Category: blog

backpackingblogGear

Solo tents for tall hikers..

The disadvantages of being tall….
Let me paint a picture.. granted with my limited grasp of vocabulary, it might not be a very clear picture.. but a picture nonetheless.. I am by most rights, rather tall – 190cm (6´3”) to be exact. Most tent designers are about 160cm (3’4”) and think a tight fit is just fine for them. (For somebody 160cm short). There are countless examples of this, so I don’t feel I need to list all the guilty tent producers here, I will instead highlight the few tents where the designers actually remembered there are tall people roaming this earth as well. Short people have many advantages within the outdoor world – Tents are smaller and lighter, backpacks that might fit a big persons shoe, can fit all their miniature gear.

Hence in most cases it’s rather impossible for a tall person to have an UL standard that small people would have. Which is also why I think harddrawn lines on what UL is just doesn’t work. I.e 2kg for UL baseweight – utterly ridiculous and simply not possible for anybody that is taller than 160cm and hikes further than their backyard. I still think the best overall measurement for lightweight is 3 for 3. Which simply means your biggest three items at a maximum weight of 3kg. Your sleep system – sleeping bag and pad. Tent/shelter system and backpack and all under 3kg. 

This simple measurement will probably work wonders for most people. Now, back onto my headline here – tents for tall people. I am somebody who has grown accustomed to having my feet and head smush against the innertent on most double walled tents, I don’t mind it much, and in some cases it’s rather nice. The problem of course is when I mush so much that I mush the innertent into the outer tent and everything gets drenched in condensation. This on the other hand, is not very nice. So I will list a few of the tents designed for and by tall people. 

Keep in mind this is just tents I can think of off the top of my head that I have tested. There are probably other tents that should make the list – but this is a good start

I hope this helps all of my taller friends out there! 
Lightheart gear Solong 6. 
This tent is probably the single biggest solo tent available. Designed for users up to 197cm – even for me this tent seems like a palace. At 900 grams it’s rather light as well, and it’s got a pretty cool Awning feature (if you order within the next 4 days – I will include the Awning pole for free 390kr value). Long, wide and tall the Lightheart gear solong is the premier big person tent and takes tops spot here
Hyperlite mountain gear Ultamid 2.
The Hyperlite mountain gear Ultamid 2 is a good sized tent, of course a little unfair it’s on this list because it’s a two man tent. However, with a half insert, you can call it a very, very big solo tent. With that said, with an insert in, you will probably find your head or feet touching the inner tent if your over 190cm. Again, not an issue as long as your not musing the outer. But important to know. The ultamid 2 is by far the single best year round/ four season tent on this list and the lightest to boot. (500grams for the outer and 450 for half insert)
Luxe outdoor lightwave. 
Big and cheap, but also on the heavier side for a solo tent. This is a proper double walled tent that can be used year round. Big and sturdy – but weighs in about around 1.7kg. 
Luxe outdoor Mini XL
Massive tent. This is good for users up to 195cm who just need a ridiculous amount of space to spread out in. Perhaps you have a herd of sheep that you wish to keep sheltered with you? Who knows – in any case this is an excellent winter tent as it big and has a stove jack – allowing for a proper wood stove to be used inside the tent. Did I mention this tent is a steal at 200Euros?

Gossamer gear the one.
A light, single walled, big man tent. 697 grams seam sealed and ready to go. This is great for users up to 194cm and probably you could get away with being a little taller. Granted, the 7Denier silnylon used to build this tent means that you probably wouldn’t want to take it up above tree line. It will work, and with the extra tie outs and so on it’s not a bad option – but of all the tents it’s the one I would trust the least when it comes to durability. 
Tarptent Stratospire 1.
Big, roomy, double walled and light. The Tarptent stratospire 1 is a proper mountain tent, built for maximum sturdiness, durability, comfort and lightness. Great for users up to 194cm. I can’t give enough praise for the Stratospire 1. If I have to say anything negative it’s that it can be a pain to setup in the beginning, and it has a massive footprint. 
Vargo No-Fly 2p Tent.
The vargo is new to my list, but boy is this a special tent. Carbon fiber poles, freestanding, proper two-man tent the No-Fly is a big, light tent at 1,2kg. While the copper spur 2 is a proper 1p tent for a big person, the Vargo is a proper 2p Tent that would even work for two big people. Fast and easy to setup and sturdy enough for three season use above tree line. 
Hilleberg Enan.

Tight squeeze, but I like it:

I use and love my Enan. I like that I can squeeze my pillow into the end the innertent will hold it in place all night without my head or feet touching the ends. I like the tiny footprint, the gorgeous and happy inducing yellow innertent, easy and fast setup, the fact I don’t have to bring trekking poles and because I use the Kerlon 600 version, my entire kit with pegs and pole weighs just around 1kg. (We still have a couple of Kerlon 600 in stock). On top of this, it is a proper 3 season mountain tent. Users up to 194cm should find this to be a perfectly fine tent. Though don’t expect maximum comfort and it’s not something you want to be stuck in long periods of time. 
backpackingblogGear closetGear reviewsultralight backpacking

Zpacks Plexamid – an overview

Last year I bought the new Zpacks tent – after much internal debating, as I’m not a huge fan of the duplex (too small, too exposed for my tastes), I was a bit slow to pull the trigger on the Plexamid. However, after seeing a few initial reviews of how big the tent was, I decided to go for it. I don’t normally worry too much about cost as it easy to get the money back when selling.

My initial impression when I received the tent was “damn this is light” – followed by, shit it’s going to be too small. After setting up the plexamid and playing with it for about 20 nights out and 7 months later, I can say that it’s not too small. In fact, the tent gives me more liveable space than the Duplex. Even when I slept in the Duplex diagonally, it was too small for me. Meaning I had to basically use the entire internal space of the Duplex, just for my sleeping pad. Kind of sucked.

Anyway, this is not a review, but simply an overview of the Plexamid, as I want to give this tent a thorough beating before I give a true review.

A video overview:

What is it:

The Plexamid is the newest ultralight solo tent by the Florida based cottage company Zpacks. Zpacks specialises in ultralight, dyneema made gear. The tent weighs just 439grams on my scale, with guy lines without tent pegs and center pole.

First impression:

It’s a big solo tent – I’ve actually slept with my son in the tent a few nights and there is plenty of room for us.

Performance so far:

One of the reasons I am not willing to do a proper review yet is that the weather and conditions I’ve had the Plexamid in have been relatively mild so far. 15mps winds (34 mph) and two days of rain. In those conditions, it has held its own, and the size of the tent makes the heavy rains bearable. Though, in prolonged rains, the condensation does become an issue. However, as the tent is quite large and the sides sloped as they are, the condensation just runs down the sides and out through the mesh onto the ground – and not onto your gear and sleeping bag.

Sitting straight up and down on a sleeping pad with plenty of room to spare. For reference, I am 190cm tall and 90kilos

Conclusion:

I have used this tent enough to confidently say that If I were to do the PCT, the Plexamid would be the tent I bring – no doubt. I am confident enough with the tent to have it as my only tent for the next 6 months while in Zambia. It’s big, light and stable.

blogLiving simplymindfulnessRamblingssimplicity

Do we change?

I recently listened to a podcast with Joe Rogan and Sam Harris – they talk a lot about redemption and change. One of the questions is with regards to Liam Neeson and his recent confession about how he once stood outside a bar waiting to kill a black man – any black man for the rape of his friend. A completely unnecessary confession from a man that has a lot to lose. Without actually reading the confession or hearing the dialogue for myself, just from the quoted aspects of that interview with Liam Neeson it was obvious that the man thought it was abhorrent how he felt at that time. Obviously, I don’t think anybody actually read his interview and thought “Liam Neeson is a racist and needs to be banned from the world..” If there is somebody who thinks that, they probably have the intellect of a 10-year-old.

But Joe Rogan and Sam Harris spent a lot of time discussing the “outrage culture” that exists today in the media. Which I agree there is a ridiculous amount of “outrage” being spewed all over the place. We see it constantly on the internet – the main reason for the outrage culture, in my opinion, and its effects on modern journalism is because it creates clicks. Journalism today is more about creating headlines and getting clicks than it is about an actual story. It’s not unusual to click on an article only to realize that the content of that article is completely different from the clickbait title.

A lot of discussions and mental space is given to the likes of Twitter and Facebook – and my own idea is that we give too much weight to youtube and twitter comments. Are twitter comments a good gauge in how outraged somebody really is? Most of the time I think of twitter and youtube comments to be an exercise in verbal diarrhea. Yet entire news articles are written, complete with perceived opinion polls, based purely on how the Twitterverse reacts to the news. On top of this, any crowd, digital or not, are going to sink to the lowest common denominator – in other words, the crowd will always sink to the level of a festering pile of shit if given enough time and big enough platform.

I also get the impression that Sam Harris and Joe Rogan give too much weight to this. Maybe I am wrong, which I probably am, but I think people use social media as an outlet to spew their shit lives in. I don’t think somebody read that article with Liam Neeson and thinks “Liam is a racist and he needs to be removed from public life” rather what is really happening is this; “fuck my life sucks, school is too expensive, I have a shit job, my future reaks, my tax bill is too high.. so I’m just going to vomit this comment here and let somebody else experience my own shit life for an instant and become somebody else, somebody important”

Still the same person?

Now back to the title of this article: Do we change? There seems to be a movement on, again, social media about destroying peoples lives for shit they did 20 years ago, or posted on twitter 10 years ago. At what point do we just admit that the people digging up old skeletons and trying to make it an issue, are in essence, rotten and at the least, suspect with a very clear objective. I’m not talking about Bill Cosby skeletons, or R. Kelly style skeletons – those can never be forgotten.

I’m talking about the teenager who wrote something stupid on twitter 10 years ago and now as a young adult are running for Congress. Or being a film producer or any of the above. The stupid teenager now as an adult – yet still being judged by past fuck ups.

So am I the same person I was when I was 20? In some ways yes.. I considered myself an intellectual then as I do now. I wrote articles, even a few books that are on my hard drive still, I listened to a lot more music, my general politics have changed, but I still believe in the good of people. Looking through my own eyes I can barely see a difference, but when I take an outside looking in approach, I see a massive difference.

There is so little of the 20-year-old me left, the insecurities, the blind ideologies, the black and white view of issues and politics, my transgressions with women, drugs, and debauchery. I was a 20-year-old American house DJ living in Sweden. Of course I did stupid shit, an unending, relentless stream of bad ideas followed by more bad ideas. My life has changed so profoundly, my mind and mental state are years beyond the 20-year-old me.

I imagine I am not alone in this progression? I imagine most of us learn, grow and strive to become better people with each waking moment. At age 20 I thought I owned the world, and in my own little way, I did. But it didn’t make me happier, so with time, I vowed to change, to progress, to be thoughtful and thankful for the life I have. I dreamed of creating a better life and mind for myself. It’s something I strive for every day, to be better than the day I was before.

Jordan b. Peterson has a quote that I think fits good here:

“These kids want to change the world economic system, rebuild earth and create a new society. Yet they can’t even make their own beds. Start small, start with yourself and move up from there.”

Judging others

Yet, today there are literal movements to destroy people who did stupid shit when they were younger. My guess is that like most things, this movement is powered by people who wish not themselves be judged. I wouldn’t trust somebody who hasn’t done stupid shit in their lives and have grown up and moved on. Life is about experiences and if you haven’t done something incredibly stupid in your life, then you haven’t lived and you sure as hell can’t be a judge of others. Your fuck up’s simply haven’t come to pass yet, they will. And the truth about fucks up’s is that the older you get, the bigger your fuck-ups become. So fuck up when you’re young, because when you get older your fuck-ups affect a lot more people and tend to be a hell of a lot more expensive.

So do we judge negatively on Liam Neeson for the stupid shit he did at a younger age, or do we give a pat on the back for admitting his own stupidity and moving on? At what point do we accept an apology as sincere? And who are we to judge if an apology is sincere?

Start with yourself

In the end, the life we have is the life we have created for ourselves. The society we have is the society we have created. Do we really want to be a society built on outrage culture? Is banning speakers from universities a proper path forward? Virtue signaling, fake outrage, twitterrage, whatever.

Start with yourself, the next time you want to unleash a shitty comment on Twitter or vomit your ideas on Facebook, take a step back, breath and try imagining that the person on Twitter is real. The comment you are about to leave will be read by a real person. Interact with social media the way you would in real life. And remember that being angry or pissed off at somebody and carrying that around on your shoulders, is about the equivalent of drinking poison and waiting for that person to die.

blogintermittent fastingketo dietself helpsimplicity

Vegan no more… or why I moved on from vegan diet

Lot’s of energy, getting thinner and feeling great were my side effects of being on a vegan diet. Not bad right? Right. Honestly I didn’t mind the vegan lifestyle which I held for over a year. In the beginning I don’t remember if it was my constant running that inspired me to eat vegan, or the other way around. I guess it doesn’t matter at this point. I can attribute both the running and vegan lifestyle to books like “how not to die”, “Born to run”, “The china study” and “Whole”. Great books, great research and really, a great lifestyle to live for many people.

The first months or so I lost weight, felt great and in general was impressed by how much food I could eat and not get fat. Pretty amazing. However, later on I quit running daily and realised that my weight started to come back and on top of that my body fat % was increasing. So I eliminated fats from my vegan diet, didn’t help. Just ended up being more tired, and I mean really tired. So I started increasing sugar and fruit intake. This didn’t help much either and instead I started to have energy crashing and constant cravings. The entire time during my vegan experiment I noticed that I had to eat constantly – at least 3-5 times a day, proper meals. I was always hungry. I’m not a scientists or doctor, but if the vegan diet is suppose to be the optimised human diet, why would I have to eat all the time? That was my thought process.

I also started fasting more, sometimes one day a week to just intermittent fasting, I don’t find the vegan diet to lend itself so well to fasting. My hunger would be ravenous quickly. Within hours of my last meal, I would be craving a new meal. When I woke up I would be desperate for food. When I would fast on a vegan diet, I would basically be lying in bed staring at the clock. I have a lot of will power, something I train daily. But I also like to use my willpower on issues other than food; like being a creative, productive individual to society. Reaching goals, building systems and running different businesses.

I also found that while I was quite happy living vegan, my family, not so much which often created unnecessary irritations in an otherwise excellent relationship. While I love animals and empathise with the plight of the factory farmed animal – the mental stress and bodily stress just wasn’t worth it for me. Sorry.

So where I have gone with my food then? Honestly after living vegan for a year, my body and mind was craving fat and meat. I felt it in my bones. So, I ate fat and meat. Lot’s of it. I am very much against factory farming, so I am in the process of getting my hunting liscense. I’m not sure there is anything more ethical or meaningful than being a hunter. (not trophy hunter killing near extinct animals.. those guys are pieces of shit) This is something I have learned over the last year or so of reading and studying hunting.  This is also what convinced me to drop the Vegan lifestyle in the end. I would venture to say that without hunters, many more animals would be extinct, many more animals would die of starvation, disease and pretty much any other cause.

Now I know a lot of vegans that will say “your doing it wrong that’s why it’s not working for you”.. perhaps, but being vegan is not that difficult. You don’t eat meat or animal fats and proteins among other principles. Maybe I wasn’t eating enough sugar and cupcakes. Also, you can pretty much make the argument “you not doing it right” with just about anything. Look at communism for example – has never worked, will never work and is an absolute plague among mankind. Yet people still long for the controlling hand of Mao or Stalin. Remember “It has just never been done right”

Keto 

I have read quite a bit about Keto, and it’s something I might want to try with more dedication in the future. But mentally I’m just not there yet. From time to time I drink bulletproof coffee after a long night of fasting, but haven’t found any positive cognitive functions or any noticeable effects on my body.. other than a higher body fat %. I do like the taste though. I recently did a 2 day fast only drinking water and found that I finally came into ketosis with a 1.3 mmol ketones level. Not sure the effort is worth the results. But again, this is something I will experiment more with in the future.

Slow carb

So I guess you could say I’ve landed somewhere between a keto diet and Slow carb. I have cut out all sugar, white carbs and fruit from my normal day to day eating. With a cheat day every week. I find that the cheat day is something that I look forward to, but when the day comes, I realise just how bad and uncontrolled my old diet really was. Things I would eat daily have now been pushed to a certain time slot one day a week. I also find that my insulin levels are low and my energy is high as well as an elevated cognitive function. Much clearer thinking and brain functioning than my year with veganism. As an added bonus I am losing weight and body fat rapidly and eat twice a day with barely any hunger pains in between meals. Amazing. In less than a month I have lost 6 kilos body weight and 3% body fat. No training or running of any kind as it’s been too damn cold here. Just a light Wim Hof training daily (breathing, some pushups, and weightless squats)

I usually eat my last meal between 18.00 – 19.00 and don’t eat again until 11-12 the next day with no loss in energy or cognitive function. Now that seems to be an optimised human diet, or at-least an optimised diet for my genetic makeup. I recently did a two day fast – just water for two full days. My energy levels held up, though I would say by the end of day two I was getting hungry.

Fasting

As I have written a few times, I have started experimenting with fasting, as there is a lot of research suggesting that fasting is excellent for long term health. My goal is to do a three day fast every month and maybe a 5 day fast once every six months. I recently did a 2 day fast without too many complications, though I did have to fight boredom a bit. I realised by fasting that I am a “stimulant” eater. I like to eat as it gives me something to do.

Going to the movies: gotta eat popcorn

Watching a movie at home: Popcorn, chips and nuts

Playing video games: candy is nice

upset: chocolate

Sitting on the couch: grapes, oranges, apples.. anything really

So boredom is definitely a factor in my eating process and something I am mentally working through. Especially now when I work mostly from home. Interestingly enough, I find using the local coffee shop as my office is great for the boredom factor and I don’t eat at all. Buy a coffee and I’m good to go.

Results of my fasting so far: not sure, forgot to measure everything. The only thing I did measure during my fasting was my glucose blood levels and my Ketons.

Conclusion:

Now I don’t think I will get any backlash here from the vegan crew out there as I never professed to be a vegan anyway. Barely ever mentioned it, and certainly didn’t build my reputation on being a vegan. I don’t believe in dieting to lose weight, for me it’s about optimisation. What works best for my body with the least amount of work, thought and foresight required without making me fat, stupid and disease ridden. I am always experimenting and I love the process of trial and error and measuring results. Veganism simply doesn’t work for me, maybe in the future I will give it a go again, when I’m rich and can have a full time cook working and preparing all my food. Until then however, I will go with an option that works for my body, schedule and laziness.

blogRamblings

Hell yeah.. or no..

I heard this quote from Derik Sivers in this post https://sivers.org/hellyeah. This is something I have truly followed for a long time, and reading it like this really hit home with me. I found out long ago that if I put my time into things I didn’t want to, I usually zone out onto my own little planet, or complain and bitch or a combination of the two. Mildly put, I’m a pain in the ass to be be around in those situations – on top of that it’s a horrible experience for everyone involved.

I don’t strive to be an asshole, and I would say that I am anything but. However, I’m also very adamant in controlling my calendar, often to the detriment of my own social network. I’m ok with the trade-off.

With that said, the idea is this: Either something is a “Hell yeah” or it’s no. Because if you fill up your calendar with a bunch of “why nots” or “well, alright” – you won’t have time for those few “hell yeah” opportunities that pop up. To be a productive, effective, creative individual, you have to dedicate time, your time. Nobody is going to give you that time to pursue your dreams, in fact, most people most of the time are vampires. They suck the time and life out of you. Well, ok, that’s a bit harsh because by this standard your wife/husband and kids would also be vampires.. which in a way they are. But the trick is to find a balance. Do you want to fill up your calendar with “well, alright” and not have time for you kids?

See, for me, every project, gathering, event or meeting is a direct time thief from my most important priorities – My wife, child, business and hobbies. Every new offer has to be passed through that filter. Am I willing to give up x-hours for x-event at the cost of not seeing my son? I can say not many things pass that filter. My son is smothered by his father 🙂

This is also why a morning routine is so important for me – If I’m up at 5am, I have two hours to myself to build structure and routine for the day. To think about what I need to get done for the day, and clean out my schedule. People often assume I am constantly busy. I’m not, far from it – I own my calendar and I plan accordingly with my priorities always in focus. Saying no is my salvation.

When I do say yes, I am dedicated and follow through the best I possibly can.

That’s it.. just a short post. Enjoy your day and practice saying No!

 

 

blogPurposeRamblingsself help

How to succeed in a changing world

I woke up today with reports of “4500 people fired from Arbetsformedlingen” – sorry, translation not great, but something like that. 4500 educated, professional workers will be forced to leave their jobs at Arbetsformedlingen. Arbetsförmedlingen is Sweden’s national employment agency and my former employer. If any job would be considered safe, if would be a government job. It’s going to be a tough time for these 4500 employees as well, as it’s a very specific competency that is needed for Arbetsförmedlingen.

I’m not writing this to give my thoughts on privatisation, or the state of politics in Sweden or about the economical future of Sweden as a democratic socialism. My thoughts are more on the “what now” part of the equation. While I don’t think the layoffs come as a massive shock, I had been warning my employees for sometime that looking at the nature of things, the government has no choice but too sooner or later re-structure the agency to meet the demands of the future.

I’m not sure how long this process of thinning out the herd will go on for, but my guess is that the internal process of each employee at Arbetsförmedlingen is about the same:

  1. shit, no way, my union will not allow this to happen
  2. Ok, shit it will happen… that’s too bad for everybody.. else…
  3. No not me, I’m too valuable
  4. Shit, me
  5. Now what

Of course this will look different depending on the person in question. It’s always tough to lose a job, especially a job that would be considered a “safe” job. The truth is however, that no job is safe, no employer is loyal and no government will remain the same. You have two choices in this situation:

  1. Hide in a hole and cry
  2. Be the first out of the gates and get your shit together

If you choose to hide in a hole and cry, that is fine, but remember crying and complaining never solved anything. You can bitch all you want to your Union reps, but the fact remains the same – Your safe job is no more. Many parts of your government have already been sold off to the highest bidder, to international corporations, to unknown teens living in the Bahamas and so on. Arbetsförmedlingen was/is the latest government program to fall: To be downsized, underfunded than in the end, privatised and sold off to hipsters drinking lattes on the beach.

Here is my suggestion:

Even if the pink slip hasn’t come yet, and the horizon looks like a 12 month process – start acting now. You most likely won’t be bought out, so don’t wait. Just do. Realise your job is no more – there is nothing you can do about it. In the modern world, most employees for most businesses don’t matter. The game is rigged against you, that is life. Soon doctors will be replaced by computers, semi-trucks will drive themselves and thinking computers will build other thinking computers and replace the human race altogether. Accept it and act. I once read a book by Adam Scott called “how to fail and everything and still win big”. In this book Adam gives an anecdote of a CEO he once met on a flight and it went something like this:

“we sat next together on the flight and I (Adam) was still a teen and trying to figure out what to do in my life. And this guy sitting next to me has a nice suit and we start talking. I ask him what he does and he said that he is a CEO (can’t remember all the details here.. ) of some major company that the CEO had a word of advice for Scott.

  1. Never be loyal to an employer – Business will never be loyal to you. That is not how the world works.
  2. Be constantly looking for a new job.

The CEO then goes on to explain how he was able to get so far in his life – he simply changed jobs constantly. Before anybody realised he was even there, he was gone. The experience helped him climb the corporate ladder to the point that he was now leading a major corporation.”

Adam Scott than goes on to describe his own experiences as an employee in hilarious detail.

Anyway, I bring this up because I know a lot of people working at jobs like Arbetsförmedlingen (government jobs) were convinced that it would be for life. Or at-least until they found something better.

See this as an opportunity – If you have been dreaming about doing something different with your life but never dared, now is the time. That’s the thing with a good cushy job – they are good for comfort, routine and to pay bills; but usually at the cost of ambition and dreams. With that said, by and large the majority of the employees working at AF are highly motivated, hard working, highly educated individuals that many businesses are in need of.

The job market is strong, if you have what employers want. Employers don’t want tired, depressed workers looking for a new (cushy) job to replace the old cushy job. They are looking for smart, motivated and experienced individuals that have the grit to push through whatever life throws at them. Not an employee that fights tooth and nail over an ergonomically optimised keyboard and chair. Employers want solutions – not problems.

The time is now

The time to offer quality is now. Everybody is doing mediocre in a world where the average attention span is between 1 and 6 minutes, or between “likes”. To excel in todays marketplace is quite honestly, easy. Everyone else sucks, just show up on time, put your phone on silent, be engaged and think of solutions. It’s that easy. Being engaged is not sitting and bitching about how nobody is taking care of the dishes or how the coffee taste funny. This guide will hopefully help you get your shit together and provide worth to society.

Want to start a blog – why bother there are millions of blogs. True, but most suck, including this one. Do a good job and your blog will succeed. Want to be a photographer? Take good pictures. Your pictures right now suck – admit it. Put time, effort and energy into the projects you want to succeed in, and, you will.

There is always a market for quality. Focus on the quality and everything else will take care of itself.

You matter

Well, you kind of matter. In an economy based on money and stats you matter less than we all care to admit, but you still matter. The truth is, if you get your shit together and show a company how you can bring more value to them, than you will in essence, be worth more than the cost to employ you.

Perpetual forward motion

If your not moving forward, you are dying. Can’t remember were I read that, but the idea is that our bodies get weaker if we don’t train, our IQ sinks if we don’t use our minds, (we get stupider with age), even on a biological basis, our sex organs quit working if we don’t use them. Put this altogether and the sum of the parts is simple enough to understand: If you’re not growing and improving, then, you are getting fatter, stupider and dying. Sounds lovely doesn’t it.

My point is this – you have now been working at the same job for quite some time (probably). The job quit being a challenge, you got comfortable and the honest truth is that the new people coming in know more than you do after 6 months of work than you have gained in over 20 years. Why? Because in your world, you knew it all, there was nothing left for you to learn. Or at least that is what you thought. All the events and courses meant nothing to you – because you knew it all already. This is not unique to you, or to the employees at Arbetsförmedlingen. This is just human nature. But we all know the employee who has been working at the same job for 20 years and doesn’t seem to know anything. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, then chances are, you’re that person.

So how do you learn new stuff? How could you possibly learn anything new after 10 or 20 years at the same job?

There is a learning technique called FAST

F – forget everything you know

A – Actively partake in the learning process – take notes, ask questions

S – State of mind – Is the course your taking a waste of time, or a chance to learn something new?

T – Teach – We learn the most by teaching.

If I have to explain myself deeper here, you’re not paying attention…

A morning routine

Own the morning, own the day. Sounds like some cheesy tag line on a Modafinil commercial.. If they made those (commercials for speed I mean). The truth is nothing is better for confidence, productivity and state of mind than a consistent morning routine. I’m not going to write about the benefits of a solid morning routine, there are many other writers out there far better at explaining such things than I, but if your looking for more info – Google is your friend.

Let’s be honest, you just lost your job, your life is changing in massive ways and everything is now thrown into chaos. I have been there, I know. However, now, perhaps more than ever, is a time to build a solid morning routine. A time to pull your head out of your own ass and rekindle your passions. Don’t have any passion? who cares, do a morning routine anyway. Don’t have goals? Who cares – as Adam Scott is quoted as saying “Losers have goals, winners have systems”. And a morning routine is the first part of a solid system. Sometimes we don’t know where we want to go, but we certainly can’t get anywhere by lying in bed eating ice cream and watching re-runs of Friends.

A solid morning routine starts your day in the right direction, and when your in the worst state of mind, this creates a small amount of order in an otherwise chaotic world.

My morning routine: 

I wake up every morning at 5-6 am – no matter what. I start with 10 quick push-up, burpees or some other exercise that gets my heart racing and my brain goes from “fuck you why are getting up” to  – “alright, lets do this”.

The trick is to get up before your brain tells you to fuck off – Get up and get down (push-ups) before you get a chance to procrastinate and let your brain take over.

Make my bed then brew coffee

From here – I meditate – my favourite meditation app at the moment is Waking up by Sam Harris. A great guide. Otherwise I prefer no sound or apps at all. The idea is to calm your mind, turn off the ongoing noise for a few minutes a day.

After 10-20 minutes meditation I do the Wim Hof breathing method – gets me high and energised at the same time. Follow this up with a cold shower and you firing on all cylinders.

Grab a cup of coffee that is now done brewing –

Next up is the 5 minute journal. There is a physical paper journal called the “5 minute journal” – there is also an app by the same name. Both work well. This journal just allows me to think about what needs to get done for the day, what I’m grateful for and a follow up at night to kind of check everything off. You don’t need the journal or app, they just work for me.

From here I dedicate at-least 20 minutes to reading a book, or listen to an audio book or something similar on something I want to learn about. Usually non-fiction, autobiography, business, self development – what-ever that falls into that category.

That’s it – this routine usually takes between 60 and 90 minutes to complete. I don’t always do everything in the list, but normally 50 percent of it and always the meditation and 5 minute journal.

Building habits

There is a great book on habits called “Atomic habits” by James Clear. Read the book, don’t just take my butchered down version of it at face value. In any case, the butchered down version can be summed up as Start small, repeat. Want to build a daily running routine? don’t start by lacing up your shoes and going running 10k everyday. While this works for some people some of the time, for most people it will fail most of the time.

Humans want shit easy – period. The least amount of resistance is how we are programmed. Within a very short amount of time the process of lacing up your shoes, putting your running clothes on, going outside and then running will be too much of a pain in the ass to be worth the benefits. So start small. Everyday at exactly the same time, put your running clothes on and your shoes. That’s it. Force yourself to then take the shoes off and go about your day. Don’t run, don’t leave the house – just change back. The process shouldn’t take more than a minute of your life daily. Eventually the pain of not running will be greater than the pain of running.

You can break down every habit in this manner. Want to write? Write. Everyday, without pause, at-least 200 words. That’s it. This blog post is 2610 words – so the first paragraph might be 200 words. It’s that simple. Write. Don’t have anything to write about? Who cares, write.

Want to meditate 20 minutes daily? Break it down to 1 minute until the pain of not sitting longer is greater than the joy of quitting after a minute.

Whatever your dream habit is – start small. You are lazy, it’s built into your DNA. Plan for that and you can re-program your mind.

Putting it all together

Get up from the shower floor, wipe the snot from you chin and get your shit together. You lost your job, ok, that’s horrible. But it happens, it’s life. Nobody is doing anything to you, god or some magical rock doesn’t hate you. In fact, they don’t give a shit about you or your problems. The truth is, you are a product of your actions – take ownership. Want to keep working at Arbetsförmedlingen? You can’t, get over it. But you can continue working with the issues that AF is working with. Just because the budget has been cut and 4500 people are being fired doesn’t mean the problem is going to magically disappear. This is not 4500 people that aren’t needed – This is 4500 people that Arbetsförmedlingen lost in an argument about politics and vision and the equation of where the money for the problem should go.

The majority of the AF budget goes towards the long term un-employed, immigrants, teens, under educated and handicap citizens. These problems have not magically gone away. Instead, heres what’s going to happen:

Certain parts of AF are going to be privatised – that means that you, if you so wish, can start a business and apply to take over certain contracts from the government. You will be fighting for these contracts from other such individuals and entities. So again, provide something better and you will have the contract. My guess is that the contracts will be worth more (cost more to tax payers) than your salary currently costs. But it doesn’t matter. AF lost the war of opinions and in re-turn – you your job.

There will be many opportunities in the coming months as more and more of AF are outsourced. While your time at AF is done, what you do with your future is only starting.

 

 

backpackingblog

A quick update and more!

Strange title I know.. first off let me start by saying thank you! Thank you for following Ultralight and comfortable for so many years, and making this one of the most visited lightweight blogs around on the internet. It has been an honor to keep this site going and to keep it going in the future. With that said, I find that I have less and less motivation to write as I am enjoying the other formats better. Namely Youtube and very soon Podcast format. Most of the updates on this site will probably be in the form of Video or podcast moving forward as my time is getting rather limited these day with Backpackinglight.dk taking off.

So here is a look at my different projects:

  • Backpackinglight.dk and .se
  • Ulcomfort.com
  • Youtube.com/backpackinglightse
  • Instagram/backpackinglight.se
  • Designing own gear – soon to be announced within next few months under new brand name
  • New Podcast coming – where I move this blog into audio format with interviews, travel stories and more
  • Adoption – Moving to Zambia in a few weeks to live for 6 months

 

Video is a blast to work on, but takes an amazing amount of time. Each video I produce takes a minimum of 4-8 hours when all is said and done. While I certainly enjoy the format, it does take far more time than writing blog posts.

Backpackinglight.dk is growing and is now a full time job and more – Thank you for the support! We are working hard on taking it to the next level. Cleaning up the format and re-writing a lot of product texts in both Swedish and English as well as adding gear reviews and so on to each product.

Along with this I am also writing articles for Backpackinglight, as a guide for customers.

ISPO Munich is coming where I have a few meetings, interviews, podcasts and Video projects in the works

I will write a more detailed article on the new Podcast series coming – I can say that it won’t solely be gear discussions and more about what makes people tick. What gets them out of bed and do the things they do day in and day out. How can we deconstruct what they are doing and apply it to our own lives? These are the kind of discussions that I love to have and I hope that shows in the series!

 

My day and morning routine:

For me, nothing is more important than a good morning routine. To set a standard so high in the morning that you can’t help but be productive the rest of the day. I have had some form of morning routine for the most part of my adult life.

With that said, how does my day look? I am working on a video, but decided here on a Saturday night to just write a bit before I go to bed!

5.00 – I wake up do 10 quick pushups or burpees..

meditate for 10-20 minutes

Coffee

Write in a journal for 5-10 minutes – usually about what I’m grateful for.. or if I’m in a shit mood than I write a few pages about how everything sucks.. but 99% of the time it’s a grateful exercise

10 minutes of writing a plan for the day – usually a quick list of different items I need to get done for the day

20 minutes of reading – usually books about philosophy, stoicism, self help, investing..

15 minutes of brain training – puzzles, math, science, language

6.30 – start my day!

Here I wake up my little boy and wife, make breakfast and take the little one to school.

8.00 – 9.00 I’m sitting at my desk, turn on my computer, phone and mail. first hour or so write back to customers

next hours go through inventory

rest of day – burning questions or action items. Right now: Product text and format. 1000 products of re-writes takes time.

Sometime after 15.00 I start working on videos, Podcast ideas, ULcomfort and so on.

16.00 My boy comes home and my evening starts!

21.00 my evening routine starts.

All electronics off, warm tea on the stove and papper book in my lap

21.30 warm shower/bath and audio book

22.00 sleep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On top of this I have a full time life outside of just sitting in front of a computer screen 🙂 So

backpackingblogcampingessentialsGear list

My winter sleep system for ultralight hiking

Sleeping good in the winter

 

Keeping warm is essential to sleeping good. Hypothermia and freezing to death is not a fun past time. In the summer it’s easier to get along with Ultralight gear and probably survive.. Chances are good… In the winter however, things are different. Especially in areas like northern Sweden where I live – here the temperatures can easily drop to -30c in the winter. It’s important to be prepared and have a relatively good idea of what your doing. Here I will go over some of the details that helps keep me warm and comfortable during the winter months on longer treks:

 

  1. Sleep system
  2. Shelter
  3. Clothing
  4. Food before bed
  5. Run around for warmth
  6. Pee bottle
  7. Extra bottles for foot warmer in the morning

 

A also made a video of this article that you can watch below: 

 

Sleep system:

 

First on my list is the sleep system – this is by far the most important aspect of sleeping warm and safe in the winter. All parts of the sleep system must work in order for the whole to work. With a sleep system I mean of course the Sleeping mat and Sleeping bag.

My system for winter hiking looks something like this with an example of a week long unsupported trip in minus 20 to 40 degrees:

 

  1. Thick evazote mat – 14mm – this I usually have directly on the ground as I use floorless shelters most of the time. I can also use a double wide evazote mat which can also work as a nice wide ground sheet as well.
  2. Thermarest xTherm sleeping pad – added warmth and comfort. The xTherm isn’t really necessary when using a thick 14mm evazote mat, in fact I know a few people who use their summer pads or xLite in the deep winter without any problems. The 14mm evazote is warm enough on it’s own. The blow up pad is an extra comfort. Don’t skimp on the sleeping mat – it’s just as if not more important than a proper sleeping bag.
  3. I have three bags in total – known of them are meant for extreme weather. So I stack them. I have a Sierra designs cloud 800 0c degree bag, an As Tucas sestrals synthetic quilt – rated at about 0c as well, and a Sierra designs nitro 0F (-18c). In Sweden, anything warmer than a 0c bag has very little use except for in the warmest two weeks of the year unless summer is just extreme. With the Cloud 800 and As Tucas Sestrals, these bags are fantastic for the Swedish climate. In anycase, if I know I will be in – 30c or colder for extended periods than I stack my Nitro and as tucas quilt giving me a warmth that stretches down to about -35.

 

Here is a rather decent stacking guide that I stole from Enlightened Equipment:

 

Quilt/Bag Ratings 50ºF 40ºF 30ºF 20ºF 10ºF 0ºF
50ºF 30ºF 20ºF 10ºF 0ºF -10ºF -20ºF
40ºF 20ºF 10ºF 0ºF -10ºF -20ºF -30ºF
30ºF 10ºF 0ºF -10ºF -20ºF -30ºF -40ºF
20ºF 0ºF -10ºF -20ºF -30ºF -40ºF
10ºF -10ºF -20ºF -30 -40
0ºF -20ºF -30ºF -40ºF

 

This is in Farenheit, for our purposes it works – just keep in mind that Celcius and Farenheit meet at -40, 0 Fahrenheit is equal to -18 Celcius. 32 Fahrenheit is equal to 0 celcius.

I rarely use my Sierra designs nitro -18c bag – I prefer to stack as it’s usually a warmer option in almost every situation.

For temperatures between 0c and -20 I usually go with my two summer quilts – Cloud 800 and As tucas sestrals.

Skärmavbild 2019-01-18 kl. 06.23.48.png
xTherm on the bottom, Sierra designs cloud 800 35 in middle and as tucas sestrals apex 167 quilt on top. A great winter layering system

 

No matter which solution I choose – I always have the synthetic quilt on top of the down bag as synthetic handles the extra moisture much better than down does.

 

Shelter:

Bayard-winter-1.jpg
Picture stolen from the interwebs – Hyperlite mountain gear Ultamid 2

Shelter systems in the winter, much like summer can vary – my main recommendation is to find a tent that can handle everything. Wind, rain, snow – and is relatively easy to set up. I prefer the Hyperlite mountain gear Ultamid 2 or 4 for winter use. It’s the most solid winter tent I’ve ever used and gives me a lot of space to really live like a king. I know a few people such as Jörgen Johansson over at Fjäderlätt who likes his Black diamond Firstlight – even though it’s a tad small for him. I also like the Firstlight, but I don’t like how my head and feet mush the sides creating a lot of extra wetness on my bag and clothing. There are of course advantages to a free standing tent in the winter. If you don’t care too much about weight than there are tons of solutions out there with Hilleberg Suolo coming to mind among others.

In anycase, while a shelter is certainly important with a winter system, you could just as well bring a shovel and build a snow cave, or find a large pine and sleep under the snow drift. I prefer even the beauty of sleeping under the stars if weather permits.

 

Clothing:

 

If planned properly, your winter clothing can easily be a big part of your sleeping system – allowing you to leave one of your sleeping bags or quilts at home. This is a great solution for shorter trips where condensation is not going to be as big of a problem. If I’m leaving a quilt at home, which I can normally do in temperatures down to -10c. Than my winter sleep gear might comprise of the following:

  1. Wool long johns and long arm shirt
  2. Thick wool socks
  3. Fleece or wool sweater
  4. Down puffy jacket – something like the Cumulus incredilte – a great lightweight down puffy
  5. Down/synthetic puffy pants – The Omm Mountain raid pants are excellent synthetic pants as well as the Cumulus down basic pants
  6. Down/synthetic puffy socks
  7. Gloves
  8. Down/synthetic baklava or fleece beenie

 

This layering system gives me a lot of flexibility and warmth in camp – sometimes I even have two puffy down jackets with me depending on how low temperatures are expected to drop. This setup easily keeps me warm and comfortable walking around camp, as well as being part of my sleep system at night.

 

Food before bed

In the winter, keeping food and water in your system before going to bed is vital. Keeps the furnace burning hot for many hours. I try to load up on carbohydrates before bed, usually while lying in bed getting ready to sleep. This is usually in the form of pasta.

 

Run around

The way insulation in your sleep system works is that it keeps the warmth in. The more insulation the more warmth the sleep system is able to keep. The system itself does not create any warmth on it’s own. There is no heating element in your sleeping bag. This means that if you go to bed frozen, chances are the insulation will work more like refrigerator, keeping you nice and cold. This is why it’s important to get out and run a bit, or do jumping jacks, create a lot of internal heat before climbing into bed. Not so much that you are sweating, as the moisture will have an opposite effect.

This also falls in line with make sure you are ready for bed, before you actually climb in. Once you are in your sleeping bag or bags, body is warm, belly is full – make sure you stay in your bag. I have made the mistake a few times of being way too warm in my bag, got panicked and opened up the bag only to start freezing again.

 

Pee bottle

Staying tight in your sleep system is vital for overall comfort and warmth. This is also why a pee bottle is essential. Make sure you get a wide mouth bottle as this will help take away the guesswork and leave less room for error. The important aspect is to not open up your bag and climb out in order to go out and pee. Also, remember to keep a large volume bottle for this purpose as bodily fluids coming out in the winter are usually much more than at other times. It’s not unusual to pee close to a liters worth of fluid in the winter.

 

Extra bottles

In the winter, one of the biggest problems facing all hikers is keeping our feet and shoes warm. Some people place their shoes in the sleeping bag with them, others not so much. I fall into the category of “not so much”. I don’t want any moisture coming along with me into my sleeping bag. Not to mention, the wettest part of my entire system – my shoes. It is possible to keep your shoes in a water tight bag and put them in your sleeping bag with you. But then they are still wet in the morning. What works for me is a rather simple system: In the morning when I wake up, still tucked nice and warm in my sleeping bag, I cook water for my early morning coffee and breakfast and with that I cook extra water for two small water bottles. After I shake out as much of the frozen moisture as possible from my shoes, I then place the hot water bottles, one each, into each of my shoes. While I am eating breakfast, my shoes are getting nice and toasty – when I put my shoes on, my feet are encompassed with a warm and lovely feeling. Later on I have the added benefit of having two extra filled water bottles that I can drink while hiking.

48380881_10157024566983594_5375968052816904192_o.jpg
Small bottles are filled with warm water in the morning and used as feet warmers while I break down camp and eat breakfast. The bottles are then just regular water bottles during the day.  Picture stolen from http://www.fjaderlatt.se 

 

Practice

Before heading out on your trek across antarctica, it’s important to practice first, find what works for you and get comfortable with all the nuances of winter camping. Winter camping is both hell and joy at the sametime. Dangerous and fulfilling. Be smart and don’t take anything for granted. Just because you have this checklist doesn’t mean you are an expert – Theory and practice are two completely different things. This list will help you maximize your chances of success – but this is only a guide and not a guarantee. What works for me might not work for you.

A good place to practice is your backyard och nearby forest. Car camping is also a great starting place or in wind shelters. I spent a season or two just camping around in my local forest. My first backpacking trip in the winter once I was comfortable with my gear was a fairly popular mountain trail and I setup my tent about 50 meters from the different cottages. This way I could practice without putting myself in any major danger.

 

backpackingblogLandscape photographyPhoto reviewsPhotography

Camera gear over the years

Over the years I have gone through dozens of cameras. Different purposes, but mainly because I have a serious problem with GAS when it comes to cameras. I have become a freak with gear, much like backpacking gear, I go through gear until I find what works best for me in the variety of situations that I use my gear in. A quick run down follows:

1st camera and one I’ve used until about 2004 – Canon AE-1 Program with a 35-70mm zoom lens. While it quit being my daily camera in 2004, I actually still use it even today. It’s not really my camera, which is probably why I’ve never gotten rid of it. It’s officially my moms camera that she bought back in the early 80’s new. I have used that camera like crazy and love it. Unfortunately, film is not very practical for everyday use so I eventually went over to some Kodak digital camera that had an amazing 5 megapixel camera.

IMG_0296

I used that Kodak for a couple of years on my various trips to Australia, Thailand, Greece and Italy. I have a lot of pictures and video from that time, but, the quality is so bad I never got around to posting any of it. My photography lust cooled down a lot after that camera.. The pictures sucked, the video sucked.. the camera was boring..

Eventually I picked up my AE-1 Program again and started using it. My lust was reignited in 2012 when I bought a Sony NEX-7 then a Sony A7 Full frame and right after a Sony A7R. I liked the Sony cameras, and in a way they reignited my love for photography. Though they both seemed like unfinished masterpieces. Video was not great, lenses limited, software terrible, menu system lacking and with the Sony A7R it was nearly impossible to get sharp images handheld, on top of that, the Sony’s are extremely boring to use (I am used to the feel and look of the AE-1 Program which is rather fun). I also had a problem with the Sony business mantra of selling half finished products, and releasing just newer models every year. I traded my Sony A7R and Zeiss lens for a Fuji x-t1 with a few lenses. I loved the Fuji.

I used the Fuji on a few backpacking trips but found it to be a little on the heavy side and the video was still lacking. Fuji also started raising the prices of the lenses – they were getting heavier and more expensive than full frame lenses – and still are to this day. I upgraded to a X-T2 – though more of the same I thought. So I went over to an Olympus OMD EM-5 mark ii with a few lenses that I got really cheap, so I sold my Fuji and was perfectly happy with the OMD as it was better for video. IMO.. With a flipout screen, cheaper lenses, built in stabilization and in my opinion just as good if not better picture quality than the Fuji, I was more than happy to be an Olympus fanboy.

It was at this time I started to play around with video – last year, and this is when I realised that the Olympus was sorely lacking. With it’s less than optimal autofocusing and in non-perfect lighting conditions the video just looked terrible. And even in perfect lighting conditions with the most expensive lenses, video had artifacts and just all-around looked very amateurish. Don’t get me wrong, I am an amateur, but I figured there had to be better for the money.

IMG_0299

This is when I went over to a Canon M50, In general I have been against Canon, because it seemed to me that while everybody else was innovating and pushing the boundaries, Canon has a board room filled with monkeys stuck in the 80’s. Warren buffet once said “I buy companies that can be run by idiots, because eventually it will be.. ” this is where Canon is – a company run by idiots. However, the Canon M50 while being the worst camera on the market for so many things does a few things very good.

  1. Great video autofocus – it works no matter what
  2. Flip out screen
  3. Great colors from the camera – don’t have to color grade for my purposes
  4. Mic input
  5. Decent, cheap, light lenses.

Now I really like the M50 but it has a few things I don’t like that have made me sell it for my current camera a Canon 6D mark ii

  1. Lenses are not great
  2. Battery life is lacking
  3. Camera is boring to use
  4. Not weather sealed
  5. No depth of field
  6. Low light performance is horrific

Everybody bashes on the M50 because it does(nt) have 4k- or at least not useable. But who wants to edit 4k video?

Now I have landed on the Canon 6d mark II – This camera has the technology of the Sony a7 from 2013 – if not worse. It’s bad in just about everything – that is Canon at it’s finest – making horrific products that just barely glide by, then pay vloggers and reviews to give it exposure. No 4k, terrible 1080p video codec, bad slow mo, no dynamic range, not very good autofocus for pictures.. so on and so forth. Canon has literally just placed a shit sensor from an Canon 80D and decided to take double the price. It’s these kinds of decisions that will kill this company. The board room asses that know nothing about photography or video and thinks they are competing against cameras from 2010.  HOWEVER, there are things I like about this camera:

  1. I love the feel in my hands – the ergonomics and size is just right for a big guy like myself.
  2. Full frame – other than the Sony A7R, A7 and a few Leicas, I haven’t had FUll frame digital. I love the depth of field and quality of the video and images coming from the camera
  3. Weather sealed
  4. Great, cheap lenses – the EF system is ancient. Lenses are a steal right now as everybody knows Canon is sinking so they are jumping off the Titanic before it goes down – doesn’t make the glass any worse.
  5. Flip out screen
  6. Good 1080p for Youtube and internet videos
  7. Built in Timelapse mode – making completed timelapses in camera

That’s it.. That is why I have the Canon 6D mark ii and why I’m actually pretty happy with it.

Anyway, this is just the run-down of my main camera systems that i have used over the years. I have gone through quite a few Compact cameras as well as Film cameras.

At the moment my film camera of choice is a Ricoh GR21 (a fantastic 200 gram compact camera with an amazing 21mm wide angle lens) – This camera is a beast that takes extremely sharp pictures. A lot of fun for street photography – discrete, wide and sharp

IMG_0303

My preferred compact camera is the Canon G7x mark ii. Yes it does basically everything worse than the Sony Rx100 series – all of which I have used a lot over the years. But, it has better colors right out of the camera which means a lot to me.

backpackingblogcamping

2019 a year in travel – What to bring?!??

2019 is going to be a fun year! Starting off with a few weeks in Vietnam, than followed up with 6 months in Zambia! We will be traveling, exploring and above all else living a new life with our adopted child. I am really looking forward to this time to just focus on family and Backpackinglight. I will be backpacking as much as possible in Zambia, but hopefully I can get my family out with me. With that said, this also creates a lot of logistical problems for me and for the family. Being a minimalist in a lot of aspects, especially in travel, I now have a problem. I can’t exactly live in Africa with only one backpack with me. There are now a lot of different aspects I have to plan for.

  1. Living a day to day life
  2. Running my business
  3. Travelling and photography
  4. Backpacking
  5. Videography

These different hobbies and aspects don’t fit in one minimalist Minaal travel backpack… unfortunately. While I can normally have everything I need for any amount of time travelling in one backpack including camera gear. The length and goal of this trip to Zambia means that I also need to bring backpacking gear to test and take videos of. It is not possible for me to buy the gear and have it sent to me in Zambia as it is too expensive, and too many possible problems.

Projects during the trip: 

  1. Photography book – Zambia in pictures. Daily life and turists
  2. Vlog – Daily short stories of some kind

The part of planning here that is easy are the first two:

  1. living day to day: I would need my computer, clothing, running clothes and shoes.
  2. Running my business: Easy enough – my computer and bank cards

The harder part in the planning is the last two for different reasons:

  1. Travelling and photography
  2. Backpacking and hiking
  3. Videography

I will start with travelling and photography – Is there one camera that can be great for video and stills? Vlogging and documentary style video? Sharp pictures for everything from street photography to Astrophotography? Am I willing to bring a lot of weight? so probably a lightweight camera that does everything.. does it exist? I currently own a Canon m50 that I kind of bought to hold me over until I could find the perfect camera for myself. I have had and tested tons of different cameras and like the ease of use, autofocus and colors of the M50. I actually sold my Fuji X-t2 for an Olympus Omd EM5 ii.. A great camera, but not the greatest video – this could be said for both the fuji x-t2 and EM5, But I fell in love with the flip out screen of the Olympus. The Fuji had great stills but not the greatest for video as autofocus was weak. Maybe the XT3 is ready for a new chance? The M50 is great, but, the dynamic range is not great, it’s not weather sealed and high ISO is non-existent.

So for me to figure out what I need and what I want and hopefully find a good camera for that. I will write down my list here

Needs: 

  1. Good out of camera video colors – I don’t edit colors much or at all
  2. Good stills – sharp and with decent dynamic range.
  3. Weather sealed – I am in the elements a lot – I don’t bring the m50 because of this
  4. A flip out screen (maybe not the biggest need.. but close to it)
  5. Slow mo up to 60 FPs – but I won’t complain with a 120FPS
  6. Mic input
  7. good, fast Autofocus – As I normally film myself autofocus has to be good
  8. Great battery life
  9. Good depth of field – I like blurry backgrounds

Wants:

  1. I want my camera to look damn good (I see you Olympus OM-D 1 mark II)
  2. Lightweight if possible
  3. 4k.. maybe, I suppose it would be useful.. maybe.. not much of a want or need really
  4. A great wide angle lens

Cameras I am currently looking at: 

Canon 6d mark ii – Ticks a lot of the needs, but HEAVY when you count in the glass as well. A bonus here is that I can use my glass on both the M50 and the 6D. The biggest problem I have with the 6D is the company that makes them.. I don’t want to support a lazy, uninspired company. Canon is just pathetic in a lot of ways and giving them my money just doesn’t feel right.

Fuji X-T3 – Ticks also a lot of the boxes for me – though no flip out screen and Autofocus? hmm not sure. Also I really liked my X-T1 back in the day.. Though I do like the company and cameras

Olympus OM-D E 1 mark II – Looks great, ticks a lot of my wants and needs.. but maybe not the greatest depth of field.. not to be underestimated of course, but can’t compare to full frame.

Canon EOS- R – Another uninspiring effort from the company of mediocracy. But light, good colors, Full frame and flip out screen

Nikon Z6 – Because if I’m dreaming I might as well dream of them all..

Last but not least – sell all of it and but a small compact camera like the Sony rx 100.. Nobody cares about the gear anyway.. it’s about the content 🙂

Backpacking gear

This is where things get a little interesting. While I won’t have time to take week long trips solo, I do have plans to bring the whole family on different trips throughout the country, car camping and maybe even campground camping. But I do want the option to pick up and go backpacking by myself. So the question here is do I bring two tents – one two or three man tent that my wife and kids can sleep in and a solo tent for me. (I don’t like sharing a tent anyway). Or do I bring a big tent that is lightweight to use as a solo tent as well? This same reasoning basically needs to be applied to everything.

So if I’m looking at tents – do I bring something like the The Tarptent saddle, Big agnes Copper spur 3 and a solo tent to match like a Plexamid or Stratospire. Or do I just bring the Hyperlite mountain gear Ultamid 4 with inner-tent? I’m leaning towards the Ultamid as that keeps everything simple, but I really don’t like sharing a tent…

Quilts, sleeping bags, kitchen sets, hiking gear, backpacks so on and so forth.. Am I trying to combine too many hobbies into one trip? Even if we are gone for six months, maybe the better option is a camper van with day hiking gear instead?

As I’ve said.. this really is a pain in the ass.. But I think I answered the question by writing this.. Solo gear, as light as possible and car camping otherwise.

Vlogging? 

This goes back to my video and camera gear – I am thinking about doing a vlog for during my trip in Zambia. The question is what will it be about? I don’t like reality TV, or Reality vlogs and so on, and I would never want to force my life upon other people in that manner. There needs to be a story, a reason to watch, fun and interesting. I don’t want to only do gear reviews. I want to capture life in an interesting way.