Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

Gear Talk: Rab Microlite Vest

I got myself a Microlight Vest from Rab, and I had it with me on last weeks trip and was thankful for the warmth it gave me in the fresh morning. It also functioned very well as a pillow at night, the 130g of goose down make a very comfortable and kept my head warm at night. Multipurpose items are one of the ideas of UL backpacking, and this piece of equipment will keep you warm and makes a superb pillow, what else do you want?!

Rab Microvest

I really like the weight of this beautifully constructed piece of clothing, at 214g in my size S its ridiculously light, and the pack size, as seen in the next photo is what any UL backpacker will like. It packs easily into its own chest pocket, and the elasticized hand pockets are above the hipbelt of my ULA Ohm, allowing me to warm my hands in the pockets. The Pertex outer protects you from the wind, and the collar is useful if its windy as well, protecting your neck and keeping it warm without the need for a scarf or buff.

Rab Microlite Vest
Comparison to a 1l Nalgene.

Rab Microvest
Inside.

The long-term test will be on my autumn trip, about which I will tell more soon. You can get one at Ultralight Outdoor Gear or check for a stockist near you.

Pirkan Taival Trail Trip Report

Once again I was on the Pirkan Taival trail, this time with my friend Clemens who spontaneously decided to come and visit me for a week. I planned a three day trip of 50 km for us, going from Kuru via the Helvetinjärvi National Park to Ruovesi, though due to Clemens's ankle which he twisted last week we only walked from Kuru to the Iso Kalliojärvi (Big Rock lake) and back.

Pirkan-Taival
Follow the sign.

Pirkan-Taival
An interesting bicycle.

Pirkan-Taival
You have hiked from...

Pirkan-Taival
Passing by a field.

The beginning of the trail leads through the village of Kuru, which we reached after 70 minutes in the bus from Tampere. The weather forecast promised 25°C for all three days, so we decided to not take the rain gear and take shorts instead of long pants. Good decision that was! After 3 km on the trail we left civilization behind us, and entered the wild.

Pirkan-Taival
A mushroom.

Pirkan-Taival
The trail.

Pirkan-Taival
Wild flowers.

Pirkan-Taival
Rocks covered in moss, fir and birch trees, that's Finnish nature!

Because of Clemens' ankle we walked slow, and made frequent breaks and enjoyed the nature. I saw a stag while walking up one hill, and before I was able to take a photo of him he hoofed it and was gone. Woodpeckers, butterflies and dragonflies were equally skilled in evading my camera, so you need to believe my words that we saw them. Off! was a welcome aid to keep the mosquitos off, of whom I probably could have taken a photo if I would have bothered.

Pirkan-Taival
Chanterelle. We weren't 100% sure so didn't eat them. Damn - next time the guide book comes along!

Pirkan-Taival
Blueberry fields.

Pirkan-Taival
The trail continues.

We picked a good time to go hiking, as there were plenty of blueberries, raspberries; and if we would have known which mushrooms one is able to eat without dying we could have enhanced our dinner significantly. Repeated stops were made to grab some blueberries and raspberries, which were delicious. Around 18.30 o'clock we reached the Iso Kalliojärvi lean-to shelter, and took a swim in the wonderfully warm water. We swam for a while before I got the BushBuddy Ultra out and cooked our food.

Pirkan-Taival
A bridge.

Pirkan-Taival
The lean-to shelter at Iso Kalliojärvi.

Pirkan-Taival
The loo on the trail. These are next to all camp sites, fire sites and lean-to shelters.

Pirkan-Taival
Dinner with a view.

Pirkan-Taival
Nightcap is brewing.

We went to sleep early, and during the night we saw how the full moon was wandering over the lake. If I wouldn't have been too tired I would have taken a photo. It was a cool night, and I got a bit cold in my Halti Megalite sleeping bag, even with wearing some insulation layers. So I got up at 05.30 o'clock and started a fire to warm myself up. The mist was hanging heavily over the lake, and it was a beautiful sight to look upon.

Pirkan-Taival
Morning fog.

After a light breakfast and the decision to go back to Kuru we started walking at 07.30 o'clock, and after a good one and half hour walking we made a break on a bridge, boiled some water and had some soup in a cup. It was already warm, and we were thankful for the shorts and short sleeved shirts. And also for Off!

Walking down the same hill I saw the stag the day before, I didn't believe my eyes as I saw a black adder on the path enjoying the sun! Lo and behold, this time I was fast enough with the camera, and was able to snap a few photos! At 13.00 o'clock we reached Kuru, and with a well deserved ice cream we sat down in the shadow to wait for the bus home.

Pirkan-Taival
Black adder.

Pirkan-Taival
View.

ULA Ohm Arrived

Well, I think I just experienced the best customer service ever. Yes, my highly anticipated ULA Ohm arrived today. I went in the afternoon to the customs office to pick it up; paid 32€ for it at the customs additionally to the 140€ I cost me.

I filled it up with my gear, two days of food, two liters of water and had plenty of room to spare. I went out on the hill behind my house for some testing. Its very comfortable, soft on the back thanks to my TAR Prolite 4 which I used for the backpad, though I might replace it with another backpad in the future (probably a TAR Z-lite for the back and a NeoAir for sleeping). Shoulder straps are comfortable as well, just the front belt feels small, but coming from a Gregory Palisade 80 I guess that's just normal. The construction is superb, all seams are perfectly sewn and should be able to endure quite some abuse.

ULA Ohm
Front

ULA Ohm
Left side

ULA Ohm
Right side

ULA Ohm
Back

I went for an one hour walk, bushwacking up the hill as I wanted to see how well it is made. It had no problems with the trees, stones and shrubs I passed by, and it left me enough maneuverability to even climb small stretches - something which was very difficult with my previous pack. Its easy to access the Platypus in the side pockets, and the hipbelt pockets are huge and easily hold my phone, wallet, knife or my camera (Canon Ixus), müsli bars and keys. Huge and very handy. I stashed the waterproofs in the front mesh pocket, and hope that the tent I am expecting will fill in one of the side pockets, if not it should fit easily on top. Its going be thoroughly tested next week, as a friend from Germany spontaneously decided to come for a visit next week and asked if we could go hiking =)

ULA Ohm