"Another Vest?" you ask? Yes! This time from a small manufacturer from Romania, Nahanny, who is more known in mountaineering circles for producing top class equipment which will keep you warm, dry and safe under the direst of conditions. I got a Down Vest from them, which is mightily warm and comfortable. It has two draw cords at the bottom, which will hinder the cold from creeping up. Two hand pockets, which are easy to open with one hand, and a double inside pocket to keep those batteries for the camera warm offer plenty of storage area.
What else does it offer? Well, how about 270 g of down? Yes, that's a lot of down, and it will keep me warm till -10°C easily. Some fear that they can't keep their down dry from rain. That's less of a problem with the Nahanny Down Vest, as it has a 7000 mm water resistant outer, which should keep the warm down dry. The reinforced shoulders allow me to wear the vest also with a backpack on, and the protective flap at the top keeps the zipper from coming into my beard =) The reflective line at the top is nice for when I'm walking on roads in the mornings or evening, as it improves safety.
What I really like about the vest is the colour - black (the one on their website in orange certainly would be something for PTC*)! The guys at Nahanny are quite flexible when it comes to special wishes, and as I am writing about lightweight gear they went out of their way to make the vest as light as possible - it clocked in at 480 g on my scale, which I find an excellent warmth to weight ratio. After all, autumn is in full swing and its just a matter of time that the first frost will arrive, and winter will be quick on its heels. Then I'll be happy to don my Down Vest in the evenings at the fireside, or just for a walk to the supermarket to fetch some groceries. The Down Vest is priced at a very reasonable 80€, considering its hand made and every piece is unique a cheap price. To get one, you should visit the Nahanny webshop. Make sure to let them know your preferred colour!
Beginning of the week the postman rang the doorbell - he had a package which didn't fit through the post box. A sticker on the side said Trail Designs. Wow, that went fast, I thought! I opened the package to find the Ti-Tri and Inferno stove in it, together with the Caddy, two Titanium stakes, the Gram Cracker and a few Esbit tablets, the 12-10 Alcohol Stove, and a little bottle + measurement cup. I immediately started playing around with it, figuring out how it should be put together and reading the instruction leaflets.
However, I can't make a fire in the house - I would need to hack up the parquet flooring which I'm sure my rent lord wouldn't approve of. So I went on a mightly long trek of 500 m to the nearby lake, collected wood on the way, cleared a space and started my experiment. And because I wanted to try something new, I decided to make a video of it.
Because new gear always is put up on the weight scale (much to the amusement of my girl friend), here are some cold, hard numbers for the Mathematicians out there. UL backpackers also seem obsessed with numbers, so they might as well enjoy them ;)
Caldera Cone 51 g Gramm Cracker + underplate 6 g 12 - 10 Alcohol Stove 16 g Inferno stove 65 g Caddy 75 g Fireplate 24 g Titanium Stakes 17 g Alcohol bottle (full) 146 g Esbit Tablets 43 g
Makes for a Grand total of 443 g. That allows you to cook with either esbit, alcohol or wood. However, I reckon no one would carry a double back-up around, so taking only the Gram Cracker and esbit tablets as back-up with the Ti-Tri, Inferno, stakes, fireplate and caddy you would have 281 g for your stove and back-up. And while I throw around numbers, I should say this: I have a TT 1100 pot, and the Ti-Tri and Inferno are made to fit that one. If you got a smaller pot, say a 750 ml pot, the Ti-Tri and Inferno will weigh less. Then there is the Caddy, a might 75 g, though it protects its contents well and can be used as two cups. As the Titanium edges are a bit sharp, I am hesitant to put the cones like that in the backpack, too big the probability that the backpack or something else takes damage. So for the moment it comes along.
What else is there to say? Don't make the mistake and put the Inferno cone down the right way. It belongs upside down (wide end up), which makes feeding it a lot easier and it burns hotter. The fireplate has holes in it, so you can stake it to the ground. I used two nails for that, as I don't have titanium stakes. It gets easier to use with every time, and also folding and getting it out of the caddy is easier with every use. The Inferno is hungry, and uses quite some wood. But damn, it is fast! 7,5 minutes is a record time for boiling a liter of water for me, my BushBuddy Ultra takes longer. Finally, the Inferno isn't yet on the Trail designs website. If you want one, you need to contact them and they will hook you up. Contact is fast and friendly, excellent customer service to be precise.
Well, so much for my Initial review. When Joe is here in two weeks, the two of us will be able to make some comparisons of BushBuddy Ultra versus Ti-Tri + Inferno, and the Ti-Tri + Inferno will get its first trail test.
Friday at noon we boarded the train to Parkano, and 40 minutes later our group of three stood on the tracks, ready to head into a sunny weekend. Remember I said I would get to test the Scarp 1 under rainy conditions? Didn't happen. Sunshine and blue sky on all three days. I hope the weather stays like this when Joe is coming here in two and half weeks.
Parkano railway station.
We walked for about four kilometers alongside the tracks, till we got to the crossroad where the trail took a left. A few farm houses and summer cottages along picturesque lakes and fields lay along our path, and birch lined roads were followed until a sign told us to take a left into the forest.
The first section of the trail is called Paroonin Taival, up till the Seitseminen National Park. There where two lean-to shelters, about 10 km from Parkano, on the trail, where we had a first break. After a cup of tea and some snacks we made good speed, and arrived around six o'clock at the Riihisaari hut, where we met up with the fourth member of our trip. The stove in the hut was lighted up, a dip in the lake to refresh ourselves and then cooking dinner and sitting around the table and chatting till we got tired and went to sleep.
I slept in the Scarp 1 right on the beach, two meters to the lake. It was a nice night, the moon was shining down on the lake and I was warm in my tent. The next morning I was the first one up, walking along the beach and taking photos of the beautiful lake.
Breakfast and packing up, and by 10.30 o'clock we were on the trail. At a spring, one and half kilometers form the hut, we refilled our water bottles and by noon we reached the Seitseminen Visitors Centre, where we rewarded ourselves with a cup of coffee and a pulla (a typical Finnish pastry).
The spring to the left.
Walking the last kilometer to the National Park on a road.
The Seitseminen Visitors Centre.
Here we where joined by a friend, who would just spent the day hiking with us. We started on the trail in the NP, and already after a few meters we decided to go offroad and look for mushrooms. It didn't take us long, and soon our plastic bag was filled with delicious treasures from the forest.
Back on the trail. Or duck boards, for that matter =)
We made good speed, and had a short break at Iso Kivijärvi.
And back to the duck boards.
Through the marshes.
A lone survivor from the summer.
Pitkäjärven Kämppä, where we had lunch.
Mushroom soup in the making.
And in my cup. It was superb! Easily the best trail meal I had.
Well fed we continued, as we still had around eight kilometers to our campsite at Rysäslammi to cover. Our friend, who joined just for the day, walked back to the visitors centre while we went to the lean-to at the little forest lake. It was a pleasant walk in the evening sun, and good conversations where had.
The view up from where I put the Scarp 1 up.
Two hours later we arrived at Rysäslammi, where my friends started a fire while I put up the Scarp 1. We had a fine dinner and chat around the fire that evening, though I had a bit of a restless night as there where hunters close by, and their shots at night woke me up. Not nice, but well, its hunting season. I was early up again, and started to pack up right away, as the last morning my friends where waiting for me and I didn't want to be the last one again this day.
Spiderweb and morning dew.
The sun was shining again today, like the whole weekend. We walked to the lean-to shelter on Koukerinvuori, where we cooked lunch and had a nap - our bus left at 17 o'clock and we had plenty of time. Around two we started to walk again, and by quarter to four we arrived in Kuru, where I had a fine cup of coffee and carrot cake. Carrot cake is fabulous, I think I need to make some at home. Fantastic stuff. We killed the rest of the time by walking through the town, reading, swimming, and jumped on the bus which brought us save back to Tampere.
The path continues.
This was my second group trip, and it was a nice experience. I organized it for mates from Couchsurfing, and we all understood each other well. Its nice to be with other folks on the trail, and I am really looking forward to go walk together with Joe in two and half weeks, who shares my passion for UL hiking.