måndag 7 september 2009

Little hiking - a lot of gear

When I was younger I thought that people with a lot of shiny new
gear, which they always talked about, were in fact the ones that
spent the least time outdoors. In many respects I still find this
to be true, but, I have become more humble since I have myself
fallen into the gear trap. Andy Howell put it well when he said
that buying and writing about gear is a substitute for not
getting out in the hills. I have two small children, aged 4 and
2, and frankly this makes it a lot more challenging to get time
off for hiking. Especially since my other major outdoor interest,
hunting, can take up a lot of time. In Sweden we have a "parental
insurance system" that makes it beneficial for parents to share
responsibility for the children when they are small and I have up
to now been on parental leave for more than a year in total. This
wonderful, but somewhat taxing experience makes me hesitant when
it comes to leaving my spouse to take care of the children
herself for a longer period of time. The first time I was on
parental leave with my two boys I lost 5kg of weight in just a
few weeks. This actually pushed me below the official limit for
malnutrition (Don't worry, I recovered quickly).

Filip (Aged 1,5) and daddy trying to make bannock bread for the first time. A good gear substitute. Don't bake the bread on the flames, wait for the embers!

With this excuse out of the way, I now feel free to unleash my
stream of thoughts on my newly found lightweight gear addiction.
This first installment will just give you a brief introduction of
my kit. A teaser if you like. It will be followed by more in
depth comments on the rationale behind each gear choice and some
experience reports.

I kind of started out my transition to lightweight gear by buying a new Backpack, a Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus 2007 (Large). I wanted a fairly large pack that was also
sufficiently robust for occasional hiking in the forest (Although
many would probably want a tougher pack for this, if it was the
main activity.). The pack has not let me down and I'm very
pleased with the customer service at Gossamer Gear.
I also have a small daypack, the Marmot Kompressor. I use this backpack
almost everyday when going to work. It is a very good backpack
for daytrips. It is cheap too and available in many stores.

It is in this area that my gear addiction really shows. I have too many tents. I will have to sell one soon, but I cannot decide on which.

Tarptent Cloudburst
This was my first lightweight tent. It is very light and has good wind stability. It is also quite large for a two man tent. It has worked quite well, but condensation is definitely an issue if there is little wind.

Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo


I would probably have bought the Lunar Duo, if it had existed when I bought my Cloudburst. This as a downright excellent tent for summer use. I've never slept more comfortably than in this tent. It has a high profile however, and you should be careful with your site selection in high winds.

Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape
This is one of my favourite pieces of gear. I didn't buy it primarily as a tent for the night, but mostly for use as a shelter during hunting trips. It's great for that.

Bergans Kompakt Light 3
I got a good price through an acquaintance at Bergans and couldn't resist. The tent is not very light (about 3kg for a three-person tent), but it should be very good in cold and wet weather as there is a large vestibule you can sit and eat in. It could probably be used in the winter as well, which somehow motivates the purchase better (Although, to be perfectly honest I've not yet slept in a tent in winter...). I have a plan for transforming this tent into a truly lightweight summer shelter, but more on that later.

That's all for now. More on Sleeping, Cooking and Clothing systems will follow.

3 kommentarer:

  1. The layout didn't really work as expected. Does anybody have any hints on how edit more effectively with Blogspot? The standard tool is frankly useless.

  2. No idea on formatting layout, sorry.

    That are quite a few tents, Gustav! Nice ones as well. And I'll be curious to have a look at your GG pack next spring, still curious about it although I am happy with my ULA Ohm.

    Did you go out this weekend then, and left your spouse with the children =) ?!

  3. I was out in the countryside alone with the kids. We had a nice time. Still hoping for next weekend :) The ULA Ohm pack looks really nice. Nice combination of low weight and no-nonsense design while still having durable material. It wasn't available when I bought my pack. One thing I really like with the Mariposa are the wide shoulder straps.