Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The last minute

As promised last week here are the technical ramblings of what I intend to take to Sweden. Despite having high hopes of going with the absolute minimum of gear it would seem that the weather gods will be testing us a little and therefore some extra items will be sneaking their way into my pack.

Backpack - We're very lucky on this trip to have some test gear to try out from the fantastic people at Gossamer Gear. I will be using a Gorilla backpack, their toughest-but-still light 46 litre backpack that weighs in at 658g in medium with a medium hip belt. The pack has a removable aluminium stay and hip belt and can therefore be somewhat customised depending on the load and trip specifics. The Gorilla will also offer slightly more volume than the customised GoLite Peak I've been using recently.

Trekking poles - Also on test from Gossamer Gear will be a pair of the crazy light Lightrek 4 poles. I'm interested in how these things hold up, especially as I'll be relying on them to keep my shelter upright at night. I'll take my Mountain King Carbon Compacts in my travel luggage and may even run a side-by-side test.

Shelter - I'll be taking my deliciously yellow MLD DuoMid and Soul Side Zip bivy, both proven components that should cope with the changeable weather conditions perfectly. The half length side zip on the Soul bivy makes getting in and out of it a dream. I'll be taking a full complement of 12 pegs and guylines in case some of our pitches are exposed.

Quilt - I'm a convert to quilts, they're so much more comfortable to sleep in than a bag and lighter too. I still haven't felt the need to use the straps on my GoLite Ultra 20, finding that the bivy adequately keeps the quilt in place and reduces any drafts.

Clothes - Pretty standard fare here. Merino base layers are my preferred choice in these changeable conditions. I switch to synthetics in high summer. The brilliant Patagonia Traverse softshell pants, the irreplaceable Montane Lite-Speed wind shirt and Inov-8 Terrocs round out my hiking clothes. In camp I'll add merino longs, Rab Generator insulation and a warm hat. Rain gear is a 275g Montane Atomic DT jacket, the legendary GoLite Reed pants and Extremities Tuff Bag mitts.

Cooking - This will be a big test for me and my Evernew Ti DX stove in wood-burning & Esbit mode (I'm leaving the alcohol burner behind). Thankfully I'm going with some more experienced wood burner users so I shouldn't go cold and hungry!

Misc - I doubt I'll need much in the way of light and insect protection at this latitude and early stage of the season. I'll take a 15g MLD head-net just in case there are any bugs in camp and my 7g LED button torch has been more than enough on my recent trips. My standard weekend first aid/repair kit is coming too, along with my little camera and probably the Gorilla-pod.

Food - Hikers often obsess and fantasise about food on trips. I know I do. Picking and preparing my menu has been loads of fun and it's not often I get to buy so many high calorie goodies completely guilt free. A warm breakfast and dinner and lots of grazing in between. Little and often works for me, eating a snack every 1.5-2 hours. It keeps me motivated, warm and full of energy. Peanut butter candy, chocolate, cheezy crackers, Honey Stinger energy bars, nom nom nom... The mix of hiking styles will be interesting, I prefer to 'keep on truckin'" and eat on the go while some of the attendees prefer to stop and have hot meals and drinks periodically. That might prove to be a good strategy if we do get some colder weather.

That just about wraps things up from me on gear. Just some final tweaks and food preparation left to do now. My plane leaves tomorrow and we have an overnight train to catch from Stockholm. Friday morning the train will deliver us in the north and the hiking can commence. Phone signal coverage may be limited but hopefully we'll get a chance to keep you up-to-date via my Tweets. Then we'll all have lots to write about on our return so prepare for a Scandinavian UL A-blog-alypse!


Roger said...

Wish you all a pleasant trip with a lot of enjoying discussion and good laughs. Hope Hendrik will cope to find a flight.

Thomas W. Gauperaa said...

I bet there will be midges - they're ever present it seems :)

Anyway - have fun ! Look forward to reading about it, and hope I can join you another time.

Roger said...

Would be great fun to join such trip. Another time, maybe.

Joe Newton said...

Roger - thanks, I'm sure it will be a great experience. Yeah, lets hope Hendrik can make it, he's the reason we're all doing this after all.

Thomas - hmmmm, you've got me putting a dropper bottle of deet in my travel luggage just in case!

Yes, the plan after this meet-up is to open them up to others in Scandinavia and for each meet-up to visit new areas.

James Boulter said...


Martin Rye said...

Test gear? how good is that. Enjoy indeed. Have a fine time out in the hills.

Joe Newton said...

James - thank you. It was an epic adventure. Report to follow.

Martin - I know. Gossamer Gear were very kind in sending us so much equipment. The Gorilla pack is one that I've actually been thinking about recently and I've always wanted to give the LT4s a waggle! Trip report and gear reviews will follow.