Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

Joby Gorillapod SLR

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It doesn't matter which camera I use, my Joby GorillaPod SLR Zoom is always with me. It is a reliable tool and allows me to photograph Northern Lights, dusk, dawn, the moon, and even myself. A must have for me on any trip.


At 241 g it is not the lightest GorillaPod available; I got this specific model to carry my Canon EOS 50D which is about 1460 g - the SLR Zoom carries the camera reliably in all conditions and can actually hold cameras up to 3 kg - though I won't get that heavy cameras! I have used it with all the cameras I had to date, and as these were all lighter and smaller the SLR Zoom was sometimes a bit to much, but I believe when using expensive camera gear that a bit of extra strength isn't a problem - it adds piece of mind. If you have a smaller / lighter camera, check the Joby site to see which one would be appropriate for your gear.

The GorillaPod is like a superflexible Chinese Circus Artist who's able to bend in unbelievable ways while keeping your camera safe and on target. If you're not as flexible, and can't keep your breath for 30 seconds and stand completely still, but want to take some awesome photos, then you should consider carrying a GorillaPod on your trips. It wraps around trees, stands even on slippery rocks, keeps you camera aloft in the snow, and flexes down for macro shots.

A critic I have heard is that it is low (in height) in comparison with normal tripods. While this can be a concern, I see it as a benefit as it allows new angles - it gets boring to see photos shot always from head hight. Besides, if there's trees around, wrap the GorillaPod around it and Voilá, head hight. In my two latest videos I also made extensive use of the GorillaPod to get some fine new angles. Thinking outside the box? Then the GorillaPod is a worthy instrument in your toolbox.

The GorillaPod has some nifty accessoires, like a ballpoint head with a bubble level and spikes to get more hold in soft terrain like snow and mud. Both are accessoires I'd consider getting if you are serious about photography. The bottom line? An item that I carry on every trip as it allows me to take some fine photos where point and shoot ain't enough.

Get yours:

Northern Lights and a telephone mast
Something you can't do without a GorillaPod: Taking 30 seconds exposures of Northern Lights at night.

The Week in Review

Proper spring has sprung. +6°C, sunny, and the first flowers are blossoming. Time to start new projects.

News & Various:

A couple of weeks back I read about the plans of a few construction companies who got permission to build along the shores of Lake Inari in the protected Natura 2000 wilderness area. Lake Inari is a wonderful nature area and a sacred place for the natives of the region, the Sami. Now Benidorm style hotels, villages and Villas should be build along the shore of this sacred land, destroying protected areas and with it the habitat of many animals and plants. Please show your support and sign the petition! You can read the open letter in English here, and more information and photos can be read in this Spiegel article.

Brian made a DIY Bridge Hammock. It looks sweet, and at 10.5 oz all in it is SUL!

Seems hammocks are gaining traction, as also Black Goat Gear published a very detailed Double Layer Hammock Guide. Order those materials and start sewing!

If you speak and/ or understand German, you definitely need to go and see the Yukon Arctic Ultra documentary.

The trekking-lite-store.com now has Hyperlite Mountain Gear tarps and rucksacks in stock, so if you were waiting for them to be available in Europe, check their shop!

Brian is giving away a complete Kupilka Starter Kit which is your chance to get some kick-ass Kupilka gear!

European cottage news, Lite Mountain Gear is a German cottage which now opened their website and shop and will roll out some more gear during the spring & summer. Colin Ibbotson's Tramplite shop will open on October 1st, so start saving for those Skins 2 packs!

Mark is coming back to Finland - and the Nordic Lightpacking guys and I rejoice!

Tenkara: Sweetness on the Bitterroot.

John writes about Barefoot Hiking - Torture or Bliss, a honest look at his experiences with VFFs.

Cracking open.


Thomas shares his first impressions on the MLD Trailstar. Its yellow, so it is awesome.

PTC shares his view on the Haglöfs Bivvy Down Vest with us.

David plays with fire and his new Trail Designs Ti Tri Sidewinder Inferno.

Dug lets us know about all he’ll be wearing on the PCT.

Basti revies the North Face Khyber 100 fleece.

I reviewed the Julbo Dolgan sunglasses and the GoLite Tumalo Storm jacket and pants.

Skis. Boots. Poles.


Jaakko sends his first greetings from Svalbard. Make sure to subscribe to his blog as he will deliver regular updates during the next three weeks while skiing in the arctic!

Fraser shares some impressions from his birthday weekend at Rothiemurchus with us. Superb photos which you should check out!

Chris shares some photographic impressions form the last months in Japan, before the disasters struck.

Sabine hiked the E4 on Cyprus, and it was quite an adventure she had! Great photos of a lovely spring!

Back north we can now follow Joe's and Jörgen's tall tales of their adventure in Finnmarksvidda.

Jake and his mates went on their 2011 Legends Patrol Trip- AT section hike.

Marcel went on the E5 from Oberstdorf to Bozen. 250 km, 15 Days, 3 countries, lovely views.

James was on a wilderness slackpack on the Isle of Rum, some fine sunrises there!

Alberto keeps on teasing us with perfect skiing in the Italian Dolomites.

Robin visited Dartmoor. No sunshine there, but varying degrees of gray and serious rain also make for a trip to remember.

Dave was in Huldreheimen. He and his friends had a really big tent with them.

Adam went to Lost Lake in Alaska. Stunning photos which you must see.

David went Bikerafting the Minnehaha. I want a bike. That's how cool this is.

GoLite Tumalo Storm Jacket & Pants

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What is soft, breathable, and waterproof? It's the GoLite Tumalo Storm Jacket and Pants, which I have been testing since last summer. In black. Because I don't (yet) do colours.

Staring off contemplatively into the middle distance, as Fraser puts it.

The facts:

GoLite Tumalo Storm Jacket, Size S, weight 258 g.
GoLite Tumalo Storm Pants, Size S, weight 195 g.

Made of Pertex Shield. Which is soft to the touch, breathes amazingly well, and keeps the water out. Is it better than eVent and GoreTex Paclite? In breathability terms, yes. I also haven't yet get wet in them, which means they are at least waterproof enough for my needs, which includes packrafting and canoeing in them, weathering a Finnish rain shower in the summer, autumn drizzle, and trail running in the winter.

Pertex Shield, baby.

Actually I think the material breathes too well. That might sound odd for those who regularly have problems of running wet in their jackets and pants, so let me explain. Fact of the matter is, I often just wear my waterproofs when I go hiking when the weather forecast promises drizzle, rain, grey, dull wetness. No sense in putting them in the pack and wear a pants and windjacket when I will need to change it either way soon again. The pants have been the Rab Drillium pants, and I tried and switched between different jackets. In these pants & jacket, it was always comfy warm without being too clamy or wet. Now Pertex Shield also lets my heat escape pretty well, up to the point that if I rest for a minute to check the map and take a bearing I'm getting a bit cold. This might be merely a subjective feeling, while others might actually find it an advantage, but it is something I noticed over the months.

Pit zips for even more ventilation.

The jacket has pit zips and mesh-lined pockets which mean you can go all out and be so airy that you will fly away with the next breeze =) I haven't used the Pit Zips a lot, as it is seldom hot and humid in Finland, but those in Southern Europe, Asia and Southern America will likely welcome this breathability. The Waterproofness is, as said, excellent. The cut is spot on for me, a nice long back and sleeves which end in elastic cuffs (sadly no thumbloops), with a shock cord closure on the bottom hem and a two-way zipper which has a storm flap. Now two-way zippers and me have a interesting relationship, as we don't often seem to work smoothly together. However, this zipper is a tad easier than other jackets with two-way zippers which I have used, though I believe that a simple zipper still is best. To round things out, all seams are taped. Sweet!

Mesh pockets to store stuff and ventilate.

The waterproof pockets are good, though it is easy for stuff to entangle itself in the mesh. You also can use the pockets double, as in that when you open the jacket you can put something, like a map, behind the pocket. See the above photo to understand what I mean.

Which brings us to the hood. It is a hood, which could have been made better. Of course my bar is high with the Haglöfs OZO hood as the benchmark, but even in comparison with the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody I found the hood lacking - it is a tad fiddly, and doesn't cover my head too well. My solution to this problem is to use the Tumalo Jacket with an umbrella for best wet weather protection while keeping the best visibility. If you don't carry an umbrella, and have a smaller head than me, then you might find the hood just fine.

Long back, and a hood.


On to the pants then. Again they have fully taped seams, an elasticized waist with draw cord, a small cargo pocket with a keychain hook, short calf zips with a storm flap and velcro closure. Same very breathable, black, soft Pertex Shield material, so what I said for breathability and waterproofness also applies here. Good long cut, comfy on the hips, free to move and scramble up hills, and rather durable as well.

Zipper and velcro at the leg.

Leg pocket with a key hook and enough place to keep your phone and wallet.

They have been very nice to use through the last three seasons, being much better than I expected - coming from 3 layer garments, I thought these can't be nearly as good, but my belief was quickly disabused after using them. If you are disappointed with the performance of other "highly breathable & waterproof" garments and are thinking about trying something new, then this jacket and pants might be well worth a look. In case you find black boring (w00t?!) then the jacket is also available in Rust Red and Blue. You can get your GoLite Tumalo Storm Jacket and GoLite Tumalo Storm Pants now at Ultralight Outdoor Gear where they're available at a nice discount!

Not Trash! Recycle the jacket at the end of its life =)