Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

Gear Talk: Puukko & Kuksa - Traditional Finnish Outdoor Gear

The first Gear Talk post of the year, and I thought I'd report on two pieces of equipment which surely not many other UL backpackers carry with them. That doesn't mean that they're heavy, by no means, but there are lighter alternatives out there, that is certain. However, these two items are very traditional, and have a long history here in Finland.

Puukko & Kuksa.

Lets start off with the
Kuksa, it's a traditional Sami drinking cup made of gnarled birch from Finnish Lapland. The cup is hand made, and carved out of a piece of wood. I got this for my birthday from my parents in law, and I was super happy about such a beautiful present - after living eight years now in Finland, it was about time I got one =) My Kuksa is 121 g light, so double the weight of a titanium cup if you like to think that way, but a lot more beautiful (and sustainable!). What's really handy about it is that its a good isolator as well, keeping the coffee or tea warm while I still can grip it without burning my hands. There's also no need for detergents to clean it, rinse it with water and you're done.

Now in winter I carry my Puukko with me, because it is a lot easier to cut wood with it for my wood burning stoves. Its also a very traditional item from Finland, and mine is from the renown Iisakki Järvenpää company. The knife is 88 g light, and the sheath is 30 g, so together they're even lighter than the Kuksa!

As I said, the puukko is very handy now in the winter, because it is more difficult to get dry wood for the stove, so a solid knife with a fixed blade is my way to go. It ensures that I can cut through thicker branches to reach the dry wood in its middle, and get the fuel I need to melt all that snow and cook my food. Its perfect also to cut bread, reindeer ham, fruits and make sharp sticks for the BBQ! Filigree works also goes easy with this knife, a real multi talent.

If a reader of this blog ever would come to Finland, I'd seriously recommend thinking about getting one or both of these items. They're something you will have for a lifetime, and even can pass on to your kids some day. From an aesthetic viewpoint I'd say they are some of the nicest pieces of gear I own, and I really like using them.