I would guess that over 95% of all online equipment reviews come from men. At Backpackinglight, we will be providing more opportunities for women to test and contribute here throughout the year. We would love to have more female reviews on items you have purchased from us. Please feel free to email us at email@example.com or use #backpackinglightse and let’s help each other find the right gear. Here is the outdoor enthusiast Linn review of the Altra Olympus Hike Mid GTX:
About a month ago, @backpackinglight.se posted a message seeking a female test pilot to evaluate Altras @altrarunning new Olympus Hike Mid GTX for women.
I usually never express interest through similar posts because I always approach them with the wonderfully positive attitude that “they will choose someone else anyway” or “I never win anything anyway.” But then a DM from @backpackinglight.se arrived, and my initial feeling was overwhelming joy. Then, it turned into “damn it, they will never work for my knee” (for those who don’t know, I have dislocated my right knee numerous times and had even more surgeries). I had convinced myself that the only thing that works for my knee, when it comes to hiking with a backpack, is heavy boots like my Meindl Island.
But I was wrong. Altras Olympus Hike Mid GTXis simply incredibly comfortable, whether I hike without a backpack or with one (a ten-mile hike with a 20 kg backpack was no problem). They are really stable with excellent grip despite their low weight, and it feels like walking in a pair of sneakers with cloud-like cushioning rather than boots. This is probably due to the Vibram sole design and the comfortably wide toe box.
Altras Olympus Hike Mid GTX is simply incredibly comfortable, whether I hike without a backpack or with one (a ten-mile hike with a 20 kg backpack was no problem). They are really stable with excellent grip despite their low weight, and it feels like walking in a pair of sneakers with cloud-like cushioning rather than boots. This is probably due to the Vibram sole design and the comfortably wide toe box.
I have hiked over 50 km in my Olympus since I received them, and they have performed exceptionally well on any surface. During my trip to the Ovik Mountains with my sister, we walked through soaking wet bogs, and I can confirm that the boots are waterproof since my feet (unlike my sister’s 🥲😂) remained dry throughout the hike.
They don’t replace my Meindls because I prefer higher shafts for extremely wet hikes like the one in the Ovik Mountains (as I mentioned, they kept me dry, but I wouldn’t have needed to worry about where I stepped if I had worn my Meindls), and I still find a sense of (probably unfounded) security in the stiffness of my Meindls. However, my Olympus will be my go-to footwear for the majority of my trips; I love them. And I wear them casually too—fashion is not my thing.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to test this fantastic boot, @backpackinglight.se 🥾💚
The Raido is a lightweight, adjustable frame backpack designed and built by the Swedish brand Klattermusen. First released in 2020 to little fanfare (with the exception being me who absolutely loved the backpack), it has now been updated to be a few hundred grams lighter while still having the same feel and quality of the original.
Klattermusen is a brand that I genuinely like. They easily make some of the best outdoor gear on the market, while being some of the worst at marketing and profiling themselves. What happens is they make fantastic outdoor gear, high quality, great production value, and usually expensive out the gate. In my opinion its one of the few brands that I think genuinely deserve a higher premium. However, where they screw things up is in their marketing. If you look at their product photos and marketing videos you would think they are trying to sell their gear to SoHo elites whose idea of a hike is walking from Gucci to the Rolex shop on Drottningsgatan central Stockholm.
I can only assume that like Fjallraven they are hoping that Klattermusen will become the city hikers gear of choice. Which is all fine I guess if you’re not actually making incredible outdoor gear and spending massive sums of money on actual product development. With that said, this uncoupling of klattermusens products from their marketing department usually means great deals for us the buyers, as nobody is buying their gear which means its almost always on sell, almost directly once it reaches the market.
While this is great for me the buyer, its awful for me the shop retailer. I pretty much use everything Klattermusen makes as its proper outdoor gear, though, usually I am put off by the marketing, almost to the point of not wanting to be seen with their gear on me. But I can’t deny they make incredible gear. I use the hiking shirts, the Gere pants, Mithril pants, misty pants, the Ymer backpack for heavier loads, A nasty (in a good way) waterproof winter jacket and finally I use and love the Raido.
I have been using the Raido 38 and 55 liter packs for roughly two years now. The raido 38 that I had used the most originally weighed 1300grams, which was 200 grams more than originally promised, I think this besides the usual shit marketing, is the reason the Raido has not been a big seller for us here at Backpackinglight.
Then, taking notes, Klattermusen finally released the Raido at its promised weight of 1100grams. Which is perfectly acceptable for such a high quality pack with adjustable back panel. Also, because Klattermusen marketing sucks, this incredible pack is usually highly discounted everywhere its sold.
Functions of the Raido
The raido is a properly large pack: The 38 liter backpack I use, usually fits more stuff in it than many other 55L packs that I use. I don’t know why. The Raido has a large main pack that is my guess larger than the stated Liters, then it has to big side pockets, and one of the side pockets has a large outer pockets on that. This pocket is where I keep my poop gear.
There is also a very nice fitting hipbelt with two decent pockets. Granted not the greatest pockets, but with the daisy chains along the hip belt and all along the pack itself, finding pockets to mount on the backpack is no issue at all.
The Raido will also work with most people as its highly adjustable from large back like mine )190cm tall= to smaller people as well. This is accomplished using an outer frame and adjustable shoulder straps. You can even adjust where the load lifters are placed.
Comfort and feeling
I can easily say that the Raido is a joy to use. It fits like a glove, easily being one of the most comfortable packs I’ve used. No matter how much weight I have in my Raido, it seems to just flow with my body. Also with a lot of space between my back and the Backpack itself, I never get that sweaty back feeling like I do with most other packs. I still sweat of course, but my back gets aired out.
The pack, like most everything else Klattermusen makes, just feels like a quality product. Its just something I want to fill up with outdoor gear and go on mountain walks with. Which is unfortunate again, as the marketing suggest that I should fill it with Gucci bags and walk the runway. A disconnect. But if you can keep your eyes away from the marketing, what you will find is genuinely great backpack that will last for decades of hard outdoor use.
My only real complaints about the Raido is the chest strap, which is a little hook that easily pops out. Especially when fishing with the pack on. And I don’t care for the hip belt buckle. This seems to be a system that Klattermusen loves, but personally I would prefer a simple buckle to these metal clips and hooks.
Rugged and robust + will last decades
Because of awful marketing, can usually find at good discount
Att ta sig an Gröna bandet, 130 mil genom den Nordiska fjällkedjan kräver en mix av noga planering, bra utrustning och pannben utöver det vanliga. Men hur ska man tänka och framförallt packa när man ska ta med sin fyrfotade vän på ett sådant massivt äventyr? Under våren 2021 fick jag och min vapendragare Ken äran att hjälpa det trevliga paret Elisabeth och Per Erik med att sondera fram lättare utrustning för det stundande äventyret. Det känns därför extra kul att nu får dela deras upplevelse och erfarenheter.
Berätta, vilka är ni?
Vi är två ganska vanliga 50+ som gillar att träna och vara ute i naturen. Per-Erik har egen golvfirma och kan styra över sin tid och kunde därför ta sig ledigt över sommaren och jag, Elisabeth är fysioterapeut och hade många sparade semesterdagar som jag passade på att ta ut. Black är en mycket vänlig och sällskaplig fågeltokig treårig Engelsk setter med italienskt påbrå.
Hur kom ni på tanken att vandra Gröna bandet?
Efter flera kortare fjällvandringar och sedan Kungsledenvandringen 2020 då vi insåg hur mycket behagligare det är att vandra under en längre tid blev vi sugna att prova att uppleva fjällen och vandra ännu lite längre. Under vandringen 2020 träffade vi även gröna bandarna Peter Bergström på fjället men kanske framförallt inspirerade Signe Johansson oss, som vi träffade i Jäkkvik och som ung tjej då valt att gå Gröna Bandet ensam.
-Ni vandrade med hund, hur fungerade det?
Det fungerar utmärkt att vandra med hund, man har alltid ett glatt sällskap med sig. Hundsällskapet styr förstås vägvalet eftersom man inte får gå i varken Sarek eller Padjelanta med hund utan är tvungen att ta Kungsleden den biten. Vi hade inga problem med några djupare vad eller besvärliga broar men annars är förstås något som man måste ta med vid planering av vägval. En hund som vandrar 10-12 timmar kräver mycket mer energi än i vanliga fall. Black åt nästan tre gånger så mycket kalorier än han brukar så man måste säkerställa att man har tillräckligt med energirik hundmat under vandringen och depålådor med bra hundmat är därför ett måste. Likväl måste man se till att hunden är rabiesvaccinerad och avmaskad för att komma in i både Norge och Finland vilket kräver sina förberedelser.
Har ni några tips till framtida bandare som vill ta med sin hund?
-Vi har ju ett Tarptent Stratosphire Li och hade fått tips om en sidecar till just det tältet, dvs ett separat innertält i mesh till ena absiden som Black fick husera i. Där kunde han lugnt ligga utan att vare sig bli störd eller riskera att trampa sönder våra uppblåsbara liggunderlag eller vara i vägen vid matlagning etc. Han kastade sig in i sitt eget lilla innertält så fort tältet var riggat och somnade som en stock så fort han ätit upp sin middagsmat. Sidecaren är dessutom så stor att vi fick plats med en del av övrig packning där med. -Självklart måste man hålla koll på tassarna för att se så det inte blir nån oönskad nötning när man går så många timmar varje dag. Är det riktigt varmt och soligt kan asfalt ibland bli brännhet, då får man helt enkelt gå vid sidan av vägen. Träna hunden på att gå långt, se till att eventuella klövjeväskor sitter bra och inte ger skav – vi valde till slut att skicka hem väskorna i första hand p g a värmen. Vi hade hundvänligt myggmedel med oss men använde mest ett myggnät över huvet på Black vid raster – det funkade toppen.
-Ha en plan för vad man gör om nåt händer hunden, om nån kan hämta, ta över om olyckan är framme. Det hade inte vi – men vi hade tur och fixade det ändå!
–Hur var upplevelsen?
-Det är en speciell känsla att vara ute så länge och vandra, man kommer in i en behaglig nästan meditativ lunk som tycks passa oss.
-Vi hade båda trott att Gröna bandet vandringen skulle vara tuffare mentalt än den var, kanske underlättade det att vi var tre (ja hunden gör stor skillnad när det känns lite tungt) och vi hade ju gått Kungsledens 42 mil året innan och visste lite vad vi givit oss in på redan.
-Vandringen är fylld av möten med andra vandrare, lokalbefolkning, stugvärdar, alla lika vänliga och hjälpsamma. På instagram är det möjligt att ha kontakt med andra vandrare, få tips om sevärdheter eller möjligen sträckor man borde undvika.
-Väldigt många långvandrare lovprisar trailskor nu och lämnar sina tunga kängor hemma. Vi ville förstås testa detsamma, allt för att få en lättare vandring. Per-Erik var mycket nöjd med det valet i kombination med Rockysockar i gore tex vid blötväder. Jag, däremot trampade mycket tidigt i vandringen snett och sedan om och om igen som det lätt blir. Till sin stora lycka fick jag dock återse sina förhållandevis lätta Lundhagskängor i Åre och kunde därefter fortsätta vandringen norrut utan ytterligare snedtramp. Således – alla fixar inte att gå i trailskor hur gärna man än vill!
-Det största missödet under vandringen blev även nästan det största guldkornet. Plötsligt från ingenstans blev Black halt när vi kom till Hemavan. Vi hade gått hela dagen utan problem men när vi efter inkvartering på vandrarhemmet skulle ta en sväng ut igen vägrade han gå på en framtass. Vi klämde och kände på tassen men noterade inget konstigt med den och morgonen efter tycktes han vara återställd. Vi vilade en halvdag och kom iväg sent på eftermiddagen utan missöden men halvvägs till Viterstugan ville Black plötsligt inte gå längre. Vad gör man? Vi ville inte gå längre från civilisationen förstås utan valde att vända åter i sakta mak. Klockan var ganska mycket på söndagskvällen, Per-Erik chansade och ringde till Trolltunet nere i Hemavan där man var vänliga nog att ta emot oss sent på kvällen. Dagen efter blev det bilhyra och veterinärbesök, ingen allvarlig skada, lite piller till hunden och ordinerad vila helst en vecka… Hur skulle vi gör nu? Avbryta alla tre, eller skulle Per-Erik gå ensam vidare? Kunde någon komma och hämta Black, ta hem honom till Övik? Vi hade ju flera veckor kvar att vandra!
Black blev snabbt pigg igen men skulle vi våga oss iväg igen med risk att han skulle bli halt igen inne i fjällvärlden? Det kändes absolut inte som vi ville riskera hans hälsa. Då erbjöd sig Malin som jobbar på Trolltunet att ta hand om Black så länge vi behövde, hela vår resterande vandring om det skulle behövas, så vi tvåbenta kunde efter tre dagar på Trolltunet fortsätta vår vandring utan Black. Malin tog hand om Black som om han vore en kunglighet, han fick fin mat, sova på soffan, åka gondol, vara på svamputflykter på fjället och mysa med sin nya familj medan Malin hade stenkoll efter ev. hälta. Black var pigg som en mört efter en veckas vila och efter ett samtal till ArcticAir i Hemavan fick han själv flyga helikopter till Ammarnäs där vi kunde återförenas alla tre och vandringen kunde fortsätta. Vilken lycka för oss alla och vilken fantastisk vänlighet av Malin på Trolltunet som spontant erbjöd sin ovärdeliga hjälp!
-vill ni lyfta fram utrustning som motsvarade era förväntningar? Och även om det är något som inte motsvarade dina förväntningar.
Vi är sena in i lättviktsvärlden men insåg då vi vandrade Kungsleden med 22-25kg på ryggen att andra vandrade samma sträcka med mycket lättare packning och som dessutom fungerade alldeles utmärkt. Kommer man från Övik är det lätt att tro att det enda som funkar är rejäla grejer med en liten räv på… Vi började söka oss fram på nätet men vill egentligen handla lokalt och hittade Backpackinglight.se som med norrländska mått finns i närheten (10 mil till Umeå) där vi fick personlig och kunnig service och kunde klämma och känna lite på grejerna innan vi bestämde oss. Vi bytte raskt ut vårt tält, ryggsäckar, liggunderlag och sovsäck och har nästan halverat vår vikt på ryggen.
Vi har varit mycket nöjda med tältlösningen inklusive hundens sidecar och likaså våra sovsäckar från Sierra Design.
Det är lätt att tänka att man borde ha med sig reservutrustning men vill man vandra lätt måste man se över packningen speciellt när man är två, inte ha dubbel utrustning och man kan faktiskt komplettera på vägen om man skulle sakna något.
Om ni skulle vandra Gröna bandet igen, är det något som ni önskar komplettera då?
Per-Erik planerar en repris av vandringen i år och nu utan hund och med större frihet att välja väg. Försöker nu förfina packningen ytterligare, byter ut successivt till lite lättare alternativ och självklart ett enmanstält denna gång, ett Sarek the Mid. Får vi det att fungera så går vi sista sträckan från Abisko till Treriksröset tillsammans alla tre.
Hur mycket mat hade ni med er, fyllde ni på längs vägen?
Vi hade mat för tre dagar enligt vår packlista på Lighterpack (se längre ned), en dag extra för hunden dock och sedan hade vi skickat depåer med jämna mellanrum (för 3-6 beräknade vandringsdagar). I depålådorna hade vi förutom mat till oss och hunden även toapapper, aktuella kartor, ulltvättmedel, lite specialgodis, en skvätt whisky mm.
Hur håller man en bra hygien under resan. Ni har med er ganska lite kläder likt många andra lättviktare. Går det bra attt tvätta/torka ?
Vi tvättade oss så gott vi kunde i vattendrag och sjöar, tvättade kläderna när vi kom till campingar och mer civiliserade boenden och däremellan blev det handtvätt av underkläder och strumpor. Vi upplevde aldrig något problem med detta, man måste ju bara vänja sig med det lite mer primitiva och med ullkläder på kroppen håller man sig ju rätt fräsch ändå!
Är du intresserad att läsa mer eller anmäla dig till Vita eller Gröna bandet. Gör det här:
Hoppas ni tyckte artikeln var intressant. Kommentera gärna! Har du varit med om ett äventyr som du vill dela med dig av, eller berätta om utrustning som du testat? Ris och ros, vi uppskattar ärliga recensioner! Skriv isf ett mail till firstname.lastname@example.org.
In previous articles you have got acquainted with former White/Green Ribbon participants and everyone seems to have different stories and unique experiences from their tours. One man who possesses a truckload of experience from longer hikes is Peter Bergström who walked the Green Ribbon in 2021. When Peter arrived at Treriksröset (where many others usually celebrate their finish), he decided to walk the same way back, a hike of almost 260O km!? Peter is also the record holder with most (five) completed Green Ribbons.
First of all, tell us about you?
-I am simply a lucky retiree! I have a healthy body and have the opportunity to retire early (at 62). I was also “lucky” to be laid off from my job, which meant that I got 2 years’ salary as a “plaster on the wounds”. This has meant that I have had the time and the financial opportunity to walk a lot. I have two grown-up children, and my son has also been on PCT.
You have a record in the VG Ribbon, tell me about it? Was it decided beforehand that you would turn around and go back?
It wasn’t 100% decided from the beginning, but I planned for it. For example, the depot package (my only one, which was sent to Abisko) was prepared with new shoes, new Rocky socks, warmer clothes, etc. But somewhere along the way north, the idea matured and in the end, it felt obvious that would turn around and go back. As a true yoyo, I chose to go almost the same way back (which was part of the challenge).
You walk alone for a very long time, how Is that?
I enjoy walking alone, especially In Sweden where it is relatively easy to hike. I can decide my own habits. When I’m going to get up, take a break or if I want to hike crazy far one day. The longest trail I walked was 72 km in one day. But I appreciate meetings with other hikers, cabin hosts and people I simply meet on the tour. I’ll take the time to stay and hang out. I simply don’t feel stressed (as many people think). Meeting people is almost the greatest benefit of a hike. For example, heading south, there was strong wind for 3 days up at Helags. Then I went to Lina Hallebratt instead and had a great time there.
Do you have any more exciting tours going on?
-The Appalchian Trail is exciting. I hope to start this trail in February 2022. Of course I’m going to go all the way!
Your best tips to future VG-ribboneers?
-Trying hard to get the base weight down pays off. The hike will be more pleasant and easier. The load on the body is less. You don’t have to “chase grams.” If you can get the base weight down to 7-8 kg, you have come a long way. You don’t have to buy expensive “stuff”. It is enough that you simply do not include so much. Clothes are something that many people bring too much of.
-Looking at comfort temperature can fool you a lot. If you walk far, are wet and tired (and the sleeping bag may be damp!) that combo temperature is often completely inadequate. Autumn and spring are the perfect time to test outdoors how much you freeze. It is enough to sleep on the balcony or in the garden. Have a thermometer with you so you know how cold it is. The chosen sleeping solution should work so you sleep well at minus 5. Which sleeping solution you choose is extremely individual.
-Problems with feet are a painful and common cause to break. In 2021, it was a clear trend that more people chose to hike with trailrunners, something I really recommend. A lot of energy should be put into finding suitable shoes (in the right size). Many appreciate Altra’s shoes, the Altra Lone peak 5 seems to have significantly better durability than other Lone peak. Then you have to go, the more and longer, the better. Sometimes so far that it’s over one’s “comfort distance.” After 20-25 km, things can happen to your feet that you never experience during shorter training rounds. During the Green Ribbon hike, you should be extremely careful and take care of the smallest blow, immediately (even if it is only 1 km left to the tent site / accommodation). And wet feet! Nothing to be afraid of. Rocky goretex socks solve that problem. Highly recommended!
-Many people are afraid that food will not be enough. And bring way too much. I shopped in regular supermarkets afterwards and didn’t have to donate (or send food home). If you choose to send depot boxes, do not send all the food. Only things that are expensive and hard to buy along the way, like freeze-dried. Drying yourself and packing depot boxes is time consuming, so start on time. Or shopping along the way, works great. You can buy exactly what you want, right now. Super tip: Billy’s Pan pizza (eaten cold as a sandwich).
-Any things in your equipment that you are extra satisfied with or equipment that you will replace or supplement with for the next tour?
-I am extremely pleased with my equipment. But it has taken time and many miles of hiking to choose the one that suits me. The only miss I made was not to send warmer mittens up in the pit box to Abisko. It was a heat wave when I got up and warm goa mittens weren’t really what I was thinking about… My DCF backpack from Superior Wildernes designs was great, needed neither rain cover nor liner, everything was dry no matter how much it rained. And the total volume of about 43 L was quite sufficient. The tent, Plexamide from Zpack I was very pleased with (apart from the zipper opening). Going forward will get a poncho (probably in DCF). To use in heavy, prolonged rain. Whatever you choose for rainwear, they don’t stay dry.
Katrin and Elva Petersson, mother and daughter (14 years old) performed the Green Ribbon (1300 km) together in the summer of -21.
Tell me a little bit about you?
-We, mother and daughter, Katrin and Elva Petersson (14 years old) are very fond of enjoying adventures together, especially in the mountains. There have been a couple of long hikes last summer holidays where we have been out for several weeks at a time, most recently for 11 weeks. It’s something special to be out for a long time, hard to find words for it but it does very good on the inside, empowering and so we have so much fun together out there.
You made the green ribbon together for the first time in the summer of -21. How was it?
-It was absolutely the funniest thing we’ve ever done together, me and my daughter. It was insanely challenging with the heatwave day and night for at least a week and then the blizzard on what lasted at least as long where everything was basically wet. For several hours we walked our way through knee-deep marshes and we chose a lot of unedited trails where it was horribly exciting at times when we found bear poos, absolutely amazingly strengthening in every way, just everything!
How did you prepare?
-We walk a lot in everyday life as both me and my daughter grew up without a car. Just before the Green Ribbon we walked for 1 1/2 years, 2 hours was weekday morning to school & work in all weathers. On weekends we often took a trip in the forest at home on a trail that is 10 km. A couple of weeks before the start, we stepped up and walked with the gasket/ weight. both on the weekend tours and on the everyday walks. For example, I came to work every morning with my backpack filled with 6-8 L of water.
-The mental preparation and the challenge it will be I was confident with, from our previous long trips and certainly also that out there our routines, day rhythm and small chores fall into place quite quickly.
Do you have any more exciting tours ahead?
-At the time of writing, it is exactly 1 month since we got to the finish line on our Green Ribbon, out there on our day no 65 and it has not been a single day since we came home without sharing lovely memories and challenging strengthening memories here at home which has contributed to us now having thoughts of going the Green Ribbon again. The next Band will then start from the north, (we started from the south this year) and we plan to explore new hiking trails along the band and visit favorite places again such as Skierfe in Sarek that we have climbed now 3 years in a row. The most beautiful place I know! Would also like to explore the Norwegian mountains a little more, as well as cross Sarek National Park and visit the caves of little Vadvetjåkka National Park.
What if you were to give any advice to future Ribbon mountaineers?
-If you are already a hiker and have been to the mountains before, you really just have to put one foot in front of the other and welcome the weather you are offered. A hefty dose of stubbornness and purposefulness is a great advantage while being able to enjoy right here and now in everything you are offered. It’s out there between the start and the finish that all the nice things are created. Before the band, the best tip is to go as much as you can everyday. I strongly believe in a good basic condition and walking in all environments, forest, asphalt etc. it is so much more than hiking trails out there. Get your shoes in properly, really properly! (We recommend light trail shoes) practice with the packing as well, several miles and pack with you absolutely ONLY the most necessary! It is the food that is heaviest so send up depots that you pick up along the trail. You’ll also pass a couple of grocery stores.
Highlight equipment that you recommend?
-I am very happy with the equipment we have, like to stay warm while the backpack is light. I am very fond of equipment that can be used in several different ways, for example we set up our tent with the Fizan trekking poles, use hair clips as washing clips for the laundry that get to dry at the back of the backpack etc. when we hike. All to make the gasket as small and light as possible. I myself am small and light in the body and then it is extra important that the packing is easy, not only to make it as enjoyable as possible, but simply for a long walk to be possible. Some absolute favorites in the equipment are: Altra Lone Peak trail shoes, love them, both me and the daughter have had these on all our hikes and have Altra even everyday. Are also very fond of our backpacks, Hyperlite Mountaingear, 45 L, holds all the little you need and is very comfortable to carry.
Any things there that you want to replace for the next tour? I’m very happy with everything, but for the next long hike we might invest in a new tent. Our current tent Tarptent stratosphire 1 with solid inner tent, (a one-man tent that we slept really well in together in weather and wind on all previous mountain tours) but which now after 135 mountain nights has been worn in the zippers. The daughter has also become bigger since our first mountain tour so we may invest in something bigger and even lighter in weight.
If anyone want to follow your journey forward? Please follow us on instagram @make.memories.together
Fall and winter is the best time of year for photography on the trail. From all the autumn colors to the northern lights shining bright in the cloudless sky. I love Autumn for photography, and I would guess that the majority of my best pictures come from this time of year. My biggest problem with hiking ultralight, is bringing a camera – do I bring a full-frame? Perhaps a little compact camera? or more recently, maybe just my Iphone. However, in the autumn I am less concerned about ultralight, and more concerned with getting the best colors in my photos. I can’t stand sitting in front of a computer and spend hours editing photos, so I bring my full-frame in the autumn and focus on quality.
Of course bringing a full-frame camera also has its own issues: How do I keep it dry? how do I carry it comfortably and so on. On my recent hiking trip to Borgafjäll here in northern Sweden, my Canon eos-r took a bath and got forever ruined. An expensive mistake. The lesson? Protect your camera, even if it has weather sealing.
If your more of a hard-core photographer, take a look at F-stop gear. These bags are proper hiking backpacks with solid frame and hip-belts, but also built specifically for bringing tons of camera gear. Hooks, pockets for filters, ICU (internal camera unit) and back panel entry, make these backpacks sublime for photography orientated hikers.
If your like me and think the F-stop bags might be a bit heavy for most use, use an ICU (internal case unit) inside your ultralight backpack. When I hiked Padjelanta trail last year with my Mamiya 7ii and a couple of lenses, I had an F-stop ICU inside my HMG windrider 4400. Worked great, not as easily accessible as using a F-stop backpacks, but certainly a good solution none-theless
An important factor in photography is to have your camera close. On the Sarek Ilforsen I designed this with photography in mind. I put two big d-rings in the shoulder straps – this was specifically to be able to hang a front pouch with a camera in, or to hang a camera directly. But strapping my camera on the front of my shoulder straps, I have the camera close to my eyes, and it has the added effect of balancing my entire pack for a better overall feel.
Another tip here, not necessarily coupled with carrying your camera, but with being able to keep your lens clean. Bring a proper lens cloth! This happens to me from time to time that I forget to bring a small micro-cloth that can clean my lens. After a day of rain I have spots and smudge marks all over my lenses.
Get out there! When I hiked Borgafjäll in September, I had no idea what the weather would be like. I didn’t care. I figured if I had clothes to keep me warm and dry, than I’d be good to go. As luck would have it the sun was shining and the clouds were clear – to my amazement, I woke up in the middle of the night, crawled out of my tent and was shocked by the incredible northern lights display that engulfed my entire field of view at the top of the mountain. I felt alone in the universe, in awe of the sights all around me. My point: Get out there if you want to get inspired. Sitting on your sofa dreaming of the perfect shot is not the way to get “the perfect shot”.
What are your best tips for bringing proper Full-frame camera gear with you on a hike? let me know!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Very light 60 Liter pack (70 with external pockets)
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.
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.
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.
Excellent comfort. Perhaps most comfortable sleeping bag available
Good price to weight
Great build quality and materials
Hydrophic down is always nice
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
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:
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.
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. .
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:
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!?