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!

Advertisements

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!

Packing for Iceland

I, we, are off to Iceland in a few days to walk from Landmannalaugar down to Skógar and the Atlantic. We’ve been preparing for this trip for a while and made the last preparations yesterday with some additional notes on the map. Gear lists are done and everything is as ready as they can be.

DSC00175_15-07-15

Food for five days.

The gear lists can be found here below, just click the links and you’ll be transfered to LighterPack.com.

André

Big Three

Big Three – Total weight 1980 gram

Clothes

Clothing

IMG_0742

ZPacks Arc Blast

Complete gear list.

Jon

Big Three

Big Three – Total weight 2400 gram

Clothing

Clothing

image

ZPacks Arc Haul Cuben Fiber version *Custom

Complete gear list.

You can also find all of my gear lists under the Gear-tab.

First impressions – KS Ultralight gear Imo Pack

KS-Ultralight-Gear-IMO-Pack_2015-04-17_17-03-43_DSC00365 The Japanese post service sure knows how to haul stuff! Received my Imo Pack today, Friday after a five day transport from Japan to Sweden.

I’ll try to sum up my first impressions of the KS Ultralight gear Imo Pack here. Later on I will have to follow up with some reflections after taking the pack to the trail.

Continue reading

Jotunheimen post-gear-talk

Now that I’m back in my normal life with a house, kids and stuff I’ll had some time to think about what things that performed good and didn’t on our latest five day trip to Jotunheimen, Norway.

Joutunheimen_packning_2014-07-23_20-57-16_IMG_3613

My rain jacket is missing in the picture and some of the stuff came with me to the car but then got left behind (on purpose) before we left for the trails.

I’ll just make a list here and put some comments after each item. Some of them will get more attention that others. If you looked at my spreadsheet in one of my earlier posts you’ll find all the items there with weight and everything.

Clothes carried

INOV-8 Trailroc 245 – performed very well, were pretty new prior to the trip. I only had some pre-wear and tear on the toe protection so I glued that before I left. It did come loose but wasn’t a problem. The Trailroc’s are basically a jack of all trades kind of shoe (master of none). The general grip is good and I had only a few times where I didn’t feel fully secure walking down steep and wet rocks. Compared to my Hanwag Tatra GTX boots they perform equally good in my opinion. Now after the trip I have some heavy wear on the front “teeth”. Have walked approximately 180km in them.

Here’s a comparison from when they were new and now. (Click for larger images – goes for the whole post)

Smartwool socks (ankle high) – Nothing much to say other that they were comfortable. Didn’t wear a liner sock and had no real problem with blisters. They look quite worn now though so I guess their lifespan is about 150km. I don’t really tighten my shoes that much so they slide a little inside the shoe. I like to just have the opportunity to pull one shoe off without loosening any laces, works like a charm.

Dirty feet

Dirty feet

RAB Shortie Event Gaiters – Didn’t use.

Arc’Teryx Palisade – Great pants! Light and fast drying. Easy to role up and wear as shorts.

Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers – Worked great, the only pair I wore for five days. One thing that I can’t get my head around and this applies to almost every manufacturer of underwear… Why the heck do they have to put a seam and a logo at the very back? That  will only cause chafing. Pure evil if you ask me 🙂

Icebreaker Bodyfit 200 – Good all-around shirt. Great with a zipper for easy ventilation and the arms roles nicely up to your elbows and doesn’t get too wide in the cuffs afterwards.

Galdhøpiggen, Keilhaus topp

Buff – One of my favorite items, have been using these for years as bandana, hat, sweatband etc.

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket – Have had this for many years now and it still performs as it should. Keeps you warm even when wet.

Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket – Nothing much to say, does what it’s supposed to. Did however get discolored on the inside after a ride in the washer. Had a white inside but it’s now yellowish. Performance is not compromised.

Should be all white inside.

Should be all white inside just like the seams.

Patagonia R1 Pullover – Great fleece pullover. Keeps you warm even when wet.

Patagonia Houdini Jacket – Awesome windjacket! Used this a lot and I’m more than happy with it.

Climbing Besseggen

Climbing Besseggen

Sealskinz Thin Mid Sock – Perfect for walking around camp in wet shoes or just standalone if you keep an watchful eye out for sharp items that could damage them. Fast drying.

Helly Hansen thick socks (Sleeping) – Made my feet come back to life after long days in wet shoes/socks.

Outdoor Research Flurry Gloves – Used only a few times but they were warm. I have had problems with finding good gloves as I tend to freeze my hands off when I’m outside but these did the job well. A little heavy but well worth it for me. (80g)

Oakley Holbrook 9102 – Expensive but keeps the sun out of your eyes and they are Polarized.

Suunto Ambit – Great watch, love the fact that it has a built in GPS so you can track your every move. It’s nice to look at the trails you when you get back home.

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork – Awesome trekking poles. After about 4 hours I cut of the wrist bands and threw them in the trash. I couldn’t stand them. And after doing that the poles were much lighter and more comfortable. It was also easier to attach them together when pitching my UltaMid tent.

Backpack

Granite Gear A.C Blaze 6 with a (1) Granite Gear Hip belt pocket attached – Good pack, very comfortable. My maximum weight carried with 1l water was just shy of 10kg. Had one thing with the pack and that was that one of the plastic buckles on the hip belt dug in to my hip and caused a bruise. I typically have this issue with all packs I carry so it might not be an issue for you.

The belt pocket was a nice add-on and kept my camera and mobile safe from light rain and bumps. Though it would have been better if they were integrated into the hip belt itself.

One thing that I’d like to have are larger mesh pockets at the back of the pack. I found my self ramming stuff in there all the time and because it’s so tight against the main body of the pack it’s a bit of a hustle to get stuff out from the bottom of the pocket.

Also a few straps could have been removed like the ones on the side where the side mesh pockets are. The roll top is nice and the pack sheds water nicely. It’s not waterproof but it’ll keep some hard rain out and your stuff inside dry. I also think that the double strap solution that secures the top of the roll top could be a single strap, Y-strap, that would also save some weight.

Russvatnet, Gloptinden (v), Besshøe (h)

In the near future I think that I’ll most likely go for a lighter pack. I still want a frame and a big mesh pocket. I like the ZPacks Arc Blast pack, it looks nice. Might even get some custom work done on it. HMG Windrider packs are nice too but then I won’t save any weight as they are pretty much the same weight as the Crown V.C 60 that I’ve got now. But some things are better with the HMG over the ZPack in my opinion so I haven’t really decided on anything yet.

Shelter/Sleeping

Hyperlite Mountain Gear (HMG) UltaMid 2 – AWESOME! Nothing more to say.

Spiterstulen

Visdalen, Store Urdadalstinden

A room with a view

Spiterstulen

Known as the “Tower of Doom” because of the smell, haha.

Marmot Never Winter – Too warm for this trip and a little on the heavy side – will swap this for a lighter alternative in the near future. Might even go for a quilt. I also need a waterproof pack sack because my tent sits right on top of my sleeping bag with the result that I slept in a wet/moist sleeping bag through out the whole trip.

Therm-a-rest X-Lite – Great sleeping pad, was like sleeping in my own bed 🙂

Zpacks Pertex Quantum Bivy – Not really sure what I think of this. Had some big issues with condensation. Will get wet really fast and dries a little too slow for me. Did however perform quite good at times but my old US army issued goretex bivy that I’ve used for many years performs much, much better but that one is too heavy to bring… The Pertex material is really flimsy and breaks easily. I got some tears in the fabric but the ripstop held it together.

Memurubu

Sleeping through a rainy night. Hiding from dripping condensation is the plan here.

Cooking

Trail Designs Sidewinder + Inferno Cone w. Evernew Titanium Ultra Light .9L Pot – Performed very well. We knew this beforehand but it’s still nice to see that it worked in a not so controlled environment like on shorter trips. We brought alcohol with us but rarely used it. Damp wood and stuff worked but we had to put some effort into it when making our fires.

Trail Designs bottle – A bottle for holding your stove alcohol. Lightweight and all that but it leaked. Good for us that we put it in a plastic bag before we started hiking.

Sea to Summit Alpha Spoon Long – Good spoon, reaches nicely into your ziplock bags without you having food all over your fingers.

JO Sport mug small – Foldable cup, nothing much to say, it’s cheap and can take a beating.

Food – Our homemade freeze dried meals worked well. Some of the vegetables didn’t really rehydrate as fast as the package said but it wasn’t really an issue. From here on I’ll remove all the carrots from the freeze dried packages 🙂

Adding some luxurious items after the hell-walk up Galdhøpiggen

Adding some luxurious items (beer) after the hell-walk up Galdhøpiggen

Essentials

Platypus Platy Plus Bottle 1.0L Push Pull Cap – I’ll never use a push pull cap again, it sucks and gets dirty. The Platypus bottles are however great otherwise.

Platypus 2L Water Bottle – Bigger bottle with a normal cap.

Sunblock repackaged – It’s sunblock?

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 – Great camera, performs great and shots RAW and Full HD video.

Lip stuff – Yeah.

Biltema mosquito head net – Didn’t have to use it.

Jotunheimen map – Good to have, used all the time, wasn’t too sensitive to water, had it out in my mesh pocket and was always exposed to the elements.

Visdalen

Enjoying the view of Visdalen. The map sticks out of the back mesh pocket, light drizzle.

IFAK – Improved first aid kit, had everything I needed. Could have had one more Compeed plaster but that’s it. I brought two and cut them in to smaller pieces.

Kyrkja, Visdalen

This is what happens when you fiddle with electronics (watch) while walking! It was really deep and left a few nasty scars. 

Repair kit with cuben fiber tape, small wire saw, shoe lazes etc. – Didn’t have to use it.

Sea to Summit towel size S – Light but doesn’t take up as much water as you’d expect. I’ll replace this one.

GoPro Hero3+ w. accessories – Great camera. The movie in my previous post was shot with it. Shot in Protune, RAW.

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter – Small and lightweight water filter, works like a charm.

Half roll of TP – If you’ve got to go you better have this.

Toothbrush, cut in half – Teeth were clean.

Liquid soap repackaged – Will have to find some other brand than Sea to Summit that’s a little heavier on the dirt.

Silva compass – Didn’t use it, we were on the trails basically all the time.

Granite Gear Air Pocket Small – Held my car keys and money, nothing to say really.

Leatherman Style CS multitool – Stuffed down in my first aid kit. Great piece of gear with scissors, knife and small tweezers etc.

BIC lighter – On-site buy, expensive, but we had to have two. Two is one, one is none…

Black Diamond Spot Titanium – Didn’t use it… Should have check one more time when the sun came up and went down.

Nokia 101 – Cheap phone with good standby time. Can take dual SIM-cards.

Snow baskets for my trekking poles – Didn’t use them as we skipped one of the peaks where we should have needed them.

Djungle oil – Didn’t use, mosquitos weren’t that bad.

Biltema sitting pad – Great little foam pad for sitting or having under your knees when building a fire or similar. Weighs in at only 15g and is small enough to fit in your cargo pocket.

Conclusion

At the end of it all I used almost everything that I brought with me so packing-wise I had what I needed and a few extras. I don’t think I would have done this trip in another way with the stuff that I currently have.

At Besseggen. Gjende to the left and Bessvatnet to the right. Love how both the lakes are in different color.

At Besseggen. Gjende to the left and Bessvatnet to the right. Love how both the lakes are in different color.

Jotunheimen gear lists

Here comes mine and Jon’s gear lists. This is what we have packed for our 5 day trip in Jotunheimen. Below every picture you’ll find a link to our gear lists (Excel files). If you have any improvements or comments please drop them below. I don’t think we have time to make large adjustments but it’s always nice to get feedback.

As you’ll find in the spreadsheets we’ve shared some gear between each other like the sleeping- and cooking system. My list will be complete with all the stuff I use if I were to go on a solo trip.

The real interesting thing is that last year on our longest trip, 4 days, we carried packs that weighed in at 22-24kg each including water… As you can see below, things have changed my friends!

My list – 8.9kg

Joutunheimen_packning_2014-07-23_20-57-16_IMG_3613

Click for larger picture! (rain jacket is missing in the picture)

  • Granite Gear Crown V.C 60
  • HMG Ultamid 2 cuben fiber tent
  • Patagonia jackets and sweaters
  • Arc’Teryx Palisade pants
  • Inov-8 TrailRoc 245 shoes

Link to spreadsheet.

Jon’s list – 7.4kg

IMG_3830

Click for larger picture!

  • Gossamer Gear Kumo
  • 2x Zpacks Pertex Quantum Bivy
  • Trail Designs Sidewinder + Inferno Cone, Ti Tri, w. Evernew 0.9l pot
  • Houdini Motion Light pants
  • Salomon Fellraiser shoes

Link to spreadsheet.

Bonus picture

Bonus picture

Archaeopteryx

Today we have made a bold move into the future. With an obvious next step in our evolution as a globally recognized brand, we will official be leaving our shortened name behind. Effective immediately the company will be rebranded to the easier to spell and pronounce ‘Archaeopteryx.’ The company is soaring to new heights globally and needs a strong brand image to be seen as a leader in the outdoor apparel industry. There are no shortcuts in evolution.” For the full press release and video you can go to our blog… blog.arcteryx.com

Archaeopteryx

 

This was funny and very well made 🙂