Celebrating Father’s Day: Get to know some NEMO Dads

Being a father is an adventure in its own right, but our NEMO dads still find time to enjoy the outdoors.
We wanted to know how some of our NEMO dads’ adventures have changed since becoming a father and how they utilize NEMO gear along the way.

For our COO, Brent Merriam, his adventures are “a little tamer” when they involve the family, and we know a lot of dads out there can relate to that!

Brent Merriam, COO

What are some of your favorite adventures?

My all-time favorite adventures include: a 6-day backpacking trip in Tasmania in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park; bikepacking in Italy; mountain biking with my brother and a few close friends in destinations such as Moab, Bend, Gooseberry Mesa, and the Kingdom Trails; snowboarding in Japan, Austria, and British Columbia; and surfing in Costa Rica.

A man biking into the sunset
Sunset views while bikepacking in Italy

How have your adventures changed since becoming a Dad?

I’d say they are a little tamer when they involve the family. The focus has shifted from satisfying my personal need for adventure to providing my daughter with opportunities to explore nature and the outdoors so that she can develop her own interests and passions.

What’s some of your favorite NEMO gear?

The Fillo™ or Fillo™ Elite are indispensable for backpacking, camping, car rides, air travel, any activity for which a nap or a good night’s sleep is beneficial. The Tensor™ Insulated Long Wide is light, insulating, comfortable, quiet, and packs small. The Disco™ Mens 30 is my go-to bikepacking and backpacking bag. I’m a side sleeper, and I love how Disco’s spoon shape with extra room for elbows and knees allows me to easily shift from my left side to my right side without taking the whole bag with me.

Climbing Mount Cardigan with his daughter.

What adventure skills do you hope to pass on to your children?

I’d like to be able to pass on knowledge and skills to my daughter that allow her to confidently go on an overnight hike, travel to a foreign country, and build a campfire. I’ve already been able to teach her to ride a bike, hike a mountain, and catch a fish.

There’s almost nothing I appreciate more than time outside with my daughter.

Mark Thibadeau, Design Director

What are some of your favorite adventures?

Riding bikes is always at the top of my list- singletrack is preferred but I’ll take what I can get! I also love to sneak away for some fly fishing or trail running- or all 3!

Soaking up that view after a long trek.

How have your adventures changed since becoming a Dad?

The routine of having a family can lend itself to getting out more, you just have to make it happen. Hiking or camping is more involved and takes more time, but you’re forced to do a little more planning, so trips tend to go a little smoother.

I also find myself planning more trips with other dads… the only people who have no problem getting up at 4am for a hike or ride…

What’s some of your favorite NEMO gear?

Combo Dagger™ Porch and Moonlite™ chair- The double doors provide a perfect “run-through” passageway for my kids while we set up camp, and the porch paired with the Moonlite™ offers the perfect spot for morning coffee while the family is still asleep.

Mark sharing one of his favorite adventures, cycling.

What adventure skills do you hope to pass on to your children?

Gratitude and Self-Reliance. Both of which are adventure skills but probably also come from adventuring.

Darren Josey, Sr. Director of Marketing

What are some of your favorite adventures?

I’m so fortunate that my spouse is also my best friend, climbing partner, surfing buddy, and all around up for adventures anywhere! Our honeymoon was one of the best examples of a perfect balance of adventure and relaxation. We spent a week rock climbing, surfing, exploring, and eating / drinking in Puerto Rico.

This was so special for us because we spent the money and hired a guiding company so we could learn the area and it allowed for some awesome photos of us both sport climbing since our guides were belaying. This was also my first trip to PR and as a 2nd generation Boriqua, I have a complicated relationship to the island where half of my ancestry calls home, so I was glad I got to experience this place with my wife as we started our family journey together.

Bouldering and bottle feeding.

How have your adventures changed since becoming a Dad?

Before I became a dad my weekends were spent sport climbing at Rumney or surfing in Rye, NH or Newport, RI. Now I’ve transitioned to bouldering in Lynn woods, MA (15 minutes from home) and even purchased what I call “Dad Crag” shoes, a pair of La Sportiva Mythos which are my first flat soled climbing shoe. The performance metrics for this shoe are that it allows me to climb and then change a diaper, bottle feed, and chase my now toddler around all without taking the shoes off and none of those are listed as features on the Mythos product page but should be.

I’ve also started hiking, before having a kid it was pretty difficult to convince me to hike. To meme quote Dr. Len Necefer, “a 3 hour hike no way, a 3-hour approach—absolutely” was my philosophy on hiking. I’ve fallen in love with bouldering with my daughter, wife, and a crew of other new parents who are still trying to climb hard but prioritize blending quality time with family and friends.

What’s some of your favorite NEMO gear?

Wagontop™ 8p, it’s the ultimate family camping tent because it fits a Pack N’ Play for my daughter that we can zip into her own room while in the second room we can fit two Roamer™s & Jazz™ sleeping bags together plus all our car camping gear we don’t want get wet if the unpredictable New England weather changes.

Darren’s got a lot of extra gear in tow when he’s with the family.

What adventure skills do you hope to pass on to your children?

Try anything that looks fun even if it seems like you’re the only person like you doing it. That’s the core of what I want her to know, even if I teach her every climbing knot, favorite route, or the best tide for local surf spots—I can’t control who else will be there.

Part of my privilege is I had two loving parents who encouraged me to try lots of things, signed every permission slip, and they had never tried any of the Outdoor sports I love today. I feel so fortunate to get paid to play with and sell the gear I love so much.

I also work for a company that shares and supports my vision of advocating for equitable access to the outdoors for all people, and to protecting the places that make outdoor adventure possible.

Josh Quigley, Logistics Manager

What are some of your favorite adventures?

Generally I enjoy doing anything outside, but spend most of my adventure time hiking and fly fishing, but also squeeze in a few backpacking trips each year. These activities compliment each other well too, so it is even better when I can hike or backpack to fish!

Fishing lessons on the river.

How have your adventures changed since becoming a Dad?

My kids are fairly young so it is challenging to do long-distance hikes or those with a ton of elevation gain. As a family we enjoy casual strolls along easy trails and our local walking/river paths. It is also harder to be spontaneous with the kids, going anywhere requires more planning (and stuff!) than before. Sometimes it feels like we are moving across the country when in reality we are just driving 5 minutes from the house for a day hike.

I also find random stuffed animals (rocks, acorns, and sticks too) in all my packs now. 

What’s some of your favorite NEMO gear?

Tensor Insulated Long Wide: This pad is incredibly comfortable, easy to inflate, and does not sound like you are sleeping on a bag of chips. I just took it up to Mt. Shasta and slept like a champ.

Chipper: It’s amazing how comfortable a simple piece of foam can be as opposed to sitting on a log, rock, or the ground. I use it to kneel on when getting in and out of the tent, for cooking, for sitting around sipping on coffee at camp. Warm/dry butt = happy camper.

Stargaze Luxury Recliner: Permanently set up in our backyard. Ultimate win in comfort while letting the kids run wild.

A dad’s version of backpacking.

What adventure skills do you hope to pass on to your children?

I want to share all of my own passions with my children, and teach them how to hike, backpack, and fish. Other things too like land navigation, reading a map and compass, tying their own flies.

We are also already teaching our children what it means to recreate responsibly in the outdoors: leave no trace principles, trail etiquette, and molding their minds to be good stewards of the environment.

For the team at NEMO, summiting that next peak or rising with the sun is just as good, if not better, when you get to share it with family. We’ll be continuing to explore stories from other NEMO dads over the coming weeks and months.

What has been your experience? Has a father (or grandfather) had an influence on your experience of the outdoors? Share your stories and adventures with us on Facebook and Instagram and continue the conversation!