Review of Leatherman Squirt PS4 Review

For a long time I was a strong believer in carrying a real, full size knife on outdoor adventures. For example a Mora kniv, EKA Fällkniv or similar. But when I’ve analyzed what I mostly use a knife for I’ve decided that a small multitool is my way go. I cut string, open plastic packaging, cut a sausage or cheese, file nails, bend stuff with the pliers etc. Only when I go out and need to work with wood to make fire I need a real knife. (But mostly I get along with just breaking twigs and sticks and logs with my hands)

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Review
Leatherman Squirt PS4

So the Leatherman Squirt has been my friend for a couple of years. I use the knife, plier and file mostly. The small screwdriver has come in handy at some times. The blade is really small but works for cutting string, cheese, salami, climbing rope etc. The second most used thing is the pliers which come in handy to bend stuff or cut thin wire. My absolute favorite thing is that it’s so small you don’t even notice it in your pocket.

Glaciärkurs i Tarfala

This story is in Swedish, translation will be linked here in the future.

Tarfala glacier lake
Tarfalasjön och fjällen

Fjällets nyckfulla väder visade sig från sin goda sida och solen sken över Tarfaladalen och luften var krispig men inte för kall. Med skinande isyxor och orepade stegjärn i ryggsäckarna träffades gruppen i Tarfalastugan med härlig utsikt över sjön och fjällen runt omkring. Vi var nio glada klättrare ville lära sig att svinga en isyxa, sparka ett stegjärn och hissa upp kompisar från glaciärsprickor. De två instruktörerna Calle och Martin gick igenom upplägget och alla berättade lite om sig själv.

Kursen startades med stegjärnsteknik och yxteknik i en isgryta på Tarfalaglaciären. För egen del med helt oanvänd isyxa och stegjärn, var det spännande att äntligen hugga in i isen och snön och att lita på att metallen sitter där den ska i isen. Vi testade franska tekniker, tyska tekniker och säkert nån brittisk teknik för säker och effektiv framfart på is och snö. När vi lärt oss lita på horisontellt insparkade stegjärn och yxan i dolkfattning gav vi oss på brantare och brantare terräng. Dagen avslutades med att kliva runt på moränskravlet med stegjärnen, vilket lät värre än naglar på en griffeltavla. Detta var helt nödvändigt enligt Calle och Martin för att få den perfekta slipningen och rundningen av stegjärnens spetsar. Därmed var första dagen avslutad, stegjärnen äntligen repiga och isyxan svingad för första gången.

Följande två dagar använde vi våra kunskaper i stegjärnsteknik och yxteknik, adderade rephantering i replag och lärde oss hur man förflyttar sig över glaciär. Både framsmält och översnöad. Vi gjorde en utflykt varje dag, Norra Klippberget och Södra Klippberget. Några timmar glaciärvandring och sedan en kort scrambling/klättring med löpande säkringar i replag upp via kammen till topparna. Där tog vi såklart en välförtjänt fika med vidunderlig utsikt åt alla håll. Vi pratade om alpinistens mantra “i sakta mak” utan pulshöjningar men med tanke på effektiv framfart och effektiv utrustning, inte för mycket men inte för lite.

Att gå över en glaciär som man vet är 200 meter djup på vissa ställen blir riktigt spännande när isen framför en öppnas upp till en lång spricka som man inte ser botten av. Första gången jag tog ett steg ut på en isbrygga över en spricka måste jag säga att jag höll extra hårt i isyxan. Såklart hade den inte hjälpt mig mycket om jag ramlade, men det kändes ändå rätt. Från toppen av Södra och Norra Klippberget såg man glaciärerna från ovan vilket gav en tydlig bild över hur sprickorna breder ut sig över glaciären. En mäktig syn. Speciellt när jag tänkte på att vi precis navigerat genom ett parti som såg ut som ogenomtränglig labyrint uppifrån.

Glaciär med spricka. Crevasse
Glaciärspricka 

Fjärde dagen letade vi upp en snöbacke där vi testade alla typer av självräddning/self-arrest med isyxa. Huvud först på rygg, huvud först på mage etc. En viktig detalj var att hålla fötterna borta från snön när man kanade neråt branten i ökande fart. Vi förstod alla hur ont det skulle gjort att fastna med stegjärnen i snön eller isen när man är på väg i full fart ner för backen utan full kontroll. Dagen avslutades med att vi byggde lite hissanordningar för att dra upp kompisen från en isspricka. Bra förberedelse för morgondagen då eldprovet var att göra detta “på riktigt”. Såklart med backup och support från Martin och Calle.

Så var det dags för sista kursdagen och det alla sett fram emot (vissa mer än andra). Att ta ett kliv rakt ner i en glaciärspricka och låta de två andra i replaget först stoppa fallet. För att sedan bygga ett ankare plus backupankare så att replaget sakta men säkert dra dig upp ur sprickan. Replagen fick lite olika förutsättningar, en del fick is och klarade sig med isskruvar, andra fick gräva T-ankare i snön och då tog räddningen längre tid. Själva fallet var odramatiskt och dynamiskt mjukt. Repet skär först genom snölagret på kanten och replaget glider lite på snön eller isen. Därefter började det svettiga. Beroende på var man är inknuten i replaget avgör vad man gör i en räddningssituation. Personen längst ifrån den fallne försöker hålla så stor del av vikten som möjligt i repet genom att använda isyxan och framförallt fötterna nedgrävda i snön/isen. Personen närmast den som fallit bygger nu ett ankare i snön eller isen och med hjälp av en prusik överför vikten till ankaret. Nu kan personen längst bort närma sig ankaret där hen bygger en backup till det första ankaret. När båda ankare är jämviktade börjar hissningen. Allt var mycket mer komplicerat när repet verkligen var belastat. Att göra detta på ett replag med två personer kändes inte som en önskvärd situation. Men under kontrollerade förhållande och med ett övervakande öga gick allt utmärkt för alla tre replag. Hissen byggdes med låskarbiner och prusikar, det finns såklart varianter på hur man kan göra i olika situationer. Kanske hade det gått snabbare att komma ur sprickan om man själv prusikklättrade upp. Allt detta kan och bör man träna på en hel del för att sätta tekniken och utveckla för effektivare räddning. Utöver praktiska moment och turer gick vi igenom turplanering, navigering, gradering och annat tänkvärt när man ska ge sig ut på snö och is.

Kursens mål är att deltagare skall kunna ge sig ut på glaciärer på egen hand med andra som har samma kunskap. Men som med alla erfarenhet – de tar tid att samla – så utvecklas i sakta mak; börja enkelt med ett replag med tre personer. Efter kursen känner jag mig trygg med att ge mig ut med två till glaciärvandrare med rätt utrustning på enklare expeditioner. Jag själv ser fram emot att se många glaciärer och olika förhållanden i Sverige och utomlands. För denna gång packade vi ihop våra tunga väskor och skickade iväg dem med helikopter till Nikkaloukta. Gruppen tog farväl och gav sig av på olika vägar hemåt.

Tydligt mönster av glaciärsprickor från Norra Klippberget

Faktaruta
Längd: 5 heldagar kurs i Tarfala
Boende: Tarfalastugan eller i tält
Utrustning: sele, isyxa, stegjärn, låskarbiner, prusiksnören, hjälm
Förkunskap: grundkurs klippklättring eller motsvarande


Top 5 Tips for spending MORE time on Youtube

Since we can’t always be outside doing our own adventure, some of my time is spent looking at other people doing adventure on Youtube. Sometimes that feels sad – to spend that much time in front of a computer. But hey, I’m a proud consumer of youtube video. To make your time well spent; here is my 5 tips for youtube channels to follow. In no particular order.

  1. Mediocre Amateur. One guy and his friends doing trail running, skiing and alot more. Loads of ridge walking, sketchy climbing, bushwhacking and puking. One of the guys seems to own a red helicopter…..
  2. Hiking Nerd. The name says it all. A nerd that hikes, or is it a guy nerdy about hiking. Not sure. He video looks good and it’ts worth to try. Gear reviews and trips.
  3. Team BMC. The British Mountaineering Council. Look under their playlists Skills. Where they cover everything from scrambling to ice climbing. The other content is of varying quality.
  4. Venture Lives. There are sooo maaaany channels about a couple sailing the world. Some of them stand out. This is one of them I think. They are based in Alaska and the scenery is stunning. Not a huge amount of content to binge watch.
  5. REI. – Yes the American retailer of outdoor gear. They have a mix of content. Some well produced short stories about a huge range of people and subjects. And also a big section of tips for beginners, everything from how to pitch a tent to how you choose climbing shoes. Well produced.

Trail running: Sörmlandsleden Handen – Ösmo. 43 km

I wanted to test my feet and legs again on a distance more than 40 km, last time was Roslagsleden 2 days overnighter which went great. Now it was time to do at least 40 km with a higher tempo. Sörmlandsleden is my natural choice, and since I miss a section I just hade to fill that gap.

Section 5, 5:3. 5:2 (sadly I did not have energy to do 5:1 which I still have never hiked or ran). I knew from before that section 5 is really nice, specially towards the end in Paradiset. 5:3 and 5:2 delivered too, but some sections is dirt road which always takes my energy level down. I would love to run from Handen to Nynäshamn, but the 53 km scares me a little bit.

Nygrens led till Kebnekaise Nordtopp

This story is in Swedish, translation will be linked here in the future.

Tarfalastugan till Kebnekaise fjällstation via Storglaciären, Nygrens led, Nordtoppen, Sydtoppen och Östra leden.

Som nystöpta glaciärvandrare gav vi oss ut på vår första glaciärtur under eget ansvar. Vi skissade upp en plan kvällen innan och gav oss av strax efter sex på morgonen från Tarfalastugan. Via forskningsstationen och deras bro tog vi oss in på den framsmälta Storglaciären. Sakta men säkert i den snälla lutningen jobbade vi oss uppåt tills vi bestämde oss för att knyta oss in och ta på stegjärn. När vi kom över krönet av Storglaciären då började molnen samlas bakom och under oss, solen höll oss varma och glada. Vi följer alpinistens mantra “i sakta mak” utan pulshöjningar. Sista biten upp mot Nygrens led blev brantare och vi satte ett par isskruvar på vägen upp.

Storglaciären Tarfala Kebnekaise with clouds below
Storglaciären Tarfala Kebnekaise med molnen under oss.

Klockan tio stod vi under stenblocket som markerar starten på Nygrens led, där tog vi en fika och laddade upp för klättringen. Vi visste inte vad som väntade oss i form av säkringar eller svårigheter. Det vi visste var “håll er på kammen och vik av höger mot slutet”. Vi höll oss till tipset och det ledde oss till toppen. Första delen gjorde vi med löpande säkringar, i de flesta fall i parallella sprickor mellan klippblock eller bergsprickor. När vi bytte till vanlig klättring och säkring tappade vi rejält med hastighet. I efterhand kunde vi nog gått med löpande säkringar mycket längre för att spara tid och effektivisera.

Kebnekaise Nygrens led group photo before tying in
Kebnekaise Nygrens led. Replaget.

Klättringen är egentligen enkel, men stenskravel, lösa block och snötäckta delar gjorde klättringen lite extra spännande. Vi var tre i replaget och försteman klättrade med ledsäkring och andre- och tredjeman var inknytna sedan tidigare glaciärvandring och klättrade med toppsäkring. Njutningen var total när vi såg snökammen ovan, solen gassade och vi kravlade upp i snön och stod sedan 30 meter till vänster om Nordtoppen. På Nordtoppen åt vi lunch med perfekt utsikt över fjällen och Sydtoppen från den folktomma sidan med den på håll vassa kammen mellan topparna. Kamvandringen mellan nord och syd såg smal ut på håll, men den var mindre dramatisk än vad det så ut. Vi gick såklart i replag och med yxan redo. Väl på den upptrampade sidan av Sydtoppen knöt vi ur oss och siktade på östra ledens Via Ferrata nedstigning. Från Sydtoppen ner till Björlings Glaciär gick fort, sen började vandringsleden nedåt mot fjällstationen då kändes kängorna hårda och tunga.

Kebnekaise Nordtoppen view over Sydtoppen and the ridge between
Kebnekaise Nordtoppen utsikt mot Sydtoppen

Vi tog hela fjorton timmar på oss, vi gick lugnt och pausade då och då. På Nygrens led spenderade vi en hel del tid, vilket kan förkortas rejält om man går med löpande säkring så länge man kan. Nygrens led har säkert gjorts helt utan säkringar också, men vi satsade på säkerhet istället för snabbhet. Jag tror att elva timmar kan vara en rimlig tid att sikta på.

Kamvandring mellan Nordtoppen och Sydtoppen

Personlig utrustning:
Stegjärn
Isyxa
Låskarbiner (ca 5 st)
Karbiner
Slingor (2 st minimum 120cm)
Repbroms
Gemensam utrsutning:
60 meter enkelrep
2 st 0,5 camalot
2 st 0,75 camalot
2 st 1 camalot
1 st 2 camalot
Några kilar (kunde vi klarat oss utan)
Slingor (en del stenformationer kan man använda som mellansäkring eller ankare)
5 st alpine quickdraws
3 st quickdraws

I utrustningsväg hade vi det vi behövde för ledklättring, om man gått löpande kunde man nog klarat sig med färre kamsäkringar. Kilarna använde vi sparsamt, de flesta placeringar var helt paralella sprickor. Tricams eller hexor kunde fyllt en funktion. 60 meter rep var oftast för mycket, men i räddningssituation hade det varit bra att ha. Om man vill spara in eller om man är ett mindre replag kan man klara sig med kortare rep.

Upplevelsen var total, vädret var perfekt, sol och perfekt sikt runt hela fjällkedjan. Jag kommer definitivt åka tillbaka och ta sikte på någon av de andra topparna i området runt Tarfala och Kebnekaise.

Plastic in ocean turned into dinghies

During a weekend in Stockholm archipelago Sjöräddningssällskapet put out bins for hard plastic collection. 2,5 cubic metres of plastic were collected and will now be made into Optimist dinghies  by Chalmers school in a project called Optimist for the ocean.

The Optimist dinghies to be used by sailing schools, the project show that something can be done. But it put emphasis that the plastic should not end up in the ocean in the first place.

Toaks Titanium Alcohol Stove Pot Stand Review

This pot stand weighs in a 35 grams, in four pieces. I only use three pieces when I use my small 375 ml pot. With all four sides the pot risk falling of inside the pot stand. For any bigger pot all four pieces is best to use.

Toaks Pot Stand without the pot in place.

The real magic is that the pot stand is ~8cm high which mean you can stack some small branches and twigs inside it. And suddenly you have a wood stove with unlimited fuel. Yes it takes more time and fiddling around, and yes a lot more smoke. And you need to secure the parts together with a thin wire. For me this is invaluable, I bring some alcohol fuel for when I can’t start a small fire. And the rest of the trip I can try to boil water with twigs and branches. Multipurpose (but not it’s intended use)

Likes

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Multipurpose

Dislikes

  • Assembly is a bit fiddly
  • When assembled it is not super sturdy and can fall apart if you don’t handle it gently. Can be fixed with a thin wire.
  • It’s titanium which is not cheap. Not sure what the weight would be in aluminium.

Top 5 Things I Always Bring on a Trip

For every trip you make the procedure of packing your pack will be smoother. Make lists of what you need for different applications, seasons etc. This is the five items i ALWAYS bring.

  1. Knife. A small knife will do, I use a small multitool call Leatherman Squirt.
  2. Cord. I am not a big fan of paracord, the sheath comes of too easy. I have a 10 meter long dyneema cord 3 mm diameter. It’s strong enough for most things, tent guy line, fix backpack, shoe lace, tie branches to a make a stretcher etc.
  3. Phone. It can be your light, entertainment, watch, map, gps etc. Most important you can call for help if needed. I never let the phone be my only means of navigation for example, batteries will run out …. That is why I also bring a spare battery to my phone, If your phone don’t have that. Bring a small powerbank or have it turned off.
  4. Watch. When you navigate and move a watch is really good to help you keep track. Also you can save your battery on your phone not having to turn it on and off all the time. Time can be really important especially in navigation and emergency situations. Either I bring a really simple watch with batteries that you change every 3 year, limited functionality, but very reliable. Sometimes I use a gps watch, which adds functions but then you have the constant battery problem.
  5. Snacks. Never leave home without it. It can save your mood or you can bribe someone. My Top 5 Energy Snacks.

Other than this you of course need water, food clothing and gear appropriate for the conditions. Navigation: map and compass.

Inov-8 All Terrain 35 Backpack review

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. I have now used it during a week alpine climbing and glacier travel in the north of Sweden aswell. The size is really good, it fits what you need for a day. Both summer and winter. The pack is not the sturdiest and I think it wouldn’t survive heavy (ab)use for long time.

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.

Inov-8 All Terrain 35 backpack, back lid

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.

detail of Inov-8 All Terrain 35 backpack
Inov-8 All Terrain 35 backpack. Connection possibilites

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.

Likes

  • Perfect size and weight
  • Looks good
  • Affordable
  • The lid on the back gives nice access

Dislikes

  • The pouches on the shoulder straps are too small. Make them bigger and stretching.
  • Should straps are will move during the day, and when you take off the backpack. They also twist within the buckle when you load the backpack with more than a couple of kg.
  • I am missing the hole for a hydration bladder tube
  • I don’t see the use of the zippered pockets on the sides

Inov-8 All Terrain 35 backpack detail picture of buckle and strap
Inov-8 All Terrain 35 backpack. Problematic shoulder straps.

Inov-8 All Terrain 35 backpack. Loaded with a rope

Running Roslagsleden section 1-5

I had some days over for a short adventure and decided to do a trail running overnight trip on Roslagsleden.

The Swedish summer was hot and dry, but late august had a little dip in temperature and I set out for a overnight run/jog with a lightweight pack. I used a 24 litre Inov-8 running backpack. I packed a light down sleeping bag, a inflatable mat, a titan pot, alcohol stove, some clothes and a lot of food and snacks. I slept in a windbreak so I didn’t have to bring a tent or hammock which lightened my load a substantial bit.

The trail starts in Täby and ends in Grisslehamn and consists of eleven sections total 190 km. I jogged/ran the first five of them, a total of 80 km. The trail is a mix of gravel road and scenic forest trails, the gravel parts are not that nice but the trails make up for it. I think Roslagsleden actually is nicer in the last sections of the trail (just a guess since I haven’t been there). The trail has contact with shops, cafés and hostels along the way so it’s easy to resupply food. This is a google map of Roslagsleden to help you plan your trip, there you’ll find cafés and places to restock or sleep in a hostel.

I set out in the middle of the day with no special goal, I wanted to find a camp site near a lake but timing and distance didn’t add upp so I ended up staying in a windbreak just of trail on a small hill 40 km from the trail start. Not bad at all but I passed alot of nice campsites near lakes.

Next day I set out early to try to finish section five of the trail. It was a long day and i was a bit sore in my legs so I ended up power walking alot. But the trail rewarded with nice views.

Forest on the Roslagsleden trail

I managed to get to the end of section five in Wira Bruk and then I had to walk a while to get to the bus station.

Roslagsleden light pack

I really liked the trip, but some parts weren’t that picturesque as I hoped for. There is a ultra trail marathon called Jättelångt (=really far in swedish) that starts in Norrtälje and ends in Grisslehamn that is 68 km and I think that is the best section of the trail.

Roslagsleden section 1-5 on Strava. Day 1

Roslagsleden section 1-5 on Strava. Day 2

Top 5 Tips For Your First SUP Overnight Trip

Are you a standup paddle boarder looking to get more of an adventure out of your great hobby. Here are five tips to get you started on a SUP overnight expedition.

All my gear for one night SUP trip

  1. Start small. Begin with a one night trip. This helps alot with the packing, you can simplify your food to snacks and things that don’t need a stove. Also the amount of water you need to bring is limited.
  2. Pack smart. Bring what you need and leave luxuries at home. At least until you know how you and your board handles loads. You should of course not put security aside.
  3. Backpack is your PFD (Personal floating device). Pack your lightest things in a dry-bag. Sleeping bag, clothes etc. The backpack now acts as a lifevest. A real life vest or PFD is of course more effective, it’s up to you what you need
  4. Plan your trip. Try to get a A-B tour, paddling with backpack and luggage upwind is alot more challenging that downwind. So check the weather report and paddle with the wind all the time. Get a friend to pick you up at destination, or try to find a place where your can leave your car and get back via bus or train. If you need to return to the same spot, use islands to provide wind cover.
  5. Go Inflatable. When paddling (at least in Stockholm archipelago) you want to jump ashore on the rocky islands to take breaks and find camp. A rigid glassfiber board does not like being dinged against rock etc. An inflatable SUP could also be transported on public transportation which open up alot of A-B trip possibilities.

Arriving at an Island.

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

PrimaLoft® new alternative for down

PrimaLoft will release a new insulation “PrimaLoft® Black Insulation ThermoPlume®” It is comparable to down in insulation and feel, but synthetic. Personally I have started to like synthetic insulation more and more. Both for the sake of the birds and the increasing performance of synthetic insulation.

“With its good insulation performance, its hydrophobic properties, the look and feel, and easy processing, PrimaLoft® Black Insulation ThermoPlume® is being implemented by manufacturers in very versatile ways. For example, in midlayers for alpine adventures, in warming jackets for light hikes, and in warming all-weather jackets for everyday life in the city.”

PrimaLoft

ISPO Blog post

Surly Lowside minimalistic singlespeed

I really like Surly bikes approach to bikes. This seems to be a BMX for grown-ups.

“We tried to focus on these concepts when revisiting the legacy 1×1 frame. Our goal was to do something that would be fun to ride, stripped down and simple, compatible with a lot of parts you already own, and a bit of a throwback — but not too far back. Many of us still have 1x1s and enjoy them, but that bike is a bit dated. Bike handling geometry has changed a lot but the simple execution of it remains a defining feature. Bike fit has evolved. Trails we ride on are different. We love our old 1x1s because the bike just works. We wanted to address all of this with the Lowside. Produce a bike that was decidedly simple and fun to ride, but matched our expectations around bike fit and riding style, and was a bit less costly to produce.”

I might not buy this bike, but it sure looks like a fun and nimble bike to play around with. Both on the trails and the citys bike parks.

Surly Lowside

Surly Lowside blog post

Toaks woodstove review

I am in love with a stove. It’s the Toaks titanum woodstove. The stove is made of titanium and is durable and lightweight, and it burns on small sticks, pine cones etc. So you will never run out of fuel. The con is that it takes time and there will be smoke. There is two versions of the stove, small woodstove 151 gram and normal size woodstove at 225 gram. You will have to learn how to use to stove and what you can put in it. The stove is made to take air/oxygen from the outside to get the wood gas to burn.

This is the stove I use when I know I will be in forest areas (everywhere in Stockholm) and have time to fiddle around with sticks and fire. It consumes some time and energy, a normal gas stove is much quicker and cleaner. But the gas will run out and you will have to carry the extra weight.

Toaks titanium woodstove

Toaks titanium woodstove from above
Fire in the woodstove.