Category: Gear

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Klättermusen Raido – A review

The Raido is a lightweight, adjustable frame backpack designed and built by the Swedish brand Klattermusen. First released in 2020 to little fanfare (with the exception being me who absolutely loved the backpack), it has now been updated to be a few hundred grams lighter while still having the same feel and quality of the original.

Klattermusen is a brand that I genuinely like. They easily make some of the best outdoor gear on the market, while being some of the worst at marketing and profiling themselves. What happens is they make fantastic outdoor gear, high quality, great production value, and usually expensive out the gate. In my opinion its one of the few brands that I think genuinely deserve a higher premium. However, where they screw things up is in their marketing. If you look at their product photos and marketing videos you would think they are trying to sell their gear to SoHo elites whose idea of a hike is walking from Gucci to the Rolex shop on Drottningsgatan central Stockholm.

I can only assume that like Fjallraven they are hoping that Klattermusen will become the city hikers gear of choice. Which is all fine I guess if you’re not actually making incredible outdoor gear and spending massive sums of money on actual product development. With that said, this uncoupling of klattermusens products from their marketing department usually means great deals for us the buyers, as nobody is buying their gear which means its almost always on sell, almost directly once it reaches the market.

While this is great for me the buyer, its awful for me the shop retailer. I pretty much use everything Klattermusen makes as its proper outdoor gear, though, usually I am put off by the marketing, almost to the point of not wanting to be seen with their gear on me. But I can’t deny they make incredible gear. I use the hiking shirts, the Gere pants, Mithril pants, misty pants, the Ymer backpack for heavier loads, A nasty (in a good way) waterproof winter jacket and finally I use and love the Raido.

I have been using the Raido 38 and 55 liter packs for roughly two years now. The raido 38 that I had used the most originally weighed 1300grams, which was 200 grams more than originally promised, I think this besides the usual shit marketing, is the reason the Raido has not been a big seller for us here at Backpackinglight.

Then, taking notes, Klattermusen finally released the Raido at its promised weight of 1100grams. Which is perfectly acceptable for such a high quality pack with adjustable back panel. Also, because Klattermusen marketing sucks, this incredible pack is usually highly discounted everywhere its sold.

Functions of the Raido

The raido is a properly large pack: The 38 liter backpack I use, usually fits more stuff in it than many other 55L packs that I use. I don’t know why. The Raido has a large main pack that is my guess larger than the stated Liters, then it has to big side pockets, and one of the side pockets has a large outer pockets on that. This pocket is where I keep my poop gear.

There is also a very nice fitting hipbelt with two decent pockets. Granted not the greatest pockets, but with the daisy chains along the hip belt and all along the pack itself, finding pockets to mount on the backpack is no issue at all.

The Raido will also work with most people as its highly adjustable from large back like mine )190cm tall= to smaller people as well. This is accomplished using an outer frame and adjustable shoulder straps. You can even adjust where the load lifters are placed.

Comfort and feeling

I can easily say that the Raido is a joy to use. It fits like a glove, easily being one of the most comfortable packs I’ve used. No matter how much weight I have in my Raido, it seems to just flow with my body. Also with a lot of space between my back and the Backpack itself, I never get that sweaty back feeling like I do with most other packs. I still sweat of course, but my back gets aired out.

The pack, like most everything else Klattermusen makes, just feels like a quality product. Its just something I want to fill up with outdoor gear and go on mountain walks with. Which is unfortunate again, as the marketing suggest that I should fill it with Gucci bags and walk the runway. A disconnect. But if you can keep your eyes away from the marketing, what you will find is genuinely great backpack that will last for decades of hard outdoor use.

My only real complaints about the Raido is the chest strap, which is a little hook that easily pops out. Especially when fishing with the pack on. And I don’t care for the hip belt buckle. This seems to be a system that Klattermusen loves, but personally I would prefer a simple buckle to these metal clips and hooks.

Plus

  1. Lightweight
  2. Rugged and robust + will last decades
  3. Because of awful marketing, can usually find at good discount
  4. Adjustable sizing + one size fits all
  5. Excellent fit and comfort
  6. Very roomy pack

Minus

  1. Chest strap has a tendency to pop off
  2. Hipbelt buckle not my favorite

you can find the Klättermusen Raido at https://backpackinglight.se/varumarken/klattermusen/klattermusen-raido-38l

Review by Kenneth Shaw

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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.

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Osprey Levity: A review

My thoughts: 

The Osprey Levity is one of the lightest 60 liter backpacks on the market. At just 900 grams, it really does push some boundaries on lightness. There are of course lighter packs, but I would argue as far as overall comfort is concerned, the Osprey Levity is top class. Atleast up to about 10 kilos. I also wouldn’t consider it the most robust or highest quality pack, but certainly, weight to comfort it’s a great pack. It has a nice aluminum frame that, much like many of the Osprey packs, creates a nice distance between one’s back and the pack itself. Which means a less sweaty back. It also sits really nice when walking and the balance of the pack is fantastic. It sits really, really nicely. 

Weight: 

On our scales the Osprey Levity 60 Liter pack Large weighs just under 900 grams. Which, is certainly light for a 60 liter, aluminum frame pack. Osprey was able to achieve such a lightweight by using a lighter pack material, a much lighter aluminum frame and removed hipbelt pockets and so on. 

Construction:

While the Osprey Levity feels like it will fall apart after a few miles, the truth is that it’s a rather robust backpack. I have been using mine for many hikes over the last couple of years, as I like to abuse my equipment as a right of passage. I can say that the Osprey levity has so far held up just fine to all kinds of natural and unnatural abuse.

Fit:

Unlike many of the Osprey packs, the back panel can’t be adjusted, so it’s important to buy a proper size pack from the start. These packs come in small/medium/Large and hipbelt should fit just about anybody. I won’t give a size guide here, as you can find that further down on this page, but it’s just something to think about. While the back panel can’t be adjusted it does have load lifters that allows for a bit more adjustability of the pack.

Dislikes:

There is not a whole lot that I don’t like with this pack, but I can name two. 1. I don’t really like the hipbelt – with heavier weight, anything above 10kg the belt starts to dig deep into my hips. Causing bruising and overall discomfort. This is a rather normal problem for me with a lot of packs that I use, but that doesn’t mean I like it. I would like to see a thicker, fatter hipbelt with removable hipbelt pockets. 2. Osprey doesn’t seem to like packs that can stand on their own. So you will always have to find something to balance the Levity on when it’s not on your back.

Plus: 

  • Very light 60 Liter pack (70 with external pockets)
  • Comfortable pack
  • Great overall design
  • Robust for what it is
  • Nice aluminum frame
  • Well placed load lifters

Minus:

  • Not a huge fan of hipbelt
  • Would like hipbelt pockets
  • Option of removable top lock would be nic

Review by Kenneth Shaw

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Sierra designs Cloud 800: A review

Our thoughts:

Over the last couple of years I have steadily switched from a quilt, normally my old Enlightened equipment Revelation quilt. Which I do thoroughly enjoy using, to the Sierra designs cloud 800. For anyone who has read my book, will know that I love using quilts for many reasons – more warmth to weight, no worries about getting tangled in during the night and so on. With that said, quilts do have some disadvantages, which is why I have moved on from them in anything other than summer hikes and hammock camping. For one, I usually find them to be a hassle to fasten onto my sleeping pads.. Usually straps, or buckles or some other headache inducing nightmare at 3 in the morning when I have to get up and pee.

The Sierra designs Cloud 800 has all the advantages of a quilt and sleeping bag without any of the disadvantages. Of course, with some of it’s own disadvantages, but I will tackle that later.

What is the Cloud 800:

Imagine a quilt and a sleeping bag in one. The comfort of a quilt, the warmth and ease of use of a sleeping bag. You fasten your sleeping bag into the sleeve of the Cloud 800 and viola, your done. Your bag won’t tangle you up during the night, and as there are no zippers it’s easy to get in and out. The cut of the sleeping bag is nice and wide, so comfort really is the focus of the Cloud 800 series.

Build:

The Sierra designs cloud 800 is well built using 15d ripstop nylon on outer and inner shell and filled with ethically sourced hydrophobic down 800 on the inside. It’s not the lightest materials on the market, but certainly offers an excellent weight and quality to cost ratio.

Weight:

On the Cloud 800 35 degree bag, the regular weighs in at 660 grams while the large/wide comes in at 710 grams. On the Cloud 800 20 degree bag the weight for the regular is 880 grams and large at 940 grams. Certainly on the lighter end of the spectrum for the two temperature ranges.

Warmth and comfort:

I can’t stand the standard way companies market their sleeping bags. Almost every company markets the limit temp instead of the comfort temp and the cloud is no exception. The Cloud 800 3/ +2celcius degree bag I would say is warm (with proper sleeping mat) down to about +2 degrees. Which is unusual, I find the bags to be warmer than the stated comfort temps. This is also something I have heard from a lot of customers that have purchased the bags from us. When we do have complaints about how cold the bags are, they are almost always coupled with a cold sleeping pad.

As for comfort, nothing really compares to the Cloud 800 in this temp range and weight. Sierra design do have the Backcountry bed which is even more comfortable, but also heavier. Sleeping in the Cloud 800 is very much like sleeping at home in a blanket, it’s that comfortable.

Things to know

The cloud 800 is not built for hammocks, and is very difficult to use in a hammock because of the sleeping pad sleeve. The Cloud 800 does not have down where the sleeping pad meets the Sleeping bag. Like a quilt, SD didn’t see the point in putting down where it won’t work. While this is great when sleeping on a pad, in a hammock it just doesn’t work as you won’t have warmth where you need it.

Also, the design of the Cloud 800 is so that the opening comes up to waist height only, so getting in and out means opening the Cloud 800 and climbing in. Similar to a quilt.

Plus

  • Excellent comfort. Perhaps most comfortable sleeping bag available
  • Good price to weight
  • Great build quality and materials
  • Hydrophic down is always nice
  • Great design

Minus

  • Not great for hammocks – or rather, won’t work at all with hammocks
  • Some thicker, wider sleeping pads won’t work with it

Review by Kenneth Shaw

The Sierra designs Cloud 800 can be bought at backpackinglight.se in sweden or backpackinglght.dk in the EU. For 20% rebate use code: SLEEP20 on checkout

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My packing list for a week in mountains

I recently went on a week long hiking and fishing trip in Northern Norway and Sweden. Total walking distance about 100 kilometers, and because I would be fly fishing I needed some extra gear with me like Wading pants and wading shoes (Crocs). I also had my dog with me and she slept nicely next to me in my tent on the Sarek 3mm EVA pad and my RAB synthetic jacket as her blanket to keep her warm. I will write more about my trip and the gear I used as well as publish a few videos on Youtube, but for now here is my full list with links to gear as well as quick info about the items I liked the most or surprised me the most.

Total weight:

The Big three:

I opted for comfort here and let me tell you, I never slept so good as I did on this trip, so the extra grams was worth it in the end. The Q-core is great. Very warm and plush, robust for my dog as well. Most comfortable sleeping pad I ever slept on. Highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for better sleep in the mountains. The EE Revelation has been my goto quilt for nearly a decade now, as always it performs as expected. Light, warm and comfortable.

The Osprey Aether Pro 70L – normally I opt for a HMG pack, but I wanted to give this one a try, I stripped off a few grams by getting rid of the toplock and one of the pockets. With the HMG pack I normally get bruised hips as the belt is very thin and I sweat like a pig as the HMG fits a little too tight against my back. I certainly didn’t have any of those problems with the Aether pro 70. Incredibly well fitting backpack and will be my goto pack for heavier loads. I am retiring my beloved HMG windrider 70. The aether is simply in a different class as far as comfort and carrying is concerned.

Sarek gear The Mid. and Inner. We had several different tents with us on this trip, I choose the mid as I love the space and weight of it, and after having used it in some seriously heavy storms, I trust the performance of it in the mountains. On one night in Norway the wind came in heavy gusts at around 17 mp/s – which is very very heavy for summertime winds. One of the tents we had with us snapped and Marcus came and camped out with me and Anna in the Mid. The Mid held it’s own, and other than the noise, I slept fairly well and certainly confident in the tent.

RAB Xenon synthetic jacket – Excellent lightweight synthetic jacket. I have been using this jacket for all my 3 season hikes this year as well as in town. I have nothing bad to say about the Xenon jacket. Simply a great, and great looking jacket at an excellent price. Sarek rain skirt – does exactly what it’s supposed to do at very little weight. Really nice not having to take off my pack everytime I want to put my skirt on.

Full list and links here:

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Kammok Mantis UL: An ultralight hammock kit

My first impression of the Kommok Mantis Ul when I got it in the mail was “Did they forget something? What is this wizardry” My Hammock of choice over the years has either been the Warbonnet ridgerunner or Henney hammock. Both are fantastic hammock systems that don’t weigh too much, but do take up some volume in my backpack. The Kammok Mantis is considerably smaller than either of the previous mentioned hammocks. The entire Kammok Mantis UL system is about the same size as just ridgerunner or just the Hennessy hammock minus tarp and pegs. Not much larger than a 1 liter Nalgene bottle. Keep in mind the Kammok Mantis UL is a complete system – you don’t have to buy anything else (well underquilt or sleeping mat). Tree huggers, Hammock, tent pegs, mosquito net and all guylines and stuff sacks needed. 

Setup: 

The Kommok mantis has a rather unique solution for it’s tree huggers, I can’t really explain in words, but kind of a ladder system that you feed into itself, rather intuitive and fast to use. Once the tree huggers are wrapped around a tree, you simply hook the hammock into the ladder system using a supplied carabiner, stake out the two hammock spreading guylines and your done with the hammock. The Tarp you simply pull tight the guylines, hook it into itself and use the supplied linelocks to tighten the tarp. Easy peasy. While not as easy to setup as the Hennessy Hammock, it’s not far off and on top of that weighs less that 500 grams that of the Hennesy explorer.

Weight:

On our scales the Kammok Mantis UL weighs just 1029 grams – with everything included in the weight. On top of this, it takes very little space in a backpack. One of hte lightest if not the lightest complete hammock system on the market. Atleast one meant for full sized humans. 

Size:

I am 190cm and 94 kilos. I find the Mantis UL to be a great size, I think I am on the limit though, and perhaps someone a little taller might want to look elsewhere. But certainly for anyone 190cm or under, the Mantis is a great size. I also find the Tarp to be a great size as well. On the Hennessy Hammocks, they often have a asym tarp that barely covers the hammock and just barely useable for anything other than light rain. The Mantis UL tarp is more of a flat tarp that covers the entire hammock and even leaves room over if you want to have a little camp in the rain. 

Overall impression:

It’s hard not to like the Kammok mantis UL. By pure chance I took it into the shop, but found that it’s such a high quality product that it’s going to stay in the shop for years to come. The mantis UL is the lightest complete hammock system in our shop and one of the lightest on the market. There are of course lighter hammocks, but usually a bit small, and weight starts to add up once you add a tarp, bug net, tree huggers, stuff sacks so on and so forth. I am also a huge fan of how easy the hammock is to setup, I’m not much a of knot guy, so I will gladly take linelocks and carabiners any day as it makes the Mantis idiot proof.. .. more or less. 

Plus: 

  • Very light system
  • Intuitive design and functions
  • Very small pack volume
  • Easy to setup
  • Nice size hammock and tarp
  • Full zip bugnet 

Minus: 

Review by Kenneth Shaw

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Soto Windmaster: A long-term review

My thoughts
I have been using the Soto Windmaster almost exclusively for over 2 years. Through Sarek, Padjelantaleden, Kungsleden, Island, Scotland and more. I have never needed a windshield and the Windmaster has never failed me. I have used it with dozens of different pots and pans without fail. Simply put, in my opinion the Soto windmaster is the single best stove on the market for pretty much any boil water and simple cooking needs. It is fast, efficient, lightweight and dependable. Even in high winds it is effecient and fast, rarely losing any of it’s performance. If there is one thing I think is a negative it’s that when I bought my Windmaster the tri-flex was included as well as the 4-flex. However, they have opted to sell those seperately now, which means that if you want the lightest most compact solution – the 3-flex. That must be purchased seperately. With that said, the 4-flex is an excellent, robust pot holder. I just prefer the tri-flex. 

Sizing
I am not too interested in physical diameter and height and so on. Instead I am interested if it fits in a single pot with gas tube. The soto windmaster fits nicely in pretty much all pots 600ml and more (with gas tube). This was always what was so convenient with the Jetboil kits – everything fit nicely in one pot. The difference between this and a jetboil are considerable – the Jetboil is not great in high winds, locked to one pot and in general considerably heavier than the Windmaster.

Weight
With the included 4-flex pot holder, the Windmaster weighs about 80 grams in total. Keep in mind, this is with a pezo lighter and no need for a windshield. So by any standards: Light.

Performance
This is where the Soto windmaster really stands out. For a long-time the Windmaster stood alone on it’s peak as the best performing stove on the market. Now it can be argued that the MSR Pocket rocket DLX shares the title. In anycase, whether it’s cold, windy or sunny: The Windmaster performaces with excellence. To show off to my friends on hiking trips it’s not usual for me to setup and cook my food in hard blowing winds while they all stand hovered around rocks and backpacks trying to cook their own food – only for the windmaster to be faster and more efficient. It really is remarkable. This of course also means that a can of Butane is going to last much longer with the Windmaster than pretty much anything else. 

Conclusion
The Windmaster is my favorite stove. Nothing really compares. There are lighter and smaller stoves – but once you add in the fact that you have to have both a windscreen and lighter, the Windmaster usually wins the weight war as well. The Windmaster is the “Ron Swanson” of stoves. Simple, effective and very high quality. 

Pros

  • Fast and efficient
  • Very good performance in high winds
  • Light
  • Small
  • Reliable

Cons

  • Tri-flex pot holder sold seperately

Review by Kenneth Shaw 17 February 2021

To buy the windmaster in europe check out https://backpackinglight.se/varumarken/soto/soto-windmaster-micro-regulator-stove

Video comparison

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Nordisk Lofoten ULW 2: A review

When I first reviewed Nordisk Lofoten a few years ago at the outdoor show in Munich, I couldn’t understand what it would be good for. Far too small for a tent, I wrote about it then that you might have it as a dog tent. Then I got some requests from customers who wanted to buy it, so I brought it home. Still, I wasn’t so keen to test it myself. Why should I? I don’t hate myself enough for that. I am 190cm tall and 95 kilos large. This tent barely accommodates a dog … or so I thought.

Then I brought home the Nordisk Lofoten ULW2 and tested it. First in the showroom then out in the wild. If I see it as a tent, well, then I think there are tents that are both bigger and better for most uses. But if I think “Bivy sack”, then we’re talking. Basically lighter than any waterproof bivy bag on the market, as well as with good ventilation and relatively good comfort compared to a standard Bivy bag. Beyond that, it is double walled, so you don’t get too much condensation in the tent or on yourself.

After sleeping in the Nordic Lofoten ULW 2 under various circumstances just over 6 nights from rain, sun and even snow, I can say that it is actually quite okay. I can also say that it is quite fun to use. I like the “big” awning, and its small footprint on the ground. One of the first nights I slept in it I couldn’t find a good spot to pitch the tent, it was raining and in the forest there was simply nowhere that a standard tent would fit. Then I found an extremely small area, basically the size of my body. In 5 minutes, the tent was set up, under two trees, near a beaver hole. Fun! No other tent I would be able to pitch in such a place with.

Then another night I woke up in the middle of the night because it was snowing and the whole tent sucked in on me, but shook the tent a few times and fell back asleep

The tent is small, no doubt about it. Both my feet and head Mush the inner tent, it was not easy to get in and out and trying to put on and off clothes in the tent was not so easy. Not to mention sitting in the tent and blowing up my sleeping mat and getting everything in order for bed. Basically things you want to do when it rains. But, I did it. And you can’t do that in a bivy bag. Sleeping in it is actually quite nice – you feel like a little sneaky spy hiding. It has good floor surface and a large pocket where you can have some things in.

Now I’m just talking about what it’s like to have the Nordisk lofoten as a standard tent, I don’t run mountain marathons for which it is really made. As a tent, I think it works well! And it’s something I will use more often when I don’t want to carry hiking poles.

Plus:

– Extremely small pack size. Does not take much room in the backpack
– Light weight
– Double walled bivy
– Good floor surface
– Large awning
– Easy to set up
– Fun to use
– Low condensation
– The best Bivy bag

Negative:

– Extremely small living space
– Not two-man tent
– Can hardly be counted as a tent

Specs

Weight: 500 grams

Material: 7d sil-nylon

Size: tiny

The Nordisk lofoten can be purchased in Europe at Https://www.backpackinglight.se

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My favorite 2-man tents for 2020

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

Positives:

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

Negatives:

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

Positives:

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

Negatives:

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

Positives:

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

Negatives:

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

Positives:

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

Negatives:

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

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

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

Positives:

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

Negatives:

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

Bonus Tent:

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

Positives:

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

Negatives:

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

Runner up: Zpacks duplex,

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

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

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

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What is tent comfort?

I follow a lot of different groups on facebook, and one comment I am always surprised to read is when someone of say 180cm or less is saying a tent that I personally use and think works just fine is “Too small”. An example of this is a comment I recently received on my article “My favorite solo tents” about the Hilleberg Enan. I was a bit surprised when the comment was basically “I’m 170cm and i think the Enan is too small”. So this led me to start thinking about the concept of tent comfort. 

How can someone like myself at 190cm think the Enan is just fine and actually rather comfortable, while somebody at 170cm think it’s too small. I have a lot of theories on this, but I have kind of landed on one in particular: Tall people in general have to learn to like smaller tents. A tall person knows and in some cases actually likes their body squeezing against the inner tent. I know for example on the Enan I really like that I can mush my pillow into one side and kind of squeeze my head in there between the inner and pillow. I like it because it holds my pillow in place allowing me to fold the pillow a few times, to create height for my head for when I sleep. This means that I don’t get back pain while I sleep on my side as my head is elevated. 

I also know that having your bag mush on an inner tent is no issue at all, it doesn’t cause you to get wet from condensation, or your bag to get wet, or from some kind of chain reaction that will result in death. The bigger issue is if you are mushing against the outer tent – that should be avoided. In the Enan my head, squeezed against the inner tent, does of course touch the inner tent, but not the outer. No part of my body is even close to the outer. Which means I don’t have any issues with condensation showers. However in some single walled tents, like most zpacks tents, my feet or head, or both are mushed against the outer, leading always to a very uncomfortable and wet night.

Shorter people on the other hand never have to deal with issues of touching inner and outer tents. So the idea that a strand of hair is touching the inner tent will lead to one feeling that a tent is “too small”. We can make arguments that a tent is not as big as another tent, or that you feel a tent is small. But just because one can’t set up a lawn chair and do jumping jacks in a  tent doesn’t mean a tent is “too small”. It just means you prefer a larger tent. 

I think this is an important factor to take into consideration when buying a tent. At no time should you be terrified if some part of your body is touching the inner (there are exceptions to this – such as with the Nordisk tents where the inner is literally touching the outer). More important factors to take into consideration are: is my body touching the outer, is the tent big enough for what I want, is the tent too big where I can’t find anywhere to pitch, is the tent easy or hard to pitch, Trekking poles or not and so on. 

Anyway, just a quick thought on tent sizing and how to think about it!