Locus Gear Khufu CTF-B

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I recently got a new shelter from Locus Gear of Japan. It’s a one person shelter with a semi solid inner covering half the foot print. In this way I will get good protection from cold drafts and also a vestibule for storing wet gear and cooking in foul weather.

First impressions are very good. Craftsmanship live up to the hype. This is the Khufu CTF-B, that means that the whole tent is taped together. Only seams are along the zipper, and these are then bonded with cuben tape. Compared to the UltaMid I have been using the last two years this is at least of the same quality.

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The inner attaches easy on the inside but as always its hard to get a good stretch on it. Regarding the clearance there is no problem what so ever, at least 10 cm all around.

The tent weighs in at 330 g with pack bag and the inner is 300g. Together with 8 pegs it sums up to almost exactly 700g. Very nice for shelter this size that will hold up good against weather and wind.

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Material in the inner looks very nice, the red color is really strong. White walls are very easy to see through so if you plan stay at camps and want som privacy I would recommend something darker. The silnylon is super slippery so I will have to add some seam sealing to the floor to avoid ice skating night time.

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Iceland 2015 – Gear talk with Jon

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Final day of the trip on top of volcano Magni. Carrying all I needed for the trip. No less, no more.

So now with some time to reflect after the trip it’s time to do a gear rundown. In general I am very pleased with the kit I carried for this hike. I used more or less all the items carried, never felt that anything was missing and managed to be fully self sustainable during the whole trip.

Here is a quick walk through of the gear I brought on the trip. I have kept the information very short. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Big three:

Arc Blast Haul Cuben fibeR version

The suspension of this pack is totally fantastic. After five days and 100 km + of walking I felt like I hadn’t even worn a backpack. No problems with aching shoulders, no sore hips after the belt and the vented back actually helps a bit to get the sweat of my back.

The only downside is that the mesh on the front pocket got ripped in a couple of places. I don’t have any good ideas how to fix this so i guess I’ll have to live with it. A bit disappointing for 400 dollar backpack to.

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Striking a pose above Skogafoss. My shoulder pouch well visible. Also note the dyneema shoulder straps and roll top that clips down to the side of my pack.

The shoulder pouch is worth mentioning. Used this for my camera and sunglasses. And it got used all the time. A perfect way to store these items that are a little bit fragile and good to have close by. If now someone could make a version with padding

Sleeping Bag

RAB Neutrino 200

Kept the temperature really well. I love the waterproof dry/stuff bag that comes with it. Considering getting either lighter version, possibly a WM Hi Lite to save some weight.

Sleeping pad

Therm-a-rest Z-lite

One of the few items I’m not satisfied with. To sleep better during longer trips I have now realized i need a wider and full length sleeping pad. Considering getting a Klymit pad for this.

Shelter

HMG Ultamid 2

Superb! Nothing more to add.

Bearpawwd inner tent.

Besides the weight the only problem with this inner tent was that its lack of solid walls made it quite chilly inside the tent when the winds got stronger. For future trips in these kind of conditions a similar version with solid fabric for the lower part of the walls seems like a good idea.

Clothing

Houdini Motion Light Pants

Light weight and dry up fast, an important ability when doing lots of river fording. On the downside these pants are starting to get worn out. Seems are loosing and I got a couple of small holes in them. I think I will look for a new set of pants for next season. Hopefully I can find a model with zippers on at least one of the front pockets.

RAB Helium T-shirt

Sheds away sweat like a champ. Dries up fast. It’s a keeper.

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State of my shoes after one day in the lavasand!

Salomon Fellraiser

These shoes fits me perfectly. The toe box is a bit larger than usually and gives good room for my toes. Inner soles were completely finished after this trip, so when i found them at a discount in a nice green color at Wiggle i ordered directly.

Haglöfs Lite Webbing Belt

I don’t know why I didn’t switch this piece of crap out after last year. Loosens up all the time and forces me to stop and adjust both pants and belt. Combined with Andrés bad experience with Haglöfs products I am now starting seriously to question the quality of their products. Needs a replacement asap.

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One of the few moments I didn’t wear the wind shirt, only my Icebreaker Merino. Sunglasses neatly stuffed in my shoulder pocket.

Icebreaker GT Merino long sleeve

Used more or less all the time. Combined with an outer shell this gives enough warmth for all but the coldest weather. Used by itself it ventilate good enough to be worn almost all of the time. I actually think this shirt was worn 99% of the time I was on trail.

Microfiber boxer shorts

Dries up to slow. I need to get a pair of merino boxers.

Inov 8 Mudsoc Mid

Wearing regular pants there is no need to have longer socks than this. Combined with a pair of 10 denier ankle socks I managed to keep my feet in perfect condition. Despite walking for over 20 km in snow, crossing dozens of rivers and in general walking with wet feet.

Houdini Airborn Hat

I love this little beanie. One of my favourite pieces of kit. The merino/silk combo works wonderful. Keeps me warm in the breeze and stays cool when my body builds up heat. Also dries up fast, an ability that’s important for me if you haven’t noticed…

Woolpower liner socks

Extra socks I wear to warm my feet when sleeping. Keeps me warm and gets my feet dry.

Sealskinz

These started to get wet after a couple of days. I only use these at camp to let my wet feet rest and get warm. So these socks don’t get used much. Have heard good things about Rocky GoreTex socks so I’ll maybe give them a try.

Arc’teryx Konseal Fleece

Didn’t use this much at all. But it fills a niche when I need an extra layer and is to sweaty or wet from rain to use my down jacket. Stays for future trips.

Icebreaker Long Johns

Only needed this for cold nights in the tent. Did the job well. Only alternative I could see is a pair of down pants but im a bit sceptical about those.

RAB Pulse Rainjacket

Incredibly we had only lighter rain showers so I only used this jacket once! It’s lightweight and keeps away rain showers reasonably. But I have noticed that the Pertex fabric is starting to peel of at the shoulders. I guess the wear from the shoulder pads is to much for this fabric. Think I will keep my eyes open for a eVent jacket.

Montbell Versalite Rain Pants

Didn’t need to use these. Light weight though.

RAB eVent Gaiters

Didn’t use.

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Montbell Ex Light Wind Parka. 65 gr of wind proof magic, straight from Japan.

Montbell Ex Light Wind Parka

MVP of this trip. Used this ridiculously light wind jacket so much. It breaks wind perfectly and is quick to adjust when you get warm. Even the super flimsy hood does a good job of keeping my head warm in the chilly winds of Iceland.

Montbell Plasma 1000

Super light down jacket. I downgraded from my thicker Arc’teryx hoodie that was overkill for these conditions. Used as insulation for shorter stops and at camp.

Outdoor Research Versaliner

These gloves still hold up and suits me perfectly. Didn’t need to use the waterproof shell but it’s a nice insurance to have if the weather gets really bad.

Vans Spicoli Sunglasses

Cheap and durable Wayfarer style shades. For hikes in more sunny environments I would probably go for something with more cover.

Tools

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A quick stop on the way up Mount Gathilur. On ascents like these hiking poles are a great help.

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork

These trekking poles are perfect. The flick lock system doesn’t compress a single millimeter. I used them almost all the time and at night they double as support for the shelter. The fact that these poles are not at a fixed length also makes it possible to pitch the shelter at different heights depending on how much airflow you want.

I have yet not needed to use the snow baskets for these so I think they will have to stay in the gear box for now.

GoPro Camera

Didn’t use this one very much as André stood for most of the filming. I’ll leave this one at home next time.

Canon IXUS 240HS

This one was ready in my shoulder pouch and I took loads of pictures. Of course not a high end tool but ok for my needs.

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A long spoon for your freeze bag meals. Some times it’s just that easy!

Sea to Summit, Long Spoon

Perfect to dig up that last bit of mashed potatoes out of the bottom of your freeze bag.

Platypus flasks

Ditched the push pull cap for a normal screw on version. Does it’s job, lightweight and still holds up.

Zpacks dry bag and stuff sack

A dry bag for my dry clothes and a lighter stuff sack for my food. I have learned that one dry bag is enough for me. Use a 3 L Zip lock as extra storage for wet clothes that i don’t want to put in the dry bag.

Trail Designs Sidewinder + Inferno Cone w. Evernew Titanium Ultra Light .9L Pot

Used this only with alcohol this time as wood is quite sparse on Iceland. Worked well but takes its time to get water boiling.

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27 g

Deejo 27 folding knife

Used this for cutting cord, opening food bags and so on. Does what it’s intended for but don’t expect more from such a small blade.

 

So, for the future I can see some room for improvement. Of course some of these are depending on where we I will be going next. But there still are some smaller items I wan’t to switch. But in general I feel that I now have nailed down a very good UL-kit that I can depend on in tough conditions!

Omberg

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Two summers ago I did a hike with André from Omberg to Gränna. I have been back to Omberg a couple of times since then for day trips but I haven’t got around to do an overnight stay. So when me and Jens decided to go for a two-day trip this weekend I suggested Omberg. Jens thought it was a good idea, and on saturday afternoon he picked me up in Jönköping.

I am still testing out my SUL-kit and for this trip I was going to use the Serenity NetTent for the first time. Jens was also eager to test some of his new gear, including his HMG Echo shelter and a brand new Roberts sleeping bag he got the week before.

Omberg is a forest covered mountain next to lake Vättern about half an hours car ride from Jönköping. The mountain is an Ecopark with both roads and smaller trails running all over the park.

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Crystal clear water in Stocklycke harbour.

We started our hike on the south side of Omberg and went for a quick look at the ruins of Alvastra kloster. After this we followed the beach line through the forest and soon ended up at Stocklycke harbour. An old harbour used to ship timber from the woods at Omberg.

By now the weather was fantastic and the surface of Vättern was completely still, making visibility in the water perfect. The first real summer day of the year!

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My Imo pack is starting to get some mileage now. A fantastic little backpack!

After this we walked down to a small bay named Oxbåset. To get down to the water we had to do a pretty steep climb along a ravine, but it was all worth it when we finally got to the water.

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Enjoying the view at Oxbåset.

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Oxbåset.

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The sun was shining and we stopped for a while and cooked some coffee. After a slow start of the summer the sun threatened to burn our skin so we soon decided to move on.

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Pitching the Gatewood Cape with Serenity net at Älvarums udde.

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My gatewood Cape and Jens HMG Echo II at Älvarums udde.

In the evening we arrived at Älvarums udde and made some dinner down by the waterfront watching the sun settle. After this we pitched both our shelters with a view over Vättern.

The night was calm and I could sleep inside my net tent with the front door open towards the sea. Giving me a view over the last sunlight over Vättern before I fell asleep.

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View over Vättern from Hjässan, Ombergs highest point.

The next day was a short affair. We made quick breakfast, broke camp and went back in the same direction as we arrived the day before. Halfway we decided to go up to the top of Omberg, Hjässan, to enjoy the views over the surrounding landscape.

From there it was a short walk down hill untill we were back at the car. Satisfied after a short trip in stunning surroundings enjoying fantastic weather.

All pictures in this blog post by Jens Fagerberg.

Why Cuben Fiber?

It’s white, it’s crinkly, it’s waterproof and it feels like it weighs about as much as a tissue paper. But what exactly is Cuben Fiber, and why use it?

When I first delved into the world of ultralight backpacking, I combed the Internet trying to find a technologically advanced material that would change my backcountry experience. The fabrics used at the time had major limitations. For example, Silnylon, the primary lightweight fabric used, absorbed moisture and swelled and sagged, requiring constant re-tensioning. The slippery material also forced people to put liquid glues on the floors of their tents to keep their pads in place. Worst of all, silnylon is made when both sides of a thin, woven nylon fabric are saturated with liquid silicone, and there were no standards for these silicone coatings. So basically every batch was different. So when I discovered a small cottage industry outdoor company using Cuben Fiber I did some more research.

Read more at Hyperlite Mountain Gears blog.

Cuben Fiber is the best fabric for ultralight shelters and backpacks, no doubt.

Skaneleden_2015-05-23_20-25-56_IMG_1593Visdalen, Store Urdadalstinden

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Gjendesheim

First impressions – KS Ultralight gear Imo Pack

KS-Ultralight-Gear-IMO-Pack_2015-04-17_17-03-43_DSC00365 The Japanese post service sure knows how to haul stuff! Received my Imo Pack today, Friday after a five day transport from Japan to Sweden.

I’ll try to sum up my first impressions of the KS Ultralight gear Imo Pack here. Later on I will have to follow up with some reflections after taking the pack to the trail.

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Jotunheimen post-gear-talk

Now that I’m back in my normal life with a house, kids and stuff I’ll had some time to think about what things that performed good and didn’t on our latest five day trip to Jotunheimen, Norway.

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My rain jacket is missing in the picture and some of the stuff came with me to the car but then got left behind (on purpose) before we left for the trails.

I’ll just make a list here and put some comments after each item. Some of them will get more attention that others. If you looked at my spreadsheet in one of my earlier posts you’ll find all the items there with weight and everything.

Clothes carried

INOV-8 Trailroc 245 – performed very well, were pretty new prior to the trip. I only had some pre-wear and tear on the toe protection so I glued that before I left. It did come loose but wasn’t a problem. The Trailroc’s are basically a jack of all trades kind of shoe (master of none). The general grip is good and I had only a few times where I didn’t feel fully secure walking down steep and wet rocks. Compared to my Hanwag Tatra GTX boots they perform equally good in my opinion. Now after the trip I have some heavy wear on the front “teeth”. Have walked approximately 180km in them.

Here’s a comparison from when they were new and now. (Click for larger images – goes for the whole post)

Smartwool socks (ankle high) – Nothing much to say other that they were comfortable. Didn’t wear a liner sock and had no real problem with blisters. They look quite worn now though so I guess their lifespan is about 150km. I don’t really tighten my shoes that much so they slide a little inside the shoe. I like to just have the opportunity to pull one shoe off without loosening any laces, works like a charm.

Dirty feet

Dirty feet

RAB Shortie Event Gaiters – Didn’t use.

Arc’Teryx Palisade – Great pants! Light and fast drying. Easy to role up and wear as shorts.

Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers – Worked great, the only pair I wore for five days. One thing that I can’t get my head around and this applies to almost every manufacturer of underwear… Why the heck do they have to put a seam and a logo at the very back? That  will only cause chafing. Pure evil if you ask me 🙂

Icebreaker Bodyfit 200 – Good all-around shirt. Great with a zipper for easy ventilation and the arms roles nicely up to your elbows and doesn’t get too wide in the cuffs afterwards.

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Buff – One of my favorite items, have been using these for years as bandana, hat, sweatband etc.

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket – Have had this for many years now and it still performs as it should. Keeps you warm even when wet.

Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket – Nothing much to say, does what it’s supposed to. Did however get discolored on the inside after a ride in the washer. Had a white inside but it’s now yellowish. Performance is not compromised.

Should be all white inside.

Should be all white inside just like the seams.

Patagonia R1 Pullover – Great fleece pullover. Keeps you warm even when wet.

Patagonia Houdini Jacket – Awesome windjacket! Used this a lot and I’m more than happy with it.

Climbing Besseggen

Climbing Besseggen

Sealskinz Thin Mid Sock – Perfect for walking around camp in wet shoes or just standalone if you keep an watchful eye out for sharp items that could damage them. Fast drying.

Helly Hansen thick socks (Sleeping) – Made my feet come back to life after long days in wet shoes/socks.

Outdoor Research Flurry Gloves – Used only a few times but they were warm. I have had problems with finding good gloves as I tend to freeze my hands off when I’m outside but these did the job well. A little heavy but well worth it for me. (80g)

Oakley Holbrook 9102 – Expensive but keeps the sun out of your eyes and they are Polarized.

Suunto Ambit – Great watch, love the fact that it has a built in GPS so you can track your every move. It’s nice to look at the trails you when you get back home.

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork – Awesome trekking poles. After about 4 hours I cut of the wrist bands and threw them in the trash. I couldn’t stand them. And after doing that the poles were much lighter and more comfortable. It was also easier to attach them together when pitching my UltaMid tent.

Backpack

Granite Gear A.C Blaze 6 with a (1) Granite Gear Hip belt pocket attached – Good pack, very comfortable. My maximum weight carried with 1l water was just shy of 10kg. Had one thing with the pack and that was that one of the plastic buckles on the hip belt dug in to my hip and caused a bruise. I typically have this issue with all packs I carry so it might not be an issue for you.

The belt pocket was a nice add-on and kept my camera and mobile safe from light rain and bumps. Though it would have been better if they were integrated into the hip belt itself.

One thing that I’d like to have are larger mesh pockets at the back of the pack. I found my self ramming stuff in there all the time and because it’s so tight against the main body of the pack it’s a bit of a hustle to get stuff out from the bottom of the pocket.

Also a few straps could have been removed like the ones on the side where the side mesh pockets are. The roll top is nice and the pack sheds water nicely. It’s not waterproof but it’ll keep some hard rain out and your stuff inside dry. I also think that the double strap solution that secures the top of the roll top could be a single strap, Y-strap, that would also save some weight.

Russvatnet, Gloptinden (v), Besshøe (h)

In the near future I think that I’ll most likely go for a lighter pack. I still want a frame and a big mesh pocket. I like the ZPacks Arc Blast pack, it looks nice. Might even get some custom work done on it. HMG Windrider packs are nice too but then I won’t save any weight as they are pretty much the same weight as the Crown V.C 60 that I’ve got now. But some things are better with the HMG over the ZPack in my opinion so I haven’t really decided on anything yet.

Shelter/Sleeping

Hyperlite Mountain Gear (HMG) UltaMid 2 – AWESOME! Nothing more to say.

Spiterstulen

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A room with a view

Spiterstulen

Known as the “Tower of Doom” because of the smell, haha.

Marmot Never Winter – Too warm for this trip and a little on the heavy side – will swap this for a lighter alternative in the near future. Might even go for a quilt. I also need a waterproof pack sack because my tent sits right on top of my sleeping bag with the result that I slept in a wet/moist sleeping bag through out the whole trip.

Therm-a-rest X-Lite – Great sleeping pad, was like sleeping in my own bed 🙂

Zpacks Pertex Quantum Bivy – Not really sure what I think of this. Had some big issues with condensation. Will get wet really fast and dries a little too slow for me. Did however perform quite good at times but my old US army issued goretex bivy that I’ve used for many years performs much, much better but that one is too heavy to bring… The Pertex material is really flimsy and breaks easily. I got some tears in the fabric but the ripstop held it together.

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Sleeping through a rainy night. Hiding from dripping condensation is the plan here.

Cooking

Trail Designs Sidewinder + Inferno Cone w. Evernew Titanium Ultra Light .9L Pot – Performed very well. We knew this beforehand but it’s still nice to see that it worked in a not so controlled environment like on shorter trips. We brought alcohol with us but rarely used it. Damp wood and stuff worked but we had to put some effort into it when making our fires.

Trail Designs bottle – A bottle for holding your stove alcohol. Lightweight and all that but it leaked. Good for us that we put it in a plastic bag before we started hiking.

Sea to Summit Alpha Spoon Long – Good spoon, reaches nicely into your ziplock bags without you having food all over your fingers.

JO Sport mug small – Foldable cup, nothing much to say, it’s cheap and can take a beating.

Food – Our homemade freeze dried meals worked well. Some of the vegetables didn’t really rehydrate as fast as the package said but it wasn’t really an issue. From here on I’ll remove all the carrots from the freeze dried packages 🙂

Adding some luxurious items after the hell-walk up Galdhøpiggen

Adding some luxurious items (beer) after the hell-walk up Galdhøpiggen

Essentials

Platypus Platy Plus Bottle 1.0L Push Pull Cap – I’ll never use a push pull cap again, it sucks and gets dirty. The Platypus bottles are however great otherwise.

Platypus 2L Water Bottle – Bigger bottle with a normal cap.

Sunblock repackaged – It’s sunblock?

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 – Great camera, performs great and shots RAW and Full HD video.

Lip stuff – Yeah.

Biltema mosquito head net – Didn’t have to use it.

Jotunheimen map – Good to have, used all the time, wasn’t too sensitive to water, had it out in my mesh pocket and was always exposed to the elements.

Visdalen

Enjoying the view of Visdalen. The map sticks out of the back mesh pocket, light drizzle.

IFAK – Improved first aid kit, had everything I needed. Could have had one more Compeed plaster but that’s it. I brought two and cut them in to smaller pieces.

Kyrkja, Visdalen

This is what happens when you fiddle with electronics (watch) while walking! It was really deep and left a few nasty scars. 

Repair kit with cuben fiber tape, small wire saw, shoe lazes etc. – Didn’t have to use it.

Sea to Summit towel size S – Light but doesn’t take up as much water as you’d expect. I’ll replace this one.

GoPro Hero3+ w. accessories – Great camera. The movie in my previous post was shot with it. Shot in Protune, RAW.

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter – Small and lightweight water filter, works like a charm.

Half roll of TP – If you’ve got to go you better have this.

Toothbrush, cut in half – Teeth were clean.

Liquid soap repackaged – Will have to find some other brand than Sea to Summit that’s a little heavier on the dirt.

Silva compass – Didn’t use it, we were on the trails basically all the time.

Granite Gear Air Pocket Small – Held my car keys and money, nothing to say really.

Leatherman Style CS multitool – Stuffed down in my first aid kit. Great piece of gear with scissors, knife and small tweezers etc.

BIC lighter – On-site buy, expensive, but we had to have two. Two is one, one is none…

Black Diamond Spot Titanium – Didn’t use it… Should have check one more time when the sun came up and went down.

Nokia 101 – Cheap phone with good standby time. Can take dual SIM-cards.

Snow baskets for my trekking poles – Didn’t use them as we skipped one of the peaks where we should have needed them.

Djungle oil – Didn’t use, mosquitos weren’t that bad.

Biltema sitting pad – Great little foam pad for sitting or having under your knees when building a fire or similar. Weighs in at only 15g and is small enough to fit in your cargo pocket.

Conclusion

At the end of it all I used almost everything that I brought with me so packing-wise I had what I needed and a few extras. I don’t think I would have done this trip in another way with the stuff that I currently have.

At Besseggen. Gjende to the left and Bessvatnet to the right. Love how both the lakes are in different color.

At Besseggen. Gjende to the left and Bessvatnet to the right. Love how both the lakes are in different color.

Video from Jotunheimen

This is our trip to Jotunheimen in 7 minutes of your time. Well worth it I think 😉

Make sure to watch in fullscreen, 1080p/720p, and have good audio available!

Pictures and trip report will come. I’ll also do a short “review” of each item that I brought along with me. Not really a review but rather a few words about the individual items…

Russvatnet

Russvatnet

Stay tuned!