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.
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.
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.
(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 though and I have not been asked to review the gear.)
I’m going to give a review of my Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4, with the full- and the half inner and go through my likes and dislikes with it. While it’s a great tent, it still has its downsides. I’ve owned the tent for a little less than a year, and used it both below and above the treeline and I have used a lot of different tents before this one.
For those who don’t know, the HMG Ultamid is made out of Dyneema composite fabric, formerly known as Cuben Fiber. The material was originally made to make sails for sail racing boats, but have been widely used by parts of the outdoor business. The pros, as opposed to sil nylon which is the standard material used in tents, is that it is both lighter and stronger. It doesn’t stretch, sag when wet or soak, and is easier to just shake or wipe off moisture. The cons however is that it is less resistant to abrasions and folding. I’ve read that you can expect almost twice the amounts of nights a Sil tent will take before worn out, compared to a DCF tent since the material will wear quicker. Another downside is price. The material itself is expensive, thus making the gear expensive.
I’ve owned gear from Hyperlite Mountain Gear since 2017, and before the Ultamid 4 I had the Ultamid 2. I have the backpack Southwest 4400, pack pods and a stuff sack pillow, and I’m generally happy with the gear I have from them. I’ve used a lot of tent before; Bergans Compact tunnel tent, Hilleberg Enan, Niak and Staika, Luxe Sil Hex Peak, Twin Peak and Tentipi Olivin Light, Olivin BP and Safir 5 BP. My reason for buying the Ultamid 4 was to have one tent that was light enough for solo use, but still large enough for family camping.
The Ultamid is a so called Mid, or Pyramid shelter. It’s easily erected. Lay it on the ground, put the pegs in the corners and make sure the corners are in a 90⁰ angle. I also recommend securing one guy line to a backpack too, to mitigate the risk of it blowing away while you are setting it up or taking it down.
Insert the center pole and adjust the guy lines. Tighten them a little bit at each corner to get even tension and then go around again and tighten them some more if necessary. The half inner gets secured to the fly with hooks, and with pegs in the corners, and then secured to the top with a carabiner.
The tent, with the material and shape, is made to withstand much of what nature can throw at it. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard or read ‘bombproof’ in tent reviews, and while I don’t plan to do any camping in the conflict areas of Syria any time soon, it do tell some about whats expected of it.
So whats my impression of it then? I’ve had both the Ultamid 4 and the 2 on both low land trails and in the mountains above the treeline. And it do handle wind very well. Despite not having a solid inner it doesn’t get particularly breezy inside, even in hard wind. When it comes to quality it’s OK. It’s not Hilleberg quality, and while I didn’t have any issues with the 2, I had water seeping through the seams and dropping down in my face at night in the Ultamid 4. HMG refunded the shipping cost and sent me a few meters of DCF tape, and I taped up the weak spots. One area in the top was supposed to be covered with tape, but the tape there didn’t cover the seams. This made it possible for water to seep through, and on two trips I frequently had water dropping down on my face at night. I have a lot of other gear from HMG, and I had the Ultamid 2 without any issues, so I could have just gotten a bad one, since it was made when HMG where overwhelmed with orders during peak Covid in late 2020/early 2021.
When it comes to details it has 8 peg out points along the perimeter, and 7 guy line points half way up. You get a lot of guy line with the tent, but you have to cut it and tie it by yourself. I cut mine in a length of roughly 4 meters, and use a Tautline Hitch at the end, to easily be able to tension the guy lines. With all guy lines pegged, the tent should be able to take quite a beating from the elements. But hard wind will put a lot of pressure on the center pole.
I have a carbon fiber pole from Ruta Loca. It’s lightweight, at 266 grams. I can’t say how well it would fair in extreme weather, but there is also the option to strap two hiking poles together with the HMG pole straps. I use aluminum 4-season poles from Black Diamond, and with a fair share of the poles overlapping the center pole gets really strong.
The tent itself weighs 774 grams for the fly with guy lines, 539 grams for the half inner and 823 grams for the full inner. My pegs weighs 305 gram, and I have a mix of MSR groundhogs, generic Y-pegs and nails.
Another downside with a Mid with a full inner is that in a downpour it’s hard to not get a lot of water inside the tent while entering and exiting. When I camped with my daughter with the full inner in 12 hours of torrential rain it was a pain.
But do I like it?
I do, despite some downsides I feel that it’s the best compromise there is for my needs, which is lightweight, large enough for four persons but light enough for one to carry. And despite the downsides with the full inner in rain I do really like the modular approach. I think it really shines when used as a palatial 2-person tent. With the half inner as a fairly large area secured from bugs and the other half as a vestibule with a groundsheet, for cooking and gear. And with only the half inner you could enter and exit without having a swimming pool in your inner tent.
Do I recommend it?
It’s not a tent for everyone. Is a bit more complex to set up than a regular tunnel- or dome tent, it’s very expensive and DCF is bulky and not very resistant to abrasion. But if you prioritize having a large tent that can handle rough weather to a really low weight I do recommend it. For me, the benefits outweighed the downsides, and I would rate it a 4 out of 5 stars.
Neither C nor my wife have been hiking in the mountains before. My wife likes daytrips, but aren’t too fond of the camping part. She still joins me and C from time to time though. And this year, with Covid stopping our usual trip to Athens we decided to go on a hiking trip in the mountains together. Our oldest daughter preferred to stay at home, and our son was away on camp. I had scouted different areas that would suit beginners that wasn’t several days of driving away. Fulufjället National park was 8-9h drive from home, and seemed to be a fairly easy hike. As always we do things spontaneously, and we didn’t decide that we would go hiking until a couple of days before going.
Fulufjället national park is a mountain plateau situated in Dalarna in the southern parts of the mountain range, next to the Norwegian border. The park has the highest waterfall in Sweden, the 93m high Njupeskär waterfall. Here you can also find the worlds oldest tree, the 9565 year old spruce tree Old Tjikko.
There are several hiking routes, from 2-24km, but you can mix the different trails to a suiting route. The main entrance is at Njupeskär, where you also find Naturum. The park has different sections with different regulations. In most parts of the park you are allowed to camp, but not in the most frequently visited parts.
We packed the car the day before, and left home at around 04.00 in the morning. Without breaks, it would be an 8-9h drive and we wanted to get there early enough to reach the plateau in the first evening. I had made an own route that would be some 24 km hike, and I expected us to spend three nights in the tent. In the end we only did two nights, since C hiked on in a better pace than we expected. At the end she would be the one with the most energy left.
I didn’t want to start at Njupeskär, since I expected it to be very crowded now that a lot of people where going on Swecations. Instead we would start at entrance at Brottbäcksstugan, south of Njupeskär, hike west to Särnmanskojan, then south to Tangsjöstugan, east to Göljåstugan and then back north, past Klotjärn and back to the car at Brottbäcksstugan. We were not going to use the cabins, but I wanted a route were we would pass cabins and privys every day, to have the option of a little more luxary if we would get tired of camping.
I really looked forward to the trip. I’ve wanted to bring C to the mountains for a long time, and I had really missed them myself. I haven’t been hiking in the mountains since 2017.
We arrived at Brottbäcksstugan around 15.00 and prepared for the hike. There were a few cars on the parking lot, and in the distant I could see the mountains. The first sections went through a forest, but the trail soon turned uphills and the trees became smaller and more scattered. The sides of the mountain plateau is fairly steep, and it didn’t take long for us to get up above the tree line. The views where amazing. It wasn’t the tall sharp snow covered peaks of Jotunheimen or Sarek, but soft and rounded tops. But it was mountains and vast views, and I had really missed that. I felt a rush of joy to be back in the mountains, and I was really happy that I could share it with my family.
It took an hour to reach the plateau, and once we reached it the wind kicked in. I didn’t know how far C would want to hike, so I started to look for potential camps sites pretty soon. The ground was very uneven with lots of wet parts, so finding good spots for a large tent wasn’t easy. But I did find a few spots that I marked on the GPS for potential future trips.
But we kept hiking, as both C and Maria wanted to keep going, and eventually we reached Särnmanskojan. It just an emergency shelter, but there where a few people there. It’s also an intersection for several trails, and as we had our break there a lot more people passed and a few of them stopped to set up camp around the cabin.
We considered setting up camp near the cabin, but Maria wanted to keep going after our break. So after a short rest with snacks and a visit to the privy we turned south and started to hike towards Tangsjöstugan.
Near a few ponds, over a small ridge a bit away from the trail we found a nice flat spot for our tent. There were another couple in a tent across the pond/lake, but we didn’t want to go any further and risk not finding a good spot before nightfall. A mistake I made so many times before.
I gathered rocks to anchor the pegs, since the soil layer was thin and it was hard to get good grip. The pitch was terrible though, but I didn’t see it that night for some reason. The fly flapped like crazy all night. I fixed it in the morning though, just for practice.
When the tent was up we made dinner, and then we just hung out in the tent before going to sleep. I got up once in the middle of the night, and despite not being extremely far north it was still fairly bright outside.
After waking up I saw how bad my pitch was, and tightened everything up just for practice. I had only used the Ultamid 4 a couple of times before, and I thought it would be good to work on my weak spots when it comes to pitching.
I made Krabbelurer for breakfast and then we packed up. We continued hiking south towards Tangsjöstugan, with a few breaks here and there on the way. C would loose her energy every now and then, but as soon as we started to play something while we hiked she went on like she would never stop. At lunchtime we arrived to Tangsjöstugan. No one was there, and we explored the cabins. It was really nice and I can imagine what a welcome sight it must be for someone coming in from a storm.
We made dinner, and several groups came passing by or stopping for breaks. We chatted a bit with a German couple that had hiked for 2 weeks I think, that were heading north.
After the lunch break we turned east towards Göljåstugan, another emergency cabin. We took frequent breaks, and me and Maria was starting to get more tired than C. We thought about stopping sooner, but still wanted to go to the cabin.
The cabin was at a height near a gorge and the view was stunning. There where good places for the tent nearby and we decided to stop. Maria wanted to continue at first, but I thought it was better to camp out there than to try to push our selfs to the limit. We had done calculations on both the map and the GPS, and come to the conclusion that we should be able to reach the car the next day.
I had been starting to feel ill. I’ve had some fluctuating health issues with stomach aches and frequent infections since a year back, and it had started to act up on the drive to Fulufjället. During the second day I was starting to feel worse and it was a bit hard to fully enjoy the trip.
But dropping the backpack and making camp felt wonderful. And this time I got a drum tight pitch of the tent (unfortunately we didn’t have the slightest wind that night).
We made dinner and chillaxed in the tent. The mosquitoes where abundant so having the roomy full inner of the Ultamid 4 was wonderful. We kept the doors of the fly open until it was time to go to sleep, to enjoy the view.
The next morning we packed up and headed out. We had studied the map, and knew that the first section would go through vegetation, and then through a sea of boulders. We would also have a river crossing further on. The sign showed a longer distance back to the car than we had measured on the map and GPS, but with our remeasures we still got the same shorter distance. We hoped it would be okey to hike all the way back to the car without straining our selfs.
After the boulders we came up on the plateau again, before heading back down into another gorge. The river was pretty wide, and split up in two with an island in the middle, so we would have to do two crossings to get over.
C had been a champion this whole trip, but the crossing the river really scared her. There were fairly large waterfalls both above and below us. “I can’t do it! I’ll break! I’ll break like a twig!” But she did it. After spending some time persuading her she would let me help her get over. Unfortunately though the got one boot in the water and filled it. She was scared when we came to the last crossing, even though that crossing was a lot easier. But after a while she came over.
We came up from the gorge and took a break after a while. A German woman came from the opposite direction and stopped for a chat. She asked if we had Compeed, since she was getting blisters. She had left hers in her tent, and was only going for a day hike from her camp. She got a couple from us, and continued south.
The trail started to go downhill for us, and we came down below the tree line. And now we had mosquito paradise. They where out in full force as soon as we stopped. I was getting worse and worse and it really took its toll, and I could barley eat. C was the one who were in the best mood. We regularly measured the distance om the map to the car and understood that we would make it back in a descent time. As we got closer we also got cell reception and I started calling hostels nearby to find a room for us for the night. Neither one of us longed for another night in the tent with a freeze dried meal.
We stopped at Klotjärn for lunch and from there I could find a room in a hostel at Särna Camping after calling around to several other places closer to Fulufjället. In the end I think we hit the jackpot in getting there since the food and the staff was amazing.
After booking the room we hiked the last stretch back to the car. In the car we had a bag of vanilla buns in a cooler. And they tasted better than vanilla buns ever tasted before. The bag didn’t last long.
We sat in the car and drove to Särna and the hostel. We checked in, took showers, changed clothes and went down to the restaurant to eat dinner.
I might have had some prejudges against campings and the kind of food they’ll serve. But this camping really ended that prejudiced. They had all sorts of local specialties, with moose, reindeer, local fish and local beer. When we came down to the restaurant we could hear another couple praise the food and exclaim how it exceeded everything they could have expected. As the burger lovers we are we ordered burgers and the local beer Härjebrygd. The food was amazing, and I don’t think it was solely because we had eaten freeze dried meals the days before. We had a dessert of Kolarbotten. Vanilla ice cream with kolbulle (a sort of fried bread), Messmör caramel sause and fried pork. It sounded so weird we just had to try it. But it tasted so good. The waitress came back after a short while, looked at the empty bowl, smiled and asked C: “Did you get to taste anything, or did your patents just devour everything?”
The hostel was situated next to Klarälven, one of the largest rivers in Sweden, and there was a nice little peninsula with a beach. We had fantastic weather and after dinner we strolled along the beach while C played in the water line.
We were tired, and as it was getting late we wanted to go to bed. C however wasn’t tired despite hiking 24km. “I’m still so full of energy” she exclaimed, so I stayed up with her a little longer so she could play at the play ground.
We aren’t sponsored or anything by Särna Camping, but I really have to give them a shout out. The food was great and the staff really was super friendly and welcoming.
We had decided to skip Old Tjikko, but still visit Njupeskär waterfall on this last day. We’d had wonderful weather our whole hike but this morning we woke up to torrential rain. We had our packed up, left the hostel and drove to the main entrance. Despite the rain there were already a lot of people there.(a couple of weeks later the lines would stretch several kilometers). We did consider turning back, but since we were here we wanted to see the water fall. A long portion of the 3.9km round trail is accessible with a wheel chair.
After a while we reached the water fall, took a few photos and then headed back to the car. On the parking lot we met a group that was on their way to the water fall and they asked us if it was worth hiking there in the rain. We didn’t really know what to answer as we were wondering that our selfs.
My expensive Montane Minimus jacket had kept me mostly dry except for a few wet spots. My cheapo rain pants though had wetted through completely and I felt like I could as well have gone without them. After the trip to the water fall we headed back home, and spent the rest of the day in the car.
I’ll write about the gear we used on the trip in a separate post.
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.
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)
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.
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.
It’s been a while since I wrote here. It has been a lot going on this spring and I just haven’t had the time or energy to write. But I do have a few trip reports to post, so I’ll start with No. 1 out of 4.
On 30th of April C and I got out on an overnighter together. It was our first overnighter together since our hot tent overnighter in Januaury, and it would be the first time C got to use the new Ultamid 4. I had only used it once before, on my ski trip in February, but that time I used the half inner. For this trip I brought the full inner, to get a chance to test it.
We got away later than first planned, and since we had to get back early the next day drove to our “secret” spot, that is close to home. It’s also C:s favourite place to camp. I brought the canoe too. We didn’t plan to paddle to a campsite, but I wanted to do at least a short paddle.
When we arrived I set up camp right away. The spot where we usually put up the tent was in the danger zone though. A pine tree had cracked about 100cm up, but was still standing. It would have been stupid to put up the tent within falling distance from it, so we cleared out a new spot and set up the tent.
After that we made dinner, chicken paeng red curry with noodles. I loved it, but C prefered the noodles over the paeng.
We paddled for a while and C got to use her new fishing rod. We didn’t catch anything though. But after a while C wanted to get back. It’s neither the hiking nor the paddling that she prefers. It’s playing in the tent.
So we got back to the car, put the canoe back in the roof and went back to the tent.
There where a lot of Canada geese that honked all around us. Their nests are everywhere in these parts. But we also heard the lonely calls from Loons. The sound of their cries cut through everything, and I think it’s one of the most beautiful sounds in nature.
As the sun was setting we got out on a rock on the far edge of our peninsula and just sat there, looked over the lake and listened to the sounds of nature.
After a long time we got back to the tent. C slept like a log all night, but I woke up several times when my Massdrop Klymit mat had deflated (I later found a tiny little hole in it.)
The next morning I made french toast from a pancake powder mix I had made at home. It was a pretty nice breakfast.
We packed up after that, and when I started to take down the tent the rain started.
And that’s that. A simple short overnighter, but a nice time spent in nature and hanging out with my daughter.
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.
(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)
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.
In late March it was finally time put the canoe in the water for the first time this season. I had really longed to get back into the lakes, and the weather reports looked promising.
I took C with me to our usual spot at Tolgasjön, loaded up the canoe and set off. I had planned to paddle to the northern parts of the lake, and check out the narrow passage between Asasjön and Tolgasjön.
We found it, but when we had paddled for a while dark clouds formed ahead of us, and we turned back. We paddled to a small island in the northern parts of Tolgasjön. We have camped here before, and it’s a nice spot.
We set up our camp, hung up the hammock, and had lunch. The rest of the day we mostly just hung out in the hammock and enjoyed the serenity of nature.
For dinner we had macaronis and meat sauce. I’ve started to use my Trangia 27 HA stove set again. For hiking I prefer my Storminstove set, but I really like the Trangia. It might come down to nostalgia, from using it as a kid, but it is great for more advanced outdoor cooking. I made quite easy meals on this trip, but I have started to experiment with more recipes.
We went to bed, and once again I praised my Exped Duo mat LW. I sleep a lot better now that I don’t have to wrestle with C for space on my narrow HL mat.
We woke up to a sunny, but windy morning, and had a breakfast of tortillas, different cheeses and mini salamis.
We packed up camp and left the island. Unfortunately we had a strong head wind, and the canoe rocked quite a bit. C got really scared, so I decided to get to shore closer to the island, and the walk back to the car instead.
I walked along the shore, and at first there was a trail. But the terrain got more and more rough, and eventually I had to carry C. Finally I tripped on a stick, and while trying to fall in a way that kept C safe I twisted my knee. I could walk back to the car, and we drove back to the canoe to pick it up. When I picked it up I hurt my back. I felt like a broken old man on my way back home.
It was a nice first trip first trip, despite the back pain, and having to walk with a limp for a couple of weeks. And we got back to the island only a couple of weeks later.
I haven’t written here in a long time. Things piled up, and I just didn’t have the energy to write for a while. But I haven’t been totally idle, and actually done a couple of trips since my last trip report.
Canoe camping in June
In mid June I went on a canoe trip on Tolgasjön. Corinne joined me, and for the first time my wife also tagged along.
The weather was ok during our stay, but it was overcast a lot of the time. We paddled to my usual spot, on the cape with the scattered oak trees.
I brought the stove, despite being on a trip in June. While the heating wasn’t needed during the day, it did make it easy to cook. I made chocolate chip pancakes with the dry goods prepared at home, mixing it with eggs and coconut milk in camp. They where delicious.
When evening came I was actually glad I had brought the stove. It started to rain, and got a bit chilly. Having the stove to drive out the cold and damp air was nice.
Next day started with sun, but we packed up pretty quickly since rain was on the forecast.
It was a nice short trip, but I still don’t think outdoors stuff like this is my wife’s cup of tea.
Insomnia overnighter in July
For those who follow me on Instagram my insomnia is old news. I’ve struggled with poor sleep since as long as I can remember. It often gets worse during summer. Maybe because of the short nights and the warm temperatures.
I had a lot of nights this summer where I barely slept at all. In the beginning of July I had one of those nights, where I just tossed and turned without being able to get even a moments sleep so I went camping instead.
When I gave up trying to sleep the clock was 03.30. I packed my backpack with a water bottle, some instant coffee, my Hilleberg Niak, a quilt and a sleeping pad.
I drove to Helgö, a nature reserve 15 min from home, parked the car, hiked a couple of hundred meters into the deciduous forest and set up my camp.
There I was actually able to get a few hours of sleep, before I woke up and made some coffee before heading back home.
Canoe camping with C in late August
In late August me and Corinne was going to explore a new lake, Innaren. A friend of mine have bought a home close to the lake, and his father had talked about an island where he and his wife had camped that summer.
I packed the car with all the regular stuff: My Tentipi Safir 5, my Fjällräven Duffel with the GStove and cooking supplies, a bag of firewood and for the first time, my Frost River Isle Royale Jr backpack, with our sleeping gear. I’ve had my eye on this beauty for a long time, and when a pre owned but unused one showed up on a sales site for half price I had to get it. These things aren’t lightweight, but I love it for canoe camping.
We drove to Rottne, where we put in the canoe at a beach. There was just one guy there with a wet suit, who was exercising.
The day was perfect. Barely any wind, and not a cloud in the sky. Everything was set for a prefect outing.
We paddled to the island where we where told there’d be a camp site, but couldn’t find any suitable place. In the northern end there was a flat spot, suitable for a freestanding tent, but not for a tipi. The rest of the island was covered in brush, uneven ground and fallen trees.
This would be the theme of the day, and we paddled from island to island to search for good places to camp, without finding anything. It was hard to even get on to the shore at times.
We paddled for some 20km in our search for a campsite. Corinne wanted to help, which meant paddling backwards. Eventually I gave up, and decided to paddle back to the car and drive to our “secret” spot at Tolgasjön. Corinne fell asleep in the canoe on our way back.
When we packed up the gear the beach was filled with people. We met a guy who had a Tentipi of his own. We packed up the rest and drove towards Tolgasjön.
We where both tired and hungry, since we’d only been snacking in the canoe all day, and it was really nice to get the tent up and get some food going.
The rest of the evening we just played around the tipi. It was a beautiful evening and a fisherman circled the cape, and put in crayfish cages.
The next morning the fisherman came back to check the cages. We talked a bit, and then he asked if it was ok to check out our camp. He came ashore and asked questions about the tipi and the stove, and was interested in buying something similar.
We packed up after breakfast, and after the stove had cooled down. Even though the canoeing didn’t go as planned, we had a nice time out there.
Hiking and camping at Store Mosse in September
Last time I took Corinne to Store Mosse National Park she was a bit disappointed we didn’t camp there. I always planned to remedy this, and finally in September we got out on a hiking / camping trip.
We parked at the entrance near Lövö and hiked a circle trail from Lövö called Blådöpet runt, a 5,2km trail.
C hiked on in a good pace, but occasionally wanted to ride on my shoulders.
After the old houses at Lövö there’s a bird watch tower before the trail enters the mire.
We met a few people on our hike. The weather was quite chilly, but still very nice with sunshine and only a few clouds.
When we entered the woods again the forest was covered in blueberry brushes, filled with berries. At home it’s too late in the season for blueberries, but here they where plentiful.
We took a couple of Geocaches on the way, but when we came back to Lövö it was already getting late, and time for dinner.
We walked the last stretch to the campsite and set up our tent.
I have a Hilleberg Staika, that I bought to have a winter tent for future ski trips in the mountains, and also that it’s wide enough for two adults and a small child to sleep in. I also wanted a tent without a center pole to be able to use my latest purchase. The Exped Duomat HL LW, that I used for the first time. It took up almost all the floor space of the tent.
Corinne usually crawls up on my sleeping pad each night, and sharing a regular size HL mat is way too narrow for a comfortable sleep. I truly recommend this mat to anyone camping with a small kid or a spouse. It was super comfortable and I loved it from the start.
We had a descent nights sleep, even though Corinne woke up quite a lot of times. By morning we made breakfast and broke camp.
On our way back to the car we met a lady that had camped at another spot, and was going to hike north. We chatted for a short while, before getting on our way, and driving back home.
There’s been some nice short trips these last few month. I don’t know really what lies ahead in the future, but I would like to get out more. I do love fall, and I really want to get out on a hot tent canoe camping trip soon. We’ll see. I’m on parental leave for a few weeks in October, and if it works for the rest of the family I’ll bring my favorite outdoor buddy with me for some new adventures. I’ll try to get the blog back to business again, and write more in the future.