Out and about

Sometimes it’s just nice to go out on the weekends and get a fire going with some wood you brought. Put a kettle in the coals and enjoy a nice cup of coffee in the crisp air.


The coffee always taste better outside and when you’ve made the fire by hand so to say. Really starting to get the hang of it with making a fire with just a knife/axe and a fire steel.

Here are some pictures from the last three weekends or so.

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Mini adventure – out canoeing

Sometimes it’s not important to go on long pre-planned trips but to get out at all. Mini adventures can change your everyday life in to something exiting and give you an energy boost to survive the next week.

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This weekend we had one of these mini adventures. By my house I have a lake and it’s connected with two smaller lakes, great for canoeing. We left around midday and quite soon after we reched the middle of “Sörsjön” the sky darkened far away and big lightening struck the sky. But as it was north of us and not that close we paddled on.

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After we reached or final destination where our plan was to stop and have a cup of coffee the bad weather had moved closer to us and the rumbling was telling us it was time to head back. With the wind at our backs we paddled on with ease and we were soon back on Sörsjön. But this time we kept close to the shore, you don’t want to be out on the middle of the lake when a thunder storm passes by…

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We jumped a shore and the weather started to act up with high winds but no rain. Fortunately it all passed by to the west of us. We pulled out or backpacks from the canoe and started to boil some water and unpacked some Swedish “fika”.

After our break it was time to have some fun and pitch Jons one man shelter, Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape with their Serenity NetTent.

Here’s a short video of Jon pitching the tent.

After all this it was time to head back to home base, filled with energy. Now everything was calm after the storm and the water was almost like a mirror.

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Around Bjärehalvön

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Last weekend we went for a two-day tour in Skåne. We wanted to have the opportunity to test the gear we intend to use for our Iceland trip this summer. As we already have walked most of the shorter trails around our hometown we looked for a suitable trail in the southern parts of Sweden.

After some research we decided to hike the coastal walk around Bjärehalvön. This tour fitted us good as it was a circle walk giving us the possibility to start and end at the same spot without needing to backtrack any part of the hike. It is 52 km long, making it ideal for a two-day trip as we know that we usually walk at least 25 km per day.

The hike is split into four parts, each 10 to 18 km long so we decided to walk two parts per day. We opted to start from Båstad on the northern part of Hallandsåsen and walk the trail clockwise. So the order for each part would be 20, 17, 16 and finally 15 back to Båstad.

Båstad to Ängelsbäcksstrand

We started of from the city centre around 11 o clock on Saturday. We headed southwards out-of-town and quickly the trail started going upwards onto Hallandsåsen. The temperature was around 10 to 12 °C and the clouds looked like we could get some light rain.

We were soon on top of the hill and could enjoy quite view over the landscape consisting of rolling hills dotted with forest groves and small farms. Unfortunately much of the track followed asphalt roads that we hade to share with motorized traffic.

Midway we took a short stop in a small beech wood and rested our legs. Walking on hard ground is not the best option. After this the path went down towards the southern shores of Bjärehalvön. We still had to walk on roads but the views made the walk worth it.

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Jon overlooking the Eskers outside of Grevie.

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No, this is Skåne, not a Windows wallpaper!

Closer to the shore we crossed a beautiful small nature reserve stretching over a Esker giving us a pause from the roads. Not long after this we finally arrived at the sea and Ängelbäcksstrand. By now the Sun began to show and the views around us were stunning. It had been a fairly ok walk down the countryside but now things started to look very promising!

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If our calculations were right we thought that we would have time to walk to Torekov before it was time to make camp. So we started walking north along the beach after a short pause.

The trail along the beach showed to be nothing less than fantastic! All the way up to Torekov we walked in pastures along the coast line. There were hardly any buildings except for the old bunkers built during WW2, now left closed for future generations.

We kept a good pace during the whole walk up to Torekov. The fields held plenty of livestock; both cows, horses and sheep and we had som close encounters with all three. Luckily the beasts were satisfied with their herbivore diet and didn’t show any interest for Cuben or Pertex.

Later in the afternoon we arrived at Torekov, a picturesque tourist town at the western end of the peninsula. After a days walking we couldn’t resist and stopped for ice cream in the small marina.

View over the Torekov marina.

View over the Torekov marina.

After the break we went looking for a place to pitch our tent but this would show to be harder than we first thought. The main reason for this is that more or less all coastal area on Bjärehalvön consists of natural reserve areas, which means that camping is not allowed there. This is a general exemption to Allemansrätten and can be good to know if you are hiking in similar areas in Sweden.

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A couple of horses grazing by the seafront.

Because of this we were left to try and find a campsite outside of the reserve. As much of the land close the reserve for obvious reasons is occupied by summer houses there was not very much space left for a tent close to the beach.

It took us several kilometers until we found a decent spot for the night, a small parking lot with a clear view over the sea. We had now walked over 33 kilometers and were both hungry and a bit tired.

Our spot for the night, overlooking the coast line of Bjärehalvön.

Our spot for the night. Andrés Ultamid overlooking the coast line of Bjärehalvön.

This was the first time we pitched the Ultamid with the inner net. A Bear Pawwd net that André purchased last summer for our Jotunheimen trip. Back then we made a last-minute decision to ditch the inner in favor of our bivy bags, so the tent had stayed unused in Andrés storage until now.

The inner net luckily showed to be a perfect fit for the Ultamid and we had no trouble at all fitting in both our sleeping mats and rest of our gear inside the tent. After this we made a quick meal and went to bed after a long days walk.

Sunset over Kattegatt.

Sunset over Kattegatt.

Back to Båstad

Next morning we woke up early and started our journey towards Båstad. We soon passed a small harbour with colourful fishing huts. Next to the huts there was something looking like an old torpedo, probably also a remain from the war. We found an old water pump but to our disappointment we couldn’t get any water our of it.

After this the trail led us up on higher ground and above Hovs Hallar. Actually the trail did not go through the area but stayed on the cliffs above. There were several paths leading down to the shore but we decided to stay on the high route and enjoy the view from above.

Above Hovs Hallar.

Above Hovs Hallar.

The trail then took us inland through the woods and all the way up to the view-point at Knösen 152 meter above sea level. There we met two Danish hikers who just had packed their camp together and where heading for Torekov.

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View from Knösen.

From here the path led us downwards, through similar landscapes; beech wood, fields and farms. On our way we passed a number of couple of small creeks. By lunch we hade arrived at the sea side on Bjärehalvöns northern side, the rest of the walk was along a small gravel road frequented by walkers and cyclists. It took us about an hour to reach Båstad, by then we hade walked around 17 kilometers and we got in to the car and went for a quick-lunch before starting the journey home.

All in all this was a surprisingly good trip, the trail showed to be nice with magnificent views along the walk. If you have the time we can really recommend a walk around Bjärehalvön!

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Selfie time during a short break, sheltered from the wind by an old bunker.

Iceland – 2002

Back in 2002 I visited Iceland with my classmates. It was an awesome trip as I remember it. We’d booked an off-road bus and traveled Iceland and slept in tents in different places.

So why do I post this now? Is it because the last post had pictures from there or is there something else that I’m not telling you?

Here are some pictures from 2002 shot with a cheap analog camera and some Kodak ISO 400 film.

Our travel itinerary was something like this. Landed on Iceland and went to Reykjavik to buy some food and snacks. After that we headed out to our first stop at Tingvalla, Thing Fields. On the second day we’re off to Gullfoss, Golden Falls and in that general area looking at geysers and other cool things. Drove around in our bus to other awesome spots like the Blue lagoon etc, etc, and then back to Reykjavik for some whale spotting and recreation.

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Gullfoss – Golden Falls

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Gullfoss, up close and personal. Me to the left.

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Gjáin

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Gjáin area

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Háifoss – High Falls

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Háifoss neighbor Glanni.

This was one of my favorites places on this trip. The picture below might even be the best one I took during my time on Iceland in my opinion.

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The river floating away from Háifoss and Glanni.

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Skogáfoss area

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Skógafoss – Forest Falls

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I’m standing under the rainbow infront of Skógafoss.

Here we are down by the Atlantic looking at the Puffins nesting there. You know the black and white birds with colorful beaks.

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Walking on glaciers.

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Me in the center.

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Looking down a deep crevasse. Scary!

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Eyjafjallajökull

These are the tents that we slept in. At this particular place we had a nasty storm coming in during the night and rain and wind struck our tents hard. In the morning only two tents were still standing upright if I’m not misstaken! And when I woke up it was like being in a swimming pool… In this picture I’m in the foreground and I think I’m doing some dinner preparations.

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Back in Reykjavik again and we’re about to go whale spotting. Skärmavbild 2014-10-25 kl. 13.18.31 Skärmavbild 2014-10-25 kl. 13.18.43Ah, the memories 🙂

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.

Galdhøpiggen, Keilhaus topp

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

Visdalen, Store Urdadalstinden

A room with a view

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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.