Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

Finisterre Bise MkII Review

Finisterre is a company to my liking. Ethical and sustainable principles are written big in this business, and instead of greenwashing and proclaiming things, they actually walk the talk. Check their Philosophy to see what I mean. So on to the actual star of this post, the Bise MkII, a synthetic vest for those cold & active days.

Looking sharp.

So yeps, Hendrik has a vest. A vest? A vest! Splendid for those crisp n' cold autumn and winter days where you're active, but not so active to keep your core warm enough. Splendid under a hardshell when hiking. Great for standing around at camp in spring, summer and autumn. 255 g it is on my scale, that's for a Size S. It is filled with Primaloft Sport, has a Riri 2-way zipper, the collar is lined with Microfleece and has two elastic pockets to store stuff or put your hands and look busy. It's mighty warm. Do I need to mention that it is black?

Double zippers.

I wore the Bise in Kvarken, during school and on various day trips. It is a good looking garment, something you can wear without a problem to the Café or Pub after a hike and look smart and not nerdy. But looks aren't Number 1. Priority, function is. Glad to report that in that department the Bise can convince as well.

Longer in the back.

The cut is slim, sporty, and longer in the back to keep the buttocks warm. Two elastic cords in the hem keep the heat inside, and the cuffs/ armholes are elastic as well and let no warmth escape. The collar is nice high, and means you can leave the Buff for the neck at home. Those pockets are fine, big enough to store a pocket camera or a small-ish DSLR like the Sony NEX-5. Ah ja, hands without gloves will find the pockets of use also on a windy day.

Trap that heat!

So what's not so good? Well, I think the zipper is overkill. It is massive, a smaller would due the job just as fine. The function of a two-way sipper is also lost on me. I like it simple. Like a simple, small, one-way zipper. The dual draw-cord adjustable hem is nice, but I wonder if one would be enough? I'd mention Primaloft Eco as a filling for superior environmental credibility, but the Bise Mk III has it, so no need to point that out.

Freedom to drink coffee without losing heat.

What's good. The piece of fabric on the zipper is perfect, robust, big enough to operate with mitts and looks nice. The pockets are also very well made, and I like them a lot. It is black. Even when walking at a good pace and perspiring, it keeps me super warm. It is actually so warm that my girlfriend likes to loan it from me. It is made in Portugal, thus it didn't travel halfway around the globe.

Conclusion? Well, while I prefer to start the day's walking with only my baselayer and maybe a hardshell, autumn and winter mean that a bit of extra insulation will make me more comfortable. My arms are not in need of much extra insulation, but the core is - that is where a synthetic vest shines. With a down vest I'd be worried that my perspiration makes the down collapse if I don't take it off once start to perspire; with a synthetic vest I can be a bit more careless (read: lazy) and walk in comfort. The garment being black means it dries a bit quicker in the sun as well, but as we know, synthetic fill retains 75% of its warmth when wet so it is no biggie when drying isn't a option. Which means the Bise Mk II is a great garment to bring along in any season, where a bit of extra, good looking warmth is needed!

The Bise MkII is currently on offer at Finisterre, so go get one while they last. If you're too slow, you might want to get the Bise Mk III which comes in new colours, received a inside pocket and Primaloft Eco for insulation.

Book Corner: Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book

| Comments

Time for another book review, it even fits with the season and your upcoming needs. Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book, the "Revised and Even Better!" version, is a superb, humours read worth your time. It doesn't take long to read cover to cover - I needed an afternoon, and English ain't my mother tongue - but you will go back many times to look up the great illustrations and useful advice.

The book has 120 pages full of the funny & informative illustrations of Mike Clelland and the knowledge of Allen O'Bannon. Both have been working for NOLS for many years, and know how to be warm and comfortable in winter. I have been out in winter plenty of times, but still picked up some useful advice from their book - I for example wasn't aware of the way to keep water unfrozen overnight in the snow. The highlight for me is likely their extensive section on how to build snowshelters - from quinzees over dugloos to doghouses.

Even if you belong to the folk who carry a double-wall tent in winter, the book will have some tips for you. My list of useful tips which I took away:

1. Avalanche safety
2. How to sh!t in the snow
3. How to build a comfy snow shelter
4. How to build a pimped-out kitchen in the snow, including a place to keep water from freezing
5. Backcountry manners in winter aka Minimum Impact & Backcountry Ethics
6. Snowmobilers are morons (OK, I knew this already!)
7. Snow camping tips & tricks - how to dry wet gear & useful pockets in undergarments
8. Basic ski techniques
9. A shovel in winter can be a very useful tool

If you're planning to be out in winter, in the backcountry, on skis, snowshoes, splitboard or snowboard, I think this is a great book to have read. Besides that the two authors know how to disclose information in an easy and understandable way, the illustrations clear up some questions which you might have and make you smile.

To get your paperback or Kindle copy, click the underneath photo or link (Updated link to an affordable copy!)

Disclosure: If you buy the book via the link I will earn a couple of cents, as I have a Amazon Affiliate Account.

The Week in Review

It takes hours to make "The Week in Review", which is also called "The UL Newspaper" (it isn't strictly UL but incooperates all aspects & ways to enjoy the outdoors). If you want to show your support, you can Subscribe via Flattr with the button at the end of the post or go crazy with the Donate button on the About page and decide yourself what free content is worth for you.

News & Various:

Finnish Forests in Lapland are rescued! This is great news, as it allows future generations to enjoy them ancient forests, and demonstrates that grassroots activism can beat the big companies and money.

What is in Glen Van Peski's backpack?

Kupilka has set up a PayPal account, so for US Residents who'd like to get some Kupilka gear this is great news. Contact details at the end of the linked post.

Alan Sloman and Lord Elpus won the TGO Challenge Route of the Year - Congratulations!

Looking for something special to do next year? Then check out this special on the world's tallest virgin peaks, pick one and set out to summit it!

What is your next MYOG Project? is the question I asked last Wednesday. On Monday I reported about how my education as a Wilderness Guide is coming along, while on Friday I took a look at Nessmuk's Woodcraft and Camping.

The Outdoor Stations 315th podcast is about lightweight backpacking in Australia.

You're into Geocaching? Then come to the GC2G855 MEGA Finland 2011 which takes place here in Tampere!

Dan's article about the "Stranger in the Forest" book had me check it out and order it from Amazon. Thanks!

Thomas is giving away a backpackinglight.co.uk solo tarp - head over, introduce yourself and hope that you're lucky!

Ryan enlightens us on When Not to Use a GPS.

Adventure in Progress are planning one (multi-day) trip a month and want to continue during the winter.

Chris tells us the ten things he loves about winter and asks what we love about it.

Jörgens first english book, Smarter Backpacking, is now available on Amazon. Go and get your copy!

Andy has seen the future.

Rio got quasinitro on board and he wrote an exquisite MYOG Cone stove tutorial.

Angelo shows us Lon Chaney's stone cabin. It is gorgeous.

Trip Reports:

Thinking about going to Australia or New Zealand? Check out this guide on how to plan a guide to those two countries.

How about some Mushroom Rocks from Baw Baw National Park in Oz to get you in the mood?

Yeah, that got you all warm and fuzzy, time to cool down with some Winter Packrafting in the Kenai Canyon (Video).

Another winter video to get cool, Adam treats us with part five of his Tahoe Rim Ski Tour.

And warm again. Utah. Mountain bikes. Red sunsets. Blue skies. Jumps. Downhill. Leanin'.

Gavin showcases some superb photos from the sea at Strome Castle.

Simon has a nice post up about his lessons learned in the snow.

Frank went for a trip in Englandshire.

The Glencoe Mountaineer already had an outstanding winter this season, and looks back on the last two months.

So many great posts this week. Gustav treats us to some superb photos from the Norwegian mountains on a December morning trip.

Time for sun then. Royal Wulff took his fly fishing gear and went out to the Juan, and caught some fine big trouts.

The Hamilton Pool Preserve near Austin, TX, looks fantastic, something that kids of all ages certainly would love.

Dylan went to visit Half Dome, some fine photos there.

This weeks highlight and recommended read award goes to Antti from Views and Landscapes. His Repovesi National Park trip report has outstanding photography and shows how beautiful winter in Finland can be.

Paul went on a Peak District Wild Camp with friends, beer and steak!

Compass Points encourages us to go out in winter, and has three National Park Experiences as a suggestion for us.

Benjamin and his dog went for a coffee in the snow.

Joshua hiked to Kaipapa'u Gulch, one of the nicest waterfalls on Hawaii.

Paul visited Ullscarf And Armboth Fell.

A Transylvanian Vision Quest is a guest post by Andras over on terrybnd's blog - go check it out to get a glimpse at another culture.

Dave walked the Boundary Trail - An edgewise experience.

Gear Talk:

Phil's Nordic Outdoor Aural Gearfest is the recommended listen-to this week.

So Kifaru brought out their new lightweight backpacks. I'm not seeing me using them, but then again, I'm not usually carrying 39 kg.

Snowshoes? Hell yeah. Mark muses about his MSR Lightning Ascent Snow Shoes.

Richard looks at the Black Diamond Midweight Fleece Gloves while Joe shows off his new Montane Extreme Mitts.

Some other kind of gear. Simon made two fine looking Wood Spirit staffs made from Ash. Check out his other hand-made gear, including a fine looking kuksa!

Nibe found out that Everything Weighs Something.

Dave takes a peek at the Marquette Backcountry ski.

Pig Monkey put together a list of various synthetic puffy pants, check it out if you need one and want to know which is the warmest one.

Lots of colour and clothes to see on Peter's Haglöfs Winter 2011/12 Preview.