Category: blog

backpackingblogGoing Lighterultralight backpacking

Going lighter Step 1: Jot it down

Going lighter:

There are many reasons to go lighter, but the most important reason is of course to have a more enjoyable time out in nature. Don’t believe me ? Grab a backpack, pack it with 30kilos and climb your nearest hill or mountain. Now, do the same thing with only 5 kilos in your pack. Which is a more enjoyable experience? My money is on the 5 kilos. Now with that said, it’s easy to cut back weight so much that camp is no longer enjoyable. Say, you replace your spoon with your fingers, you don’t bother with a proper tent, toilet paper is for losers and so on. While it’s possible to be ultra minimalist light, it’s probably not desired or safe for most backpackers.

So what should be your goal as a backpacker? To me, it’s the joy of both the hike and the camp. It’s about the climb and the descent. In other words, it’s about the experience and the joy of the journey itself. If your not loving the hike, whats the point?

Getting started:

Knowing your gear and your needs is probably the most important aspect of your backpacking life. This is regardless of weight or goals. If you don’t know what’s in your pack, then why bring it? In skydiving, every skydiver is expected to pack their own parachute, the process of folding, loading and preparing, this way, the skydiver knows exactly what’s in his pack when he launches himself from a perfectly good flying craft thousands of meters above sea level. I believe the same dedication should be used when packing a backpack for an outdoor adventure. If not more so, after all, the results of a poorly packed backpack could be potentially as bad as a poorly packed parachute.

In my view, the single most important part of hiking and or trekking is packing your backpack. Knowing exactly whats in your pack, right down to the amount of grams every item takes. This means creating a proper journal for your gear. However you choose to document your gear, whether in an excel sheet, word document, on your smartphone or in a paper journal, is completely up to you. We prefer services like lighterpack.com that is a highly configurable, easy to use, free service to document and share a gear list.

Your first purchase:

Start your transition by purchasing a proper digital kitchen scale, than, with deligence start weighing your biggest items first and jot them down in your journal. In excel, your list might look something like this:

The big three

1. Tent – Hilleberg Akto – 1,6kilos

2. Backpack – Fjällräven Abisko – 2,4kilos

3. Sleepingbag – Cheap synthetic summer bag – 1,4kilos

4. Sleeping pad -Exped Synmat – 560grams

Total of big three: 5,96 kilos

Of course you would probably want to add brand of tent and so on, but you get the general idea. For reasons perhaps more apparent later, it’s better to jot everything down digitally in lighterpacks or excel as this will allow you to move around, change, reorganize your gear much easier.

Now, after you jot down your big three, move of to the rest of your kit. We like to organize our list in the following categories:

1. The big three (tent, backpack, sleep system)

2. Hydration and cooking

3. Clothing in backpack

4. Personal item (washing, first aid, teeth care, hygene)

5. Electronics (camera, battery pack, tripod, batteries, smartphone, ipad, computer)

6. Extras (stuff that doesn’t fit in the other categories)

7. Clothing worn (while backpacking)

Once all your items are indexed, weighed and categorized it’s much easier to make educated decisions, rather than just guestimations. You will know exactly what is in your pack, what purpose it may or may not serve and the weight of each item. From here you can place your focus on your heaviest items, which tend to be the big three (tent, backpack and sleep system).

 

In case you guys haven’t noticed yet I am actually very active on Youtube! So don’t forget to subscribe there!

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blogGearGear closetgear sale

Gear closet clear out fall 2018

It’s about time again for me to clear out my closet.. especially now when I am living in a much smaller apartment here in Umeå… Most of the equipment can be shipped throughout Europe – But I prefer not to ship outside the EU as shipping costs usually negate the cost savings for the shopper. This will probably be updated throughout the coming weeks with more gear.

Shipping in Sweden: 49kr

Shipping throughout the EU: 99kr

  • If the item is sold I will mark it as sold 

Payment made via wire transfer or Paypal. Swish in Sweden

 

 

Nemo spike storm 1

Designed with guidance and testing from professional hunters and anglers, the Spike™ Storm is a truly minimalist shelter that will get you further off the beaten path. Its trekking pole-supported design is meant to shed every ounce possible, and resulting in a shelter that is just over a pound and packs incredibly small. Silicone-treated fabrics increase strength, durability, and waterproofness, and are free from toxic fire retardants. Unlike the original Spike™ floorless minimalist shelter, the Spike™ Storm has an added floor and mesh door for use with any bag and added protection from insects.

Tent is more or less new – used and tested just a few times.

Price: 1690kr 

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Vargo Hexagon TI wood stove

Used woodstove – works like it’s suppose to. Lightweight and pretty awesome 🙂 Already have one.

weight: 116grams

Price: 490 kr

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BRS-3000T ultralight stove

yes, they are the lightest gas stoves made. I bought a bunch of these to resell on backpackinglight.se – unfortunately the quality is not up to my standards. They will (should) hold for a season or two. But much like most of the cheap stuff from china, they are built for one season use and then throw away. These are new, in package.

weight: 26grams

Price: 100kr

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Six moon designs – Newest model – New tent – Seam sealed and ready to go

I brought home a few Lunar solos to seam seal and sell. I did this one and thought, screw it. So A completely new Lunar solo, seam sealed and ready to go.

Weight: 760grams

Price: 2490kr – kan även köpas genom backpackinglight.se

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Nemo Spike 2 – shelter

An excellent hunting shelter – large, light and easy to use. This tent is more or less new – I have used it for 3 nights outs. Comes with tent pegs and guylines.

Weight: 639grams

Price: 1390kr

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Gossamer gear Kumo 36

A great lightweight backpack in near new condition. I have the older model and wanted to try this model to see the difference. A big difference, but I don’t need two Kumos 🙂 This is the newest model of the Kumo 36.

Weight: 525grams

Price: 1390kr SÅLD

 

Klymit inertia x-wave 

Same here – used it on my Iceland trek, and realize I don’t like torso pads. Great shape.

weight: 350grams

Price: 390 kr SÅLD

 

Trail designs Caldera cone – for Vargo bot 700

This is with the KOJIN burner. More or less new. Used on just one occasion. Already have 10 different stove systems.

Weight: 59grams

Price: 490kr SOLD

Thermarest xLite Small 

Used a few times, but realize I prefer regular or large for my oversize body. This is the torso length version

Weigth: 200grams

Price: 890 kr SÅLD

Soto Amicus burner

I used this for testing. Excellent condition, in box, like new. A great burner from Soto. Guarantee available

Weight: 81grams

Price: 390kr SÅLD

 

Zpacks Duplex:

This tent is in good but used shape. No rips, holes or any noticeable problems with it.. A little dirty and some leaves left in it 🙂 This is my third iteration of the Zpacks Duplex and the third one I’m selling off. I have it had for about 20 nights on the trail. Great for shorter people under 185cm.

Weight: 539grams

Price: 5900kr – SÅLD

 

Hyperlite mountain gear Echo Shelter II

This kick ass modular tent I have had for a few years, and it looks and feels used. No leaking, and still has a few more years of useage left in it. I will include a cuben repair kit as well in case leaks do start to appear.

weight: 820grams

Price: 3190kr SÅLD

 

Six moon designs Lunar Duo explorer

This tent was bought by a customer at backpackinglight.dk – used without being seam sealed and some of the seams broke. So I patched it up – no structural weakness, more looking bad. The tent needs to be seam sealed, and other than the stitching done, it looks and feels like a new tent.

weight: 1098grams

Price: 1690kr SÅLD

 

backpackingblogcampingGoing Lighter

A lighter kind of philosophy

As I came up over the ridge I couldn’t help but feel that maybe, just maybe, ultralight is not always the perfect solution for every backpacking trip. I stood there, wet, tired and miserable. I had just hiked 15 kilometers on a cold rainy afternoon along the Laugavegur trail in Southern Iceland. The trail stretches roughly 75 kilometers from the north in Landmannalaugar down to the south in Skogar. I made my journey in mid June a week after the trail had just been opened for the season. Snow was still prevalent along this part of the trail from Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker. I flew in from Stockholm to Reykjavik and arrived around 9 in the morning. From there it was about a 4 hour bus drive along thin gravel roads, streams and an endless view of mountains and volcanic ash.

After 12 hours of traveling I just wanted to move, I needed to get out and walk and even though I arrived at Landmannalaugar at 4 in the evening, I made the decision to just walk. I couldn’t be bothered by the massive rainfall or the awesome hot springs. I pulled out my rain jacket, adjusted my backpack and made my way.

I arrived at that ridge after about 4 hours of hiking in wet, cold snow feeling like shit. Sure the first hour was a blast, but the rest, not so much. I just wanted to get somewhere warm and pitch my tarp for the night. When I reached that ridge overlooking the campsite the only thought that came to mind was “fuck”. My shitty day is turning out to be only worse, what I wouldn’t give for a 4 season, two layer tent, a thick winter sleeping mat and bag. Perhaps even a warm bed and shower. I looked over at the cabin walked in and requested a bed for the night. Of course I wasn’t alone here, all the beds were taken. I resigned and accepted the fact that tarp it would be.

When I stood there looking over the campsite, dread creeping in on the knowledge that I would now have to walk from the warm cabin down to the campsite about 100 meters away, cold and wet, walking in knee high snow in my mesh trail runners, knowing all too well that my night was about to be much worse than my day. I was unprepared for a winter hike, the thought that I would be hiking in knee high snow in the middle of June simply didn’t occur to me. While I tend to plan well, and pack warm. A tarp, trail runners and a torso pad with a summer quilt are not always the best choices for a winter hike. To make matters worse the campsite was placed at the bottom of a deep valley with no trees or wind shields in place. The wind was screaming down the snowy mountain side.

After a while I was finally able to set up my tarp in the volcanic ash, placed out my torso pad on my plastic trash bag ground floor and in the end, I was longing for that warm bed. The feeling of dread overtook me later on when I was really warm in my bag and had to get out, walk that 100 meters with frozen shoes on because I had to take a raging piss.

The moment of change

It was in that moment lying in my warm sleeping bag, knowing I would have to get up, get clothed and put those freezing cold shoes on and hike 100 meters in that snow in the middle of the night just to take a piss, that my love for ultralight backpacking and hiking altogether started to dwindle. This is how backpacking works, it tests us mentally and physically on all levels. This first days are always the worst. 

When I crawled back into my sleeping bag, wet and miserable I started to re-think how I would like to tackle these situations in the future. I started to wonder if the entire trail would be like this or if it’s just here, at the northern end of the trail. In any case I started to write down what changes I wanted to make to my gear. What worked what didn’t and so on. I wanted to find a good compromise of weight and comfort as well as usability in all situations. I found that while my general backpacking weight is very light, a base weight on this trip of about 2.5 kilos (5.5lbs), it was lacking in overall comfort and safety for surprise conditions. When I started to write everything down I found that I made certain compromises that were simply not necessary: I could easily hold the same weight with more comfort and safety without crossing the threshold to “stupid light”.

Some of the bigger changes I had to make was to my torso pad and sleeping mat (I carry both a blow up wide torso pad and an evazote sleeping mat) these together weighed about 500 grams. I also had to re-think my trailrunners. Not necessarily changing from trails runners to boots, more changing to a different form of trail runners.

Why not boots? Well, to be honest that first day I was longing for a pair of nice warm boots, longing for the comfort and warmth boots can obtain in cold, wet climates. Then I made my way into that first hut at Hrafntinnusker and saw that everybody’s shoes and feet were wet and cold. The only difference is that my shoes would be dry in the morning while everybody else will have to put hot warm feet into wet cold boots that would stay wet and cold the entire trip. On top of that I really like when my feet get hot in trail runners that I just plow through some cold water and voila! Cooled down and ready to go. What I wanted to change in my shoes was the sturdiness, I was sick and tired of stubbing my toe along the trail and it hurting like hell afterwards because my trail runners are the equivalent of walking barefoot as far as how much protection they give.

I was also looking at perhaps changing my tarp to a more traditional tent – heavier of course than what I have, but still keep me within my 3 for 3 goal, the 3 for 3 I talk about extensively in my book Ultralight and comfortable. It’s basically your biggest three items under 3 kilos. (Tent, sleep system and backpack)

I also started to re-think just what my goals where, the truth is, backpacking is not a black and white equation. I can’t give you all the answers and what will work for you specifically. I am constantly trying out new variations along new trails. I personally don’t like hikes longer than 14 days, you might like month long trails. More power to you. I also at this moment in my life have zero ambition to climb mount Everest or hike the entirety of the Appalachian trail.

In the end

My gear choices worked very well, but what had me thinking was that I had left very little margin for error. As I stated earlier, I am quite good at planning my trips, and forseable problems that might occur. I had even understood that there would be snow along the northern section of the trail. But for some reason it seemed to have slipped my planning. It turned out that the rest of the trail was more what I planned for, and I had a great time.

I did start to re-think my packing though, and it’s quite easy to go stupid light, and it’s something I still do from time to time and it’s usually in conjunction with arrogance. Sometimes I just take certain situations for granted because I am too comfortable with my own experience and skill. While it’s good to have knowledge and skill, it’s no crutch for making stupid decisions.

A thought

With that said, I want to propose a different approach to the ultralight movement, or at least my own movement of the Ultralight and comfortable variation. Just as the heavy miserable community or traditional backpacking community obsesses about “ruggedness, survivor, name brand” and so on. The ultralight community has a tendency to go overboard on the “ultralight, superlight, grams, ounces”. We spend so much time obsessing about weight, that somewhere along the lines we have to lift our eyes a bit and realize that different hikers have different goals. I would also like to suggest that lighter is not always more comfortable. Sometimes a backpack that weighs 1.3 kilo with a sturdy frame, hip belt and good carrying capacity is a much better choice than the 300 gram Ikea bag sewn into a backpack – for any purpose.

So we have to find a good medium, maybe we still have to obsess about the weight, but we have to take into consideration comfort, distance of hike and of course the goals of the hiker. When I made that trip in Iceland I couldn’t help but stare at everybody and think “those poor bastards, they simply have no clue”. I can only assume that everybody looked at me at thought “wow, that guy is simply amazing with his ultralight gear.. Looks like he is flying over the terrain”.

backpackingblogcampingLandscape photographyPhotography

Pictures from Borgarfjäll

I recently had an outing with a few friends here in northern Sweden up in the Borgarfjäll mountains, about 350 kilometers inland from Umeå. This was the very reason I moved back to Northern Sweden: To get to the mountains! This was a fun trip, and more in line with car camping perhaps than a rough tumble through the wilds of Sweden, but I had fun non-the less.. In fact, there is something to be said about parking the car outside a mountain top, summiting, sleeping over, fishing and coming back down again. I was out a total of two nights and it was well worth the drive.

This trip also gave me the chance to test my Sierra designs Cloud sleeping bag/quilt and using my Samsung 9+ for all video and photography before taking my planned longer fall trips. Video coming eventually…..

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The view from Buarkantjahke at about 700 meters

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A lot can be said about the Zpacks Duplex – but there are two that define it most: Light and Cold. What you gain in weight, you sacrifice in size and “tightness”. This is a payoff usually worth the cost, but in cold, fall conditions the Duplex should be changed out for tents better situated for these conditions.

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The Zpacks and Hilleberg Allak side by side.. both did just fine in the mountains – though the Allak weighs about 2kg more.

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My favorite pack: the Hyperlite mountain gear windrider 2400. A great combination or weight, robustness, usability and looks.

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Me

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David finding loads of chanterelle mushrooms – we filled up several plastic bags with mushrooms.

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The view by Saxån overlooking Buarkantjahke mountain. 1235 meter peak and were we camped the night before at around 900meters.

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On the way back from Borgafjäll I walked a few kilometers along Lögdeälven and camped right by the water

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Down by Öreälven

backpackingblogGearGear reviews

Gear review: Sierra designs High Route FL

Where to start – The High route FL is a weird tent. Or at-least that was my first impression. An impression that was both negative but hopeful, I mean, how could I not be hopeful, it was designed with Andrew Skurka. In short, it’s a boxy, weird, half pyramid tent half something else that uses trekking poles and looks like it would be rather shit in heavy winds. That was my first impression, than I got it home, and I wanted to love it, but couldn’t as it was too much of a pain in the ass to setup. Not the process itself, but my poles would never sit in place. Unsatisfied, I sold the tent and moved on.

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I came back to the tent again by chance, I finally secured a European distribution for the tent for sales at backpackinglight.dk, and I decided to give it another shot. Or rather, I needed to show it off during an outdoor show here in Stockholm. So, regretting having to set it up again, I pulled it out of it’s (new) stuff sack – as I noticed right away that the stuff sack was different from the version I had earlier which was a direct import from the USA. Than I started setting up the tent and noticed it was much easier to setup this time around. So I don’t know if it’s official or something I dreamed up and my competency in setting the tent up actually increased over the time period. In any-case I believe that the version of the High route I bought for retail in Sweden was actually a better, stretchier sil-nylon that makes the tent easier to setup.

Since I gave it another shot, the tent has kind of grown on me and one I truly enjoy using. I have used the High route for many trips throughout the summer ranging from mountain trips to forest trips. In all about 30 nights which I feel is a fair amount to give a decent review of.

I even did a video review of this tent earlier this year that you can watch here:

Size:

First off, considering Andrew Skurka is a rather small guy, the High route FL is large, I mean, Large. I fit very comfortably in this tent. For reference I am 6’3″, 200lbs or in the more comprehendible metric system 190cm 90kg. Most tents are too small for me, and this has led me to believe that tent designers by and large are tiny people who simply don’t understand the concept of “tall”. When it comes to “ultralight” tents, the disparity is even greater. Ultralight tents usually equate to coffin.

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The High route is a comfortable tent. I can situp, stretch out, have my gear in the tent with me and because of the non-centered trekking poles, the height is extended beyond just the standard center. This is where pyramid tents really lose some of their utility, is that you only have space to move around in the exact center as the sides slope hard.

Weight:

With that said, the size of this tent, and the fact that it uses standard 20denier sil-nylon, means that it’s going to weigh a bit. Which it does, for a trekking pole, lightweight one man tent it weighs 1,1kg. Which isn’t bad for the amount of space you get, but there are lighter solutions. However, if you just use the outer fly and can’t be bothered with an inner-tent, than you are looking at around 600grams – which would give you much more room in the tent, making it very much so, a two man tent with far more usable inner space than any two man pyramid tent that I know of, with perhaps the exception to the Hyperlite mountain gear Ultamid 2.

Usability:

At first glance it’s easy to get blinded on one detail: It has no vestibule. But in truth, it does have a vestibule, and not just one, but two, on both sides with the double entry ways. It might not have a useable vestibule if your used to using something like a Hilleberg Kaitum GT, which you can park a car in. But it certainly has two very useable vestibules for any lightweight or ultralight backpacker. Also, don’t forget that it’s easy to stake out the entry ways for ventilation and for creating an even bigger vestibule if the need arises. Of course, you could just always bring your gear in the tent with you, which is what I do, and I just park my backpack in the vestibule and cook food in it.

So far I have not experienced anything this tent hasn’t been able to handle in the way of bad weather. Heavy rain: no problem. Heavy winds: no problem (for reference I’ve had it in 14m/s or 48 feet per second wind – it certainly shook, but the trekking poles act as an extra shield for keeping the fly off of you). It’s actually rather competent in most conditions.

Of all the tents I have used, the High route FL probably has the best ventilation possibilities – from the two large vents up top, to being able to open the side doors completely, to being able to stake them out at different levels. All of this enabling a tent that is highly flexible and useable in different situations.

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Conclusion:

I get the feeling that Andrew Skurka approached Sierra designs and said something like this “Guys, I have this awesome Idea for a tent, I want it to be the greatest tent ever made for the kinds of conditions I would want to use it in” – Sierra designs said “great! but you should do it like this and this and this..” and the end result is a tent that is excellent in design and function, that takes a lot of inspiration from a standard pyramid tent. But does have noticeable compromises. It has the ease of setup (nearly) as a pyramid tent, better rain protection than pyramid tents, more useable space and has the added bonus of being both a simple tarp with fly only and includes an inner tent. On top of this it has double entry and exit’s, packs down small, relatively light and relatively cheap.

The high route FL is something special, unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, Sierra designs are releasing a newer version of the tent next year and discontinuing the current model altogether. They are getting rid of the double entry way, making it overall smaller, and changing the color to blue. I’m sure that the 700grams total weight will have a bigger audience, but for me, the High route as it is, is a near perfect tent. It’s big, easy to setup, great ventilation, lot’s of useable space, can be setup in different configurations depending on what you prefer, and it packs down rather small..

A side note:

I often see the tent justice warriors of the world say the High route is a direct copy of the Tarptent Stratospire or the Yama mountain gear Swiftline. Honestly, I don’t see the resemblance, I want to, but it’s just not there. The only thing they have in common is the asymmetrical pole setup and sil-nylon fly. I would say there are far more differences than commonalities in these tents. I just thought I would write that here to avoid my comments section to be filled with these kinds of comments.

With that said, I love my Stratospire, and I can’t really choose between the two which one I prefer as they are both great tents. Though, I will say that I tend to take the High route as it uses less volume in my backpack.

Update: Sierra designs is now saying that there is a difference though its not USA and European, it’s just an updated version with a lighter Silnylon – which explains my thoughts on why it’s easier and strechtier material. This gives a total difference in weight between the older and newer version of the tent to about 200grams.

If your in Europe this tent can be purchased here:

https://backpackinglight.dk/tents/one-person-tent/sierra-designs-high-route-fl-1-tent

Eller i Sverige här:

https://backpackinglight.se/talt/1-personstalt/sierra-designs-high-route-fl-1-talt

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blogPurposeRamblingssimplicity

A chance meeting with a Jehovas Witness

So I recently had the pleasure of meeting a Jehovas Witness.. though not in the manner you are thinking. Yes, he came to my house, yes he knocked on my door, no I did not shut the door in his face, or pretend I wasn’t home or anything else. I opened my door, gave him a big smile and invited him in.

We didn’t talk about god, or about how he was part of the 100 or so special ones of the 7 billion people on earth that will actually meet god, nor did we talk about how god performs miracles everyday, or how religion in general has led humanity in or out of the dark ages depending on how you think of those things. We didn’t even discuss how gods word is so perfectly clear and understandable that there only exists 30 000 different scriptures and prophecies describing what god was actually trying to say. We didn’t discuss how wonderfully miraculous it is to pray to god and get cured from a common cold, but that growing back and amputated arm would never happen – because that’s not how god works.

We didn’t discuss how god loves us all, just that he happens to love kids in America more than kids in Africa.. or as Ricky Gervais likes to say “he loves kids in America, and gives kids in Africa Aids”. I would have loved to discuss these ideas, about the thoughts I have running around in my head from day to day, I would have loved to ask about his thoughts on Islam, or the Buddha, or any of the other thousands upon thousands of religions and why just his book, is the proper book. The one and only true path to god’s glory. I like these kinds of discussions, they open my mind, I don’t see them as debates, where I am trying to convince anybody of my views, but I think they are ideas that need to be discussed in all earnest.

We didn’t discuss the catholic church, ahh.. the Catholic church, by this point there can be no doubt of the true nature of the Catholic church: To cultivate, breed and protect a culture of pedophilia. Nor did we discuss the evangelical church that cares nothing of god and only of power. Power not just over minds of its followers, but power over politics, policies and politicians. We have an Islamic cult that wants nothing less than for it’s women to be chained and shackled and non-believers to be executed in the fiery napalm bomb of a suicide martyr. We lacked the foresight to discuss how world is transgressing, moving backwards in it’s evolution of the mind. A period of enlightenment is giving way to a dangerous religiosity.

But alas, these are ideas and subjects with which we are not allowed to discuss – for fear of being ostracized and stigmatized. No, these are subjects we are not allowed to discuss in public, only accept that the power these groups wield can force their own ideas, rules and regulations on us, but we, we are not allowed to discuss this. Only accept.

No, we did not discuss any of this as he was simply a young man that wanted to buy my computer screen that I was selling. As he parted we talked about life in general, and funnily enough, we discussed a little about the meaning of life.. or atleast what we could in just the briefest of meetings. I said to him that so many people fret over the meaning of life, that they forget to live. Life passes them by as they are too busy sprinting after money, security, love and sex. My point was that I have and had them all, and all I want is time. I want time to live more, to live fully, to experience everything I can in the very limited time I have on this planet.

It’s something I think about a lot, and even something I discuss with others from time to time. Many people say they want to live life, they want to experience life. It’s not new. For me though, it’s something deeper, I truly, honestly in the deepest facet of my being, feel. Time. ticking. Not subtle or quiet. But a loud and constant reminder that I will die sooner than I realize.

I accept death, I don’t mind the idea of dying, I have my regrets, we all do, but I will never have the regret of wasting my life on pursuing and sticking with a dead-end job, marrying a woman I don’t love, having a son I don’t want, not doing whatever dream or passion makes it’s way onto my brain or living a life I’m not happy with. At this very moment in my life, I have never been happier. Life is getting better the older I get. I have done more and experienced more in the short life I have lived on this earth, than probably most people alive, granted, that’s not saying much considering a large portion of people are born into poverty and die before turning 5. In any case, maybe someday I will write a memoir, maybe not, some stupidity is probably better off dying with me.

I realize I don’t really have a point with this post, just the ideas and questions that bubbled up got me thinking about some other things and I thought I would share them. Writing is sometimes like that, and it’s what I love about writing – I thought I would sit down and write a review of the High route, then I got thinking about some other things, than I just let my words flow and now here we are – a 1000 word bubbling mess that may or may not speak to you.

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Tält för de Svenska fjällen

Okej.. A little different here, I will be writing this article in Swedish, sorry guys.. The only one I’ve ever written in Swedish, and probably will stay that way.. I will translate it later. To keep you occupied until that faithful day comes when the translation arrives I have a nice little video here from my hike in the Swedish and Norwegian mountains around Rogen.

Tält för den svenska fjällen

  • Okej, men klarar den av ”Svenska fjällen”

Den frågan är kanske den frågan jag får mest på Backpackinglight.se. Enligt mig är det en ganska relevant fråga med. Men jag vill påpeka att varje lokalbefolkning tror just att  deras fjäll är de mest hårda och opålitliga fjällen i världen. (Förutom Danskarna kanske..) Överallt i världen jag har vandrat är det helt klart att just ”vårt fjäll” som är den hårdaste fjället. Nu vet jag inte vilka av de länderna som faktiskt har de hårdaste och tuffaste fjällmiljöerna, men statistiken visar att det är just K2 i Himalayan som är det ”hårdaste” fjället med sina 30% av de som försöker bestiga berget som dör. (Everest har 5% odds)

Med det sagt, vad är det med fjällen som orsakar sådan oro och framförallt osäkerhet? Svensk fjällmiljö är i stort sätt relativt lugna fjäll. Visst kan vädret ändra sig  från en timme till nästa och det kan regna hårt och blåsa hårt i dagar. Ibland kan man tro att det till och med  är orkanvindar som rusar ner för  bergstopparna. (det kanske är så ibland). Det är inte ovanligt att jag ser folk skriver eller hör de säga ”det var minst 20 m/s vind”. Tveksamt att det verkligen är 20m/s, men  förståligt att man skulle tro det. Jag har själv varit i 18m/s (jag mätte med vindmätare) och kunde knappt stå. Alla tält har det svårt när vinden börja stiga upp mot ca 14m/s.

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Tittar man på de svenska fjällen skulle jag tro att ca 90% av de personer som vandrar där oftast håller sig till de väl etablerade lederna med stugor och toaletter längst vägen. Även delar av Sarek har stugor man kan besöka och nyttja. Även om man skulle hamna i skiten, är det inte troligt att man kommer att dö. Det är inte att underskatta de svenska fjällen, det är snarare att man har förståelse och förbereder sig på vilka omständigheter som råder. Ja, det kommer att regna, blåsa och stundvis vara ett rent helvete. Men det är långt ifrån alltid så. Och visst, det är bra att vara förberedd när man beger sig ut i fjällen, men man ska inte förväxla svenska fjäll under sommarhalvåret med att bestiga K2 eller Everest. De är helt olika äventyr som kräver helt olika sorters utrustning.

Så vad är ett bra tält för svensk fjällmiljö? Ett bra tält i fjällen är kort sagt: Det tält du känner dig trygg med och har erfarenhet med innan. Jag har själv vandrat genom stora delar av de svenska fjällen med en enkel tarp, ibland med och ibland utan innertält. I stora delar av fjällen skulle jag nog rekommendera innertält. Inte bara för mygg, men även pga de blöta underlag man ofta har. De flesta somrar jag har vandrat i fjällen, är det oftast blött på marken, överallt. Visst kan man använda en polycro eller tyvek ”groundsheet” för sin tarp, men de är inte helt optimal i längden. Till slut hamnar man med ytter, innertält och ”groundsheet”. Med andra ord, många olika delar att få ihop och ändå inte lika bekväm som ett helt, komplett tält.

DSCF5043Det är kul med tält utan golv.. förutom när det inte är det.. typ när marken är genom blött.. Innertält är att önska

Svenskfjäll tycker jag kan klassificeras så här:

  • Blött
  • Blåsigt
  • Mygg
  • Milt

Det är blött, ja det är blött både i marken från tynandet från snön på vintern och i luften då de hemska mörka molnen kan dra över och bara släpper oändlig mycket regn. Kan man ta ett tarp och polycro golv? Absolut, frågan är snarare vill man? Kan man ta med tält där man sätter upp inner och yttertält separat? Absolut, är det optimalt? Kanske inte. För mig funkar det att sätta upp innertält först och sedan yttertält. Med lite träning kan man få ihop ett sånt tält under en minut – det är inte mycket regn som kommer in då. Men personligen föredrar jag att kunna sätta upp yttertältet först och sedan innertält. De behöver dock inte sitta ihop som många tälttillverkare gör – då jag tycker om att kunna lägga yttertält om det är blött på utsidan av min ryggsäck och innertält på insidan. Med andra ord, det ska vara enkelt att dra isär inner och yttertält.

DSC06267Pyramid likande tält som denna är helt enastående på fjällen

Blåsigt Ibland, eller snarare oftast är det blåsigt i de svenska fjällen, och för den delen är alla fjäll blåsiga. Kanske inte orkanvind alla dagar, men inte helt ovanligt för vinden att blåsa uppemot 8-10 meter per sekund. Självklart är alla fjäll blåsiga! Det finns inga träd som fångar upp vinden! När vinden överstiger 12 meter per sekund duger inte ett vanligt tält längre, eller snarare, det är inte så många tält som duger i sådana vindar. Det är då tältbågar börjar ge vika, jag har sett och varit med om tältbågar som i princip exploderat i höga vindar. Och då inte endast billiga tält av dålig kvalitet.

IMG_2812.jpgHyperlite mountain gear Ultamid 2 väger 500gram är bland de mest stabila och lätta på marknaden

Här krävs mer kunskap än bombsäkra tält för att lyckas! Att bara köpa den dyraste tältet redo för en expedition på Everest  kan förstås funka, men det kommer fortfarande vara en skitkväll utan sömn. Har du försökt sova i tält under extrem höga vindar? Låtar som ett Formel 1 lopp som pågår utanför. Ska man sätta upp sitt tält på ett helt exponerat kalfjäll, då får man förvänta sig att något kommer att gå sönder. Det bästa tipset här är att titta på kartan innan du beger dig ut, markera områden som ser lite mindre exponerat ut. Tex nära skog, mellan stenar och så vidare och planera din resa utifrån att du vill kunna sova gott och tryggt på kvällarna.

IMG_3143.jpgTramplite shelter i Skottland

Sedan finns det klart bättre och sämre tält för fjäll. Enligt min mening är pyramidtält eller liknande formade tält de absolut bästa på kalfjäll, vinden har helt enkelt inte har något att ta tag i. Och genom att man använder stora tjocka vandringsstavar för att sätta upp tältet så finns det mycket liten chans för att något skall gå sönder. Viktigt är dock att det går att slå upp tältet relativt nära marken.

Nästa är de mer traditionella tunneltälten. De är lite tyngre men kan stå emot relativt höga vindar, så länge man sätta upp tälten rätt. Dock är det oftast de tälten som går sönder just för att man tror att man köpt ett tält rustat för Everest och sätter upp det på mycket exponerade platser.

Sist är tält med lätta bågar, fyrkantiga sidor och lätt tältduk. De kan börja vika sig och gå sönder redan i relativt milda vindar.

IMG_2831.jpg Tarptent Stratospire är ett superb tält för fjällvandring

Mygg – Om det är något som Sverige har mycket av är det mygg. Som tur är problemet som mest intensivt under endast några månader per år. Här, precis som tidigare, skulle jag rekommendera ett riktigt innertält. Inte bara ett myggnät över huvudet eller en liten bivack. Stundvis på fjällen kan det vara så tjockt med mygg att man inte får vara ifred en sekund. Föreställa dig då att den enda lugna stunden du får är när du kliver in i en liten bivack. Inte optimalt.

IMG_3268.jpgEnkel tunneltält är härliga i fjällen – liten, lätt, stabilt och golv

Mild – Det är alltid farligt för någon att underskatta fjällmiljön som det kanske verkar som jag gör. Så är det verkligen inte. Jag vill inte att ni ska tro att fjällen är som att vandra i skogarna runt Stockholm. Man ska ha mycket respekt för miljöerna man beger sig till, kolla ordentligt, läsa om området och förbereda sig smart utifrån vad man förväntar sig att möta. När jag skriver mild, handlar det mest om att det är väldigt sällan man kommer hamna i riktigt skit man inte förväntat sig. Svensk fjäll kan vara brutala stundvis, men som tur är, är det ytterst sällan under sommarmånaderna.

Andra saker att fundera på:

  • Använder du vandringsstavar, isåfall är det ganska poänglöst att använda tält som kräver tältbågar – Om man använder stavar är det lika bra att använda just dessa för att sätta upp sitt tält med. Då har med dubbelfunktion av sina prylar. Sparar både vikt och ökar stabiliteten.
  • Det är enkel att hamna i ”jag ska ha lättast möjlig tält” läge när man väl börjar bege sig in på lättviktstänkande. Oavsett vad jag skriver här kommer ni att köpa den absolut lättaste pryl och tar den upp till fjället för att esta. Det är en del av processen, men glöm inte att bekvämligheter är nog så viktigt som lätt vikt. Det är okej att bära med sig lite extra vikt för maximal komfort och trygghet. T ex tält med innertält – lite tyngre men mycket skönare och bekvämare.
  • Om man ska vandra 99% av sin tid på sommaren är det inte så förnuftigt att köpa ett tält gjort för vinteranvändning och som väger 5 kilo. Köp ett tält som du använder 99% av tiden, och hyr för resten.
  • Vad det gäller friluftsutrustning, får man oftast vad man betalar för. Betalar man 1000kr för ett tält från Kina, får man förvänta sig att den kanske är sämre kvalitet på material och sömnad och då är mer av en förbrukningsvara än något som förväntas hålla säsong efter säsong.

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Nemo Hornet 1 – A tent review

“Damn this is a tiny package!”… Literally the first words out of my mouth when I opened the box with the Nemo hornet 1. The Nemo Hornet one is probably the smallest tent package I have ever seen or held. The tent literally fits in the palm of my hand. And light, did I mention the Nemo hornet one is light? This of course led to my next thought “there is no way in hell this is a full size one man tent”. I am always suspicious of one man “ultralight-tents” by major producers. They usually prefer to sacrifice size and usability for weight.

What is the Nemo Hornet 1

The Nemo Hornet 1 is a semi-freestanding one man tent from Nemo equipment. Or in their own words:

If you’re looking for the master of ultralight tents, look no further. The Hornet offers the ultimate in livability and comfort. The 2-Person has two doors and two vestibules for two pounds, and the 1-Person weighs in at an ethereal 27 ounces.

The single pole construction allows for lightning quick setup, free-standing support, and minimal pole weight. Triangulated volumizing guy-outs increase interior space up to 15%, making your home on the trail even more livable. Hornet’s smart design and fabric set make it the ultimate ultralight experience.

 

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Weight

Since nobody actually understands ounces and pounds or really any of the imperial system (really, 32 degrees is freezing? what the hell is that.. not to speak of 212 for boiling.. WHAT THE HELL!) the 27 ounces literally says nothing about it’s weight. So, with my rant out of the way, the Nemo hornet 1 weighs just 780grams trail weight. I have it at about 800grams complete. That’s damn light for the usability of it. To put that into perspective, the Hilleberg enan weighs 1,2kilos complete, the Tarptent Notch weighs 800grams and the MLD Duomid with inner-tent weighs around 1kilo (minus weigh of trekking poles)

Livability

While the aforementioned Notch has the livability of a coffin (for me), the Nemo Hornet 1 is surprisingly roomy for even somebody as tall as I am 6’3″ or in a more comprehensable measurement of 190cm on the metric scale. Though, I would say that my height is probably the limit – anyone taller would probably be touching the ends of the tent. With that said, for me it’s more comfortable living space than the Terra nova 1 laser competition.

Height 102cm, length 221cm and width at 102cm

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The Nemo hornet may not be the largest one man tent on the market (that honor probably goes to the Tarptent Stratospire 1), but it’s certainly not the smallest. It has about the livability of something like the Terra nova laser one, but with it’s steep sloping walls it actually feels bigger than something like the Terra nova laser and Hilleberg Enan.

Extremes

I remember when I hiked Iceland a few years ago, that was the first time I ran into the Nemo Hornet 1. I don’t remember who I talked to or anything like that. But I remember talking to a guy who had been using the Nemo Hornet 1 for sometime and he was super happy with it. He did mention that in real heavy winds the hornet faulters if the extra guylines are not staked out. I can say that I had pitched my Duomid fairly close to his hornet and that night the winds were howling down the mountain side and my duomid was shaking pretty hard. I got out to re-stake some of the guys and took a look at his tent – it held up. Perhaps not as well as the Duomid but it certainly held it’s own.

I am mentioning that experience as I normally don’t pitch in exposed areas so I can’t really give an honest opinion about that on the Nemo Hornet 1. I will say that for everything I have used the tent for, it has held up really well.

Rain

“But that big gap on the back, it just has to let in a lot of water”.. No, no it doesn’t. That is however something I read about alot online, and found after a lot of research nobody that actually owns the tent that has had that problem. I myself have not had the problem when the tent is properly pitched. So, my conclusion is that with the very tall bathtub floor, I just don’t see how rain would be a serious problem.

Pitching the tent

Back in the early days of my hiking life I used to only want tents that would pitch the inner and outer tents together. I.e the Hilleberg pitch. Don’t get me wrong, in areas where it’s only raining for days and weeks on end it’s probably to be preferred. But these days I do prefer pitching the inner and outer separately as it allows a little more flexibility in setup and tear down. The Nemo hornet 1 is pitched with a separate inner and outer tent – which for me is excellent. I like being able to pitch only the inner if the sun and bugs are out, while being able to separate the outer from the inner on tear down during a wet period is also quite nice. I can keep the outer on the outside of my pack, while keeping my inner tent on the inside of my pack nice and dry.

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To say the Hornet 1 is easy to pitch is an understatement. It can be pitched in a minute needing only the minimal of brainpower to setup. This tent is in other words idiot proof.

Conclusion

Ok, so the Nemo hornet 1 is roomy, light, double walled and relatively cheap. It’s easy to setup, holds up well to most weather conditions and if you don’t use trekking poles is just a damn good solution for most solo hikers in my opinion. Downfalls then? Of course a tent this light means that it’s going to be using much lighter materials that probably won’t hold up to the test of time. My guess is that the Nemo Hornet 1 is good for a few good seasons of relatively easy usage. But, it the wind picks up and really starts to batter the hell out of it, well, all bets are off. I don’t know what the tear strength is of the 15 denier sil-nylon that the Nemo uses, but if I compare it to the other 15 d tents I’ve had, I would say it’s good for a few seasons but not much after that.

Of course, most of us buy and sales tents several times over the course of a season.. so.. there is that.

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To buy this tent:

https://backpackinglight.dk/tents/nemo-hornet-1p-ultralight-backpacking-tent

Disclaimer:

Nemo doesn’t pay me to write reviews of their tents, I don’t get these products for free from Nemo. Instead I have a very priviledged position in life in that I run and own a Backpacking gear shop here in Europe called Backpackinglight.se. I have the honor of being able to try and test gear before importing and selling. In other words, if the gear is crap, my shop is not going to sell it.

 

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TGO Challenge 2018 part 1 video and pics

Scotland, what a beautiful nation and what an incredible hike Scotland has to offer. Truly incredible experience and one I thoroughly enjoyed. The TGO Challenge is a hiking adventure that is organized once a year since 1980. You have a few different starting points, and a few ending, and you make your own route through the country. Our route started in Lochailort and ended at Dunnottar castle of the coast of Stonehaven – A total hike of about 340km with some of the detours and other site we sent of towards. We did this is 12 days of hiking.

you can either read all of this, or just click on the video and watch all of it..

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The full route as seen on Viewranger

I flew into Edinburgh, took the direct bus to Glasgow, in Glasgow I sent two packages to myself at the post office that is located right outside the bus stop. I had my resuplies sent to the Inverlochy villas in Fort william where I was staying for the night and Braemar youth hostel. This cost about 3pounds per package.

From Glasgow I met up with Niels blok who has ultralightpedestrian.com, and we took the train up to Lochailort where we arrived at around 23.00 in the evening. Tired, and no place to sleep we pitched the Ultamid 2 in the parking lot right outside the train station. This worked just fine as we arrived on the last train, and the first train wouldn’t start until around 7.30 in the morning.. plenty of time to get sleep.

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We woke up, packed our shit and after a nice long and healthy fight with the Lochailort inn employees, we were able to get breakfast and check in for the TGO Challenge. Though we were one step away from having to grovel on our hands and knees to get that damn breakfast.

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From there we made our way into the mountains via the Prince charlies cave, which we didn’t see, along the Loch beoraid where we stopped and ate breakfast at or around the Kinlochbeoraid bothy

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From there we pushed through the Gleann Donn, a wild trail, or rather no trail, just bogs and rocks to climb up a ravine and down into Glen Finnan where all ambition to climb another ravine was lost and we set up camp at the bothy there.

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After a nice evening at the camp we decided that the ravine wasn’t for us, so we made a detour around the ravine as you can see in the pic below.

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That worked out just fine for us and we continued on our journey.

IMG_2876.jpgDay two started with that detour taking us around Beinn an Tuim, though, next time I will probably opt to climb up and over as I don’t care for road walking too much either.

Once we caught up with our route we then made our way along the Leann Fionnlighe which was rather spectacular at times, felt like we were heading into true scandinavien mountains. Large rolling hills, wet bogs, bugs and some waterfalls along the way.

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After what turned out to be the worst campsite of the trail, a small little tick infested hell by the water (though the water and view was nice).. We trekked our way into Fort william, ate a burger, drank a beer and changed out my Ultamid 2 for a Terra nova laser 1 competition. Several reasons for that really, 1. I wanted to try a new tent that I had plans on importing and selling 2. I wanted a tent with a smaller footprint and 3. I wanted a little better protection from ticks. My hiking mate Niels had been talking about his horrific experience with Lime disease, and just the whole, spending a week in a hospital nearly dead stuff kind of scared me into submission.. inner tent it would be then.

 

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Gear review: Gossamer Gear The One tent

This is not a review of the old Spinnaker cloth The one, rather of the new silnylon The one. And more recently the 2017 version (if there is a difference between 2016 and 2017 I don’t know). Anyway, the One has been a classic ultralight solo tent, and one that has been used and abused by many backpackers over the years until the Spinnaker cloth version of the tent was cut. Mainly from what I understand because Spinnaker cloth itself was no longer being produced. In anycase, not very interesting but gives me something to fill up my word count with.

Now, 2017 I brought in The One to Backpackinglight.dk webshop to sell, and like everything else if I can’t stand behind a product, I don’t bother selling them. So, I have been testing the One quite rigorously now for the last 5 months and this review will be a rundown of what I think about the One, it’s goods, bads and quirks.

Video Review: 

What is the One: 

The One is an ultralight, fully enclosed, complete single wall tent. Meaning, it has a floor, walls, bugnetting and everything else you need to be considered a tent. The one is easily setup with two trekking poles, or tent poles.

Weight:

On my scales the One complete with stuff sack, guy lines and seam sealed weighs just 618grams. Add 6 tent pegs and your upp to about 700grams.

Setup: 

Stake the four corners, stick in trekking poles, stake out the trekking pole guy lines and your done.. stretch and tighten accordingly. Takes a few setups but you’ll be an expert in no time!

Useage: 

Well, anywhere really. But should probably avoid winter camping and highly exposed and wet campsites. The silnylon and low 1200mm waterproofing means that it’s not a tent for week long trips in heavy wind and rainy mountain trips. For everything else it works great.

The Good:

  1. the one like most silnylon tents packs up nice and small – I know this doesn’t seem like it should matter, but the amount of volume a cuben tent can take up in a backpack is crazy. Silnylon on the other hand has about half the pack volume of a caparable cuben fiber tent.
  2. Big – unlike most ultralight solo tents, the One is fairly large and I feel that even for me at 190cm or 6’3″ The One is roomy. Definitely enough room to situp in and move around.
  3. Lightweight – at 618grams the One is hard to beat for size and comfort
  4. The One is a complete shelter – I don’t need to think about bug nets, bathtub floors, seam sealing or add-ons in general.
  5. Nice pockets on inside of tent
  6. Easy setup – takes about a minute to setup once you know what your doing
  7. I love tents that can open up large – the One offers a massive screen view when in the vestibule is rolled up. One of my favorite aspects of this tent.

The Bad:

  1. the 15D silnylon seems like it would rip quite easy. Though, I have not had this problem, and it’s more of a feeling than an actual gripe
  2. Silnylon – silnylon has it’s pluses and minuses. A minus is that it stretches – which means you have to tighten down the tent from time to time, and more so when wet.
  3. Tent peg intensive. Requires 6 pegs to setup. I don’t like having to use 6 pegs for setup. I like 2-4 for setup and 2-4 for strengthening.
  4. Because of the very thin silnylon floor, you really have to check where you put your tent – the nylon if placed on wet ground, will seep in water (bad grammar here) in anycase, if the ground is wet, the inside of your tent will get wet when applying pressure.

Improvements:

I really don’t see too much in the way of improvements, but I would like to see a tie out point in the middle of the tent side. Much like a Lunar solo with would give me the option of tieing out the side to give me more head/feet space, better wind protection and better overall stability.

A small zipper opening on non-vestibule side. This way I can extend the trekking pole from the inside when the material starts to stretch, or just place small odds and ends that I don’t necessarily need with me in my tent or under the vestibule

Conclusion: 

The One in my opinion is a great, relatively cheap ultralight selection for most people doing thru-hikes on something like the PCT or Appalachian trail, forest trails and so on. I don’t know if I would be comfortable using the One on a wide open site, valley and so on. I also setup my tents in the least exposed areas possible, and I certainly wouldn’t make an exception for the Gossamer gear One.

I don’t mention condensation in my review because I don’t really see much of a difference between this or any other tent. Camp selection, ventilation and outside temperatures are always the biggest determining factors when it comes to condensation. The One has great ventilation so in theory condensation shouldn’t be a problem – or atleast not more of a problem than any other option.

Where to buy:

If you live in Europe than in my own opinion Backpackinglight.dk is the best shop – in Sweden backpackinglight.se