In the beginning of June, my neighbour Lars, who’s a climber, asked me if I wanted to join him and a couple of friends to go climbing in either Scania or Blekinge. Initially the plan was to drive down to the wall the evening before, and spend the night in a tent. Unfortunately we didn’t do that, but drove early in the morning instead.
The goal was Köpegårda in Blekinge, close to the ocean between Karlshamn and Ronneby.
I’ve only climbed a couple of times before, indoors when I was 17-18 years old. I’ve wanted to start climbing for a long time, but I haven’t got around to it, and I’ve also had a terrible fear of heights.
It was roughly a one hour drive to Köpegårda, and we arrived around 8 am. We were the first to get there. Lars friend Marcus, and Jamie from Ireland where driving from Lund.
Köpegårda is a small wall, but there are several routes, and anchors at the top. Lars and I looked up the routes on 27Crags and choose Rulrännan, a grade 5. We secured the top rope and Lars taught me the basics and went through the safety part. I borrowed both a harness and shoes from him, as he recently upgraded his gear and had spare gear.
Rukrännan looked easy from the ground, but higher up it became surprisingly difficult. It took me a couple of tries to get the hang of it and to reach the top.
More and more climbers came to the walls A young couple from Kalmar, a group of teens from Karlskrona climbing club and a guide with another young couple. Eventually Marcus and Jamie arrived too.
There were ropes on a lot of routes. This was a good thing, as we could easily try new routes. I also enjoyed having instructors there who could give me advice and help me with routes from the ground.
I tried several routes, but the hardest ones I could climb all the way where grade 5.
After a while people started dropping off, and eventually our group was the only one left. Marcus was setting up a team for a trip to Mount Ushba in Georgia later this year. He showed us techniques to rescue yourself and others if someone would fall down a crevasse. I started to remember some things I learned when I was a volunteer firefighter a few years back, and used a sling around my harness and the rope to be able to pull the person up while only using the legs.
Climbing was really fun, and it’s definitely a hobby I’ll pick up. I discovered that I’ve conquered most of my fear of heights. I trust the equipment, and as long as I’m focused on the wall I’m not afraid.
Now I’m gonna start packing. Tonight I’m going to take my youngest daughter on her first overnight trip.
When you think ultralight it’s easy to also think ultra expensive Dyneema composite fabric cottage gear. And you could spend a fortune to get a light gear setup. (Trust me I know. I’ve done it)
However, there are ways to get a cheap descent lightweight kit. Maybe for family members who rarely, but occasionally join you on hikes. Or friends that are showing an interest in hiking, but don’t want to spend a small fortune before they even know if is for them. On Reddits UL-forum there is a constantly changing lighterpack gearlist with ultralight affordable alternatives.
I put together a version for a somewhat complete gear list for a price of around $300 and a weight around 3000g using parts of the Reddit gearlist.
Most of it is from AliExpress. I’ve bought both an Aegismax Wind Hard quilt (496g / $80) and an Aegismax G1 mummybag (692g / $94) for the occational times my wife or any of my kids join me. Concerning the ethics I read a post on backpackinglight.com earlier this year that they are supposed to use down from the same source as the rest of the major companies that have their manufacturing in China.
I also bought a down puffy ($21), a foldable sleeping pad ($18) and the 3F frameless pack (950g / $43) for my wife.
You do however skimp on quality. The low cost comes with that. There have been reports that the fabric in the sleeping bag and quilt doesn’t breath well, which makes you sweat, and in the end will leave you colder. They’ve changed the fabric on the sleeping bag, but it didn’t appear to be fully down proof as down seems to seep through the fabric. The quilt also has sewn through baffles, but I plan to use these primarily during the summer. But I might also use the quilt over my winter sleeping bag if the temperatures drop as much as they did on my January overnight trip.
In most cases I’d say that more expensive gear from known quality brands will give you better products. And I like to support the cottage industry. But if you, like me, want to get a lightweight setup for family members without having to spend a fortune on gear that seldom gets used, it’s nice to have a cheap option.
In an earlier post I wrote about the hiking plans for this summer, with a two-week hike in northern Sweden. The initial route was planned for me hiking solo the first week, and then my friend would join me for the second week.
However plans have changed, since my friend was able to get away for two week. Our first plan was to hike Kungsleden together, according to my route. We found out though that during our second week Fjällräven Classic occured, which meant that we would meet thousands of hikers on our way to Abisko. It would not be as lonely and pristine as we’d like. That, and the fact that there probably would be fresh poop under virtually every rock on the path from Nikkaluokta to Abisko made us look elsewhere.
Kungsleden passes through the southern part of Sarek, but other than that there are no marked trails and very few bridges. There are some unmarked trail, but hiking in Sarek means finding your own route, and fording streams.
None of us have hiked in Sarek before, so I bought the book “På fjälltur; Sarek” by Claes Grundsten. There are several different routes described in the book.
None of them fitted us perfectly, as we wanted a circle hike for 10-12 days. But I used the book to make a route from parts of 11 different described routes.
The plan is to drive to the parking lot next to the dam at Måhkkål, and hike the trail from there to the mountain hut Aktse. From Aktse we would hike up on the mountains north of Rapavalley. This way we get less mosquitoes and also (if the weather is good) get some nice views over Rapavalley.
We’ll then use a trail from the mountainside down to Rapavalley along Alep Vássjajågåsj, and follow that trail to Mikkastugan, where there’s a bridge. From there we follow Álggavágge down to Niejdariehpvágge. Then we’ll follow Sarvesvágge to the east before we round the mountain Noajdde. From there we’ll hike south west until we’ll find the trail to Pårek. Once on the trail, we’ll use that trail down to Kungsleden, hike Kungsleden back to Aktse and then back to the car at Måhkkål. From a rough calculation it should be somewhere around 180km. I am planning for exit routes and alternatives if we get delayed, hike slower than anticipated or otherwise need to leave faster for some reason.
The route is planned to get the most out of the trip. There is a mix of trails and off-trail hiking. We’ll see Rapavalley both from the mountains and down in the valley itself. While we’ll hike both high and low it still shouldn’t be too much elevation to handle.
I really like planning trips like these. I think that the preparations is a major part of the fun of hiking. Studying maps and areal photos, planning routes, prepping food and looking through the gear. I can’t wait to get out again.
A little over a year ago I took the plunge and bought myself a quilt. A Cumulus Quilt 350. Cumulus is a Polish sleeping bag and quilt maker, that makes high quality gear at an affordable price. For a few extra euros you can get your quilt or sleeping bag with hydrophobic down.
I had a hard time deciding on whether to go with a quilt or with a sleeping bag. The main contender was the Cumulus Liteline 400, but eventually I went with the quilt instead and bought it last spring. I already had a Panyam 600 from Cumulus that I really liked.
I’ve really tried to like the quilt. I do like how easy you get in or out of it, by just pushing it down, since there’s no fabric under your back, and it is lighter than a sleeping bag. But I haven’t found a way to get the strap system on the Cumulus quilt to work good, without getting drafts.
I toss and turn a lot when I sleep. If I secure the quilt to the sleeping mat the way it’s intended, the quilt follows me when I turn, which leaves me with the gap in the back when I sleep on my side. Every time I turn I have to readjust the quilt. This could also have to do with the quilt being quite narrow.
I’ve searched the web for solutions, and I know some people don’t use the straps at all. This is something I’ll try, if my modification doesn’t work as intended.
What I did was to untie the shock cord on the quilt, tie rings to the quilt in four places, put mitten hooks on the shock cord and separately strap the shock cord around the sleeping pad and secure the rings on the quilt to the shock cord with the mitten hooks. Kind of a DIY version of the Enlightened Equipment strap system.
I can move the mitten hooks closer to the center of the sleeping mat, or out to the sides, depending on how tightly I want the quilt to be.
I did these modifications last night, and haven’t tried it outside yet. If it doesn’t work I’ll try it without straps, and if I still keep getting cold drafts I’ll probably buy a Litelite 400 instead.
Coast2Coast Sweden was founded by Jörgen Johansson and Jonas Hållén after they met on Fjällräven Classic a few years ago. 2017 is the fifth year anniversary of the hike that goes 400km from Kalmar on the east coast of Sweden, to Varberg on the west coast. Last year Franziska Kaufmann join up as the third guide. There is an emphasis in lightweight gear and hiking in trailrunners is the standard.
I joined up with the other hikers on Friday evening in Moheda. They had been hiking for almost a week, and arrived in Moheda Pizzeria at around 18.00. The day had been one of the hottest this year, with temperatures close to 30°C and not a cloud in the sky.
I have to admit that I was a little bit nervous to join them. It’s always tough to come in to an already established group, especially one that had hiked and lived together for a week already.
When I arrived at the Pizzeria a few of the hikers had already arrived. Jonas, one the founders, Judith from the Netherlands, her colleague Susanne from Sweden and Gudrun from Germany. English was the go-to language whether you were talking to a Swede or not, so that no-one would be excluded from the conversation.
My concerns about joining an established group was unfounded. Everybody where very social and easy going, and with a shared interest in hiking it wasn’t hard to find topics to talk about.
More and more hikers dropped by. Judy, the founder of Lightheart Gear from USA and Alie from the Netherlands. Franziska, one of the guides, joined up, but the heat had got to her so she had to rest in the shade and fill up on electrolytes.
We were still waiting for Göran from Sweden, and Oliver and Henning from Germany. Oliver had hiked Coast2Coast the year before. Göran has hiked C2C every year, and hiked the first year together with his horse Allan.
I left the Pizzeria with Susanne and Judith, to hike the ~4km to Hössjön, where we would spend the night.
Hössjön is a pretty small lake, but it was a nice campsite, and one of the residents nearby let us use his property to fill up on fresh water and charge phones and powerbanks.
A lot of the hikers, who’d been hiking in relentless heat all day, used the lake to cool off. I’m a real coward when it comes to cold water, so I stayed in my tent.
Judy, who’s the founder and lead designer of Lightheart Gear, had brought a new version of the Solong 6. She gave me a tour, and I have to say that I was impressed by it. It was a really cool and well thought out design, and it was really spacious. The big mesh panels and the ability to keep the fly up on one side allows you sleep with a view while still being protected from the elements. I almost wanted to swap tents with her for the night to try the tent.
The mosquitoes where swarming, and soon everybody sought refuge in their tents. I used my Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2, without an inner. I only had the polycro groudsheet and my Borah Gear bivy. The shelter didn’t keep all the mosquitoes away, and during the night I had some of them buzzing over my head. I’m still not sure whether to keep the solution I have now in mosquito infested areas or whether to go with a floorless net inner. Campsite selection is of the essence here, as a more exposed area with more wind might have reduced the number of mosquitoes.
I skipped the polestraps and used the sawed off bottom section of a cheap AliExpress hiking pole to connect the poles together. It worked perfectly, and was way easier than using the polestraps. I don’t know which of the polestraps and the “missing link” that gives you the most strength though.
Next morning everybody had their breakfasts separately, at their own tents. Judy and Alie left pretty quickly, and Franziska and Judith got a ride to Broaskog café as they weren’t feeling well. I hiked with Jonas, Görgen, Oliver, Henning and Gudrun. After an hour or so some of us decided to have a break in the shade. Jonas and Gudrun continued to the café though.
Göran explained that Jörgen Johansson had a method of hiking that made sure he could hike long days, and still feel fresh when he came to camp. He hiked for 50 minutes and then took a 10 minute break. Every hour. I’m gonna start using this method myself, as it’s easy for me to just keep going and then end up being really tired once I reach camp.
I had a short break at Broaskog café. It hadn’t opened yet, but the owner filled up my waterbottle before I left. Most of the others waited for it to open, but I went with Jonas to the lake Åbodasjön to have lunch there. Jonas took a swim, but in my usual state of cowardliness I stayed on the shore due to the cold water temperature. A few others joined, and after a while Jonas, Gudrun, Oliver and I started hiking again.
It was a long day of hiking, with the sun burning hot over our heads. The distance this day was pretty long, and therefor they had shortened it a few kilometers to a planned campsite near lake Kalvsjön. When we reached Kalvsjön though, there wasn’t enough space in the public places to set up camp. Most of the flat areas belonged to the local fishing club, and camping was prohibited for others than its members.
The four of us went over our options. There was a campsite nearby, but it would mean going back a bit, and we would also have to buy a membership in the fishing club which would cost 200SEK +20SEK as a camping fee.
We decided to hike the extra ~3km to the old campsite next to lake Rusken, that C2C had used the previous years.
We set up our tents and Jonas went for a swim. This time I actually joined him. There wasn’t much swimming on my part though. More a quick dip, a rinse and quite a lot of cursing over the cold waters. Jonas took a picture of me and posted it on the C2C Facebook page.
We made dinner and then went to bed. Jonas stayed up, as Judith and Susanne where on their way. The others where to tired to go on, and had stopped at the fishing club campsite. After a while Judith and Susanne arrived, and set up their tent. Judith was tired from a cold that was starting to get worse, but they where still in good spirits.
The campsite was prefect in terms of wind and moisture. There was a breeze all night, which kept the mosquitoes at bay, and I had no condensation at all when I woke up.
Susanne and Judith decided to stay behind to take it slow in the morning. Judith was unfortunately still not feeling well.
Jonas, Oliver, Gudrun and I left our campsite at Rusken, and continued north. My destination was the café at Nydala monastery at the north end of the lake, but the rest of the hikers would continue from there. We hiked along the east shore of Rusken, and eventually reached Nydala monastery where we had lunch. I had to get back home, and got picked up at the café and left the others there.
It was a great trip. There was quite a lot of road walking, so one has to be prepared for that. But unlike my solo hikes I didn’t mind the roads this time even though I prefer the trails. I had a great time talking to to the others about hiking, gear and UL philosophy. I am somewhat of a gear nerd, and it’s fun to geek down a bit and look at other peoples gear. I guess the piece of gear that most caught my eye was Judys Solong 6.
The weather was nice to, albeit very hot. It was the first time I hiked in shorts, and that was nice. The ticks where out in full force though, and every time we’d hiked through a brushy area we stopped for a tick-control. I think I picked at least eight or nine ticks off my legs and arms during the weekend. Fortunately none of them had burrowed down yet.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to join for the whole coast to coast hike next year, but I’ll definitely try to join for at least a section like this year.
Söderåsen national park is a 1625 acre national park close to Ljungbyhed in Skåne. The area has deep rift valleys and beautiful deciduous forests. There are lots of trails in the park, and SL3, section 4 and section 5 of the 1000 km long Skåneleden goes through the park.
In the park you’re not allowed to camp other than on the designated campsites at Liagården and Dahlbergs, where there are huts with beds, free of charge. There are also toilets and fireplaces scattered throughout the park.
Last weekend I drove to Söderåsen with my wife and daughters. Our first plan was to do a car camping trip, where we would hike in a circle and then set up camp near the car. The forecast predicted lows around freezing, and my wife didn’t want to have the first tent night with our youngest in those temperatures, so we ended up doing a day-hike instead of an overnighter.
The weather report had switched back and forth between sunny and rainy the entire week, but when we drove the two hours from home to the national park, the skies where covered in clouds. When we had only 15 minutes left it started to rain, and by the time we got to the parking lot it was pouring down. We thought about keep on driving to Kullaberg nature reserve instead, but after a short while, the rain subsided.
We put on our packs and started hiking. The skies cleared up fast, and by the time we had climbed the first hill, the sun was shining. We had lunch on the ridge and tried three different flavors of Knorr Spaghetteria. On their new ones you only have to add boiling water, as opposed to the old ones where you had to boil them for 7 minutes. For a price of 15 SEK /$1,5 they were a lot cheaper than your regular freeze-dried meal. You need two of them though, as the portions are rather small but it’s still a lot cheaper.
Despite being relatively close to home, I’ve never been in Söderåsen national park. There was quite a lot of elevation, and the highest peak in Skåne is here, at the modest height of 212 meters. It doesn’t sound like much, but in a relatively flat landscape it feels higher.
We followed the ridge along the edge all the way until we dropped down between two ridges. Our trail connected to Skåneleden and we passed a bridge over a creek that runs through the park.
We did some Geocaching, but didn’t pass that many on our hike. We followed the creek for a while before we crossed the creek again and hiked up on another ridge and passed Liagården shelter area. It was only April, but there where tents scattered over the entire area. The fireplaces were burning, and the lean-to shelter filled with gear. In peak season it could be hard to find room for your tent.
We didn’t stop at Liagården, but continued on the ridge back to towards the car. We where all starting to get tired, and hiked back to the parking lot without many breaks.
Söderåsen was a beautiful place, but its proximity to the Malmö/Copenhagen-area makes it an well visited area, and even in April it felt crowded at times. I will get back here though, as I’d like to see the area in autumn colors. But I’ll probably try to find a campsite outside of the parks, where you could get more privacy.
The trip also served as a test run of my wifes 3F Ul Gear backpack that we bought from Aliexpress. It worked good, but using a frameless pack do require more care when packing. But it should be good for weekend trips.
Sigfridsleden starts in Asa, north of Växjö and goes 88 km south, past Växjö, down to Knapelid south of Åryd where it connects to Utvandrarleden. From Asa to Växjö the trail is approximately 50 km. Trail is the wrong word though, as most of this route is on paved road. The route is part of a 4000 km network of pilgrim routes that goes from Trondheim in Norway to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
Last Friday I asked my father, whom my son would spend the weekend with, to drive me to Asa, where the trail starts. I’ve been here two times before, in the first week of January 2015 and 2016 on short overnight trips. Those times I only hiked a couple of km before setting up camp. This time though, I planned to hike the trail back to Växjö.
After studying the map I was prepared for a bit of road walking, and I didn’t have high expectations on the “trail”. But I saw it as a chance to get out, and as a workout as I planned to push myself and do high milage. The weather report predicted lows below freezing, so I decided to bring my Cumulus Panyam 600 and my Exped Winterlite, as I hate being cold.
I was dropped off at Asa church at around 18.30. I planned to hike for an hour or so, but I ended up hiking for two hours, and did ~9km. The first part follows a small road, which then turns into a logging road. After that you follow a trail next to the lake Asasjön. This part of the route was great, but short. I saw two roe deers and a crane on a field. They observed me, but as I came closer they left in a hurry.
I either walked through uneven forests or next too fields, so it took me a while to find a good camp site. I had checked the map and planned to set up my tent near Skärsjön. When I came there I saw that there was a shooting range, with the targets in direction of the cape where I had planned to set up my tent. I walked past the shooting range and found some flat ground on the shore of Skärsjön, outside of the danger zone.
The whole evening had been windy, and the wind really picked up after I set up camp. The rain started falling just after I got my shelter up. The ground was loose, so my stakes didn’t get a good grip. I made a quick dinner and then went to bed. I was to tired to even read.
A little before 01.00 I woke up after falling in and out of sleep since I got to bed. I saw that the wind was about to rip a couple of the most exposed stakes. I got up, put on a rain jacket and started looking for big rocks. Wet snow had started to fall. I anchored the most exposed stakes with rocks and crawled back into my sleeping bag. As I laid there I was afraid for the first time while hiking. The trees around me made cracking sounds, and I was afraid that one would crack and fall on me. When the gusts really picked up I actually felt the ground sway. At first I thought I was imagining it, but after a while I realized that it was the roots of the nearby trees that moved beneath me as the wind shocked them. I went to sleep with an image of me being impaled with torn off roots from a falling tree.
I woke up to a beautiful morning with clear skies. But the wind still blew hard, which made it hard to pack down the tent.
I left my campsite and started hiking a gravel road. There were a few short parts with trail, but after that the long, seemingly endless stretch of pavement begun. The route had changed, so my map wasn’t accurate, but I had a newer map in my cellphone.
After I had passed the village Tolg, I saw a strange tower on a hill in the distance. I Googled it, and apparently it was Nykulla Observation Tower, built in the late 1950s. I thought about going up there, but from the sign near the parking lot it looked like it opened in May.
After the tower there was a short section of actual trail through a pine forest.
But then came the paved roads again. Endless paved roads for kilometer after kilometer. My feet cheered the few times they touched actual trail. I was in a bad mood, and thought to myself that the people that made this route must hate hikers, since most of it was on pavement. But I had myself to blame, since no-one forced me to be there.
As always I was looking for the perfect campsite. The route passed many fields and uneven forests, and I had planned to camp near Toftasjön, in Notteryd nature reserve. In the end my feet, calves, knees and thighs hurt. I was really tired as I had hiked nonstop, except for a 30-minute lunch break. I did the hike as a way to exercise and to see how far I could push myself in a day.
When I came to Notteryd I left Sigfridsleden and turned to the Notteryd circle trail. I followed the shore of Toftasjön out to the cape “Tungan” where I found a decent spot in a birch forest. The ground was pretty uneven, but at this point I didn’t care.
I was exhausted, and went to bed right after I had put up my shelter, at 20.00. I didn’t even make dinner. I had hiked somewhere between 37-40 km, which is a new record for me. I fell asleep and slept good the entire night.
I woke up at around 08.00, but stayed in my sleeping bag for a while. After that I took it slow, aired out the sleeping bag and dried out the slight condensation I had on the inside of my shelter.
A little after 10.00 I left my camp site and headed home. I followed the circle trail to the road, and then walked the rest of the way on the road that cuts through Fylleryd nature reserve, and I was back home in less than 2 hours.
I didn’t take a lot of photos on this trip. I saw a lot of small villages, farms, fields and pavement.
Would I recommend this hiking route? No, not unless you have a hiking nemesis that you want to trick into doing a really boring route. Or if you like hiking on paved roads. There may be a target group for a route like this, but for me, who hikes to disconnect from everyday life and to get in touch with nature the route was a disappointment.
A couple of days ago I finally signed up for a part of Coast to coast Sweden. The event is a two-week hike, approximately 400 across Sweden, from Kalmar in the east to Varberg in the west. It was first introduced in 2013, and this year it’ll be from May 14 to May 27. One of the founders is Jörgen Johansson, who coined the expression three for three. 343 means that if you can get the three big items (carry, shelter and sleep system) down to 3 kg you’ve done the major part in lightening your pack.
I signed up for the weekend on May 20-21 and will join the others on Friday evening in Moheda, just north of Växjö. This part has its own Facebook page. The whole hike will cost you 3000 SEK and shorter parts, like the one I’ll be doing, cost 300 SEK per day. Here’s where you sign up.
I’ve never done a social hike like this before, but it’ll be a great experience. It’ll be fun to meet other lightweight hikers, and Jörgen will have some workshops on lightweight backpacking. I’m really looking forward to it, and for someone who mostly hike solo it’ll be something new for me.
The week before Easter the whole family on my wifes side went on vacation to Madeira. Madeira is a small island located in the Atlantic ocean, off the west coast of north Africa. It’s an autonomous region of Portugal. The island is relatively small, but it’s full of mountains, and the capital Funchal is built on the mountainside. The highest point of the island is Pico Ruivo, at 1862 meters above sea level. Madeira is a mecka for day hikers, as the island has a system of more than 2,170 km of levadas, accompanied with a walking trails. Levadas are aqueducts made to carry water to the agricultural regions.
The trail between Pico do Arieiro and Pico Ruivo offers some stunning views, as you hike on the top of the island. The round-trip is about 12 km. On Pico do Arieiro theres a big parking lot, and the road to Pico do Arieiro is in good shape.
As me and my wife drove from the house we rented in Funchal, we left the 20°C and palm trees for colder weather. As we came higher up the mountain we first drove through Eucalyptus forests. Even higher than that the Eucalyptus trees got replaced with a really old-looking spruce forest. It didn’t feel like we were close to the equator, but we could just as well have been in an old forest in the Nordic. The spruce forest was a lot more beautiful than I’m used to though, since most of the spruce forests in the south of Sweden consists of dense plantations.
Even higher than that bushes and grass replaced the spruces. We saw a man and his teenage son hitchhiking and picked them up. They were on their way to Pico do Arieiro and was going to hike the same trail as we did.
When we came to the parking lot it was full. We dropped our passengers off and drove down the road and parked at the side of it.
The skies were partly clouded, and the air was cool. I was glad that I had brought my synthetic puffy.
The wind blew hard, and the trail was narrow at places, with steep sides. My wife has a fear of heights, and that fear was even bigger than she knew before this hike. But she overcame it and hiked the entire trail, despite the the height.
Almost the entire hike we had clouds around us, or just above our heads. On most parts of the trail there was wires as a fence from the cliffs. But in several places the poles had come lose, and the wires hung outside of the cliffs.
After a few km there is an intersection. The right trail is supposed to be a harder trail than the left one. But it was closed, so we took the left one instead, which goes through a series of tunnels.
When we came near Pico Ruivo we passed a dead forest. The trees, with branches that had been twisted by wind, had died from a fire. The boles where pale and white, with the cracks painted black by soot.
Just under the top of Pico Ruivo there is a cabin. We were hungry, and hoped it would be a cabin that sold food, but unfortunately it was closed. We rested for a while and ate the snacks we’d brought and then hiked the last 500 meters up to the top of Pico Ruivo. The top was covered in clouds so we didn’t get any spectacular views.
We found a geocach on the top, and after we logged it we turned back towards Pico Arieiro. As we hiked back we saw two pigeon-sized birds next to the trail. They were probably quite used to humans as they sat still while we photographed them.
On the last stretch back to the car the trail was covered in fog, and the wind blew hard. We had brought too little food and were both very hungry. The fog made the parts on the image below feel almost magic. It felt like the trail was floating in the clouds.
When we came back to the parking lot we stopped by the restaurant there and bought my new favorite fast food. A Portuguese steak sandwich. Two slices of Portuguese bread with garlic butter, a steak and a fried egg (plus cheese and ham, if you like the special). It was both cheap and delicious, and well needed after the hike.
Tomorrow evening I’ll be back on the trail, as I’ll hike Sigfridsleden from Asa to Växjö. It’ll be great to get a couple of nights under the stars again.
I’ve had a 2014 Luxe Outdoor Sil Hex-peak before, but always used it with an inner. This was my first experience with a floorless shelter.
I’ve only done one test pitch in the garden, and after that, used it for one night in the woods. This is not an in depth review of the Ultamid 2, but more a note of my impressions after using it for the first time.
When I first received it I realized that Cuben Fiber is quite bulky. Despite being so light, the bag itself was quite large. I weighted it, and the tent, with the extra 100′ of guy line weighs 663g. The tent with three ~12̈́’ guy lines attached weighs 591g. It was heavier than listed, but it really doesn’t matter.
The first thing I did when I received it was to unpack it and check all the seams. Everything was in order, and the shelter really had a quality feel to it. I also made a test pitch in the garden. It was roomy inside, but I think it will take some practice to get the corners in a perfect 90° angle. I think that I’ll be able to fit three people inside, if I offset the pole a bit.
After I took it down I cut the 100′ of extra guy line into eight ~12′ lines. I made a loop, with a taut line hitch, on each line to easily be able to tighten and loosen the guy line. I tied three guy lines to the center panel guy points using two half hitches. I stored the extra guy lines in a zip lock back. For regular below-tree line hikes I don’t need them. But above tree line, where the wind really picks up, I’ll need all of the guy lines.
On the inside of the shelter there are two D-rings. You could tie a line between them to dry your socks, or use it to strap the shock cord from your bivy to get the mesh off your face, like I did.
The Ultamid 2 was spacious and bright. I guess my preference in general is to have a darker color that matches the forest more, but I liked how bright it was inside when the morning sun shined through the fabric (and the spruce green was to expensive for me).
I use my hiking poles as the center pole. I strap them together using Hyperlite Mountain Gears Pole straps. It worked better than I expected, and I did get the poles tightly together. But I do consider making a “missing link” or something like that to connect the poles easier. I might buy a spare bottom section to my hiking poles, and cut it to an appropriate length and then use that to connect the poles together.
You could buy both an inner with a floor, and a floorless net inner. I plan to try mine in mosquito infested areas without either before I decide if I need one. I’ll probably go for the floorless one if I decide to get an inner.
After one nights use I’m happy with my Ultamid 2. It’s light, bright, spacious and well built. So far I really recommend it. I’ll write a more in depth review once I’ve used it for a while.
Disclaimer: I don’t know if I need to add this, but I buy all of my gear for my own money. There are no affiliation links, but I add the links for convenience of the reader. Should a company offer affiliation links I’ll add information about it in the disclaimer.