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.
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.
I recently posted a videon on my youtube channel of the different gear I would probably bring with me on the Fjällräven classic this year if I were to do it. (I am not.. I’m doing the TGOChallenge, A couple of winter hikes, Zambia, and Jämtlandsfjäll).. This would however be some of the gear I would pack for the trip – granted i would use the HMG Windrider 4400 and not the ULA Circuit, also A few other changes I would make. This was kind of a budget run-down of gear selections that most people could make.
Reasoning behind the gear choices:
Northern Sweden is a tricky area to plan “super ultralight” for, and honestly I don’t do Super ultralight. I do ultralight and comfortable (Notice the Helinox chair? yes, the 500grams are worth it for me). The reason for Northern Sweden being a little heavier and warmer is because it could be rain for days, followed by snow, then to sunshine. You could place your tent on snow and ice – which I have done during the classic, and the winds could just blow ice cold wind down from the mountains. With that, I usually try to plan for most of what I will encounter. I have done that trail several times with and without bug nets, with and without any real rain gear, with and without a proper sleeping pad, bag or tent. I suggest aiming for warmth and comfort at the lightest weight possible.
Here is another issue to think about – all my gear is heavier than yours even if we have the exact same gear. This is because I have to buy large and wide for everything 🙂
Also, keep in mind there are a few major ascents and descents – so don’t pack more than 8-10 kilos in your bag and bring walking sticks. I have seen countless heavy-miserables (the hikers with 20+ kilos) with broken feet, legs and bodies after three or four days along the classic) You will be given food in two day intervals and you don’t need to carry water as it’s everywhere.
Use lightweight mesh trail shoes with Superfeet insoles. Boots will kill you on this trail as there are quite a few water crossing and wading. Once your boots get wet, your trip is ruined. Trail shoes love water – and dry quickly.
Hope this little guide and packing list help you in your Fjällräven classic planning!
I felt the warmth on my face as the afternoon sun crept through the mountain ridges, my body hot from from the layers of winter clothing and the gore-tex jacket and pants keeping all the moisture in. My winter backpack weighing in at 11 kilos and well prepared for anything the cold winter night could throw my way. I had been longing for this moment for over 4 months, planning, preparing and daydreaming about this very scene, the skis under my feet, backpack on my back and the magnificent mountainous regions stretching as far as my eyes could see.
I had planned everything in the minutest of details, nothing left to chance, this far out in the Swedish wilds in the middle of winter is nothing to take lightly. -20 degrees and fridged wind blowing through the valley, even the slightest mistake could lead to serious problems.
My skis, a pair of Madshus Glittertind backcountry skis are made for this kind of backcountry touring, my poles and my trusty ski boots all fitted and working in unison, propelling me across the harsh arctic landscape. A smile is stuck on my face, and sheer joy has taken over my consciousness. Then, from out of nowhere I hear a snap, suddenly my ski is off to the side of me, I lose my balance and fall, somewhat reluctantly, headfirst into a deep snow drift. Smile gone, joy replaced with pain, the pain of freezing wind blowing down onto my wet, cold face. ”Shit” I said, as I looked down, realizing the sole on my ski boot had separated from the boot itself.
Sitting there, hands frozen, ears and toes starting to go numb, and tears dripping from my eyes because of the cold harsh wind, I knew I had a problem. 10 kilometers away from the nearest cottage, and now no skis to ride on. As I looked up, not too far away I spotted a small emergency wind shelter, strategically placed for just these kinds of incidents. I picked myself up and made my way to the shelter. I took off my ski boot and assessed the damage – the sole had almost completely come off from the rest of my boot. Not sure how to fix it, I did the only thing I could do, I wiped my boot clean, pulled out my duck tape and got to work.
The patch job might not have been the best, but for fucks sake, it’s duck tape and I’m desperate. As the saying goes ”if you can’t fix it with duck tape, your not using enough”. After fixing my ski boot I had a decision to make: Stay here at the wind shelter for the night, or jump on my skis and hope I can make it back to my starting point and to safety before night fall. I sat in the shelter for a while longer, freezing, I decided it would be best to jump on my skis and make a go for it.
I learned some very important lessons this day: 1. Duck tape doesn’t hold in freezing cold and 2. If one boot breaks, there is a high possibility the other will follow suit.
After less than two kilometers into my 10 kilometer journey both the silver tape and my only working boot broke. 8 kilometers back to safety, night fall in an hour and I was starting to prefer the warmth of a house and bed to my current predicament.
Now balancing on two cross country skis I made my way painstakingly slow and wet (I fell, a lot). I couldn’t help but see myself in an episode of some Bear Grylls survival show, fantasizing about how I might have to eat tree bark and drink my own piss to survive. Or perhaps I would be like one of those Vietnam blokes that during the war sought refuge in the jungles only to come out 40 years later to a whole new world. Yes, these are the fantasies that kept my mind occupied during this cold journey back to safety. Finally, after deep in fantasy about how king Gustav Vasa must have felt this way when he skied 90 kilometers on one ski in the 1600s to get away from an invading army, finally, I crossed the marker I had been waiting for, and not too soon either. The 2 kilometer marker.
Now both my soles have come completely off, there was simply no possibility for me to even balance on my skis anymore. So I took my skis off, strapped them on my HMG sidewinder, took my ski boots off and hiked the remaining distance in knee high snow. It was cold, but exhilarating, my adrenaline pumping hard kept my feet and body warm.
This is the story of my 4 day trip in the frozen backcountry of Jämtland in northern Sweden. The 4 day trip that ended up being just one day because of one fateful decision I made the week prior: Namely, the choice not to buy new ski boots when I knew the ones I had were starting to get worse of the wear. I knew I probably should have, I knew it in advance, I had even looked at a few but opted to wait until next season, thinking I could get one more out of the boots I had. To say this story could have ended much much worse is an understatement. No cell communications, no GPS phone with me, and the particular route I chose was the complete opposite of the one I had left with my wife – for really spontaneous reasons.
With that said, I had a great time, I learned a lot and I can laugh about it now. So heres my suggestion – when it comes to winter camping, don’t be stupid.
Ok, so the first part of this planning process was the actual trip, I find no new info here that is worth adding to the trip planning, (well except that this trip is now a solo trek as my hiking buddy is rather sick). Instead I will focus on what gear I will be bringing and why. Basically I have same setup but I made a few changes this time around. I will start with the complete gear list first: Read More
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.
Well this sucks.. I have been planning and longing for my coast to coast hike for about 5 months only to be bed ridden with fever and all around feelin shit when the time came around for the hike. Well, that’s just how things are sometimes. In any case I will post my actual packing list anyway.
It’s about time for my summer hiking season to start! I have a nice little 230 kilometer hike planned starting friday thru wednesday of next week. I will be meeting up with my buddies Jörgen and Jonas at Coast 2 Coast Sweden and hike with them to Varberg. I decided not to do the entire hike as I am now officially a “salary slave” and want to save some of my semester days for my other hikes. (well thats the official story anyway, the truth is that I don’t really care too much for the first part of the hike as it really flat, hard on the feet and dry). I will be taking the train down on the 13th and meet up with the crew at Svänö park. Or something like that. With this trip I don’t feel I need to plan too much as they give me all the maps and cordinates for the journey ahead of time. Read More
Here is my complete gear list for the 2015 fjällräven classic in sarek national park – this is a 110 kilometer walk along the kings trail in northern Sweden. My group leaves the 7th of august and I am expected to be away for four to five days. I am packing warm and dry as the climate change has really been affecting the area more than usual this year as it’s been near freezing every night and constantly raining; Read More