Mini adventure – out canoeing

Sometimes it’s not important to go on long pre-planned trips but to get out at all. Mini adventures can change your everyday life in to something exiting and give you an energy boost to survive the next week.

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This weekend we had one of these mini adventures. By my house I have a lake and it’s connected with two smaller lakes, great for canoeing. We left around midday and quite soon after we reched the middle of “Sörsjön” the sky darkened far away and big lightening struck the sky. But as it was north of us and not that close we paddled on.

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After we reached or final destination where our plan was to stop and have a cup of coffee the bad weather had moved closer to us and the rumbling was telling us it was time to head back. With the wind at our backs we paddled on with ease and we were soon back on Sörsjön. But this time we kept close to the shore, you don’t want to be out on the middle of the lake when a thunder storm passes by…

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We jumped a shore and the weather started to act up with high winds but no rain. Fortunately it all passed by to the west of us. We pulled out or backpacks from the canoe and started to boil some water and unpacked some Swedish “fika”.

After our break it was time to have some fun and pitch Jons one man shelter, Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape with their Serenity NetTent.

Here’s a short video of Jon pitching the tent.

After all this it was time to head back to home base, filled with energy. Now everything was calm after the storm and the water was almost like a mirror.

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New sleeping system – Cumulus Quilt 250

Recently I’ve sold all my sleeping bags besides one that I’ve kept for the time being and now that the primary backpacking season is starting up again I had to get something else or otherwise I’d just have to sleep on the ground wrapped in a survival blanket…

I’ve been interested in quilts before but I’ve never taken the step from the conventional sleeping bags over to one of those. Even now before I ordered I wasn’t sure if I was to get one or not. The ones I ended up choosing between was the Cumulus Quilt 250 and Western Mountaineering Highlite sleeping bag. Both of them are about the same weight and has basically the same comfort temperature rating.

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I ended up choosing the Cumulus Quilt 250 as the price tag was more interesting and I like the idea of having a quilt rather than a sleeping bag as I normally sleep quite warm and I think it’s a nice feature to have the possibility to quickly get some cool air into the bag or just keep it open without having to fiddle with a zipper.

Before I say anything else I just want to give a shout out to Cumulus customer service which is just completely awesome! I had some trouble ordering and they sorted everything out very quickly and made sure the quilt arrived on time. It was a really good experience buying from them, highly recommended.

My first impressions of the quilt is that it’s lightweight, very well made, high quality stuff – no down leakage etc. It looks like a really good choice.The only thing I can complain about is the stuff sack, it’s a little small and I had a hard time compressing the quilt into it and closing it properly. It’s made out of the same material as the quilt, Pertex Quantum fabric so it’s really lightweight but not waterproof in any way. I’ll swap this for a stuff sack or a dry bag from Zpacks. I haven’t really decided what to get. I need something that’s light and waterproof as I stack my tent on-top of the sleeping bag and from past experience you’ll sleep in a wet/damp sleeping bag if you do that if the stuff sack is not waterproof…

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On Cumulus shop they claim that the bag weighs 480g and by the looks of it they’re correct, everything is in order 🙂

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It also comes with some extra bungee cords and a storage bag.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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.

Västanåleden revisited

Last summer we did a three day trip but we ended it early due to a big thunderstorm that came in over us. We were quite happy that we didn’t sleep in a tent that night because it caused massive problems with flooding etc. So this time we went on an overnighter to complete the last leg, the last 16km. Västanåledenclick to see trail info and maps.

Pre-planning and packing. Big thanks to Jon that helped with the pack an some other stuff as my calendar has been packed.

Pre-planning and packing. Big thanks to Jon that helped with the pack and some other stuff as my calendar has been packed.

We started on Friday as soon as I came off work and we drove to Gränna north of Jönköping (Sweden). After unpacking the car and doing some last minute adjustments and distributed a few things to balance the loads we started walking. It was now a few minutes past five. At this point we had about 2,5 hours of light before the sun set.

The small village of Röttle hosts a many treats like this waterfall and the Jerusalem mill.

Jerusalems Mill in Röttle.

Jerusalems mill in Röttle.

And the beech forrest.

About one hour in we took a short break making some coffee as the sun was going down in the background.

One of the missions on this overnighter was to see how much fuel the Primus Omnilite TI burner used for a days worth of cooking. We found that three meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner with an additional three boils for coffee water we used about 1dl of fuel. We used Primus Power Fuel and the temperature were between 0 degrees Celsius and +12 on the last day. We didn’t really go all in on saving fuel – our thoughts were rather:
– If we do this as comfortable as possible how much fuel will we spend?”

Trying out a new concept for us - Freeze bag cooking! Worked like a charm!

Trying out a new concept for us – Freeze bag cooking! Worked like a charm! Couscous with cheese.

As soon as the sun set it got dark really fast and we had to pitch the tent in the dark. But with our headlamps on but it worked great. Team work pays out!

Saturday morning – waking up around 06.30 – rise and shine!

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Heading down the steep slopes to get water for cooking and the morning coffee.

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Filling up the Platypus bottles.

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Jon is happy in his Arc’Teryx down jacket – cozy and warm.

After breakfast we took off quickly again to gain some momentum and getting warm as it was quite cold this morning.

Taking a quick breather after gaining some altitude.

Back in Röttle for a quick coffee before moving on again further north.

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A light breeze strikes the water – It’s all warm and nice, feels just like a summers day.

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Shoes off! Waiting for the freeze dried food to get ready.

End of the line – back where we ended our trip the last time when the thunderstorm came in on us. A great two days of walking!

5 years of blogging

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Happy anniversary too meeeee!!

Five years of blogging here at WordPress, well time literally flies.

It’s quite funny to look back sometimes on past adventures and stuff – this is kind of like my modern day diary so to speak.

Not that secret though 🙂

See you around!

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20km on a Saturday

I and Jon was out on a 7 hour hike yesterday and during those hours we covered roughly 20km. A days work!

We went on the John Bauer trail and the after a few hours went on our own little side track to make a nice circle back to our car.

We were hoping for some rain and heavy winds to test out some new rain gear but at first we didn’t get any but that changed after a few hours and then we got some nice down pour for about an hour or so. I thought I had packed my rain pants but I put those back in the closet and opted for some stuff to make pancakes instead (which we never did, haha!). So I just had to make due with my rain jacket which preformed very well through out the day. Must say that I like my Patagonia Torrentshell rain set very much. I’ve chosen the Patagonia jacket as my outer layer instead of a GoreTex jacket.

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This is photo is taken at the end of the day. I’ve got no rain pants but I’ve got pancakes in my backpack 🙂 The city of Jönköping in the background. And if you look closely you can see a small hight on the high ground to the top left and that’s basically where I live.

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