First trip of 2022

For a few years now I’ve had a tradition of going camping in the first week of the year. This year though all of the family got Covid by new years eve. But on 14th of January C and I got away on a trip to Stocksmyr-Brännan nature reserve.

Info

Stocksmyr-Brännan is the largest nature reserve in Kronoberg, with its 2313ha. It has trails between 80 meter to 16,2 km long. There are two different shelters, one of them next to a lake in the northern parts. There has been a forest fire here, so there are signs all over the place to be wary of falling trees and the stems where still black. The fires can burn off the roots, and the trees can fall without warning.

Trip report

C and I wanted to use a tent, and it had been a long time since the last time we camped together. But since I’d never been in the reserve I wanted to check out the shelters first, to have a backup plan.

I used Google maps to find the way, but it took us out on a tractor trail, and it was almost too rough for my car to handle. But eventually we found our way through and parked at the shelter near the lake, on the northern part of the reserve. There was a flat area that could house our tent, but since it was pretty close to the parking lot I wanted to check out the other shelter before we decided where to camp.

I drove to the center of the reserve, and we started hiking on a trail south, to reach the southernmost shelter. The trail was really nice, with old pine and spruce forest and mossy grounds. C hiked with a good pace, but did long for the tent. Hiking is ok, but camp life is her favourite.

After a while we came to the southern parking lot, where we turned east back into the forest. After a while we spotted the southern shelter, on top of a small hill. The hill was just large enough to house the newly built shelter. I thought it was really nice, and wanted to stay there, but C was dead set on sleeping in the tent. There was no room what so ever, even for a 1 person tent, so setting up our Ultamid 4 was impossible. We hike back in a circle to the car and drove back to the northern shelter.

When we came there it was already starting to get dark. I set up the tent, got all of our sleeping gear out and C snuggled back in the inner tent with a movie. I sat in the vestibule and started to make dinner. Spaghetti Carbonara. It was delicious, but C didn’t eat too much of it.

After dinner I got into the inner tent with C. The trees creaked a bit ominous, and while I had checked for burned trees nearby I got anxious that I had missed one, and the forecast had predicted quite strong gusts during the night. In the end I realized that it was better to be safe than sorry. I would never forgive myself if a tree fell on the tent and hurt C.

I managed to persuade her to move to the shelter instead. So we moved all of our gear over to the shelter and lit a fire and played “Go fish” together for the rest of the evening. I haven’t been too fond of shelters before, and prefer a tent. But it was really cozy with the fire, and comfortable to spread out our gear all over the shelter. It was Cs first time in a shelter, and while she prefers the tent she still liked it. C fell asleep, but I stayed up a bit longer, before I dozed off to the dying fire. ‘

I slept fairly good that night, and the next morning I forced myself out of my comfortable sleeping bag and started a fire. After the fire got going I got back into the sleeping bag and made breakfast.

When we finally mustered enough energy to get up we packed up the gear and got back to the car. On the way back I checked out the site for our tent, and there where no dead trees nearby, so we could have stayed there safely. But as said, better safe than sorry.

Stocksmyr-Brännan was a nice nature reserve, and I want to explore more of it. I’d love to try the southern shelter too one day, but it might take some persuasion to get C to agree on that.

Review: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4

(Disclaimer: Below list contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission for purchases made through the links. The gear is bought with my own money though and I have not been asked to review the gear.)

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 at Fulufjället National park

I’m going to give a review of my Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4, with the full- and the half inner and go through my likes and dislikes with it. While it’s a great tent, it still has its downsides. I’ve owned the tent for a little less than a year, and used it both below and above the treeline and I have used a lot of different tents before this one.

For those who don’t know, the HMG Ultamid is made out of Dyneema composite fabric, formerly known as Cuben Fiber. The material was originally made to make sails for sail racing boats, but have been widely used by parts of the outdoor business. The pros, as opposed to sil nylon which is the standard material used in tents, is that it is both lighter and stronger. It doesn’t stretch, sag when wet or soak, and is easier to just shake or wipe off moisture. The cons however is that it is less resistant to abrasions and folding. I’ve read that you can expect almost twice the amounts of nights a Sil tent will take before worn out, compared to a DCF tent since the material will wear quicker. Another downside is price. The material itself is expensive, thus making the gear expensive.

I’ve owned gear from Hyperlite Mountain Gear since 2017, and before the Ultamid 4 I had the Ultamid 2. I have the backpack Southwest 4400, pack pods and a stuff sack pillow, and I’m generally happy with the gear I have from them. I’ve used a lot of tent before; Bergans Compact tunnel tent, Hilleberg Enan, Niak and Staika, Luxe Sil Hex Peak, Twin Peak and Tentipi Olivin Light, Olivin BP and Safir 5 BP. My reason for buying the Ultamid 4 was to have one tent that was light enough for solo use, but still large enough for family camping.

The Ultamid is a so called Mid, or Pyramid shelter. It’s easily erected. Lay it on the ground, put the pegs in the corners and make sure the corners are in a 90⁰ angle. I also recommend securing one guy line to a backpack too, to mitigate the risk of it blowing away while you are setting it up or taking it down.

Insert the center pole and adjust the guy lines. Tighten them a little bit at each corner to get even tension and then go around again and tighten them some more if necessary. The half inner gets secured to the fly with hooks, and with pegs in the corners, and then secured to the top with a carabiner.

The tent, with the material and shape, is made to withstand much of what nature can throw at it. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard or read ‘bombproof’ in tent reviews, and while I don’t plan to do any camping in the conflict areas of Syria any time soon, it do tell some about whats expected of it.

Pegging out the full inner before adding the fly. The inner can be left attached to the fly to set up both at the same time

So whats my impression of it then? I’ve had both the Ultamid 4 and the 2 on both low land trails and in the mountains above the treeline. And it do handle wind very well. Despite not having a solid inner it doesn’t get particularly breezy inside, even in hard wind. When it comes to quality it’s OK. It’s not Hilleberg quality, and while I didn’t have any issues with the 2, I had water seeping through the seams and dropping down in my face at night in the Ultamid 4. HMG refunded the shipping cost and sent me a few meters of DCF tape, and I taped up the weak spots. One area in the top was supposed to be covered with tape, but the tape there didn’t cover the seams. This made it possible for water to seep through, and on two trips I frequently had water dropping down on my face at night. I have a lot of other gear from HMG, and I had the Ultamid 2 without any issues, so I could have just gotten a bad one, since it was made when HMG where overwhelmed with orders during peak Covid in late 2020/early 2021.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 with the full inner
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 with the full inner
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 with the half inner
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 with the half inner

When it comes to details it has 8 peg out points along the perimeter, and 7 guy line points half way up. You get a lot of guy line with the tent, but you have to cut it and tie it by yourself. I cut mine in a length of roughly 4 meters, and use a Tautline Hitch at the end, to easily be able to tension the guy lines. With all guy lines pegged, the tent should be able to take quite a beating from the elements. But hard wind will put a lot of pressure on the center pole.

I have a carbon fiber pole from Ruta Loca. It’s lightweight, at 266 grams. I can’t say how well it would fair in extreme weather, but there is also the option to strap two hiking poles together with the HMG pole straps. I use aluminum 4-season poles from Black Diamond, and with a fair share of the poles overlapping the center pole gets really strong.

The tent itself weighs 774 grams for the fly with guy lines, 539 grams for the half inner and 823 grams for the full inner. My pegs weighs 305 gram, and I have a mix of MSR groundhogs, generic Y-pegs and nails.

But the biggest issue probably is the price. In USA the price is $890-$975 for fly, $405 for the half inner and $510 for the full inner. In Europe it’s even more expensive with 1141€-1238€ for the fly, 486€ for the half inner and 624€ for the full inner.

Another downside with a Mid with a full inner is that in a downpour it’s hard to not get a lot of water inside the tent while entering and exiting. When I camped with my daughter with the full inner in 12 hours of torrential rain it was a pain.

But do I like it?

I do, despite some downsides I feel that it’s the best compromise there is for my needs, which is lightweight, large enough for four persons but light enough for one to carry. And despite the downsides with the full inner in rain I do really like the modular approach. I think it really shines when used as a palatial 2-person tent. With the half inner as a fairly large area secured from bugs and the other half as a vestibule with a groundsheet, for cooking and gear. And with only the half inner you could enter and exit without having a swimming pool in your inner tent.

Do I recommend it?

It’s not a tent for everyone. Is a bit more complex to set up than a regular tunnel- or dome tent, it’s very expensive and DCF is bulky and not very resistant to abrasion. But if you prioritize having a large tent that can handle rough weather to a really low weight I do recommend it. For me, the benefits outweighed the downsides, and I would rate it a 4 out of 5 stars.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 at Fulufjället National park

Gear walkthrough from our Fulufjället hike

I’ve tweaked my gear over the years, but the thing that’s changed most of the times is probably the tent, since I never seem to find the perfect one, and still haven’t. Having a lightweight setup felt more important when hiking with my family. I carry most of my daughters gear, and I also wanted to carry more of the shared gear since I wanted Maria to be as comfortable as possible since she’s not as used to hiking as I am.

(Disclaimer: Below list contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission for purchases made through the links. The gear is bought with my own money though.)

Backpacks

I used my Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 4400 (int) (SE) with the pack pods (int) (SE). It’s a good roomy pack that’s more or less waterproof. It feels durable, and I’ve had it a few years without any issues. I really like using it with the pods to fully utilize all the space and I like the roomy front pocket.

Maria used the Exped Lightning 60 with the optional front pocket. It was my first lightweight backpack, and it is super comfortable. I seam sealed it on the inside to get it a bit more waterproof. The bungee straps on the front pocket is getting a bit stretched out, but other than that it’s in good shape. It’s a really great pack, and since it has an adjustable back height Maria can use it too.

C used a Bergans Lilletind 12 rolltop. They sell them with top lids too, but I prefer roll tops as it’s a lot easier to compress the pack when you’re not carrying that much. It has a waist belt, but it’s important to remember not to pack too heavy for a kid, even if it fits in the backpack.

Tent

We used Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 (int) (SE) with a full inner (int) (SE) and a Ruta Loca center pole. I’ve had quality issues with my tent (probably because it was made when they had a record high demand and was getting behind schedule), and using a mid with a full inner in a downpour means a good likelyhood of getting rain in your inner. But despite the downsides I was very pleased with the tent.

It has a large footprint, but since it is that large, and use a tall center pole it has a lot of usable space inside. It was very welcomed at our second campsite, as it was swarmed by mosquitoes. I like to spread out too, so using it for 2 adults and 1 kid was perfect.

It’s also very lightweight. I haven’t weighted mine, but the official weight is 657g for the fly, 765g for the inner and 271g for the center pole. I think my mix of groundhogs, shepard hooks and nails weigh 200g. It’s a 4 person sub 1900g shelter, and you could save 250g if you ditch the center pole and use pole straps (int) (SE) and hiking poles instead.

When we had our camp set up we used half the inner for mine and Marias sleeping pad, 1/4 of the inner for all of our gear and 1/4 for a CCF-mat for C, where we also could sit, cook etc.

Sleeping pads and pillows

Me and Maria used an Exped Duomat HL LW. It weighs 1155g, so the UL-purists might frown upon the LW-part but it is definitely worth it in my book. It weighs more than two UL pass, but with a size of 200x130cm and two separate air chambers it’s a very comfortable pad, and it takes up half of the inner tent. I think this is as comfortable as it gets when sleeping outdoors.

We brought my Exped Winterlite HL for C, but she kept rolling off, so she used a CCF-mat instead, and preferred that.

As a pillow I used Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuffsack pillow (int) (SE) with my Cumulus Incredilite Endurance downpuffy (int) (SE) and extra socks stuffed in it. It’s fairly comfortable. Maria used a Thermarest Compressible Pillow, that is quite heavy and bulky, but probably one of the most comfortable hiking pillows there is.

Sleeping bags

I used my Cumulus Quilt 450 (int) (SE)and I love it. I had their first generation quilt, but never liked the strap system. With their updated models they fixed the issues I had and I really like it. It’s lightweight, warm and flexible, as it can open up as a square quilt, or strap up a foot box.

My wife used an Aegismax G1. I’ve washed it with Nixwax Downproof to make it more moist proof, and it is well worth it’s money. It’s warm and light and a good choice for someone on a budget, or buying for someone who rarely uses it like my wife. But if that’s not the case I do prefer Cumulus and supporting local high end manufacturers.

C uses a Cumulus Junior 250. Originally they use 750cuin down in their Junior bags, but they make them for order, and I ordered C:s with 850cuin down instead, to get more loft with the same weight. She’s never been cold in it, but when we’re winter camping she sleeps in a fleece base layer and I usually bring a quilt to throw above the back if she would get cold.

Stove set

I have a lot of stove sets, and a nostalgic love for Trangias. I did consider bringing my Trangia 27HA but in the end I didn’t want to carry all that weight. So I used my Toaks 1350ml pot (115g) (int) (SE), an Evernew titanium frying pan (155g) and a Firemaple 117T burner (104g). It’s really lightweight but a large enough pot for us, and a frying pan for pancakes or falafel. Since the hike I bought a Soto Windmaster (int) (SE) that I’ve heard a lot of good things about.

Conclusion

I was happy with the gear we used, and I don’t have any complaints. I do look forward to trying the Soto Windmaster, as I’ve read that its a very efficient stove even in wind. The sleep system is dialed in and I also think it’s hard to get a better setup with the tent, since I like to keep the weight down while still having a lot of room to spread out. In general I’d say my gear is as dialed in as it gets. I have considered a couples quilt, but I don’t know if it would be worth the money, since Maria doesn’t join us that often. I have also considered buying the Thermarest Compressible pillow in the large size for me, but it’s really heavy and bulky, and I think I’ll just stick with the stuff sack pillow.

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)

Camping with “Skogsknytte” friends

C has been going to Frilufsfrämjandet Skogsknytte for 1,5 years. Some of us have talked about going camping with the kids, and in the middle of May we got out on a camp with E and her father Christoffer.

We had scouted suitable areas, and I had found a nice looking oak meadow, just south of a nature reserve close to Växjö. Camping is prohibited within the reserve, but allowed outside through “Allemansrätten”. To be fair, the oak meadow was more beautiful than lots of the reserve. There are pastures around here, so one isn’t allowed to camp here if there are any animals there.

Under the old magnificent oak trees the ground was covered with Wood Anemone and Heath Peas.

C and I arrived first, and found a nice spot for two tents. After a while we heard E and Christoffer coming through the meadow. We set up our tents, and it started raining. We’d had sun and great weather all week, but once we got out we had rain. And it rained a lot. A litteral downpour all evening and all night. Having a Mid with a full inner provided some difficulties in a never endimg downpour, as it kept raining in everytime we entered or exited the tent.

We made dinner, and on the meny this time was tortilla pizza. I liked them, but they weren’t C:s favourite. Perhaps because she just wanted to play with E instead of eating.

The kids played with My Little Ponies in the Ultamid at first, but later in the evening they retreated to E and Christoffers tent, where they watched movies until late in the evening. Christoffer and I stayed outside, eating snacks and having a couple of cold beers. When it was time to put the kids to sleep we asked ourselfs why we had stayed out in the rain instead of just sitting in the tent.

C was super tired when we got back to our tent, and she fell asleep right away. I didn’t though, because I had found out that the tent was leaking. Water seeped through somewhere, and dropped down on the inner, and through the mesh onto the gear. I got pretty upset with it. The tent costs a fortune, and all the reviews holds it up to be some kind of super shelter, and I had water dropping down. I’ve had the Ultamid 2 before and didn’t have this issue. I mailed Hyperlite Mountain Gear right away, and later got a roll of DCF-tape sent, and a description on where the trouble spots usually are. (The story unfortunately will continue in my next post)

The next morning I had to wake C up. It felt like she could’ve slept forever. I made french toast for breakfast and we explored the area around the meadow before packing up.

It was fun to camp with E and Christoffer, and the first time to camp on that place. The rain was unfortunate though, but we’ll definitely come back here again. Christoffer and I talked about bringing canoes the next time.

Camping and first canoeing of 2021

It’s been a while since I wrote here. It has been a lot going on this spring and I just haven’t had the time or energy to write. But I do have a few trip reports to post, so I’ll start with No. 1 out of 4.

Trip report

On 30th of April C and I got out on an overnighter together. It was our first overnighter together since our hot tent overnighter in Januaury, and it would be the first time C got to use the new Ultamid 4. I had only used it once before, on my ski trip in February, but that time I used the half inner. For this trip I brought the full inner, to get a chance to test it.

We got away later than first planned, and since we had to get back early the next day drove to our “secret” spot, that is close to home. It’s also C:s favourite place to camp. I brought the canoe too. We didn’t plan to paddle to a campsite, but I wanted to do at least a short paddle.

When we arrived I set up camp right away. The spot where we usually put up the tent was in the danger zone though. A pine tree had cracked about 100cm up, but was still standing. It would have been stupid to put up the tent within falling distance from it, so we cleared out a new spot and set up the tent.

After that we made dinner, chicken paeng red curry with noodles. I loved it, but C prefered the noodles over the paeng.

We paddled for a while and C got to use her new fishing rod. We didn’t catch anything though. But after a while C wanted to get back. It’s neither the hiking nor the paddling that she prefers. It’s playing in the tent.

So we got back to the car, put the canoe back in the roof and went back to the tent.

There where a lot of Canada geese that honked all around us. Their nests are everywhere in these parts. But we also heard the lonely calls from Loons. The sound of their cries cut through everything, and I think it’s one of the most beautiful sounds in nature.

As the sun was setting we got out on a rock on the far edge of our peninsula and just sat there, looked over the lake and listened to the sounds of nature.

After a long time we got back to the tent. C slept like a log all night, but I woke up several times when my Massdrop Klymit mat had deflated (I later found a tiny little hole in it.)

The next morning I made french toast from a pancake powder mix I had made at home. It was a pretty nice breakfast.

We packed up after that, and when I started to take down the tent the rain started.

And that’s that. A simple short overnighter, but a nice time spent in nature and hanging out with my daughter.

My first ski camping trip, and the new tent

Trip report

I have wanted cross country skis for more than a decade, but it wasn’t until last year that I actually got around to buy a pair.

I wanted a pair that could suite all the potential adventures I could think of. My dream is to make ski camping trips in the mountains, and I bought a pair of Åsnes Amundsen with Alaska BC boots.

Last year I only got around to use them on a couple of occasions before the snow melted. But last weekend I could finally get out on a short ski camping trip.

I hadn’t really planned to go camping, but the weather was fantastic, and my new tent had arrived the same week so my wife thought I should take the chance to get out, since it would probably be the last week with snow.

Since I hadn’t planned anything I quickly had to search for a place nearby where it would be possible to ski and camp. I found Storasjöområdet, 30 min east of Växjö, checked the authority website that camping was allowed, quickly packed the back pack and skis and headed off.

I’d never been in that area before, but from the info I had it seemed to be a lot of mires and a couple of descent trails. I expected a smaller version of Stora Mosse, where I had been on a day trip a couple of weeks earlier.

Once there I read a sign that said camping was prohibited. It looked old though, and double checking on the website it said that camping in caravans and motor-homes was prohibited.

I started skiing the yellow trail. After some 500 meters a sign pointed to a side trail leading to a bird watching tower. I skid out to the tower, watched the view and then went back to the main trail. I was scouting for potential campsites from the beginning, since I didn’t know how the rest of the trail would look like, and it was already a bit late when I arrived.

I came to a sign that showed that the longer trail had been closed, and from the looks of it there where a lot of storm felled trees. I continued on the 2,1 km yellow trail instead.

The trail had been nice to ski on in the beginning, but soon turned for the worse. It hadn’t snowed enough to even out the ground, and the trail twisted and turned between rocks and tree stumps. My skis really took a beating, and in retrospect I should have just carried them and walked instead.

I had passed a couple of potential campsites in the beginning of the trail, and closing in on the end of the loop trail I started to realize that I wouldn’t find anything else. Blood sugar was getting low, and I just wanted to get to camp.

I came back to the car and started a new lap on the round trail. About a km in I stopped at the area that I had checked out in the first round. It was a large fairly flat area, and I stomped the snow with the skis to compress it and make it more even.

After that I started with dinner while the compressed snow got time to freeze more solid. The dinner was just a freeze dried Goulash. It wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t a taste experience to write home about. I haven’t made any home dried meals in a while, so I’ll have to make due with the bought stuff.

As I’ve written before I’ve sold tents to buy another one that better suits my needs. When I transitioned to UL/LW most of my gear got pretty dialed down, but when it comes to tents I never seem to find one I’m pleased with. But I bought a HMG Ultamid 4 with a half- and full inner, to minimize the number of tents in the gear shed and have one tent for everything from solo trips to family trips. With my Tentipi Safir 5 for hot tent camping I thinks these are the only two tents I’ll need.

Since it was brand new the guy-lines weren’t attached, so I laid out the tent, dug holes in the snow to secure the tent pegs for the corners and cut and tied the guy-lines while the snow around the tent pegs froze solid. I used a midshipman’s hitch for the bottom ends of the guy-lines to have easily adjustable loops since there aren’t any linelocs for them.

When the pegs where solid and all the guy lines attached I set up my two connected ski poles as a center pole and set up the half inner. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and no wind was forecasted so I didn’t really need a tent, and absolutely not an inner. But I was eager to try out the new gear.

When everything was up it was already dark. I was getting really cold and just wanted to get inside my sleeping bag. Temps where forecasted to drop to around -12⁰C, so I had brought both my Cumulus Panyam 600 and my Wind Hard Tiny quilt. I don’t know if I really needed the quilt, but I’ll rather be too warm than freezing during the night.

I laid in the sleeping bag, snacking on nougats and chocolate and reading. I always bring my ebook reader with me, but I had to warm it up inside the sleeping bag for it to wake up.

I was really tired so around 21.00 I decided that I wouldn’t fight it any more but just try to sleep instead. But despite being so tired I had a really restless night. I wasn’t cold, but I couldn’t relax, so I drifted in and out of sleep all night.

I woke up before dawn. I had brought both a down- and a synthetic puffy and put on both. The down puffy had served as my pillow in the HMG Stuff sack pillow, and the synthetic one had been stored in the foot end of my sleeping bag so it wouldn’t be cold in the morning. I stayed in the sleeping bag while I made breakfast. I boiled some water for coffee and for my porridge. One of the water bottles was frozen solid, but I had put hot water in a vacuum bottle the night before, and poured it in the pot and added snow to melt.

The sun started to come up, and it was a beautiful morning. I was tired from tossing and turning most of the night, but I still felt great. It was cold outside, but with hot food in my belly and two puffy jackets on it was actually okey to leave the warm sleeping bag.

I packed up the tent and all my gear, took a stroll around camp to make sure nothing was dropped or lost, put on my skis and started skiing back to the car.

This was my first ski camping trip, and I’d love to do it again. It was cold, and next time I want to do it in an area that’s more suitable for skiing, like Stora Mosse National park. I liked the Ultamid 4 too. It’s large and lightweight and after trying a few different options these last years it feel great to be back again with a lightweight tent. A 4p double walled tent for roughly 1,5kg is really nice to carry.

Gear used

(Disclaimer: Below list contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission for purchases made through the links. The gear is bought with my own money for full price though)

HMG Ultamid 4 (int) (SE)

HMG Ultamid 4 half inner (int) (SE)

HMG Southwest 4400 (int) (SE)

Cumulis Panyam 600 (int) (SE)

Aegismax Wind Hard Tiny

Exped Winterlite HL

HMG Stuff sack pillow L (int) (SE)

Toaks UL 700ml pot (int) (SE)

Storminstove cone/base/stove (unfortunately the maker passed away, but it’s a really nice stove set, comparable to Caldera cone)

Åsnes Amundsen skis with Madshus Rottefella BC Manual bindings and Alpina Alaska boots

Black Diamond Expedition 3 4 season trekking poles

Cumulus Incredilite Endurance (int) (SE)

T&P insulated jacket

The constant chase for the perfect tent

I have an addiction. My great poison is tents, and I’ve bought and sold numerous tents over the years in search of the perfect one. But I don’t think it’s just the chase for a prefect tent that drives me, but also the fact that I really like tents and want to try a lot of different ones. I guess I should have been a tent salesman.

But lately it’s been stressing me with the different tents I have and what to use on which occasion. When I started the search for a 3-4 person tent to have something that both me, C and my wife could share now that C is getting older, I realized that I wanted to clear out the gear shed and minimize my options.

I had a Hilleberg Staika, that I bought to use together with C and my wife, naïvely not counting in how fast kids grows and how tight it would actually be inside when the kids get a bit older. I also bought it because I planned to do ski touring trips in the mountains, but it looks like that’s in a far away future. I decided to sell this one. I’ve discovered the option the rent tents recently, and if I’ll get away on a ski trip where a tent like the Staika is needed, I rent it.

I also had a Hilleberg Niak that barely got used. I bought it before I bought the Staika. I never had a freestanding tent before and wanted to try it out. I thought of it as a solo tent, but wanted to use it with C too. She was used to large tipis and mids though, and thought it was way too small for us. And to be honest, so did I. It was very roomy for one though, but it doesn’t look like I’ll get out on a lot of solo trips. C accompanies me on all my trips lately, and despite not being as calming as the solo trips I love to bring her out and share my love of the outdoors with her. But not getting used, the Niak acted as a bad conscience every time I looked at it. It felt like better use of the tent to sell it, than to have it laying on the shelf.

The previously owned Tentipi Olivin BP that I bought on a whim is put up on sale too (still there if anyone’s interested). I wanted to have it as a small canoe camping or bushcraft tent that’s more portable that its large siblings. I love sleeping in a canvas tent, but since I already have the Safir 5, it felt like an unnecessary purchase to have both of them. I really like it though, but I want to minimize the number of tents in the gear shed.

With the need for tents that are light enough to be used solo, mostly will be used for trips with me and C, but are suitable to use with both my wife and one or two of my kids I decided to have just two tents. I’ll keep the Tentipi Safir 5 as a great tent for car-, canoe- and hot tent camping. I’ve also looked into using the money from the tent sales to buy a HMG Ultamid 4 with an inner if they’ll come out with a discount (missed Black Friday). If it was only meant for me and C I would probably settle with just the floorless bugnet. But since I’m trying to persuade my wife to come with us more often, and she’ll definitely prefer at bathtub floor, I’ll get that one instead.

Hopefully I’ll never look at another tent again after this. It’ll be nice to get back to a lighter option too. I’ve had heavier tents for a few years now, and I’ve missed having a really lightweight backpacking tent.

I’ve also looked in to the option of setting up a UL cookset suitable for family use. Right now it’s leaning towards a Toaks 1600ml pot, a Storminstove cone, base and burner and my Evernew titanium frying pan. It’ll be an estimated weight of sub 450g, which is half of what my Trangia 25 weighs (though I really love the Trangias). I think this will be a nice, stable and fuel efficient set suitable for more outdoor cooking than just freezer bag meals. For solo use (and previous trips with C) I’ve used the Storminstove setup with a Toaks 700ml pot, and it’s a really great setup.

Merry Christmas in advance everyone. I hope everyone is safe, and that we’ll see an end to Corona soon. Until then I hope everyone has the option to get out in nature, at least for short periods, to recharge and disconnect from all the negative aspects we’ve seen this year.

Camping or hiking

I begun my interest in the outdoors with hiking. I had traditional heavy weight gear, and though I enjoyed the outdoors there was too much discomfort with it. I learned about Ultralight backpacking and gradually reduced my base weight, one item at the time and I did quite a few hiking trips. I found a perfect balance between camp comfort and hiking comfort. This last year, and the trips this year too, has mostly been camping trips though. Trips with heavy gear, focused on comfort, and that’s been really nice too.

I’ve been less inclined to leave my wife with all the kids at home, even though she’s ok with it. And I do love to bring C with me (the only one in the family except me who enjoys the outdoors), but I really miss hiking. The trip with Brian last November was very much needed. Camp comfort and munching on a big fat load of good food is nice, but as a remedy for the soul, hiking does the trick better. I like the monotony of hiking from dawn to dusk, barely stopping to eat, but just snacking on route. Pushing myself, clearing my head and emptying my brain of thoughts. It’s a meditative state and a form of mindfulness I guess. I’ve gone back to watching UL hiking videos on YouTube, and I long to get back into hiking, and I miss the mountains.

I hope I’ll go to Hardangervidda this year, and I’d really like to hike the Arctic Circle Trail soon. We’ll see what the future has in store.

Second two-night trip with my daughter

I had planned to do an overnighter or a two-night trip with Corinne, my two-year old, in the end of this week, as it’s a holiday on Thursday and I’ve taken time off from work on Friday. The plans changed however, as my wife needed to study last weekend and needed some peace and quite at home. My son was already away, so I decided to take my youngest daughter on the planned trip a bit earlier instead. My oldest daughter wanted to stay home with her mother instead.

I had planned to quit work a bit earlier on Friday, pick C up from kindergarten and then drive to Skåne in the early afternoon. In the end it didn’t work out as planned, and we ended up driving down in the early evening instead.

My planned location was a two hour drive from home, and we arrived at the parking lot at 19.30.

It was still sunny and bright when we arrived, and the fresh green leaves of the beech forest almost seemed like they where glowing.

I was instantly struck by how beautiful the forest was.

We started to follow Skåneleden, but after a short while we took off into the forest instead. We found a nice flat spot and set up our camp. There where blueberry bushes underneath the floor, and old parts of the bushes where really sharp. I was a bit worried about my inflatable sleeping mat, but it did survive the trip.

This was the first time I used my Storminstove system, and I really liked it from the start. It felt really efficient, stable and safe to use around C. I had brought a Toaks frying pan with roughly the same dimensions as my pot, but it didn’t work good. More on this later.

We had bought a couple of burgers on our way down, so I just made tea and we ate snacks when our camp was ready. We explored the area closest to the camp and then went to bed. C fell asleep pretty quickly.

We both slept good and woke up to the birdsong the next morning. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful morning.

We made a breakfast of tortillas, sausages, cheese and smoothies, and coffee for me.

After breakfast we packed up and left. We where going to hike off trail from now on.

When you’re used to the dark dense spruce forests of Småland, beech forests like these almost feel exotic.

We took a lot of breaks, and C walked a lot on her own. But she likes to ride on the shoulders, and a lot of the times I had her up there.

We hiked until we came to a small stream, where we filled up on water. After our water supply was restocked we searched for a nice place to make lunch. This time I had brought home dried meals, and my West African stew was a success.

I had really hoped that C would take a nap after lunch, because I was really tired myself. Unfortunately she was anything but tired so there was no nap for any of us.

We hiked for a little while longer, but when we found a beautiful spot for a camp at 15.30 we stopped there and set up our camp, despite the early hours.

When our camp was up we had a lot of time left until sundown. We had a lot of snacks and explored the nearby area. C got to set the pace and we walked where ever she felt like.

When it was time for dinner I made falafel with couscous and Ajvar, from a premade falafel mix. I think I had too much water in it, as it got too runny, and the frying pan didn’t really fit the Storminstove, as it was just a bit too narrow, and the frying pan slipped down into the stove.

In the end my falafel became a mash of burned parts mixed with uncooked batter. It still tasted ok, but I won’t try to make it on the Storminstove again. I never seem to be able to get the good at frying stuff on lightweight stoves, and I’ll probably just stick to freezer bag cooking on my hiking trips.

C felt really tired pretty early in the evening, and since she hadn’t had her nap that day I thought it would be good idea to put her to bed. It wasn’t.

When we had changed into our sleeping clothes, and crawled into bed she was anything but tired. She roamed around the tent like a small barbarian about to sack Rome, and had no intention of going to sleep. At first I was super tired, but when she eventually had fallen asleep I couldn’t sleep. I ended up tossing and turning the entire night instead.

The next morning we aired out our gear when we had breakfast. We packed up, and then took another route back to the car.

The forest was almost radiant in the bright morning sun. We passed another family that had been camping a few hundred meters from us, and then continued on a trail back to the car.

The trip had been great, and the forest was really beautiful, with the bright green spring leaves, the countless small hills and and the soft leaf covered ground. And since it was pretty early in spring we weren’t bothered by bugs.

The last morning C said that she wanted to sleep at home next night, so I guess two nights in a row is enough for her. But today when I picked her up from kindergarten she asked if we could sleep in a tent tonight again, so the interest is still there. Next time I’ll probably go out on a solo trip, but I can’t wait to get out with her again. It can be hard work, but it’s rewarding to see how much she enjoys playing and camping in the forest.