Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

The Week in Review

It was an interesting week. Nordic Lightpacking got its own Facebook Fansite, and if you become a Fan it is an easy way stay on top of developments at NOL, as well as easy access to all our new articles. With that out of the way, enjoy this weeks picks for " The Week in Review" - and check back tomorrow for another cottage manufacturer interview which you surely will like!

The light, rock formations and colours in the Grand Canyon are awe-inspiring, and Down The Trail takes us on a climbing trip up Cardenas Butte.

Cedar & Sand shares with us his trip to the Zion National Park and lets us take part in the "Exciting Times in Parunuweap Canyon". Awesome red rock formations, cougar tracks, cows and toads make for a great read. Superb photography, as well.

Keith Brownrigg did the Mourne Way Marathon this year, and in the 4:36:11 he run it in he even found time to snap some photos. His account is interesting, maybe this is something for the people hiking on the Fastlane!

Mark's trip report to the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan has some sweet b/w photographs, and colour where colour is need. Great report of what looks like another superb destination for a trip.

Mungo & Matt went on a day Hike in the Valley, which is a very excellently written post with humor and great photos. And you can also learn a thing or two, so go have a read!

Kilimanjaro is a splendid destination, and The Weekend Dude from Roam The Hills, went to climb it in 2008. His account of this journey is now slowly finding its way online, and worthy of your time.

Cameron McNeish and Chris Townsend got together to make a great video of the gear which Chris will be taking on his Pacific North-West Trail hike this summer, go have a look if you plan a long-distance hike!

Another unpacking video this week was done by Phil, who showed off his TGOC gear. Goes to show that video is becoming more and more popular among outdoor bloggers, which is great, I think!

Talking of video, Jason Klass is the man to look for. Part 3 of his "How To Choose An Alcohol Stove - DIY Or Buy?" is out for your enjoyment and gives you advice on the options of commercial alcohol stoves or which tools you'd need for a MYOG project.

This week Angelo from "The Creak of Boots" wrote an interesting review on the Jacks 'R' Better Shenandoah quilt and his reasons for giving the quilt a go over a sleeping bag. Check this out if you're on the edge for a new sleeping system.

Matthias from UL Outdoors takes a first look at the 2010 GoLite Poncho Tarp and shows the different pitch possibilities of it.

The Velo Hobo - a superb blog about ultralight bicycle touring - makes a Super Dog Stove called "Jack". This will be the end of cat stoves, HURRAY!

Mark wrote an interesting shakedown of his gear used on the Porcupine Mountains trip.

Fraser got a new backpack, a ULA CDT, but managed to get injured just before taking it on its inaugural trip.

Finally, Martin Rye from Summit and Valley is talking windshirts and a good discussion is going on. If you're looking for such a UL gararment, go have a read.

Jörgen Johansson, author of several books on lightweight and ultralight backpacking in the Nordics, is the instructor for a course on lightweight backpacking in arctic conditions, so if you would like to learn what are the skills needed to go lightweight into the mountains this is your opportunity to learn from an expert.

Joe wrote an excellent article on backpacking footwear in wet conditions, and why it makes far more sense to embrace wet feet than to try and stay dry.

adventureinprogress has a great article on the developments in minimalist footwear, and in case you haven't heard it yet, Inov-8 is coming out with a shoe similar to the Vibram Five Fingers!

Dave the Backpackbrewer is wondering what our preferences are, Solopacking or Buddypacking? I personally like both, and a healthy mix is what keeps it interesting.

What does a thru-hiker eat in town and on the trail? Comet lets us know while he stays in Tehachapi.

And in case you're looking for a new sleeping bag which may be a "bit" special, here's a list of the ten weirdest sleeping bags!

Finally, in case you need more reasons why you should boycott BP, have a look at these photos.

The Week in Review

While I am at the Riihimäki Outdoor fair - the biggest Outdoor fair in Finland - and will be searching for lightweight and UL goodies from the Nordic manufacturers, you can lounge in your favourite chair and enjoy what happened this week in the outdoor blogsphere.

To start off, you might have realized that I did a little re-design of the site (obviously not if you read it via RSS =). I want the design to be light, easy and less cluttered, just as I like to be on the trail. I sorted some stuff out, and you now can access all gear reviews & first looks, the interviews and my reading list - which now includes books and the blogroll - via the above links. And I also did a little change to the About / FAQ page, so go check that out if you're of the curious kind!

Secondly, I'd like to encourage you to share the content here more - this can easily be done with the share button under each post. Move your mouse over it and choose among Facebook, Twitter, Google, Delicious and other social networks to share it. You can start with this article! If you like the content please feel free to Flattr me - here you can sign up for Flattr and start using it, it is a great idea and I hope that many more start to use it on their blogs. Finally, an easy way to follow the developments here is to become a Follower by clicking the "Follow" button on the right; that brings the articles here right into your RSS Reader of choice and you let me and others know that you like this site!

Video is the medium of the internet - I have said this before - and Londonbackpacker confirms this with his videos of the TGO Challenge. Really cool stuff, so check them out!

The Shed Dweller took his boys out for fishing and wildcamping, and it looks like they had fun.

Minimalgear took his son and wife on a family trip, with them the Tarptent Hogback, and realized that UL is perfect for such occasions.

Knilch, MYOG-man extraordinaire, has little time but the time he has he spends running up mountains behind his house. Nice weather, great view.

Trailblaze went on a five day trip to Knoydart in Scotland, and reports about swamps, lochs and mountains in his trip report.

Also the Auld Blug went on a trip to Scotland and took along his DIY kajak Sedna - what a beautiful boat!

Do you like clouds, mountains, interesting rock formations, wildlife and waterfalls, all with plenty of sunshine? Then check out Down The Trail's trip in Phantom Creek and the Miners Route, which is fantastic.

James from Backpackingbongos did a south to north traverse of the Rhinogs and the scenery was epic while the findings were Metal!

In the gear department video is also on the advance, this week Darren gave us Episode five of his Stove Talk which is about the Vargo Titanium Woodburning stove.

Richard has a look at the GoSystems Fly Ti and wonders if it is the worlds lightest gas stove, while Roger tested the Monatauk Gnat and got pretty similar numbers. The smart person knows that it is one and the same stove just with a different brand written on it, as Roman points out.

New tent needed? Maz, new to the blogsphere (Go say welcome!), reviewed his Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 and Seedhouse SL1 and compared it to the Vaude Power Lizard.

Joe wrote a review on the Inov-8 Terroc 330 and concluded that he would buy a pair again if this one went broke today, so go read his reasoning!

And also I did a short review on the gear that worked and the gear that didn't while being in Sweden. A good discussion going on there, please join in!

And also in the "Others" section, Video reigns supreme as this one shows:

Dressed in Dirt gives us some insights on why we should hike in a skirt - or at least think about it. If pee-ability is something you're looking for, give it a read.

If Bushcraft is your thing, I reckon this Guide on "How to make primitive kilns" is right up your alley. Now I just need to find some clay...

Are you something wondering about the people you meet on the trail? Here's a run-down of the 11 Types of people you meet on a hike - though it seems they missed the elusive lightpacker!

I recommend you check out Traverse Japan which is the epic upcoming trip of a coast to coast in Japan with a visit to all the peaks over 3000m. And while you're there, give Hamilton some feedback on his shelter, will ya?!

Finally, inspired by the Nordic Fellowship of lightweight & UL bloggers, hrXXLight has some thoughts on creating a European scene - maybe you want to let him know your opinion on that matter?

Gear That Worked and Gear That Didn't II

Gear used on the Vålådalen trip had one thing to cope with: Water. From above, beneath and the sides, it was wet all the time, and up in the fjell also the wind was very strong - good conditions to see if the lightweight kit I took can stand these conditions. For starters, have a look at my complete gear list.

Weather forecast for our trip.

My LAUFBURSCHE huckePACK performed as I expected it to perform - excellent. Bushwhacking did nothing to the material, which kept the rain out and the stuff dry inside. Plenty of space for food and gear for a week. Love it.

Photo courtesy of Joe Newton / Thunder In The Night

My GoLite Ultra 20 quilt kept me warm and comfy at night, and as it got slightly moist it was easily dried at the campfire. For summer tours I will stay with quilts, no doubt.

Sleeping mats: Mulitmat Adventure & six segments of a Therm-A-Rest Z Lite made for very comfy nights. They function also as a frame and backpanel for my pack, so serve double duty. I can't forget them thus and they also can't break.

Shelter: I continue to use the Gossamer Gear SpinnTwinn and really like it. Easy to set up and to fine-tune, plenty of space and great protection from wind and rain. I'd feel comfortable to pitch this on the fjell on a rainy and windy night if need to. Review forthcoming.

Bivy: A LAUFBURSCHE tyvek bivy is my bivy of choice. Tyvek is super breathable and under a tarp I don't need much more protection from wind and water. Review forthcoming.

Camp Night 1.

Shell clothing: No surprises here, I continue to use the Rab Momentum jacket and Drillium pants and think they're ace. Dry and protected from wind while walking up hills is all I need. And they dry quick after fording as well.

Base layer: Also no surprise, Woolpower long johns and longsleeve keep reigning supreme. Kept me warm in the wind and at night, without smelling. The socks also were excellent, great cushioning and warm feet, even when fording ice cold rivers.

Shoes: Inov-8 Mudclaw 330 were the shoes I used on this trip, and they were great for the conditions we experienced. Great grip in the mud, rock, forest path and riverbeds, though on overflooded duckboards they were a tad slippery. Maybe I like the sole of the Roclites a bit more. Review forthcoming.

Camp & Sleeping wear: Because I knew it was going to be wet I took the Montane Fireball Smock to wear it in camp around the fire, and I continue to like heaps. It is light and takes minimal space in my pack, and has no problems with the rain & wetness we were constantly in. To bed I wore the Klättermusen Loke, as downy goodness from Sweden with a hood is what lets me sleep tight at night. Really like this garment, review forthcoming.

First lunch break.

Kitchen-wise there were the usual suspects: BushBuddy Ultra and Tibetan Titanium 1100 were used for cooking, and now my fire-making skills are so far that I also feel comfortable to use it in the wet conditions we had. LMF Firesteel, puukko, kuksa and a LMF Spork were used for eating, cutting and drinking, and I continue to find them excellent.

Food wise I had an assortment of cereal and chocolate bars for quick energy on the trail with me, corn spaghetti & chili tomato sauce as well as polenta for lunch and Real Turmats for dinner. Dessert was a finnish organic blueberry "kissel" and the obligatory Minttu cacao. Real reigns supreme in the ready-made sector, while the corn spaghetti and chili tomato sauce was ace. I had a Spanish chorizo sausage with me for that high-energy fat, which was delicious.

All other small stuff - first aid, gloves, buffs, mitts, socks, platypus, compass et al worked without problems and I will review a couple of the items when I find the time. To conclude, I felt warm, save and well-fed the whole trip despite the rain. With 1863 g for the big three (Rucksack, shelter, sleeping system) I was the lightest of us six, and including food for three full days I started with 6547 g on my back. I see no need to carry more than that, and think it could even be pushed lower if I would switch some items.