Category: ultralight backpacking

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Nemo Hornet 1 – A tent review

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

What is the Nemo Hornet 1

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

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

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

 

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Weight

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

Livability

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

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

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

Extremes

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

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

Rain

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

Pitching the tent

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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To buy this tent:

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

Disclaimer:

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

 

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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)

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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)

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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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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

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Day 1: Outdoor Show 2017 Friedrichshafen

It’s hard to put into words just how massive the Friedrichshafen event really is. It is quite simply the epicenter of outdoor gear and trade here in Europe connecting manufacturers with agents, distributors, pr and bloggs. If a company wants to break into the european market, this event is a must. I am happy that I gave myself the four days to go through it all.. It’s just massive. With that said I can imagine it’s fairly easy for a company to be drowned out, it was easy to see that many were. Also, it’s very difficult for a company to not only be seen in this kind of enviroment, but to stand out with products.

In general I’m not looking for this years next big thing, and writing about gear is not my biggest passion either, I can however say that some companies did have products that I liked and these I will post here.

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Carsten Jost from fastpacking.de looking rather happy at his time at the Outdoor blogger base. A well organised and put together station were all the bloggers of the world (well… atleast some of them?) meet up at network. I have to work on my networking skills 🙂

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There were a lot of very interesting tents at the show, many of them would give any ultralight blogger wet dreams, however these I was not allowed to take pictures of.. so, I instead took pictures of the Big Sky international wisp 1.5 cuben tent which I was allowed to take pictures of. The wisp 1.5 is a big brother to their Wisp. So far it’s the only cuben tent on display that I have seen, and the only one on sale in stores in Europe.

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Jetboil had some new products to show off. Or atleast the same products with new valve features that allows for much faster boils at around 1.30 minutes per boil. Impressive. Sadly no more Titanium SOL.

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This Nordisk tent is incredibly light for a double wall tent, weighing in at 500 or 600 grams (can’t remember now). Even won the award for most innovative product. Honestly though, not knocking the product, but I don’t see how a real live human could fit in this. The top of the loop didn’t even reach my knee caps, that’s how small this tent is.

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Hilleberg on the other hand had a product that stood out for me, the Mesh 1 and the Tarp 5 you see here. A real live human can easily fit in this with room to spare. Total weight 710 grams for the tarp and mesh inner, with a few impressive innovations that I would like to show off later. I am in the talks with them now, and hopefully I will be able to use this kit for one of my future outings this year.

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Gear suggestions for kids

I’m not a really big fan of owning a lot of gear. For the most part I try to keep my backpacking life simplistic for many reasons, though for the most part it’s because I want to spend more time in the outdoors knowing exactly what I own and how to use what I own, than spending hours in a gear shop or gear closet.

With that said I also love going on little mini adventures with my son who is soon to be four years old. In these adventures we usually look for trolls living in trees or rocks. (My bedtime stories usually involve a dad and son on a camping trip and a big friendly troll that lives in a tree… a story for another day). In any case these small bedtime stories prime my sons sense of adventure and every time I mention sleeping in a tent he’s racing out to the car with his backpack on. Like father, like son!


Me and Eric bring our kids out for a lovely evening by the lake. Right side of the pic my son and our yellow gear. Left side of the pic Eric, Klara and his Double rainbow and green hammock

But as I stated in the beginning, I don’t like having a lot of gear, and I certainly don’t like carrying a lot of gear. Kids gear to say the least is, shit. It’s heavy, expensive and rather useless. So I choose to build my sons kit around my own needs. For example, I own only two quilts and two sleeping mats. One quilt is a down quilt rated at -6 Celsius and weighs 630 grams, and the other quilt is a synthetic -2 degree bag that weighs 720 grams. I bought the synthetic quilt as a winter complement to my down quilt. This quilt combination brings me down to -20 in the winter. In the summer it’s a great bag for my son.


Is this big rock where the troll lives??

My two sleeping mats are a thermarest xl xTherm and an Xlite small. The xtherm is excellent for my winter adventures and the xlite is a great torso pad that weighs 200 grams for 3 season use. It’s also a perfect kids sleeping pad.


Our entire kit for the night. The duomid, two quilts, sleeping pads and more

The tent I use is the Mountain Laurel Designs duomid with no inner tent and two trekking poles setup in an apex at the top opening up the center completely. A great two man tent that weighs 700 grams with the perimeter netting.

I even bring along a tenkara fly rod and flies to do some fishing with total weighing in at 103 grams. A hammock for him to play in, a DD super light hammock that weighs 270 grams, food, and flashlights to go look for trolls with.


Depending on how where feeling we´ll even bring a MLD Trailstar.. Though it’s less accessible than the Duomid. It’s much larger floor space means no fast in and outs

Everything I need for me and him with extra clothes, food and gear fits in my HMG windrider with room leftover and weighs less that 6-7 kilos for all gear and food for an overnight trip. If we want to be out several nights we just pack more food. Simple as that. No shit gear, no wasted money, just great gear for all seasons and reasons.


Everything fits nice and snug in my HMG windrider. Well, minus my sons toys which he gets to carry in his own backpack.

 

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My gear list when going out with the little one:

Item Ounces Grams
Packing
Hmg Sidewinder 4400 34.2 970
Red 2l Pack Bag 0.7 21
Red 4l Pack Bag 0.9 25
Green Pack Sack 4l 1.1 30
Thermarest Pillow Sheet 1.9 54
Shelter
Ti Tent Pegs 3.5 98
Mld Duomid Complete 26.7 756
Sleep
Thermarest Pump 2.6 73
Enlightened Equipment Quilt 22.9 650
Synthetic Sleeping Bag 24.7 700
Xtherm 20.5 580
Xlite Small 7.1 200
Eye Mask 0.5 15
Cooking
Sea To Summit Long Spoon Ti 0.4 12
Ti Tri Fusion 3.2 90
Snowpeak Ti 900 W/lid 4 114
Sawyer Mini Filter 1.4 41
Zefa Water Bottle 3.5 98
Marches 0.4 11
Clothing
Mld Waterproof Gloves 1.6 46
Wp 200g Pants 6.1 174
Haglofs Green Wind Jacket 2.3 65
Haglifs Lim Puffy Jacket 6.7 191
Ula Silnylon Rain Skirt 2.8 78
Patagonia Alpine Rain Shell 6.4 181
Other
Fallkniven F1 6.9 196
Ul Teeth Care 3.1 89
Murla Knife 0.7 20
Bd Headlamp 3.6 101
Iphone 6s Plus Ink Case 9.9 282
Thermarest Repair Kit 0.5 14
First Aid Kit 3.1 89
Usb Cables 0.8 24
Tenkara Sawtooth Fly Rod 3.4 95
Worn
Consumables
Coffee 3.5 100
Toilet Papper 5.3 150
Food For A Day 26.5 750
Alcohol 5 Days 14.1 400
218.1 6183
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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
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The UL Jacket – Essential gear for any backpacker

I once wrote an article a long time ago about the ultralight wind jacket and how I felt it was the single most important piece of gear for any backpacking regardless of your weight preferences. (Whether you enjoy ultralight or prefer being heavy and miserable.. ) I would like to propose that the second piece of essential gear for any backpacker would be an ultralight down jacket (synthetic works as well but usually heavier for the same warmth). For the last 3 years I have been using a lightweight down jacket that weighs at around 180grams for the XL size. (Haglöfs L.I.M essens down). I find this jacket much like the wind jacket allows me to leave a few extra layers at home. And the down jacket combined with a wind jacket is hard to beat in weight to warmth ratio.

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When I talk about ul down jacket I mean any down jacket under 200grams for a large size.

My typical three season layer scheme looks something like this:

Wool or bamboo fiber Shirt 150grams – main layer always on

Windjacket with hood 80grams – Always with me and depending on weather usually always on (in the nordic regions of the world)

Down jacket 188grams – I usually put my down jacket on the minute I stop for the day. It’s very rare that I actually need this while hiking.

Total weight: 418grams or about 1 lbs.

That’s it. That’s my entire upper layering system for most three season hikes. If it’s raining I put my rain jacket on (so fourth layer). And depending on how long I am gone I usually don’t bother with a an extra shirt to sleep in, unless I will be hiking in wet and cold regions. Also, as you can see, I don’t bother with sweaters or thicker shirts or anything else that usually becomes redundant and heavy when you have a light down or synthetic jacket. Most sweaters, wool or otherwise, are going to be heavier than a down jacket and won’t be anywhere near as warm.

This setup will easily keep me warm to down around 30 degrees farenheit. So even on cold nights when the temperature will drop to 20 degrees, I can keep warm and snug at night in my three season gear (quilt, sleeping pad and down jacket).

As with any high quality UL product, lighter usually means more expensive, but there are always exceptions to this rule. However no-matter what, your never going to get into silly money prices that you could end up paying for when purchasing main stream products that weigh much more. If you inclined to do so, there are a few MYOG patterns and kits for synthetic and even down UL jackets. When my current jacket breaks down I will probably replace it with a synthetic jacket. Main reason being that I use this same setup even in the winter with the inclusion of a thick down puffy, which creates more moisture, and that breaks down my inner down. So, a synthetic would fix this problem.

Ultralight Down and Synthetic jackets:
Haglöfs L.I.M Essens down
Western Mountaineering Flash jacket
Yeti streto ultralight down
Crux turbo top
Mountain Hardware ghost whisperer
Mountain hardware Micro Thermostatic (synthetic)
OMM Rotor smock (synthetic)

These are just a few of the ul jackets currently available as of this writing.

If your interested in sewing your own:

The kinsman insulated pullover is the best design I’ve found

http://thru-hiker.com/kits/kinsman_kit.php

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Trip report: The Laugavegur trail day 3

Alftavatn to Emstrur (Botnar)

15 km, estimated walking time 6-7 hrs, 40 m net descent

I was in no rush to leave Alftavatn, the views were simply incredible and it was nice to just hang out for a while. I knew that walking through this valley would be an amazing adventure, and with that, I laced up my trail runners and made my way towards Emstrur.

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From the very start on the way to Emstrur, this incredible view is what I was met with. The hike from Alftavatn to Emstrur is by far the most picturesque of all the sections. From this kinds of green rolling landscapes, into long deserts of volcanic ash and a massive glacier looming in the distance like a constant reminder of the true wild that you are in.
This hike felt long, maybe it was the deep ash or the several large river crossings.. who knows, the hike is easy, but feels much longer than the 15km that it actually is.

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The first real water crossing is about 3-4 kilometers from Alftavatn. Here I passed a whole group of heavy-miserables while they stopped to take of their boots and socks 🙂 I just trugded through, admittedly the water was cold but I warmed up quickly.

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Here the trail takes us over the low ridge Brattháls into Hvanngil. If your looking to book a room in advance in Alftavatn and it’s fully booked (not unlikely). Check out Hvanngil, as it’s not always a known campground.

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The first real river crossing is made on this part of the trail. It’s wide and irratic, you will have to walk around a while along the river Blafjallakvisl until you find a very wide part, and there crossing shouldn’t be a problem. You will notice however I stopped on a little sandbank in the river. I didn’t actually stop here to take a pic, to be honest I stopped here because my feet felt frozen solid from the ice cold water..

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To say that the views along this part of the trail are amazing is an understatement. While I always find nature to be awe-inspiring, this particular part of the trail was something altogether different. I had the feeling of walking along the art gallery of god – his best pieces of art all laid out along a 15 mile trek. I took my time here, stopped often and forgot about everything else in the world, nothing mattered, I was lost in the moment and it was one of the greatest moments of my life.

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After a while we come along the river Nyrðri Emstruá, which thankfully is bridged.. From here it’s only a few kilometers left before reaching the campground at Botnar.

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After an incredible walk we come in towards Botnar which resides in the Markarfljótsgljúfur canyon with the glacier in the background.

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The campground in Botnar is well protected from the heavy winds blowing down from the glacier. The views are incredible here and there is even a little shop here if you need some resuplies. 3G works perfectly fine along all the campgrounds throughout the Laugavegur trail – so calling home wont be a problem.

 

Trip report: laugavegur trail day 1
Trip report: laugavegur trail day 2
Trip report: laugavegur trail day 3
Trip report: laugavegur trail day 4
Trip report: laugavegur trail day 5

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The Laugavegur trail day 1

Sometimes it takes me a while to finally get around to doing a trip report. I am working on this as an ebook instead as I can really get the pictures and album to flow better, but I will post the separate days here nonetheless.

This will be a full trip report and information guide for anybody wanting to do the trip themselves. This trip report is divided into 5 days simply because of the diversity and vassness of this trail I simply couldn’t fit it all into one post.

The Adventure begins

I had booked my flight a few months in advance to Reykjavik from Stockholm. The total flight cost around $350 round trip and the light takes about 3 hours. So, in other words Iceland is an obvious choice for most Swedes. I Arrived at Reykjavik international airport and immidiately outside the little airport I found my bus to Reykjavik city center.

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Once at the city center I took a little walk into Reykjavik center ate a burger, bought a map and some gas for my laugavegur trail hike. There is a gas station about 100 meters away from the bus station where all these supplies can be bought. My bus would be leaving at 13.00 so I had a few hours to spare before heading off to the trail start.

I arrived in Reykjavik at around 10.00 a.m. Finding my way around the airport was a rather straight forward process as there really is only two busses to chose from. I bought my ticket at the BSI desk to the BSI terminal in Reykjavik. After about a 40 minute ride I found myself at the main buss terminal. From here it was just a simple manner of purchasing the “hikers pass” which would get me to either the start in the north at Landmannalaugar or in the south at Porsmork or Skogar and back to Reykjavik.

I decided I really wanted to start north and head south, seemed like a fun way to go to end my journey at the ocean. I’m glad I did as I found the first days along Landamannalaugar and Hrafntinnusker to be rather bleak with the rain and snow.

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The Bus ride from Reykjavik takes about 3 and a half hours and I would definitely not recommend trying to hitch hike to the start as there it is literally out in the middle of nowhere. Nobody drives that trail unless they are hiking – and that is mainly just the buses. When I arrived in Landmannalaugar it was rainy and cold. Everyone was bunched into the toilets trying to figure out what they want to do.. Walk or pitch their tents. I also had a difficult time deciding as it was raining like crazy and it was by this time 4 p.m in the afternoon. However, as I had been sitting since my flight left Stockholm, my ass and back were hurting so I opted to walk.

The Hike from Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker is about 12km and takes around 4-5 hours to walk. While it was late, I really just needed to walk. This part of the trail was marked by snow, rain and steaming volcanic hills. Landmannalaugar is the only part along the trail where you can swim in the hot springs. I probably should have stayed, but I couldn’t be bothered to sit still any longer.

And so, I made my way to look over the hotsprings, looked at all the hikers huddled in the toilets, waved and made my way.

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Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker

12 kilometers – takes about 4-5 hours to walk

This part of the trail from Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker was cold and wet the whole way. I was happy for it to be done. When I do this trail again it will be in August and not June, the trial in June is very wet, snowy and sometimes this means we just want to get through it all instead of taking time to enjoy every second.

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The first day was wet, cold and rainy with dashes of snow. With that said, the beauty was there.

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There was quite a few people stopping me along this part of the trail asking “how far is camp..” I seemed to be the only one heading south!

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The warmth of the volcano underneath kept the ground nice and toasty.

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By the end of this first day I had reached my limits. A long night before when I didn’t get any sleep, a flight, a long bus ride, never ending rain and cold. I was so tired that I didn’t bother taking pictures from that first camp at Hrafntinnusker. In my opinion the campsite wasn’t the best as it was surrounded by snow and no wind protection. I really wanted a warm bed in the cabin, but alas it was fully booked.

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Trip report: The Laugavegur trail day 1
Trip report: The Laugavegur trail day 2
Trip report: The Laugavegur trail day 3
Trip report: The Laugavegur trail day 4
Trip report: The Laugavegur trail day 5