Category: Gear list

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My favorite 2-man tents for 2020

  1. Big agnes Copper spur HV ul 2 – There is a reason the Copper Spur hv ul2 is one of the most popular tents in history. This tent is a fantastic balance of weight, stability and living comfort. At just 1220 grams and freestanding, the Copper spur can more or less put up with anything the mountains can throw at it. Granted, my size at 190cm, I would rather pick up the HV UL 3 version instead if I’m sharing the tent. But I can say that with just about any two man tent.

Positives:

  • Fast and easy setup
  • Ultralight two man tent
  • Stable enough for most conditions
  • Great ventilation
  • Love the new awnings
  • Double entry and exits
  • Freestanding

Negatives:

  • Can be small for two people
  • There are lighter solutions – but not many
  • Outer tent and inner are pitched separately
  1. Hilleberg Anaris – A proper two man trekking pole tent from Hilleberg that can withstand anything the mountains throw at it. Fast and easy to pitch, this is a great two man tent for most people not looking for the lightest solution, but a long term solution that will last a lifetime and a great weight for two people at around 1309 grams ex tent pegs. The Anaris is also a very flexible tent which is why it kicks out several other similar solutions that might weigh less. Can be used as a simple tarp, or if you just want to pitch the inner, or half and half. Hilleberg is one of the originators of the trekking pole tent, in fact the design of the Anaris was more or less stolen from a tent they introduced in the early 70’s. Generous sizing and vestibules make the Anaris an excellent purchase.

Positives:

  • Generous sizing – a proper comfortable two man tent
  • Great weight for two man tent
  • Very flexible solution
  • Easy to pitch
  • Can withstand the mountains
  • Will last a lifetime

Negatives:

  • There are lighter solutions
  • When pitched in “shit weather mode” the ends can be a little low
  • Would like to see a single man version of the Anaris
  • I hate the tent pegs. The three star top always cuts my hands when I have to use force
  1. Luxe outdoor sil Hexpeak f6a – Big, light and cheap. A great combination! Granted, outer and inner together make this the heaviest combination of my recommendations. But a Tipi this size normally doesn’t need an inner tent. Pitch it close to the ground and you’re not going to be bothered with bugs. The Hexpeak 6a in a generous sized two man tent that comes complete with inner tent and tent pegs. I have used mine in some seriously bad weather above treeline on a few occasions with zero issues. If you’re looking for a great Tipi solution for two people or one big and a bunch of kids, the Hexpeak might be the perfect tent for you.
Not a pic of the f6 – this is the Hexpeak v8.. Similar but not the same. This is also the winter version with stove jack. I couldn’t find my pics of the V6

Positives:

  • Comes complete with everything that is needed
  • Generous sized two man tent
  • Robust material will hold a long time
  • Great price

Negatives:

  • Heavy compared to the other tents on my list (if bringing inner tent)
  • Massive footprint. You need to find a camp spot big enough
  • Needs to be seam sealed
  1. Tarptent Stratospire 2 – A massive two man tent that can withstand anything, more or less. If you want lots of room, the stratospire 2 is hard to beat. Many of the reasons I loved the Stratospire 1 apply for the Stratospire 2. My only complaint? Its really big. This size has a cost when trying to find a good flat surface to pitch your tent on.
The Tarptent Stratospire Li – DCF dyneema tent. Weighs just 750 grams with tent pegs

Positives:

  • Big and light
  • Stabile in most three season weather
  • Massive vestibules

Negatives:

  • Requires a lot of space to pitch
  • Needs to be seam sealed

Alternatively you can get the Stratospires LI DCF version of the Stratospire at just 750 grams!

  1. Hyperlite mountain gear Ultamid 2 – 471 gram alpine tent. I have used the Ultamid 2 and it’s bigger brother the Ultamid 4 year round above treeline. To say the Ultamid 2 is a competent tent in any conditions is an understatement. From being snowed in late April, to sunny hikes in Sarek the Ultamid 2 has never let me down. Now that 471g is the weight of the outer only, so if you need an inner add another 500 grams or so. The Ultamid 2 also makes for a great solo tent. If you are looking for the perfect solo tent that even works as an excellent 2 man tent, look no further than the Hyperlite mountain gear Ultamid 2.

Positives:

  • Ultralight 
  • True all season tent
  • Big
  • Takes little room in pack
  • Fast and easy to setup
  • Easy to repair

Negatives:

  • Inner tent isn’t included in sale price
  • Single walled tents = Condensation is more obvious
  • Tent pegs and Trekking pole extender not included

Bonus Tent:

The Vargo No-Fly 2 man tent – I couldn’t possibly leave the Vargo No-fly out here, so I am cheating on my own list. Anyway, the no-fly 2 probably has the biggest living area of any of the aforementioned tents as the sides are steep, so you don’t lose any length or width because of hard sloping sides like you get in a pyramid tent. The No-fly is also for the most part freestanding, and I have pitched it on tiny broken sidewalks on the edge of a river with no pegs. Two big vestibules, extremely easy to pitch, great ventilation and a lightweight at just 1195 grams. Did I mention everything you need is included in the package? Seam sealed, tent pegs and carbon fiber tent poles. Excellent creation from the Vargo team.

Positives:

  • Fast and easy to pitch
  • Freestanding
  • Great ventilation
  • Complete tent
  • Lightweight

Negatives:

  • I would have liked to see a bigger side opening with the vestibules. Demands a bit of trickery to open up completely on sunny days
  • Included is 4 vargo ti pegs, I think 6 would have been better as it requires 6-8 if you want it completely pitched. 

Runner up: Zpacks duplex,

Zpacks Duplex: I felt a lot of internal pressure to include the Zpacks Duplex here. But for me personally the tent doesn’t work. My head and feet push hard on the outer tent, meaning I get wet. Wind blows through it, so on top of being wet I also get cold. The tent also loves condensation, so morning rain showers are common. However, if I were to hike warmer climates, summertime, then I would definitely look hard at bringing the zpacks Duplex with me. However for me, in the swedish mountains in most of the conditions I find myself in, the Duplex simply is a no go.

These tents can be purchased in Sweden at https://www.backpackinglight.se

In Europe at: https://www.backpackinglight.dk

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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.

 

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A night in paradise: video and gear list

Hammock glamping.. that’s right, glamping maxed out, and no shame at all. The first real day of spring has arrived in Stockholm so I did what any highly motived government employee would do: I ditch work early, packed my backpack and headed to the lake.. This particular area is called “Paradiset” – The paradise. I agree. I love this little area and it’s only about a 15 minute drive from my house in Farsta.

No long walk, no ultralight, no dehydrated fodder – just glamping. I made an awesome little lentils, carrots and broccoli casserole in a thick and heavy Trangia kitchen set along with freshly grinded coffee beans in a snow peak coffee press. I slept like a king in the REI quarter dome hammock system (assuming kings sleep well of course). All in all it was just a great night out and one that was sorely needed after the long and depressing winter.

Testing different editing options, I edited this video completely on the Ipad mini using Lumafusion. Not a perfect edit but good enough.

Full gear list:

https://lighterpack.com/r/8nul9i

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Full packing list and route Sarek 2017

It’s finally here.. my summer journey through Sarek national park in Northern Sweden. I will be leaving from my apartment here in Umeå at 06.30 in the morning by train, and arrive at the gates to Sarek at 17.30 in Ritsem. My journey through sarek if I hussle shoudn’t take more than 5-6 days, however since I plan och doing a lot of day trips, climb several of the higher peaks and do some fishing along the outskirts of the park (fishing is illegal in the park). I plan on pushing my journey to around 10 days. Basically just living life and enjoying my time in some of the more secluded parts of europe. There are no trails, stores or cottages in Sarek, so everything I need on the trail I will have with me in my backpack.

I have made some changes to my gear since making my last post, that have increased the total weight of my packing by about 600 grams. I can live with the extra weight as it is justified by the added warmth and security along a wet and cold trail. The trail this year is much colder and wetter than usual, which means I have to be better prepared for these kinds of conditions, hence the extra weight in rain gear and warmth.

Some of the changes I have made:

I traded out my thermarest xlite small and ul sleeping pad total weight 350grams for the warmer and larger thermarest xtherm weighing 580 grams. There is still a lot of snow along the trail and I don’t want to have to compensate a cold nights sleep by bringing more sweaters and jackets and so on.

I also traded out my Ricoh GR for my Sony rx 100. Same weight, same usb charging, only rx100 gives me the flexibilty of good video and zoom.

Tenkara rod and flies – I added this because, why not! 130 grams for a complete fishing kit. Seems like a small sacrifice to have in some of the worlds best fishing waters.

I’ve opted for the MLD Trailstar and Innertent instead of the Hilleberg enan. I just prefer the room and comfort of the Trailstar to that of the Hilleberg Enan. Weight is about the same as the Enan, and living space is more than twice as large. (well 100 grams lighter but whos counting..)

Packed and ready to go! 13,5 kilos (food weighs less than 5 kilos and not the 6,5 as according to my list) The advantage of the HMG Windrider and the reason I bought it, is the fact that for unsupported trips over a week it’s hard to stuff everything in a 50 liter bag. (when travelling to regions of the world like Alaska and northern sweden)

  All the food being prepared for it’s stuff sack, a 13 liter sea to summit bag.

 

 

Complete gear list:

Item Ounces Grams
Packing
Hmg Sidewinder 4400 34.2 970
Red 2l Pack Bag 0.7 21
Red 4l Pack Bag 0.9 25
Red 4l Pack Bag 0.9 25
Thermarest Pillow Sheet 1.9 54
Shelter
Ti Tent Pegs 3.5 98
Mld Trailstar 18.7 531
Trailstar Inner 14 397
Sleep
Eye Mask 0.5 15
Enlightened Equipment Quilt 22.9 650
Xtherm 20.5 580
Cooking
Sea To Summit Long Spoon Ti 0.4 12
Zefa Water Bottle 3.5 98
Ti Tri Fusion 3.2 90
Snowpeak Ti 900 W/lid 4 114
Cozy 1.2 33
Clothing
Mld Waterproof Gloves 1.6 46
Wp 200g Pants 6.1 174
Haglofs Green Wind Jacket 2.3 65
Headnet 0.9 26
As Tucas Red Beanie 1.8 52
Grey Patagontia Shirt 4.8 137
Haglifs Lim Puffy Jacket 6.7 191
Wp Thick Socks 2.9 81
Alpine Rain Jacket 6.4 181
Soft Shell Rain Pants 6.7 190
Overshoes 0 0
Other
Murla Knife 0.7 20
Superfeet 4.2 119
Ul Teeth Care 3.1 89
Iphone 6s Plus Ink Case 9.9 282
Msr Towel 1.2 35
Thermarest Repair Kit 0.5 14
First Aid Kit 3.1 89
Usb Cables 0.8 24
Globalstar satphone 8.5 240
Sony RX100 8.6 245
Dji Spark Kit 17.7 501
20100 Anker Battery Pack 16.2 460
13000 battery Pack 12.3 349
4400 Battery Pack 4.1 116
Amazon Kindle 7.4 209
Gopro Hero 5 W/3-way 9.7 275
Dji Spark Remote 9.7 275
Worn
Aklima Hoody Wool 13.3 377
Haglofs Grey Zip Hiking Pants 10.8 307
Merrell Allout Terra Trail Shoes Pair 23.5 665
Black Beenie 1.2 35
Suunto Ambit 2.8 78
Craft Underwear 2 57
Fizan Sticks 12.5 354
Consumables
Toilet Papper 5.3 150
Coffee 3.5 100
Alcohol 14.1 400
Food For A Day 25 600
Food For A Day 25 600
Food For A Day 25 600
Food For A Day 25 600
Food For A Day 25 600
Food For A Day 25 600
Food For A Day 25 600
Food For A Day 25 600
Everything ex worn 511.8 13648
Everything ex cosumeables 288.9 8198

My route has not changed since the last time:I will be starting in Ritsem and finishing in Kvikkjokk. Should be a great little trip! This is the straight trip to kvikkjokk, but as I’ve said, I plan on making a lot of daytrips and sideroads along the way.

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My camera gear for Sarek 2017

I find that I absolutely love video diaries of backpacking.. I have been following and watching them for years on YouTube, but I never really got around to doing it myself. I’ve tried a few times on a smaller scale, but never any real effort. My YouTube channel I don’t even bother marketing and in general I’m not very active on there. I’m not sure why this is to be honest, i guess I just couldn’t figure out how to make it work in practice while holding onto my ultralight philosophy. As well as being stuck on just doing gear reviews, which honestly, is a chore. On top of that I’m not really a computer guy – I don’t like editing video or photography and making an interesting video out of hours and hours of footage is no easy task.

With that said, because I love the format of video documentaries, I am going to start working on it more and more. I am changing up my camera gear for my upcoming trips along the High coast trail in northern Sweden and my two weeks through Sarek journey. My strategy is simple: Record everything! I found out the hard way that it’s damn difficult to make an interesting movie with limited footage. I have been editing my Iceland video now and realize that I hardly recorded anything at all, so as an embarrassment to myself and to the suffrage of everyone watching my videos, I do a 2 minute intro where I’m just describing what was happening… In any case, it kind of works, but would have been better to show instead of tell.

A link to the video: Alone in Iceland part 1.

This means that my Fujifilm x-t2 camera and lenses have been sold to make room for video gear and after my Iceland trip, I’m convinced a pocket camera works wonders for what I do. So some of the gear that my Fujifilm x-t2 has financed so far are as follows:

Gopro hero 3 black edition with accessories – used cost about 150USD (200 grams)
Ricoh GR – An excellent digital compact camera that I absolutely love 200USD (245 grams)

ricoh-gr-front
I used the Sony RX100 in Iceland, however I find the Ricoh GR to be a completely different beast altogether with regards to picture quality

DJI Spark drone and controller with two extra batteries 1000USD (550 grams complete)

dji-spark-white-hover
The DJI Spark is a tiny drone with serious power

To top it all off I have two 20100mhv battery packs to keep everything charged along the way.

I’ve sold all my Fuji gear for around 2400USD

Total weight for my new photography and video gear = 1095grams
Total weight of Fujifilm x-t2 with lenses and batteries = 1114grams

Weight of battery packs 490grams each (added one for the drone)

Total weight increase for new system: 300grams

Total money savings: around 1000usd

I can live with a total weight increase of 300grams for so much more flexibility and control. The Ricoh GR works fantastic for me as almost all my photography in the wild is at 28mm, no matter what lenses and cameras I have with me – my shots are always wide. and now I have true video capabilities.

Concerns about drones: I got some feedback with regards to bringing a drone with me or drones in general. It seems to be a very hot topic in the USA and something I hadn’t thought about before as drones have never bothered me personally. I will call it the “road rage syndrome”, there are people who have an incredible amount of pent up rage and are looking for something to go bezerk over and I have to take this into consideration when flying the spark.

To the advantage of the spark it is tiny, unobtrusive and quiet. With that said I think drones should fall somewhere between loud music in camp and deficating on the trail.  Neither of these should be practiced, and with proper fore thought and consideration for others, can easily be avoided.

My strategy for succeeding with video:
Record everything! Better to record days and days of video and edit down to a highly interesting 30 minute clip, than to take minimal video and try and stretch it out.

I also need to work on my editing skills. I don’t like working on computers that much, so I will have to find presets and styles that I like so I can get my editing done quickly. I also know what kind of footage I like – So I will try to emulate this.

Where it could possibly fail:
I like to keep things simple, sometimes it’s a hassle to record. To always have to think about the shot. To pull out a drone and start recording takes me out of the moment. hopefully I can overcome this, as I find I really love the video format, and I love watching my old videos of all the hikes I’ve done. (sadly I have barely edited any of them… so nothing is on youtube yet)

 

 

 

 

 

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Starting your backpacking life

I have a friend who is starting to get interested in backpacking, we went on a short trip last year and had a great time despite the fact that we melted each-others shoes and almost burned down our hut. Anyway, to say his backpacking skills were limited is an understatement, and his gear was pretty bad as well. All things considered it wasn’t really his thing. But the experience kept with him and he’s starting to book different trips for backpacking and so on. With that he also wants suggestions on gear – this is when I realize that I’m better at writing generalizations than actual gear suggestions based on user experience.

So I’m having to really think about this a bit as I want him to have good gear that will last a while, be easy to use, comfortable and light. I want him to avoid the regular failings of every newcomer to the backpacking experience. The one that starts with the visit to the local gear shop, asking the salespeople what gear to buy and leaving with no money and a shit load of useless gear that will be phased out with experience.

To start I have to look at my local market: What is possible for him to buy in our area. Being we are in Sweden it’s not the easiest to buy “ultralight gear” without it costing and arm and leg (with import fees and shipping). Also, one of the pleasures of shopping is seeing, feeling and experiencing. So in this sense the local gear shop is an excellent place to start for a newbie. It’s not just a question of staring at a picture and making a purchasing choice.

I wrote in an earlier article that I didn’t think that “Ultralight” might be the best choice for every backpacker, and I still hold that to be true. I think staying true to the ultralight idea requires a steady knowledge of a specific climate. (why ultralight tends to work very well along major trails like the Appalachian and PCT but much less so in brooks range alaska and Northern Sweden, where temperatures and weather can be highly unpredictable). With that said I do think that striving after minimal weight should be the focus for just about anybody. Why buy a backpack that holds 70 liters and weighs 3 kilos when you can purchase a backpack that can hold 70 liters and weighs just 900grams. The former is just a stupid choice regardless of where one might hike.

The same can be said for a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping matt as well. Ultralight in the regard of sleeping under a cuben tarp and no ground floor is perfectly acceptable in warmer more predictable climates and trails. 300 grams and your done. Or you can choose a two man Hilleberg beast that weighs 3kilos. While the Hilleberg might be perfect for two people during a winter trip, it serves no real purpose in the summer months. However something like a Mountain laurel designs Trailstar with an inner tent might be the best of all worlds. Total weighing under 1 kilo, large enough for two people and can withstand just about any weather that is thrown it’s way.

DSCF4248-2
The Hilleberg enan is a fun, fast tent big enough for most users. Expensive but will definately hold for the long run.

 

dsc07830
The MLD duomid is a large tent that weighs around 600 grams. With an innertent duomid becomes the ultimate 1kilo dubble wall tent.

This kind of reasoning should be applied to gear purchases. I know it’s an awesome experience walking into  a gear shop and buying all the coolest gadgets, and perhaps you should buy them so that you can get a better understanding of what you actually need. But, if your more like my friend, who will probably make the initial investments but never keep the same kind of interest that I have, than buying the right gear from the very beginning will help you and (him) keep the interest longer by making those first crucial hikes an enjoyable experience.

In this exercise I will put up several gear solutions in table form and total weight. One is the traditional solution, the middle column is for “lightweight in gear shops” solution and the third is the optimal lightweight solution for any newbie that won’t cost significant sums of money. You can start splurging on cuben fibre gear once the interest has become big enough to justify that kind of investment.

 

Gear choices:
Traditional weight grams lbs. Lightweight gearshop weight kilo lbs. Cheap(ish) preffered lightweight weight grams lbs.
Backpack Backpack Backpack
Fjällräven Kajka 75liter 3.6 7.92 Granite gear V.C 0.98 2.156 HMG Sidewinder 4400 70liter 0.980 2.156
tent tent tent
Hilleberg Nallo 3 6.6 Hileberg Enan 1.2 2.64 MLD Trailstar + inner 0.98 2.156
sleeping bag sleeping bag sleeping bag
Fjällräven Sarek 3 season 1.3 2.86 Mountain hardware hyperlamina spark 0.65 1.43 Mountain hardware hyperlamina spark 0.65 1.43
Sleeping mat Sleeping mat Sleeping mat
Exped down 9 1.2 2.64 Thermarest xlite regular 0.38 0.836 Small Thermarest xLite 0.23 0.506
Total big three: 9.1 20.02 3.21 7.062 2.840 6.248

 

It is possible to get a lighter tent and even cheaper tent than the Hilleberg Enan in a gear shop. I just put in the Enan because out of gearshop tents available the Enan is my preferred tent. Expensive but great. However the Mountain laurel designs Duomid or Trailstar with an inner-tent is atleast in my own reasoning the best all around solution for comfort, weight and durability. This I have as my choices in the “prefered gear list” column. The difference between gearshop and prefered is the fact that prefered will probably have to be special ordered directly from the producers websites while the gearhop is usually gear easily found in most gearshops.

Also, there are certainly lighter and warmer sleeping bags than the Hyperlamina spark, but for a good three-season lightweight sleeping bag that is cheap, the hyperlamina is hard to beat.

All these gear choices are chosen for the solo adventurer in three season hiking in all-around temeratures and climates. Meaning that this solution will work just as well on the pacific coast trail as it would in northern sweden.

A good rule of thumb when purchasing gear for the first time is the 3 for 3 concept. The three biggest pieces of gear: tent, sleep system and backpack for a total under 3 kilos. The lightweight gear shop solution crosses the threshold by 200 grams, but I think that’s ok all things considered.

 

 

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Snowy arctic paradise and gear failure hell

I felt the warmth on my face as the afternoon sun crept through the mountain ridges, my body hot from from the layers of winter clothing and the gore-tex jacket and pants keeping all the moisture in. My winter backpack weighing in at 11 kilos and well prepared for anything the cold winter night could throw my way. I had been longing for this moment for over 4 months, planning, preparing and daydreaming about this very scene, the skis under my feet, backpack on my back and the magnificent mountainous regions stretching as far as my eyes could see.

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I had planned everything in the minutest of details, nothing left to chance, this far out in the Swedish wilds in the middle of winter is nothing to take lightly. -20 degrees and fridged wind blowing through the valley, even the slightest mistake could lead to serious problems.

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My skis, a pair of Madshus Glittertind backcountry skis are made for this kind of backcountry touring, my poles and my trusty ski boots all fitted and working in unison, propelling me across the harsh arctic landscape. A smile is stuck on my face, and sheer joy has taken over my consciousness. Then, from out of nowhere I hear a snap, suddenly my ski is off to the side of me, I lose my balance and fall, somewhat reluctantly, headfirst into a deep snow drift. Smile gone, joy replaced with pain, the pain of freezing wind blowing down onto my wet, cold face. ”Shit” I said, as I looked down, realizing the sole on my ski boot had separated from the boot itself.

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Sitting there, hands frozen, ears and toes starting to go numb, and tears dripping from my eyes because of the cold harsh wind, I knew I had a problem. 10 kilometers away from the nearest cottage, and now no skis to ride on. As I looked up, not too far away I spotted a small emergency wind shelter, strategically placed for just these kinds of incidents. I picked myself up and made my way to the shelter. I took off my ski boot and assessed the damage – the sole had almost completely come off from the rest of my boot. Not sure how to fix it, I did the only thing I could do, I wiped my boot clean, pulled out my duck tape and got to work.

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The patch job might not have been the best, but for fucks sake, it’s duck tape and I’m desperate. As the saying goes ”if you can’t fix it with duck tape, your not using enough”. After fixing my ski boot I had a decision to make: Stay here at the wind shelter for the night, or jump on my skis and hope I can make it back to my starting point and to safety before night fall. I sat in the shelter for a while longer, freezing, I decided it would be best to jump on my skis and make a go for it.

I learned some very important lessons this day: 1. Duck tape doesn’t hold in freezing cold and 2. If one boot breaks, there is a high possibility the other will follow suit.

After less than two kilometers into my 10 kilometer journey both the silver tape and my only working boot broke. 8 kilometers back to safety, night fall in an hour and I was starting to prefer the warmth of a house and bed to my current predicament.

Now balancing on two cross country skis I made my way painstakingly slow and wet (I fell, a lot). I couldn’t help but see myself in an episode of some Bear Grylls survival show, fantasizing about how I might have to eat tree bark and drink my own piss to survive. Or perhaps I would be like one of those Vietnam blokes that during the war sought refuge in the jungles only to come out 40 years later to a whole new world. Yes, these are the fantasies that kept my mind occupied during this cold journey back to safety. Finally, after deep in fantasy about how king Gustav Vasa must have felt this way when he skied 90 kilometers on one ski in the 1600s to get away from an invading army, finally, I crossed the marker I had been waiting for, and not too soon either. The 2 kilometer marker.

Now both my soles have come completely off, there was simply no possibility for me to even balance on my skis anymore. So I took my skis off, strapped them on my HMG sidewinder, took my ski boots off and hiked the remaining distance in knee high snow. It was cold, but exhilarating, my adrenaline pumping hard kept my feet and body warm.

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This is the story of my 4 day trip in the frozen backcountry of Jämtland in northern Sweden. The 4 day trip that ended up being just one day because of one fateful decision I made the week prior: Namely, the choice not to buy new ski boots when I knew the ones I had were starting to get worse of the wear. I knew I probably should have, I knew it in advance, I had even looked at a few but opted to wait until next season, thinking I could get one more out of the boots I had. To say this story could have ended much much worse is an understatement. No cell communications, no GPS phone with me, and the particular route I chose was the complete opposite of the one I had left with my wife – for really spontaneous reasons.

With that said, I had a great time, I learned a lot and I can laugh about it now. So heres my suggestion – when it comes to winter camping, don’t be stupid.

My gear for the trip:

Item Ounces Grams
Packing
Thermarest Pillow Sheet 1.9 54
Black Pillow Case Holder 1.5 43
Red 2l Pack Bag 0.7 21
Hmg Sidewinder 4400 34.2 970
Shelter
Msr Winter Stake 0.8 22
Msr Winter Stake 0.8 22
Msr Winter Stake 0.8 22
Msr Winter Stake 0.8 22
Hilleberg Enan 38.8 1100
Sleep
Montbell Ul Pillow 2.6 73
Enlightened Equipment Quilt 22.9 650
Pee Bottle 0.5 15
Xtherm 20.5 580
Ee 30 Syntheic 28.1 798
Cooking
Sea To Summit Long Spoon Ti 0.4 12
Zefa Water Bottle 3.5 98
Marches 0.4 11
Feet Warmer Water Bottle 0.4 10
Feet Warmer Water Bottle 0.4 10
Evernew Flatpot W Lid 4.8 136
Clothing
Western Mountaineering Booties 4 114
Wp 200g Pants 6.1 174
Haglofs Green Wind Jacket 2.3 65
Kristal Ul Gator 3.2 92
As Tucas Red Beanie 1.8 52
Montbell Puffy Pants 16.8 475
Haglofs Black Layer 2 Sweater 14.3 405
Wp Thick Socks 2.9 81
Hestra Mittens 8 226
Wm Flight Jacket Xl 13 368
Haglifs Lim Puffy Jacket 6.7 191
Other
Murla Knife 0.7 20
Candle Lantern 6 170
Ul Teeth Care 3.1 89
Bd Headlamp 3.6 101
Iphone 6s Plus Ink Case 9.9 282
Msr Towel 1.2 35
First Aid Kit 3.1 89
Usb Cables 0.8 24
Snowclaw 5.9 168
Fuji X-t1 Body 16.1 456
Fuji Samyang 12mm 10.4 294
Fuji 18-55 11 311
Fuji Battery 1.6 46
Fuji Battery 1.6 46
13000 Battery Pack 12.3 348
Worn
Black Beenie 1.2 35
Aklima Hoody Wool 13.3 377
Black Shell Pants 25.3 717
Salomon Goretex Orange Shell 870 31 879
Puma Winter Running Tights 9.4 267
Fleece Mittens Bula 2.5 70
As Lucas Ul Pants 2.3 64
Consumables
Butane Cannister Small 7.1 202
Food For A Day 26.5 750
Food For A Day 26.5 750
Food For A Day 26.5 750
Toilet Papper 5.3 150
Total 423.1 11993
Gear list

Ultralight pack list – coast 2 coast 2016

Well this sucks.. I have been planning and longing for my coast to coast hike for about 5 months only to be bed ridden with fever and all around feelin shit when the time came around for the hike. Well, that’s just how things are sometimes. In any case I will post my actual packing list anyway.

It’s about time for my summer hiking season to start! I have a nice little 230 kilometer hike planned starting friday thru wednesday of next week. I will be meeting up with my buddies Jörgen and Jonas at Coast 2 Coast Sweden and hike with them to Varberg. I decided not to do the entire hike as I am now officially a “salary slave” and want to save some of my semester days for my other hikes. (well thats the official story anyway, the truth is that I don’t really care too much for the first part of the hike as it really flat, hard on the feet and dry). I will be taking the train down on the 13th and meet up with the crew at Svänö park. Or something like that. With this trip I don’t feel I need to plan too much as they give me all the maps and cordinates for the journey ahead of time. Read More

Gear list

Gear list and packing video – Fjällräven classic 2015

Here is my complete gear list for the 2015 fjällräven classic in sarek national park – this is a 110 kilometer walk along the kings trail in northern Sweden. My group leaves the 7th of august and I am expected to be away for four to five days. I am packing warm and dry as the climate change has really been affecting the area more than usual this year as it’s been near freezing every night and constantly raining; Read More