The hypocrisy of Leave No Trace

So you’ve just bought that new cheap super-light mini pocket gas stove from China. Two pair of trekking pants and this years edition of trail shoes with that crazy cool color scheme. A pack of 5 charging cables for your phone (because it was cheaper than one) and you’ve upgraded your backpack – all set for this years hiking adventures!

Sounds familiar?

ilckRKG.png

So what is Leave No Trace?

Leave No Trace is a set of outdoor ethics promoting conservation in the outdoors. It consists of seven principles:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

These principles have been adapted to different activities, ecosystems and environments. Since 1994, Leave No Trace Center For Outdoor Ethics, a non-profit organization also known as Leave No Trace, exists to educate people about their recreational impact on nature as well as the principles of Leave No Trace to prevent and minimize such impacts. Source: Wikipedia

Breaking it down

If we try and break these principles down in terms of a trip into the wild to make it more realistic and what you as an individual can do.

Plan ahead and prepare

It’s hard to plan ahead for all trips you want to do in life but what you can do is choose your big three, backpack, tent and sleeping bag as carefully as possible. Looking at reviews on blogs, YouTube etc you can start building a good idea of what you’ll need. For example, if you’re not too keen on winter hikes you can probably get away with a three season sleeping bag or less. You can still do day trips during the colder months.

Choose something that you know will last. Even the lightest Dyneema Cuben Fiber items will last for a very long time. Also try and get multi-purpose items, e.g. a compass with a mirror will double as – yup, a mirror. A buff will be a hat, scarf, bandana etc.

Picking gear from companies that are aware of their impact on the planet is also very good. Today we have multiple companies like Patagonia, Fjällräven, Houdini and Arc’Teryx that try to spearhead in terms of sustainability and environmental impact when producing their items. Cottage manufacturers are small and have usually already made good decisions based upon these principles. Being smaller they can adjust faster too. If you’re unsure, you can always ask.

Food, isn’t this the most boring part? It shows that making good decisions of what you eat will also have a very big impact on how far you can go and also what waste you’re bringing with you – pack in, pack out.. We’ll leave the food industry out of this one.

Travel and camp on durable surfaces

Stealth camping or just being able to pitch your tent wherever is very liberating but you can still pick a spot with care. Avoid sensitive areas if the trail information tells you to and use designated campsites. If you’re allowed to wild camp then make sure not to put your tent on plants/flowers if possible and do not dig into the ground for fun.

At the same time, use the trails that are available to you. If there’s no trail and you’re up in Alaska or another very remote area don’t disturb trees, bushes etc just because you wanna plow through. Look at the map and make good decision. This will save you calories too! Win-win.

Dispose of waste properly

Pack in, pack out! How many of you haven’t seen trash on the trail. Be it something that’s “accidentally dropped” to beer cans or worse. I don’t understand how hard it can be to put your trash in your trash bag and bring it back. Sure it’s bulky and might even smell a little, especially in hot weather, but you brought it there, make sure it gets out and is recycled. Burning it in the fire pit is not recycling or disposing of it properly.

i4U2tHI

Plastic waste and a heart shaped piece of grass.

Poop, we all do it. Make sure to dig a hole for your business at least 50m away from a water source. Don’t be the person that just go around the big rock next to the trail and do your stuff on the ground and leave some toilet paper as a souvenir for others to see, smell, step in or worse, for animals to eat. We’ve seen some really nasty stuff…

Leave what you find

You’re in a very barren place. It’s super windy and you’re afraid your tent will wanna make a run for it during the night. You see a bunch of rocks in the ground. That will work! You start plying them out of the ground and put them on your tent stakes. Aaah, safe and sound, you sleep like a baby during the night in the high winds.

You wake up and break down your tent and walk away. No! You pause and remember; I need to put the rocks back first because it could take up 20 to 50 years for the vegetation to recover to a pre-removal condition.

This goes without saying but don’t mess with cultural artifacts.

Minimize campfire impacts

If you just need to make a fire (non emergency) use a fire pit if there’s one already. Don’t just pile stuff up wherever and light a fire. If you don’t really need that campfire just don’t make one.

We also have many wood burning options in a lightweight package today. When you use these make sure to use the wood burning floor that’s usually supplied with them so you don’t damage the ground or worst case, making roots catch fire and you have a underground fire resulting in a forest burning down.

Respect wildlife

Arctic Foxes, elks and birds etc are indeed beautiful. But leave them alone. Don’t scare them off and for the love of – don’t feed them with the stuff you brought. They were there long before you and will still be there when you get back home and sleep in your comfy bed dreaming of your wonderful time in the outdoors.

Be considerate of other visitors

Remember, you’re (almost) never alone in the wild or going to a place where no one will ever go. This is just like karma – you get what you give.

The hypocrisy

Fast fashion is a thing and the outdoor companies still needs to make a living.

I’m in no way better than anyone at this, even more so in the past. I’ve even stated “whoever has the most things when he dies wins”. Let’s say I have a different perspective nowadays.

Much of the traffic on this blog is coming at different products that we at Lighter Packs have bought in the past and reviewed and showcased. Hopefully we’ve given something back so that you can and could make the right decision to buy or not.

I believe that some companies are better than others in taking pride in their gear, offering to repair items on warranty or even when you just break them.
We at Lighter Packs have had multiple experiences with sending in gear to have it repaired and restored, be it a new zipper or similar, even repairing it ourselves. If they can’t fix it, they’ll usually give you a “new” item and your broken one will be recycled and reused in production of something new for someone else to enjoy.

I believe that it’s never too late to start making a change and hence making a difference.

So if you leave here with one message; Before you buy something, take a step back and ask yourself – Do I really need this item? Will it add value to my life for what I’m intending to do? Or will I be equally good off with what I currently have?

Also if you have used items that still have some life left in them. Sell them, gift them to a friend or drop them off at your local second hand shop. Just because you don’t need it anymore doesn’t mean it has to go to waste, pun intended.

The lightest things are the ones you don’t bring.
So maybe you can skip that third, oh so cheap tent from AliExpress?

We have one planet. Don’t forget that. There’s no reason not to let people enjoy it as much as we have.

IMG_0709

Happy trails!


Disclaimer, this is focusing on a “lighter pack”. Hence gear to carry very specific or heavy items might require different sets of i.e. backpacks to get the work done. There’s no ‘right way’ – all I ask is that you think first, buy second.

Lecture with Renata Chlumska

Attended an event this evening with Renata Chlumska the great Swedish adventurer which has climbed Mount Everest, paddled around the US and also climbed the Seven Summits.

IMG_0008

The topic of the lecture was ‘Find the motivation’ (Freely translated). She talked about all of her great adventures and how the mind is your greatest part of your body. It’s not how well trained you are or how fast you can paddle but how motivated you are to completing the task at hand.

Really great, I’d recommend anyone who gets the chance to listen in. It was super inspiring! Stoked! A great way to start the main hiking season.

A few notes I jotted down:

  • Planing
  • Training
  • Final preparations
  • GET OUT THERE!

One of her key points were basically, just make sure you do it. Many adventures have just been made on a piece of paper and never gotten any further. If you go, and you succeed or fail, it doesn’t matter. If you succeed, good for you but if you fail you gain more experience to redo it and finally succeed.

This does not go just for backpacking or adventures in general but with your everyday work goals too. Put your mind in the right place and you’re half way there.

Photo tips and tricks

For those of you who are not photographers per say these small tips and tricks might come in handy to improve you’re (outdoor) pictures. Simple things that makes every picture a little better.

Robert Capa is known for redefining wartime photojournalism. His work came from the trenches as opposed to the more arms-length perspective that was the precedent. He was famed for saying,

“If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

Save the Artic fox

“We want to see more arctic foxes in the Scandinavian mountains

The arctic fox, or Vulpes lagopus as it is called in Latin, is one of Scandinavia’s original inhabitants – it has been found here since the inland ice first began to recede. The arctic fox is unfortunately under severe threat of extinction in Scandinavia and Finland due to overhunting for its beautiful fur coat at the beginning of last century. Despite the arctic fox becoming a protected species in 1928 in Sweden and 1930 in Norway, the population has had a difficult time recovering. The primary reasons for this include insufficient access to food and competition from the red fox which is pushing the arctic fox away from its natural habitat. Climate change, with its shorter and milder winters, also affects living conditions.”

The application period starts on March 16th at Fjällrävens website.

I’m published!

Got the word in the middle of May that I’m getting published in a photo book called “Mitt Småland”. I sent one of my pictures in into the competition and I had almost forgotten about it when I received the e-mail saying that the book was now being printed and that my picture was in it.

Well that was great news! I didn’t know how big my picture was going to be in the book or where it was. I found out that my picture was one of few out of 1681 that had made it out of the selection process, 176 pictures was published in the book.

About a month later in the middle of June I got an invitation to a  vernissage that was being held in three different cities and one of them being here where I live. I happily accepted the invitation and went today. There was food, drinks and a lot of mingling going on amongst big prints and such. I walked around the restaurant where it was held looking at different pictures and then eventually I grabbed one of the photo books and started browsing. I opened it some where like just past the middle towards the end and started going backwards. I didn’t find my picture… What? Well then I went from the really end of the book and a few pages in I found it! It wasn’t just a small picture, it wasn’t just on one of the pages but rather in duplex – two damn sides where covered with my picture! Must say that I got a tingly feeling in my stomach at that precise moment 🙂

My better half made this photo collage.

My better half made this photo collage.

This book is part of a big advertising campaign to get more people to visit Småland (the county where I live) and it will be sold at different places all around Sweden.

TGO Challenge 2014 summary

This sounds really interesting for the future – Scotlands TGO Challenge or The Great Outdoor Challenge. I’ve been following a few blogs/Twitter accounts through out the event and I’m quite hooked. I guess there might be a few years before I’m able to attend if I get picked. You have to apply for a spot on the challenge.

Well, here you have a trail diary by blogpackinglight! Enjoy.

blogpackinglight

View original post

Map and Compass Navigation (The basics)

This never gets old and can’t be taught too often.
Something that everyone should know. We had map/compass lessons in primary school and that was a great way to learn the basic skills.

TreeLineBackpacker

Everyone should know how to navigate with a map and compass, but surprisingly few can. Here is how you do the basics.

Parts of the Compass

1. The numbered Ring, that’s the “azimuth ring”. These numbers give you a numerical angle  of direction, or “bearing”. A 90 degree bearing means you will be heading to the east. 180 degrees means south, and so on.

2. The red metal  arrow that rotates inside the compass is the “magnetic needle”, which points towards magnetic north.

3. The red outline of an arrow below the needle  is your “orientation arrow”.

4. The arrow on the end of the compass (A black triangle pictured) is the “direction of travel arrow”. This signifies the direction you intend to travel when using the compass (very important and often overlooked major detail).

5. The bulge near the bottom is simply a magnifying glass.

6. The numbers around…

View original post 770 more words