Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

Julbo Dolgan Sunglasses

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While currently the weather doesn't warrant the use of sunglasses, the time spent in the North and East of Finland skiing did, and I am hopeful that soon we will have wonderful sunny weather again. So sunny, that one needs sunglasses!

My sunglasses of choice for outdoor activities are the Julbo Dolgan shades, made in France. Weighing in at 33 g including the necklace thingy, that is an acceptable weight for me. While there are lighter glasses around, for something that gets used so much and might collect its fair share of scratches from bushwacking & spending time in a meshpocket with other stuff, I believe a good, affordable pair is a better investment than a 200€ pair of shades where every scratch hurts.

I have the Spectron 4 lenses, which claim to be "Light but with excellent shock resistance" and have an anti-reflective coating which "improves visual comfort by eliminating stray reflections" and a flash finish: "improves visible light filtering with mirror effect lenses; it reflects the rays of light and increases the filter effect and eliminates the radiation reflected by the outer mirrored surface of the lens." Woohoo.

Side view.

Translated into plain English that means they do their utmost to keep those dangerous UV rays out of your retinas, also keep out the glare from snow & water, and allows you to shoot laser beams at ultraheavy backpackers. OK, I made that last one up, but that would be a cool feature. It also said that it has an anti-fog coating. Well, somehow those never seem to work for me. Put the lenses on your head to check something with clear sight, put them back on, and they give me this lovely foggy view. At least the fog doesn't stay long, even if I do an activity like skiing which lets me perspire a lot. So it is cool and I learn to live with it.

The lenses have a sweet, slightly orange tint to them, which is great in white winter landscapes as well as in green summer forests. Also when packrafting I found them an adequate protection for my eyes, while being able to pick out details in the stream ahead. The outside of the lenses have a mirror finish, this allows me to stare without worries at the ultraheavy food of other campers without being afraid that they notice it (unless I am also drooling). On a more practical note, it allows me to check my face for scratches or if my hair-do is fine when re-entering civilization.

Looking smart.

The sunglasses keep snow and wind out very well thanks to the ergonomic design and "removable" wings at the side. I tried once to remove them, but didn't want to exert too much force and hence gave up. Taken off, they might save a gram or six together, I guess. But I rather am protected from snow and wind, to be honest. The necklace thingy (Weight: 1 g) makes me look like a 70+ year old grandmother and likely to lose my glasses, but the truth is that sometimes it is more convenient to have them hang around your neck than have the shades riding on top of your skull. Like when you have a sweaty head or big wooly hat on top.

Hitching a ride on top.

Bottom line? A cool looking pair of shades which are functional and light. If Nemo could have chosen his own sunglasses instead of getting a hand-me-down pair from Morpheus, he would have taken these. You can get them at your own free will from Parttioaitta in Finland, or check the Julbo Europe / Julbo USA site for a retailer near you.

The Week in Review

Spring depression galore. While in my hometown in Germany it are 22°C and sunny today, we have the wonderful, grey, drizzling, 3°C "spring" weather here in Tampere, with the sidewalks still under ice and gravel and the grey/ white snow being a sad memory of real snow. Go figure that I have no motivation for winter activities anymore.

Best Animation Ever. Samurai Jack.

News & Various:

Timo shows us how to make Pizza in a Trangia.

hrXXLight is raffling off a black Cuben Hipbelt pocket from LAUFBURSCHE, while Lighthiker raffles off three Cuben stuff sacks from LAUFBURSCHE.

Speacking of him, LAUFBURSCHE invites us to "Dance into May" with him, on the weekend of 29.04. - 01.05.2011. If you're in Cologne or surroundings, definitely a must-go.

Another competition where you can win a hand-made wool pullover from Nature-Base is also going on at the moment, so click the link and try your luck!

John reviews the Tenkara, Radically Simple, Ultralight Fly Fishing book.

In case you're now wondering "What is tenkara?" head over to Brian's blog to read Jason's Guest Post on The Perfect Fly Fishing Gear for Backpackers.

And while winter is as good as over, Jaakko will head to Svalbard soon and hence needs to know how to build simple emergency snow shelters.

Locus Gear has some sweet new colours for the new seasons for us available.



The Coastkid went for some fine Midweek Trailrides.

Nick went running A Wander Down Glen Dye.

Italy. Dolomites. Snow. Skiing. Sun.

South Finland. Swamps. Snow. Pugsley. Overnighter.

I like Markus honest words about the West Highland Way. If you plan to walk this "trail", read this and reconsider.

Helen is teasing me with fine spring weather and Combing Coombs Dale.

The Wahweap Hoodoos = This Week's Recommended Read.

Dave's new blog theme is ace, and his Testing post is as well. Recommended Read II.



Chad made a video in which he looks at the Mont-Bell UL Down Inner Parka.

Dave did a review of the Hilleberg Unna tent.

Alan looks at the Alpkit Gourdon 25L daysack and suggests some useful modifications.

Mr. Turner doesn't have a Vimeo Pro account, which didn't stop him from making an almost 17 minutes video about Alcohol Stoves for Lightweights.

Finally, I did a Field Report on the Panasonic DMC-G2.

Panasonic G2 Field Report

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Time for another camera field report, me thinks. Enter the Panasonic DMC-G2, the camera I used for a few months last year and most notably on my Russia trip. An integrated Electronic Viewfinder, plenty of fine lenses, a 3" Touchscreen (!) and HD video at 1280 x 720 with 30fps make this sound like a great midsize camera, but is it a great camera for the backpacker who likes to put some more effort into his photos?


The complete camera including the 14 - 42 mm kit lens, a rechargeable battery, lanyard, SD Card and the lens hood weighs in at 638 g. That is less than half what my Canon EOS 50D weighs. It is more than the GF1 weighs. I let you judge on the weight issue, and move on to some tech and taking photos.

The battery life of the G2 is fantastic. I got a solid seven days or about 550 photos out of one battery of the G2 in the autumn in Russia, which made me very happy indeed. This has much to do with the G2 having an integrated Viewfinder, my preferred way to compose photos, and it also saves a lot of energy in comparison to a digital screen. In comparison to the GF1 EVF it also has a much, much higher resolution and shows crisp images through it, much to my joy. The touchscreen on the other hand was "meh". Being an iPhone/ iPad user and knowing what is possible, the touchscreen on the G2 was a novelty but I didn't feel like getting much use out of it. I see some possibilities for this, though, in the future.

G2 Touchscreen

G2 back & screen
Back with the pivoted screen and an overview of the top of the camera.

However, the G2's screen can be pivoted and opened, which allows you to hold the camera for example far over your head but still check via a down-turned screen what you're taking a photo of, or you can go very close to the ground without pressing your face in the dirt to look through the viewfinder. It generally allows for experimenting with different angles, which I like to do - you can do this also with the viewfinder, but of course will need to bend your body accordingly.

Otherwise the G2 has two wheels to control settings, one on the right to choose the main settings - Aperture, Shutter Speed, Manual or some preset programmes, and if you want to quickly switch to "intelligent Auto" you just press the bottom on the top - a blue light around it means it is on. This one-press for iA is a nice feature, if you don't reach the desired result with your manual settings - the iA on Panasonic cameras is in general very good, so it is a good back-up feature to ensure you get the shot you want.

G2 Side
Side view on the main control wheel.

The wheel on the left lets you choose focus points, and a switch that encircles the base of the wheel with which you chose the focus drive mode. Back on the right side there is a separate button to start filming. The G2 has HD video capability at 1280 x 720 with 30fps and I was quite satisfied with the outcome of the videos. Which leaves us to discuss the kit lens it comes with. Personally I am a friend of wide angle lenses, so Fisheyes and Pancakes. Having used Panasonic's fabulous 20 mm Pancake lens with the GF1 I was a bit disappointed that I didn't have that lens for testing available, even though it works with the G2. Ah well, a bit of zoom wasn't too bad, to be honest, but I'm a simple guy with simple needs and hence my preference for the 20 mm lens.

G2 lens
A look at the kit lens.

Enough tech talk, lets look at some photos, this is a field report after all!

Grey sky morning with the sun rising behind me = check.

A grey day. Not to happy how it made the forest all dark.

Flowing water = check.

Close-ups = check.

Scenic morning shot = check.

Scenic afternoon shot in not so perfect light = slightly overexposed sky.

Fire = check.

Very early dawn shots = check.

Mountain lake in sunlight = check.

Good results, but I feel that some photos could have turned out better. This might be largely due to me getting the camera the night before leaving to Russia and still getting to know it while on the trail. Other reviewers seem to agree with my findings that greens turn out a bit brownish, and skies are not nearly as blue as they should be. Which isn't a problem if you shoot in RAW and go through Lightroom 3 afterwards. The JPEG crowd still will be able to live with the results, as you can see above. Speaking of the trail, on it the camera was nearly always around my neck; it is a light enough camera to be comfortably worn all day long, being right there in reach. Some bumps, rain drops, perspiration were all no problem, and being able to turn the screen inside meant it is save and is one thing less to worry about.

Because this question will be asked, I will ask it simply myself: How is this camera in comparison with the GF1, GF2, Sony NEX-5, Canon EOS 50D and Panasonic TZ10? Well, I think it is very difficult to compare these cameras with the G2, as the G2 sits right in the middle between them all. My 50D makes the best photos bar none, but at 1,5 kg it is also the heaviest camera bar none in the field. The TZ10 is a great little Point-and-shoot for those who like it super-simple with great results. The GF1, GF2 and NEX-5 are all similar, but are technically a tad less powerful than the G2, who in turn is a bit heavier than those three. It is all a trade-off in what you need and value, as you can see. Do you want better technical possibilities, will carry a few lenses, and want a great EVF, go for the G2. Do you want the lightest and smallest camera, go for one of the three mentioned ones.

If you're in the market for a new camera, and are on the edge, then one thing which is very much in favour of the G2 is price. The G2 including the kit lens is currently to be had for under 500$ which is about 200$ cheaper than the GF1 or the GF2. That is a great price for this camera, as in comparison with the GF1 and GF2 it has a far superior Electronic Viewfinder included and the turnable touchscreen is also better than the screen on the other two cameras. Yes, it is a bit heavier, and is missing the 20 mm Pancake lens, but then you just saved 200$ or more - enough to get that sweet Pancake lens on top!

See all photos taken by the G2, and get yours:

Disclosure: I have an Amazon Affiliate account and earn a few cents if you buy something via the above Amazon links. Which I'd appreciate =)

Rising stars at dusk.