C:s first thru hike

Ok, so the term thru hike is probably more or less reserved for longer trails, but this was the first time C hiked the entire length of a trail, so I’m calling it a thru hike for her.

My oldest daughter got a gift card for a spa on her 16th birthday, and was going to Kosta Boda Art Hotel with her mother in late June. At the same time my son was staying a couple of days on “Kortis” (a sort of relief home for families with disabled children). This was a perfect time for me and C to go hiking.

I had found a circle trail just outside of Kosta in the nature reserve Visjön. It’s an 8km trail, and I thought it would be a good trail for two days of hiking with C.

We dropped off my wife and oldest daughter at the hotel, and drove north towards Visjön. We parked the car in the west side of the lake, just north of a shooting range. It had started to rain when we arrived, and the forecast showed rain for the next two days. But C was in a good mood. After a short hike along the borders of the shooting range we arrived at the lake. We turned north and hiked along the esker that borders most of the west side of the lake.

After a while we saw the ground sort of moving. With a closer look we saw that the ground was littered with small 1-2cm long frogs. They where everywhere for a long part of the trail. We tried to watch our steps so we wouldn’t step on them. Every now and then we stopped to pick blueberries.

We came to the north side of the lake, and turned down south on the east shore before making dinner. We had noodles with beef jerkey and cheese. So far we hadn’t seen a single suitable place to set up the tent. Eventually we came down to the parking and info sign marked on the map. On a small peninsula nearby we found a perfect spot for our tent, and room for many more too.

The rain had stopped earlier, but we set up the tent right away, and put up the hammock. This time I had brought the half inner, to be able to get in and out of the tent without having rain falling into the inner. On 2/3 of the vestibule I had a polycro groundsheet for the gear. This was actually a perfect setup for me and C. The half inner was large enough for us, without feeling cramped, and we had a large area for the gear.

I made dinner for us, and then we just hung out in the hammock and eat snacks. It didn’t take long before we both fell asleep.

When we woke up it started to rain slightly, so we took down the hammock and retreated to the tent. C watched Vaiana on my phone while I was reading a book writter by a reporter and a photographer who got kidnapped in Syria a few years ago.

After the movie it was time for C to go to sleep. The rain had started to pour down, and once again I had water seeping through, and dropping down on my face. I was pissed. I had carefully taped the insides where the midway corner guylines attatches and where the plastic struts for the vents are, but still water came through. But this time I saw the source. Water kept seeping through the seams on the top hat, and ran down on the inside of the tent before dropping down on my face. I sent a mail to HMG again, and this time I got the $58 i paid for the shipping back. Since then I’ve taped up those seams too, so I think it will be ok now. But then and there I regretted selling my heavier Hillebergs for this. Hilleberg fans can almost be a bit cultist from time to time, but in the end there’s a reason for it. I’ve had three Hillebergs (and a lot of other tents too) and their quality do stand out.

I was a bit annoyed that the super expensive tent didn’t hold up as expected, but I managed to let it go and go to sleep.

The next morning we had chocolate banana oatmeal for breakfast, before packing up. It was raining heavy this morning. C jumped in water pools as we hiked along.

On the southern section of the trail we came to a large open area that probably serves as a pasture from time to time. There weren’t any animals there at that time, so it could have been a nice place for a tent. The place had an abundance of wild strawberries. We ate a lot, and I could barely get C to continue hiking with me.

After that we had a section of road hiking before turning back north on the esker we started with. C was starting to get a bit tired, but it was only a short hike left to the car. When we got to the car we took of our wet rain gear. C was dry as a bone, but my cheapo rainpants had leaked through, and I might as well have skipped them all together.

This was C:s first hike of an entire trail. We’ve done a lot of paddling, camping and off trail hiking but this was the first time she hiked an entire trail. It went really good, even though her favourite part is hanging out in camp. (It’s actually my favourite part too, when I’m not solo hiking)

Sleep system update

When I first started to get seriously interested in hiking, and keeping the weight down, I bought my first down sleeping bag. Changing the sleeping bag from a synthetic bag to a down bag is one of the things that could greatly reduce your weight and bulk.

After a lot of research I choose to go with Cumulus, and bought their Panyam 600. When I bought it my goal was to have it as “The one bag to rule them all”, and use it all year around.

It did however prove to be too warm even for late summer use in the mountains, so I bought a Quilt 350 from Cumulus. It was my first quilt and I had some issues with it at first, but after some tweaking I got it to work good without getting any drafts. The Quilt 350 has a sewn foot box.

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When buying gear for my family I stumbled upon the Wind Hard Tiny quilt from AliExpress. It’s cheap, with sewn-through baffles, but it proved to be better than I expected, and now I use it myself in the summer.

I really liked the rectangular shape of the quilt, without the sewn foot box, and decided to update my sleep system.

I’ve sold the Quilt 350, and bought the updated Quilt 450 from Cumulus instead. With the new model they’ve updated the straps, and they don’t have a sewn foot box, but instead have the ability to open it up like a regular quilt at home. The warmer rating will make it possible for me to use this almost all year around in southern Sweden. If it gets really cold I could use the Wind Hard Tiny over the Quilt 450.

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This will probably make the Panyam 600 a bit redundant, since the rating won’t differ so much between the Quilt and the Panyam. My plan is to eventually sell the Panyam and buy a Teneqa 850 or an Excuistic 1000 as I want to do deep winter travels in the north, either on skis or with snow shoes.

My new Quilt/sleeping bag setup will be the Wind Hard Tiny for summer use, the Quilt 450 for spring, fall and southern winter use and the Teneqa or Excuistic for deep winter use.