Last weekend I was out on a 24 trip with Xavier, a French UL backpacker living in Finland who found me via my blog. Lucky me to find another UL enthusiast in Finland to go backpacking with, he even brought his Gatewood Cape for me to see it. I suggested the Isojärvi National Park where I have been earlier this year for our short trip, as I really liked its landscape of lakes, small hills and bogs, together with some interesting wildlife.
It was a cold weekend, as it snowed a little the night before and temperatures didn't get over 0°C during the day and dropped to -8°C at night. We met a few other backpackers and day trippers, who weren't particularly lightweight on the trail.
Finland, the land of ultraheavy.
Frozen marshes and lakes with a light powder cover.
We also got some ridges in Finland.
It got dark already very early.
But not without some spectacular dusk.
We met two day trippers at the campsite with whom we had a conversation, and again it showed that the Finns you meet in the forest are Grade A people. They liked our woodstoves - I had my Inferno with me, Xavier a Bushcooker. They left late after darkness fell, and the two of us continued talking about backpacks, shelters, mats and other gear till the moon shone down on our shelters and we crept into our quilts.
My shelter for the night, the MSR HUBBA HP 2010 version.
The next morning, Xavier is getting slowly up from under his Gatewood Cape tarp.
The walk back to the car park.
There's a sizable beaver population in Isojärvi, and we witnessed many felled trees along the trail.
It was a very enjoyable trip, short on kilometers, long on stories. Gear-wise everything performed excellent, expect the combo of Z Lite and NeoAir, which certainly weren't up to the low temperature. I think I might need to test a Ridge Rest like Xavier, or a Multimat like Phil. The NeoAir just gives me pain in my back, besides the cold. It now goes into hibernation and will come out again in the summer, I somehow need to find out a way to avoid the back pain. For the moment I still need to decide on a tarp and a bivy - thank you all for the great comments and suggestions - as I am convinced that that's all which is needed for three season use in the Finnish forests.
Xavier, thank you for the great weekend, talking gear and life, sharing food, beverages and stories. Next time I bring the red wine, I promise!