The new backpack (confessions of a gear junkie)

Yes, I am a gear junkie. I can’t deny it.

In the last few week I’ve been slowly starting to prepare for next years trip to Greenland. As I’ve wrote before I plan to hike the Arctic Circle Trail in late August – early September next year. I’ve started to make a packlist, e-mailed questions to the Greenland Tourist bureau and the Arctic Circle business, and started to make a list of the food I plan to bring, and what ingredients I need to dry.

I will bring food for 12 days, and I actually plan to do some more cooking then usual, as I’m starting to grow tired of my freezerbag-meals. For this I’ll bring a Trangia 27-1 ULHA. It’s not UL at all with a weight of 760g with the gasburner. But it’s a real stabile stoveset suitable for more cooking.

Bringing that much food calls for a bigger backpack. My 60l Exped Lightning is a great pack. But I filled it up with only one weeks worth of food. And I also want to be able to take food that takes more volume to and not feel restricted by the volume of the pack.

That’s why I ordered an Exped Expedition 80 from komplettfritid.no. It normally cost around 4500SEK on most places i looked, but komplettfritid had a discount and sold them for less 3200SEK. I was too slow to order though, and when I finally decided to buy one the discount was gone. I e-mailed komplettfritid and told them that I had planned to buy the pack but was to slow to order. Today I got a reply, with a link to the backpack, and saw that they had lowered the price again. Now that’s costumer service.

If you’ve seen my packlists and read my trip reports you can see that I have a thing for Exped. I have an Exped Synmat 7 UL, a Synmat Winterlite, the UL Pillow, the Schnozzle pumpbag and the Lightning 60 backpack. I really like their lightweight products and their great quality.

The Expedition 80 isn’t really lightweight, at 2450g. But it’s somewhat light with the volume it offers. It’s also waterproof with a PU coated fabric and taped seams. I think it will be a great pack for longer trips and for wintertrips. I love my Lightning pack, but for extended trips I think this will be great.

On another notion, I have applied for Fjällräven Polar 2017. I was late to complete the application, and I’m really far behind the leader. But as a wise person said, “it ain’t over ’til it’s over” 🙂

Please vote for me, and spread the word, and I’ll be ever grateful. Every vote counts.

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Planning this weekends hike

This weekend I’ll be visiting a friend in Gothenburg and we’ll hike the New Wildernesstrail together. This trail is not the same Wildernesstrail north of Växjö that I hiked earlier this year, but a quite popular trail, 42 km long that starts just outside of Gothenburg.

I’ll be getting off work at 7 am on Friday morning, sleep for a few hours and then drive to Gothenburg. I’ll have the bag packed and ready on Thursday evening so I’ll just have to grab the bag and go when I wake up.

I’ll bring tortillas and Nutella for breakfast, Lappsgojs (mashed potatoes with jerkey), Snabbhusman (mashed potatoes with smoked gammon), West African stew, Chicken noodles and rice with tuna for lunches and dinners.

This is my packlist for this hike. It’ll be the first real test of my new Hilleberg Enan, and my friend is going to use my Luxe Outdoor Sil Hexpeak.

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Maps are printed for the upcoming hike

 

This morning I made three more foodbags. I had planned to do chicken noodles for a while, but didn’t have the time to prepare them. But yesterday I put ground chicken in the oven to cook it, and then put it in my dehydrator to dry it. I prefer to dry ground chicken compared to slicing chicken breasts and then dry the slices. It’s a lot easier to get small pieces from the ground chicken.

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Chicken in the dehydrator
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Chicken noodles ready and bagged

I used 500 grams to make three portions. The recipe says 100 grams (around 30 gram dried) of chicken for one portion, but I prefer to make the portions a bit larger. I now have 33 portions of homemade freezerbag-meals and two store bought meals. This will last me through this hike, the planned Jotunheimen-hike in late August and it’ll probably last for the rest of my hikes this year.

I’m looking forward to this weekend and to get outside again. I’ll update with a trip-report when I get back.

Making my own “freezer-bag” food

In the beginning of 2015 I bought the book Fjällmat, by Eric Tornblad. I couldn’t find freeze-dried food that tasted good. Real Turmat was supposed to be the best, but I thought they tasted the same as every other brand. That, and the fact that the bags are very expensive made me buy the book from Eric and I really haven’t regretted it.

There are different chapters. Food that you only add boiling water (and fat) to, food that takes 5 min, 15 min, 30 min, desserts, breakfasts etc. I basically only use the first chapter, the one where you add boiling water. My favorites are West-African stew and Mint-couscous. The West-African stew is also the favorite food of both my wife and my daughter. I e-mailed Eric and asked if he by any chance planned to write a book with only freezer-bag recipes since those recipes are the ones I mainly use.

I’ve had a vacuum-sealer for a long time, but up until now I’ve always used my oven to dry the food. However, a few days ago I found a really cheep food-dehydrator for only 200SEK (about 20€). Of course the cheep price comes with less functions. You only have an on-off switch, and you can’t set the temperature manually. It’s on a steady 70ºC. A little to warm to dry meat, but I do it anyway. I switch positions on the trays quite often. The dehydrator comes with five trays and the heater and fan is in the bottom.

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My food-dehydrator. Four trays are loaded with “feta”-cheese (the 10%-fat version) for Mint-couscous

The dehydrator has been going for the last few days. I’ve dehydrated feta-cheese, smoked gammon and tuna. I’ve prepared 16 bags of food this week for upcoming hikes. I had 14 bags left from earlier, but I needed to refill my stock. With these recipes you only add boiling water and fat (oil or ghee) to the bag and let it sit for 5 minutes. Basically like you would with store-bought freeze-dried food.

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The meals I’ve prepared this week

The negative side of making your own food like this is that it is a time-consuming process. But I like it. I think that the preparations and planning before a trip is part of the fun. You also get a better control of what you put in your food, it’s cheaper and you can adapt the size of the portions to how much you eat. It also tastes better.

If you can read Swedish I recommend the book Fjällmat. If you don’t speak Swedish I can’t really recommend any specific book, but I do recommend everybody to try and make your own hiking-food instead of buying the freeze-dried food-bags. In the beginning you don’t need a food-dehydrator, just a regular oven, and you don’t need a vacuum-sealer, just a ziplock-bag that can take boiling water. Buy the other stuff later if you find out that you like making your own hiking-food.