When it comes to pack weight there are certain labels depending on how much the base weight of your pack is. Lightweight (5-10 kg), ultralight (3-5 kg), super ultralight (1,5-3 kg) and extremely super duper ultralight (sub-1,5 kg). I guess my base weight falls in the category Lightweight. So what does it mean and why does it matter?
To me, it’s not important to get below a certain weight level for the sake of it. So what if I don’t get to call myself an ultralight hiker because my base weight is 6,5kg and not below 5kg. But I still don’t think that the weight limits and labels are useless. The weight limits can serve as a way to show that gear that keeps you warm, dry and well fed doesn’t have to weigh more than that. You don’t have to reach below a certain weight for the sake of it, but you can use the weights as a guide when you plan your gear purchases. Of course you have to make sure that the gear you have is sufficient for the conditions you plan to use them in. It’s only natural that your base weight is higher if the conditions are are tougher and colder.
To me, the goal with my gear choices is to be comfortable. Comfortable while hiking and comfortable in camp. Having a low base weight is not a goal. It’s means to an end. The goal is to be comfortable, and a low weight helps me keep the hiking part comfortable. But having a too low weight would impact on the comfort of the camping part. I like to have a spacious tent, warm food and coffee, a sleeping bag or quilt that’s rated a little warmer than the expected temperatures and a thick inflatable sleeping mat. This is where you have to find the perfect balance with that works for you. Different people have different comfort levels. Some like to have a thermos and a camping chair, or bring a Murrika, and some sleep with a to-thin quilt in full clothing under a poncho-tarp, and go stoveless. I guess everyone have to find out what works for them. But I do think that everyone benefits by, at least to some degree, minding the weight. If you like to bring a cast iron frying pan when you go hiking, then bring it. But let it be an active choice, not just something you bring out of old habits without really knowing why. And if you keep the rest of your gear as light as possible for your needs, it won’t break your back.
My experience with the regular outdoor stores in Sweden is that they don’t focus that much on weight. They sell what they’ve always sold, and ultralight backpacking isn’t that big of thing here. But there are lot’s of smaller gear makers that you could buy lightweight gear from without breaking the bank. Cumulus and Roberts are two polish sleeping bag manufacturers that produce high quality gear at a descent price. Luxe Outdoor makes cheap lightweight tents, and I do recommend their Sil Hex Peak.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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’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 :-).