Tag: gear

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2019 a year in travel – What to bring?!??

2019 is going to be a fun year! Starting off with a few weeks in Vietnam, than followed up with 6 months in Zambia! We will be traveling, exploring and above all else living a new life with our adopted child. I am really looking forward to this time to just focus on family and Backpackinglight. I will be backpacking as much as possible in Zambia, but hopefully I can get my family out with me. With that said, this also creates a lot of logistical problems for me and for the family. Being a minimalist in a lot of aspects, especially in travel, I now have a problem. I can’t exactly live in Africa with only one backpack with me. There are now a lot of different aspects I have to plan for.

  1. Living a day to day life
  2. Running my business
  3. Travelling and photography
  4. Backpacking
  5. Videography

These different hobbies and aspects don’t fit in one minimalist Minaal travel backpack… unfortunately. While I can normally have everything I need for any amount of time travelling in one backpack including camera gear. The length and goal of this trip to Zambia means that I also need to bring backpacking gear to test and take videos of. It is not possible for me to buy the gear and have it sent to me in Zambia as it is too expensive, and too many possible problems.

Projects during the trip: 

  1. Photography book – Zambia in pictures. Daily life and turists
  2. Vlog – Daily short stories of some kind

The part of planning here that is easy are the first two:

  1. living day to day: I would need my computer, clothing, running clothes and shoes.
  2. Running my business: Easy enough – my computer and bank cards

The harder part in the planning is the last two for different reasons:

  1. Travelling and photography
  2. Backpacking and hiking
  3. Videography

I will start with travelling and photography – Is there one camera that can be great for video and stills? Vlogging and documentary style video? Sharp pictures for everything from street photography to Astrophotography? Am I willing to bring a lot of weight? so probably a lightweight camera that does everything.. does it exist? I currently own a Canon m50 that I kind of bought to hold me over until I could find the perfect camera for myself. I have had and tested tons of different cameras and like the ease of use, autofocus and colors of the M50. I actually sold my Fuji X-t2 for an Olympus Omd EM5 ii.. A great camera, but not the greatest video – this could be said for both the fuji x-t2 and EM5, But I fell in love with the flip out screen of the Olympus. The Fuji had great stills but not the greatest for video as autofocus was weak. Maybe the XT3 is ready for a new chance? The M50 is great, but, the dynamic range is not great, it’s not weather sealed and high ISO is non-existent.

So for me to figure out what I need and what I want and hopefully find a good camera for that. I will write down my list here

Needs: 

  1. Good out of camera video colors – I don’t edit colors much or at all
  2. Good stills – sharp and with decent dynamic range.
  3. Weather sealed – I am in the elements a lot – I don’t bring the m50 because of this
  4. A flip out screen (maybe not the biggest need.. but close to it)
  5. Slow mo up to 60 FPs – but I won’t complain with a 120FPS
  6. Mic input
  7. good, fast Autofocus – As I normally film myself autofocus has to be good
  8. Great battery life
  9. Good depth of field – I like blurry backgrounds

Wants:

  1. I want my camera to look damn good (I see you Olympus OM-D 1 mark II)
  2. Lightweight if possible
  3. 4k.. maybe, I suppose it would be useful.. maybe.. not much of a want or need really
  4. A great wide angle lens

Cameras I am currently looking at: 

Canon 6d mark ii – Ticks a lot of the needs, but HEAVY when you count in the glass as well. A bonus here is that I can use my glass on both the M50 and the 6D. The biggest problem I have with the 6D is the company that makes them.. I don’t want to support a lazy, uninspired company. Canon is just pathetic in a lot of ways and giving them my money just doesn’t feel right.

Fuji X-T3 – Ticks also a lot of the boxes for me – though no flip out screen and Autofocus? hmm not sure. Also I really liked my X-T1 back in the day.. Though I do like the company and cameras

Olympus OM-D E 1 mark II – Looks great, ticks a lot of my wants and needs.. but maybe not the greatest depth of field.. not to be underestimated of course, but can’t compare to full frame.

Canon EOS- R – Another uninspiring effort from the company of mediocracy. But light, good colors, Full frame and flip out screen

Nikon Z6 – Because if I’m dreaming I might as well dream of them all..

Last but not least – sell all of it and but a small compact camera like the Sony rx 100.. Nobody cares about the gear anyway.. it’s about the content 🙂

Backpacking gear

This is where things get a little interesting. While I won’t have time to take week long trips solo, I do have plans to bring the whole family on different trips throughout the country, car camping and maybe even campground camping. But I do want the option to pick up and go backpacking by myself. So the question here is do I bring two tents – one two or three man tent that my wife and kids can sleep in and a solo tent for me. (I don’t like sharing a tent anyway). Or do I bring a big tent that is lightweight to use as a solo tent as well? This same reasoning basically needs to be applied to everything.

So if I’m looking at tents – do I bring something like the The Tarptent saddle, Big agnes Copper spur 3 and a solo tent to match like a Plexamid or Stratospire. Or do I just bring the Hyperlite mountain gear Ultamid 4 with inner-tent? I’m leaning towards the Ultamid as that keeps everything simple, but I really don’t like sharing a tent…

Quilts, sleeping bags, kitchen sets, hiking gear, backpacks so on and so forth.. Am I trying to combine too many hobbies into one trip? Even if we are gone for six months, maybe the better option is a camper van with day hiking gear instead?

As I’ve said.. this really is a pain in the ass.. But I think I answered the question by writing this.. Solo gear, as light as possible and car camping otherwise.

Vlogging? 

This goes back to my video and camera gear – I am thinking about doing a vlog for during my trip in Zambia. The question is what will it be about? I don’t like reality TV, or Reality vlogs and so on, and I would never want to force my life upon other people in that manner. There needs to be a story, a reason to watch, fun and interesting. I don’t want to only do gear reviews. I want to capture life in an interesting way.

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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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Cumulus Teneqa 850 winter down bag review – demonstration

 

Ok, so this weekend starts the ISPO Munich 2018 convention – worlds largest convention for outdoor and sports gear.. I going to Amsterdam instead. Maybe I will make Munich next year 🙂 With that said, I have been busy going through a bunch of new and old gear, trying to put together more videos and so on for ULcomfort.com as well as backpackinglight.dk. I have also moved all the inventory over to a new fulfillment center that will improve shipping times, minimize mistakes and make shipping cheaper for Backpackinglight.dk customers. So, for me, Amsterdam seems like an awesome weekend getaway.

With that said, I put together a quick video of the Cumulus Teneqa 850 winter down sleeping bag. It’s rare that I would chose a single bag option in the winter over a layered system, for example a down quilt, with a synthetic quilt on top. I just find a layered system to be good enough and cheap enough solution to solve my winter needs. However when I got the Teneqa 850 in the mail for a customer I decided to buy one for myself and give it a good testing throughout the winter season. I haven’t gone on any long winter artic expeditions or anything like that, but a few cold nights at around -5 to -17 and the bag has held up very well. Honestly, I am rethinking my winter layering system, as a single, fully enclosed mummy bag is certainly warmer for harsh winter conditions than something like a layered quilt system. I sleep snug as a bug in the Teneqa 850, and props to Cumulus for making such a high quality down bag at this price point (400 euros)

What is the Cumulus Teneqa 850:

It’s probably our biggest star, which we are extremely proud of, although it’s only 3 years old. This sleeping bag is filled with 850 g of the highest quality 850 cuin Polish down. When laid out, it is really impressive – it may even be said to be beautiful. A revolutionary, advanced winter sleeping bag, weighing only 1330 g. Made of Pertex Quantum fabric weighing 35 g/m², equipped with advanced V-chambers, which gives it a big advantage over the competition. The Teneqa 850 is a combination of Japanese technology, Polish down and Polish innovation which has led to the creation of a great product.

Specs:

  • Total weight: 1330 g
  • Down weight: 850 g
  • Weight of unfilled sleeping bag: 480 g
  • Comfort temperature: -14 ˚C
  • Limit temperature: -22 ˚C
  • Extreme temperature: -44 ˚C
  • Maximum user height: 190 cm
  • Length: 210 cm
  • Width (top/bottom): 85/59 cm
  • Stuffsack’s dimensions (height/diameter): 32/21 cm
  • Stuffsack’s volume: 11,1 l
  • Number of down chambers: 37

Size – My view: 

If there is one issue I have with Cumulus bags, and sleeping bags in general, it’s that they are made smaller than rated. For example, the Panyam 600 is rated at a user height of 190cm. I am 190cm and I would say the bag is rated for someone at 186cm. It’s just too small for me. It squeezes around my shoulders, my feet are crunched at the end and I can’t fit the mummy hood over my head and tighten around my shoulder – I just doensn’t fit. So I resolved myself into buying a bigger Panyam. With that said, the Cumulus Teneqa 850 standard size is perfect for me. Good room around my shoulders, I can toss and turn all-night without the entire bag following me everywhere, My toes just barely touch the footbox, which is exactly how I like it. It’s just a great fitting bag. In really cold nights I could easily fit inside with a few extra layers of clothing if I would need to. Again, cudos to Cumulus for making a great fitting bag.

 

Warmth and comfort:

To me, a warm bag is not always a comfortable one to use. Especially winter bags that have a tendency to get a little too warm if it’s not freezing outside. I find the Teneqa 850 to be a good balance between warmth, weight and comfort. At -15 rating I’m not going to be sweating my ass off when the temp is hovering around 0 – I just open up the footbox a little. Also, if the cold drops to -30 I can fit in with a few extra layers of clothing. It performs very nicely at around -10 to -20. For reference I am a very cold sleeper.

Overall feeling: 

Overall I like the Cumulus Teneqa 850 – warm, light, cheap-ish, excellent form and fit. If there is anything I would like to see improved for later version it would be a plastic zipper flap like the Western mountaineering bags – such light materials like those used on the Cumulus bags, easily get snagged in the zipper without the flap. Of course WM bags are twice as expensive, but I wouldn’t say they are twice as good. In fact, as far as make, fit and quality I would say Cumulus give WM a run for their money.

Will it replace my panyam 600 and as tucas sestrals poncho winter layering system? Probably not for my longer winter trips where I will be out for a week or soon in the Arctic, but certainly for trips up to 4-5 days I could see myself bringing the Teneqa 850. Perhaps, I could see myself replacing the Panyam 600 with the Teneqa, and then layer with the As Tucas. – Warmer and a little more flexible – however, heavier of course.

Where to buy:

https://backpackinglight.dk/sleeping/sleeping-bags/winter/cumulus-teneqa-850

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Gear Review: Black Diamond Firstlight tent

Ok, the black diamond is not the worst tent available, it’s bad but not the worst. For alpine conditions: Dry, windy and lots of snow – it’s perfect. For anything else it’s terrible. I have been using the Firstlight and sibling Hilight for about 5 years in varying instances. This video is a rundown of the tent and my review of the Firstlight.

 

What is it:
The Black diamond firstlight is a freestanding two man alpine tent. As per Black diamonds website (spelling errors and all… come on Black Diamond, spell check does exist… contructed? what the hell is contructed?):

A compact two-person, four-season tent built for weight-conscious climbers, the Black Diamond Firstlight is based on the I-Tent’s expedition-specific design with steep walls and a simple floor shape to optimize living space and increase headroom. For durability, all seams are double sewn and the stress points are reinforced. With two equal length DAC Featherlite poles that fit inside the tent with hook-and-loop wraps, it’s easy to set up—even from inside. For cross ventilation, both the small rear window and the door are covered with no-see-um mesh. The canopy is contructed with water resistant, breathable NanoShield fabric. For interior organization, the Firstlight has two interior mesh pockets.

Weight:
at 1,5kilos the Black diamond is light for a two man winter alpine tent. A bit heavier as a single man winter alpine tent and completely pointless for any other purposes.

Size: 
The Black diamond firstlight is marketed as a two man alpine tent. It’s not. It’s a one man alpine tent, and more to the point, it’s a one-short man (woman or kid) alpine tent. The actual dimensions are: 208 x 123 x 123 x 107 cm (82 x 48 x 48 x 42 in) – 208 is the length. My 196 sleeping pad stretches out the floor of the tent. My head and feet both push out the sides of the tent. I get wet from my bag squishing against the side.  For me, the firstlight is a one man tent.

To the point:
Watch the video for a full review. The firstlight is a tent I both love and hate. For the intended conditions it’s a “good enough” tent. It’s freestanding, light-ish, and I definitely have confidence in it even under the most brutal winter conditions. For everything else, it sucks.

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Nemo Hornet 2 – gear demonstration

Okej, very excited here as a finally got home the Nemo hornet 2 as well as the Apollo 3. Two ultralight tents. To be honest, I was mainly looking forward to the nemo hornet 2 as I have been longing for an easy to setup tent with a large net innertent – that can easily be used separately from the fly. In this video I demo the Hornet 2, set it up, play in it and show it’s size the best I can.

 

About the Nemo hornet 2:

The Hornet is Nemos lightweight tent series designed for trails like the APT or CDT in the Usa. Basically long walks in varying climates. The tent can easily be setup semi-free standing. You can make it work with rocks if needed.

Weight:

The Nemo Hornet 2 weighs just 910 grams complete with tent pegs, seam sealed and tent pole. In otherwise, a fairly light tent for one person, and superlight for two.

Use: 

I would use this for just about any trip I would like to go on. I will debate bringing it along on the TGO Challenge. It’s large for one person, big vestibules, double entry and exits as well as removable fly make this an excellent choice.

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube channel

 

This tent can be bought in europe: at https://backpackinglight.dk/tents/2-person-tents/nemo-hornet-2p-ultralight-backpacking-tent

Or in Sweden: https://backpackinglight.se/talt/2-personstalt/nemo-hornet-2p-ultralight-backpacking-tent

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Working hard on video…

I know it seems that I am rather unengaged with ultralight and comfortable as of late.. as far as writing goes I am, too many projects at the moment 🙂 I am however very engaged at backpackinglight.dk where I even send out a newsletter now and than. I also have been working tirelessly on video as of late as I like the format for reviews and showing off gear. It’s funner to play with gear, test it and show it off on video than taking pictures and writing reviews.

With that said I have put up about 40 videos in the last couple of weeks all gear related. Still finding my style and quality in the videos, but I think the project is heading in the right direction. Let me know what you think! Also if there is any gear you would like me to do a demonstration of, let me know as well!

https://www.youtube.com/ultralightandcomfortable

A demo video as well:

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Day 4: Final impressions and gear Outdoor show Friedrichshafen 2017

I really enjoyed my time at the german trade show, got to meet a lot of nice people and talked with a lot of representatives from many different companies. The show is massive and I’m happy I took the 4 days to really see as much as I could… Even four days wasn’t enough.

I was impressed by the focus on the ecological processes and social responsibility that most companies made a drive towards. We can no longer state that it’s just patagonia thinking about these principals. They may have started the trend, but the others are catching on and pushing it forward. I also don’t think this trend is purely consumer driven, I get the impression that many of these companies are asking the important questions and getting ahead of the trend before the average consumer is there.

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The Haglöfs LIM Bield rain jacket and shorts are in my opinion absolutely brilliant. 165grams for the large jacket and 20000mm water resistance. Taped seams, breathable and stronger material than gore-tex. 

 

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Sea to summit showing off their new Spcialist solo and duo.. The solo weighs 445grams and the duo comes in at just 633grams. (these weighs are minus tent poles and pegs)

IMG_2065The nano puff getting lighter and lighter.

 

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The backside of the much anticipated Osprey Levity 45 and Levity 60. This pack will be available spring 2018 at an estimated price of $240.

IMG_4379The front and side of the Osprey Levity 60

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I liked the coleman booth – glamping at it’s finest!

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Ultralight hammock by Sea to summit – 155grams.

IMG_1506Nice looking packs from Haglöfs

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Me being sandwhiched between two of the four Gossamer gear gang. Nice chat and planning for the future. Grant on the left and Glen on the right. Amazing story Gossamer gear, started with Glen sewing his own gear and eventually expanding to meet demands. Inspiring stuff from a great group of guys!

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Gear review: Fizan compact trekking poles

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a representative from Massdrop on writing a review for one of their upcoming massdrops. For those of you not familiar with massdrop it’s a community or social shopping network that sets up different products for ridiculously cheap prices. For example right now they have an 800 down Enlightened Equipment high quality quilt on sale for 189usd. So the prices are fantastic and the products on offer are often of the highest quality.

Being the kind of guy I am, I have no problems exchanging my time for products and doing a review as long as I can fit it into my schedule. Also it’s not unusual for me to get request to do reviews for products and companies in the USA as a lot of my visitors to this site come from the USA. (Not so strange considering I write in English and come from the USA myself).

With that said, I have known about Fizan as a company for some time as they make trekking poles that are known throughout Europe as a high quality brand. I’m not sure if the products exist in the USA, but in Italy and Europe they have been around since the 1950’s and still being made in Italy.

The timing for Debbie over at Massdrop couldn’t have been better as I was in the market for a new pair of trekking poles as I’m not completely happy with the ones I have. I was in the market for highly adjustable, lightweight, aluminum poles. (I keep breaking my Carbon fiber poles). Feeling I would be more than happy to sacrifice some weight for the added strength of Aluminum.

Weight:

Anyway, I got my Fizan compact trekking poles in the mail a few days ago and I was immediately surprised by the writing on the poles ”worlds lightest trekking poles 158grams”. I thought – bull… But to be honest they are the lightest adjustable poles on the market which is pretty awesome. (Correct me if I’m wrong here). My current carbon fibre adjustable poles weigh in at 184 grams each. These with the straps and baskets weigh 175grams. Take off the straps and baskets (which I normally do) and were down to 158grams each. Light.

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175 grams with the basket and strap on. Hard to find Carbon fiber adjustable poles at this weight.

Quality

As I stated I haven’t had a whole lot of time to test these out, I have been out a few nights and walked a total of about 65 kilometers with varying weight on my backpack and with two different tents. (The MLD Duomid and the MLD Trailstar). The poles have held up well (holding the tents up) even in some really heavy wind and rain on one of my nights out.

The Fizan compacts use a three part proprietary interlocking system, that they have been using for years in their compact system without problems. I find no reason to doubt this interlocking system.

To be honest, I have no real issues with the quality here, as I said before, Fizan is a well known brand and I have had their poles once upon a time a few years back, they never let me down. I don’t feel like this will be issue with these poles either.

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Looks and feel

I think these poles look good, as good as trekking poles can look that is. They are still old people sticks (joke from my book), but do what they are suppose to do. I have seen much uglier poles. They do however feel fantastic. Weight and balance and even the tiniest of attention to details really stand out. I like the feel of the straps and how small the poles pack down to due to the three part adjustable system.

The color on the Massdrop sale for these pole swill be blue and not the red that is seen in these pictures.

Size

My Fizan compacts are adjustable from 58 centimeters (23 inches) to about 132 centimeters (52 inches) maxed out. In other words perfect from any toddler sized human to about my size 190cm (6’3”).

 

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The Fizan sticks holding up an MLD Duomid + Innertent

Specs:

Weight with straps and basket: 178grams each

Height: 58cm (23 inches) – 132 centimenters (52 inches)

Material: 7001 Lightweight Aluminum

Locking: Proprietary Flexy internal locking system

Grips: Ergonomic EVA foam grip with rounded plastic top

3 sets of removable baskets: 35, 50, and 95 mm

Suggested price: $59.99

Massdrop start date: Monday, June 5 at 6 a.m. PST.

Address for the massdrop site and sticks:

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-fizan-compact?utm_source=Iterable&iterableCampaignId=122529&iterableTemplateId=178324&utm_campaign=massdrop_x_fizan_compact_trekking_poles&mode=guest_open&referer=C9BLKJ&utm_medium=email

 

PROS:

Lightweight adjustable poles

Aluminum

Extra baskets

Cheap (to be honest, I’m surprised by the price on these.. This is cheap)

Great brand

Made in Italy

 

CONS:

Aluminum (You can get lighter with non-adjustable carbon fiber)

The tips on these are wider than standard trekking poles which means the pole extender on the MLD Duomid won’t work. That’s why in the picture above I use PVC piping instead of the carbon fiber pole extender.

Perhaps shouldn’t be used as ski poles…. . .


The Fizan compact poles are an excellent compliment to the MLD Trailstar as they are highly adjustable.

 

TO read more about these poles check out this excellent, detailed review:

https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1797/upcoming-massdrop-x-fizan-collaboration?utm_placement=3&referer=PYEQYA&mode=guest_open&utm_campaign=Automated%20Daily%20Promotional%202017-05-26&utm_source=SparkPost&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily%20Promotional&utm_content=1495797900732.028910651407058611965059

 

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Gear review: Jetboil TI Sol

I have owned the Jetboil TI Sol for almost 3 years now, so this has to be the slowest gear review in the history of gear blogging. I’m not sure if I can add anything to discussion, but what the heck. The Jetboil TI Sol is the titanium version of the Jetboil solo stove. A complete cooking system in a light package. It’s main purpose is to boil water, and it’s damn good at boiling water.

If  your like me and just about any other backpacker on the planet, your main need is to boil water to rehydrate your packaged foods and boil for coffee.. then the Jetboil should suite your needs just fine.

What you get

The Jetboil TI Sol is a self contained unit with everything thats needed in a simple little package. It has a pezo lighter built in, an adjustable pressure regulator, insulated pot sleeve, Plastic lid with strainer, a plastic cup and last but not least the actual pot itself that is .8 liters.

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A gas canister easily fits in the pot along with with the regulator. I usually leave everything at home except for the pot, lid and gas regulator. Though I’m certain that the rest of equipment serves a purpose….

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In use

I am a sucker for simplicity and I’m not sure it’s possible to make an more simplistic stove. Just screw on the gas can, put the pot on and press the ignitor. (this of course can be said for any jetboil or these style of stoves). Having used this stove on and off for over three years it has only failed me once, in Iceland, pouring rain the ignitor didn’t take. With that one exception this stove has been very trustworthy. There is a lot to be said about these kinds of stoves and there is a very good reason they have become so popular during the last decade or so.

With that said the Jetboil TI Sol has one function and one function only: Boil water as quickly and effeciently as possible. There is no simmer (officially there is, but don’t bother). This one function it has and serves perfectly. Boil time on my kitchen stove (which by the way is the most useless metric in backpacking is a staggering 3 minutes and 47 seconds with .5 liters of water) Fuel consumption is around 5grams of fuel. In the wild depending on the wind and chill factor (colder air means slower boil time), boiling is around 3.5 – 5 minutes. I usually try to calculate for my trips 8 grams of fuel per boil.

However this gives kind of an unrealistic picture of the jetboil and how I use it. I rarely boil water in the wild and most the time I run water through my filter and get the water to “warm enough” – which is around 2.5 minutes and 4 grams of fuel. Meaning one tiny can at 229 grams will last me a very long time along a trail.

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Eating

This probably goes without saying but I will write anyway. I eat directly from the pot, because the pot is rather tall I find that regular length spoons are a pain, so I use a long length spoon to dig deep in the pot. Also, though the cozy I’m sure serves a purpose, it atleast let’s holding a freshly heated meal possible.

 

Conclusion

A lot of new stove system have been introduced on the market since the Jetboil TI SOl has been released. The weight differences today are perhaps not as wide as they once were. Aluminum systems that weigh 100 grams more can be bought for a 100usd less. There are also simple pot and stove solutions that weigh 150 grams total (evernew pot and BSR 1000 titanium stove). However, I still find the Jetboil ti sol to be a viable solution if your looking for this style stove. They can now be purchased at competitive prices on ebay and amazon. This system is still to my knowledge the lightest fast boil system available (correct me if I’m wrong)

After three years this system is still going strong for me and while it might not be my first choice, it is by far my simplist choice.

 

The good:

Complete cooking system

Fast boil

Self contained unit that fits nicely in my backpack

Relatively light at 242 grams for the trimmed down system that I bring (just the pot, lid and regulator)

 

The bad:

Like hot water? That’s all your going to get with this. Don’t bother bringing anything else

Not sure what purpose the pot cozy has.

Heavy compared to some of the ultralight kits available. (Trail designs, BSR1000, any alcohol stove and so on)

Uses gas – I am terrible at determining how much gas I need to have with me, thus I always bring way too much.

No wind shield.. Always looking for a hole to dig this down in as each breeze increases boil time significantly.

GearGear listGoing LighterUncategorized

Starting your backpacking life

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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