Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

The Week in Review

I'm off to Scotland tonight. Edit: My flight got cancelled due to the heavy snowfall in Edinburgh. The option I had was to fly to London on Monday, but there's no flights to Edinburgh or Glasgow that day, so my wee trip to meet Steven, Johnny, Peter and Phil are off. I'm pretty bummed :(



News & Various:

You know what is so awesome about UL backpacking? The people. The people, who, driven by their desire to make something unique, more light, more perfect, create with much blood, sweat and tears a great product, with plenty of input from the UL community. Guys like Devin from the boilerworks, for example. Go read his blog and bookmark it. It's awesome.

Locus Gear has a 1st Anniversary Sale going on, so now is a good time to get those fine shelters and bags.

Titanium Goat, that elusive cottage manufacturer in Utah which doesn't want to be interviewed, has a bunch of new gear. The Yagi tenkara fly rod for trekking poles is awesome - you may buy me one!

Nibe gives useful advice on how to pass your time and includes a Optimus Crux Lite Solo Cook set review in between!

Fishing in Finland is an article I wrote for the Helsinki Times newspaper a while ago, go have a read if you have a passion for angling!

Coiling ropes - with a twist is a great video for the folks among us who carry ropes in the wilderness and need a quick and easy way to coil their ropes.

This week also saw another cottage manufacturer interview, this time with Eric Parsons from Revelate Designs. Bikepacking your thing? Definitely check this one out then!

The guest post on terrybnd's blog - Can Extreme Hikers Learn To Love Germany? - is a very nice read, and worth your time.

Also news-worthy this week is that both Phil and Martin joined Joe and me as Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassadors.

Andy Kirkpatrick tells the truth about breathable waterproofs.

Goof-off Tuesday started this week, and economies the world over collapsed within minutes of me publishing this disruptive article as people stopped working and thought about what they'd rather do, like Dave from Bedrock & Paradox and Tookie's A paddle and a walk.

Eric would like to know how to fix his puukko knife - can you help him?

The MYOG community will fancy a read of Michael Krabach's My Cheap Snow Camping Sled.

With all that festive stuff going on, we should remember those who aren't as fortunate as we. Beads of Courage is a recommended read and reminder to cherish what you have while thinking how you can help others. Same goes for James' Photo Voices article, which you also should check out.



Gear Talk:

Basti and his wife finally finished their MYOG Down Duo quilt. Looking for a project to do over the cold days? This could be it.

Jason does a Solid Fuel Burn Time Test, and pitches the likes of WetFire, Trioxane and Esbit against each other.

Phil went to the coast to shot some photos for the Mountain Hardwear Hooded Compressor PL Jacket and I am sure that the photos now also are used as the desktop background of female UL hikers the world around.

Mike shows us how to make a Bushcraft Winter Kitchen. Great stuff.

Joe talks about the Kupilka kuksa and alternative drinking strategies, lovely photos and great writing!

Mark shares his first impressions of his Laufbursche huckePACK with us.

Richard shows off the Berghaus Pro Trek Shell Jacket.

Maz showcases his First Aid kit and asks what you carry - go check it out, a good post!

Philip is selecting a bivy for winter, read his great article on this top if it is of importance to you.

Yours truly did a review of the Rab Demand Pull-On, an ultralight hardshell made from eVent.



Trip Reports:

Roman goes to Kimberly Australia, down the King Edward River and into the Bungle Bungles, hunted by snakes, crocs and bulls, sleeping with scorpions, flown over by fruit bats, yes, Epic stuff. Recommended read and see!

Dave enjoyes early winter.

Maria enjoys a winter day in Nuuksio.

Also Yeti reports more about winter!

Thomas and Glenn are going onwards, on snow. Winter is here =)

Mike Knipe met Martin Rye on Red Pike who met James Boulter on Mellbreak.

In case you missed it, Sam reminds us that winter is here and went Splitboarding and Backcountry Skiing.

Finally, forget Mini Bull Designs - this is the future of UL cooking (the video might not work everywhere due to copyrights!).

Rab Demand Pull-On Review

Ah, a pull-on rain jacket for the ultralight community, that were my thoughts when I saw the Rab Demand Pull-On back in the day. A whooping 76 g lighter than my Rab Momentum jacket, made from the same 3 Layer eVent material, reduced to what is really necessary, yeah, I'd like to try that out indeed.



The important part: 252 g in Size S. It is Black. I like it.

The cut is spot on for me, a bit longer in the back to cover me buttocks, a front zipper which can be opened far to allow ventilation, a good hood and one front pocket, which is big enough for me to fit in my puukko, a map, compass and a chocolate bar. Rab says that the pocket ain't waterproof, which is sort of true: Keeping your phone in there is not recommended as it can get a bit moist; that moistness is however coming from the inside when the eVent membrane transports your sweat out. Keep gadgets in a waterproof bag and it is fine.


Hood off.


Hood on.

Speaking of hoods, I don't know why Rab didn't put the Momentum visor on the Demand. The Demand is like the reduced Momentum, sure, but why would you make the visor smaller? If you put a visor on a hood, make it big so that it has a full function and not just half of it. There's companies out there who make far worse hoods and visors, and this one is still good, but heck, why make it smaller?



The eVent membrane still kicks ass. I wore the Demand Pull-On every day in Russia and had no problems with sweat building up on the inside, while keeping the rain out. Also on subsequent outings - night orienteering in the snow, walking in the wind and rain - it kept me dry, warm and ventilated.


Wide open. Taped seams.

So it is a pullover, saving weight by not having a full zipper. If you follow me for a while already then you know that I like pullovers, and the Demand is no exception. The long front zipper facilitates getting in and out and allows for additional ventilation if needed. It is easy going as well, which is nice - no fiddling around in the cold or rain with it.


Longer in the back, short in the front, much like that 80s haircut.

With the pullover being longer in the back you wear it over your pants, so that water run-off doesn't get in them. Cover your buttocks to sit down where it is wet, though it isn't that long that you could loung in comfort, but for a short quick sit-down on a edge or tree it works fine. To round things out, elastic hand cuffs and a hem with a good drawcord keep the heat in, wind and wetness out.


Elastic cuffs. Standard, I'd say.

Any other shortcomings, you ask? Well, as all oil-based garments, keep away from fire. Sparks burn through eVent like a hot knife goes through butter, so be careful when sitting around the fire or feeding your Bushbuddy. Room for improvements? Just make the visor the same size than on the Momentum and I am happy.

What about the competition? Yeah, the Montane Spektr is lighter and also from eVent. But will it be available in black? It also has a new kind of front closure mechanism, but from what I have heard from my trusty sources, the functionality isn't quite there yet, but until I have seen and tried it myself judgement on it is out. Then there is the Haglöfs LIM OZO Pullover, which I also own, and it is even lighter (and unlike Rab, which are talking since over a year of getting a sustainability programme in place and there's still nada, Haglöfs is ISO 14.001 certified and is active in sustainability matters Edit: Information on Rab's Sustainability approach). I'll review it during next week, so stay tuned for intel on it.

To sum it up, a very nice Pullover, made of the highly breathable eVent material, with good features at an excellent price. It is the lightest full-feature 3 Layer eVent Smock currently on the market, and I can highly recommend it. If you want to lighten your load and are looking for a functional rain jacket, ähem, pullover, the Rab Demand Pull-On is what you might want to buy yourself for the holidays. The lads at the Outdoor Warehouse have it in stock with 10% off and will see to it that it arrives in time for putting it in your stockings/ under the tree.

The Ultimate Trip & Gearlist

Sitting at work, thinking about escaping to the forest for a hike, a climb in the mountains, a packrafting trip down an idyllic river, a mountain bike ride down a fine single track or a skiing trip across vast, snow-covered landscapes? I hear you. Lets goof off together. This is an invitation to slack off at work, university or in your freetime and post your ultimate gearlist and destination to use it. Anything goes. Post it in the comments, write a post on your own blog and let us know where you'd now rather be! And to keep the reality of work & studies far away, money is of no concern - so that hike in Fiji is as realistic as the local trail in front of the door. I'll start =)



Deciding where to go is the hardest part, I think - there are thousands of beautiful places on this planet, so picking just one is hard. I always wanted to go to Papua New Guinea, so I reckon I will pack my backpack and fly there for this trip. Lush rain forests, mountains, secluded beaches and all of it in pristine condition. Exotic wild life. Yeah, I'm in.

For the gear then: I will stick to my tried and tested LAUFBURSCHE huckePACK in Dyneema X Gridstop as my rucksack, no sense in changing a winner. The pack is big enough for my UL gear and ten days of food, and I also can fit a packraft and paddles in so it is the way to go.

The shelter question on the other hand is a bit more difficult. What should I expect in Papua New Guinea? Rain, I hear. Bugs, here and there. Humidity. Wind. So it should be spacious to keep my stuff dry, airy to minimize condensation, there should be some mesh to keep the bugs out and me sane and it should be able to cope with wind. Well, even if I haven't yet slept in one, I think I might go for a yellow TrailStar from MLD. Steven, Roger and many others rave about it, and I am a smart guy who knows to trust fellow Nordic Lightpacking mates and friends. I forgo a groundsheet - still think they're useless - and for bug protection, well, a MLD Superlight bivy with its bug netting would seal the deal and allow me to sleep under the stars when the weather is fine.

For sleeping, you know me, a quilt is the only way. Temps might drop under 0°C when I camp high in Papua New Guinea, so bringing a warm quilt seems smart. A Katabatic Gear Palisade should be perfect for my needs thus. Together with a set of BPL Cocoon Hoody and Pants, and those Integral Designs Hot socks, they should allow me to stay toasty even if the thermometer drops a lot under 0°C. For pads I will trust on the Multimat Adventure and the six segments of TAR Z Lite to keep my butt of the ground and well isolated. That seals the deal on the big three.

Clothing then. I'm not a big user of normal trekking pants, that is until I tried the Arc'teryx Palisade pants and the BPL Thorofare pants. They both rock, and I shall take both for being able to switch if the need arises - at 99 g for the Thorofare it is an acceptable weight to carry extra. I'll round it out with a Arc'teryx Ether Crew shirt, a BPL Thorofare button-down shirt and a BPL Beartooth Merino hoody. A bitihorn aero100 jacket from Norrona, ultralight and in great colours, will be my windshirt of choice. Socks will have to be Merino, I will look at the usual suspects like Woolpower, Darn Tough, Bridgedale and Smartwool to keep my feet in perfect condition. Trailrunners from Inov-8 will round out the clothing department, likely the X-Talon 190 will be the shoes of choice. For the rain I take a set of eVent pants and jacket, Rab has so far not disappointed me so I will take the Demand Pull-On and the Drillium pants.

Trekking poles for yours truly, it must be the Gossamer Gear LT4s, I'd say. A compass in a country like Papua New Guinea is mandatory, as a well-integrated foreigner in Finland the choice shall fall on a Suunto compass, accompanied by a Suunto clock to tell me what time it is (not that I'd want to know). A trekking umbrella for that less-than-torrential rain will be with me as well, as will be my Tenkara fly-fishing rod and flies.

Other basics for Hendrik include his trusted Puukko knife, his Kuksa and his BushBuddy Ultra. If you see someone on a trail calling himself Hendrik without a wood burning stove, you know he's an impostor! Other small stuff includes a Petzl eLite and a Princeton Tec Remix for light at night, a good book (Terry Pratchett to make me laugh), sunglasses, a notebook and pen to plot down my thoughts, a merino Buff, a packtowel from MSR, 1st Aid, Hygiene and Repair stuff.


Butterflies!

Because I will be walking where not many have walked before, a good camera comes along, with plenty of spare batteries, memory cards, as well as a pancake and tele lens to catch those fine panoramas and exotic birds of paradise & monkeys swinging along over my head. I think the camera might be called Panasonic Lumix GF2. That should ensure superb photos to keep those memories alive.

Voilá! That is my contribution to "Goof-Off-Tuesday"! I'm looking forward to read yours =)