coring in the foam.

The overall architecture of Zor is elegant and minimalist, but doesn't skimp on cushion when you're out on the trail. Suzanne and I took Zor on a gear testing trip earlier this fall on a thru-hike of the Wonderland Trail, and we are really psyched at how well it performed.

The 2 axis coring and Airlock Elite fabric help make the pack size ridiculously small.

For 2011, NEMO is offering a Standard mummy size (20" width, 72" length) that is 14 oz (405 grams). There will also be a Short version (20" width, 48" length) that is 10 oz (285 grams).

One of our favorite things about this sleeping pad is that it instantly transforms into an ultra cushiony car camping pad when you add the Zor Pillowtop. The Zor Pillowtop is made of 1" foam insert and a soft jersey knit cover. It weighs 1 lb, 2 oz (515 grams), so if you really love it, it wouldn't be out of the question to even backpack with it.

Any questions?


Monday, February 7, 2011

Ambassador Spotlight: Caroline Gleich

NEMO ambassador Caroline Gleich is a professional Big Mountain skier, but she's no one trick pony. Take a look at our exclusive interview below, and learn about her upcoming adventures and hidden talents.

N: What’s in store for this year? Tell us about the trips you have planned—snow, surf, fun, etc.
C: Current trips in the works–British Columbia, Southern Sierras, San Juans in Colorado, South America and Mont Tremblant to ski. After winter, I’d like to hit up New York to visit a friend and Southern California to surf. I’m also trying to put together a big SUP trip for the summer but am still discussing locations. All my trips start with a dream and from there it’s scheduling, organizing logistics, writing e-mails and making phone calls. Sometimes the stars just line up and planning is easy but most of the time, it involves hours/days of planning. I’m excited to be working on some cool photo and video projects with some all-star photographers and athletes. Budgets and snowfall depending, we will see what happens! 2011 is lining up to be a stellar year for me and I’m stoked to announce my most recent publication, the January cover of SKI magazine.

N: Where are your favorite place(s) to ski and why?
C: My favorite place to ski is in my backyard – the Cottonwood Canyons, Alta, Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton. I like to mix and match – spend a day skiing Alta-Solitude (or Alta-tude) and Brighton-Snowbird (Bright-bird). They each have so much to offer. Alta is best to hit up when you are skiing solo because you will undoubtedly see your friends or meet new ones on the chairlifts. Snowbird is fun when you want to be social and ski in a big posse – usually I see all my friends in the tram line and we all ride down together. I love Solitude for those days I’m looking for quality, not quantity. It takes a little longer to get the top of the mountain but there are always fresh tracks to be found. Brighton is great for skiing everything – it has every kind of terrain and it is a great place to take the family as well.

I also enjoy skiing the backcountry between Little and Big Cottonwood. Those canyons receive such consistent, high quality snowfall that it’s easy to find great snow almost any day in the winter!

N: Growing up, how did you make the transition from ripping Minnesota hills to becoming a professional Big Mountain Skier? 

C: It was a difficult transition for me moving from Minnesota to Utah when I was 15. However, I spent a lot of time in Utah growing up. My family has always been really into skiing so we would spent our Christmas and spring vacations skiing at Park City, Snowbird and Alta and staying with my aunt and uncle who also relocated to Salt Lake. My mom put me on skis for the first time when I was 18 months old and both my parents were devoted to making sure I knew how to ski. I also played ice hockey for much of my childhood and I attribute my skiing ability to years of skating.

When I graduated from high school, I poured my heart and soul into pursuing my career as a professional big mountain skier. I started meeting other pro skiers, photographers and companies and went from there! Salt Lake is the perfect place to be as an up and coming skier because it is easy to travel from and a lot of the ski industry is either based in or comes to the area.

N: Describe both your most embarrassing and proudest moments as a professional athlete.
C: Most Embarrassing moment – Crashing during a training run for the Gelande National Championships at Snowbird, UT one icy spring morning. Gelande is Nordic jumping on alpine gear. I was on these super long 190cm skis and I got bucked on the take-off and rag dolled the entire way down the mountain.

Proudest moment – Whenever I get to go skiing for work!

N: What's on your playlist right now?
Little Dragon – Feather
The Very Best – Warm Hearts of Africa
Michael Franti & Spearhead – Say Hey
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Home

N: We’ve noticed that Stand Up Paddle boarding has increasingly become a huge part of your “off-season”. What gets you psyched about SUPs?
C: When I’m not skiing, I’m usually getting after it on my SUP board. I love the freedom you have to explore water – whether it is lakes, rivers, reservoirs or oceans. It is playing on snow in another form. At many mountain locations, it is the direct runoff from our winter snowpack. It keeps me connected to the water cycle. It is accessible, great cross-training and puts a smile on my face!

N: If you weren’t a pro skier, what kind of professional athlete would you be?
C: Trapeze artist or hockey player.

N: Describe the last meal you had.
C: Guayaki Yerba Mate tea, cinnamon bread, honeycrisp apple and maple yogurt! It was a mid-morning snack. I’m all about eating several small meals throughout the day to keep my energy high during exercise.

N: You just recently graduated from the University of Utah with an Anthropology degree. What made you choose anthropology? How does that influence what you do now working with the state of Utah on environmental issues?
C: When I began my undergrad career at the University of Utah, I had no idea what I wanted to major in so I just chose classes that sounded interested. Two years in, I had completed many of the requirements for a degree in anthropology so I decided to go for a Bachelors of Science in that field. My primary focus was on cultural anthropology rather than physical anthropology or archaeology so I studied people across time and space. My favorite class was “The Evolution of the Human Diet” where we examined human diet for the past 2 million years.

Anthropology plays into every job I do and it was especially helpful when I was working with Ted Wilson, the Utah Governor’s environmental adviser last summer. Humans have lived on planet earth for tens of thousands of years with a minimal environmental footprint. Only in the last few centuries have we begun to muck things up. By understanding evolution, we can begin to change our destructive behaviors in order to ensure a livable planet for future generations.

N: What celebrity/athlete/etc. have you been most excited to meet?
C: Over the summer I had the opportunity to meet Laird Hamilton first on the water during an on-water demo with and second at the Surftech booth during Outdoor Retailer. Laird was giving SUP demos and giving pointers and tips to other paddlers. I’ve always admired Laird for being such an amazing, well-rounded athlete and having such a huge impact on the surf and outdoor industry. I asked him for some pointers about my paddling technique and he complimented me on my form! He said that often, women are better paddlers than men since they are more apt to use their whole bodies rather than just their arms (proper SUP technique involves rotating your core and even using leg muscles).

Laird’s whole training philosophy lines up and adds to my own – he is a big advocate for proper nutrition and lifestyle training rather than sport specific. Laird and I are training for life – to be ready for whatever adventure comes our way!

Friday, February 4, 2011

More on the Miyar Valley, India

In November, we posted a brief entry and video on Camilo Lopez and Anna Pfaff’s latest first ascents in the Miyar Valley of the Indian Himalaya. This month, The American Alpine Journal published Camilo’s account of the two new routes the couple established in August 2010.

For those not familiar with The American Alpine Journal, it has been published annually since 1929 by the American Alpine Club and is internationally respected as the leading publication documenting the world’s most significant climbs. From Alaska to Nepal, each year all of the new big mountain routes in the world (except the Alps) are covered in its Report section, making the AAJ the ‘go-to book’ for alpinists and explorers.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Glimpse of Prototyping at NEMO

This is only a glimpse of prototyping at NEMO, since the overall process involves much more (everything from sketching, proof of concept mechanisms, works like models, scale models, alpha prototypes, testing -- and then endlessly iterating all of the above).

The pictures are part of a blog post that was recently posted by the folks that we bought our Dimension 3D printer from.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011 Sneak Peek: Astro, Round 2

Here's a couple more beauty shots, fresh off the camera for Astro Insulated and the Pillowtop Combo.