Tramplite Shelter – First impressions

A couple of years ago I found Colins Ibbotsons page http://www.tramplite.com/ and read about his Tramplite shelter. It looked very interesting but it seemed more likely to meet a unicorn than to get my hands on one. So I let the thought of the shelter go.

Then in the winter of 2016 I saw on twitter that Colin was working on his shelters again. I sent him a message and asked if he was taking orders. Of course the books where full, but he promised to put me on the reserves list.

And behold! In November last year a mail landed in my inbox:

Hi Jon

Last year you contacted me about a Tramplite shelter and as you would get one from the next batch I’m checking to see if you are still interested?

Was I still Interested? Oh yes!

So now, finally I’m holding my new Tramplite Shelter in my hands.

The Unicorn

Continue reading

Iceland 2015 – Gear talk with Jon

DSC00343_15-07-22

Final day of the trip on top of volcano Magni. Carrying all I needed for the trip. No less, no more.

So now with some time to reflect after the trip it’s time to do a gear rundown. In general I am very pleased with the kit I carried for this hike. I used more or less all the items carried, never felt that anything was missing and managed to be fully self sustainable during the whole trip.

Here is a quick walk through of the gear I brought on the trip. I have kept the information very short. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Big three:

Arc Blast Haul Cuben fibeR version

The suspension of this pack is totally fantastic. After five days and 100 km + of walking I felt like I hadn’t even worn a backpack. No problems with aching shoulders, no sore hips after the belt and the vented back actually helps a bit to get the sweat of my back.

The only downside is that the mesh on the front pocket got ripped in a couple of places. I don’t have any good ideas how to fix this so i guess I’ll have to live with it. A bit disappointing for 400 dollar backpack to.

IMG_1802_15-07-22

Striking a pose above Skogafoss. My shoulder pouch well visible. Also note the dyneema shoulder straps and roll top that clips down to the side of my pack.

The shoulder pouch is worth mentioning. Used this for my camera and sunglasses. And it got used all the time. A perfect way to store these items that are a little bit fragile and good to have close by. If now someone could make a version with padding

Sleeping Bag

RAB Neutrino 200

Kept the temperature really well. I love the waterproof dry/stuff bag that comes with it. Considering getting either lighter version, possibly a WM Hi Lite to save some weight.

Sleeping pad

Therm-a-rest Z-lite

One of the few items I’m not satisfied with. To sleep better during longer trips I have now realized i need a wider and full length sleeping pad. Considering getting a Klymit pad for this.

Shelter

HMG Ultamid 2

Superb! Nothing more to add.

Bearpawwd inner tent.

Besides the weight the only problem with this inner tent was that its lack of solid walls made it quite chilly inside the tent when the winds got stronger. For future trips in these kind of conditions a similar version with solid fabric for the lower part of the walls seems like a good idea.

Clothing

Houdini Motion Light Pants

Light weight and dry up fast, an important ability when doing lots of river fording. On the downside these pants are starting to get worn out. Seems are loosing and I got a couple of small holes in them. I think I will look for a new set of pants for next season. Hopefully I can find a model with zippers on at least one of the front pockets.

RAB Helium T-shirt

Sheds away sweat like a champ. Dries up fast. It’s a keeper.

IMG_1724_15-07-18

State of my shoes after one day in the lavasand!

Salomon Fellraiser

These shoes fits me perfectly. The toe box is a bit larger than usually and gives good room for my toes. Inner soles were completely finished after this trip, so when i found them at a discount in a nice green color at Wiggle i ordered directly.

Haglöfs Lite Webbing Belt

I don’t know why I didn’t switch this piece of crap out after last year. Loosens up all the time and forces me to stop and adjust both pants and belt. Combined with Andrés bad experience with Haglöfs products I am now starting seriously to question the quality of their products. Needs a replacement asap.

DSC00272_15-07-20

One of the few moments I didn’t wear the wind shirt, only my Icebreaker Merino. Sunglasses neatly stuffed in my shoulder pocket.

Icebreaker GT Merino long sleeve

Used more or less all the time. Combined with an outer shell this gives enough warmth for all but the coldest weather. Used by itself it ventilate good enough to be worn almost all of the time. I actually think this shirt was worn 99% of the time I was on trail.

Microfiber boxer shorts

Dries up to slow. I need to get a pair of merino boxers.

Inov 8 Mudsoc Mid

Wearing regular pants there is no need to have longer socks than this. Combined with a pair of 10 denier ankle socks I managed to keep my feet in perfect condition. Despite walking for over 20 km in snow, crossing dozens of rivers and in general walking with wet feet.

Houdini Airborn Hat

I love this little beanie. One of my favourite pieces of kit. The merino/silk combo works wonderful. Keeps me warm in the breeze and stays cool when my body builds up heat. Also dries up fast, an ability that’s important for me if you haven’t noticed…

Woolpower liner socks

Extra socks I wear to warm my feet when sleeping. Keeps me warm and gets my feet dry.

Sealskinz

These started to get wet after a couple of days. I only use these at camp to let my wet feet rest and get warm. So these socks don’t get used much. Have heard good things about Rocky GoreTex socks so I’ll maybe give them a try.

Arc’teryx Konseal Fleece

Didn’t use this much at all. But it fills a niche when I need an extra layer and is to sweaty or wet from rain to use my down jacket. Stays for future trips.

Icebreaker Long Johns

Only needed this for cold nights in the tent. Did the job well. Only alternative I could see is a pair of down pants but im a bit sceptical about those.

RAB Pulse Rainjacket

Incredibly we had only lighter rain showers so I only used this jacket once! It’s lightweight and keeps away rain showers reasonably. But I have noticed that the Pertex fabric is starting to peel of at the shoulders. I guess the wear from the shoulder pads is to much for this fabric. Think I will keep my eyes open for a eVent jacket.

Montbell Versalite Rain Pants

Didn’t need to use these. Light weight though.

RAB eVent Gaiters

Didn’t use.

IMG_4071

Montbell Ex Light Wind Parka. 65 gr of wind proof magic, straight from Japan.

Montbell Ex Light Wind Parka

MVP of this trip. Used this ridiculously light wind jacket so much. It breaks wind perfectly and is quick to adjust when you get warm. Even the super flimsy hood does a good job of keeping my head warm in the chilly winds of Iceland.

Montbell Plasma 1000

Super light down jacket. I downgraded from my thicker Arc’teryx hoodie that was overkill for these conditions. Used as insulation for shorter stops and at camp.

Outdoor Research Versaliner

These gloves still hold up and suits me perfectly. Didn’t need to use the waterproof shell but it’s a nice insurance to have if the weather gets really bad.

Vans Spicoli Sunglasses

Cheap and durable Wayfarer style shades. For hikes in more sunny environments I would probably go for something with more cover.

Tools

DSC00309_15-07-21

A quick stop on the way up Mount Gathilur. On ascents like these hiking poles are a great help.

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork

These trekking poles are perfect. The flick lock system doesn’t compress a single millimeter. I used them almost all the time and at night they double as support for the shelter. The fact that these poles are not at a fixed length also makes it possible to pitch the shelter at different heights depending on how much airflow you want.

I have yet not needed to use the snow baskets for these so I think they will have to stay in the gear box for now.

GoPro Camera

Didn’t use this one very much as André stood for most of the filming. I’ll leave this one at home next time.

Canon IXUS 240HS

This one was ready in my shoulder pouch and I took loads of pictures. Of course not a high end tool but ok for my needs.

Skaneleden_2015-05-23_20-40-55_IMG_1600

A long spoon for your freeze bag meals. Some times it’s just that easy!

Sea to Summit, Long Spoon

Perfect to dig up that last bit of mashed potatoes out of the bottom of your freeze bag.

Platypus flasks

Ditched the push pull cap for a normal screw on version. Does it’s job, lightweight and still holds up.

Zpacks dry bag and stuff sack

A dry bag for my dry clothes and a lighter stuff sack for my food. I have learned that one dry bag is enough for me. Use a 3 L Zip lock as extra storage for wet clothes that i don’t want to put in the dry bag.

Trail Designs Sidewinder + Inferno Cone w. Evernew Titanium Ultra Light .9L Pot

Used this only with alcohol this time as wood is quite sparse on Iceland. Worked well but takes its time to get water boiling.

IMG_3723

27 g

Deejo 27 folding knife

Used this for cutting cord, opening food bags and so on. Does what it’s intended for but don’t expect more from such a small blade.

 

So, for the future I can see some room for improvement. Of course some of these are depending on where we I will be going next. But there still are some smaller items I wan’t to switch. But in general I feel that I now have nailed down a very good UL-kit that I can depend on in tough conditions!

Iceland 2015 – Trip report

DSC00202_15-07-18

This year we decided to go for a trip to Iceland. We discussed a lot of options after our fantastic travel to Jotunheimen, but when we found the Laugavegur trail we quickly decided that Iceland was a go for summer 2015.

As we both have quite busy schedules we knew that we wouldn’t have too much time available for travel so we tried to maximize the amount of hiking we could get out of from a total of one weeks travel, flight and transfer included. Normally the Laugavegur trail is recommended for a four to five day trip but we guessed that we would make that trip in two days. So we added two extra days for expeditions in Thórsmörk valley and then decided that we wanted to walk the Fimmvörðuháls trail from Thórsmörk down to Skógafoss as the great finale. If all went as planned we would arrive at the Atlantic coast after five days of walking.

Short after this the preparations began, we were pretty confident after our Norway trip so only small adjustments were made. What worried us the most were the weather conditions on Iceland. We were told to expect a lot of rain and wind. So the rain gear was updated. Exept for the rain gear there wasn’t very much that was changed from last season, the main difference were our shiny new Zpacks backpacks. But these would have been bought any way, as we both wanted to get new backpacks.

With all gear and planning sorted we went for a couple of weekend test hikes. Both of these showed to be fantastic trips in their own and we felt safe with our preparations, even thou we didn’t se a single raindrop on these trips.

IMG_1700_15-07-17

Day One

We started of the first day early from Landmannalaugar. This place reminds more of a festival camping than a regular campsite so we were eager to get on trail.

DSC00190_15-07-17

Landmannalaugar

DSC00192_15-07-18

Hot springs, kind of like the Blue lagoon.

From the first steps of the trail we understood that this would be a very different kind of trip. We started directly by climbing up a wall of black lava, covered in old moss. All around us were the multi colored mountains of Landmannalaugar. The trail went steadily upwards but we continued in good pace, just stopping to hydrate and marvel over the other worldly views around us.

DSC00193_15-07-18

First steps out on the trail.

DSC00195_15-07-18

Walking past some beautiful scenery

Walking past some beautiful scenery

As we gained elevation the trail was soon snow covered. This went on for around 10 kilometers and slowed us a bit but sure made for some interesting hiking. By 10:00 we arrived at Hrafntinnusker hut which was midpoint of this days walk. We soon started to catch up with some of the hikers who had stay at the hut and now had started tolk walk towards Álftavatn. A couple of kilometers later the snow finally ended and we climbed the last peaks and could enjoy a view back over the mountains of Landmannalaugar.

The 19th Laugavegur Ultra Marathon just happened to be on the same day as we started. Good for us that we we're so far a head of everyone so that we'd passed most of the snow.

The 19th Laugavegur Ultra Marathon just happened to be on the same day as we started. Good for us that we were so far a head of everyone so that we’d passed most of the snow.

DSC00208_15-07-18

On top of the hill from the last picture.

The descent now started down to Alftavatn. At some parts the trail was pretty steep and now the wind was also starting to gain strength. You could actually lean forward a good bit and let the force of the wind hold you upright!

When we finally had made the way down to the foot of the mountain we decided to stop for lunch. This was the first flat ground we hade met that was not snow covered. As the weather was quite good with sunshine and a slight breeze. we could dry out our footwear and catch some sun hidden from the winds in a small canyon next to the trail.

After this there was a quick walk on flat ground down to Álftavatn. The campsite was located on a beautifull open green plain next to a small lake. We pitched the tent, took a stroll down to the beach and made some food while enjoying the sunny weather.

DSC00213_15-07-18

DSC00219_15-07-18

The open location of the camping field seemed lika a perfect place for strong winds so we anchored the Ultamid shelter with great care. And indeed a couple of hours into the night we woke up from the smattering noise of the Cuben canvas getting beaten by the wind. But the tent stood its ground and didn’t move an inch. Later we got to know that the winds were up to 25 m/s during the night and its a good feeling to know that the Ultamid has no problem dealing with these kind of forces.

DSC00218_15-07-18

Álftavatn campsite and hut

IMG_1727_15-07-18

Day Two

Next day we started of on the long walk towards Thórsmörk. The normal walk for this is to stop halfway at Emstrur but we felt that would have been to short for a one day hike.

DSC00224_15-07-19

Hvanngil

DSC00223_15-07-19

The trail took us down in the valley of Katla Geopark. All along the way we hade the glacier of Mýrdalsjökull on our left side. Covering the whole view to our west. Here the landscape was greener with mountains and old volcanoes at all sides.

DSC00228_15-07-19

There were a couple of river crossing on this section. Hiking with wet feet is a great advantage when doing river crossing as you hardly ever need to stop before wading over the cold water. At each ford we always met hikers either preparing to ford the river or working frenetically to dry their cold wet feet to get back in their warm and fussy boots. The look on some of these people when we just walked past them and into the river was priceless. Counting up all the rivers we crossed we must at least have saved one hour during this day, just by not needing to stop and switch footwear and dry up.

IMG_1737_15-07-19

The black sand is really cool but it also attaches to everything

After a couple of hours we reached Emstrur, a small camp located in a ravine. We stopped for some food, took a small detour to the canyon close by and then got going towards Thórsmörk.

DSC00243_15-07-19

Coming up on Emstrur hut. Just around the bend to the left, where the car is going.

DSC00246_15-07-19

By now the wind was starting to catch up in strength. When the trail got down to the low lands, covered in a black sand desert we started to see small tornadoes of black sand. The landscape once more was completely surreal. Black desert covering wide stretches of ground, framed by equally dark mountains stretching up on all sides. If there is one place on earth were Sauron could have lived with his orc companions this would be it!

DSC00238_15-07-19

IMG_1746_15-07-19

DSC00250_15-07-19 IMG_1747_15-07-19

The closer we got to Thórsmörk the more vegetation surrounded us. In the afternoon we crossed the last river and entered the small woods in the hills of Thórsmörk. The contrast to the previous landscapes was remarkable. This place felt almost as home. By six o clock we arrived at the Volcano Huts, having walked 35 km we were of course a bit tired and most of all hungry!

IMG_1751_15-07-19

DSC00262_15-07-19

DSC00264_15-07-19

Jon is taking a pre-meal-break

After a quick dinner we pitched the tent, took a bath in the geothermally heated pool and soon fell asleep in the bright Icelandic night.

Day Three

We woke up to rainfall. As the day before had been long we didn’t hurry away. Instead we took our time and waited out the rain before breaking camp. For the two next coming days we had planned to do expeditions in the valley so we started of, aiming at the closest mountaintop.

On our way we stumbled over a cave, complete with a overhang waterfall. We managed to squeeze in between the boulders and stood watching in awe.

André is drinking water from the waterfall

André is drinking water from the waterfall

After this we climbed up to the top of Mount Valahnúkur. Not a very high peak in it self but its conic volcano shape and placement at the edge between two river deltas made for a marvelous view over vast glaciers and valleys.

DSC00277_15-07-20

Contemplating

Contemplating

Photo taken by some American seniors that arrived about the same time we did from the east (easy) path

Photo taken by some American seniors that arrived about the same time we did from the east (easy) path

Down from the mountain we took a break, cooked some food and decided to cross the river Krossá. We decided to ford the river instead of taking the bridge that was located a couple of hundred meters up river. Not a very smart decision in hindsight as the water was waist deep and the stream quite strong.

IMG_1759_15-07-20

Trying to get across the cold rivers, easier said than done

The goal for this trip was Stakkholtsgjá Canyon, a deep canyon ending in the valley below Mount Valahnúkur. As we got closer we realized that the water level on the fords in the riverbed was pretty high, explaining why no one else was to be found at this spot. We had to try at least five different crossing before we finally were able to find a safe way over the rivers and could walk deeper into the canyon.

The canyon was definitely one of the highlights of this trip. Walking the bottom of the riverbed, surrounded by vertical cliffs and waterfalls at all sides with birds circling above us brought a calmness and serenity not often seen in our modern lifestyle. We stayed in the canyon for a couple of hours walking in deeper and following the riverbed up closer to the glaciers.

DSC00294_15-07-20

A really cool place!

DSC00290_15-07-20

The view from where we came in

After this we quickly went to a campsite on the same side of river Krossá and made preparations for the night. All the river fording in the canyon had got us cold and it was a relief to get the wet clothing off and switching to warm layers. Unfortunately both of us had problems with our Seal Skinz socks that by now where starting to leak. Despite that we only were using them on evenings to get our feet dry and warm!

IMG_1765_15-07-20

Brought this portable swing in my pack and decided to have a go before pitching the tent

Day Four

Next morning we went back over Krossá, this time by the bridge, and walked up the Tindfjöll mountains. The path led along a ridge giving a view not only over the Thórsmörk but also over the valley where we hade walked down from Emstrur two days earlier. A satisfying feeling to look back over the expanse and see how far we actually had walked.

IMG_1771_15-07-21

The recommended way to cross Krossá…

Jon now realized he had made a biiiig mistake. He had forgotten one of his inner soles. The soles were taken out the evening before to dry up after all the river fording the previous day, and somehow one of them got left behind. Luckily the camp was on the way back towards Skógar so we decided to walk back in the valley below the Tindfjöll mountain range and cross the river again to go searching for the inner sole. Despite this being a pretty serious situation we managed to keep up the mood and walked along. André was a bit bitter though, as he had seen a nice mountain top further away that he more than gladly would have climbed.

DSC00301_15-07-21

Tindfjöll mountain range

IMG_1768_15-07-21

Watch your step!

After a short walk we were back at the camp. And believe it or not, the sole was still there, hidden in the wet grass!

DSC00307_15-07-21

Just like winning the lottery!

As it was only lunch time we decided to go up closer to the valleys next to Mýrdalsjökul and Katla to see the glaciers up close. Also this time the riverbed was crossed with fords that were pretty hard to wade but we were soon over.

IMG_1776_15-07-21

Natural Pringles

The trail lead us straight up Mount Gathilur. As the sides of the mountains were very steep we had to follow the switchbacks back and forth. Higher and higher up the mountain. When we finally decided to stop we were at 500 meters height and had a fantastic view over the green mountainsides and the massive ice cap covering the volcano of Katla deep below.

DSC00316_15-07-21

Taking a break next to a massive rock with a small cave

DSC00330_15-07-22

While we were resting we suddenly saw a trio of hikers approaching from the top. Soon we realized that one of the guys was riding a bike! It’s to much to say that he actually was biking as it showed out to be some kind of photo shoot. The guy on the bike carried his bike to a scenic spot, waited for the camera team to get in position and then cycled 20 or 30 meters down the trail while his companions shot away with their cameras. Pretty impressive anyway, sure made for some cool photos!

Having observed this for a while we decided to go back down and pitch our tent. We found a good spot close to the start of Fimmvörðuháls and made camp there. Eager for the last day of our trip!

DSC00324_15-07-21

Campsite for the night

Day Five

A light drizzle met us as we started our way up towards Fimmvörðuháls. As we climbed higher we soon reached and passed the low layer clouds that were covering the mountains around us. The trail constantly went uphill and we started to get very warm in our rain gear. It wasn’t long before we skipped the rain jackets and got into our wind jackets instead as the rain got lighter and lighter.

IMG_1787_15-07-22

Thórsmörk in the background.

We had noticed earlier that the trails on Iceland tend to go OVER all the tops and ridges instead of going in the valleys and along the lowlands, as our trails back home in Sweden. And the part down to Skógar was no exception. At some parts we walked a 50 cm wide edge with 45 degree slopes on each side ending in the valley 500 meters below!

DSC00332_15-07-22

IMG_1792_15-07-22

DSC00333_15-07-22

Patches with snow soon started to dot the previously so green landscape and after that we quickly hit the snow. We kept on climbing upwards in the slushy snow and by 10:30 we hade reached the pass were the two newly formed volcanoes Magni and Modi stood. Standing on top of a volcano, shaped no more than five years ago sure is a strange feeling! By now the snow cover was so thick that in som places the posts marking the trail was totally covered. These were a bit over two meters tall, so there were lots of snow!

We kept on pushing through the sleet and by 12:00 we were at Baldursskali hut, from now on we knew that it would be downwards.

IMG_1795_15-07-22

Baldursskali hut in the distance

Not long from the hut the trail started to follow Skóga River. In the beginning the river was small and the waterfalls we saw were quite modest in sight. But as we got lower and closer to the Atlantic the waterfalls got bigger and bigger.

DSC00348_15-07-22

These kind of small waterfalls were just about everywhere just next to the trail

Now we also started to meet people that were walking up from Skógar to watch the waterfalls. They tended to arrive in large herds so we had to do our best to avoid the masses. Now the feeling that the journey soon was to be over started to get strong, we were no longer alone in the wilderness and civilization was around the corner.

The Atlantic!

The Atlantic!

After walking in what seemed to be a never ending line of gigantic waterfalls at half by twelve we finally reached Skógafoss and end of line to this journey!

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

We had not only got there in time, we had more or less made a flawless journey where we were able to stick to our planned route, brought equipment perfectly fit for the trip. And we were both in fully good condition!

Conclusions

Laugavegur is a fantastic trail. In a rather short trail you manage to see a great variation of landscapes. Landscapes that you won’t be able to see on many other places on earth. multi colored mountains, hot springs, volcano tops, glaciers, lava deserts. The list can be made long. The trail itself is not too hard to walk, as long as you are prepared for some ascents and from time to time really bad weather.

A big drawback with this trail is that you have to camp on the dedicated campsites. As Swedes we are used to allemansrätten and the possibility to put up a tent at any place where you won’t disturb anyone. This is for us a large part of the outdoors experience and truly lets you make your own experience.

This was not made better by the fact that many of the campsites almost were like small festival camps. Busses and cars everywhere, people playing basketball. None of this is of course anything wrong, but when you fly halfway over the Atlantic to enjoy a hike in nature it kind of take the wild feeling out of it. The fact that you had to pay a mandatory camping fee didn’t help either…

With that said this was an amazing hike. For anyone with the slightest interest in hiking we would warmly recommend to walk Laugavegur and get the chance to see the incredible landscapes of Iceland!

Finally the video from our trip, one more time:

Happy hiking!

Omberg

18623710223_0628887ac8_o

Two summers ago I did a hike with André from Omberg to Gränna. I have been back to Omberg a couple of times since then for day trips but I haven’t got around to do an overnight stay. So when me and Jens decided to go for a two-day trip this weekend I suggested Omberg. Jens thought it was a good idea, and on saturday afternoon he picked me up in Jönköping.

I am still testing out my SUL-kit and for this trip I was going to use the Serenity NetTent for the first time. Jens was also eager to test some of his new gear, including his HMG Echo shelter and a brand new Roberts sleeping bag he got the week before.

Omberg is a forest covered mountain next to lake Vättern about half an hours car ride from Jönköping. The mountain is an Ecopark with both roads and smaller trails running all over the park.

19242329815_ef966f1d11_k

Crystal clear water in Stocklycke harbour.

We started our hike on the south side of Omberg and went for a quick look at the ruins of Alvastra kloster. After this we followed the beach line through the forest and soon ended up at Stocklycke harbour. An old harbour used to ship timber from the woods at Omberg.

By now the weather was fantastic and the surface of Vättern was completely still, making visibility in the water perfect. The first real summer day of the year!

19236408812_71e5b634eb_k

My Imo pack is starting to get some mileage now. A fantastic little backpack!

After this we walked down to a small bay named Oxbåset. To get down to the water we had to do a pretty steep climb along a ravine, but it was all worth it when we finally got to the water.

19054777168_58bad0392b_k

Enjoying the view at Oxbåset.

19054761420_b62dfd92d6_k

Oxbåset.

19246157181_57c42b1fad_k

The sun was shining and we stopped for a while and cooked some coffee. After a slow start of the summer the sun threatened to burn our skin so we soon decided to move on.

18621825223_6d92029402_k

Pitching the Gatewood Cape with Serenity net at Älvarums udde.

19246208671_20e1f829ed_k

My gatewood Cape and Jens HMG Echo II at Älvarums udde.

In the evening we arrived at Älvarums udde and made some dinner down by the waterfront watching the sun settle. After this we pitched both our shelters with a view over Vättern.

The night was calm and I could sleep inside my net tent with the front door open towards the sea. Giving me a view over the last sunlight over Vättern before I fell asleep.

19054852788_e3b6a3055d_k

View over Vättern from Hjässan, Ombergs highest point.

The next day was a short affair. We made quick breakfast, broke camp and went back in the same direction as we arrived the day before. Halfway we decided to go up to the top of Omberg, Hjässan, to enjoy the views over the surrounding landscape.

From there it was a short walk down hill untill we were back at the car. Satisfied after a short trip in stunning surroundings enjoying fantastic weather.

All pictures in this blog post by Jens Fagerberg.

Around Bjärehalvön

Skaneleden_2015-05-23_14-54-21_IMG_1562

Last weekend we went for a two-day tour in Skåne. We wanted to have the opportunity to test the gear we intend to use for our Iceland trip this summer. As we already have walked most of the shorter trails around our hometown we looked for a suitable trail in the southern parts of Sweden.

After some research we decided to hike the coastal walk around Bjärehalvön. This tour fitted us good as it was a circle walk giving us the possibility to start and end at the same spot without needing to backtrack any part of the hike. It is 52 km long, making it ideal for a two-day trip as we know that we usually walk at least 25 km per day.

The hike is split into four parts, each 10 to 18 km long so we decided to walk two parts per day. We opted to start from Båstad on the northern part of Hallandsåsen and walk the trail clockwise. So the order for each part would be 20, 17, 16 and finally 15 back to Båstad.

Båstad to Ängelsbäcksstrand

We started of from the city centre around 11 o clock on Saturday. We headed southwards out-of-town and quickly the trail started going upwards onto Hallandsåsen. The temperature was around 10 to 12 °C and the clouds looked like we could get some light rain.

We were soon on top of the hill and could enjoy quite view over the landscape consisting of rolling hills dotted with forest groves and small farms. Unfortunately much of the track followed asphalt roads that we hade to share with motorized traffic.

Midway we took a short stop in a small beech wood and rested our legs. Walking on hard ground is not the best option. After this the path went down towards the southern shores of Bjärehalvön. We still had to walk on roads but the views made the walk worth it.

Skaneleden_2015-05-23_13-16-54_IMG_1543

Jon overlooking the Eskers outside of Grevie.

Skaneleden_2015-05-23_14-08-35_IMG_1553

No, this is Skåne, not a Windows wallpaper!

Closer to the shore we crossed a beautiful small nature reserve stretching over a Esker giving us a pause from the roads. Not long after this we finally arrived at the sea and Ängelbäcksstrand. By now the Sun began to show and the views around us were stunning. It had been a fairly ok walk down the countryside but now things started to look very promising!

Skaneleden_2015-05-23_14-14-43_IMG_1558Ängelbäcksstrand to Torekov

If our calculations were right we thought that we would have time to walk to Torekov before it was time to make camp. So we started walking north along the beach after a short pause.

The trail along the beach showed to be nothing less than fantastic! All the way up to Torekov we walked in pastures along the coast line. There were hardly any buildings except for the old bunkers built during WW2, now left closed for future generations.

We kept a good pace during the whole walk up to Torekov. The fields held plenty of livestock; both cows, horses and sheep and we had som close encounters with all three. Luckily the beasts were satisfied with their herbivore diet and didn’t show any interest for Cuben or Pertex.

Later in the afternoon we arrived at Torekov, a picturesque tourist town at the western end of the peninsula. After a days walking we couldn’t resist and stopped for ice cream in the small marina.

View over the Torekov marina.

View over the Torekov marina.

After the break we went looking for a place to pitch our tent but this would show to be harder than we first thought. The main reason for this is that more or less all coastal area on Bjärehalvön consists of natural reserve areas, which means that camping is not allowed there. This is a general exemption to Allemansrätten and can be good to know if you are hiking in similar areas in Sweden.

Skaneleden_2015-05-23_19-27-41_IMG_1590

A couple of horses grazing by the seafront.

Because of this we were left to try and find a campsite outside of the reserve. As much of the land close the reserve for obvious reasons is occupied by summer houses there was not very much space left for a tent close to the beach.

It took us several kilometers until we found a decent spot for the night, a small parking lot with a clear view over the sea. We had now walked over 33 kilometers and were both hungry and a bit tired.

Our spot for the night, overlooking the coast line of Bjärehalvön.

Our spot for the night. Andrés Ultamid overlooking the coast line of Bjärehalvön.

This was the first time we pitched the Ultamid with the inner net. A Bear Pawwd net that André purchased last summer for our Jotunheimen trip. Back then we made a last-minute decision to ditch the inner in favor of our bivy bags, so the tent had stayed unused in Andrés storage until now.

The inner net luckily showed to be a perfect fit for the Ultamid and we had no trouble at all fitting in both our sleeping mats and rest of our gear inside the tent. After this we made a quick meal and went to bed after a long days walk.

Sunset over Kattegatt.

Sunset over Kattegatt.

Back to Båstad

Next morning we woke up early and started our journey towards Båstad. We soon passed a small harbour with colourful fishing huts. Next to the huts there was something looking like an old torpedo, probably also a remain from the war. We found an old water pump but to our disappointment we couldn’t get any water our of it.

After this the trail led us up on higher ground and above Hovs Hallar. Actually the trail did not go through the area but stayed on the cliffs above. There were several paths leading down to the shore but we decided to stay on the high route and enjoy the view from above.

Above Hovs Hallar.

Above Hovs Hallar.

The trail then took us inland through the woods and all the way up to the view-point at Knösen 152 meter above sea level. There we met two Danish hikers who just had packed their camp together and where heading for Torekov.

Skaneleden_2015-05-24_10-22-34_IMG_1611

View from Knösen.

From here the path led us downwards, through similar landscapes; beech wood, fields and farms. On our way we passed a number of couple of small creeks. By lunch we hade arrived at the sea side on Bjärehalvöns northern side, the rest of the walk was along a small gravel road frequented by walkers and cyclists. It took us about an hour to reach Båstad, by then we hade walked around 17 kilometers and we got in to the car and went for a quick-lunch before starting the journey home.

All in all this was a surprisingly good trip, the trail showed to be nice with magnificent views along the walk. If you have the time we can really recommend a walk around Bjärehalvön!

Skaneleden_2015-05-23_14-19-21_Foto 2015-05-23 14 19 21

Selfie time during a short break, sheltered from the wind by an old bunker.

Solo hiking Västanåleden – A first try at SUL Hiking

The majority of my hikes are shorter weekend trips on any of the trails close to my hometown. It’s only during my summer holidays that I have time for week long journeys to places like Norway and northern Sweden. With this in mind I have started to work on a lighter kit custom tailored for the needs I have on my shorter trips in the woods around Jönköping. So after spending the spring purchasing new equipment it was now time for a first trip trying to go SUL – Super Ultra Light that is 🙂 

In this post i will do a short trip report and also try to sum up the experience of my new kit and talk through some of the new items i used.

Hiking Västanåleden

Västanåleden is a short round trip hike in the beech forest south of Gränna. The trail shares tracks with John Bauerleden that connects all the way down to Jönköping. Both of these trails are familiar to me and just last year me and André took a short overnight trip at this trail. I decided to walk the southern part of the trail as these are the ones I like most. As this would be a rather short route I would also have time for some detours along any of the other trails crossing my path.

I started out just outside the small village of Röttle and decided to take a short walk down to the harbour. On my way I passed the waterfalls and the remains of the old Jerusalem mill. Down by the harbour I took a small pause and then headed back up to the trail.

Foto 2015-05-16 14 42 59

Röttle river waterfalls and the remains of Jerusalem Mill


Continue reading