First trip of 2022

For a few years now I’ve had a tradition of going camping in the first week of the year. This year though all of the family got Covid by new years eve. But on 14th of January C and I got away on a trip to Stocksmyr-Brännan nature reserve.

Info

Stocksmyr-Brännan is the largest nature reserve in Kronoberg, with its 2313ha. It has trails between 80 meter to 16,2 km long. There are two different shelters, one of them next to a lake in the northern parts. There has been a forest fire here, so there are signs all over the place to be wary of falling trees and the stems where still black. The fires can burn off the roots, and the trees can fall without warning.

Trip report

C and I wanted to use a tent, and it had been a long time since the last time we camped together. But since I’d never been in the reserve I wanted to check out the shelters first, to have a backup plan.

I used Google maps to find the way, but it took us out on a tractor trail, and it was almost too rough for my car to handle. But eventually we found our way through and parked at the shelter near the lake, on the northern part of the reserve. There was a flat area that could house our tent, but since it was pretty close to the parking lot I wanted to check out the other shelter before we decided where to camp.

I drove to the center of the reserve, and we started hiking on a trail south, to reach the southernmost shelter. The trail was really nice, with old pine and spruce forest and mossy grounds. C hiked with a good pace, but did long for the tent. Hiking is ok, but camp life is her favourite.

After a while we came to the southern parking lot, where we turned east back into the forest. After a while we spotted the southern shelter, on top of a small hill. The hill was just large enough to house the newly built shelter. I thought it was really nice, and wanted to stay there, but C was dead set on sleeping in the tent. There was no room what so ever, even for a 1 person tent, so setting up our Ultamid 4 was impossible. We hike back in a circle to the car and drove back to the northern shelter.

When we came there it was already starting to get dark. I set up the tent, got all of our sleeping gear out and C snuggled back in the inner tent with a movie. I sat in the vestibule and started to make dinner. Spaghetti Carbonara. It was delicious, but C didn’t eat too much of it.

After dinner I got into the inner tent with C. The trees creaked a bit ominous, and while I had checked for burned trees nearby I got anxious that I had missed one, and the forecast had predicted quite strong gusts during the night. In the end I realized that it was better to be safe than sorry. I would never forgive myself if a tree fell on the tent and hurt C.

I managed to persuade her to move to the shelter instead. So we moved all of our gear over to the shelter and lit a fire and played “Go fish” together for the rest of the evening. I haven’t been too fond of shelters before, and prefer a tent. But it was really cozy with the fire, and comfortable to spread out our gear all over the shelter. It was Cs first time in a shelter, and while she prefers the tent she still liked it. C fell asleep, but I stayed up a bit longer, before I dozed off to the dying fire. ‘

I slept fairly good that night, and the next morning I forced myself out of my comfortable sleeping bag and started a fire. After the fire got going I got back into the sleeping bag and made breakfast.

When we finally mustered enough energy to get up we packed up the gear and got back to the car. On the way back I checked out the site for our tent, and there where no dead trees nearby, so we could have stayed there safely. But as said, better safe than sorry.

Stocksmyr-Brännan was a nice nature reserve, and I want to explore more of it. I’d love to try the southern shelter too one day, but it might take some persuasion to get C to agree on that.

My first ski camping trip, and the new tent

Trip report

I have wanted cross country skis for more than a decade, but it wasn’t until last year that I actually got around to buy a pair.

I wanted a pair that could suite all the potential adventures I could think of. My dream is to make ski camping trips in the mountains, and I bought a pair of Åsnes Amundsen with Alaska BC boots.

Last year I only got around to use them on a couple of occasions before the snow melted. But last weekend I could finally get out on a short ski camping trip.

I hadn’t really planned to go camping, but the weather was fantastic, and my new tent had arrived the same week so my wife thought I should take the chance to get out, since it would probably be the last week with snow.

Since I hadn’t planned anything I quickly had to search for a place nearby where it would be possible to ski and camp. I found Storasjöområdet, 30 min east of Växjö, checked the authority website that camping was allowed, quickly packed the back pack and skis and headed off.

I’d never been in that area before, but from the info I had it seemed to be a lot of mires and a couple of descent trails. I expected a smaller version of Stora Mosse, where I had been on a day trip a couple of weeks earlier.

Once there I read a sign that said camping was prohibited. It looked old though, and double checking on the website it said that camping in caravans and motor-homes was prohibited.

I started skiing the yellow trail. After some 500 meters a sign pointed to a side trail leading to a bird watching tower. I skid out to the tower, watched the view and then went back to the main trail. I was scouting for potential campsites from the beginning, since I didn’t know how the rest of the trail would look like, and it was already a bit late when I arrived.

I came to a sign that showed that the longer trail had been closed, and from the looks of it there where a lot of storm felled trees. I continued on the 2,1 km yellow trail instead.

The trail had been nice to ski on in the beginning, but soon turned for the worse. It hadn’t snowed enough to even out the ground, and the trail twisted and turned between rocks and tree stumps. My skis really took a beating, and in retrospect I should have just carried them and walked instead.

I had passed a couple of potential campsites in the beginning of the trail, and closing in on the end of the loop trail I started to realize that I wouldn’t find anything else. Blood sugar was getting low, and I just wanted to get to camp.

I came back to the car and started a new lap on the round trail. About a km in I stopped at the area that I had checked out in the first round. It was a large fairly flat area, and I stomped the snow with the skis to compress it and make it more even.

After that I started with dinner while the compressed snow got time to freeze more solid. The dinner was just a freeze dried Goulash. It wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t a taste experience to write home about. I haven’t made any home dried meals in a while, so I’ll have to make due with the bought stuff.

As I’ve written before I’ve sold tents to buy another one that better suits my needs. When I transitioned to UL/LW most of my gear got pretty dialed down, but when it comes to tents I never seem to find one I’m pleased with. But I bought a HMG Ultamid 4 with a half- and full inner, to minimize the number of tents in the gear shed and have one tent for everything from solo trips to family trips. With my Tentipi Safir 5 for hot tent camping I thinks these are the only two tents I’ll need.

Since it was brand new the guy-lines weren’t attached, so I laid out the tent, dug holes in the snow to secure the tent pegs for the corners and cut and tied the guy-lines while the snow around the tent pegs froze solid. I used a midshipman’s hitch for the bottom ends of the guy-lines to have easily adjustable loops since there aren’t any linelocs for them.

When the pegs where solid and all the guy lines attached I set up my two connected ski poles as a center pole and set up the half inner. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and no wind was forecasted so I didn’t really need a tent, and absolutely not an inner. But I was eager to try out the new gear.

When everything was up it was already dark. I was getting really cold and just wanted to get inside my sleeping bag. Temps where forecasted to drop to around -12⁰C, so I had brought both my Cumulus Panyam 600 and my Wind Hard Tiny quilt. I don’t know if I really needed the quilt, but I’ll rather be too warm than freezing during the night.

I laid in the sleeping bag, snacking on nougats and chocolate and reading. I always bring my ebook reader with me, but I had to warm it up inside the sleeping bag for it to wake up.

I was really tired so around 21.00 I decided that I wouldn’t fight it any more but just try to sleep instead. But despite being so tired I had a really restless night. I wasn’t cold, but I couldn’t relax, so I drifted in and out of sleep all night.

I woke up before dawn. I had brought both a down- and a synthetic puffy and put on both. The down puffy had served as my pillow in the HMG Stuff sack pillow, and the synthetic one had been stored in the foot end of my sleeping bag so it wouldn’t be cold in the morning. I stayed in the sleeping bag while I made breakfast. I boiled some water for coffee and for my porridge. One of the water bottles was frozen solid, but I had put hot water in a vacuum bottle the night before, and poured it in the pot and added snow to melt.

The sun started to come up, and it was a beautiful morning. I was tired from tossing and turning most of the night, but I still felt great. It was cold outside, but with hot food in my belly and two puffy jackets on it was actually okey to leave the warm sleeping bag.

I packed up the tent and all my gear, took a stroll around camp to make sure nothing was dropped or lost, put on my skis and started skiing back to the car.

This was my first ski camping trip, and I’d love to do it again. It was cold, and next time I want to do it in an area that’s more suitable for skiing, like Stora Mosse National park. I liked the Ultamid 4 too. It’s large and lightweight and after trying a few different options these last years it feel great to be back again with a lightweight tent. A 4p double walled tent for roughly 1,5kg is really nice to carry.

Gear used

(Disclaimer: Below list contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission for purchases made through the links. The gear is bought with my own money for full price though)

HMG Ultamid 4 (int) (SE)

HMG Ultamid 4 half inner (int) (SE)

HMG Southwest 4400 (int) (SE)

Cumulis Panyam 600 (int) (SE)

Aegismax Wind Hard Tiny

Exped Winterlite HL

HMG Stuff sack pillow L (int) (SE)

Toaks UL 700ml pot (int) (SE)

Storminstove cone/base/stove (unfortunately the maker passed away, but it’s a really nice stove set, comparable to Caldera cone)

Åsnes Amundsen skis with Madshus Rottefella BC Manual bindings and Alpina Alaska boots

Black Diamond Expedition 3 4 season trekking poles

Cumulus Incredilite Endurance (int) (SE)

T&P insulated jacket