Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

Pirkan Taival: Kuru - Helvetinjärvi NP - Ruovesi

Late on Friday afternoon I walked to the bus station, and after a longer than usual bus ride I started walking in Kuru at 16.45 o'clock. The first 15 km were familiar terrain as I walked it not so long ago, and I made good speed, arriving at Isokalliojärvi already two and half hours later.

The trail uses forest roads like this one for some parts of the trail...

... and goes over rocks on other parts...

... another part of the path, this time through shrubs and moss.

Red whortleberry next to the path. Plenty of them, and delicious.


More wildlife.


From Isokalliojärvi to my campsite it were still 9 km, and the sun slowly was going down. I enjoyed the well marked path, and the smell of the forest in the evening. I passed by an occasional house in the middle of the forest, previously a farm now used as a summer cottage. Dogs were announcing my passing by, and curious faces looked out of the windows, wondering what a lonely wanderer is doing at this time still on the path.

The last sun rays illuminate the forest.

I arrived about two hours later at my campsite at Heinälahti, and looked for a good spot to put the Scarp 1 up. A couple which was sitting down at the water, watching the last bit of light from the sun behind the horizon, observed me curiously as I put up the Scarp 1 and started to cook with the BushBuddy. While waiting for the water to boil, I inflated the NeoAir and rolled out the sleeping bag. The pasta was simmering, and after a quick wash and putting on fresh clothes for the night I devoured my dinner. A look at the night sky was what rewards one for a trip into the wild: High trees aiming for the stars, which were plentiful. A beautiful sight to behold. I walked to the Scarp 1 and slipped into my sleeping bag, hoping that it will keep me warm enough this night.

Dusk at Heinälahti campsite.

It didn't. At 4.50 o'clock I woke up from the cold. I opened the inner and the fly to take a peek outside. Dawn. Remembering that cjw from hiking and climbing in Japan takes some of his most stunning photos at this time, I decided to put on the pants and grab the camera, and see what I can do.


I took a few photos, and decided to go back to sleep. At 7.30 o'clock it was light inside my tent, and I decided to get up. Gear out of the Scarp 1, deflating the NeoAir and packing all together. Brushing my teeth while boiling water for my morning coffee. Enjoying the view. The fresh air.

Heinälahti campsite, fireplace.

The money shot?!


I tried to be fast, but still it took me nearly two hours to pack up and start walking. My neighbours still were sleeping by the time I left. I had the path to myself, and soon passed by Haukanhieta campsite, where people were slumbering in their huge FjällRäven and Halti tents. As I walked by Iso Ruokejärvi campsite, people were already up and making breakfast. A friendly "Terve!" as a greeting and I walked on.

I had a Mammut Geocache with me to hide at the Helvetinkolu (Hell's gorge), so I climbed it down with backpack and all. At the day trip hut grandparents were grilling sausages for the grandchildren, and although I was hungry I decided to continue walking for a while. It was 12.30 o'clock as I reached Luomajärvi campsite, the place I wanted to camp that night. But can I sit still and do nothing till dusk? No. The decision to walk to Ruovesi was made. 14 km, three hours time to catch the last bus. No lunch.

Utterly exhausted after jogging the last kilometer I reached the bus just in time. The chanterelle mushrooms I collected on the way were made into a delicious sauce by my girlfriend, and a pleasant Saturday evening and Sunday was had. Thoughts on gear I will post during the week, but in short, everything performed excellent - the sleeping bag will be replaced this week, allowing me to sleep longer on future trips.

The path continues.

All photos taken with Canon EOS 50D + EF-S 17-85mm lens. Click the photos to see them bigger.

Gear Talk: Tarptent Scarp 1 Initial Review

I hear you, dear reader: "Why does that bloody bloke not yet write an review about the Tarptent Scarp 1 - he has it nearly one and half weeks!?" Well, I simply didn't yet have time to sleep in it - "Excuses, excuses!" I hear you say. Yes yes, though this weekend, hopefully, I will be able to take it out for a night or two, and then in September for a bit more. But until then, read on about my initial views on the Scarp 1 from Tarptent! "About bloody time!"

TT Scarp 1

James wants one, Martin has one, Dave even would get one and Chris is testing one already since a long time. Yes, I am talking about the Scarp 1 from Henry Shires Tarptent. I got mine one and half weeks ago, and have had the chance to put it up already twice, to take some photos and convince myself of the fine craftsmanship that went into this tent.

Let me start with the reasons why I wanted this tent. I love the design: two entries, two vestibules, a large interior in which I can sit comfortably in, four season capable and storm worthy. Ah ja, there's also the low weight - mine is 1347g light, and that includes the stuff sacks, eight stakes and the pole. I also have the extra crossing poles which weigh in at 342g, and the Tyvek ground sheet which is 111g.

The crossing poles give me flexibility, which I really value. I could for example decide to just take the inner on a hot summer night, if I know its not going to rain but want protection from insects. In the autumn and spring, when there's no insects around, I can just take the fly and the ground sheet and have a tarp-like tent. And in the winter I take the crossing poles with me and should be able to take whatever the weather gods decide to throw at me.

Putting it up is easy, the first time I put it up I needed eight minutes, the second time six so I guess the next time I can get that down to four and then start to aim for the two minutes with which Tarptent advertises it. You need six stakes, though I carry eight with me and some extra guyline in case its extremely windy or that I lose one. The free-standing option with the crossing poles is great if you're in the hills and can't find a spot where to stake out the tent - very handy for the Fjells in Lapland.

Another reason for me getting the Scarp 1 was that I like to support the cottage industry if I can. My backpack was made in a garage in Utah, my stove in Canada and my tent was made in Seattle. I know where my money went, and I can contact the owner of the company directly if I have a question. That is something I value. Finally, the tent was cheap if I compare it to other tents with its capabilities. For a Hilleberg or a Terra Nova tent I easily would have paid double of what I paid now.

TT Scarp 1

Finally, if you're talking about the Scarp 1 you can't finish without mentioning Franco. I consider Franco an expert on tents, and he has the Scarp 1 already quite a while and was able to play around with it extensively. He has a variety of very useful articles published on the BPL.com forum, and here are his Scarp 1 articles in one spot - Enjoy!

Storing the Scarp 1
How strong is the Scarp 1?
MYOG Scarp 1 wind curtain
Scarp 1 for two people
Tarptent Kocheda - a Scarp 1 mod (Franco doesn't recommend this mod anymore because of possible friction of the crossing poles with the fly, but I included it for completion's sake)

A big "Thank You!" goes to Franco who gave me permission to link to his articles.

TT Scarp 1

I'm looking forward to take it out into the hills and forests and spend some time sleeping and living in it. Until then I hope you found my initial review useful, and if you got questions, comments or observations - leave a comment!

MYOG Meth Stove

My Sunday afternoon project today was a MYOG meth stove. I am very happy with my BushBuddy Ultra, though for those very rainy and wet days or when I would be too tired to go and find dry wood, a small top burner stove would just be what can have me sit down in my tent and boil a cup of water. I followed the Basic Top Burner stove instructions on Zenstoves.net but also had a look at The Other Face's (in German) stove.

Go get the following tools, I'll walk you through this! You need:

- two Redbull cans
- scissors
- this template from Zenstoves.net
- a sharp cutter knife
- some tape
- a hole punch
- a needle or similar

MYOG meth stove

Take one Redbull can, and start cutting the bottom out of the can. I found it most simple to mark out the the place to be cut a few times and then add more pressure for the cut. The material is very thin, and this method has worked well for me.

MYOG meth stove
Finished hole in the bottom.

Next I turned the can with the hole down, took a book of 2,5 cm height and marked the can where I want to cut it off.

MYOG meth stove
Marking the can.

MYOG meth stove
Cut bottom piece.

Next I set the just cut piece on the other can and widened it carefully. The more effort you invest now here, the easier its going to be later. I then took my trusty Bundeswehr knife and marked the holes, and then opened them with a needle. After that I went once more back with the knife and made the holes a bit bigger.

MYOG meth stove
Widening the top piece carefully.

MYOG meth stove
Making holes.

I put the finished top piece aside and took the bottomless can, made a cut straight down the can with the scissors and along the top to get the big piece of aluminum.

MYOG meth stove
Cut down...

MYOG meth stove
... and you end up with such a piece.

I cut a 2,5 cm strip of the aluminum and punched four half holes in the bottom, made two cuts and had the finished middle piece.

MYOG meth stove
Punching holes.

MYOG meth stove
Middle piece finished!

Next I took the other can, and cut the bottom of, again at 2,5 cm height. A book is a good guide for your cutter knife, as you saw already above, and makes the cutting substantially easier.

MYOG meth stove
Three finished pieces, time for assembly.

Before you start assembling, its a smart move to make a dry fit, and see how the ring fits in the top and bottom part.

MYOG meth stove
Almost done.

Set this inner ring in the bottom piece, and then carefully and precise fit the top piece with the holes over it. If you're not careful enough a piece might rip, and you need to redo it, so restrain from using force and try it gently. If you got the top piece over the bottom piece, gently slide it down and look that the inner ring goes where its supposed to be. Zenstoves.net even glues the whole thing and lets it dry over night, which I didn't find necessary.

MYOG meth stove

MYOG meth stove
It works.

MYOG meth stove
Its ultralight: 6g!

MYOG meth stove
It fits inside my BushBuddy Ultra together with my FireSteel and cotton balls!

I hope you found this little guide interesting and inspiring to try it yourself. Its an easy task and takes around 30 minutes, and doesn't need special tools. I know there are a few
(new) BushBuddy Ultra owners out there, so this could be an interesting project for them ;)