Plans for 2022

2021 was a bad year when in comes to health in my family, and it did have an effect on the outdoors parts of my life. In fall 2020 I had started to get some issues with frequent infections that the doctors couldn’t find the source of, but they kept giving me anti-biotics. But the problems only got worse during 2021 and culminated after our Fulufjället hike, where I ended up in the ER with a severe infection. The presssure on my stomach from the waistbelt on my backpack probably made things worse, and camping and hiking was getting more and more troublesome. I had surgury i November and hopefully everything is sorted out now.

In April we also discovered that my oldest daughter has some kind of kidney disease. While the first prognosis was heavy treatment for three months and then she’d be well, we’re now looking at the probability of several years of treatment and the possibility of permanent damages. All kids got chicken-pox too in November. Getting chicken-pox as a 16-year old is hard enough, and with the meds she’s taking she had to be omitted to the hospital to get anti-virals. And now on New Years Eve all of us got Covid.

Needless to say we’re all kind of tired of all the health problems. We’ve been lucky up until this, and we’ve rarely been sick before.

Hopefully 2022 will be better and I’m really looking forward to getting out more. I really want to do more canoe camping this year, as I barely got the canoe out in the water last year. I really love canoe camping and there’s an abundance of lakes in Småland. I want to get back to Halen-Raslången-Immeln but I also want to try the canoe routes on Möckeln, which is even closer to home.

I also want to get back to the mountains. I’ve showed my daughters pictures from my 2017 Sarek trip, and they both showed interest in seeing Rapadalen from Skierfe IRL. Sarek might be too much for a 6 year old, but I do want to get back to some mountains again. When I was in Fulufjället last summer I felt a real rush of joy when I saw the mountains again for the first time in years. There is something about them that just draws me to them.

Rapadalen from Skierfe on my 2017 Sarek trip

But apart from some longer trip with the family I also want to get out on a bunch of shorter trips. I’ve been camping a lot with C lately, but now I look forward to go hiking a lot more with her. Our hiking trips this summer showed that she can do somewhat long hikes and still enjoy it. Friends are becoming more important to her too, and I want to go out on more trips with other parents. Me and Christoffer from Skogsknytte have talked about hiking trips with the girls, and hopefully we can do a few trips with them. There are a few nature reserves within an hours drive that I’ve been looking in to.

The other thing I want to do more is outdoor cooking. I love my Trangias and I really enjoy cooking. For day trips and canoe camping trips I want to experiment with different meals that can be made on a Trangia that weighs a little more than the regular dehydrated stuff I use for hiking.

Making reindeer stew next to a campfire

We’ll see what 2022 has in store for is, but I hope it will be a year full of outdoor adventures, and mountains. I really hope 2022 means going to the mountains.

Kids camping with Outdoor Life Växjö

There’s a Facebook group called Outdoor Life Växjö where we share tips and tricks about gear and sweet spots nearby. The group has meetups every now and then. Since a lot of the members in the group has kids I thought it would be fun to have a meetup with the kids.

In mid September a bunch of us met up on Skälsnäs on the northern side of Helgasjön. Christoffer and E from Friluftsfrämjandet Skogsknytte also joined, and Christoffer also brought E:s little brother. A couple of the guys who came with their kids only stayed for the evening but four of us camped with our kids.

Skälsnäs is a good place for car camping trips. There’s a shelter, privys, a sandy beach, several fire pits and lots of room for tents.

I had brought the Tentipi with the HeatPal. Since it was a car camping trip I wanted as much comfort as possible. I had also brought a lot of good food, with a couple of beers and tasty cheeses and sausages. But despite having the carriying frame I wouldn’t want to carry this setup any longer distances. It really is heavy.

We had a fire next to the shelter and hung out there most of the evening. The kids where playing, but C was a bit shy until Christoffer and E came. C was very happy that E came and they played together for the rest of the evening. When it was getting darker they went inside the tent with snacks and an iPad to watch a movie. The kids had been soaked from playing near (in) the water and I hung up the clothes to dry and fired up the HeatPal.

The adult stayed by the fire, chatting and eating. It was really nice and relaxing. By midnight it was time to go to bed. Dario, who started the Facebook group, and his daughter and friend used the shelter, while the rest of us used tents.

Next morning Christoffer and I had to leave pretty early, since we where going to Skogsknytte with the kids. It was more important for Christoffer since he is one of the leaders om Skogsknytte.

It was a fun trip, and nice to be out with the kids and meet other patents. I’d love to do it again, but next time I would like to do a hiking- or paddling trip instead of a car camping trip.

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.

Traditional first week of the year camping

For 7 years now I’ve had a tradition to go camping in the first week of the year. This year both C and my wife Maria joined me. Maria isn’t as enthusiastic about camping as C and I are, so both of us where really glad to have her with us. As usual, my older kids had no interest in going camping.

This wasn’t intended to be a hiking trip in any way, but a comfortable car camping trip with lots of goodies. There where a little bit of snow, and temps below freezing. Great weather for hot tent camping in other words.

We drove to Lerike, 20 min drive north of Växjö. There’s a shelter here, a couple of fireplaces and a privy. It’s a designated camp site for the canoe route “Värendsleden”. In the summer it’s a popular little beach, where people arrive both by car, boat and canoe. It way to crowded in summer for my liking though.

For this trip we used the Tentipi Safir 5. It’s a canvas tipi that’s easy to set up, very comfortable and of a very high quality. In my opinion the Safir Tentipis are probably among the best, if not THE best canvas tents out there. I’ve seen a lot of YouTube channels that use other types of canvas tents and most of them seem to be both heavier and more of a hassle to set up.

We also brought the GStove Heat view. It’s my trusty companion to the tipi, and something of a must-have when you’re tipi camping in colder weather. I’ve been hot tent camping for a few years now, and sitting in a t-shirt in a tent warmed by a hot fire in a stove when it’s freezing outside is a really great feeling.

When we arrived we carried our gear from the car to the campsite and begun setting everything up. My wife and C got to start setting up the tipi so that they would learn. After that they played, while I set up the stove and unpacked everything in the tent.

We decided to make a fire in the fire pit outside, and stay there until it got dark. After dark I started up a fire in the stove to have the tipi warmed up for when we decided to get inside.

We made dinner when we got inside the tent. Pepper steaks, Mediterranean rice and fried vegetables and mushrooms. It’s sort of my go-to food when hot tent camping. Easy to make and really tasty.

After dinner we laidd in the tent and played UNO and I made popcorn on the stove for the first time. I thought I’d burn the popcorn, but they where prefect. Since I only had the 750ml pot I had to make two batches to get enough.

Around 21.30 we really needed to put C to sleep, and it didn’t take many seconds for her to fall asleep after she had crawled into her sleeping bag.

Mia and I stayed up a little longer, but finally decided to call it a night. I filled up the stove with large pieces of wood and adjusted the air flow to get a slow burn.

Mia and I shared the Exped Duomat HL LW. She used my Cumulus Panyam 600 while I used my Quilt 450. We where both warm and snug throughout the night.

The next morning the others waited in their sleeping bags for me to get up and get the fire started. The tent was cold, and I quickly got out from the quilt to fire up the prepared kindling and then got back under the quilt to wait for the stove do drive out the cold.

When the tipi was warm and snug again we all got out of our sleeping bags and got ready for breakfast. We had brought the last Karelian Pies and egg butter from Christmas, and we heated them up next to the stove.

After breakfast we let the stove cool down and explored an “island” nearby. It’s not really an island, but since it’s only connected to mainland with a narrow streach of land it becomes an island when the water levels are higher in spring. On the end of the islands therse some sort of homemade shelter made of branches and a very worn and torn plastic tarp. It’s been here for years, and I don’t know if its some kind of Scout shelter or what it is.

When the stove had finally cooled down I got back to our campsite and packed up our camp, while C and Mia played on the island.

It was a short little trip, like most of my trips are nowadays. But it was nice to get away, and I really enjoyed having both C and Mia with me. Someday maybe our older kids will want to join too.

Canoe camping in Salen

In May spring was in full force in Sweden. Warm temperatures and gazing sun made up perfect conditions for a canoe camping trip. While me and C use to go to Tolgasjön, north of Växjö, I decided to try a new lake this time. Lake Salen, 20 km west of Växjö. We drove to a small power station on Helige Å, to put in the canoe. There where a short portage for a couple of hundred meters from the parking lot to the put in spot. This is part of Värendsleden, the canoe route that passes both Tolgasjön and Växjö.

There’s supposed to be trout in this lake, so I brought fishing gear and bought a one day fishing permit.

The initial paddling through Helige Å was beautiful. I’ll like to paddle more in rivers, but find it too much of a project to find people to pick up us and the canoe down stream. And paddling solo upstream can be too strenuous.

After a very short paddle in Helige Å we came out in Salen. The small town Alvesta borders the lake, which means a lot of people on the lake. With weather like this, and travel bans outside of your medical region a lot of people went to the lake. A lot of motor boats and jet skis drove across the lake as we paddled.

Through a local outdoor forum on Facebook I’d learned of a campsite on one of the islands. We paddled there right away so we wouldn’t have to search for a campsite later in the day when we’d be more tired.

We found one site that was quite nice, but a guy with a kid where there with their boat, so we kept paddling. On the west side of the island we found an even better campsite. There where room for the tent right next to the rocks where we had the canoe, or a short walk up to a rock on higher grounds, with better views.

C got to decide where to put up our camp, and she chose the high grounds. We put up our camp and made a lunch of Krabbelurer (a sort of fluffy sugary pancake). After lunch we paddled around the lake, fishing a bit and looking at the neighboring islands to look for potential campsites for future trips.

I have a list on google maps where I store all the good campsites I come across, even though I’m not camping there that time. As of now I have 60+ campsites on my list. Most of them close to home and many of them are only accessible with the canoe.

We didn’t get any fish, which isn’t surprising. I’m not much of a fisher man, and the middle of the day is the worst time to be fishing. But I mostly brought the fishing gear for fun, as C likes to reel in the lure.

We went back to our camp only to discover that black ants had infested it. In the very small gap between the zippers they had been able to enter the inner tent, and the sleeping pad and sleeping mats where covered in ants.

I shook out all the gear, and decided to move the camp down to the canoe instead. Down there we put up the hammock and made reindeer stew with mashed potatoes for dinner.

After dinner it was time for some quality chillaxing in the hammock. It didn’t last too long though, as 4 guys in their 20:th came up with their motor boats and jet skis, and decided to get to shore 10 meter from us. When they finally had managed to get to shore they went up the hill to drink some beer. It was evening, and I feared that they would be loud and long lasting. Not the kind of relaxing evening with my 4 year old that I had looked forward to.

Fortunately they where calm, and after an hour or so they left. They played around with the jet ski outside the island for a while, and then left.

With weather this nice we slept with the tent door open. During the night it started to rain though, so I got up and closed the door.

When morning came the weather was fine again, and we had breakfast before packing down our camp. We didn’t do any more exploring that morning, but just paddled straight back to the car after breakfast.

It was nice to try a new lake, but the proximity to a town made it too crowded for my liking. Asasjön and Tolgasjön where we usually paddle is a rural area with less people. We probably won’t camp here again, but I’d like to come back to do some trout fishing.