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.

DIY windscreen and lid

Yesterday I thought I’d try to make a windscreen. I have one in titanium, that I bought cheap from eBay, but I thought it would be fun to do one myself, following the instructions from Anders Jonsson using regular aluminum foil (or more precise, the thicker “grillfolie”).

I’m really not good with the sewing machine, but aluminum foil turned out to be easier to sew in than regular fabric and I sewed like I was born to do it.

I measured the circumference of my pot and added a few cm to get the length of the windscreen. After that I folded the foil to get three layers, folded one cm in the bottom and then used cotton thread to sew it. My thought was that cotton would withstand the heat better, as polyester thread would risk melting.

I also sewed in two loops to use with 1g shepherd hooks to keep the windscreen from blowing away. After that I folded the short ends two times and then sew them too. I used a paper clip to hold the two ends together instead of the clip Anders uses in his instructions. I used a hole puncher to make two rows of holes on one side of the windscreen.

I also made a ground reflector, using the bottom of a single use aluminum pie tin and made a lid to the pot from the same material. In the lid, I stamped a small hole in the middle, and made a handle out of thin steel wire twisted into a loop.

My Toaks 750ml pot with a bail handle weighs ~133 grams. The graded 1l pot from my Trangia ULHA weighs 82 grams, plus the gripper from the Trangia Mini that weighs 20 grams. The lid, from the pie tin weighs no more than 1 gram. So using this I lower the weight of my pot by ~30 grams.

Today I decided to try it out. I fired up the stove outside, with an air temperature at 4°C, and soon felt the smell of something burned. After 2,5-3 min the water, with a starting temperature of about 8°C came to a boil.

After my test I saw that the foil had melted at one place. I guess I made it to small.

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Melted aluminum foil

I packed up the sewing machine again and made another attempt. This time I used six layers of foil, and made the windscreen a few cm longer. I also used the hole puncher to stamp holes all around the lower end of the windscreen to allow more air to get inside. I made the loops for the shepherd hooks with lighter thinner fabric too. Other than that I folded and sewed like the first time. Using twice as many layers added weight though, and the new windscreen weighted 21 grams instead of the 11 grams of the old one. Maybe I’ll make a new one with the same size, but with just three layers some other time.

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The new, improved model

I tried the stove again, this time indoors, without using a timer. But the water came to a boil quickly, and nothing melted this time.

It will be fun to try it in the wild. Hopefully this, together with the ground reflector will save some fuel. It was fun to do a small easy DIY project, and the Trangia with the pie tin lid saved about 25% of the weight of my pot. (Let’s not mention the added weight of the windscreen 🙂 )

I’ll test it and see if I like this setup, otherwise I’ll just go back to using the Toaks 750ml pot instead.