Mikael Strandberg – Expedition England

Having two kids of my own I find Mikael quite nuts or to be a true adventurer. 🙂

I have just spent one of the coldest winters in my life. I was fully dressed both on the inside of the Victorian house and outside. This is Moss Side 2014, Manchester, England. It is one of Europes poorest areas, but one of the most diverse and vibrant. Not at all the England I expected. To find out more about contemporary England, I am walking 600 km to London with my daughter in a stroller. And a local girl from Bolton, Georgia.


If you haven’t heard about Mikael before you should check out a few of his other trailers on YouTube and see if you could watch one of his documentaries. I think I saw one of his adventures, the one when he walks across Yemen. It was shown on Swedish television about a year or so ago I think.

“You´ll die. Or get kidnapped by Al Qaeda. What you want to do is impossible!”
That is what all experts, analysts and the Yemenis themselves told me. But I have done the impossible. I have made my way into what many say is one of the most difficult countries in the world to enter, and one of the most dangerous. Together with the Swedish journalist, Tanya Holm, Kensington the Camel and a few of the oldest inhabitants of Arabia, the Bedus, I have traveled through one of the hottest deserts on earth. We didn´t meet any terrorists, religious extremists and nobody got killed. I didn´t even feel any serious fear.
What we found during this adventurous walk, in our search of the real Arabia, was a Middle Eastern country very different from the one portrayed in the global media.

Read more at yourmiddleeast.com/features/making-a-pos­itive-documentary-about-yemen-video_1695­6



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.


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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.


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…

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Today was the maiden voyage for my “new” canoe, at least for me. It’s old but solid 🙂


The first stop of the day.


Jon tipping the canoe over to get rid of some water.


Coffee water in the making. The Sidewinder with the inferno insert performed even better with some additional wind blowing through it – surprised? No? 🙂

Waiting for the water to boil.

Waiting for the water to boil.


Enjoying the weather and some coffee.


New shoes and sleeping pad

Some new stuff that has dropped in lately.

The sleeping pad, a Therm-A-Rest NeoAir X-Lite looks very promising and will replace my Z-Lite and also complement it during the winter to add more comfort.



Trailroc 245

I also got a pair of new Inov-8 shoes. It’s not that I don’t like my Roclite 295’s but they’re run a little small (pun intended 😉 ). So for running around for an hour or so they’re fine but when I walk for several hours my feet get swollen and I guess that I’ll get hurt eventually. Won’t risk it on a 3+ day trip. To be on the safe side I got these Trailroc 245’s instead. I must say that I love the box that they came in! 🙂

These I got two a week or so ago. Will serve as extra grip for the Ultamid in stormy weather.

MSR Mini Groundhog stakes

MSR Mini Groundhog stakes


Nice touch with MSR logo on the stakes. They’re a little heavier than the others I’ve got. 9g per piece.

Isaberg Mountain Resort

This weekend we had an overnighter planned but we couldn’t make that so it had to be a shorter trip. I browsed the web for nice places to go and felt that Isaberg Mountain Resort would be a good choice. I drive past Isaberg almost once a month in work errands so the place is well know to me and it sits very beautiful in the hearth of Småland, Sweden. Just a fun fact for you guys that are not Swedish but know the brand Hestra Gloves. They’re made not very far from there 🙂


Click the picture to get a high-resolution downloadable map.

We parked my car close to the golf course in the east and started walking towards the t-junktion in the middle of the map where Hestraspåret and Bjärsvedsleden connects. Through out the day we walked Järnbärarleden, Bjärsvedsleden (our main goal) and Sjöstigen. This sums up at about 20km in total. Unfortunately it didn’t occur to me that I could track and trace our routes via my Sunnto Ambit watch so I started recording after we’ve done the smaller tracks. Down below you can see some info about where we went and so on. 

Today it was the maiden voyage for some new stuff too. I had my new Arc’Teryx Palisade pants and they were light and not too warm. They were also pretty easy to role up and wear as shorts. We had great weather throughout the whole day with temperatures around 18C and blue skies.

The most interesting piece of equipment for the day was the Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti Tri. I got it with both the 12-10 stove and the Inferno insert. I bought it sized for the Evernew 1.3L Titanium pot.

Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti Tri with Inferno insert made for the Evernew 1.3 Titanium pot.

Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti Tri with Inferno insert made for the Evernew 1.3 Titanium pot.

This amazing piece of gear is ultra lightweight and weighs in at only 267g with all the stuff listed above! That gives us the possibilities to run it both on alcohol and wood. Cooking times are great. We didn’t time the 12-10 stove but with the Inferno insert and wood we had about a liter of water boiling in 5 minutes from when the wood started burning. That is not too bad, not bad at all to be honest. The Inferno insert is an great addition to the Sidewinder itself. What happens is that it works like an jet engine igniting the fumes/gas making it burn more intense. This also helps with the “leave no trace” mantra. Because the wood burns so hot and with a great airflow it doesn’t give you any thick branches or charcoals unburnt when you’re done. It’s not really as good as the manufacturer makes you think but it’s a lot better than many other wood-burners out there or even an open fire.

You'll still have some ashes left but they blew away in the wind because it was so fine. You can see in the upper right corner that the ground got burnt through the titanium floor because the heat was so intense.

You’ll have some ashes left but they just blew away in the wind because it was so fine. You can see in the upper right corner that the ground got burnt through the titanium floor because the heat was so intense.

Enough about the nerdy gear talk already! Here are some pictures from Isaberg!

Jons new Gossamer Gear Kumo pack and my Granite Gear Crown V.C 60.

Jon’s new Gossamer Gear Kumo pack and my Granite Gear Crown V.C 60.

Kumo is a frameless pack so he puts his Therm-a-Rest X-lite pad as a frame.

The Kumo is a frameless pack so he puts his Therm-a-Rest X-lite pad as a frame.

Isaberg is a ski resort but in the summer the lifts are asleep

Isaberg Mountain Resort is a ski resort among other things but in the summer the lifts are asleep.

The view from Bjärsveds Klint, 250m.

The view from Bjärsveds Klint, 250m.

A short break on the hill where the picture above was taken.

A short break on the hill where the picture above was taken.

An old hanging bridge. We had to get our sea-legs on when crossing it because it was moving quite a bit.

An old hanging bridge. We had to get our sea legs on when crossing it because it was moving quite a bit.

Jon on the bridge.

Jon on the bridge.



The non-optional posing picture :)

The non-optional posing picture 🙂

Patagonia R1 Pullover

I bought a Patagonia R1 Pullover on sale the other day, 58% discount isn’t too bad on something that cost 1300SEK at the store. The only thing was that they only had two colors and two sizes left. Fortunately for me they had one in size small. But as I’ve mentioned before, Patagonia’s size charts are not to be trusted. As for the R1 Pullover it’s a slim fit model and that could mean that it would be to small over my chest but I got it anyway and if it didn’t fit I’d just return it.

Technical proficiency merges with simplicity: A beautiful line, your climbing partner, a rope and a rack. Start at the bottom and climb to the top. Our R1 Pullover maintains the same alpine-style elegance. Its finely tuned high/low interior grid polyester fabric (Polartec® Power Dry®) stretches, breathes, moves moisture and insulates. It squashes down to practically nothing, has a terrific feel and its technical fit accommodates light underlayers or works as a stand-alone top. Minimalist zippers reduce bulk, while lightweight micro-grid stretch polyester at the cuffs and armpits enhance breathability and dry times. A soft, kissing-welt zipper garage at the chin gives next-to-skin comfort. With a smooth, microfiber face for easy layering, offset shoulder seams for pack-wearing comfort and a zippered chest pocket.


  • Versatile R1 fleece, with its high/low grid pattern, provides excellent stretch, warmth, fast wicking and great breathability in a variety of temperatures
  • A lighter weight, micro-grid fabric on inner collar, underarm gusset and Variable Conditions Cuff improves breathability and dry times where you need it most
  • Refined technical fit with offset seams for comfort under outerwear and packs
  • Center-front Slim Zip with soft, kissing-welt zipper garage and chin flap for next-to-skin comfort
  • One left chest pocket has Slim Zip install and clean finished zipper garage
  • 6.8-oz Polartec® Power Dry® 93% polyester (41% recycled)/7% spandex. Inner collar, underarms and cuffs: 5.4-oz Polartec® Power Dry® 92% polyester (54% recycled)/8% spandex
  • 333 g (11.8 oz)
  • Made in Colombia.

Well it came in my mailbox today and guess what – they’ve done it again! The size chart says that I should have a size medium but the that would have been too big. Just look at the photos below and judge for yourselves.

The fleece is really nice and warm. Wore it over my Smartwool t-shirt inside and I had to take it of just after moving around the house for a bit. The grid fleece system looks to be well thought through and provide you with that extra warmth without any unnecessary weight.

The size small weighs in at only 277g and the size medium weight is in the product description above. I saved 39g (haha) with this one over my older Craghopper Vector fleece but that was in size medium. Even though the R1 weighs in at only 277g it feels really sturdy and thick in a thin way (was that weird?).

I haven’t tested it outside yet but I think I’ll do that this weekend, but from the unboxing I’m really happy with my choice.

I just noticed now that almost my entire layering system consist out of Patagonia stuff. That might be because it’s my preferred brand! Great gear that’s lightweight, durable and has a small environmental impact.

I got it for a bargain!

I’ve wanted a canoe for a long, long time but I’ve always found them to be too expensive. Now my fiancés father has this friend who wanted to sell his old canoe so I got it really cheap.

Here’s the beauty!


It will need some lovvin’ but the hull is in a really good state so I just need some new color. I also got two paddles, old wooden ones, that will have to be sanded down and coated.

Out hiking Friday to Saturday

This Wednesday I started wanted to go on a short hike this weekend and I asked Jon if he was interested. At the time he didn’t know if he could make it or not but on Thursday evening we decided it was a go.

I was browsing a few folders that I had laying around the house for some time that I’d taken home with me from different information stands around town. About a year or so ago I made an x-mark next to all the different trails that I was interested in and this particular one was more interesting than all others.

As we were short on time because we had to go as soon as I came off work I wanted something close to home. We moved about 6 months ago and when I’ve been out running I’ve seen different trail markings but not given that much thought to it as I’ve never ever seen anyone come down one of them before. But now it was prefect, we could simply just walk out of my backyard and on to that trail!

The trail, Södra Vätterleden, stretches pretty far and we opted for the non-city route, stage two to stage one. Map links are here below in the order we walked. We started down south of marker 15 by the lake.

Stage Two, part two
Stage Two, part one
Stage One

As usual I did’t think I needed to print more than the stage two parts because I thought we wouldn’t get that far in the short amount of time we had… But, we tend to walk much farther than expected every time we’re out and about so I guess I’ll have to get used to that 🙂

On the trail

On the trail

We started walking around 5.30pm and didn’t stop until 11.30pm and at that point we’d covered roughly 25km and found a really good camp site too. We made camp due north-east of marker 2, stage two, part one map. When we arrived it was almost pitch black so without our headlamps on we wouldn’t have been able to pitch the tent in such a good spot as we did. And luckily enough we pitched it right before the rain came down on us. I slept like a baby the whole night but Jon said it rained so heavily that he was worried that we would have water flowing in under the tent and get wet as we didn’t have a bathtub floor.

Coffee break in the woods. It was really warm weather, rain was expected but we only got a few drops under 5 minutes.

Coffee break in the woods. It was really warm. Rain was expected but we only got a few drops during 5 minutes.

Day two started just as good as when we started the day before. We woke up around 7 and broke camp around 8.

Lake Stråken where we camped.

Lake Stråken where we camped.

We had a deadline for our pickup and that was around noon. We started walking and covered some ground quite fast even though our legs were sore from yesterday. Jon had new shoes on, his Salomon Fellraisers and that was his curse with blisters and all. Even though I have walked quite a bit in my Inov-8 Roclite 295’s I’d never walked this far in them before so I guess that was what got me. Also the higher pace due to the fact that we both used trekking poles surely made an impact on our muscles and feet.

Lunch break by marker 14.

Lunch break by marker 14, stage one map. Mashed potatoes with soy-stuff in taco mix was on the menu. The freeze bag recipes are coming together quite nicely!

Backpacks, Granite Gear Crown V.C 60 and Üla Circuit.

Backpacks – Granite Gear Crown V.C 60 and ULA Circuit. We could most definitely go with smaller packs as we have downsized our gear so much. Jon packs his Z-lite pad inside the pack and still got a lot of room left. I had to put my Z-lite pad on top of the pack to have the internal frame covered.

This was the first time I had the opportunity to try out my new Crown V.C 60 backpack and the HMG Ultamid 2 tent and I liked them a lot! Also my new Patagonia Houdini jacket was really good keeping me warm when the wind was blowing. One thing that will be changed are my pants. My Fjällräven Vidda Pro’s will be put in storage for those moments when bush-wacking is a must. They will be replace by a pair of Arc’Teryx Palisade lightweight pants. Also the sleeping pad will be swapped out and replaced with another Therm-a-Rest pad, the X-Lite. I think that both the Z- and X-Lite will do very good as a combo for really cold winter nights. I hope to get both of these things before next weekend and maybe even the new innernet as bug season is around the corner.

All in all during this hike we covered about 38km. We didn’t have time to complete the last bit of the stage as we ran out of time. We ended the hike at marker 11 where a narrow bridge crosses Stråken. I guesstimate that we had roughly and hour to go from where we stopped to reach Mullsjö, the starting point of stage one. But that part was mostly asphalt anyways so I don’t really think we missed anything 🙂