Nemo was born after its founder, Cam Brensinger, spent a sleepless night on Mount Washington in a poorly designed bivy. He realised that evening how much opportunity there was in creating quality functional gear that enhanced the outdoor experience. As a result, just three days after graduation, he founded Nemo (New England Mountain Equipment). Seventeen years and many awards later, the company continues to manufacture forward-thinking equipment from their restored textile mill in Dover, New Hampshire. Nemo’s Spring 2021 collection has just been released; here are some of the highlights.
Nemo has a “never-ending focus on sustainability,” with their latest products incorporating even more 100 percent PCR (post-consumer resin) and Bluedesign certified materials. I recommend checking out the Sustainability section on their website to understand how serious they are about ethical practises. As an avid adventure cyclist, I was immediately intrigued by their new bikepacking-specific shelter, the Dragonfly. This tent is available in one- and two-person sizes, features shortened pole segments (allowing them to be easily stored in a frame bag), is super lightweight (packed weight, one-person: 2 pounds, 15 ounces/two-person: 3 pounds, 8 ounces) and includes their vestibule Landing Zone’ (an innovative storage tub that keeps gear dry and off the mud).
Additionally, the Dragonfly offers thoughtful considerations such as a webbing daisy chain above the door for drying clothing and large trapezoidal vestibules for maximum storage. One of the coolest design points is the carry bag, a rugged diamond ripstop roll-top sack with reinforcements and tie-down straps that allow you to secure the tent to the bike directly. Finally, this shelter is flame resistant, but in keeping with the company’s environmental mission, does so effectively without the use of toxic chemicals or restricted substances.
Another highlight from the Spring Collection is the Quasar 3D sleeping pad, with body-mapped 3D baffling to cradle and keep you centred on the pad, also manufactured using 100-percent post-consumer materials. This sleeping pad is packable, durable, and weight-conscious (insulated, regular: 1 pound, 12 ounces), making it a real competitor to the alternatives. There’s also the luxurious Roamer self-inflating mattress, integrating Flow Core air channels to drastically improve inflation/deflation and reduce pack-down size. The Roamer’s primary objective is bringing home-from-home comfort to camp, which is “so good it can make a camper out of even the most diehard camping skeptics.”
The Nemo ethos is “Design like you give a damn.” I have a lot of respect for companies who prioritise the environment in all aspects of their business, especially when combined with genuinely brilliant product innovation and design.