Or: Gear which I will continue to use in 2021.
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Favourite gear articles are a staple of blogs and magazines at the end of the year. I see gear as an enabler to my trips, but it’s not the main thing of this hobby for me. Yes, I consider myself a Gear Nerd, and am happy to geek out about sustainable, lightweight and functional equipment & garments, but being outside in nature is more important. Hence my four picks of “favourite gear” of 2020 actually only includes three pieces of equipment 😆 I also want to discourage you from thinking that you have to spend ridiculous amounts of €£$ to get this gear or go to the same places than me. Yes, it’s great kit, yes, it were amazing trips and the destinations should go on your bucket list. But at the same time: Stay local, minimize your environmental footprint and only buy what you need!
More Time // Local Trips
I didn’t have a lot of work in 2020, which means I had a lot more “free” time. With the Pandemic being the main topic of 2020 and me being rather careful to not expose myself to the virus, I did not (could not) travel as much as usual. Instead I made the best of it and travelled locally - a few trips to Lapland but mostly locally in my Region. This definitely was my favourite part of 2020, we had some fantastic day trips with the family where we were SUPing and swimming, having picnics and enjoying the warm, sunny weather. This is something which I will continue to do in 2021 and onwards - mostly travelling in Finland, Norway and Sweden, with just the occasional work trip further abroad.
Houdini Fleece Jacket
I was thinking, while doing my research for this piece, if the Patagonia R1 Air should be in this article. But the truth is, there is one Fleece Jacket which I have worn substantially more in 2020: The ∞ Houdini Power Air Houdi (it’s replaced by the Mono Air Hoody nowadays!). I own also an ∞ Outright Houdi (3 years old) and a ∞ Power Houdi (6 years old) and love both of those heaps, but the Power Air is what I have worn pretty much every day in 2020. A fleece jacket is part of my every day dress code (Yay for Homeoffice/ being an outdoor journalist!), which goes well with a T-Shirt underneath it and a Windjacket over it if I have to go out. My Power Air Houdi has an amazing purple colour 💜 and is 633 g light in Size S - which makes it too heavy for backpacking, but perfect for everyday use and day hikes. I’ve been wearing it while traveling, hiking, and working at home, and I also worn it on overnight trips and photo shoots in the middle of the night.
It’s a durable piece of kit which is made from the still relatively new Polartec Power Air; that fabric has a new knit construction which encapsulates air to retain warmth and reduce microfiber shedding - it sheds up to five times less microfibres as other fleece fabrics. It keeps you toasty by encapsulating the insulation in hundreds of tiny pockets, with channels running around them for greater breathability. The fabric is stretchy and the Power Air Houdi has an athletic fit, with a comfy hood for when I forgot to put my beanie on, and two zippered hand pockets if also my gloves stayed home. It’s a fantastic garment which I’m wearing while writing this article (I just went out quickly to take the underneath photo) and it makes me happy with its good features, sustainable credentials and purple colour. So it is definitely a jacket which I will continue to wear in 2021!
Anfibio Rebel 2K packraft
In the summer of 2020 I travelled to Lapland to go backpacking in the Lemmenjoki National Park and then packrafted alone down the Ivalojoki river. Along on that trip I had the Anfibio REBEL 2K packraft, which I enjoyed from bow to stern 😆 It’s compact, lightweight, nimble and can handle white water rafting without problems - everything I want from a packraft. I also had it along on local trips on rivers and on the Baltic Sea, and time and again it made me smile while paddling and carrying it. I’m already now planning new trips with it in the spring, summer and autumn, and if you are curious about packrafting then look no further than the Anfibio REBEL 2K packraft! The best thing is that you can loan packrafts starting from 70€ from the Packrafting Store, which is perfect if you want to try this sport without committing to a 1.000,00 € or more investment!
When Mateusz called me in 2019 and told me he will reopen his cottage, I was really happy for him! Since then I have carried his new pack creations on almost all of my trips in 2020, and the HUCKEPACKS Phoenix Lite is hands-down the best backpacking rucksack I have used in the past year(s). It’s 474 g light with all bells & whistles, and carries even heavy loads with lots of food like a dream. The pack handled constant rain just fine, and Version 2.0 - which was released last autumn - even improves on the original design. This will also in 2021 be my pack of choice, and I can’t wait to go backpacking with it again this year!
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