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)

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.

Storminstove alcohol stove system

I just received my stove system from Storminstove. Storminstove is a small UK based business, and the closest resemblance would be the Caldera Cone.

Storminstove

I bought a set with a cone, that serves as both a wind shield and a pot holder, a ground reflector and a stove. Everything together weighs 70g.

Storminstove

The cones are made to order and you can give the dimensions of your pot on the webshop, but he already has templates for a lot of different pots.

I have the Toaks 700ml UL pot with thinner titanium. I didn’t have to state any measurements, but he already had a template for my pot. The communication was great, and he answered all my questions in a very short time, even during the weekend.

StorminstoveStorminstove

The cone is made of two parts, that you put together using rivets on the lower part. The pot fits tightly in the cone. The stove has a capacity for 30ml of fuel, and the system is estimated to boil 450ml of water on 15ml of fuel. With three boils per day you only have to use 45ml per day. On my average two-night trip I have five boils, which means a fuel weight of 75g. The lightest gas canister weighs 198g full. I also like that alcohol stoves are quiet.

Storminstove

Everything nests in the pot and my complete system with the Storminstove-set, pot, spoon, fire steel and mini bic weighs 225g.

I’ll write a review as soon as I’ve used it enough.