Episode Two – The Fox & The Bird | Hornstrandir, Iceland, August 2017

Trip report of my solo hike in the remote area of Hornstrandir, north western most part of Iceland in August 2017.

This video shows the first three of eight days.

  • Day One: Látrar – Hesteyri
  • Day Two: Hesteyri – Fljótavík
  • Day Three: Fljótavík – Hlöðuvik

 

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John Bauer Trail

Coming full circle on this trail or rather where we ended a trip 4 years ago down from Omberg to Gränna. Click this for the old reports, check the ones posted 2013. Them backpacks back then, pew, 25-ish kilos! I could wear about three backpacks now to get to that weight 🙂

It was a good trip with superb weather, 26-28 degrees Celsius and a light breeze. But from a scenic point of view only the first 5-8km from the start (south section) is worth while and the last section (north section) is good for the most part, especially the last bit when you get the view of lake Vättern.

 

Ticks loves this trail, or me, I had 19 of them but only two attached. Jon got away with two… Lucky.

Iceland 2015 – Gear talk with Jon

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

Video from Jotunheimen

This is our trip to Jotunheimen in 7 minutes of your time. Well worth it I think 😉

Make sure to watch in fullscreen, 1080p/720p, and have good audio available!

Pictures and trip report will come. I’ll also do a short “review” of each item that I brought along with me. Not really a review but rather a few words about the individual items…

Russvatnet

Russvatnet

Stay tuned!

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

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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

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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

GoPro Hero3+ mic mod

Having a GoPro Hero3+ Black and comparing it to my Contour cameras the audio out of the box is anything but good. Quite sad as the camera otherwise is great…

As I want to use it for when I’m out and about I needed a solution for audio that meant not bringing something big and bulky like my Rode Videomic Pro. I Googled a lot and found this small mic from Edutige, ETM-001. The mic is omni directional which means that it’ll pick up audio basically from all directions. And it’s a stereo mic. Some will probably argue that it’s better with a shotgun-like microphone as the audio is only picked up from the direction that the mic is facing, hence removing a lot of background noice. And there are microphones for that too in the same size as the ETM-001.

As the new GoPro’s don’t have a 3.5mm jack anymore like the Hero2 you need a adapter cable for it to work that connects via mini-USB. I didn’t want the mic to just be hanging from the camera body I needed something to hold it in place. At first my plan was to glue it to the GoPro Frame and/or the waterproof body but then I couldn’t use it stand-alone with the camera or if it breaks you’ll have to replace it and that will be quite hard so that plan went out the window. I tried a few different places before I saw that the USB-adapter had a part that wasn’t flat but rather rounded where the 3.5mm jack could be glued and fixed in to place.

This is the final result! Works like a charm! I want to get a deadcat (windscreen) for the mic too but I guess that will be a problem. I don’t want anything showing up in the bottom left corner of the picture. I haven’t tried every video setting but 1080p works but 2.7k wide shows the windscreen. I guess that if I don’t use it the problem will be solved. However I nearly ever shoot in 2.7k wide other than for timelaps and stuff where I don’t need sound so for me that’s not an issue. If this is not the case for you then this particular mod won’t work. If you place your adapter so that it’s aligned with the USB-plug it won’t be seen in 1080p at least.

Made a short timelaps where you can see the mic in the bottom left corner of the screen in 2.7k wide.

 

Here’s a short video in 1080p and you can see a little bit of the windscreen at the bottom. So if I just make a small adjustment on the image crop it won’t be there and I won’t be loosing much of the picture anyway. If you make yours so that it’s aligned with the USB-plug you won’t have my issue. I bought 3 of these USB-adapters so if I get annoyed with this I’ll just make a new one. You can find them really cheap on eBay like four dollars a piece, just follow the link above. Make sure to buy the one that’s not a 90 degree angle USB-adaptor because that one is all flat on the USB-plug and gluing the 3.5mm jack to it will be harder, but not impossible.

 

Looking through all my test footage I can see that I don’t have this issue with the windscreen showing in all my videos. I guess that the windscreen just came of the mic just a little sometimes. But like I suggested, glue it so that it sits aligned with the USB-plug and you’ll be just fine!

Hopes this helps 🙂