Category: backpacking

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Att vandra lätt och långt med hund, går det?

Att ta sig an Gröna bandet, 130 mil genom den Nordiska fjällkedjan kräver en mix av noga planering, bra utrustning och pannben utöver det vanliga. Men hur ska man tänka och framförallt packa när man ska ta med sin fyrfotade vän på ett sådant massivt äventyr? Under våren 2021 fick jag och min vapendragare Ken äran att hjälpa det trevliga paret Elisabeth och Per Erik med att sondera fram lättare utrustning för det stundande äventyret. Det känns därför extra kul att nu får dela deras upplevelse och erfarenheter.

Foto: Elisabeth Hägglund

Berätta, vilka är ni? 

Vi är två ganska vanliga 50+ som gillar att träna och vara ute i naturen. Per-Erik har egen golvfirma och kan styra över sin tid och kunde därför ta sig ledigt över sommaren och jag, Elisabeth är fysioterapeut och hade många sparade semesterdagar som jag passade på att ta ut. Black är en mycket vänlig och sällskaplig fågeltokig treårig Engelsk setter med italienskt påbrå. 

Hur kom ni på tanken att vandra Gröna bandet?

Efter flera kortare fjällvandringar och sedan Kungsledenvandringen 2020 då vi insåg hur mycket behagligare det är att vandra under en längre tid blev vi sugna att prova att uppleva fjällen och vandra ännu lite längre. Under vandringen 2020 träffade vi även gröna bandarna Peter Bergström på fjället men kanske framförallt inspirerade Signe Johansson oss, som vi träffade i Jäkkvik och som ung tjej då valt att gå Gröna Bandet ensam. 

-Ni vandrade med hund, hur fungerade det?

Det fungerar utmärkt att vandra med hund, man har alltid ett glatt sällskap med sig. Hundsällskapet styr förstås vägvalet eftersom man inte får gå i varken Sarek eller Padjelanta med hund utan är tvungen att ta Kungsleden den biten. Vi hade inga problem med några djupare vad eller besvärliga broar men annars är förstås något som man måste ta med vid planering av vägval. En hund som vandrar 10-12 timmar kräver mycket mer energi än i vanliga fall. Black åt nästan tre gånger så mycket kalorier än han brukar så man måste säkerställa att man har tillräckligt med energirik hundmat under vandringen och depålådor med bra hundmat är därför ett måste. Likväl måste man se till att hunden är rabiesvaccinerad och avmaskad för att komma in i både Norge och Finland vilket kräver sina förberedelser.

Foto: Elisabeth Hägglund

Har ni några tips till framtida bandare som vill ta med sin hund? 

-Vi har ju ett Tarptent Stratosphire Li och hade fått tips om en sidecar till just det tältet, dvs ett separat innertält i mesh till ena absiden som Black fick husera i. Där kunde han lugnt ligga utan att vare sig bli störd eller riskera att trampa sönder våra uppblåsbara liggunderlag eller vara i vägen vid matlagning etc. Han kastade sig in i sitt eget lilla innertält så fort tältet var riggat och somnade som en stock så fort han ätit upp sin middagsmat. Sidecaren är dessutom så stor att vi fick plats med en del av övrig packning där med.
-Självklart måste man hålla koll på tassarna för att se så det inte blir nån oönskad nötning när man går så många timmar varje dag. Är det riktigt varmt och soligt kan asfalt ibland bli brännhet, då får man helt enkelt gå vid sidan av vägen. Träna hunden på att gå långt, se till att eventuella klövjeväskor sitter bra och inte ger skav – vi valde till slut att skicka hem väskorna i första hand p g a värmen. Vi hade hundvänligt myggmedel med oss men använde mest ett myggnät över huvet på Black vid raster – det funkade toppen. 

-Ha en plan för vad man gör om nåt händer hunden, om nån kan hämta, ta över om olyckan är framme. Det hade inte vi – men vi hade tur och fixade det ändå!

Hur var upplevelsen?

-Det är en speciell känsla att vara ute så länge och vandra, man kommer in i en behaglig nästan meditativ lunk som tycks passa oss. 

-Vi hade båda trott att Gröna bandet vandringen skulle vara tuffare mentalt än den var, kanske underlättade det att vi var tre (ja hunden gör stor skillnad när det känns lite tungt) och vi hade ju gått Kungsledens 42 mil året innan och visste lite vad vi givit oss in på redan.

-Vandringen är fylld av möten med andra vandrare, lokalbefolkning, stugvärdar, alla lika vänliga och hjälpsamma. På instagram är det möjligt att ha kontakt med andra vandrare, få tips om sevärdheter eller möjligen sträckor man borde undvika. 

-Väldigt många långvandrare lovprisar trailskor nu och lämnar sina tunga kängor hemma. Vi ville förstås testa detsamma, allt för att få en lättare vandring. Per-Erik var mycket nöjd med det valet i kombination med Rockysockar i gore tex vid blötväder. Jag, däremot trampade mycket tidigt i vandringen snett och sedan om och om igen som det lätt blir. Till sin stora lycka fick jag dock återse sina förhållandevis lätta Lundhagskängor i Åre och kunde därefter fortsätta vandringen norrut utan ytterligare snedtramp. Således – alla fixar inte att gå i trailskor hur gärna man än vill!

-Det största missödet under vandringen blev även nästan det största guldkornet. Plötsligt från ingenstans blev Black halt när vi kom till Hemavan. Vi hade gått hela dagen utan problem men när vi efter inkvartering på vandrarhemmet skulle ta en sväng ut igen vägrade han gå på en framtass. Vi klämde och kände på tassen men noterade inget konstigt med den och morgonen efter tycktes han vara återställd. Vi vilade en halvdag och kom iväg sent på eftermiddagen utan missöden men halvvägs till Viterstugan ville Black plötsligt inte gå längre. Vad gör man? Vi ville inte gå längre från civilisationen förstås utan valde att vända åter i sakta mak. Klockan var ganska mycket på söndagskvällen, Per-Erik chansade och ringde till Trolltunet nere i Hemavan där man var vänliga nog att ta emot oss sent på kvällen. Dagen efter blev det bilhyra och veterinärbesök, ingen allvarlig skada, lite piller till hunden och ordinerad vila helst en vecka… Hur skulle vi gör nu? Avbryta alla tre, eller skulle Per-Erik gå ensam vidare? Kunde någon komma och hämta Black, ta hem honom till Övik? Vi hade ju flera veckor kvar att vandra! 

Black blev snabbt pigg igen men skulle vi våga oss iväg igen med risk att han skulle bli halt igen inne i fjällvärlden? Det kändes absolut inte som vi ville riskera hans hälsa. Då erbjöd sig Malin som jobbar på Trolltunet att ta hand om Black så länge vi behövde, hela vår resterande vandring om det skulle behövas, så vi tvåbenta kunde efter tre dagar på Trolltunet fortsätta vår vandring utan Black. Malin tog hand om Black som om han vore en kunglighet, han fick fin mat, sova på soffan, åka gondol, vara på svamputflykter på fjället och mysa med sin nya familj medan Malin hade stenkoll efter ev. hälta. Black var pigg som en mört efter en veckas vila och efter ett samtal till ArcticAir i Hemavan fick han själv flyga helikopter till Ammarnäs där vi kunde återförenas alla tre och vandringen kunde fortsätta. Vilken lycka för oss alla och vilken fantastisk vänlighet av Malin på Trolltunet som spontant erbjöd sin ovärdeliga hjälp!

-vill ni lyfta fram utrustning som motsvarade era förväntningar? Och även om det är något som inte motsvarade dina förväntningar.

Vi är sena in i lättviktsvärlden men insåg då vi vandrade Kungsleden med 22-25kg på ryggen att andra vandrade samma sträcka med mycket lättare packning och som dessutom fungerade alldeles utmärkt. Kommer man från Övik är det lätt att tro att det enda som funkar är rejäla grejer med en liten räv på… Vi började söka oss fram på nätet men vill egentligen handla lokalt och hittade Backpackinglight.se som med norrländska mått finns i närheten (10 mil till Umeå) där vi fick personlig och kunnig service och kunde klämma och känna lite på grejerna innan vi bestämde oss. Vi bytte raskt ut vårt tält, ryggsäckar, liggunderlag och sovsäck och har nästan halverat vår vikt på ryggen. 

Vi har varit mycket nöjda med tältlösningen inklusive hundens sidecar och likaså våra sovsäckar från Sierra Design.

Det är lätt att tänka att man borde ha med sig reservutrustning men vill man vandra lätt måste man se över packningen speciellt när man är två, inte ha dubbel utrustning och man kan faktiskt komplettera på vägen om man skulle sakna något. 

Foto: Elisabeth Hägglund

 Om ni skulle vandra Gröna bandet igen, är det något som ni önskar komplettera då? 

Per-Erik planerar en repris av vandringen i år och nu utan hund och med större frihet att välja väg. Försöker nu förfina packningen ytterligare, byter ut successivt till lite lättare alternativ och självklart ett enmanstält denna gång, ett Sarek the Mid. Får vi det att fungera så går vi sista sträckan från Abisko till Treriksröset tillsammans alla tre.

Hur mycket mat hade ni med er,  fyllde ni på längs vägen? 

Vi hade mat för tre dagar enligt vår packlista på Lighterpack (se längre ned), en dag extra för hunden dock och sedan hade vi skickat depåer med jämna mellanrum (för 3-6 beräknade vandringsdagar). I depålådorna hade vi förutom mat till oss och hunden även toapapper, aktuella kartor, ulltvättmedel, lite specialgodis, en skvätt whisky mm.

Hur håller man en bra hygien under resan. Ni har med er ganska lite kläder likt många andra lättviktare. Går det bra attt tvätta/torka ? 

Vi tvättade oss så gott vi kunde i vattendrag och sjöar, tvättade kläderna när vi kom till campingar och mer civiliserade boenden och däremellan blev det handtvätt av underkläder och strumpor. Vi upplevde aldrig något problem med detta, man måste ju bara vänja sig med det lite mer primitiva och med ullkläder på kroppen håller man sig ju rätt fräsch ändå!

Per Erik och Elisabeths packlistor:

https://lighterpack.com/r/oj98od

https://lighterpack.com/r/ki4c2a

Vill du se mer av Per-Eriks och Elisabeths resa och framtida äventyr så rekommenderar jag starkt att du spanar in deras Intagramkonto: @blackpatur • Foton och videoklipp på Instagram

Är du intresserad att läsa mer eller anmäla dig till Vita eller Gröna bandet. Gör det här:

Hoppas ni tyckte artikeln var intressant. Kommentera gärna! Har du varit med om ett äventyr som du vill dela med dig av, eller berätta om utrustning som du testat? Ris och ros, vi uppskattar ärliga recensioner! Skriv isf ett mail till marcus@backpackinglight.se.

backpackingblogminimalismThe White and Green Ribbon

Lets talk about @Mywalkabout; Peter Bergström

In previous articles you have got acquainted with former White/Green Ribbon participants and everyone seems to have different stories and unique experiences from their tours. One man who possesses a truckload of experience from longer hikes is Peter Bergström who walked the Green Ribbon in 2021. When Peter arrived at Treriksröset (where many others usually celebrate their finish), he decided to walk the same way back, a hike of almost 260O km!? Peter is also the record holder with most (five) completed Green Ribbons.

First of all, tell us about you?

-I am simply a lucky retiree! I have a healthy body and have the opportunity to retire early (at 62). I was also “lucky” to be laid off from my job, which meant that I got 2 years’ salary as a “plaster on the wounds”. This has meant that I have had the time and the financial opportunity to walk a lot. I have two grown-up children, and my son has also been on PCT.

You have a record in the VG Ribbon, tell me about it?  Was it decided beforehand that you would turn around and go back?

It wasn’t 100% decided from the beginning, but I planned for it. For example, the depot package (my only one, which was sent to Abisko) was prepared with new shoes, new Rocky socks, warmer clothes, etc. But somewhere along the way north, the idea matured and in the end, it felt obvious that would turn around and go back. As a true yoyo, I chose to go almost the same way back (which was part of the challenge).

You walk alone for a very long time, how Is that?

I enjoy walking alone, especially In Sweden where it is relatively easy to hike. I can decide my own habits. When I’m going to get up, take a break or if I want to hike crazy far one day. The longest trail I walked was 72 km in one day. But I appreciate meetings with other hikers, cabin hosts and people I simply meet on the tour. I’ll take the time to stay and hang out. I simply don’t feel stressed (as many people think). Meeting people is almost the greatest benefit of a hike. For example, heading south, there was strong wind for 3 days up at Helags. Then I went to Lina Hallebratt instead and had a great time there.

Peter Bergström and Lina Hallebratt

Do you have any more exciting tours going on?

-The Appalchian Trail is exciting. I hope to start this trail in February 2022. Of course I’m going to go all the way!

Your best tips to future VG-ribboneers?

-Trying hard to get the base weight down pays off. The hike will be more pleasant and easier. The load on the body is less. You don’t have to “chase grams.” If you can get the base weight down to 7-8 kg, you have come a long way. You don’t have to buy expensive “stuff”. It is enough that you simply do not include so much. Clothes are something that many people bring too much of.

Sleeping Bag

-Looking at comfort temperature can fool you a lot. If you walk far, are wet and tired (and the sleeping bag may be damp!) that combo temperature is often completely inadequate. Autumn and spring are the perfect time to test outdoors how much you freeze. It is enough to sleep on the balcony or in the garden. Have a thermometer with you so you know how cold it is. The chosen sleeping solution should work so you sleep well at minus 5. Which sleeping solution you choose is extremely individual.

Shoes

-Problems with feet are a painful and common cause to break. In 2021, it was a clear trend that more people chose to hike with trailrunners, something I really recommend. A lot of energy should be put into finding suitable shoes (in the right size). Many appreciate Altra’s shoes, the Altra Lone peak 5 seems to have significantly better durability than other Lone peak. Then you have to go, the more and longer, the better. Sometimes so far that it’s over one’s “comfort distance.” After 20-25 km, things can happen to your feet that you never experience during shorter training rounds. During the Green Ribbon hike, you should be extremely careful and take care of the smallest blow, immediately (even if it is only 1 km left to the tent site / accommodation). And wet feet! Nothing to be afraid of. Rocky goretex socks solve that problem. Highly recommended!

Food

-Many people are afraid that food will not be enough. And bring way too much. I shopped in regular supermarkets afterwards and didn’t have to donate (or send food home). If you choose to send depot boxes, do not send all the food. Only things that are expensive and hard to buy along the way, like freeze-dried. Drying yourself and packing depot boxes is time consuming, so start on time. Or shopping along the way, works great. You can buy exactly what you want, right now. Super tip: Billy’s Pan pizza (eaten cold as a sandwich).

-Any things in your equipment that you are extra satisfied with or equipment that you will replace or supplement with for the next tour?


-I am extremely pleased with my equipment. But it has taken time and many miles of hiking to choose the one that suits me.
The only miss I made was not to send warmer mittens up in the pit box to Abisko. It was a heat wave when I got up and warm goa mittens weren’t really what I was thinking about…
My DCF backpack from Superior Wildernes designs was great, needed neither rain cover nor liner, everything was dry no matter how much it rained. And the total volume of about 43 L was quite sufficient.
The tent, Plexamide from Zpack I was very pleased with (apart from the zipper opening).
Going forward will get a poncho (probably in DCF). To use in heavy, prolonged rain. Whatever you choose for rainwear, they don’t stay dry.

If you want to follow Peter, check out the Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/mywalkabout.se/

Peters Packlist:

https://lighterpack.com/r/gnsnr4

Where to buy ultralight backpacking gear:

http://www.backpackinglight.dk



backpackingblogThe White and Green Ribbontrip planningultralight

1300 km over the Swedish Mountains. Torkel Ideström gives us the facts about the The White and Green Ribbon

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:

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.  

Fastest cycling/running: Jörgen Johansson, 16 days, Grövelsjön-Abisko.

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.

Lina Hallebratt has most bands, six white and one green.

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%.  

Recommended gear

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

Booking, more info

For more information about the WGR, please visit their webbpage: https://www.vitagronabandet.se/en-GB

/Marcus Falck

backpackingblogPhotographyTravel Photography

Hiking with camera gear

Bringing a camera

Fall and winter is the best time of year for photography on the trail. From all the autumn colors to the northern lights shining bright in the cloudless sky. I love Autumn for photography, and I would guess that the majority of my best pictures come from this time of year. My biggest problem with hiking ultralight, is bringing a camera – do I bring a full-frame? Perhaps a little compact camera? or more recently, maybe just my Iphone. However, in the autumn I am less concerned about ultralight, and more concerned with getting the best colors in my photos. I can’t stand sitting in front of a computer and spend hours editing photos, so I bring my full-frame in the autumn and focus on quality. 

The opening back panel on the F-stop gear backpacks is a great way to carry camera gear on the trail

Of course bringing a full-frame camera also has its own issues: How do I keep it dry? how do I carry it comfortably and so on. On my recent hiking trip to Borgafjäll here in northern Sweden, my Canon eos-r took a bath and got forever ruined. An expensive mistake. The lesson? Protect your camera, even if it has weather sealing. 

5 tips: 

If your more of a hard-core photographer, take a look at F-stop gear. These bags are proper hiking backpacks with solid frame and hip-belts, but also built specifically for bringing tons of camera gear. Hooks, pockets for filters, ICU (internal camera unit) and back panel entry, make these backpacks sublime for photography orientated hikers.

I personally use the F-stop ICU unit inside my HMG backpack. Works like a charm.

If your like me and think the F-stop bags might be a bit heavy for most use, use an ICU (internal case unit) inside your ultralight backpack. When I hiked Padjelanta trail last year with my Mamiya 7ii and a couple of lenses, I had an F-stop ICU inside my HMG windrider 4400. Worked great, not as easily accessible as using a F-stop backpacks, but certainly a good solution none-theless

An important factor in photography is to have your camera close. On the Sarek Ilforsen I designed this with photography in mind. I put two big d-rings in the shoulder straps – this was specifically to be able to hang a front pouch with a camera in, or to hang a camera directly. But strapping my camera on the front of my shoulder straps, I have the camera close to my eyes, and it has the added effect of balancing my entire pack for a better overall feel. 

Another tip here, not necessarily coupled with carrying your camera, but with being able to keep your lens clean. Bring a proper lens cloth! This happens to me from time to time that I forget to bring a small micro-cloth that can clean my lens. After a day of rain I have spots and smudge marks all over my lenses.

 

Having two big d-rings on the soulder straps is a great way to keep your camera close to your eyes.

Get out there! When I hiked Borgafjäll in September, I had no idea what the weather would be like. I didn’t care. I figured if I had clothes to keep me warm and dry, than I’d be good to go. As luck would have it the sun was shining and the clouds were clear – to my amazement, I woke up in the middle of the night, crawled out of my tent and was shocked by the incredible northern lights display that engulfed my entire field of view at the top of the mountain. I felt alone in the universe, in awe of the sights all around me. My point: Get out there if you want to get inspired. Sitting on your sofa dreaming of the perfect shot is not the way to get “the perfect shot”. 

What are your best tips for bringing proper Full-frame camera gear with you on a hike? let me know!

Kindly,

Kenneth Shaw

Check out more F-stop gear at https://backpackinglight.dk/brands/f-stop

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My packing list for a week in mountains

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.

Total weight:

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.

Full list and links here:

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Why you freeze in your sleeping bag

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. 

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Kammok Mantis UL: An ultralight hammock kit

My first impression of the Kommok Mantis Ul when I got it in the mail was “Did they forget something? What is this wizardry” My Hammock of choice over the years has either been the Warbonnet ridgerunner or Henney hammock. Both are fantastic hammock systems that don’t weigh too much, but do take up some volume in my backpack. The Kammok Mantis is considerably smaller than either of the previous mentioned hammocks. The entire Kammok Mantis UL system is about the same size as just ridgerunner or just the Hennessy hammock minus tarp and pegs. Not much larger than a 1 liter Nalgene bottle. Keep in mind the Kammok Mantis UL is a complete system – you don’t have to buy anything else (well underquilt or sleeping mat). Tree huggers, Hammock, tent pegs, mosquito net and all guylines and stuff sacks needed. 

Setup: 

The Kommok mantis has a rather unique solution for it’s tree huggers, I can’t really explain in words, but kind of a ladder system that you feed into itself, rather intuitive and fast to use. Once the tree huggers are wrapped around a tree, you simply hook the hammock into the ladder system using a supplied carabiner, stake out the two hammock spreading guylines and your done with the hammock. The Tarp you simply pull tight the guylines, hook it into itself and use the supplied linelocks to tighten the tarp. Easy peasy. While not as easy to setup as the Hennessy Hammock, it’s not far off and on top of that weighs less that 500 grams that of the Hennesy explorer.

Weight:

On our scales the Kammok Mantis UL weighs just 1029 grams – with everything included in the weight. On top of this, it takes very little space in a backpack. One of hte lightest if not the lightest complete hammock system on the market. Atleast one meant for full sized humans. 

Size:

I am 190cm and 94 kilos. I find the Mantis UL to be a great size, I think I am on the limit though, and perhaps someone a little taller might want to look elsewhere. But certainly for anyone 190cm or under, the Mantis is a great size. I also find the Tarp to be a great size as well. On the Hennessy Hammocks, they often have a asym tarp that barely covers the hammock and just barely useable for anything other than light rain. The Mantis UL tarp is more of a flat tarp that covers the entire hammock and even leaves room over if you want to have a little camp in the rain. 

Overall impression:

It’s hard not to like the Kammok mantis UL. By pure chance I took it into the shop, but found that it’s such a high quality product that it’s going to stay in the shop for years to come. The mantis UL is the lightest complete hammock system in our shop and one of the lightest on the market. There are of course lighter hammocks, but usually a bit small, and weight starts to add up once you add a tarp, bug net, tree huggers, stuff sacks so on and so forth. I am also a huge fan of how easy the hammock is to setup, I’m not much a of knot guy, so I will gladly take linelocks and carabiners any day as it makes the Mantis idiot proof.. .. more or less. 

Plus: 

  • Very light system
  • Intuitive design and functions
  • Very small pack volume
  • Easy to setup
  • Nice size hammock and tarp
  • Full zip bugnet 

Minus: 

Review by Kenneth Shaw

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Soto Windmaster: A long-term review

My thoughts
I have been using the Soto Windmaster almost exclusively for over 2 years. Through Sarek, Padjelantaleden, Kungsleden, Island, Scotland and more. I have never needed a windshield and the Windmaster has never failed me. I have used it with dozens of different pots and pans without fail. Simply put, in my opinion the Soto windmaster is the single best stove on the market for pretty much any boil water and simple cooking needs. It is fast, efficient, lightweight and dependable. Even in high winds it is effecient and fast, rarely losing any of it’s performance. If there is one thing I think is a negative it’s that when I bought my Windmaster the tri-flex was included as well as the 4-flex. However, they have opted to sell those seperately now, which means that if you want the lightest most compact solution – the 3-flex. That must be purchased seperately. With that said, the 4-flex is an excellent, robust pot holder. I just prefer the tri-flex. 

Sizing
I am not too interested in physical diameter and height and so on. Instead I am interested if it fits in a single pot with gas tube. The soto windmaster fits nicely in pretty much all pots 600ml and more (with gas tube). This was always what was so convenient with the Jetboil kits – everything fit nicely in one pot. The difference between this and a jetboil are considerable – the Jetboil is not great in high winds, locked to one pot and in general considerably heavier than the Windmaster.

Weight
With the included 4-flex pot holder, the Windmaster weighs about 80 grams in total. Keep in mind, this is with a pezo lighter and no need for a windshield. So by any standards: Light.

Performance
This is where the Soto windmaster really stands out. For a long-time the Windmaster stood alone on it’s peak as the best performing stove on the market. Now it can be argued that the MSR Pocket rocket DLX shares the title. In anycase, whether it’s cold, windy or sunny: The Windmaster performaces with excellence. To show off to my friends on hiking trips it’s not usual for me to setup and cook my food in hard blowing winds while they all stand hovered around rocks and backpacks trying to cook their own food – only for the windmaster to be faster and more efficient. It really is remarkable. This of course also means that a can of Butane is going to last much longer with the Windmaster than pretty much anything else. 

Conclusion
The Windmaster is my favorite stove. Nothing really compares. There are lighter and smaller stoves – but once you add in the fact that you have to have both a windscreen and lighter, the Windmaster usually wins the weight war as well. The Windmaster is the “Ron Swanson” of stoves. Simple, effective and very high quality. 

Pros

  • Fast and efficient
  • Very good performance in high winds
  • Light
  • Small
  • Reliable

Cons

  • Tri-flex pot holder sold seperately

Review by Kenneth Shaw 17 February 2021

To buy the windmaster in europe check out https://backpackinglight.se/varumarken/soto/soto-windmaster-micro-regulator-stove

Video comparison

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Hiking with the Mamiya 7ii

A friend and I recently took a 7 day, 165 kilometer walk in Northern Sweden. Starting at Ritsem and walking along the Padjelantaleden then moving off to Nordkalottleden and finishing in Kvikkjokk. This isnt going to be a post about the hike itself, but rather about my choice to bring the Mamiya 7ii +43mm lens and a ton of film. The film I used for this trip was varied but mainly Fuji Velvia 100 and Portra 160, 400. All film processed myself at home.

As some of you might know from previous post I have been an avid analog photographer (hobby) forever. I never went total digital as I always preferred the look of analog. On this particular trip I wanted to bring my analog camera as it had been years since I actually went hiking with an analog camera. Though, because I am a lightweight backpacking nerd, its hard to justify 2 kilos of extra gear that can only take still photos. While my total backpacking gear weight with food for the entire trip came in at 11kg, with the camera that pushed everything to just shy of 14kg.

It really was an internal debate for weeks whether or not I would bring the camera and what camera for that matter. In fact, just before boarding the train to northern sweden, I was still changing out my different pre-packed cameras and camera cubes in my backpack. My biggest issue was mainly with volume. While 14kg would not kill me, and I knew after a few days of eating the food weight in my backpack, my kit would be under 10 kg in no time. It was the volume of my pack that bothered me. I normally dont need more than a 40 liter backpack, however, with the mamiya and a packing cube I would need a 70 liter pack. This sucked.

However, while debating whether to bring my Ricoh GR21, Nikon F5, Canon f-1 or Mamiya 7ii, I ended on the only choice that would make any sense: the Mamiya 7ii. WIth its built in meter, super sharp lenses and lightweight, it was a no brainer. Though, I do regret not bringing my 150mm lens for the Mamiya, as 43mm is arguably to wide for most landscape applications. (for the kind of photos I take). This choice was mainly due to weight, one lens was enough.

To protect my camera I kept it in a Wandrd camera cube, in a plastic ziploc bag, the bag filled with these gel packs that keep moisture out. This seemed to work really well as I didnt have fog or moisture in my camera at all despite several days of hard rain. I did have a tripod, which I used both for video and for photography, my tripod weighed about 400grams and gives about 150cm of height.

In the end I think the extra weight and effort was worth it. Though I think had I brough my 150mm lens I would have gotten a lot more quality shots – as it was, I think its hard to capture the “vastness” of an area with such a wide lens that I brought. Wide lenses have a tendency to “squish” and area into a small frame, so even large alpine like mountains, look like little hills. Live and learn.

Anyway, here are a few more shots from the Mamiya 7ii + 43mm lens (I didnt bring viewfinder for 43mm lens as I find its not really necessary). Scanned with Silverfast and no additional editing

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Nordisk Lofoten ULW 2: A review

When I first reviewed Nordisk Lofoten a few years ago at the outdoor show in Munich, I couldn’t understand what it would be good for. Far too small for a tent, I wrote about it then that you might have it as a dog tent. Then I got some requests from customers who wanted to buy it, so I brought it home. Still, I wasn’t so keen to test it myself. Why should I? I don’t hate myself enough for that. I am 190cm tall and 95 kilos large. This tent barely accommodates a dog … or so I thought.

Then I brought home the Nordisk Lofoten ULW2 and tested it. First in the showroom then out in the wild. If I see it as a tent, well, then I think there are tents that are both bigger and better for most uses. But if I think “Bivy sack”, then we’re talking. Basically lighter than any waterproof bivy bag on the market, as well as with good ventilation and relatively good comfort compared to a standard Bivy bag. Beyond that, it is double walled, so you don’t get too much condensation in the tent or on yourself.

After sleeping in the Nordic Lofoten ULW 2 under various circumstances just over 6 nights from rain, sun and even snow, I can say that it is actually quite okay. I can also say that it is quite fun to use. I like the “big” awning, and its small footprint on the ground. One of the first nights I slept in it I couldn’t find a good spot to pitch the tent, it was raining and in the forest there was simply nowhere that a standard tent would fit. Then I found an extremely small area, basically the size of my body. In 5 minutes, the tent was set up, under two trees, near a beaver hole. Fun! No other tent I would be able to pitch in such a place with.

Then another night I woke up in the middle of the night because it was snowing and the whole tent sucked in on me, but shook the tent a few times and fell back asleep

The tent is small, no doubt about it. Both my feet and head Mush the inner tent, it was not easy to get in and out and trying to put on and off clothes in the tent was not so easy. Not to mention sitting in the tent and blowing up my sleeping mat and getting everything in order for bed. Basically things you want to do when it rains. But, I did it. And you can’t do that in a bivy bag. Sleeping in it is actually quite nice – you feel like a little sneaky spy hiding. It has good floor surface and a large pocket where you can have some things in.

Now I’m just talking about what it’s like to have the Nordisk lofoten as a standard tent, I don’t run mountain marathons for which it is really made. As a tent, I think it works well! And it’s something I will use more often when I don’t want to carry hiking poles.

Plus:

– Extremely small pack size. Does not take much room in the backpack
– Light weight
– Double walled bivy
– Good floor surface
– Large awning
– Easy to set up
– Fun to use
– Low condensation
– The best Bivy bag

Negative:

– Extremely small living space
– Not two-man tent
– Can hardly be counted as a tent

Specs

Weight: 500 grams

Material: 7d sil-nylon

Size: tiny

The Nordisk lofoten can be purchased in Europe at Https://www.backpackinglight.se