Monday, 28 July 2014

Heading Up North, what am I doing, where am I going, and more importantly what am I carrying?

I have been fortunate over the past few years to have the opportunity to head north of the Arctic Circle and explore new areas. This year is no different and I am travelling to Riksgränsen (on the Sweden Norwegian border), by air and bus before being deposited at Katterjåkk, where thanks to the local Coop I will collect some gas cartridges before wending my way south along the Swedish Norwegian border. My ultimate aim is to climb the highest peak in Sweden, Kebnekaise, before arriving in Nikkaluokta from which I will return to Copenhagen. Unfortunately the timing of my arrival in Nikkaluokta is not ideal as it is also the start of the Fjällräven Classic, so I expect to see more people in a couple of hours than I will have seen for the whole trip.

The total trip length is about 150 kilometers and I am planning a leisurely walk over 9 days.

Now to the gear, at the bottom of the page you will find the complete list, much of what I use has been tried and tested over a number of trips and my readers will not be surprised by my selections, however, there area few new items within the list. The reasons for my selecting these new items is outlined below.

Kovea Spider, I have written many times about the Jetboil Sol Ti and I still believe it t be a great water boiler, but as Hendrik has pointed out even Jetboil no longer feel it is the best option and are replacing it in the coming months. Likewise I have continued to seek out a setup that I could use with alcohol or gas.  To achieve this I firstly needed a pot; my selection criteria included having a volume of about 900 ml., a diameter such that it could be used as a cup, ideally made from titanium and finally being readily available. When visiting Bogong in Melbourne I came across a SnowPeak 900 pot which I immediately fell in love with. It is a Ti pot and is made of a thicker Ti than the Evernew pots, however, more importantly it ticked all my boxes, so I left the store with a SnowPeak Trek 900 Ti cook pot. The only downside of the setup was the “frypan/lid” a quick search around the web brought up a Ti lid at Four Dog stoves, which I quickly purchased and received. The weight of the lid is 22 gms. which compares favorably with the original Snowpeak frypan lid weighing 52 gms.

Montane Further Faster Jacket for a while I have recognised that my Rab Demand has begun to show the signs of wear and at times has been challenged in the conditions that I use it in, that is, the warm, moist conditions of summer. Having read reports (by Terry Bond and Chris Townsend) on their experiences with jackets incorporating Polartec NeoShell fabric I was interested to take a look at such garments. When visiting Melbourne recently I was able to take a look at Further Faster jacket at Backpacking Light Australia and needed little convincing to purchase one, even though it is a little on the heavy side.  Given the forecast, I expect that the jacket will get some use and I will comment on its breathability, rain protection and suitability for my purposes upon my return.

Tarptent Stratospire, whilst the Tarptent Notch remains my favourite shelter, I have often felt that on long trips in Lapland I need a little more space and wind protection than that offered by the Notch. After considerable research I felt that Stratospire 1 would meet my needs for such trips above the Arctic Circle, I will provide a detailed report on my experiences when I return in a couple of weeks.

The complete list.

UseItemWeight (g)
Clothing WornExtremities Thin Gloves36
OR sun raider54
Inov 8 295401
Injini light wool Merino Socks 71
Montane Pack Pants282
OR Gaiters79
Patagonia Capiline 2184
Woolpower boxers107
Montbell Tachyon69
Walking PolesPacer Poles Alloy Pair700
Spare Pacer Pole Sections (for tripod)70
Cameraincluding lenses and TrailPix995
Clothing CarriedHagloffs Fleece Hat34
Icebreaker Merino Buff56
MLD eVent Overmitts30
Possum Fur Fingerless Gloves31
Sea to Summit Nano Headnet11
Seaskinz Socks Short94
Luna Sandals310
BPL thin Merino Hoody (sleeping)180
Icebreaker Merino Legless (sleeping)200
Macpac Merino Boxers84
Patagonia Cap 4 Hoody265
Smartwool Merino SS198
Woolpower Socks40
Mont-Bell Extreme Light Down Jacket183
Montane Further Faster460
Rab Drillium Pants250
FishingFishing line etc.100
BPL Hane 85
KitchenEvernew 2 litre water41
Evernew 900 ml water26
Kovea Spider169
Lightmyfire Mini13
Lightmyfire Ti Spork 25
Sea to Summit XMug (bowl and water collection)60
Snowpeak 900 with Ti Lid128
MiscellaneousAA torch22
First Aid and Toiletries, repair GPS, phone maps etc. 500
PackingSea to Summit Event dry bag (quilt etc.)64
Various stuff sacs84
HMG Expedition Porter with rear pocket and pack side pockets)1060
Shelter6 Blue Clamcleats pegs and 4 Easton 8”140
Tarptent Stratospire974
SleepingAsTucas Quilt670
Klymit X pllow55
Laufrabushe Mat Short 90
Therma Rest Neo Air XTherm460
Gas Canisters (Full)680

For those interested in graphs the following breakdown indicates the high proportion of consumables carried on long trips where resupply is not an option.