Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gear Review: NEMO Equipment

NEMO Equipment is a New Hampshire company located in Nashua, NH. I first learned about their products through my former employment at Eastern Mountain Sports. A lot of customers had been coming in asking about their tents and I realized that I knew very little about them or the company. It was at the Association of Experiential Educations Northeast Regional Conference that I met an employee of NEMO. At the conference he set up a variety of their tents and air mattresses as well as placing on a display a variety of their extra products. I spent a fair amount of time with John learning about the NEMO Brand, setting up and taking down tents, inflating and deflating air mattresses and then spending my last night at the conference testing out their new MIO 1 Person Tent. I was simply blown away not just by their products but the companies dedication to those who use their products, listening to what we want and need, but also their dedication to the environment.

NEMO is owned and operated by a dedicated group of outdoor enthusiasts who don't just make the products, they test them by beating the crap out of them and seeing what's left. At the end of the day, these tents hold up to every test I've thrown at them while still looking like new. I'm impressed. For years I've used Eureka, Sierra Designs and MSR tents; swearing by all of the them as quality tents that can't be beat... until I was lucky enough to get a MIO 1 Person for my own use from the folks at NEMO.

> 2.8 lbs (1.3 kg)
> 24 sq ft (2.2 sq m)
> 6 sq ft (0.6 sq m) Vestibule
> Sit-height comfort

The Mio is the perfect one person tent for the lightweight/compact traveler. I've managed to squeeze this cantaloupe sized tent into my carry-on while flying cross country multiple times this year. The Mio is lightweight and super durable. It held up to 60+ MPH winds and driving rains during a severe thunderstorm in Vermont's Green Mountains all the while keeping me dry and cozy. It kept me cool with the rooftop vent under the blazing sun of the Sierra Nevada's of California and it kept me warm and at home while in the Rocky Mountains of Leadville, Colorado. While the Mio offers plenty of room for the single adventurer, my wife and I have managed to sleep side by side, comfortably, in the tent as well. We call it our "cuddle tent." The Mio is by far the best one person tent on the market.

Mio is the close cousin of NEMO’s Gogo tent, an ultralight AirSupported bivy. Mio’s airbeam is similar in shape to Gogo’s but ten inches taller, allowing you to sit comfortably inside. Mio uses NEMO’s ExoFly vestibule design, which allows the inner tent to be retracted when you need vestibule space, or deployed when you want extra leg room and interior space. An overhead vent at the apex of the tent promotes good air circulation. The Swallowtail end of Mio can be propped up with a short stick to tension the tent above your sleeping bag. Includes Integrated Pump, watertight stuff sack, stakes, repair kit.

> 1.5 lbs (0.68 kg)
> 1.6" Thickness (4 cm)
> Two layer comfort adjustability
> Packs small
> Includes stuff sack

I've been a Therma-Rest user for the last 15 years and the Tuo Lite quickly became my new go-to mattress for camping. The double air chambers gives me the opportunity to customize the level of comfort the pad offers on a variety of hard surfaces. The pad offers protection from the cold ground while allowing travelers to free up some space given it's "body-sculpted" design. Being able to easily roll up my bad and put it into a stuff sack for travel has proven very important to me as well. While the old hodge-podge of mattress's continues to bring the bulk and the excessive materials, the Tuo Lite continues to allow me to travel light, compact and sensibly wherever it is I might be adventuring.

The Tuo series of inflatable backcountry accessories brings a new level of comfort to the sleeping pad. Literally. The Tuo sleeping pads have a thin film inside that divides the pad into two separate airtight levels, each with their own valve. Not only does this give you complete redundancy in the event of a puncture, it means you can inflate the base layer firm for protection from rocks and roots and keep the top layer partially inflated for maximum comfort. Enjoy the full 2.3" thickness of Tuo Luxury sleeping pad or save precious ounces with the 1.6" thick mummy-style Tuo Standard sleeping pad. A 2/3 length version of Standard called the Tuo Lite is also offered. All models include a stuff sack and repair kit.

NEMO has a variety of other products to go along with both the MIO and Tuo Lite as well as a collection of other eco-friendly products (often made from the scraps of tent construction) that compliment the outdoor adventurer well. It doesn't matter if you're a runner, hiker or weekend warrior.. these products are well worth the investment, which is what purchasing quality outdoor equipment is, an investment.