Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

The Week in Review

Winter has arrived - we got a lovely 15 cm of fresh powder, and thanks to the -16°C currently outside it also stays. More snow and sub -10°C forecast for this coming week, I'm looking forward to spend a night outside in a lovely coloured shelter under the moon, and hear the wonderful "Crunch" of cold snow creaking under my shoes and wheels.



Backcountry.com Post Christmas Clearance - Shop Deals up to 60% off Here!

Sam and friends show you how to build an igloo. A fine tutorial for those who have enough snow available.

A Primer on Ski wax.

Jim does a fine Backpacking Gas Canisters 101.

Something for the parents out there: 3 years, 2 kids, 550 miles of wilderness.

John ponders starting his own cottage in the UK, and want your input on products. Let him know what you would like!

And here's a tutorial on how to be a dirtbag.



Jake got muddy toes in a Rainforest.

Cole spend a fine day at Lava Beds National Monument.

James thinks outside the box on Ben Nevis.

Jill's "A symphony of cold" series is recommended if you need a fix of Alaskan coldness.

Steven asks if there's No Such Thing as a Bad Gear Review?

Bikepacking and packrafting in and around Loch Shiel and Loch Morar by Nik - a recommended read!



John started HikeLighter.com and his SUL/XUL Enclosed Shelter Comparisons is worth of your time if you're SUL/XUL-curious.

Miss fall? Don't despair: the Florence Nature Preserve shows off some superb autumn colours.

Craig has a No New Gear Year.

Need a fly-fishing fix? This River Is Wild has you covered.

Toni enjoyed today's winter paradise on his fatbike.

Allison's proper winter NYE hike.

Dave has a series on Yoga Practice for Hikers.

Jack reviews the Sugoi Resistor Bike Booties.



Dave went on a Black Mountain Bothy Trip in December... well not quite!

James looks back on 2011, which he spent pre-dominantly on the hills.

Two book reviews by yours truly. Because books rule.

Roman did a Southeastern Classic: Chattooga River, Section IV.

Curious about Social Hiking? Then let Phil Sorrell explain it to you!

Tomás was trad-climbing with Toby. (Hey you two, I still want to go on a ice climbing trip with you! =)

The origins of alpinism.

Nick went on a Meander Around Glen Tanar. Lovely photos from the Scottish hills.

Mark has a first look at the Paramo Mountain Vent Pull-on.

The best mens underwear for outdoor activities?



The Jolly Green Giant always is good for very interesting articles. Example: The LifeStraw and other water treatment devices.

The wilderness as an escape or an engagement.

Maz reflects on Six of the Best pieces of gear of 2011.

Check out this amazing Kickstarter project for SUL pots: Hexa Pot™: Indoor/Outdoor Disposable Paper Cooking Pot.


Buy GoPro HD cameras at GoPro.com

The Ultimate Hang & Ultralight Backpackin' Tips

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Time to start the year with some book reviews. Because books rule.



Last year Mike C! published another one of his fantastic books, Ultralight Backpackin' Tips. I got it pretty much right away, and it is an enjoyable, easy read which you can read in a few hours (provided you have some English language proficiency, though if you lack it - well, happily there's cartoons in this book =). The highlight of Mike's books are unmistakably his funny illustrations and humorous way of writing in which he educates us about some obvious (though often overlooked/ forgotten), and some not so obvious tips to lighten up.



The way the book is structured is simple: Mike discloses "153 amazing & inexpensive tips for extremely lightweight camping". These tips are further divided into 21 Chapters, with topics such as Basic Starting Points, The All-important Mind-set, Travel Techniques, Feet, Water, Bears, Recipes and a bunch more. Mike even got Glen Van Peski and Ryan Jordan to contribute a tip each = added value! It is a well rounded list of useful chapters and tips; if you have read some of Mike's other books some stuff will sound familiar, but there's also plenty of new tips in there. The only shortcoming is in my opinion the lack of an Index at the end of the book, though that might just be me.

My favourite tips are number 34, 35, 42, 65, 78, 95, 130 and 153. I'm working on implementing tip 116 into my outdoor experience. One of the biggest advantages of Ultralight Backpackin' Tips is its high re-reading value. You will read it once, and then you will be going back to it again and again, looking up this one idea, that tip, this concept. So even when one might easily dismiss that there's only 153 tips, I promise you that you'll have a long time joy on this fine little book.

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I have a hammock, and have several times over the last two years tried to sleep in it - never successful. It's great for relaxing, but I yet have to sleep a whole night comfortably in a hammock. So imagine my delight as I saw Derek Hansen's book "The Ultimate Hang". In case you think "Hey, that looks a bit like Mike C! illustrated it!" - hmm, nope. Derek wrote and illustrated the book, though it does bear some resemblance to Mike C!'s illustrations. Anyway.



I like the book. Derek's illustrations are humourous and funny, not unlike Mike's (though Mike definitely draws better humans =). I especially think that Derek show's that he's what I'd like to call "Internet savvy" - there's QR codes and links all the way through the book, with a wonderful table of all hammock gear manufacturers and what they offer at the end (there's a lot of them!). I know that the hammocking community is a very relaxed, open-minded and fun group (Hammockforums.net should be your next destination if you're hammock-curious) and Derek's book represents that well, and gives plenty of love to his hammock friends (Sharing is Caring!).

The book feels like it is aimed at the beginner to intermediate hammocker, so it was just right for me (I'm more of the former than the latter). It gives us the hammock terminology (aka slang, so you can talk the talk!), hammock history and an (slightly biased) overview of hammocks and tents. I now know that what I have suffered from in my hammock camping trips is called Cold Butt Syndrome and have after reading this little book a good idea of what I did wrong and what I can do better to solve it.

The book is divided into an Introduction & The Basics, and then breaks it further down into Site Selection, Leave No Trace, The Hammock, Suspension & Anchor Points, Staying Dry & Staying Warm and a couple more chapters. There's plenty of good illustrations; discussion of different techniques; benefits of different hammocks, tarps, insulation possibilities and more. I did not feel overwhelmed, but found that I learned plenty of new things to improve my hammock camping experience in the future - from how far apart tree should be and how high to attach the anchor points over how to avoid the Cold Butt Syndrome to installing drip lines.

I like that Derek included a MYOG tutorial and tips in the book, and the Hammock Gear Checklist in the end of the book shows in a ingenious way what to remember when you go hammocking, and where to find the info in the book. The quick reference page, which shows imperial and metric measurements is a nice way to make sure those of us who don't follow the arbitrary retarded rollercoaster of imperial measurements get an idea what all those ounces and inches mean =) The table of hammock retailers and manufacturers is a useful tool for anyone interested in the topic, and Derek shares some useful websites (Shug = awesome).

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I can recommend both books for the interested lightweight/ ultralight backpacker and hammocker. They compliment each other well, and what you learn from Mike you can apply to your hammock camping experience, and you also can adapt some of the hammocking tricks to your UL ground-dwelling camping routine. Two thumbs up from me.

Have you read the books? What's your take on them? What's your favourite tip from Mike? Have you had a better hammocking experience after reading Derek's book? Let me know!

If you don't yet own the books, consider buying them via the following affiliate links (yes, I won't retire from the few cents I earn from them =)

Europe - Paperback


Europe - Kindle


USA - Paperback


USA - Kindle


The Week in Review

Happy New Year!

A few 2011 retrospects worth reading: Nick's and Josh's, both with great photos of fine trips in 2011. Or read mine if you haven't yet.



Joery has another epic solo winter trip report up: Snowstorms, aurora nights and arctic summit bivouacs.



Make your own boat aka packraft.



Gear: Tall Guy Redesign of Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo | Silva Trailrunner | Snow Peak Carry On Chopsticks | Gossamer Gear Murmur Hyperlight | Satellite communication: Follow-up | Paramo Mountain Vent Pull On | Winter Alpine and Ice Glove Choices: part 1.



Trips: Fatbiking on snow | Biking on red rock | A coast walk in Denmark | Ski mountaineering camp, or how I learned to dance with mountain goats | The Monolith, Mt Buffalo National Park



Ryan Jordan wrote a good article on Cottage Stagnation and Recent Gems which sparked quite a bit of an discussion.



Stuffed Crust Pizza on the Trail or stoveless backpacking?