Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Updates: Future Projects, New Gear, Etc.

Hey all, just wanted to write an update with what's going on, what's in the works, and briefly discuss some new gear I recently bought.  I am excited about both some new projects in the works and also my new gear, and looking forward to both.  First thing I want to get out of the way, is that as some of you may have noticed I have not been very active online as of late (this blog, Youtube, forums, etc.).  I've just been very busy with life at the moment, but mostly positive stress, so it's all good.  

I'll spare the boring details of why I've been so busy, but suffice to say that I was not so busy that I couldn't go on my usual one a month section hikes or do a lot of research on a few pieces of gear that I eventually bought for myself as early holiday gifts.  I have noticed that I have been getting a bit more views on my blog and subscribers on my Youtube channel, so hello, welcome, and thanks to you new readers/viewers out there.  And don't worry, new content is on the way, and here is what I have planned:

Where to begin?  Okay, so as of now Ross of Wood Trekker has not replied to the last Back to Back episode, but I figure that like me he is probably just busy.  It is holiday season after all.  But I'm sure that he'll eventually get around to it, or at least I hope so, because I've really enjoyed his perspectives and feedback in our video dialogs.  If you are reading this Ross, hope you are doing well, and again no worries or pressure (seriously!) on your reply--Episode 3 can be on hold as long as you want or need.

I've been in touch with another backpacking blogger/vlogger that I am also a big fan of, Jason from Jason's Outdoor Blog.  He has been kind enough to agree to contribute to an episode of Back to Back, and it will be on a topic he knows well: knives.  I am really looking forward to his perspectives as both a fellow UL backpacker and also as a knife maker.  I will try and get the first part of this episode finished in the next week or so.  Thanks again to Jason, and be sure to check out his blog and his Youtube channel if you haven't already.

I have also been in touch with Christine AKA The German Tourist of The Big Trip blog.  She's one of the most accomplished and experienced backpackers that I know of, period!  And I've also been a big fan of her blog and contributions to forums like BPL.  I am happy to report that she is going to be hiking through Sweden next year, and we've made tentative plans to meet up while she is here, which I think is super cool and I am excited about.  If/when this happens, I will at the least write up an article about our meet up, and if possible do a video with her if she's up for it.

Now on to gear.  I recently got a new Zpacks flat tarp, and I am going to do a first impressions video on it sometime soon.  In addition to this video, I'd also like to do a separate video where I set it up in some different configurations.  Problem is that winter in Sweden means not that much daylight!  So the second video of my new shelters system in action may have to wait for a bit for the right time/situation to present itself.  I won't say much more about the tarp now, but will save it for my first impressions video which you can check out on my Youtube channel sometime soon.  I only recently got the tarp, so obviously I have not tried it out out on the trail (or even the backyard yet), but as I have come to expect from Zpacks, the craftsmanship and quality seem to be excellent.

I also just got a new Montbell Alpine Light down parka, which I got for a good deal during the whole Thanksgiving sales online a few weeks ago.  My first impressions are very positive.  I'll also do a first impressions video on this jacket right after I do the Zpacks tarp video, and again I won't say too much more here.  I put a lot of thought into both of these pieces of gear, which I will of course discuss more in the videos.  There can be a lot to take into consideration for key pieces of backpacking gear!

I won't be doing a section hike this month due to holidays, family, and such, but will try for a quick and easy overnighter close to home if I can.  I will most likely continue my section hikes of the Swedish E1 trail in January, which will mark a full year since my first hike at the southern endpoint of the trail.  I am feeling cautiously optimistic about finishing the second half of the trail in roughly the same amount of time as I was able to complete the first half.

What will complicate things for the E1 are my wife and I's trip we have planned for the summer to Kungsleden, not that I care!  I am really looking forward to this trip, and both of us have been wanting to go there for years now.

Alright, off to film a few videos now in this rare moment of free time, so that's all for now.  Looking forward to see how the next year unfold with all the things going on.  2014 was a great year for me in general, and a big part of that was my life as a backpacker.  Peace out for now and keep your eyes peeled for the next few weeks.