Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

The Week in Review

Happy Mother's Day =)



News & Various:

Josh produced the must read post of the week for all of you who fancy a trip in Alaska, apptly titled the "Alaska Backcountry Adventure Planning Guide"

Ken wants to know if live blogging from the trail is important for you. Go and let him know.

Ryan tells us why "Why tenkara beats western (fly fishing) methods".

Roman is disclosing what I hoped to keep secret a bit longer.

Redwood Outdoors discusses Weight Verses Comfort.

Jack is eating wild things, like Polk Salad. Learn from Jack. As Polk Salad omelet looks tasty.

Remember, until the end of May you can get a 10% discount on any 100€ or more order at the trekking-lite-store.com just - Like the trekking-lite-store.com Facebook page and when you check out your order give them the Coupon code "Finland10" and save 10% on your sweet UL goodies!



Gear:

Tookie reviews the Alpkit Rig 7 Tarp.

And we take a bit of bikepacking into the programme. Lets start of with some Trans Iowa Bikepacking Kit so that you have an idea what is generally needed.

Dave had Hits, Misses and Maybes among his Huldreheimen Gear. Go learn from his mistakes so you don't make them and copy his successes!

Richard also has a gear report up, about the kit used on the Lower Bann Canoe Trail.

Martin reviews the Xsocks Trekking Expedition Short Socks for us.

Perkunas introduces us to the magical world of the GearPods Stove System.

Matt celebrated May Day. And shows us in a video how to build a polycro tube tent.

Steven reviews and gives away a pair of Glacier Gloves.

Señor Morkel reviewed the Fjellpulken XCountry 130 Pulka.



Tripping:

Mark visit's Nine Standards Rigg. Lovely area, cute lambs and cream teas in the sunshine.

Thomas went for a well deserved weekend getaway. As he lives in the south, Mosquitos and other insects feature heavily - as does some fine scenery and sunshine. And an Backpacking Light Absaroka backpack.

John and his wife went for a quick backpacking trip to western edge of Zion National Park.

Mike has a packraft. Bikepacking will never be the same again.

And David went bikerafting the Minnehaha. Again.

Mark went for an overnighter on a perfectly manicured camping groung in the Wild River State Park.

Simon did the West Highland Way.

Paul encountered interesting signage on his Mellbreak And Hen Comb trip.

DAvid did the Cumbrian short circuit in ten days and shows off this fine area and his scenic photos.

Tomas was under the influence of procrastination, but he fought back and wrote up his Gritstone cliffs climbing adventure. Honour his work by reading it.

Sheila went for a walk to the Rua Reidh lighthouse - if you like lighthouses, the coast and sea, you gonna enjoy that post heaps!

Heber went for a West Rim Trail hike.

Matt spent a night on a bare mountain while the English royalty got married. Smart!

Eugene went for a run with friends up Dog Canyon before feasting on fine Mexican food and cervezas. Great photos, killer views.

Also killer views and killer photos are served by PTC, featuring pointy bits and starry night.

Geoff went on a walk through the hills and lochs encircling Blackwater, between Kinlochleven and Rannoch.

Peter went for yet another bikepacking trip - he's practically living the bikepacking lifestyle ;)

Jim went for a hike on the Naugatuck Trail.

greg was hiking up in the North Buffalo Plateau, Victoria. This involved "sexy man walking out of waterfall pics" and burned Trangia pots, as well as beautiful northern sunsets.

The Welsh Paddler went backpacking in the Elan Valley.

Fjellpulken XCountry 130 Pulka

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The second article on winter gear, and its about the Fjellpulken XCountry 130 Pulka. Yes, winter is over in the northern hemisphere, but our brethren in the south are facing the cold time of the year, while we will lounge in the sun and enjoy the light for 24 hours! It also allows us to get winter gear with nice discounts ;) So read on to hear about a serious piece of winter gear!


Full frontal.

Your first question might be why I didn't build myself an incredible Rulk but went for a commercial pulka. The answer is that I am already standing out enough with my UL gear at school, and I didn't want to push the boundaries too far, and had only a limited amount of time. That made me look for commercially available, lightweight pulkas. Being in Northern Europe, that means looking at what our Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian companies have to offer. I found what I was looking for at Fjellpulken in Norway. Some more research showed that the Finnish Distributor Hjorth has his office ten minutes from where I live; after a phone call we arranged that I pick up a pulka for loan for a few trips for them and return it afterwards.


Fully packed.

The important bits: A weight of 4,5 kg, it is 130 cm long, 43 cm wide and has a capacity of 235 liters. Yes it is huge! When fully packed, evenly, the average height is around 40 cm, though you can go as high as 80 cm as I have tried. On top of that comes the weight of the pulling beams (about 1900 gram) and the harness (345 gram), so you look at a total weight which is slightly under 7 kg. That looks a lot, but it allows you to carry a lot of gear - 40 kg of food and equipment would be no problem and can be pulled very comfortable.



The Pulling Beams and Harness.

Lets start with a look at the pulling beams and the harness. The pulling beams are Fjellpulken's basic model, which is a collapsble, strong, and high-quality parallel shaft that has a built-in cushioning spring. The latter is really nice, as it minimizes the bouncing and pushing in your back you get without them. It folds in half and you turn it back over the pulka, making the whole package very compact for transport. The harness is Fjellpulken's standard pulk harness, which comes with crossover straps, is made from nylon and features a padded hipbelt. Comfy and sits well, easy and quick to put on and off.


Easy access via the big zipper in the back.

I also have the Fjellpulken 20 litre backpack with integrated harness - but I haven't tried it; maybe next winter. I did try a cuben fibre backpack while pulling the pulka, but found the best comfort for me is to only wear the harness and have everything in the pulka. A disadvantage of this arrangement is that I need to get my snacks and water from the pulka, so need to ski a few meters back. But it is not a big problem, as it also allows me to sit down on the pulka and rest for a moment.


Yeah, it fits a lot of gear! No, I didn't take the rocking chair with me =)

The pulka itself then. It has an extremely well-gliding bottom material, and creates an ace track for people skiing behind you - a big bonus when travelling in a group. The integrated tarp is waterproof, and keeps your gear safe and dry from snow. You secure the top via elastic cords which are hooked into the opposite cord, and secure the whole package then with buckles. In the front there's also a small pocket, I kept the skins for my skis in there for quick and easy access. In the back there is a zipper which allows you get at the packed stuff; I kept my thermos and water bottle, together with my puffy jacket and snacks there to quickly get to them.

While it ain't super wide, it distributes the weight very well (as well as you packed it, obviously - heavy stuff towards the back, light stuff in the front!) and hence floats even when packed with 25kg or more with ease over powder snow and tracks alike. Going uphill is as easy as it is for you to ski uphill. I found a diagonal approach best where possible, but little hills like those in Finland even can be tackled full-frontal. Going down is thanks to the stiff pulling beams also less dangerous - no worries that the pulka will crash in your back, as it could be the case with lines. My limited experience showed me that going full throttle down is the most fun, fastest and quickest route. You could take the diagonal approach again, but then you need to master the breaking-on-skis part particularly well.


Gear fully secured and wrapped up.

The black fabric on the side helps to keep the gear in place, and is also a handy place to put your skis, snowshoes and poles under when travelling. Speaking of travelling, I travelled via train and bus with the pulka and skis, and it worked like a charm. It is so easy to pull all your gear through the city when everything is covered in snow, and lifting it via the belts on top or the side fabric is also no problem. It is also a sure conversation starter when you stand around somewhere!



Back and side view.

So all in all a really nice piece of gear. It allows you to go on 14+ day winter trips without resupplying, as the Fjellpulken XCountry 130 will hold a massive load of gear and supplies. You could try to put that much gear into a backpack, but I seriously doubt that it would be comfortable or allow you to travel any significant distance. And while this might look like I forgot about lightweight principles, the main reason I got a pulka was to try to adhere to some of the Wilderness Guide school's ideas for winter travel. And it is, in all honesty, a pretty nice tool, such a pulka. You could, for example, with ease carry one of the Titanium Goat or Four Dog Ti stoves to heat your shelter, and have a very pleasant time outside in winter!

While a pulka is a tool for serious winter adventures, I have seen people load them up with a masses of food and drinks for an winter overnighter! Which goes to show that your imagination is the limit! Fjellpulken also makes pulkas in which to pull your kids - a friend has such a model and reports that his offspring found it a delightful way to travel - for a while, at least =) For more photos, head over to the Flickr Album.


Fjellpulken XCountry 130 Pulka in action.

If you're living in Finland and want to try a winter adventure with a Pulka, have a look at the Varuste.net and Scandinavian Outdoor Store, they both also send abroad and have great offers on it at the moment! If you own an outdoor shop in Finland and want these Class A pulkas in your sortiment, contact the friendly folks at Hjorth, the Finnish Distributor, to discuss the matter.

The Week in Review

Went to see this yesterday, hence I'm late with The Week In Review. The next video thus also should be understood as partly serious, partly sarcasm.



News & Various:

News about Japan are back to normal. That that is far from the truth is a sad fact, and Julian shares his experiences of the destruction of the Tsunami and the stories he had heard during his volunteer work.

Less altruism, more capitalism – Flattr users no longer need to give to receive. If you've been waiting for a good reason to adopt Flattr on your blog, here it is. Need more convincing? I want to give you my money.

PHD came out with the Single Ultra Quilt. At claimed weight of 375 g it costs £0,52 per gram (for a total of £195).

Locus Gear, the wonderful cottage from Japan, came out with a really beautiful UL towel.

Ryan Jordan has a new website. And a very special article which you should check out is his interview with Andrew Skurka, Reflections of an Ultralight Life.

The Art Of Outdoor Blogging was an article I wrote in which I shared some of my "wisdom" on blogging.

Ove presents the final part of his MYOG Inner Tent for Shangria-La 2/3.

Need a whitebox pot stand? Check out David's MYOG solution.

More MYOG comes from Robin, who shows us how to make Adjustable Cuffs on a Montane jacket.

Ross continues his great series of gear used by Bushcraft "Masters", and next up is The Gear of Horace Kephart.

Still looking for something to read? Check out which books I read in March and April.

Sunset at Hatanpää Arboreutum.

Gear:

Toni finished building his new 9:ZERO:7 bike. Multipurpose. Black with a hint of red. A sweet ride.

The guys at extremtextil finished their MYOG cuben backpack and tease you with a few photos before they post the guide.

I started to look at proper winter gear, and the Sir Joseph Koteka Down Jacket was first on the list.

Markus also likes Sir Joseph, and takes a look at the Sir Joseph 290 sleeping bag.

Simon shares is lightweight pike-flyfishing kit with us. Sweet.

Alan has CÀRN Cobra’s. His and Hers.

Mr. Horner reviews the Keen A86 trailrunners.

The XIV installment of "Kit that broke, kit that didnae, and other stuff before I forget", brought to you by Peter.

Phil powers his Backcountry Boiler with alcohol and shares his findings.

Antti reviews the Rab Alpine 400 sleeping bag.

Terry reviews the Terra Nova Solar Competition 1.

Lauren takes a good close look at her Crux AK47 rucksack.

Grand gives a short "Softshell 101" before reviewing the First Ascent’s Sandstone Jacke.

Finally, Roger reflects on some of the gear he used on his last trip.

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Trip Reports:

John walks the E4, and last Wednesday he hiked from Amposta to L'Ametlla de Mer.

Mike. Superdawg. Pigs. Beer.

John teases us with stunning photos from Observation Point, Zion National Park.

Mike shows off the beauty of the British countryside in spring, with lambs, swans, butterflies and heaps of flowering trees and flowers. Love it.

Also Helen shows us England at it's best.

John and Kelley went down Gorham and the Ocean Path.

James spent a hot day on the Cuillin Ridge, his 100th Munro.

Colin visits the Rhinog mountains in Wales. Splendid photos you should see.

Richard decided it is time to paddle, and paddle he did on the Lower Bann Canoe Trail.

Simon shares also some water-based adventures with us, as he was kayaking around Canna and Rum.

A third water adventure comes from Sweden, where Johan went for a canoe trip on the Nissan.

David gives us pointy bits, as he is back from the Fells.

Steve visited an open air art exhibition.

Patrick reports that spring has sprung in East Tennessee.

Joe was muttering something about Adders and Bandannas in his last blogpost. I reckon it has to do with his alcohol intake on the trail and meeting colorful characters.

Peter went on an bikepacking overnighter to Kangenmiekka.

Martin went fastpacking the Cumbria Way.

Blooming cacti, yucca plants, morteros, yeps, that's what a short hike on the Morteros Trail in Anza Borrego State Park looks like.

Jaakko is back from Svalbard and has his final post up, including some photos.

Fraser went for an overnighter to Loch An Daimh and played around with his new GorillaPod.

Also maria went for an overnighter to Kaitalampi.

Tomas brings back winter memories as he prepares for skinning up in Norway.