Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 – First impressions

As I’ve wrote before I made some gear changes this spring. The biggest change was a whole new shelter setup. Before, I had a Hilleberg Enan, a great tent that I was mostly pleased with. But I decided to try Dyneema Composite fabric (former Cuben Fiber) and bought an Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2, a polycro groundsheet from Gossamer Gear and a Borah Gear Bivy.

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.

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Test pitch in the back yard the night I got it

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.

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The hiking poles are strapped together using HMG Poles straps
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There are four guy points in each corner, plus three mid paned guy points. One on each side except on the entrance side

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.

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Adventure Archives, my favorite YouTube-channel

There are a bunch of YouTube-channels I regularly watch. Outdoor Adventures, Sintax77 and Burly Outdoors are a few of them. These are the traditional style hiking videos, with one guy filming, most of the time while walking. I like all of them, especially Outdoor Adventures.

But my no. 1 favorite channel so far is Adventure Archives. Adventure Archives is three, sometimes four guys, making one hour long films about once every other month. Anyone who’ve read my blog for a while knows that I’m somewhat of a gram geek and a gear junkie. Adventure Archives is the strait opposite of this, and I guess that’s part of what I like about it.

Adventure Archives is really nothing about gear or weight. If you’re an UL hiker, it might seem sacrilegious to carry food it heavy glass jars and carry tin canned food. But their films are more about the core of hiking, more about the spiritual part and the connection to nature instead of focusing on what we wear and what we carry while in nature. (I really like videos that focus on the gear-part too 🙂 )

The filming itself is very professionally done, and they seem to haul a ton of filming gear each episode. But it’s done in high quality, both technically and esthetically. They also have narration in the films that really adds to the quality and the feeling. They also make their own soundtrack, which has a sort of Final Fantasy VII vibe to it.

If you have to have spectacular views, like the High Sierras, Jotunheimen or Alaska to like a hiking video, these films might not be your cup of tea. But I do recommend them, and these guys can really show the beauty of nature even on shorter hikes.

First use of the Osprey Poco Plus

Last Monday I went on a short day hike with my wife and my youngest daughter. Earlier in 2016 I bought a used Osprey Poco Plus, and this was the first time I tried it.

We drove to Notteryd nature reserve just outside Växjö. My daughter really liked sitting in the Poco, at least as long as I kept moving. It was the first time for her in a child carrier.

At the entrance of the park

The temperatures where around freezing and there was some snow on the ground. We have been in Notteryd before when geocaching. It’s a pretty nice nature reserve, but a lot of trees in the reserve has fallen in storms.

Lot of fallen trees

In the reserve there are remnants of the old hillford Gripeberg. Archeologic investigations shows that the facility was mainly used during 1630-410 BC.

After a while we came to a fireplace, where we sat down and had some coffee. We continued back and passed a lean-to shelter about a hundred meters from the fireplace. There was supposed to be a geocach hidden there somewhere, and we looked for a while but couldn’t find it. Since we didn’t find the geocach we headed back to the car as we had to be back home by the time our son got home from school.

A smaller storage space in the back
The larger storage space at the bottom
Great support when you put it down

My initial thought of the Poco Plus is that it’s really comfortable. I only had it on for a couple of hours, but it felt good. My daughter felt secured, and there are stirrups on the side for when she gets taller. The carrier has built-in sun protection, a small storage space in the back, and a bigger storage space below the seat.

This was just a short test of the Poco Plus, but for now I’m pleased with it. I read a lot of reviews before I bought the child carrier, and the Osprey carriers always came up in the top.

Hestra work glove – review

Hestra is a Swedish family owned business that started in 1936 and is situated in the small town Hestra, in Småland – Sweden. It’s now run by the third and forth generations of the family, and the brand is known for it’s great quality.

I read about Hestra work glove in a bushcraft blog, and decided to get a pair. It was almost two years since I bought my pair, and they’ve seen a fair share of hard use and abuse during those years, and I use them on every trip.

They have been cut, burned and forgotten a few times but they still serve their purpose without issues.

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“They look like killer gloves” my wife said. But I like the worn look

The gloves are made out of deer skin, and after enough use they will form to fit your hands perfectly.

During the warmer season I use them as they are, and when it gets colder I use a thin merino wool liner glove underneath the work gloves. This will keep me warm down to a few degrees below freezing.

When taken care of, these gloves will put up with quite a bit of abuse. After every trip I saturate them in leather balm, and occasionally I wax them too. I just put the gloves on, grab some leather balm with the fingers and work it in. Just like washing your hands. When the gloves have enough leather balm and / or wax, they are waterproof. I can stick my hand in an ice cold mountain lake to fill up my water bottle without getting wet or cold.

I use them when I carve, and I have cut a few holes in them. But better the gloves than the fingers.

I definitely recommend these gloves. When they are too worn to use any more I will buy a new pair of the same model if they’re still for sale by then. I don’t know if they’re made anymore though. I can’t find them on Hestras web page, and the only place I could find them now are on Naturkompaniet.

Post-hike gear review

Most of the gear I used during the Jotunheimen-hike have been used for a few trips now. The frying pan and the pillow got used for the first time. I’ll do a short review of the gear, and my thoughts of it after the trip. I feel that I’m close to getting the perfect gear for my needs.

Backpack – Exped Lightning 60 + flash pack pocket
This is a great pack that weights just over 1000g. It has one large storage with a roll-top closure and waterproof fabric. The pack isn’t waterproof though since the seams aren’t sealed.

Inside there is a mesh pocket where I store first aid kid and the repair kit. Underneath it there is a solid pocked that is reachable from the outside through a zipper. I store electronics and extra batteries here. There are also two mesh pockets one the side of the backpack and on the side of the waist belt. I also bought the flash pack pocket which is a bigger mesh pocket to have on the outside of the pack.

The pack is dimensioned to handle up to 24kg. I’ve had it up to 15kg and it is super comfortable. You hardly feel the weight on your back. I really love this pack and would definitely recommend it

Tent – Hilleberg Enan with foot-print
This was only the second trip that I used my Hilleberg Enan. I’ve said in earlier posts that I’ve been looking for the perfect shelter, and considered  a lot of different tents. I finally ended up with the Enan. It might not be the perfect shelter (I don’t know if there is one) but it turned out to be a very nice tent. It first launched in 2015, with a fabric called Kerlon 600, developed just for this tent. Hilleberg changed the fabric to the stronger (and heavier) Kerlon 1000 in 2016, partly because Kerlon 600 turned out to be very hard for the seamstresses to handle.

I bought the 2016 version. It weights 1200g (1452g with the foot-print). The fabric feels very thin, but it very strong. It’s a tunnel-tent with one 9mm DAC Featherlite pole in the center. The design is built on Hilleberg Akto but is a lighter 3-season version. It is also similar to Tarptent Moment. It has built in ventilation in the short-ends, with sil-nylon flaps that can be used to close the vents in poor weather.

I really liked the tent. I thought I might find it to small, but with the footprint and the big D-shaped door open I had a lot of usable floor-space. It was also strong, and handled severe conditions with rain and strong winds in exposed areas. I would recommend it, but I know many lightweight hikers prefer mids. I for one is happy to not have to crawl around the center-pole anymore. I might change my mind again though and end up with a mid again sometime.

Sleeping bag – Cumulus Quilt 350
I bought the Quilt earlier this spring. I had never used a Quilt before but only used sleeping-bags before. I still can’t make up my mind on what I think about it. On one hand, I think it’s a bit of a hassle setting it up with the straps around the sleeping mat and getting it tight enough, without being to tight. It’s also had to not get a gap where cold air get in when I toss and turn at night. On the other hand I love the lower weight (585g) and how easy it is to get in or out of it (just push it down). I have a Panyam 600 from Cumulus that I use when I hike in the winter, and I’m really pleased with the sleeping bag. It hardly leaked any down. The Quilt however leaks quite a lot of down. I don’t know how much is normal, and I’ve understood that some down products leak a bit in the beginning, when the feathers comes out. I’ll see after a few more uses if the leaking stops. The quilt had only been used 4 nights before this trip, and it appeared to leak less in the end of the trip. I do recommend Cumulus, but if I were to buy a new Quilt I’d probably try Enlightened Equipment since I like their strap-system to fasten the Quilts.

Sleeping mat – Exped Synmat 7 UL
I’ve had this sleeping mat for a couple of years. It was the first UL product I bought, and actually the thing that got me in to UL and interested in lightening my pack weight. It weights 450g and it’s 7cm thick. I had cellfoam mats and inflatable 2cm pads before, but this sleeping mat is a dream to sleep on compared to those. It is super comfortable and I wouldn’t want to sleep on a cellfoam mat again. When it’s time to get a new one I’ll probably go for the Hyperlite and save a 100g more. I definitely recommend this mat.

Pillow – Exped UL Airpillow
This was the first trip that I used a pillow. Before this trip I’ve just used my fleece-jacket piled up. It only weights 45g and I like to have a designated pillow so I can wear my clothes on my body if it would be to cold in the Quilt. At first I inflated it to hard and it wasn’t that comfortable to sleep on. After that I let some air out and it was a lot better. There are two points on the pillow where you can tie shock-cord, and I’ll probably do that to get it to stay on the sleeping mat. I like the pillow, but it was still less comfortable than I thought it would be.

Exped Schnozzle pumpbag UL M
I use this bag, both as a drybag to protect my sleeping gear from water, and to inflate my sleeping mat. It works great for both things and I really like it.

Sleep baselayer
Just a regular cheap synthetic baselayer. I use it so that I always have a dry fresh layer of clothes to wear when I go to sleep.

Stove set – Fire maple 117T and Toaks Titanium pot
Both the burner and the pot is made of titanium. I’ve had both for a while now and they work without any issues. I like that the burner is made of titanium. It’s light, 98g, and it cools down fast after you’re done using it. I prefer using a spider burner instead of a top mounted burner. I think it gives me more control and stability.

The pot I use got a bail handle. When I bought it I planned to do more bushcraft style trips and wanted the bail handle for times when I have a campfire. Haven’t been a lot of those, but I do like the pot. It’s light, 133g, and large enough for coffee and water to the food.

The windscreen is a cheap titanium windscreen bought of eBay. Very light and does what it should. Not much to say about it.

Baby wipes
I can’t say enough good things about it. I can’t remember which forum I read about using it, but nowadays I bring them on every trip. Before putting on my sleep baselayer I clean my body with baby wipes to clean off the days sweat and dirt.

Headlamp – Black Diamond Cosmo
It’s a light headlamp that only weights 87g, but I’m not entirely happy with it. The hatch to close the batteries seems flimsy and I wonder if it would be waterproof in hard rain. It also tuned on accidentally in my legpocket several times. It was ok, but I’ll keep looking for a better one that’s still very light.

Battery pack –  Brunton Revolt 4000
It’s a good battery pack that does what it should at 139g. It feels sturdy and has enough juice to keep my cellphone charged.

E-book reader – Adlibris Letto
My luxury item. I always bring it, and I really like to lay in the tent and read after dinner. It’s light, and can store countless books. Definitely recommend an E-book reader if you like to bring books on your hikes.

Camera – Canon Powershot S95
I bought this camera used for only 600SEK. It’s small and light, but I expected more from the camera in terms of image quality. But it’s ok and I’ll keep bringing it.

Camp socks – Sealskinz
I brought these to have dry waterproof socks to wear at camp. My feet stayed dry almost the entire trip though. They were a little wet one time after we set camp, and that was the only time I used the Sealskinz on the Jotunheimen trip. They do their job, and it’s nice to have warm dry socks on if the shoes are wet.

Fleece jacket – HH Workwear
At 500g it might not be the lightest option out there. But it is super warm and keeps you warm even in wet conditions. The weight is almost the same as if I should pack a down jacket and a thinner fleece.

Rain gear – Montane Minimus & Itab packaway pants
Lightweight and a small pack size. I haven’t tried it in hard driving rain yet, but so far it’s done it’s job without any issues. I recommend it. The rainpants are cheap, but lightweight. I’ve heard good things about them, but I haven’t used them that much so I can’t say much about how waterproof they are in the long run.

Gloves – Hestra work glove
A thin leather glove that only gets better with age. I’ve had my pair for a long time, and after every use I saturate them with leather balm to keep the leather soft and waterproof. I can fill a bottle of water in an ice cold lake without getting my hands wet. I bought a pair that was large enough to wear a pair of thin knitted wool gloves under them when the weather is cold. I really recommend these gloves. They’re great.

Hiking poles – Black Diamond Expedition 3
When I was looking for a new tent I expected to buy a tent that used the tent poles to erect, and wanted to have sturdy poles. I also plan to buy skis, and these poles are 4-season poles that can be used with skis to. They are sturdy and easy to use with the flick-locks and Black Diamond costumer service is great.

Wind jacket – Karhu Ultrarun
It weights nothing and cost nothing but still blocks wind to keep you warm. I bought it for less than 200SEK (~20€) and it’s great. The only downside is that there are no strings for the hood. Other than that it’s a great jacket at a great price.

Knife – Buck 327 Carbon fiber
I’ve had this knife for a few years now. I basically only use it to open food bags so I can’t review any harder use. It’s very sharp and very light.

Trailrunners – Inov8 Roclite 295
This was my first longer trip using trailrunners instead of hiking boots. It was great, and with the weather being good most of the time I kept my feet dry for the most part. When they got wet it only took about an hour of hiking to get them dry again. In the sections of the trail where there was a lot of sharp boulders I would have wanted thicker soles, but other than that they were great. I used Inov8 gaiters to keep dirt from getting into the shoes. I really like my boots, but for hikes in the snow free season I’ll probably keep using trailrunners.

Shemagh
I bought a shemagh on eBay and use it instead of a buff on my hikes. It’s lightweight, and works as a substitute for a buff, but also like a towel to wipe off condensation on the tent.

I didn’t review every single gear I used, but this is a summary and short review of most of the things I used. In general, I’m really happy with the gear I  have today.

Hilleberg Enan, first impressions

I’m finally back in Sweden and at last I could get my hands on my newest purchase, the Hilleberg Enan. I bought the 2016-version with V-pegs and the stronger (but heavier) Kerlon 1000 fabric.

This will not be a review but merely my first thoughts of it, as I’ve only done a test-pitch.

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The tent and the foot-print

When I first unpacked the box with the tent and the foot-print I was surprised how dark the green in the flysheet was. The bag, made by the same material, looked almost black. The tent came in one bag, and the foot-print in another bag. I plan to keep the footprint on at all times, and therefor flipped the tent over, and attached the foot-print.

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The tent laid out, with the foot-print just attached

I pitched the tent as the instructionvideo tell you to do it. It was easy to set it up. I was kind of in a hurry, so I didn’t have time to fine-tune it. The was an information-booklet included with lots of pictures showing the complete pitching-process. But if you’ve pitched a tunnel-tent before it really isn’t a big deal.

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The tent fully pitched
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Inner-tent with the mesh door, and the vestibule with the foot-print

As I said I was in a hurry so I just had time to set the tent up, and then put it down again. But first impressions are good. It seems like a solid tent. The flyshet feels thin as a butterfly-wing, but I’ve done a tear-test on a sample of the fabric, and it is really tough. I can’t wait to try this tent for real. Due to work I probably wont have the time for a hike until the first weekend in august. But I’ll update when I’ve tried the tent for real.