Vi träffar Sarekkännaren och författaren Karl Johan Piehl som skrivit boken Sarek, vandring, löpning och klättring med lättviktspackning
För drygt 15 år sedan gjorde Karl Johan sin första fjällvandring i Jotunheimen och gjorde alla tänkbara fel med planering och utrustning, Karl Johan beskriver:
–Vi lånade ett tält som var av samma typ du köper i matbutiken för 300kr. Det regnade rakt igenom och med lite vind liknade tältet en vacumpåse. För att hålla hög hygien hade jag bland annat packat ett rent set kallingar, t-shirts och strumpor i bomull för var dag. Vandringen gick över Besseggen, Glittertind och Galdöpiggen och avslutades med magsjuka efter att ha druckit av vattnet nedan fjällstationen i Spiterstulen. Trots nybörjarmissarna blev turen fantastisk och fjällen gjorde verkligen intryck. Efter denna tur påbörjades evolutionen till hur jag idag gör mina fjällturer. Från 35kg på ryggen till så lite som sju kilo för att korsa Sarek.
Sedan dess har Karl Johan lagt stora delar av fritiden i bergen, som vandrare, löpare och framförallt klättrare.
–Åren innan jag fick barn så åkte jag nästan varje helg både sommar och vinter till olika klätterdestinationer, ofta Norge eller Bohuslän, och semestern spenderades i Alperna och/eller i Sarek. Nu är jag oftast hemma med barnen på helgerna, men som tur är gillar de också fjällen och vi spenderar flera veckor per år i fjällen.
Karl-Johan är fortfarande aktiv i Sarek, och har efter att han skrev sin första Sarekguidebok besökt fler områden och ytterligare cirka 30 toppar som finns med i hans nya bok: “Sarek, vandring, löpning och klättring med lättviktspackning”:
–Från början var det min dåvarande partner som föreslog att vi skulle skriva var sin bok. Även andra personer har föreslagit att jag skulle skriva om Sarek eftersom de vet att jag har god kännedom om terrängen i området. Jag har gjort ett stort antal turer i Sarek varav ett flertal i områden jag inte kunnat läsa om tidigare och ansåg jag mig ha material till en guidebok som bidrar med nåt nytt och som sänker tröskeln för att uppleva Sarek – för alla. Jag ville göra en guidebok som är enhetlig och endast baserar sig på förstahandsinformation. Framförallt toppturer och topptraverser i Sarek har jag själv upplevt att det är svårt att hitta detaljerad information om. Kanske är det för att många av de bergstraverser som jag, och andra, gör idag inte var möjliga för andra än elitidrottare förr, då alla bar på traditionell vandringsutrustning. Idag är läget helt annat och det finns otroligt spektakulära bergsturer att göra i Sarek som kan passa de flesta som gör rätt förberedelser, även nybörjare i friluftslivet. Sarek är välbesökt i dalgångarna, men uppe i bergen finns de mest spektakulära turerna där du inte träffar någon. Trots att en stor andel av alla fjällvandrare har möjlighet att göra bergsturer så ligger stora delar av Sareks massiv nästintill orört. Jag tror inte på tyst kunskap och har haft som mål att förmedla hur man går tillväga för att uppleva detta unika på ett smart sätt.
När Karl Johan beskriver responsen från boken så har det uteslutande varit positiv sådan:
–Det är jätteskoj, Jag tvekade länge för att ge ut en bok eftersom det var läskigt att bli offentlig på det viset. Det är flera personer som berättat att boken gett nya insikter och ändrat hela deras grundsyn på hur man kan röra sig i fjällen. Det känns jättekul eftersom jag själv känner att jag har fått många bitar på plats som möjliggjort ganska krävande fjällturer – för en vanlig medelålders gubbe som mig. Och detta har jag försökt förmedla i boken, utöver ruttbeskrivningarna.
I sin bok om att uppleva Sarek lyfter Karl Johan fram packlistor och ger förslag på flera fina fina rutter med magnifika vyer. Nedan visar visas ett smakprov från hans bok, en vacker vandringsrutt mellan Gasskatjåhkkå och Skarjatjåhkkå:
När vi frågar Johan om tre generella tips så kommer svaren snabbt:
-Gå med lättviktspackning. Detaljerna i packningen bildar helheten.
-Fysisk träning inför fjällturen.
-Bra matplanering, ta med rätt mängd.
–Ovanstående tips är mina viktigaste för en givande fjälltur, och de tre tipsen utmynnar i samma mål: att fjällfärden känns enkel – du får access till att uppleva max utifrån dina personliga förutsättningar. Energin kan brännas på att uppleva fjället snarare än att transportera utrustning, säger Karl Johan.
Vill du inspireras mer av Karl Johans turer, få förslag på packning, mat och mycket mer så finns boken att köpa på Backpackinglinght.se. Beställ boken här
If you want a english version of the book Sarek check here
-I’m 26 and grew up in the concrete jungle of New York City. Having a Swedish mom, being a Swedish citizen and speaking the language got me to move here 6 years ago for college. Always loved nature but wasn’t great at camping/hiking, signed up to Fjäll & Vildmarksledarlinjen at Malungs Folkhögskola not even knowing what a Fjäll was. After 2 years there I worked 4 season at STF Ritsem where I got my equipment dialed in I grew my skills and got used to being alone in the mountains. Came for school, stayed for the Fjäll!
You completed the White Ribbon 2021. How did you come up with that?
–I fell in love with Nordic Ski Touring on my first ever winter trip in 2016 and knew this is what I wanted to focus my outdoors career on. Met a lot of people doing Vita and Gröna bandet in Ritsem over the years including best trip-mate Paul Loss. Vita Bandet always seemed like a safe starting point for getting experience for real expeditions, I’d like to ski to the South Pole some day and every bit of experience with equipment and my own body I can get before then will help.
Photo: Paolo Peralta
Tell us about the The White Ribbon. How was the adventure?
What an AWFUL winter 2021 was, barely even counts as winter. Weather is always a huge factor, but even more so last year. After 2 weeks of cold I had rain, sleet and temperatures rarely below -5C for the next 6 weeks which made for wet clothes, slow progress, low morale and negated many of my equipment choices.
I had a day where I fought for 8 hours and only gained 8km because the snow was so bad, stuck to the sled and skis like cement, needed to be scraped off every 500m. And my boots were full of water that day to top it off, I had sunk to the thighs in slush while crossing a marsh, took 4 days to dry out the boot liners which is why I carry a spare set of liners now.
But it wasn’t always awful, with the warm temperatures and being a person who runs very hot I think I hold the record for most time spent shirtless on Vita Bandet. The highpoint of the the 89 days my Vita Band lasted was when I had 5 days from Kvikkjokk to Ritsem on an abbreviated Padjelantaled. Didn’t see a single cloud or feel a gust of wind the whole time, it was mid April with long days and I skied in my underwear until I ran out of sunscreen. And I didn’t use a tent for those 5 days, slept in the open every night, would just take off my boots, crawl into my sleeping bag and eat dinner looking at the evening sky fade into stars
Any gear you want to put a spotlight on?
One thing that worked amazingly was my kitchen set up, I have 0 complaints about it and the only changes I’m making to it are swapping out the plywood I used for a base with a sheet of carbon fiber for weight savings and changing the aluminum windscreen to .2mm titanium foil for durability. Also, my down booties, will never go on a winter trip without them again.
On a long trip like this an Arctic bedding bag is a game changer, you save 20-30 minutes a day and it’s wonderful not having to fiddle with straps, stuffing a sleeping bag into a stuff sack and inflating/deflating pads. But commercially available ones are not waterproof and not even wet snow proof. I had a nightmare of a time when the rain was at its worst, sleeping in a damp down bag for 3 days isn’t fun at all. I’m hoping to have finished some prototypes of an improved bedding bag that will keep out a modern Scandinavian winter out for testing next winter.
Hands: I used 3 gloves this trip: Thick Hestra mittens for -15C or colder, GWS fleece gloves for -10C to +10C and synthetic liner gloves for when I was in camp and needed to handle small items. But this system didn’t work well for the slushy snow and rain. Since then I have started using Showa 282 gloves for wet weather and they are fantastic. Carrying 4 pairs of gloves might seem like overkill, depending on the weather changing daily over the course of a few months, it might actually not be variety enough.
If you where about to skii the White Ribbon again, what would you do different?
Beeline through Jämtland until Hotagsfjällen. Helags was great but going via Storlien cost me 2 weeks of struggling through forests with deep snow and seldom a snow mobile track to ease the going.
I’d want to make things more interesting, start on New Years Day at Treriksröset or something like that, get to see some more aurora, enjoy the cold and dark hopefully.
And bring a frying pan for January/February, there’s so much time spent in the tent then that you might as well spend it cooking real food; pancakes, hashbrowns, quesadillas and meatballs would have been a treat.
Pablos tips fore future White Ribbonears?
You don’t need as much fuel as you think.
You don’t need as much food as you think but you can never have enough diversity in snacks. Bring the comfort items along at the start, you’ll have lots of tent time and will enjoy the chair/book/kindle and you can always send them home when they days grow long and you spend less time awake in camp.
Other than extra socks don’t bring more clothes than you can wear all at once.
Good prescription glacier glasses are worth the money, lived in my Julbo sunglasses the last month of the trip except when going indoors. Invest in a dehydrator, make your own meals and try them all before you head out.
While weight isn’t as critical as in summer, you will feel the difference between 20kg and 40kg when going uphill, try to save weight where you can.
Ease of access to stuff you know you’ll need during the day is huge, make it so you don’t have to dig through your sled to find stuff you use every day.
In 1997, The swedish newsmagazine Expressen noticed a rather unusual achievement. An achievement that later founded the idea for which became Fjällfararna’s White & Green Ribbon. During the expedition “Sweden Around -97”, Torkel and Annica Ideström made their own way around the country’s borders. The tour started at Treriksröset, with skis to Grövelsjön, and then switched to cycling to Svinesundsbron for the start of the Blue ribbon of the Sea paddles (HBB). In Haparanda, the mode of travel was again changed to bicycle to close the circle at Treriksröset. Since HBB has been an accepted challenge for many years, Torkel and Annika felt natural to manifest an equivalent challange for the mountain range. Then with two different variants, one each for winter and summer respectively. The White and Green Robbon was founded.
Today, the Ideström couple live in a house in the small mountain village Östra Vålådalen in Jämtland. From here they now run the White and Green Ribbon and annually inspire more and more people to go on long expeditions. It feels natural to start our series of articles about the White and Green Ribbon here, meeting the adventurer behind the adventure; Torkel Ideström:
What’s the White and Green Ribbon (WGR)?
-The idea behind the ribbons is that you can make your own way from Grövelsjön in the south to Treriksröset in the north, or vice versa, a distance of about 1300 km through our Scandinavian mountain chain. The journey shall be carried out without a long stop and without outside assistance. The tour can be carried out all year round. The color of the bands indicates the season in which the tour was conducted. We try to draw attention to the fact that all hikers should respect and consider the environment, nature and culture they travel through. It’s an approach when you’re going to execute the band.
Are there any rules?
It is important to point out that WGR is not a competition. There are no times that you have to keep as long as the tour is carried out in a succession, without breaks. In order to avoid excessively strict rules, there are no restrictions on modes of travel, except that you should pass west of a number of places (see map below) and that you are not allowed to travel motorized. The use of dogs, kite, is allowed but will be registered as such variant. This is so that certain comparisons can be made and that it is also easier to draw experience from a particular mode of travel.
Can anyone do it?
-The challenge requires both physical and mental strength, as well as a healthy “public conscience” and safety mindset. At the same time, it is up to each mountaineer to complete the tour entirely based on their own circumstances, which means that those who complete the tour get a fantastic experience for the rest of their lives. Our youngest participant who has passed the band is 11 years old and the oldest is 73 years old. However, the severity should not be underestimated.
Tell us about the 2021 season?
-It has been a fantastic year, when many people chose to stay in Sweden because of the pandemic. Provided the perfect opportunity to complete a real adventure and a great experience at home. Admittedly a bit messy with accommodation in cottages and crossings across borders on, but which most people still took with peace. An adaptation on our VGB’s part was to approve Abisko as a start or finish place, as the possibility of reaching Treriksröset was considered too tough as you could not enter either Finland or Norway. For 2022, however, order has been restored. The Treriksröset is and remains our outpost to the north.
What does the future look like?
-One of the goals has been to establish The Ribbons as a real outdoor classic, which it has really become. Interest in long-distance tours looks to be growing steadily and is just right in time for a sustainable transition. The great adventure is on our own home mountains. Long all-inclusive flights don’t have to be our biggest dream. In order to further facilitate the Bands and strengthen the local, Svante Sundelin at VGB’s assignment has made a large compilation of so-called ” verified pit stops” that will be posted on the Banden website shortly. We have also headhunted Sara Wänseth, former CEO of SOG (Swedish Outdoor Group). First and foremost, she will now be project manager for FJÄLLTRÄFFEN in Grövelsjön this spring. More information will be provided about the ;). Sara’s going to “just” ski her White Band this winter, too. We have been telling you for some time that we are going to introduce the possibility of making the Bands in STAGES. The idea now is also that it will be in RELAY form. Well, it might be a little while. The technical challenge, and therefore the economic challenge of putting this into a functional platform, is not small. So work is underway to find funding and as soon as we solve it, the initiative starts.
Do you have any tips for those who are going to walk the green ribbon?
– Do your homework! This is an expedition, so prepare by finding out the facts, gaining experience and training. Then the mental preparation also comes along, which is crucial if you are to succeed.
· Think about the importance of weight! The tour is about. 1,300 km and approx. 20,000 meters in height. Weight makes a difference. Do what you can with the budget you have. Since this year we have a collaboration with Backpackinglight.se that fits as a hand in the glove. Relevant lightweight equipment and professional know-how needed to implement in a fun, safe and responsible manner.
· Have air in the schedule for spontaneous whims. A meeting might be well worth spending extra time on. Many have made a friend for life or met their love during their turn.
· Thoughtful depots are good, but not always necessary. It is possible to shop along the way and thus support local shops. This also opens up to change your luck in the meantime, as you are not locked to certain depots.
· Let the body get used to it. Add shorter day lengths at the beginning. Most people who break do it in the first part. Healing out an overwork during the tour rarely succeeds. The body’s hardness increases over time, as does the ability to absorb food.
· A couple of bonus tips – dishcloth to condensation in the tent and a “quick” (light, sound-dried) towel is great!
And to those who are going to take turns the white ribbon?
-(The above, the tips for the Green Ribbon, of course also apply to the White Ribbon)
-Bring a retaining wax. Do not only trust your skins, in case of strong cold they can let go. A green cold wax can also keep the clatter away from the skis when nothing else helps.
Moisture barrier in the boots. Thin wool or synthetic stocking closest to the foot, then (ordinary) freezer bag, over it a warmer wool sock. Most often it is the moisture from the inside that soaks down the boots – and wet, icy boots in the morning are no hit. Alternatively, boots with loose lining e.g. Lundhags Guide Expedition, where you can change.
-Thin hooded windbreaker. Then the shell jacket can mostly be in the sled. Protection of the face. Find a good system of goggles and face mask that doesn’t leave the nose or cheekbones alone. In addition to the obvious danger of ostracized, when this works well you become less stressed.
Fun Facts about the WGR
RECORD YEAR 2021 In the current year 2021, the following “Band record” has been broken:
Number of notifications GR: 93 pcs (approx. 60 pcs 2020)
Number of GR completed: 71 pcs (40 pcs 2020)
Fastest on foot: Simon Österlin La Mont, 22 days (21 days 7 hours and 38 minutes. 6.5 hours faster than previous record) Gröv-Treriksröset.
Youngest: Karl Nordborg, 11 years old (with his father), 65 days, Grövelsjön-Treriksröset
Farthest: Peter Bergström 63 years, 76 days, Gröv-Trer-Gröv. 1,500 miles. – “yo-yo hike”
Most GR: Peter Bergström, total – with this summer’s “yo-yo” – 5 times Gröna Band.
Most Bands: Lina Hallebratt, 7 times (6 Vita, 1 Green, of which 2 pcs in winter 2021’s yo-yo expedition). Lina has twice been named ADVENTURER OF THE YEAR for her tours of the White and Green Ribbon.
Number of nationalities of approved “Bandare”: Germany, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, England, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Greenland, USA, Austria, France, Sweden.
Completely a total of 265 approved Green Bands have now been implemented (in 2011-2021), of which 38% were women and 62% men, aged 11 to approx. 73 years old. For the White Ribbon the corresponding statistics are 81 approved bands (2010-2021), of which 32% are women and 68% are men. Of the notifications received to Green Ribbon is estimated approx. 65-70% complete the tour in its entirety and the mountainfarer has received his diploma. The corresponding figure for the White Ribbon is slightly lower and is about 60–65%.
At Backpackinglight.se you ca read more about recommended lightweight and robust gear that will hold through out the long hike. What has been used before and so on. Also, all future participants on WGR get a rebate code if they need to upgrade some gear. Have a look here
Too hot, too cold, too small, too narrow, too short or too heavy. When you are closer to 2 meters long, a pair of size 47s to feet, it is no wonder that many sleeping bags feel too cramped at the bottom. The feet usually have to fold to fit and the legs are joined together like a mermaid. If you are going to turn in your sleeping bag, you feel like a worm slithering around. If itches on the nose, it is easier to rub it against the sleeping mat than to force the arm wedged into the bag. I’m sure more people will recognize themselves in this and who later started looking towards using a Quilt instead of a sleeping bag. But despite nightmare nights in sleeping bags, I still like the feeling of being surrounded by a warm sleeping bag, the feeling of being more protected and having a soft material that protects against the slightly more aspirations of the sleeping mat. So far, not many sleeping bags have made it through this. I like Sierra Designs Cloud just for the open top, even the Spark models from Sea to Summit I sleep comfortable in.
During my trip to Hattfjelldal and Kittelfjäll, I chose a sleeping bag that perhaps some recognize under its previous brand “Yeti”, fewer under its new name “Y by Nordisk”. Already have a love for the Nordic tents in the lightweight segment. Telemark, Lofoten, Oppland and Halland are of high class and have many satisfied owners here in Sweden, but what are their sleeping bags like? Nordisk has in recent years developed a number of different series of sleeping bags. All down sacks are produced here in Europe, in Germany more precisely and their lighter Y series, which characterizes their heritage “Yeti” guarantees down is of the utmost class and durability. Crystal down is European goose down from traceable birds. As long as it feels much better! But besides sustainability, why should I choose a Y by Nordisk over any other supplier? It’s a little more expensive than its competitors, but does it really keep its promises?
The answer is obvious: Nordic passion Three is one of the most comfortable sleeping bags in relation to its weight that I have slept in. My 47s can be stretched upwards, legs can be kept apart, it is flexible but also keeps warm as promised. I don’t get sweaty when the temperature goes up in the morning and I feel like it releases my body condence in a very good way. During the week I was out, the night temperature changed between 4-10 degrees and I never felt like I was getting cold, or sweaty. What I also like is the full length of the zipper that makes entry and exit easier. On the warmer evenings, I can have the zipper more open. Nordic passion three has a comfort that according to the manufacturer is at 7 degrees but would say that you can easily sleep with this bag at 4-5 degrees, if you do not very cold off. So I would easily attribute this sack as a three-season sleeping bag. Just make sure you don’t have sleeping mats with an R value below 3. I myself slept on a Sea to Summet Etherlight Xt with an R value of 3.2. A very good combination to my Passion Three where my total weight for “sleep” landed at about 1 kg.
Weight and volume
On backpackinglight.se there is Nordisk Passion three in three sizes. Medium: 470 grams, large 530 grams and xl of 560 grams. Packed, the sleeping bag does not take up much space in the backpack, 27 times 14 cm makes it extremely ultra compact. Just make sure you have it packed up during the tour and take it out as soon as you pitch the tent. You also get a larger storage bag that the down rests better in that you can use when storing the bag at home.
Other sleeping bags from Nordisk: If you are going to sleep in colder temperatures, there is also Nordisk Passion five with a comfort of -2 and a weight of fine 700-800 grams depending on size. The Nordic Balance 400, 600 and Phantom 440 are two lighter 3-season options for your wallet. These weigh a little more but are at least as comfortable as the Passion series. If you have hyper-light requirements, you should take a look at one of the world’s lightest sleeping bags from Nordisk: Nordisk Fever Ultra at incredibly low 240 grams and 900+cuin Nothing for cold mountain nights but popular by the participants in the world’s toughest ultra race.
Overall impression Nordisk Passion:
Comfortable and spacious sleeping bag.
Warm, sleep effortlessly down to the limit temperature.
Sustainable: Produced in Europe by fine goose down from traceable birds.
Breathe well and have a full length zipper so you can easily get in and out.
Nothing I can think of. As usual when it comes to sleeping bags in this class. Be careful with the zipper so that you do not damage the fabric. It’s easy to happen!
The price is a little higher than many other sleeping bags in the same comfort class. But on the other hand, it costs less on the environment when produced in Europe and is made of traceable goose down. We want many more to test this sleeping bag, so use the code: Nordisk20 at the checkout and you will get 20% on all down sleeping bags from Nordisk. And please let us know what you think! You can use the on checkout at Backpackinglight.se. .
At the height of the summer, the long-planned fishing and hiking trip to Hattfjälldal in Norway, on to Kittelfjäll I had with both haspel and fly fishing stuff, wading boots and a lot of different fishing gear. When I’m going fishing in new waters, I want different rods and baits to test my way through. “What if the fish swims on the surface and only takes night dragonflies and dry, or stands deep and chops on spoon strokes”. I want to be ready for any scenario. Normally I like to wear light but have no problem wearing a little heavier if I must. I was first in the choice between a Sierra design Flex capacitor or Osprey Aether Pro, both with frame, and which I know can handle heavier loads and have comfortable and proven carrying systems. But since I have already walked with these, the choice fell on a newcomer in the range; Granit Gear Crown2 60 litres. The total weight of Crown2 in size Long with head, back plate and hip belt is: 1116 grams. Here are my thoughts on it:
The narrower hip belt and shoulder straps are reminiscent of HMG’s backpacks and the different back section with a plastic plate supported by a reddish foam on my back made me curious. Can this seemingly slightly less robust backpack even work for my needs!? Now in retrospect, I don’t regret the choice. Granit Gear Crown2 60 sits very nicely on the back, around the hip and shoulders. You do not need a wider hip-belt or a more developed aluminum frame to carry up to 15 kg-16kg. This backpack proves it. The roller top opening under the head allows you to compress the gasket and provides a good water repellent function. But the thinner material with 100 D nylon on top and 210 D nylon at the bottom still makes me choose the safe for the unsafe and use a waterproof pack liner in the backpack.
The compression straps on the lid and sides make the backpack versatile and usable for different pack volumes. For shorter day trips from base camp, I was able to scale down my backpack by removing the head (73 grams), lap belt (186 grams), and getting down a bit under the kilo in weight. If you wanted to scale it down even more, you can also remove the back plate, (172 grams) but I chose to keep it. It was warm outside and the hollow back plate with its patterns provided some ventilation. The larger mesh pocket in the middle I used to store coffee, rubbish and later also to have some lighter fishing gear in. my two rods and their rollers. The deep side pockets combined with the compression straps on the sides worked well to attach the fishing rods to. Note that I only use split rods, not telescopes . Having said that, there must be compression straps in the middle or on the upper part of the backpack because my rods stand out a bit.
The volume then, 60 liters plus 5 liters in the cylinder heads was perfectly ok for a week’s tour. Between the roller top opening and the head, I was also able to store my wading pants and further stretch the pack volume at the height. Instead of classic 2 kg wading shoes, I use a pair of worn foppa slippers of about 250 grams that give a completely ok attachment to stones and sand. They dry quickly and I can even use them as camp slippers. These can easily be attached to the outside of the backpack. On the lap belt there are also 2 pockets of about 0.5 liters each, good for putting small picks in, such as my snuff box. Finally, there is also the possibility to put a fluid system along the back of the inside, but I did not test this.
On the lap belt, the Granit Gear Crown 60 has a smart adjustable function where you can customize its range. The middle part of the lap belt can be adjusted with Velcro and then easily threaded back behind the tail cushion. I see this as a big plus that you can adapt your lap belt to sit comfortably regardless of hip size. This means that the backpack is suitable for both men and women with different hip ranges. Still, there is a Granit Gear Crown2, custom made for women with more S shaped shoulder straps. You can read more about it here. The chest buckle can also be adjusted upside down. I see these adjustable features of The Crown2 as a big plus and something that I wish more backpack manufacturers would follow.
Another feature is that the head can be used as a chest/waist belt. Perfect for those who want access to more equipment, such as a camera or binoculars at your fingertips. You only need two carabiner hooks to attach it to the front of the backpack.
What about the lifting capacity? I tried using the backpack with different volumes and weights in it. Up to 15-16 kg, the backpack does very well, but when you go up to 18-20 kg, the lap belt begins to feel against the hip and the backpack loses its comfortable posture and balance. So would recommend not to carry more than 15 kg in this, i.e. in line with what the manufacturer writes.
Plus: Lightweight, comfortable comfort and balanced backpack up to 15 kg. Granit Gear Crown 2 is a smart backpack that you can adjust the hip belt range, chest buckle position and packing bag volume through smart compression straps and roll top opening. It works well as a hiking/fishing backpack where you can use the top as a Waist/Chest bag, or as many will prefer: slimmed down, completely without a head. The overall rating in general is very good.
Minus: The thin mesh fabric on the back plate feels completely unnecessary. You walk with the feeling that it’s going to break at any moment. Many of Ospreys lighter backpacks have a similar mesh fabric but there is a clearer distance between the bag and the mesh mesh, there is not here. So I just don’t understand the feature of this!?
The Osprey Levity is one of the lightest 60 liter backpacks on the market. At just 900 grams, it really does push some boundaries on lightness. There are of course lighter packs, but I would argue as far as overall comfort is concerned, the Osprey Levity is top class. Atleast up to about 10 kilos. I also wouldn’t consider it the most robust or highest quality pack, but certainly, weight to comfort it’s a great pack. It has a nice aluminum frame that, much like many of the Osprey packs, creates a nice distance between one’s back and the pack itself. Which means a less sweaty back. It also sits really nice when walking and the balance of the pack is fantastic. It sits really, really nicely.
On our scales the Osprey Levity 60 Liter pack Large weighs just under 900 grams. Which, is certainly light for a 60 liter, aluminum frame pack. Osprey was able to achieve such a lightweight by using a lighter pack material, a much lighter aluminum frame and removed hipbelt pockets and so on.
While the Osprey Levity feels like it will fall apart after a few miles, the truth is that it’s a rather robust backpack. I have been using mine for many hikes over the last couple of years, as I like to abuse my equipment as a right of passage. I can say that the Osprey levity has so far held up just fine to all kinds of natural and unnatural abuse.
Unlike many of the Osprey packs, the back panel can’t be adjusted, so it’s important to buy a proper size pack from the start. These packs come in small/medium/Large and hipbelt should fit just about anybody. I won’t give a size guide here, as you can find that further down on this page, but it’s just something to think about. While the back panel can’t be adjusted it does have load lifters that allows for a bit more adjustability of the pack.
There is not a whole lot that I don’t like with this pack, but I can name two. 1. I don’t really like the hipbelt – with heavier weight, anything above 10kg the belt starts to dig deep into my hips. Causing bruising and overall discomfort. This is a rather normal problem for me with a lot of packs that I use, but that doesn’t mean I like it. I would like to see a thicker, fatter hipbelt with removable hipbelt pockets. 2. Osprey doesn’t seem to like packs that can stand on their own. So you will always have to find something to balance the Levity on when it’s not on your back.
Very light 60 Liter pack (70 with external pockets)
Over the last couple of years I have steadily switched from a quilt, normally my old Enlightened equipment Revelation quilt. Which I do thoroughly enjoy using, to the Sierra designs cloud 800. For anyone who has read my book, will know that I love using quilts for many reasons – more warmth to weight, no worries about getting tangled in during the night and so on. With that said, quilts do have some disadvantages, which is why I have moved on from them in anything other than summer hikes and hammock camping. For one, I usually find them to be a hassle to fasten onto my sleeping pads.. Usually straps, or buckles or some other headache inducing nightmare at 3 in the morning when I have to get up and pee.
The Sierra designs Cloud 800 has all the advantages of a quilt and sleeping bag without any of the disadvantages. Of course, with some of it’s own disadvantages, but I will tackle that later.
What is the Cloud 800:
Imagine a quilt and a sleeping bag in one. The comfort of a quilt, the warmth and ease of use of a sleeping bag. You fasten your sleeping bag into the sleeve of the Cloud 800 and viola, your done. Your bag won’t tangle you up during the night, and as there are no zippers it’s easy to get in and out. The cut of the sleeping bag is nice and wide, so comfort really is the focus of the Cloud 800 series.
The Sierra designs cloud 800 is well built using 15d ripstop nylon on outer and inner shell and filled with ethically sourced hydrophobic down 800 on the inside. It’s not the lightest materials on the market, but certainly offers an excellent weight and quality to cost ratio.
On the Cloud 800 35 degree bag, the regular weighs in at 660 grams while the large/wide comes in at 710 grams. On the Cloud 800 20 degree bag the weight for the regular is 880 grams and large at 940 grams. Certainly on the lighter end of the spectrum for the two temperature ranges.
Warmth and comfort:
I can’t stand the standard way companies market their sleeping bags. Almost every company markets the limit temp instead of the comfort temp and the cloud is no exception. The Cloud 800 3/ +2celcius degree bag I would say is warm (with proper sleeping mat) down to about +2 degrees. Which is unusual, I find the bags to be warmer than the stated comfort temps. This is also something I have heard from a lot of customers that have purchased the bags from us. When we do have complaints about how cold the bags are, they are almost always coupled with a cold sleeping pad.
As for comfort, nothing really compares to the Cloud 800 in this temp range and weight. Sierra design do have the Backcountry bed which is even more comfortable, but also heavier. Sleeping in the Cloud 800 is very much like sleeping at home in a blanket, it’s that comfortable.
Things to know
The cloud 800 is not built for hammocks, and is very difficult to use in a hammock because of the sleeping pad sleeve. The Cloud 800 does not have down where the sleeping pad meets the Sleeping bag. Like a quilt, SD didn’t see the point in putting down where it won’t work. While this is great when sleeping on a pad, in a hammock it just doesn’t work as you won’t have warmth where you need it.
Also, the design of the Cloud 800 is so that the opening comes up to waist height only, so getting in and out means opening the Cloud 800 and climbing in. Similar to a quilt.
Excellent comfort. Perhaps most comfortable sleeping bag available
Good price to weight
Great build quality and materials
Hydrophic down is always nice
Not great for hammocks – or rather, won’t work at all with hammocks
Some thicker, wider sleeping pads won’t work with it
Review by Kenneth Shaw
The Sierra designs Cloud 800 can be bought at backpackinglight.se in sweden or backpackinglght.dk in the EU. For 20% rebate use code: SLEEP20 on checkout
I recently went on a week long hiking and fishing trip in Northern Norway and Sweden. Total walking distance about 100 kilometers, and because I would be fly fishing I needed some extra gear with me like Wading pants and wading shoes (Crocs). I also had my dog with me and she slept nicely next to me in my tent on the Sarek 3mm EVA pad and my RAB synthetic jacket as her blanket to keep her warm. I will write more about my trip and the gear I used as well as publish a few videos on Youtube, but for now here is my full list with links to gear as well as quick info about the items I liked the most or surprised me the most.
The Big three:
I opted for comfort here and let me tell you, I never slept so good as I did on this trip, so the extra grams was worth it in the end. The Q-core is great. Very warm and plush, robust for my dog as well. Most comfortable sleeping pad I ever slept on. Highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for better sleep in the mountains. The EE Revelation has been my goto quilt for nearly a decade now, as always it performs as expected. Light, warm and comfortable.
The Osprey Aether Pro 70L – normally I opt for a HMG pack, but I wanted to give this one a try, I stripped off a few grams by getting rid of the toplock and one of the pockets. With the HMG pack I normally get bruised hips as the belt is very thin and I sweat like a pig as the HMG fits a little too tight against my back. I certainly didn’t have any of those problems with the Aether pro 70. Incredibly well fitting backpack and will be my goto pack for heavier loads. I am retiring my beloved HMG windrider 70. The aether is simply in a different class as far as comfort and carrying is concerned.
Sarek gear The Mid. and Inner. We had several different tents with us on this trip, I choose the mid as I love the space and weight of it, and after having used it in some seriously heavy storms, I trust the performance of it in the mountains. On one night in Norway the wind came in heavy gusts at around 17 mp/s – which is very very heavy for summertime winds. One of the tents we had with us snapped and Marcus came and camped out with me and Anna in the Mid. The Mid held it’s own, and other than the noise, I slept fairly well and certainly confident in the tent.
RAB Xenon synthetic jacket – Excellent lightweight synthetic jacket. I have been using this jacket for all my 3 season hikes this year as well as in town. I have nothing bad to say about the Xenon jacket. Simply a great, and great looking jacket at an excellent price. Sarek rain skirt – does exactly what it’s supposed to do at very little weight. Really nice not having to take off my pack everytime I want to put my skirt on.
I have a little secret to share: I know a thing or two about sleeping bags and keeping warm. Might come as a shock I know, and it’s not to toot my own horn, but simply a statement of fact. Here is the secret to finding the perfect sleeping bag that will keep you as warm as the promised comfort temp rating: it’s the sleeping mat. (This article is mainly for 3 season hiking, same rules apply for winter camping, but there it’s also a question of certain techniques)
In my own experience and in my years of being in the outdoor industry with my own gear shop, 9 times out of 10 (I would say 10 of 10, but I always leave a little margin of error) when you are cold despite your bag being warmer (comfort temp) than the outside temp, it’s your sleeping pad. Yes I know you don’t feel cold from underneath, no doubt your sleeping mat has a high R-value, yes I understand you have all kinds of clothing and extra layers on. It’s still more than likely your sleeping mat, or it could be you bought a bag advertising it’s Limit temp (the temp you will freeze your ass off at) as it’s bag name. Example is the Haglöfs down LIM +1. A +10 bag marketed at a +1 temp. Just an example, though most companies market their bags this way. Limit temp, is simply put, where you will be so cold your teeth will clatter. Buy your bag at the comfort temp, not the limit.
With that said, if you buy your bag at the stated comfort temp, and you freeze despite the outside weather being warmer than the comfort rating of the bag, it’s your sleeping mat. There are many reasons for this, but the simple truth is that rating a sleeping mat is considerably more difficult than the more standardized rating of sleeping bags. Most comfort temps on most sleeping bags are fairly well measured, while sleeping mats can and do vary wildly. In my experience most thicker sleeping mats (air filled not cell plast) all get cold around +3 celsius. Once the temperature starts to drop, these pads start to get cold: regardless of r-rating. I think this might have something to do with how different companies measure their r-value. I’m not sure how it’s done, but it rarely matches up to reality. The exception being the Thermarest mats that all hold up quite well in colder temperatures. (Thermarest xTherm and xLite hold up to stated r-values).
I’m sure someone out there is going to tell me I have no idea what I’m talking about, and that sleeping mats are 100% accurate in their ratings. But alas, I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to everyone else that is freezing in their sleeping bags despite buying the thickest, most expensive bag on the planet. I know, because I’ve been there. Daily I have customers who call or write describing the exact same issue. Most of them have barely a thought on what they have for sleeping mats. My first response and question is always “what sleeping mat do you have?”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than happy to sell great, ultralight sleeping bags, but I don’t care for returns because of freezing customers.
So what is my standard advice? Try putting a cheap cell foam pad on top of your current sleeping mat first – on top not underneath your sleeping pad. If you are still freezing, try a different sleeping mat, perhaps an xtherm. If you have tried different sleeping mats, then start looking at the bag. Check the comfort temp of your bag, actual temperature where you are at (temps on apps are often taken in cities or towns where temps are higher). There can of course be other issues with your bag such as down clumping – make sure your sleeping bag is properly “fluffed” and that the down hasn’t shifted into clumps. Another issue is a sleeping bag that is too small, which means you squeeze too hard against the sides, not leaving any room for the insulation to leave insulate.
But at the end of the day, 9 out of 10 instances of people freezing outdoors in their “warm” sleeping bag, is due to a cold sleeping mat.
First, if there’s one thing I love, it is testing equipment, especially tents. Over the past year, the company has grown and taken up more space and more time. Both Backpacking Light and our own brand Sarek Gear are on strong growth. We now have 6 employees and I think there will be twice as many in a year, which is incredibly fun but at the same time it takes a lot of time. I will continue to do Reviews but to get more credible reviews I will invite more guest bloggers to UL comfort, know that there are many Gearnerds out there. Also let my partner Marcus and employees test gear. Thinking that it might be interesting even for you to get more inspiration from several who love hiking and ultra-light hiking in particular to get maybe more perspectives on the subject. Below is Rasmus review and comparison between the Nordisk Halland 2 LW and Big agnes Copper spur.
First som start with some thoughts about the Nordisk Halland 2 LW. Some details as the small bungy bands that you can coil up the guy lines with when you do not use them is great features. The tent we used had the Burnt Red-color, blended in nicely in the pine forest and had a warm light inside. Easy to set up but quite small for two persons, one of them 187 cm, the feet touched the inner tent with a warmer sleeping bag and inflatable sleeping pad. The width of the tent is 135 cm wide which is perfectly ok for a two-man tent in this class. But if it’s two big people, it can feel a little too tight. But, with a weight of 1500 grams, this is a very smooth and lightweight two-man tent. The many guylines make the tent also robust, even for strong mountain winds.
If you want a safe, light and pleasant tent that you can trust, Nordiska Halland is the tent for you. But don’t invite your biggest friend to sleep with you, unless you’re going to spoon.
I would probably feel safer in the Halland than in the BigAgnesCopper Spur on a windy mountain, it has more guy lines and is not as high as the Copper Spur. The Copper Spur has steep walls and is very spacious on the other hand. In the mountains you maybe want the outer tent to go further down to the ground as on the Nordisk Halland. Maybe it felt a little bit humid inside the tent in the morning, likely because there was no wind. With some wind the ventilation would have been great! I Also liked the big door and roof pockets on the Copper Spur.
But I know, both from my own experiences and from others, that Copper Sour works very well when the wind blows. But the feeling is less robust. Another feeling is that copper spur feels more spacious than its competitor Nordisk Halland. But the fact is that both have about 100 cm in height and copper spurs maximum width is actually 3 cm smaller, i.e. 132 cm against Halland’s 135 cm. The fact that the tent is perceived as spacious is largely thanks to the tent arches that run over the long sides of the tent. Weight-wise, these two tents are very close. If you were to take tables Nordisk Halland’s upper ropes and cable brackets, they would end up at the same weight. Copper Spurs’ total weight is 1.42 kg. You can buy and read more about both tents at Backpackinglight.dk