Tag: gear

blogGearGear reviewsGoing Lighter

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

blogGearGear reviews

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

Nordisk Passion three
blogGear reviews

Review: Nordisk Passion Three Sleeping bag. Finally one that fits me perfect!

Marcus Falck, Backpacking Light

Too hot, too cold, too small, too narrow, too short or too heavy. When you are closer to 2 meters long, a pair of size 47s to feet, it is no wonder that many sleeping bags feel too cramped at the bottom. The feet usually have to fold to fit and the legs are joined together like a mermaid. If you are going to turn in your sleeping bag, you feel like a worm slithering around. If itches on the nose, it is easier to rub it against the sleeping mat than to force the arm wedged into the bag. I’m sure more people will recognize themselves in this and who later started looking towards using a Quilt instead of a sleeping bag. But despite nightmare nights in sleeping bags, I still like the feeling of being surrounded by a warm sleeping bag, the feeling of being more protected and having a soft material that protects against the slightly more aspirations of the sleeping mat. So far, not many sleeping bags have made it through this. I like Sierra Designs Cloud just for the open top, even the Spark models from Sea to Summit I sleep comfortable in.

During my trip to Hattfjelldal and Kittelfjäll, I chose a sleeping bag that perhaps some recognize under its previous brand “Yeti”, fewer under its new name “Y by Nordisk”. Already have a love for the Nordic tents in the lightweight segment. Telemark, Lofoten, Oppland and Halland are of high class and have many satisfied owners here in Sweden, but what are their sleeping bags like? Nordisk has in recent years developed a number of different series of sleeping bags. All down sacks are produced here in Europe, in Germany more precisely and their lighter Y series, which characterizes their heritage “Yeti” guarantees down is of the utmost class and durability. Crystal down is European goose down from traceable birds. As long as it feels much better! But besides sustainability, why should I choose a Y by Nordisk over any other supplier? It’s a little more expensive than its competitors, but does it really keep its promises?

The answer is obvious: Nordic passion Three is one of the most comfortable sleeping bags in relation to its weight that I have slept in. My 47s can be stretched upwards, legs can be kept apart, it is flexible but also keeps warm as promised.  I don’t get sweaty when the temperature goes up in the morning and I feel like it releases my body condence in a very good way.  During the week I was out, the night temperature changed between 4-10 degrees and I never felt like I was getting cold, or sweaty. What I also like is the full length of the zipper that makes entry and exit easier. On the warmer evenings, I can have the zipper more open. Nordic passion three has a comfort that according to the manufacturer is at 7 degrees but would say that you can easily sleep with this bag at 4-5 degrees, if you do not very cold off. So I would easily attribute this sack as a three-season sleeping bag.  Just make sure you don’t have sleeping mats with an R value below 3.  I myself slept on a Sea to Summet Etherlight Xt with an R value of 3.2. A very good combination to my Passion Three where my total weight for “sleep” landed at about 1 kg.

Weight and volume

On backpackinglight.se  there is Nordisk Passion three in three sizes. Medium: 470 grams, large 530 grams and xl of 560 grams.  Packed, the sleeping bag does not take up much space in the backpack, 27 times 14 cm makes it extremely ultra compact. Just make sure you have it packed up during the tour and take it out as soon as you pitch the tent.  You also get a larger storage bag that the down rests better in that you can use when storing the bag at home.

Other sleeping bags from Nordisk: If you are going to sleep in colder temperatures, there is also Nordisk Passion five with a comfort of -2 and a weight of fine 700-800 grams depending on size. The Nordic Balance 400, 600  and  Phantom 440  are two lighter 3-season options for your wallet. These weigh a little more but are at least as comfortable as the Passion series. If you have hyper-light requirements, you should take a look at one of the world’s lightest sleeping bags from Nordisk:  Nordisk Fever Ultra at incredibly low 240 grams and 900+cuin Nothing for cold mountain nights but popular by the participants in the world’s toughest ultra race.

Overall impression Nordisk Passion:

Plus:

Extremely light,

Comfortable and spacious sleeping bag.

Warm, sleep effortlessly down to the limit temperature.

Sustainable: Produced in Europe by fine goose down from traceable birds.

Breathe well and have a full length zipper so you can easily get in and out.

minus:

Nothing I can think of. As usual when it comes to sleeping bags in this class. Be careful with the zipper so that you do not damage the fabric. It’s easy to happen!

The price is a little higher than many other sleeping bags in the same comfort class. But on the other hand, it costs less on the environment when produced in Europe and is made of traceable goose down. We want many more to test this sleeping bag, so use the code: Nordisk20  at the checkout and you will get 20% on all down sleeping bags from Nordisk. And please let us know what you think! You can use the on checkout at  Backpackinglight.se.  .

Spec: Nordisk Passion Three XL

  • Full-length YKK zipper
  • H-Box construction
  • breathable and water repellent fabric
  • ultracompact
  • the market’s finest down quality

Facts

  • Sleeping bag type: 3 seasons
  • temperature
  • Comfort: 7 °C
  • Limit: 3 °C
  • Extreme: -10 °C
  • Tested according to European standard EN 13537

Measurements

  • size
  • Length: 235 cm
  • Body Size: 205 cm
  • Axelbredd: 83 cm
  • Fotbredd: 54 cm
  • weight
  • Weight: 560 g
  • Diameter: 14 cm
  • Length: 27 cm

Material

  • shall
  • Name: Light nylon
  • Composition: 100% nylon
  • Color: Navy blue
  • lining
  • Name: Light nylon
  • Composition: 100% nylon
  • Color: Dark Blue/Black
  • stuffing
  • Namn: Crystal down
  • Type: 95/5 800+ European white goose down
  • Blandningsförhållande: 95/5
  • Fyllkraft (EU): 800+ cuin
  • Fyllkraft (USA): 870+ cuin

Nordic Passion Three is purchased from Backpackinglight.dk

blogGear reviews

Test: Granit Gear Crown2 60l

Marcus Falck, Backpackinglight.se, Juli 2021

At the height of the summer, the long-planned fishing and hiking trip to Hattfjälldal in Norway, on to Kittelfjäll I had with both haspel and fly fishing stuff, wading boots and a lot of different fishing gear.  When I’m going fishing in new waters, I want different rods and baits to test my way through. “What if the fish swims on the surface and only takes night dragonflies and dry, or stands deep and chops on spoon strokes”. I want to be ready for any scenario. Normally I like to wear light but have no problem wearing a little heavier if I must. I was first in the choice between a Sierra design Flex capacitor or Osprey Aether Pro, both with frame, and which I know can handle heavier loads and have comfortable and proven carrying systems.  But since I have already walked with these, the choice fell on a newcomer in the range; Granit Gear Crown2 60 litres.  The total weight of Crown2 in size Long with head, back plate and hip belt is: 1116 grams. Here are my thoughts on it:

Overall impression

The narrower hip belt and shoulder straps are reminiscent of HMG’s backpacks and the different back section with a plastic plate supported by a reddish foam on my back made me curious. Can this seemingly slightly less robust backpack even work for my needs!? Now in retrospect, I don’t regret the choice. Granit Gear Crown2 60  sits very nicely on the back, around the hip and shoulders.  You do not need a wider hip-belt or a more developed aluminum frame to carry up to 15 kg-16kg. This backpack proves it. The roller top opening under the head allows you to compress the gasket and provides a good water repellent function. But the thinner material with 100 D nylon on top and 210 D nylon at the bottom still makes me choose the safe for the unsafe and use a waterproof pack liner in the backpack.

The compression straps on the lid and sides make the backpack versatile and usable for different pack volumes. For shorter day trips from base camp, I was able to scale down my backpack by removing the head (73 grams), lap belt (186 grams), and getting down a bit under the kilo in weight. If you wanted to scale it down even more, you can also remove the back plate, (172 grams) but I chose to keep it. It was warm outside and the hollow back plate with its patterns provided some ventilation.  The larger mesh pocket in the middle I used to store coffee, rubbish and later also to have some lighter fishing gear in. my two rods and their rollers. The deep side pockets combined with the compression straps on the sides worked well to attach the fishing rods to. Note that I only use split rods, not telescopes . Having said that, there must be compression straps in the middle or on the upper part of the backpack because my rods stand out a bit.

The volume then, 60 liters plus 5 liters in the cylinder heads was perfectly ok for a week’s tour. Between the roller top opening and the head, I was also able to store my wading pants and further stretch the pack volume at the height. Instead of classic 2 kg wading shoes, I use a pair of worn foppa slippers of about 250 grams that give a completely ok attachment to stones and sand. They dry quickly and I can even use them as camp slippers. These can easily be attached to the outside of the backpack. On the lap belt there are also 2 pockets of about 0.5 liters each, good for putting small picks in, such as my snuff box.  Finally, there is also the possibility to put a fluid system along the back of the inside, but I did not test this.

On the lap belt, the Granit Gear Crown 60 has a smart adjustable function where you can customize its range. The middle part of the lap belt can be adjusted with Velcro and then easily threaded back behind the tail cushion. I see this as a big plus that you can adapt your lap belt to sit comfortably regardless of hip size. This means that the backpack is suitable for both men and women with different hip ranges. Still, there is a Granit Gear Crown2, custom made for women with more S shaped shoulder straps. You can read more about it  here. The  chest buckle can also be adjusted upside down. I see these adjustable features of The Crown2 as a big plus and something that I wish more backpack manufacturers would follow.

Another feature is that the head can be used as a chest/waist belt. Perfect for those who want access to more equipment, such as a camera or binoculars at your fingertips. You only need two carabiner hooks to attach it to the front of the backpack.

What about the lifting capacity? I tried using the backpack with different volumes and weights in it. Up to 15-16 kg, the backpack does very well, but when you go up to 18-20 kg, the lap belt begins to feel against the hip and the backpack loses its comfortable posture and balance. So would recommend not to carry more than 15 kg in this, i.e. in line with what the manufacturer writes.

Plus: Lightweight, comfortable comfort and balanced backpack up to 15 kg. Granit Gear Crown 2 is a smart backpack that you can adjust the hip belt range, chest buckle position and packing bag volume through smart compression straps and roll top opening. It works well as a hiking/fishing backpack where you can use the top as a Waist/Chest bag, or as many will prefer: slimmed down, completely without a head. The overall rating in general is very good.

Minus: The thin mesh fabric on the back plate feels completely unnecessary. You walk with the feeling that it’s going to break at any moment. Many of Ospreys lighter backpacks have a similar mesh fabric but there is a clearer distance between the bag and the mesh mesh, there is not here. So I just don’t understand the feature of this!?

Buy your Granit Gear Crown2 on Backpackinglight.dk

Other gear in my backpack I would like to put a spotlight on

Sleepling bag: Nordisk Passion Three 560 gram, fantastic warm, light and comfortable sleeping bag! I will use it more!

Sleeping mat: Sea to Summit ether light XT 630 gram, There are lighter sleeping mats, but they’re not as comfortable as this.

Pillow: Klymit Pillow X-large 91 gram, Likes big pillows, this one was really nice but a little too cold! Solved it by threading the sleeping bag over the pillow.

Warm pants: Omm Mountain Raid: 300 gram. Incredibly comfortable, warm and light trousers to wear in the evenings.

Rainjacket: OMM Halo Smock: 95 gram. Used it both against wind, rain and mosquitoes and weighs almost nothing. Great clothes!

Rainskirt Ritsem Regnkjol: 40 gram. Left the rain pants at home and didn’t have to put on and off. Extremely functional!

Kitchen: MSR Pocketrocket with gas: 190 gram. reliable and good kitchen!

Foodpood: Sarek 12 liter. Why haven’t I had a foodpod before? I’m going to use this again!

Mosquitoannorack I don’t know where I bought this but, some gas station I guess. I couldn’t have made this trip without you! thanks!

backpackingblogcampingenlightened equipmentGear

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:

backpackingcamping

Why you freeze in your sleeping bag

I have a little secret to share: I know a thing or two about sleeping bags and keeping warm. Might come as a shock I know, and it’s not to toot my own horn, but simply a statement of fact. Here is the secret to finding the perfect sleeping bag that will keep you as warm as the promised comfort temp rating: it’s the sleeping mat. (This article is mainly for 3 season hiking, same rules apply for winter camping, but there it’s also a question of certain techniques)

In my own experience and in my years of being in the outdoor industry with my own gear shop, 9 times out of 10 (I would say 10 of 10, but I always leave a little margin of error) when you are cold despite your bag being warmer (comfort temp) than the outside temp, it’s your sleeping pad. Yes I know you don’t feel cold from underneath, no doubt your sleeping mat has a high R-value, yes I understand you have all kinds of clothing and extra layers on. It’s still more than likely your sleeping mat, or it could be you bought a bag advertising it’s Limit temp (the temp you will freeze your ass off at) as it’s bag name. Example is the Haglöfs down LIM +1. A +10 bag marketed at a +1 temp. Just an example, though most companies market their bags this way. Limit temp, is simply put, where you will be so cold your teeth will clatter. Buy your bag at the comfort temp, not the limit. 

With that said, if you buy your bag at the stated comfort temp, and you freeze despite the outside weather being warmer than the comfort rating of the bag, it’s your sleeping mat. There are many reasons for this, but the simple truth is that rating a sleeping mat is considerably more difficult than the more standardized rating of sleeping bags. Most comfort temps on most sleeping bags are fairly well measured, while sleeping mats can and do vary wildly. In my experience most thicker sleeping mats (air filled not cell plast) all get cold around +3 celsius. Once the temperature starts to drop, these pads start to get cold: regardless of r-rating. I think this might have something to do with how different companies measure their r-value. I’m not sure how it’s done, but it rarely matches up to reality. The exception being the Thermarest mats that all hold up quite well in colder temperatures. (Thermarest xTherm and xLite hold up to stated r-values).

I’m sure someone out there is going to tell me I have no idea what I’m talking about, and that sleeping mats are 100% accurate in their ratings. But alas, I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to everyone else that is freezing in their sleeping bags despite buying the thickest, most expensive bag on the planet. I know, because I’ve been there. Daily I have customers who call or write describing the exact same issue. Most of them have barely a thought on what they have for sleeping mats. My first response and question is always “what sleeping mat do you have?”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than happy to sell great, ultralight sleeping bags, but I don’t care for returns because of freezing customers. 

So what is my standard advice? Try putting a cheap cell foam pad on top of your current sleeping mat first – on top not underneath your sleeping pad. If you are still freezing, try a different sleeping mat, perhaps an xtherm. If you have tried different sleeping mats, then start looking at the bag. Check the comfort temp of your bag, actual temperature where you are at (temps on apps are often taken in cities or towns where temps are higher). There can of course be other issues with your bag such as down clumping – make sure your sleeping bag is properly “fluffed” and that the down hasn’t shifted into clumps. Another issue is a sleeping bag that is too small, which means you squeeze too hard against the sides, not leaving any room for the insulation to leave insulate. 

But at the end of the day, 9 out of 10 instances of people freezing outdoors in their “warm” sleeping bag, is due to a cold sleeping mat. 

backpackingblogcamping

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.