Tag: camping with kids

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A reflection on backpacking

Some of my earliest memories in life are that of me and my family out camping – car camping of course as I was raised in the USA. I remember us driving around, setting up a tent, breaking out the coleman camping stove, grilling hot dogs, even remember the times our tarp was flooded out in Hawaii, or our car broken into in Utah while we slept in our tents. As I got older and in my teens, my camping trips started going towards shorter walks with tents, weed, beer and big ass bon fires. In my early twenties I moved to Sweden and my love for backpacking grew exponentially.

I bought my first tent in Sweden, my own personal tent when I was about 20. Before that I had just been borrowing tents. Me and my then girlfriend had this fantasy that we would travel around and sleep in a tent and explore Sweden. This worked for one time and the fantasy became mine alone and the misses stayed home. I soon realized that I didn’t have any hiking friends like I did in the USA, and out of necessity my love for solo hiking was discovered.

Throughout the years I have solo hiked thousands of miles, slept countless nights outdoors from Far above the arctic circle to deep in the Australian outback and everywhere in between. I have always loved solo hiking, I loved the deep contemplative beauty of it, the mental games of always questioning my own ability, or discovering a new idea. Solo backpacking is truly something I think everyone has to experience, I have grown as a person because of my solo hiking.

About 3 years ago I started to notice a change however, I started to find that I missed the comradery of hiking a trail together with a friend. Or discovering new friends along the trail. My solo adventures started to feel lonely and isolated. It wasn’t that I had nothing left to discover within myself, it was just that I wanted to discover other people and their loves or struggles. On my trek through Iceland in 2015, I felt a kind of loneliness that I hadn’t felt before, and it really took away from the total experience of hiking such an amazing landscape.

Maybe it was the birth of my son and the changes in the family dynamic after that, that made these other changes in me. Since my son was born, life seems so “solid” – love feels real, and my closeness to my wife has deepened in a way that is hard to explain. But on the flip side, my deeper meaning discussions with my wife have have been replaced by two word dialogs interrupted by a lovely boy that wants attention in one way or another. Perhaps his finger stinks because he picked his but and he wants us to smell, or maybe a meatball fell to the ground, or some other world shaking catastrophes that interrupts what little time my wife and I have for each other. So now we content ourselves with our little corners in the sofa with an ipad or iphone in hand and a TV on as background noise.

In other words, the isolation I so desired by hiking solo, has been filled by a 5 year old boy and an Ipad. So now, more than anything, I desire a grown up conversation about nothing, that is not interrupted in two word intervals. My love for isolation is now being or has been replaced, by a need to meet friends and new people. I’m not sure if there is anything better than just talking about nothing with a friend around a campfire. Last summer I made a pointed effort to meet somebody along the trail in Sarek and just hike with them. Ended up being one of the better trips I’ve had in a long time, and with that I made a new friend that I still meet up with from time to time here in Stockholm.

I keep trying to force myself to just go out and rekindle my love of sleeping in the outdoors by myself. I still go out 3-4 nights a month, and some of those nights are lovely, and others are less than optimal. But the best times are always with a friend or with my family. So instead of running away from this realization, it’s time to embrace it. Maybe I should start organizing little get together around Stockholm and around Sweden and everywhere else I happen to be travelling. Maybe little weekend groups here in Stockholm – I don’t know how this will take place, but I feel like it’s time to try something new. To embrace this new phase and need in my life, and I think it would be awesome to share that with new people!

 

blogGearGear reviews

Video: Hyperlite mountain gear Ultamid 4 – Review

Ok, it was cold, shitty and hardly any snow – in other words a typical winter day in Stockholm. Stockholm is known for it’s absolutely horrific and pointless winters. With that said, it’s a good enough place to test different gear for upcoming winter trips in the mountains. So I went out to test some gear including the hyperlite mountain gear Ultamid 4, The soto muka multifuel stove, my winter quilt system and a few other pieces of equipment that I plan on using on a winter trip in Jämtland in a few weeks.

If you haven’t seen it already I posted a video of the Soto muka stove that you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKt7adKB9rg&t=3s

What is the Ultamid 4

The HMG Ultamid 4 is a massive 4 man pyramid tent from Hyperlite mountain gear. Here is Hyperlite mountain gears description of the Ultamid 4:

Providing maximum coverage at a minimum weight, the UltaMid 4 pyramid tent is stripped down and dialed in to meet the exacting requirements of passionate, goal-oriented adventurers. This ultralight four-person tent takes harsh conditions in stride all four seasons of the year. It handles, wind, rain, snow, sleet and hail better than traditional tents with much smaller footprints.

Weight: 

A tent this big surely must weight a ton you say.. no. The Ultamid 4 weighs just 618grams – without all the guylines, so around 700 with. The pack size is not too bad either, about two liters in total volume.

Size:

The Ultamid 4 is massive – in the video I show myself more or less standing up in the tent, slightly bent of course, but still. It’s easily a four man tent. Most four man tents might fit two, and two man tents are excellent one man tents. The Ultamid 4 however is a four man tent, and an excellent two man, and a palace for one.

actual dimensions are

  • Width: 111” (281.9cm)
  • Length: 111” (281.9cm)
  • Height: 75” (190.5cm)

Overall conclusion:

I have been a fan of pyramid tents for years and have used them all over the world in various conditions. The Ultamid 4 is by far the largest of all the pyramid tents that I have and would bring with me. I like the sturdiness of the Ultamid series in general – as both the Ultamid 2 and Ultamid 4 have a ton of tie outs and are built to be used and abused. Easily all around, year round tents. If you are looking for that one tent that can be used everything and have cash to burn, then you can’t go wrong with either the Ultamid 2 or Ultamid 4.

campingkidsultralight backpackingultralight kids

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
Gear

Ultralight camping with kids

To be blunt – traditional hiking gear with kids has got to be the worst idea ever. Or maybe not kids but toddlers and under. I have learned one big truth when hiking with kids: No matter the distance, long or far, no matter how light I pack, in the end I will be hoisting my son on my shoulders and trekking with him as well as all the gear. So I am positive that if my gear alone weighed 20 kilos /40 lbs – I would never bother going out in the wild, as my son weighs an additional 20 kilos. 40 kilos or 80 lbs just wouldn’t be happening.

As it is, I am an ultralight hiker – imagine that. So carrying a 5 kilo pack and a 20 kilo kid isn’t the worst thing on the planet to suffer through. Though, the kid does weigh alot considering that he doesn’t exactly fasten onto my hips like a backpack (lord knows I try to fasten his legs around my hips). In any case I’m not going to lie and say I walk miles and hike for days when backpacking with my little one. Not at all, usually just a short 1-2 mile hike and an overnighter by a lake followed with a camp fire and hotdogs. It’s enough.

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