Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

The Week in Review

Last week a lot of folks were out backpacking and were making us envious with beautiful photos and trip reports. While you read what happened last week, I'll enjoy the Finnish spring with Phil and Steven who arrived last Thursday to go out for some tenkara fishing and backpacking in Pirkanmaa!

The trekking-ultraleicht.de forum had this May weekend another Forum Meet-up in the workshop of LAUFBURSCHE in Cologne, and you can make sure that some of the German bloggers and on the forum itself there will soon be lots of accounts and photos of gear and stories!

Geoff from v-g Backpacking in Britain went on a three day trip to Dartmoor, and brought back beautiful photos and a great write up.

Also Martin Rye set out to navigate the hills of Dartmoor, and his account you can read here.

Michael is a German who is thru-hiking the PCT this year, and you can follow his pursuits here at "Freiwild auf dem Pacific Crest Trail" - he writes at the moment a couple of times a week, so we can nearly follow him "live"!

And if you are curious what the ADZPCTKO '10 looked like, head over to The Beeman's Picasa album to take a look.

Benjamin from hrxxlight went to France and walked the GR 53 and brought back some nice photos and story.

Finally, Gustav from The Bearable Lightness made a solo trip to Vålådalen to wet the appetite for a certain group of UL outdoor bloggers from the far north...

In the Gear Review Department, Jason Klass takes a brief look at the MLD Exodus and tells us what he likes about it.

I did a small HD video of the world lightest gas stove, the Monatauk Gnat and also will organize a passaround with it - go comment if you'd like to give it a try!

PTC was at innov_ex 2010 and was reporting live from the event.

Robin made an initial review of the Tarptent Scarp 1 Mk II and had much good to say about it, as well as suggestions for improvement.

Q has a look at the 20l Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil backpack, and wonders if it is big enough for a weekend trip.

And in other news, Fraser from McAlisterium tells us what he has learned about photography so far.

Talking of photgraphy, if Northern Lights, aka aurora borealis, are fascinating to you, head over to this site to have a look at the photography of Jorma Luhta. I saw his exhibition while up north, and it is so beautiful & magic.

Last, but certainly not least, IovokiTangra is a blog which shows superb photography from Japan - beaches, castles, mountains, it has it all. But be careful, it makes you want to go there =)

Book Corner: Snow Walker's Companion by Alexandra & Garrett Conover

If there is one book that stood out in the last weeks, it is this one. It came as a recommendation from Don Kevilus, though because I didn't write the name down right away I didn't remember it when I went to look for it. Good that Nick from Skills for Wild Lives mentioned it in an article, so I found it again and have been thoroughly enjoying it.

The Conovers remind me a bit of the Jardines, though I find them (Conovers) much more likable. The book is excellently written and captures the reader's interest, so that it is difficult to put it down. Good photographs, excellent drawings and even patterns for making your own gloves, anorak, tent and moccasins are included - a tomb of knowledge! I wish I would have read this at the start of the winter, and not at the end.

I took a lot more than ten things away from this book, but here are those that stood out:

1. Reading ice on rivers and lakes
2. Good winter foods
3. An axe is a useful tool
4. About traditional snowshoes & footwear
5. Winter clothing
6. The three Ts: Toboggans, tents & trail stoves add comfort and security to a winter trip
7. Navigation in winter
8. Leadership of groups (applies also to my professional life)
9. Appreciate your surroundings while being at inner peace with yourself
10. Develop skills to feel at home in the wilderness

It is an outstanding book, and I am going back to it all the time to look up a thought or idea. While you won't hear Garrett and Alexandra talk about Ultralight gear - they value traditional materials and craftsmanship, based on by native Americans - they have lightweight principles in every aspect of their gear. Very fascinating is also their two month journey across Labrador in the depth of winter, and which beauty and also hardships they encountered. I was so fascinated by the book that I ordered the "Making The Attikamek Snowshoe" book and am planning to try to build it during the summer, and also will try to build my own toboggan. If this sounds like a departure from UL for you, so rest assured, that is not going to happen - it is more to broaden my horizon and learn more. The idea of stove-heated tent in winter is very appealing to me, and with companies like Four Dog Stove and Titanium Goat producing UL alternatives for stoves and tents, I am certain this is possible and can enhance the winter hiking experience.

If you plan to get your winter camping skills up to par, I highly recommend this book. Its promise of letting you know of "How to sleep warm, travel safe and enjoy the white season" is not marketing BS, the Conovers impart their years of experience, and the skills from the natives with whom they have talked, with the reader, in an excellent book.

To buy your own copy, click the photo:

Disclosure: I have an Amazon Affiliate account and would earn a few cent if you buy the book via the link.

Gone Hiking & Fly-Fishing

Yes, Phil and Steven will arrive in about two hours in Finland, and in three more hours we will take the bus to our starting point. I will take them off to explore the Finnish forest and lake scenery while camping and fly fishing with our tenkara gear, hopefully we'll be able to report about a catch or two at the end of the trip!

Phil is technically very skilled and set up this site where you can follow us: Click! So if you're curious to see where we'll be walking, check that link =)

Wild camp on a ridge near Ruka last week.