Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

The Week in Review

Finland is experience a real heatwave at the moment, we reach temperatures of close to 30°C during the day and I somehow am happy that I can work at home in the shadow. Once the first rain starts falling and it cools down a bit, I will be off for my first packrafting trip.

In the trips section, Roman Dial posted another episode of his fantastic packrafting trip suggestions, The Chitistone: Skolai Pass to McCarthy. Those are written in a book format and give you all necessary details to make the trip, so if you find yourself in Alaska with a packraft, this looks like a splendid trip!

AktoMan is getting slowly back into action, and his last trip out in the sun showcases some fine photography from the beach.

Still looking for a trail to walk this summer? FSTPKR's Summer 2010 plans could give you that bit of inspiration you're looking for, and you don't need to be as quick as him either!

Comet hit the Silver Pass on his PCT hike during last week, and survived a thunder and hail storm under his Gatewood cape!

Steven went on a Cross Fell & Wild Camp trip with his dad, and if you're curious to know if the TrailStar is big enough to shelter two and is "safe" enough in the wind (storm!), check out the accompanying video.

Roger is back from the Nordkalottleden and his first photos make me wanting to see more.

Mike's photos from the Brecon Beacons make me want to go visit them, and take a shower under the waterfalls while enjoying the views.

Mark from Backpacking North shared his thoughts on sleep systems with us, a good read. He recently got a quilt and now shares his thoughts on it and the rest of his sleep system, and for everyone who is looking to go lighter in that area it is a good read.

Dondo also wrote a very interesting piece on his gear, some if it which he uses already since close to twenty years, so he is able to make very founded judgements on it! Recommended read!

Jason Klass discloses with us The 10 Non-Essentials, a good post for all those who just start out the lightweight road - because the easiest way to go lighter is to take less stuff!

If you have a down sleeping bag or quilt which needs cleaning, have a look at Sectionhiker's How to wash a down sleeping bag before you start.

terrybnd has a new toy, a Mountain Hardwear Stiletto 1, and in this post gives us a first look at it.

Knilch has a first look at the Vibram Five Fingers KSO thus all who are thinking about going "barefoot" this summer, see what Markus has to say.

Phil gives us a look at his DD Hammock and Tarp, a very affordable start into hammocking.

In case you can't wait for my review of the Gränsfors Bruks hatchet and axe, have a look at this Gränsfors Bruks Kubben Axe Review.

I did a Clikstand Denali Titanium Combo & Sierra Combo Review last week, and if you'd like to test these two alcohol setups yourself, sign up for the Passaround.

Barleybreeder tells us about a new German company which offer high-quality, dehydrated bio food for the trail, and his first "tests" resulted in very good marks. So if you're too busy to dehydrate your own food, have a look at this offering.

Finally, Robin shares with us where some thoughts on his gear which didn't perform as expected on his recent trip.

Nick has another fantastic post up on his site, a step-by-step guide to carve your own kuksa. It is a must read for everyone who has not yet a kuksa and wants one - and you want one, believe me!

If you're into fly fishing, I urge you to have a look at the newest editions of "This Is Fly", a free online fly fishing magazine. Beautiful photos and well written stories of the next generation of fly fishers are sure to keep you entertained for a while.

Benjamin is starting an European UL Mystery Box and is looking for participants across the continent - from Spain to Iceland and Ireland to Estonia, anyone who'd like to take part in this fun gear swap circle should comment on his blog.

Finally, instead shaving pounds off our backs, Lance suggest we have a look at ourselves and see where we can shave pounds off our body.

/Edit: The LAUFBURSCHE blog is online! http://laufbursche.blogspot.com/ Go visit and become a Follower ;)

Clikstand First Look & Video

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Since a while I have been using the Clikstand system to brew my hot chocolate when on a evening or day walk. It reminds me very much of the Trangia, but does away with the massive weight of the Swedish system. I have two of their combos, the Denali Titanium Combo and the Sierra Combo - the Denali being Titanium awesomeness and the Sierra being affordable stainless steel.

Before you read on, hit play and enjoy the video I made, in which I compare the two systems to each other:

The Denali Titanium Combo weights are as follows:

258 g Total
055 g Clikstand T-2
021 g Windscreen T-2
035 g Evernew Titanium Burner
118 g Evernew Titanium Ultralight 900 ml pot (Pot 82 g, Lid 37 g)
022 g Stuffsack

The Denali Titanium Combo packed.

The Denali is the top of the line set, everything made of high quality Titanium, and very high build quality. The whole set fits into the 900 ml pot. And the pot would be one item where I could see improvement - I'd like to see Evernew add a spout and holes into the lid, as they have in their pasta pots. Besides that, I believe this is as close to perfection as it is possible. Quality and perfection have their price, and the Denali Titanium Combo retails for $163,95.

Evernew Ti Burner in action.

Lets thus have a look at the Sierra Combo and its weights:

245 g Total
096 g Clikstand S-2
038 g Windscreen S-2
111 g Trangia Burner (Burner 67 g, Simmer Ring 24 g, Closing Cap 21 g)

The Sierra Combo sells without a pot, thus adding for example the above Evernew 900 ml pot would bring the weight up to 363 g. That is about one third of the Trangia 25-3 UL set (though it has two pots and a pan) which I see as the direct competitor of the Sierra Set. Anyway, the Sierra Combo is 134 g heavier as the Titanium version - the Trangia burner alone weights as much as the Ti Clikstand, Windscreen and Burner! However, at $51,95 it is also over one third cheaper than the Ti cousin.

Trangia burner in action.

I think both systems are great for the Lightweight and UL backpacker who are looking for a lighter kitchen setup. The advantages are that the parts can be bought separate, allowing the Trangia and Evernew Burner owners to just get the Clikstand and Windscreen of choice and keep on using the burner and pots they have. It is easier and more "normal" as some other UL cooking systems (beer cans ;), and a very stable system. Finally, the Trangia simmer ring allows you to actually cook and not only boil water.

The Evernew Burner is a lot faster than the Trangia, needing about 5 minutes to bring 500 ml of cold water to a boil, whereas the Trangia needs about 7 minutes. However, the Evernew burns only 7,5 minutes with 30 ml of alcohol, whereas the Trangia goes on for 10 minutes with the same amount of alcohol. As I said in the video, if you only want to boil water as fast as possible to pour it in our freezer bag, go for the Evernew - it is the speed machine. If you like to cook and simmer in camp, go for the Trangia, which has the added benefit that you can transport unused alcohol in thanks to the closing cap.

The Week in Review

It is July, summer is in full swing and there is a lot going on in the lightweight and UL community. The weather is perfect here in Finland, long, sunny and hot days - I hope to go out on a trip soon.

It is Sunday noon, so before you go and watch the above movie make yourself a cup of tea, some sandwiches and take some cookies along as you will not want to interrupt the one hour movie. It is about how to build a birch bark canoe, the old way. No spoken words mean you just can enjoy looking and taking in the sounds. Fantastic.

Talking trip reports, Gustav found the time to write his view on our Vålådalen trip, and he has some fantastic photos in his trip report and also is able to name all the streams and mountains!

Wondering what it feels like to walk on the Pacific Crest Trail? Check out Keith's thoughts on Gomez Meadow or why he feels guilty to be walking.

So what is the perspective of someone from the UK (or Scotland!) to go hiking in the Nordics? That is what Jörgen asked Chris Townsend, who walked the Scandinavian spine twenty years ago. Go have a read of this great article.

Caro & Tomie were preparing for the Fjällräven Classic with a walk on the Jurasteig, and their superb photos show that one doesn't always need to travel far to enjoy nice scenery.

James shows us the lush green hills and the blue sea around Beinn na Croise on the Isle of Mull and reminds us to eat fish and chips only there where you're save from seagulls!

Michelle shares with us her trip on the Dog Mountain Trail on Mount Seymour, and the photos look like they could come right out of Tolkien book - Magic!

Gear, one thing that sent ripples through the German UL community was LAUFBURSCHE's XUL packing list with a Full Skin Out - Base Weight of 2268g. What is really fantastic about this list is that the majority of items are MYOG and thus LAUFBURSCHE knows pretty well where the limits of this list are. Great, inspiring stuff!

Shed Dweller shares his thoughts on the gear he used on his recent (S)UL trip to the Lakes, so if you wonder if it is possible to go so light and still be safe and comfortable, please have a look.

Thomas shares his initial impressions on the Ti Caldera Keg-H with us, and for everyone who fancies cooking with a beer can and a woodfire this is required reading.

If you prefer titanium pots for cooking with a wood fire on the other hand, have a look at Joe's first look at the Bushcooker LT1 (and also at the accompanying Evernew Titanium Pasta Pot review!), which is something to consider if you want to go (S)UL.

Nibe, who walks in the Dutch mountains (!) shares his thoughts on his gear from his last trip, and it is interesting for all those who are lightening up and trying lightweight gear one step at the time.

Showing that 24h trips and lightweight/ UL gear are not exclusive to backpackers, we here see that Sub 24hour Overnighters with lightweight gear are also common in the cycling community.

And in case you haven't yet read my Gossamer Gear SpinnTwinn review and video, please go and have a look if you're in the market for a tarp!

If you forget your pot on a trip in the future but don't want to go without your cup of tea or a hot meal, check out Nick's how to boil water in a birch bark container, learn the skills and in future you can go without your titanium pot hiking, saving another 100 g.

Japan has a very active UL scene, and some very worthy note-worthy Shops: Locus Gear, Moonlight Gear and the ulgear weekend store. While Locus Gear is a cottage manufacturer and a shop, the last two are dedicated UL shops. I really like the layout of Moonlight Gear, it is beautiful! ulgear weekend store on the other hand is a a shop and blog, and the owner always makes very interesting posts with lots of photos - often from cottage gear! So if you're located in Japan and need some new UL toys, support these shops!

The view into LAUFBURSCHE's workshop which Benjamin gave us already wetted the appetite of the up coming launch of the company. Bets are being made how many hours it will take that the company will be sold out of its initial stock after opening - if you want to take part, leave a comment here with your guess ;)

And by now you know that I love Japan. It was thus with gusto that I read Hamilton's latest article, Which asks "Do You Need Permission to Enjoy Nature?" and is a absolute fantastic piece, which showcases how different our (backpacking) cultures are. For everyone who is hiking in Japan or by the tiniest bit interested in the country a must read.