No hiking and new gear

I haven’t updated this blog for a while now, simply because I haven’t been hiking for a while now. I’m on vacation in Greece, and has been so for some time. I’d love to hike down here someday, but not now in the middle of summer during the heat. The days now consists mainly of playing in the ocean with the kids or hanging around the house watching hiking-videos on YouTube :-). I’ll probably go for a shorter hike with my daughter in a couple of days though. It’ll be an evening-hike up to the top of the island, witch will be a 40-50 min hike, with a great view at the top, and I’ll update with a post afterwards.

Being in Greece hasn’t stopped me from buying new gear though. I can’t help it, but I really am a gear-junkie. I’ve been looking for another shelter for some time now. Zpacks Duplex, Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid, Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid, Locus Gear Hapi and Tarptent Notch are all tents that I’ve decided to buy, but later changed my mind about. I really thought I’d end up with either a Tarptent Notch or a Locus Gear Hapi.

In the end I finally I put down an order for a Hilleberg Enan. I can’t really specify why I choose it over the others. I’ve been reading a ton of reviews on shelters, and looked at a lot of videos on YouTube, and I can’t put it down to more than gut-feeling. It just felt like the right shelter for me. I’ll try it and see how I like it in reality.

The Enan will however up my weight a bit. Outnorth had a deal where they include the foot-print when you buy a Hilleberg-tent, and I intend to use it. I’ve often missed having a foot-print in the vestibule to keep my gear and myself from being wet when sitting there. It’ll also help to prevent condensation. Since I bought the 2016-version of the tent it weighs 1200g, same as my current shelter. But with the foot-print it weighs 1452g.

I also included a Black Diamond Cosmo in the order. It’s a headlamp and I’ll save 33g from my current headlamp. That’s not the main reason I bought it though. My daughter needs a new headlamp for our hikes together as the one she has is a heavy, poorly build, cheapo headlamp I bought of eBay a few years back. I try to lighten her load as well.

I can’t wait to get back home and try out my new tent and get out into the wild again. I’ve promised to bring my son on a short overnighter when we get back (even though it won’t be in the Enan), and in the beginning of August I’ll go on a 3-day hike with a friend. It’ll probably  be either Tiveden or Vildmarksleden. I’ll start a new job when I get back home, but I did have a week-long hike in Norway planned for the beginning of September. I hope I can make it work with the new job since I’ve really looked forward to get to Norway again.

All the best, and I hope you all get to go on some great hikes this summer.

Tresticklan and Lundsneset in May

Finally, after almost two month without a night outside, the schedule and life at home allowed me to get out again. I had been watching hiking movies on YouTube, read blogs and scrolled through Instagram photos a lot during these months. My feet were itching to get out again, and my mind craved solitude and the peace you only get in nature.

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My gear for this trip

As said in my Pre-hike post, I planned to hike with my buddy. Things came up for him, and I ended up hiking solo after all. I didn’t mind though, since I like my solitude. I’ve been stressed out lately, and I really looked forward to disconnect from everything and just relax in nature without cellphone reception 🙂

It was roughly a 5h drive to Tresticklan and I left home a bit after 08.00. The car GPS showed me all sorts of different routes, one longer than the other, but I had a pretty good notion on how to drive since I was there with my daughter last October.

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Entrance to the park

I arrived there a little after 13.00 and set of. 6-7 cars where already parked there. There is a trail that goes straight through the park to the cabin Budalsvika on the Norwegian side of the border. In the middle of the park there is a 5km loop trail that goes around the park and back to the trail to Budalsvika.

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Lunch with a view over Stora Tresticklan

I had lunch at a rock overlooking the lake Stora Tresticklan and then started walking the loop trail. A couple with a dog day hiked a bit ahead of me. We passed each over a couple of times. When I reached the southern end of the loop trail I continued along a trail that wasn’t marked on the map. I went on until I reached a march with no foot-bridge across and then turned back. I didn’t see the couple again.

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On the loop-trail

When the trail started to go back north again I followed another trail about 1km south. That trail goes all the way to the southern border of the park, and was the one I planned on hiking north-bound if I had hiked with my friend. I turned back, finished the loop trail and headed towards Budalsvika and the Norwegian border.

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I really love my Exped Lightning

I didn’t have anywhere special to go, or any time limits, except that I should be back home sometime on Sunday. When I reached the Norwegian border I started looking for a spot to set up my tent. It was late in the afternoon, too early to set up camp, but still late enough to start looking.

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The Swedish-Norwegian border

 

The ground in Tresticklan and Lundsneset consists of rift valleys and the soil is very shallow on many places. On most places with deeper soil the ground is covered with blueberry bushes or calluna witch makes it hard to find camp spots. The rift valleys also makes hiking in east-west direction harder than north-south since it’s a lot of ups and downs. The park consists mainly of pine trees. The trees are old, and there are a lot of dead standing trees all over the place. The dead trees, and the shallow soil makes a lot of trees falling, and you see both live and dead trees fallen over the trail. Something worth taking into notion when choosing a spot to set up your tent.

 

I found a good spot on the Norwegian side of Boksjön, a litte bit south of Budalsvika. But I still thought it was too early to set up camp and started hiking a trail going south. I had the first camp spot in mind if I wouldn’t find a better one. After a while, up on a ridge, I found a good spot to set up camp. The soil was pretty shallow, but there were some rocks to anchor the pegs that didn’t get stuck in the dirt.

I made dinner and laid in the tent and listened to the birdsong. The weather had been shifting between sunny and cloudy, but had mostly been good. I guess the temperature were around 15C. Kind of the perfect temperature for hiking.

I read “A walk in the woods” on my ebook reader for a couple of hours before going to sleep. This was my first night using a Quilt and I had been looking forward to trying it out. I’m not completely sold yet, but it was nice. I did have trouble getting it to stay in position when I tossed and turned though. I really want to try it again when the temperatures are close to freezing to see how it does in those temps.

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Airing out the Cumulus Quilt 350

I slept really well. I was happy to be out there, and I felt peaceful. I woke up to a choir of all sorts of birds. The weather was a bit better than the previous day. It was still cloudy at times, but the sun was out more that yesterday.

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It’s hard to get a picture of the view but this was a nice place

I kept walking on the ridge and found a spot with a great view over Boksjön. I hadn’t walked far from my camp site but I stayed there for over 20 min just looking at the scenery and listening to the birds singing.

I kept walking the trail. It was steep decline down to the lake. The trail continued straight through a marsh and into a forest. Halfway in the marsh I lost the trail. I had to check my map several times and bushwhacked through the forest until the trail was visible again. Apparently I was on the trail all along, but it was poorly marked and I don’t think these parts were used a lot since it was grown over. The maps for Lundsneset were pretty good though. The marked trails had km-marks on them so I had a good notion on how far and how fast I was walking.

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Great way to back-flush the filter

I found a great spot at Boksjön to filter my water. I used a sports water-cap to back flush the filter witch worked out great. The cap is a lot smaller and weighs less than the included syringe, and it works just as well. The water was incredibly  clear and with no evident taste at all Every time I filtered lake water before it’s always been at least a little taste and color of humus. But the water here was as clear and tasteless as tap water.

I hiked the trail until I came to a road, and then turned back again. I went back to the lake and had my lunch there. After lunch I hiked back towards Budalsvika. I had hiked parts of a loop trail, and took the other way back to Budalsvika.

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My camp on the second night

I went back to Sweden. It was a bit early to set up camp, so I started hiking the loop trail on the Swedish side again, in the opposite direction. I found a great spot about 30 meter of the trail. It was shallow ground on some places, but fortunately there were rocks scattered to anchor the tent. I guess other hikers had used them for the same purpose.

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A nightly visitor

It was a truly wonderful evening. The weather was perfect, and it was warm outside. I sat on a rock reading for a couple of hours before turning in. The night wasn’t wonderful though. It started raining a lot during the night, and the sound woke me up several times. Condensation (I hope) dropped down in my face. I saw a slug climbing the outside of my tent. Two more were on my shoes and then two more inside my pack. I flicked them away and got up.

I had a breakfast of tortilla with sausage and tortilla with Nutella. I didn’t bother with coffee since it was raining pretty heavily, and I didn’t want to use the stove inside the tent. I packed up and left the campsite.

I had managed to keep my feet dry for the most part of the trip, but this morning during the walk back to the car they got wet instantly. The rain stopped, but the trail was really wet. It was less than an hour walk back to the car. I packed up and left Tresticklan. On my way home I stopped by Burger King and filled my body with delicious fat-food. A tradition I have to keep after every hike 🙂

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Healthy? Nah, but good for your spirit

I’m really glad that I got away on this trip. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and really needed the solitude and to disconnect from work and everything that occupied my mind. I felt really peaceful and relaxed while out hiking and it was a trip that gave me new energy. The scenery is beautiful, and I don’t think I’ll do any more hikes through spouse-plantations just because they are conveniently close to home. It’s well worth the drive to get to more interesting places.

When it comes to gear I think I’m pretty close to a perfect pack. I can’t say enough good things about my backpack. I really like it more and more. The thing I’ll change will probably be the tent. I want to get a sub 1kg tent, and as said in earlier posts I’m looking at the Locus Gear Hapi, with a solid inner. The Tarptent Notch is also on my list, witch is cheaper, lighter and with a smaller footprint. We’ll see what I’ll end up with.

Next hike will probably be in Tiveden Nationalpark.

I just found out about Locus Gear

As I wrote in my last post I’ve been looking for a 1-2 person tent that is light, roomy, and preferably made of Cuben Fiber (or Dymeema Composite Fabric as it is called now.). Cuben is ridiculously expensive, but what I’m after, apart from the material being lightweight and strong is that is doesn’t streach or soak up water like Sil-nylon.

I’ve been looking at the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 and Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid. I’ve also been looking at Zpacks Duplex and almost decided to go with it, but I do want a 2-wall tent for the conditions I’ll be in. Ok, most of my trips will be lowland-trips in boreal forest. But I will do trips in the mountains, above treeline, above the arctic circle in wet, cold and windy conditions, and in those conditions it is nice to have a 2-wall tent.

I didn’t really get sold on either the Ultamid or the Duomid, even though I leaned more towards the Ultamid.

But recently I heard about Locus Gear, a company I hadn’t heard of before, and saw their shelter Hapi. Hapi seems to be the near perfect shelter I’ve been looking for. I like that it has the entrance on the short side, so you don’t have to climb over the other person to get out. I like that it is only 130 cm high, so that a single hikingpole, without connectors can be  use as a centerpole. I like that it is 180 cm wide, so it doesn’t have to be so crowded if you are two 90-100 kg guys in the shelter. I also like that it is a sil-nylon floor as I’ve heard that Cuben Fiber might not be the best floor material since it doesn’t handle abrasion that well. To me this shelter seems to be the perfect balance between weight, interior room and shelter from the elements for 1-2 persons.

I’ve contacted Locus gear to hear if it is possible to get a half-solid inner. I do prefer to have more protections from the wind and I think the weight-penalty is worth it. The shelter, with both the tarp and the inner weighs 790g, probably a bit more with a half-solid inner plus ~100g for the stakes, but it would probably still be a sub-1kg shelter for two persons. 1kg has sort of become the upper limit for me when I’ve been looking for a new shelter.

I found a review on the Hapi on backpackinlight.com

I’ve been planning a future thru-hike of the 440km Kings trail in northern Sweden, and it is likely that this will be the shelter I decide to buy.

The only issue now will be to get the cash to buy the damn thing 🙂 I have a lot of expenses at the moment and I think I would have a hard time convince my wife that this would be a needed purchase at the moment. I hope that Locus Gear will have a sale, or a bloggers discount or something like that soon :-).