Fastpacking Jämtland

Bridge during the hike in Jämtlandsfjällen
Jämtland, bridge over a stream

I haven’t spent alot of time in the Swedish mountain so it was really time to start exploring and hiking the northerns mountains. It’s called “fjällvandra” in swedish, and it’s a big thing. On the popular routes and areas you won’t be alone. I packed my All Terrain 35 backpack with 10kg of stuff. I brought my Exped Scout Combi UL Hammock, what a fool you think. The trees are tiny or non-existing in Jämtland. I know, but I wanted to try the hammock in ground mode. The hammock acts as bugnet and the tarp is… a tarp. I used trekking poles to elevate the tarp. I had a lightweight sleeping bag (550g total) and used a synthetic jacket when the temperature dropped below 8°C, which it did.

In Jämtland the most popular route is called Jämtlandstriangeln, it starts in Storulvån and forms a triangle between Storulvån – Blåhammaren – Sylarna. On each place there is a STF hostel with restaurant and services. I did a A-B trip that started in Ljungdalen, hike to Helags – Sylarna – Storulvån from where I went home. I took the train 7:50 from Stockholms C to Östersund, then a bus from Östersund to Ljungdalen from there you either walk or take a taxi to Kläppen where the trail begins. I arrived ~18:00 and set of immediately towards (~12km) Helags where i set up my minimalistic tarp and hammock. The shelter kept up against the rain, but the weather forecast for the day and next night said storm and the tarp would not keep up with that.

The day was super foggy but I took a day trip up the Helags mountain, with a vision of 20 meters. I spent the night at the hostel that night, with the wind howling outside.

Next day I jogged / power-hiked towards Sylarna, the trail is really well marked and hiked by many. When weather is good it’s not that hard to leave the marked trails and go by map and compass. This adds a lot of fun to the hike in my opinion, you get to see nature more untouched. You will probably be alone, and it adds an experience to the trip to navigate yourself. You will walk in to soggy swamp and mud, if you can’t find away around it you will have to get your feet dirty. I followed the trail most of the day, but I took a detour up a hill to get a good view of Sylarna from above. This was the most picturesque section of the hike, between Sylarna and Helags a little oasis suddenly appeared, with some trees and a stream and a lake. Perfect for lunch.

I would not recommend the hammock ground mode on a mountain trip like this. The weather is very changing and rain, wind and fog comes and goes. It worked out, but the shelter is to small to cook inside and changing clothes lying down is a gymnastic feat that I could do without. Next time I will bring a more sturdy shelter, I’m looking at the ZPacks Duplex. Between Sylarna to Storulvån I followed the trail with a detour up Lillulvåfjället for a view over the hills surrounding Storulvån. From where I would depart in the afternoon.

Storulvån is a big hub for mountain hiking in Jämtland with 150 beds, a restaurant, shop and self service kitchen. The bus to the train leaves from the parking lot. This is where most people start and end their hike, so a lot of people and a well equipped service center accomodate that.

Facts Jämtlandstriangeln:

Storulvån – Sylarna 16 km. 5-6 hours
Sylarna – Blåhammaren 19 km. 6-7 hours
Storulvån – Blåhammaren 12 km 4-5 hours
All these destinations have hostels with a small shop and a restaurant. So you can do this hike without a tent and sleeping bag. Which really can help if you want to travel light. Running on the trail is really popular, and can be done with a really light pack. Sleep and eat at the stations. Water is everywhere, just find a stream that is moving and smell and look clean.

Print your own map from Lantmäteriet, download this A2 map over Jämtlandstriangeln or buy the Calazo Jämtlandstriangeln (printed on Tyvek)

Inov-8 All Terrain 35 First Impression Review

This is a first impression review. I will get back with an update and more pictures after more extensive use.

All terrain 35 Inov-8 sells this as a fast packing backpack. And that is how I used it for the first test. A four day hike/jog/run in the Swedish hills in Jämtland. I had a load of almost 11 kg and that was a bit too much for actual running in my opinion. With a few kg less in weight I think running would have worked fine.

Inov-8 All terrain 35 backpack

The backpack is a little different from other packs, it is not a vest-style system or a normal backpack. The shoulder straps connect to a strap above the waistbelt and can be moved along the strap. This works well, but the position changes when you loose the pack from your back. Each shoulder strap has a small pouch for snacks, gels or a small water bottle. It has a rolltop closing and the back has a zippered opening for access to the bottom of the pack. That ‘lid’ has a flat compartment for keys, money, paper etc.

Along the sides of the pack on both sides are zippered compartments that don’t give access the the main pack but a side pocket. The side pocket get very cramped if the main bag is stuffed full. There is a slit band that runs on the shoulder straps and on the backside. On the back a shock cord runs all over which is very convenient. One buckle on the bottom and one on top for connecting ice axe, trekking poles etc. On the slit band you can connect whatever string, carabiner or shock cord you want. On each bottom side there is a decent sized stretch pocket I really like the pack. It is minimalistic but versatile, lightweight and big enough. I would have done some things different if I could change the layout. The weight according to my “rough” scale is 700g (will be updated when I can weigh it better).

Likes

  • Perfect size and weight
  • Looks good
  • Affordable

Dislikes

  • The pouches on the shoulder straps are too small. Make them bigger and stretching.
  • I am missing the hole for a drinking tube
  • I don’t see the use of the zippered pockets on the sides

Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 review

I really like Inov-8 Terraclaw 220, but I needed a pair of shoes with a little more cushioning for longer runs and fast-packing trips. The solution seemed to be the Trailtalon 235 which offers the same drop (4mm) but alot more cushioning. Inov-8 call it 6 mm power footbed. Weight is 235g (in size 8,5).

I have used them on a four day hike in the northern Swedish hills. Wet and muddy and a few patches of hard rocky trails and 10kg backpack. Also during a short trip, running 40km per day with a 4kg backpack. The shoes worked great on both trips. They are comfortable for long runs, the grip is fine and they are still pretty light weght. That makes for a perfect combination for longer runs and would be better on asphalt than the Terraclaw 220. Although none of those shoes are really road running shoe, but I use them both for that because I need to limit the amount of shoes I have.

The tongue is symmetrical and the shoe laces are really long. I find the asymmetrical lacing more comfortable. Trailtalon 235 is compatible with the All Terrain Gaiter so no need for a o-ring under the sole.

Likes

  • Comfortable but lightweight
  • Gray and red color scheme looks good
  • Gaiter-compatible
  • Breathability

Dislikes

  • Symmetrical lacing
  • Not the cheapest (buy them on sale!)

trailtalon235

Petzl Micro Traxion review

The Micro Traxion is a simple and efficient rope pulley. It is also a progress capture device. This makes is an ascender and pulley in one which makes the Micro Traxion a really versatile piece of gear for any climber and alpinist. I only leave it at home when I’m doing single pitch sport climbs. The device consists of a pulley with a toothed cam that is the progress capture. The cam can be locked in open position with a button to release it.

Petzl micro traxion.
Petzl micro traxion. For top rope solo, crevasse resque, hauling and rope ascending.

Since the Micro Traxion is a little bit of a multi use tool, it is not the best performing if compared to specialist tools. Personally I can live with that and I’m using the Micro Traxion for ascending rope, top rope self belay, crevasse rescue etc. It is the fact that the Traxion is multi use that makes it problematic in some uses. The toothed cam and it’s mechanism to lock it open that can cause problems. If used as a pulley with the cam locked open, a simple touch of the button will release the cam and lock the rope. The opposite could happen if you forget to release the cam for example when top rope soloing. I haven’t had the cam open and lock by mistake and I think that would be an unlikely situation.

Top Rope Solo: 2 ropes, 2 devices
This is how I use the Petzl Micro Traxion the most. My setup is focused on security and might be overkill. But it works good for me.
I use two ropes on a top rope anchor; one static 10mm line and one dynamic rope 9,5 mm. On the static rope I attach the Micro Traxion with a oval carabiner on the belay loop. The Traxion is held up by a shock cord around my neck (do not use slings or something that can hurt you in a fall). This makes a fall minimal, just a couple of centimeters. That is why I use static line for the Traxion, a potential fall length is minimal. If I would have used the Traxion on the dynamic rope there would be more movement of rope in the cam and I think that would wear the rope more. The cam consists of several metal teeth and I’ve seen videos of big falls on rope where the teeth shears the sheath of the rope. On the dynamic line I connect a GriGri2 (no modifications) with a DMM Belay Master 2 on a short sling girth hitched to my harness tie in points. I weigh down the rope with a half empty water bottle or similar, and when climbing the rope feed through the GriGri flawlessly. This would not work with an old scruffy rope with a worn sheath. So the dynamic like is my backup to the Traxion, and they are totally independent on each other. At the top I can rapell down with the GriGri and lock the cam in open on the Micro Traxion. On the way up I do a few backup knots.

Single Rope Technique: Ascending a rope with a Traxion and a GriGri
This is place where the Traxion is good, but not comparable to a designated ascender device. No matter what I have used it alot, and it works great. Connect the rope to your GriGri (or similar device, an atc guide can be used), connect the Traxion with a oval carabiner above on the active climbing rope. Take the passive end from the GriGri and put it in the oval carabiner. If you have a pulley attached to the Traxion that helps out alot. Connect a foot loop to the traxion and away you go. Use a fairly big oval locking carabiner so you can grab it.

Crevasse rescue: Micro Traxion as progress capture
If you have one Micro Traxion, use it at the anchor to get the benefit of both the pulley and the cam. If you happen to have two (or another pulley) use the pulley with a prusik to create a 3:1 system. The rule of pulley systems is to put the most efficient pulley (a normal carabiner is a really inefficent pulley) closest to the source of power, ie the force that pulls. But in a crevasse rescue (with one Micro Traxion) I think that you would loose to much of the benefits (simplicity, ease of use etc) if you didn’t use the Traxion at the anchor. I’ve read that a 3:1 pulley system with pulleys (Traxion, mechanical pulleys, etc) is the same effectiveness as a 5:1 system with only carabiners

Likes

  • Multi functions / Versatility.
  • Lightweight.
  • Easy to use.
  • I really like that I have one piece of gear that I want to bring on almost any climbing trip.

Dislikes (actually not dislike, more trade-offs for being multi use)

  • Cam can be locked open, which can be forgotten.
  • When you want the cam to be locked open, I always somehow press the button to lock it.
  • Expensive. You can buy an ascender and a couple of pulleys for the same price.
  • A bit fiddly to use with thick gloves.

Inov-8 Terraclaw 220 Review

I have used Inov-8 Terraclaw 220 for almost a year and have around 450km of use in them. They have been on gravel roads, asphalt, forest trails, mud and snow. They still look new! The shoes are fairly minimalistic, lightweight and not alot of cushioning. 4mm drop, weight 220g (size 8,5 i think).

There is a lot of room for the toes to move around, and when your feet swell after a long run, there is space in the shoe to fill. Laces work great, they lock in when you tighten them, the shoelaces are really long so I have to tuck them forward under the shoelaces on the toe. The assymetrical tongue is really comfortable and you can really tighten them hard without restricting/chafing your tendons. I haven’t used them for runs longer than 25km but they are fine for that. They are even OK on asphalt road, although trail are what they are made for and where they shine. I would imagine they are a bit thin and light for use on heavy mountain trails with a lot of sharp rock and possibilities to bang your toes in rock. For that I would look at other shoes.

After being soaked with water they don’t keep alot of water, drying fully takes time (as with most shoes).

Likes

  • The design, I like the black and red. Stylish
  • Assymetrical tongue
  • Lightweight
  • Seems durable

Dislikes

  • Cost (bought on sale so not a big thing)
  • Color schemes on the non black ones. Looks like spaceships..

 

Inov-8 Terraclaw 220 black red

For similar shoes but with more sole check out Trailtalon 235