NEMO Blog

NEMO Rockies Rep Eric Miller is a Certified Badass

We’re proud to report that our Rockies region rep Eric Miller just completed the Matterhorn Grand Loop with his good friend Thomas Taplin.  

Failure can often teach you much more than success. After an attempt last year had to be abandoned due to a large snow storm, they were successful this year in climbing one of the world’s most iconic mountain. In Eric’s words, “a horrendous 9 hour traverse/climb to the Carrell Hut on the Matterhorn… another 12 hour day climbing up the Italian Route to the summit then down the Horni Route and finally back into Zermatt. 2.5 days of amazing climbing, suffering and laughter.” 

A huge cheers to Eric, adventure and accomplishing hard-fought dreams. And being with it enough at the end to take a decent selfie.

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Not All Aluminum is Created Equal

We’ve been thinking a lot about aluminum poles. On the surface (pun intended!), they may all look the same—smooth, sleek, metallic pole segments. But like most things, it’s what’s inside that counts.

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One of the main differences between different brands/types of aluminum poles besides the type of metal is the quality of the anodization. Both of these factors influence an aluminum pole’s ability to resist stress crack corrosion, one of the most common ways for poles to fail. 

We built an in-house machine based off an ASTM test procedure that allows accelerated conditioning of pole segments. It forces the poles to be cycled through a corrosive environment. And the idea is that you can strength test the poles before and after the conditioning to see how the performance drops off.

Much like the test where you drop a baby tooth in a cup of soda for a couple weeks, very bad things start to happen to low grade aluminum poles after some time in this corrosive environment. It’s important for us to have this testing in house because it allows us to see for ourselves the quality of materials we put into products and the performance of those materials over the entire lifespan of a product. 

Just like we like to say with the food we eat—know what you buy, and buy what you know.

Memories of Summer Camp

It’s that time of the year—when kids are sent off to Summer Camp, en masse. For many of us, this is the first taste we get of sleeping in tents and sleeping bags, spending more hours outdoors than indoors, waking up to the sun, and more recently, unplugging from games, tablets, and phones.

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One of the most endearing traits of Camp is that nothing really changes that much. Pictures from this year don’t really look THAT different from pictures 50 years ago. And it’s not just pictures, it’s true for experiences too. From backpacking to swimming to war games to singing, there is hope in the world that kids can be entertained in ways that don’t involve a glowing screen. 

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More impressive are the intense friendships, traditions, memories that keeps people coming back for more, year after year. Don’t believe it? Listen to Notes on Camp , on This American Life. Prepare to be blown away by the intensity of excitement from kids. 

Maybe it’s the lack of distractions or time in the wilderness or being a part of a tribe or the personal growth that comes from being on your own for a little while—but either way, there’s a corollary lesson to real life here. As adults, we rarely think that same “camp time” is necessary for our physical and emotional well being. Few of us, if any, take a few weeks out of our summer to go to camp. Yet the tide is turning (photo credit below to Scott Sporleder, NYT). 

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Perhaps evidence shows contrary; that our sense of community /appreciation / friendships are intensified and magnified through the lens of the Great Outdoors. And in the age of getting more for your money and time, this might be the strongest argument of all to get outside. 

An Epic, In Their Own Backyard

Linking together feats of strength, extreme logistics & planning, a plethora of mountain knowledge and know-how, and a once-in-a-lifetime weather window, Washington state locals Jason Hummel and Kyle Miller completed the American Alps Traverse earlier this June. 

In case anyone is wondering whether this is a BFD (#4, not #2), let’s just cut to the chase and say, YES. 

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This epic consisted of over 16 days, 60,000 vertical feet, 120 miles, and a grand traverse of the Cascades, spanning from the North Cascade Highway through the rugged North Cascades National Park, connecting with the Suiattle High Route, hitting the summit of Glacier Peak, and winding out via Whitechuck River Road. Then magnify logistics to accommodate a 2+ week expedition, carrying unfathomable loads. Then, we begin to explore the depth of this accomplishment. 

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And, in case you’re wondering, their tent of choice was Quantum Elite

Fall 2013 Sneak Peek: Canon -40F

Launching this fall, the Canon -40F sleeping bag is the ultimate winter sleeping bag. We’ve undergone some significant testing over the last 2 years during design and development—testers have taken this bag on trips as wide ranging as SETI-sponsored scientific research trips to the Arctic to multi-week snowmobile cross country trips across Greenland to harsh winter expeditions in our local White Mountains. Every fabric, stitch, design detail, and square inch of insulation has been pored over with a fine tooth comb in order to deliver ultimate performance. 

Rather than wax poetic about design details like the multi-tiered insulation construction in the footbox that prevents point loading of foot forces, we drew up this handy diagram that is much more fun to look at. 

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The original inspiration for this diagram came from a NASA illustration of a 1969 spacesuit. There were many parallels between Canon and a spacesuit when we considered the amount of protection each one afforded its user. 

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Four Outdoor Stores to Visit in Japan

If you want to see into the future, sometimes all it takes is a little traveling. When you visit England, for example, you can see the future of music in the US 1-3 years ahead of where we currently are stateside. Latest gadgets? Check out what the kids in Hong Kong are using. 

There are many reasons to visit Japan (incredible food, stationery stores that will blow your mind, the onsen experience, etc), but one compelling reason to add to your list is visiting outdoor stores. In the outdoor industry, Japan is more of a dichotomy—it’s both the future AND the past of outdoor trends. You find stores stocking the most cutting edge lightest weight titanium 5 denier nanoparticle cyclotron technology right next to the waxed canvas chaps with hand stitched leather reinforcements. You’ll often find amazing special make ups that brands do just for the Japanese market, because they know what people want before the rest of the world even catches on.  

For your next visit to Japan, make sure to check out these stores. Even if you’re not a gearhead, the brand selection, colorways, and designs will blow you away:

1. Wild-1
1-2 Hara Inzai
Chiba

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Since 1985, Wild-1 has been the outdoor retail division of Kanseki Co., Ltd (a large home center chain store in Japan). We’ve put up the address of the flagship store above, but they also have 18 stores around East Japan. Because Wild-1 is located outside the city, they have enough space for setting up tents, sleeping pads, etc—a rarity in most Japanese stores. The main specialties of teh store are camping, backpacking, hiking, canoe & kayak, fishing, and backcountry skiing. 

2. myX
7-1 Sakae-cho, Yokohama
Kanagawa 221-0052

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Don’t be fooled by myX’s affiliation with car dealer Kanagawa Toyota since 1997. They have a wide range of items, including camping gear with a unique and reliable range of products. They specialize in camping, backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and kids gears.  

3. L-Breath
2-4-14 Kandaogawamachi
Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo

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Probably the most easily accessible of the outdoor stores—they have 18 stores in Japan, mostly urban centered, and catering towards beginners and youth. Their main specialties are camping, backpacking, hiking, travel, and sundry goods.  

4. Od-Box
5-26-1 Ueno, Taito-ku
Tokyo 1100005

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Around since 1967, Od-Box has had a long history with selling some of the latest and best outdoor gear (they also have another store that is focused on general sports like running, triathlon, etc). One of the most unique aspects of the store is that shop staff are extremely skilled in various outdoor activities, and many of the products are selected by the staff themselves. If you want to know the latest trends in Japan in the outdoor world, visit this store. Od-Box specializes in hiking, trail running, ultralight backpacking, bouldering, and telemark/AT skiing.