Category: ultralight backpacking

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Vandra i Sarek med lättviktspackning.

Vi träffar Sarekkännaren och författaren Karl Johan Piehl som skrivit boken Sarek, vandring, löpning och klättring med lättviktspackning

Karl Johan Piehl

För drygt 15 år sedan gjorde Karl Johan sin första fjällvandring i Jotunheimen och gjorde alla tänkbara fel med planering och utrustning, Karl Johan beskriver:

Vi lånade ett tält som var av samma typ du köper i matbutiken för 300kr. Det regnade rakt igenom och med lite vind liknade tältet en vacumpåse. För att hålla hög hygien hade jag bland annat packat ett rent set kallingar, t-shirts och strumpor i bomull för var dag. Vandringen gick över Besseggen, Glittertind och Galdöpiggen och avslutades med magsjuka efter att ha druckit av vattnet nedan fjällstationen i Spiterstulen. Trots nybörjarmissarna blev turen fantastisk och fjällen gjorde verkligen intryck. Efter denna tur påbörjades evolutionen till hur jag idag gör mina fjällturer. Från 35kg på ryggen till så lite som sju kilo för att korsa Sarek.

Sedan dess har Karl Johan lagt stora delar av fritiden i bergen, som vandrare, löpare och framförallt klättrare.

Åren innan jag fick barn så åkte jag nästan varje helg både sommar och vinter till olika klätterdestinationer, ofta Norge eller Bohuslän, och semestern spenderades i Alperna och/eller i Sarek. Nu är jag oftast hemma med barnen på helgerna, men som tur är gillar de också fjällen och vi spenderar flera veckor per år i fjällen.

“Sarek är välbesökt i dalgångarna, men uppe i bergen finns de mest spektakulära turerna där du inte träffar någon

Karl-Johan är fortfarande aktiv i Sarek, och har efter att han skrev sin första Sarekguidebok besökt fler områden och ytterligare cirka 30 toppar som finns med i hans nya bok: “Sarek, vandring, löpning och klättring med lättviktspackning”:

Från början var det min dåvarande partner som föreslog att vi skulle skriva var sin bok. Även andra personer har föreslagit att jag skulle skriva om Sarek eftersom de vet att jag har god kännedom om terrängen i området. Jag har gjort ett stort antal turer i Sarek varav ett flertal i områden jag inte kunnat läsa om tidigare och ansåg jag mig ha material till en guidebok som bidrar med nåt nytt och som sänker tröskeln för att uppleva Sarek – för alla. Jag ville göra en guidebok som är enhetlig och endast  baserar sig på förstahandsinformation. Framförallt toppturer och topptraverser i Sarek har jag själv upplevt att det är svårt att hitta detaljerad information om. Kanske är det för att många av de bergstraverser som jag, och andra, gör idag inte var möjliga för andra än elitidrottare förr, då alla bar på traditionell vandringsutrustning. Idag är läget helt annat och det finns otroligt spektakulära bergsturer att göra i Sarek som kan passa de flesta som gör rätt förberedelser, även nybörjare i friluftslivet. Sarek är välbesökt i dalgångarna, men uppe i bergen finns de mest spektakulära turerna där du inte träffar någon. Trots att en stor andel av alla fjällvandrare har möjlighet att göra bergsturer så ligger stora delar av Sareks massiv nästintill orört. Jag tror inte på tyst kunskap och har haft som mål att förmedla hur man går tillväga för att uppleva detta unika på ett smart sätt. 

När Karl Johan beskriver responsen från boken så har det uteslutande varit positiv sådan:

Det är jätteskoj, Jag tvekade länge för att ge ut en bok eftersom det var läskigt att bli offentlig på det viset. Det är flera personer som berättat att boken gett nya insikter och ändrat hela deras grundsyn på hur man kan röra sig i fjällen. Det känns jättekul eftersom jag själv känner att jag har fått många bitar på plats som möjliggjort ganska krävande fjällturer – för en vanlig  medelålders gubbe som mig. Och detta har jag försökt förmedla i boken, utöver ruttbeskrivningarna.

I sin bok om att uppleva Sarek lyfter Karl Johan fram packlistor och ger förslag på flera fina fina rutter med magnifika vyer. Nedan visar visas ett smakprov från hans bok, en vacker vandringsrutt mellan Gasskatjåhkkå och Skarjatjåhkkå:

När vi frågar Johan om tre generella tips så kommer svaren snabbt:

  1. -Gå med lättviktspackning. Detaljerna i packningen bildar helheten.
  2. -Fysisk träning inför fjällturen.
  3. -Bra matplanering, ta med rätt mängd.

Ovanstående tips är mina viktigaste för en givande fjälltur, och de tre tipsen utmynnar i samma mål: att fjällfärden känns enkel – du får access till att uppleva max utifrån dina personliga förutsättningar. Energin kan brännas på att uppleva fjället snarare än att transportera utrustning, säger Karl Johan.

Vill du inspireras mer av Karl Johans turer, få förslag på packning, mat och mycket mer så finns boken att köpa på Backpackinglinght.se. Beställ boken här

If you want a english version of the book Sarek check here

Marcus Falck

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Att vandra lätt och långt med hund, går det?

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

Foto: Elisabeth Hägglund

Berätta, vilka är ni? 

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

Hur kom ni på tanken att vandra Gröna bandet?

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

-Ni vandrade med hund, hur fungerade det?

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

Foto: Elisabeth Hägglund

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

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

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

Hur var upplevelsen?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Foto: Elisabeth Hägglund

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

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

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

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

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

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

Per Erik och Elisabeths packlistor:

https://lighterpack.com/r/oj98od

https://lighterpack.com/r/ki4c2a

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

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

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

backpackingblogThe White and Green Ribbontrip planningultralight

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

In 1997, The swedish newsmagazine Expressen noticed a rather unusual achievement. An achievement that later founded the idea for which became Fjällfararna’s White & Green Ribbon.  During the expedition “Sweden Around -97”, Torkel and Annica Ideström made their own way around the country’s borders. The tour started at Treriksröset, with skis to Grövelsjön, and then switched to cycling to Svinesundsbron for the start of the Blue ribbon of the Sea paddles (HBB). In Haparanda, the mode of travel was again changed to bicycle to close the circle at Treriksröset. Since HBB has been an accepted challenge for many years, Torkel and Annika felt natural to manifest an equivalent challange for the mountain range. Then with two different variants, one each for winter and summer respectively. The White and Green Robbon was founded.

Today, the Ideström couple live in a house in the small mountain village Östra Vålådalen in Jämtland. From here they now run the White and Green Ribbon and annually inspire more and more people to go on long expeditions. It feels natural to start our series of articles about the White and Green Ribbon here, meeting the adventurer behind the adventure; Torkel Ideström:

Torkel Ideström

What’s the White and Green Ribbon (WGR)?

 -The idea behind the ribbons is that you can make your own way from Grövelsjön in the south to Treriksröset in the north, or vice versa, a distance of about 1300 km through our Scandinavian mountain chain. The journey shall be carried out without a long stop and without outside assistance. The tour can be carried out all year round. The color of the bands indicates the season in which the tour was conducted. We try to draw attention to the fact that all hikers should respect and consider the environment, nature and culture they travel through. It’s an approach when you’re going to execute the band.

Are there any rules?

 It is important to point out that WGR is not a competition. There are no times that you have to keep as long as the tour is carried out in a succession, without breaks. In order to avoid excessively strict rules, there are no restrictions on modes of travel, except that you should pass west of a number of places (see map below) and that you are not allowed to travel motorized. The use of dogs, kite, is allowed but will be registered as such variant. This is so that certain comparisons can be made and that it is also easier to draw experience from a particular mode of travel.

Can anyone do it?

-The challenge requires both physical and mental strength, as well as a healthy “public conscience” and safety mindset. At the same time, it is up to each mountaineer to complete the tour entirely based on their own circumstances, which means that those who complete the tour get a fantastic experience for the rest of their lives. Our youngest participant who has passed the band is 11 years old and the oldest is 73 years old. However, the severity should not be underestimated.

Tell us about the 2021 season?

-It has been a fantastic year, when many people chose to stay in Sweden because of the pandemic. Provided the perfect opportunity to complete a real adventure and a great experience at home. Admittedly a bit messy with accommodation in cottages and crossings across borders on, but which most people still took with peace. An adaptation on our VGB’s part was to approve Abisko as a start or finish place, as the possibility of reaching Treriksröset was considered too tough as you could not enter either Finland or Norway. For 2022, however, order has been restored. The Treriksröset is and remains our outpost to the north.

What does the future look like?

-One of the goals has been to establish The Ribbons as a real outdoor classic, which it has really become. Interest in long-distance tours looks to be growing steadily and is just right in time for a sustainable transition. The great adventure is on our own home mountains. Long all-inclusive flights don’t have to be our biggest dream. In order to further facilitate the Bands and strengthen the local, Svante Sundelin at VGB’s assignment has made a large compilation of so-called ” verified pit stops” that will be posted on the Banden website shortly. We have also headhunted Sara Wänseth, former CEO of SOG (Swedish Outdoor Group). First and foremost, she will now be project manager for FJÄLLTRÄFFEN in Grövelsjön this spring. More information will be provided about the ;). Sara’s going to “just” ski her White Band this winter, too. We have been telling you for some time that we are going to introduce the possibility of making the Bands in STAGES. The idea now is also that it will be in RELAY form. Well, it might be a little while. The technical challenge, and therefore the economic challenge of putting this into a functional platform, is not small. So work is underway to find funding and as soon as we solve it, the initiative starts.


Do you have any tips for those who are going to walk the green ribbon?


Do your homework! This is an expedition, so prepare by finding out the facts, gaining experience and training. Then the mental preparation also comes along, which is crucial if you are to succeed. 
 
· Think about the importance of weight! The tour is about. 1,300 km and approx. 20,000 meters in height. Weight makes a difference. Do what you can with the budget you have. Since this year we have a collaboration with Backpackinglight.se that fits as a hand in the glove. Relevant lightweight equipment and professional know-how needed to implement in a fun, safe and responsible manner. 
 
·  Have air in the schedule for spontaneous whims. A meeting might be well worth spending extra time on. Many have made a friend for life or met their love during their turn.
 
· Thoughtful depots are good, but not always necessary. It is possible to shop along the way and thus support local shops. This also opens up to change your luck in the meantime, as you are not locked to certain depots.
 
·  Let the body get used to it. Add shorter day lengths at the beginning. Most people who break do it in the first part. Healing out an overwork during the tour rarely succeeds. The body’s hardness increases over time, as does the ability to absorb food.
 
·  A couple of bonus tips – dishcloth to condensation in the tent and a “quick” (light, sound-dried) towel is great!

And to those who are going to take turns the white ribbon?

-(The above, the tips for the Green Ribbon, of course also apply to the White Ribbon)

-Bring a retaining wax. Do not only trust your skins, in case of strong cold they can let go. A green cold wax can also keep the clatter away from the skis when nothing else helps.

Moisture barrier in the boots. Thin wool or synthetic stocking closest to the foot, then (ordinary) freezer bag, over it a warmer wool sock. Most often it is the moisture from the inside that soaks down the boots – and wet, icy boots in the morning are no hit. Alternatively, boots with loose lining e.g. Lundhags Guide Expedition, where you can change.

-Thin hooded windbreaker. Then the shell jacket can mostly be in the sled. Protection of the face. Find a good system of goggles and face mask that doesn’t leave the nose or cheekbones alone. In addition to the obvious danger of ostracized, when this works well you become less stressed.

Fun Facts about the WGR

RECORD YEAR 2021 In the current year 2021, the following “Band record” has been broken:

Number of notifications GR: 93 pcs (approx. 60 pcs 2020)  

Number of GR completed: 71 pcs (40 pcs 2020)

Fastest on foot:  Simon Österlin La Mont, 22 days (21 days 7 hours and 38 minutes. 6.5 hours faster than previous record) Gröv-Treriksröset.  

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

Youngest:  Karl Nordborg, 11 years old (with his father), 65 days, Grövelsjön-Treriksröset  

Farthest: Peter Bergström 63 years, 76 days, Gröv-Trer-Gröv. 1,500 miles. – “yo-yo hike”  

Most GR: Peter Bergström, total – with this summer’s “yo-yo” – 5 times Gröna Band.  

Most Bands:  Lina Hallebratt, 7 times (6 Vita, 1 Green, of which 2 pcs in winter 2021’s yo-yo expedition). Lina has twice been named ADVENTURER OF THE YEAR for her tours of the White and Green Ribbon.

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

Number of nationalities of approved “Bandare”: Germany, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, England, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Greenland, USA, Austria, France, Sweden.

Completely a total of 265 approved Green Bands have now been implemented (in 2011-2021), of which 38% were women and 62% men, aged 11 to approx. 73 years old. For the White Ribbon the corresponding statistics are 81 approved bands (2010-2021), of which 32% are women and 68% are men. Of the notifications received to Green Ribbon is estimated approx. 65-70% complete the tour in its entirety and the mountainfarer has received his diploma. The corresponding figure for the White Ribbon is slightly lower and is about 60–65%.  

Recommended gear

At Backpackinglight.se you ca read more about recommended lightweight and robust gear that will hold through out the long hike. What has been used before and so on. Also, all future participants on WGR get a rebate code if they need to upgrade some gear. Have a look here

Booking, more info

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

/Marcus Falck

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Zpacks Plexamid – an overview

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

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

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

A video overview:

What is it:

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

First impression:

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

Performance so far:

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

 

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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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.

 

IMG_3838

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

qnpdspdywnrzz7plkwof.png

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.

IMG_3844

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.

IMG_3845

 

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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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)

 

 

 

 

 

Gearultralightultralight backpacking

Day 3: Outdoor show in Friedrichshafen

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The Wisp 1 in silnylon by Big sky products, weighing in at 500 grams. A great little tent that cost around $220. Easy to setup and big enough for most people.

 

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Tentipi.. a 3.5 kilo beast of a tent and the lightest one in their collection. Maybe large for one person, certainly not lightweight, but great for family Glamping.

 

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I found this little umbrella tucked away in the Evernew booth. Weighs just 90grams and big enough to cover my head and pack. Will be available in europe and the USA next year.

 

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A sherpa frame from Evernew, perfect for the Glampers!

 

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Roza Vetrov from russia makes these titanium cooking sets. I liked the handbuilt quality to them. Inside this is two casseroles, a water flask and a shot glass. 

 

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Otto from Onak canoes. The onak is a folding canoe, that you can see in the right side of the pic. Pretty cool