Why hike lightweight?

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.

And then there are all the cottage makers that many  people have never heard of. Locus Gear, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, ZPacks, Mountain Laurel Designs, Six Moon Designs, Superior Wilderness Design, Tarptent and Enlightened Equipment to name a few. Some of these will break your bank though 😀.

Here’s another list of a lot of cottage gear makers.

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.

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 :-).