Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

MYOG Stuff Sack

A new year, and new goals. Long have I been reading about people who "Make Your Own Gear" or "MYOG" for short, and have thought that it must be expensive, complicated, time consuming, and not for me. Well, I was wrong. Buying the material and other accessories wasn't expensive at all. Sewing is so easy, I actually was surprised. Its not really time consuming once you have the routine down. Finally, I found I really enjoy it - its very rewarding to see the results of your own labour, especially if you usually work in front of the computer, like me.

The finished stuff sacks.

In order to sew myself a VBL (Vapour Barrier Liner) suit for winter tours I ordered a few meters of cheap silnylon from
Extremtextil. Delivery was quick, and for a meter price of 3,40 € for the silnylon it didn't rip any huge holes into my budget. I got a few cordlocks from the local Partioaitta store at 0,70 € a pop and a meter of cord was 0,24 €. So all in all the cost of one of the stuff sacks I made is maybe around 1,20 €.

Anyhow, you'll have to wait for the VBL project, as for my first time in front of the sewing machine I decided to make some stuff sacks (If you follow me on
Twitter, you'll have seen them already). You never can have enough stuff sacks, and it is a fairly easy project as well, taking less than an hour time. I didn't need to reinvent the wheel, as on Backpackinglight.com there was the excellent Make Your Own Gear: Five Yards to SuperUltraLight article series, and I decided this would be a good primer to get me ready. In Article number 2 the author goes through a step by step guide on how to sew a stuff sack, which I followed quite closely. The end result you can see above, but lets go step by step.

Silnylon, supplies, instructions and we're ready.

Making a plan of what you want to make is very helpful, before you start to cut your material wildly. Phil recommended me SketchUp as a CAD programme for Mac, its free and easy to use, so what else do I need? After I put down my pattern for the stuff sacks and the other projects in the programme, I drew it on the material, and then the sharp scissors got out.

Concentrated cutting.

Concentrated sewing.

Concentrated folding.

Sewing the first stuff sack took me around 45 minutes, while the second one was already done after about 20 minutes. Its a really easy thing, and can be done by the novice as I just illustrated - it was the first time I sat in front of the sewing machine! Here some more close-up shots of the finished results:

Square bottom.

Inside seams.

Cordlock closure & reinforcement on the front.

The stuff sacks check in at 9 g a piece, which is much lighter than any other stuff sacks I own. I reckon if I would use Spinnaker or Cuben I can go bigger and stay in the low double digits, but that will have to wait. So what's next? Well, the second item in the BPL article is a Tarp....

UL in Finland - Thank You Dear Reader!

Its the last day of 2009, and I'd like to use today to thank my readers for reading my blog, and keeping me motivated to write and report about my UL adventures here in beautiful Finland. Without you and your comments and questions, Hiking in Finland wouldn't be as successful & interesting as it is. It is very rewarding to get the positive feedback that what I do inspires others to lighten their load and get familiar with the UL philosophy. I's also like to thank my fellow outdoor bloggers, because they inspire me with new ideas and to push my own boundaries in terms of writing, photography, trips and getting more skillful and lightweight with my gear.

I started out in April and what went from a few posts per month grew to a few posts per week, with improvements in photos and writing. Lately I also have been fiddling around with videos, which I do enjoy quite a lot because it gives the opportunity to illustrate things much better, so I will continue with these in the future. What else can you expect in 2010 from Hiking in Finland?

Well, obviously there will be more trips. A winter tour in the beginning of February with UL backpackers from Germany, in late May I will visit Sweden to meet up with fellow Scandinavian outdoor bloggers, as well as an April trip to Ruka, close to the Russian border. Summer and autumn will see me hopefully in Lapland, be it on the Nordkalottleden or in one of the various beautiful National Parks is not set yet. I'll spent hopefully some weekends on the Pirkan Taival trail, and also visit parts of the Satakunta Reitti.

Writing about gear, making videos about it and taking good and interesting photographs, will be another part of this blog in the coming year. While 2009 saw me going from a "normal" backpacker to a lightweight/ ultralightweight backpacker, I want to try to push my boundries, increase my skills and go SUL in 2010. A new backpack from Laufbursche will be the foundation, further gear I will showcase and review after objective testing on the Finnish trails =)

Also there will be more interviews with cottage manufacturers, these give me the opportunity to give something back to the UL community and showcase the people behind the gear. There will be a wild mix of US, UK, Canadian, German and French cottage manufacturers telling their tale in 2010, so I'd suggest you subscribe to the RSS feed or become a follower to stay tuned!

Once more, thank you dear readers for a very enjoyable year 2009. Without you and your continuous support and interest in my writings, this blog wouldn't be the same =) I wish all of you a good start into 2010, and may your trails lead you some day to Finland!

Video: BushBuddy Ultra in the Snow

And the final test of a wood burning stove in winter conditions, this time the BushBuddy Ultra - my first wood burning stove - enters the fray. Conditions were similar to the previous tests, the temperatures were -12°C and it was snowing and windy.

My BushBuddy Ultra weights 134 g, and the TT 1100 pot it can be nestled in is 141 g including the lid, plus the orange packsack which is 18 g, all together a mere 293 g. However, in comparison to the Ti-Tri Inferno and the Bushcooker LT II the BushBuddy only can burn wood, whereas the other two can burn alcohol and Esbit. With my 6 g MYOG Top Burner stove I have a good back-up, though, and the Ti-Tri Gram Cracker should also work just fine with it.

What I like is that it fits into the pot, is small in size and thus doesn't use a lot of space. The Inferno is great, though I really dislike needing to carry the caddy. Good thing that a smaller Inferno is available nowadays, one which fits into the pot, as Roger showed. Anyhow. That should be it with testing wood burning stoves in the snow for a while, maybe that I revisit the Bushcooker LT II and use proper dry wood for a test, but that won't be too soon as I don't have it with me here in Vaasa. I hope you found this interesting and educating, and that it shows that given good fuel using a wood burning stove can be a real alternative for melting and boiling snow/ water in the winter.