Exped Air Ultralight Pillow

It’s not that often that I get a real wow-feeling when buying gear but this ultralight pillow from Exped sure gave me that! Packs down super small, holes for attaching a bungee cord (which I did) or to a Exped compatible sleeping pad.

The two best things are the anti-slip coating so it doesn’t slide on the already slippery sleeping pads and the big valve so it’s super easy to in- and deflate.

Will probably do a review of this one later. Excited!

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Not much larger than a credit card and weighs 50 grams

 

Spot Gen 3 overview

Several people told me that they’re worried about the remote areas I’m going to in Hornstrandir, Iceland. Just because I might very well be all by my self for the whole duration and that the cell phone coverage isn’t the best. Better to be safe than sorry if something happens. Also Safetravel.is recommends carrying on combined with a compass, map and a GPS because if winds are blowing in from the north or north-west it comes with very dense fog and visibility is usually around 50 meters or less.

Of course safety is always on the top of the list, especially when going solo. After a little researching if I was to rent a PLB (personal location beacon) at Ísafjörður or buying one, I bought myself a Spot Gen 3. The price tag of renting a PLB from West Fjords Tours was about 20€ per day so it was quite expensive as a Spot Gen 3 costs about 200€, for the unit.

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*Not the carabiner that it comes with

It would be nice if it was done there but for 200€ you get a piece of plastic and a strap so that you can attach it to your backpack. Noup, you need a yearly subscription too, 180€ with VAT. This includes the possibility to set tracking intervals between 5, 10, 30 and 60 minutes. The renewal is fortunately enough cheaper, about 100€ less, depending on if you want to have the possibility to set the tracking on anything other than real-time. If you want to be able to send text-messages to phones you can either pay per text or buy a SMS-bundle of 200 for an additional 20€. If you don’t want to buy this, e-mail and a smart phone app is included. The checkout process feels kind of like buying airplane tickets… You want this too? And maybe this?

Registering on the site takes a few minutes but is not complicated. Just follow the instructions and keep the serial number and the authentication code ready. Ones you’re done this is what the setup page looks like where you manage your device(s) and can set your different messages for Check In, Custom message and Help/SPOT S.O.V. The last one being the “I need help but not helicopters and search teams” – here you can customize the message being sent. Mine reads something like “Something has happened, it’s not urgent but I need help. Please check my location and try to call my phone”.

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Everything is good!

With all of this in place you’re good to go. Plug it in to your computer, there’s a mandatory update, run that and you’ll also “download” the tracking profile. Tracking settings is the only thing you can’t do wireless. Then just go outside, fire up the unit and wait for it to get connection with the satellites. After that you can send the Check In message to see that everything works.

You can even run different profiles if you’d like. Each profile can then of course hold different messages and tracking intervals.

Quite easy!

All the specifications such as weight, size etc can be found here. It’s currently on sale in the US, 50% off, unfortunately not in Europe.

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Battery life with tracking

Latest acquisitions

Just in from the post office and the guys and girls at http://ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/

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I fell in love with the Six Moon Design Serenity NetTent (Bug tent) when I borrowed it from Jon on my latest trip to Vålådalen, Sweden. It fits just great under my Ultamid 2.

Saw a blog post and someone recommended the Tred Lite Gear Ultralight XL Cuben Fiber Led Camping Lantern (that’s a long name). 14g with an “integrated light” is pretty nice for those darker months or nights. I also bought their Fusion Zipped Icarex Peg Bag to replace my current one from HMG.

 

 

Wetterlings axe & Silva Compass

Some new gear that arrived a few days ago. The Silva Ranger S Compass will replace my older Silva model. It’s nothing wrong with my current one but there was a feature that I was missing. A mirror.


Besides the benefits of having a mirror on the compass for actual navigation it also doubles as a normal mirror if you get something in your eye, signal mirror if your in distress etc. Rather than buying a separate one and leaving that with my first aid kit I thought it would be better to combine two things rather than having separate ones. I try to always go for items that are multi-purposes, it saves weight.

I was also looking at the Suunto but they were both heavier and more expensive and I guess I wouldn’t be using the extra features they offered.

The Wetterlings Les Stroud Bushman Axe is not gonna be used for my lightweight camping, obviously. More a around the house kind of axe. We have a fire place inside and also in the BBQ house so I need to split wood from time to time. That’s one purpose and the other is to have a larger axe for my “bushcrafting” (lack of a better word) trips. I already have a Wetterlings axe that I got as a gift from my grandparents, it’s a shorter model and works great for splitting wood for your coffee fire. But for larger things or when you need to split larger amounts of wood it doesn’t do the job as good.

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I found this one on sale and decided to go with it. However it’s now out of production only one day after I bought it. I contacted Wetterlings as I was curious as to why and they said that they’re going to stop producing axes under their own name. Instead they’re going to be a production facility for their sister company Gränsfors Bruks axes. I for one didn’t know they were a sister company to Wetterlings or probably the other way around. Makes me a proud owner of one of the last axes of that series ever being produced. Maybe I should just hang it on a wall instead? Haha!

Latest acquisitions – MLD Rain Kilt

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Note the great sunburn from my latest trip.

Just in today from Mountain Laurel Designs, their rain kilt in Silnylon. Will have me look very smart and sexy on the trip to Iceland and in the future. I hope I made the right choice selling my Patagonia rain pants…

The future will tell!

This little item weighs in at 76 grams and packs away very small. It’s very much a one-size fits all and even two. I guess if you strap it around your neck it would cover your upper body and your pack with room to spare or if you’re attached by the hip with another person you’ll be ok too.

I got mine in size Large and that’s not really depending on your waist but rather the length of the kilt.

Bearpawwd PyraNet 2 inner – First impression

About a year ago I bought a inner for my Hyperlite Mountain Gear (HMG) UltaMid 2 tent. The first inner I received had the wrong specifications and the door opened inwards to the side so I had to return it to Bearpawwd, there were some miscommunication via e-mail. Anyhow I returned the first inner and received the right model for my tent, the Bearpawwd PyraNet 2 “Ultramid 2 modification”.

After I received the right one I actually never picked it up out of the pouch that it came in… It has been stored in one of my gear boxes ever since. Now about a year later Jon and I decided that it might be good to bring it and test it out on our trip to Skåne and I’m glad we did because it was a really good inner!

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Staking out the UltaMid as the sun sets over Bjärehalvön.

At the time when I was looking for a inner for my UltaMid 2 the market weren’t that big. There were a few different manufacturers but basically the only inner that had good specifications to fit the UltaMid without having too much dead space inside the tent was the PyraNet 2, “Ultramid-mod” (will refer only as PyraNet 2 in the text). Now a year later HMG has released their own inner for the UltaMids which are a little lighter than the PyraNet that I’ve got.

Specifications

  • Silnylon bathtub floor
  • Water-sealed drawstring peak/floor seal for the center pole
  • No-see-um mesh
  • Double zipper opening
  • 730 grams
Bearpawwd PyraNet 2 inside my HMG UltaMid 2 tent.

Bearpawwd PyraNet 2 inside my HMG UltaMid 2 tent.

The PyraNet 2 weighs in at about 730 grams compared to HMG’s equivalent at 595 grams. The HMG comes with a cuben fiber bathtub floor and I got the PyraNet 2 with a silnylon floor. If you want to be 135 grams lighter your wallet will also be 240 USD lighter excluding shipping. For me if I were to buy the inner now with both options available I think I’d still go for the Bearpawwd because I won’t be using the inner for every overnighter I do. Well maybe I’d get it with a cuben fiber floor instead, it would still be cheaper, and lighter.

Regarding the silnylon floor… With our Therm-a-rest NeoAir X-Lite sleeping pads it’s like sleeping in an ice skating rink. Slipping and sliding all over the place! It can get cozy really fast if the ground isn’t level.

I opted for the version with double zipper opening. Now in retrospect I could have gone with the standard full-right/left-opening with only one zipper. That would have shaved off a few grams.

The inner packs away nicely in a small silnylon stuff sack. It also comes with a few meters of red paracord so that you can attach the inner directly to the tent without using any extra tent pegs. For this first test we used tent pegs, one in each corner, but in the future we’ll most likely only use the paracord as it’s more convenient and you can adjust the position of the inner more easily.

One small modification will have to be done to the tent. If you look closely at the picture above you can see that the inner wall is a little saggy which steals a few centimeters of head room. The solution to this would be to tape a small cord to the inner wall of the tent so that you can attach the inner to just like any double wall tent from say Fjällräven or Hilleberg. The inner actually has a small attachment buckle on the inner wall just for this purpose so no modification will have to be done there. *Updated 2015-07-12 – There was no real need for this modification after the supplied cords were attached with a little finness, see pictures below.

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One drawback with using a inner is that you can’t use the loops inside the tent to make a makeshift clothes line for drying your socks overnight as we’ve done so many times before.

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Tower of doom.

All in all I’m very happy with my purchase and so far so good. It fits perfectly with the UltaMid 2 so I can only recommend it if you’re in the market for a two person inner. I’ve heard rumors that HMG will be making a single person inner for their UltaMid-series so if you’re hiking alone that would be something to keep an eye out for.

Happy hiking!

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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.

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Röttle river waterfalls and the remains of Jerusalem Mill


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