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NEMO Equipment Camping Gear :: Field Tested

They say new ideas come from past experiences, and that’s how NEMO was born. Founder Cam Brensinger’s trip to New Hampshire’s Mount Washington in 2002 left him with the idea to create better gear for adventurers. Cam founded NEMO, short for “New England Mountain Equipment,” three days after he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. After launching NEMO in 2004, the company’s products were recognized among the 100 best inventions of the year, awarded by both TIME and Popular Science.

NEMO Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair

When living outdoors, the search for creature comforts inevitably leads to comfortable seating. We have tested various brands of camping chairs, and there has only been one that my other half has taken to so fondly. Unfortunately, it was oversized, a challenge to pack, and, quite frankly, not worth the space it occupied. Then along came the NEMO Stargaze, a luxurious reclining and rocking camping chair that fits right into your outdoor experience. We all eagerly call dibs on it when arriving at camp.

At first glance, the Stargaze appears to be uncomfortable, but once you have settled into it, swaying to soft music, with a drink by your side, a fire crackling under a sky of shooting stars, you know that you can never go back. The Stargaze is equipped with an adjustable pillow and an auto-recline feature, which mimics a hammock when leaning back. The Stargaze is easy to set up with clear instructions and marked components for those who don’t read instructions. The carry bag is compact and nifty, with a convenient carry handle allowing for easy transport. The Stargaze weighs nine pounds and can support up to 300 pounds with non-slip rubber feet (particularly helpful on slippery and even surfaces).

The breathable material, along with high sides, allows you to tuck in your blanket without exposing yourself to the cold. The only downside is the cupholder; while the Stargaze may be slightly wider than most camping chairs, any refreshments may dig into your sides if you have a curvier or wider frame. Besides that, I wouldn’t think of leaving home without it.

$250 | Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair

NEMO Roamer Self-Inflating Mattress (Double)

I feel like The Princess with sensitive hips; to me, every mattress I’ve tried feels like it is atop a pile of frozen peas, especially during the cold winter months. I could never have imagined that a four-inch mattress, especially an inflatable one, could be so cozy and comfortable, but the Roamer proved me wrong. I was able to get a good night’s rest at freezing temperatures, on uneven ground, as the cold wasn’t able to seep into my hips or body due to the 75-denier fabric bottom and the stretch fabric top conformed to my body and kept me level.

The self-inflation process takes around five to ten minutes (the timing seemed to vary depending on the temperature), reaching nearly 80 percent inflation. The Vortex pump sack allows you to further dial in the mattress height according to your preference. However, making use of a mini-electric pump may be more time-efficient. You can then fine-tune your desired level of hardness or softness using the Laylow micro-adjustable valve on the Roamer.

If you’re planning a weekend camping trip or intend to keep the mattress set up permanently in your rig, this option is ideal. However, due to its packing size of 26 x 11 inches and its weight of almost eight pounds, I wouldn’t recommend it for those moving from camp to camp on a daily basis. When inflated, the Roamer double dimensions are 78 x 52 x 4 inches, which can handle two people quite comfortably. I now need to purchase another Roamer self-inflating mattress so my other half can attach his to mine, and we can sleep blissfully together.

$400 | Roamer Self-Inflating Mattress (Double)

NEMO Sonic Down Mummy Sleeping Bag -20°F (Long)

Before departing for a trip to the Arctic in March, I determined that I would need a sleeping bag that would not only be comfortable but would also be up to the task of keeping me warm and safe during the night should the camper heater fail (as it had on numerous occasions before the journey). I narrowed my choices down to the NEMO Sonic Down Mummy Sleeping Bag, which is a versatile and environmentally conscious choice for outdoor enthusiasts. It is designed to offer comfort in temperatures ranging from -20°F to +40°F, making it an all-in-one solution for various climatic conditions. This award-winning bag is known for its exceptional warmth and adjustable features, including next-generation Thermo Gill vents and a multistage zipper system that allows users to fine-tune their comfort. The Sonic’s construction includes a chevron baffle design, which ensures even loft and prevents down migration.

To say that the Sonic Down Mummy is a warm and comfortable sleeping bag is an understatement. I looked forward to snuggling up at night and found that I did not need to wrap myself in thermal underwear before hitting the sack. The nighttime temperatures were so low that the canvas walls of the camper’s extendable roof would freeze solid beside my head, yet I was never cold while sleeping. The Sonic Down Mummy has since become my go-to sleeping bag as it is equally comfortable to sleep on top of when the weather is warm as it is to sleep inside of when the nights are cold, and the additional thermo gills allow quick and easy temperature adjustments. I am over 6 feet tall and never felt constricted, an added benefit when purchasing the “long” sleeping bag, which fits a 6-foot, 6-inch adult.

$700 | Sonic Down Mummy Sleeping Bag Long


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Luisa Bell has always had a passion for travel, but she never imagined that she would travel the world, with her family, in a self-built Land Rover Defender camper. As the navigator, administrator, and penetrator of bureaucracy, she has led her family to over 65 countries on five continents. Luisa is the wife of Graeme, and their quarter-century together feels like a full century in overlander years. Her two kids and her dog are her pride and joy, and if she could travel with them indefinitely, she would. With a background in immigration law, she has the ability to make the impossible possible and has no plan of settling down or retiring her full-time traveler status. Follow her adventures at www.a2aexpedition.com