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Alumni Stories

Cam Brensinger ’94

Cam Brensinger ’94 founded NEMO Equipment in 2002 and serves as its CEO and lead designer and innovator. His passion for the outdoors and gear really began in middle school at Derryfield with Outing Club trips led by then science teacher, Ms. Rich. Ms. Rich was a Dartmouth grad with a great knowledge of weather, physics, and ecology and also how to select and utilize good equipment. She gave Cam an early appreciation of both the spirit of adventure and of a scientific approach. Cam later spent a couple summers with another Derryfield science teacher, Mr. Harding, learning to rock climb and sea kayak at Adventure Camp. In March and April of his senior year, Cam and a classmate completed an Independent Study Project to spend almost a full month hiking the toughest sections of the Appalachian Trail through NH and southern Maine over significant snowpack, and afterwards write a report. That was a defining experience in Cam’s life, and what committed him to a career focused on outdoor adventure.
After Derryfield, Cam went to Middlebury College, where he studied writing, physics, and studio art and became passionate about rock and ice climbing and mountaineering. After Middlebury, Cam and three friends climbed Denali and had an epic experience including a 4 day storm that trapped them in camp, punching through a crevasse, altitude sickness, and a plane crash. After some additional travels and soul searching, Cam discovered Industrial Design, and knowing immediately that he’d found his calling, he soon enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design. Cam graduated from the RISD ID program in 2002 with distinction, receiving the Thomas Lamb Scholarship Award.
While at RISD, Cam had the privilege of also working at MIT, funded by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, as part of a team to design spacesuit technology for human exploration of Mars. That project inspired many of the early ideas of NEMO and gave Cam insight into cutting edge engineering. He incorporated NEMO in April of 2002, while still working at MIT, and just before graduating from RISD.
NEMO debuted its first product line of backpacking and mountaineering tents in the Summer of 2004, and promptly began winning awards for design and innovation. The first models used low-pressure inflatable ribs called airbeams, instead of traditional aluminum or fiberglass poles. They packed smaller, set up faster and were more easily repaired in the field. NEMO’s unique approach earned numerous awards for design and innovation including Best Inventions by TIME and Popular Science Magazines, the ISPO Brand New Overall Award for most innovative product in the outdoor sporting goods industry, the IF International Product Design Award, the ID Magazine Design Distinction Award, multiple Editors’ Choice awards from Backpacker magazine and Gear of the Year awards from Outside Magazine, the Innovation Rocks! Award from the N.H. Department of Resources & Economic Development, and many more. In 2005, the company was featured on the Discovery Channel and Good Morning America and Cam sat on a panel in NYC with Steve Wosniak, the co-founder of Apple.
Today, NEMO has grown to a well-known high-end international brand for gear for adventure. NEMO products are sold in 19 countries around the world, with significant market share in the US, Japan and South Korea. The NEMO brand is generally considered the highest quality and most innovative in its categories. Cam is responsible for defining and executing NEMO’s mission, building and managing a talented team, and inspiring and directing the company’s product-driven efforts. Mr. Brensinger is also the principal inventor on over 50 pending and awarded patents and trademarks.
He currently lives with his wife, two young children, and 120 pound malamute in Stratham, NH where he occasionally escapes into his woodshop to build furniture or work on renovation of their house. He’s a passionate outdoorsman, with extensive experience mountaineering, rock and ice climbing, mountain biking, and surfing. He serves on the board of directors of the Outdoor Industry Association Political Action Committee.

The Derryfield School

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