At NEMO, we believe the world has enough “stuff,” and we’re not interested in bringing more things into the world. What we obsess over instead is solving the real-world challenges of adventurers and outdoorists. Our process starts outside, in the mountains, under the stars, off the beaten path. Our own observations about shortcomings in existing equipment turn into sketches back at the office, and those sketches turn into next year’s tents, bags, pads and furniture.
We’re here to propel you further by our designs. Here’s how we do what we do.
How can you design a great solution if you don’t understand the problem? Our process starts with our passion – getting outside, getting dirty, climbing high, traveling far, and sleeping outside as much as we possibly can. A prerequisite for joining NEMO is a love of the outdoors, and this is also where our best ideas come from.
When we see shortcomings in the experience of adventure, we take them back to the office and tackle them.
Our driving motivation is to improve your experience of adventure. Every day we ask ourselves, “how can we use smart design to keep you dryer, warmer, more comfortable?”
Instead of simply setting out to “make a tent”, we focus on what you’ll be doing in that tent – if you’ll be sitting up playing cards with a partner while you wait out a storm, we design for lots of headspace and enough room for two sets of gear. If you’ll be carrying that tent thirty miles a day, we know every ounce counts and we obsess over the weight of each zipper pull.
The best ideas come from a combination of design and engineering, and our team is made of a mix of designers and engineers who bring different perspectives to the design table.
Our solutions are rarely delivered fully realized in an epiphany, or neatly uncovered step-by-step in a predictable timeline. Rather they are evolved in fits and starts through a committed and enduring evolution including dead-ends, happy accidents, and thoughtful iteration. The combination of expansive design thinking and the linear, deductive process of engineering is at the core of our design approach.
Unlike so many brands today, everything creative at NEMO is done in-house. We don’t let an idea leave our studio until we have labored over and owned every detail, down to the smallest screw and tiniest zipper. And this idea infiltrates our entire business – we believe the best solutions come from a close and collaborative team who lives and breathes the challenge, who experiments daily, and who never gets too far removed from direct design.
Our Headquarters is a designer’s playground. There is a constant buzz of creative energy, as we’re sewing, building, sketching, trying, and testing. Our studio’s rain chamber, testing lab, wood shop, photo studio, and materials workshop are the heart of our open office space.
Sustainability is baked into our approach to design, driven from a core belief to conserve our valuable resources and minimize the impact our adventures and our gear have on this planet. We led the field in experimenting with bamboo tent poles, seeking to eliminate aluminum from the supply chain. And we upcycled before it was cool, developing the Ditto™ line in 2008 to reuse the remnant material from our tents.
Today, we remain relentless in our determination to reduce the environmental impact of our gear. We hold leadership roles in the industry, helping to eliminate toxic chemicals from the supply chain. We were the first small hardgoods brand to measure our impact using the Higg Index, and we set aggressive goals for ourselves and our industry to continue to keep this beautiful planet as pristine as we can.
Our goal is not just to make great equipment for adventure, but to master the process. We believe in pushing past the first idea – fixing on an idea too early is sacrificing the possibility that something greater will emerge along the way.
Designing our gear is an adventure in itself, as we push through trials and challenges, become one with the process, and emerge as better human beings. Determination and grit are essential to our process, and at the end, so is pride.
Testing is an essential part of our process. Many brands rely on their manufacturing partners to make sure their gear meets minimum specs, but we take the process more seriously. Through a combination of lab testing and field testing, we cover our bases.
Our own lab is armed with a rain chamber, tensile tester, heat chamber, and a variety of other rigorous (and fun) tools. But there is nothing like the trails that a product encounters in the real world, and we have an extensive network of field testers who take our products to the corners of the earth to be tested under the most strenuous circumstances.
We live at the beautiful intersection where our love for outdoor adventure meets our passion for great design. We rethink what comfort is; ask new questions; look past conventional notions and expectations; and use our brains and creativity to continually design gear that improves your experience of adventure. It’s easy to produce the same gear as everyone else in a different colors; great design is harder, yet infinitely more satisfying.
We don’t believe in accepting the conventional wisdom. Here are a few examples of how we think about a design challenge.
And while we win a lot of awards, our deepest satisfaction is in knowing our gear has played a part in your adventure, keeping you warmer, dryer, and more comfortable. Keeping you going, climbing, biking, and loving the chance to be outside and be alive.