Monday, February 17, 2014

Cesar's Guide to the E1 Trails in Sweden: Northern Hallandsleden Part 1


This is the starting point of the Swedish E1 trails for people heading northbound, as this is where the ferry arrives from Denmark.  Or for those that started in Norway and are heading southbound, this is the last section of trail before saying goodbye to Sweden and taking the ferry from the port in Varberg.

This section of trail is mostly the northern third of Hallandsleden, which is divided into two parts.  This section is from Varberg to Stättared, and is around 74km total.  Here is a map (in PDF) of this section from the official site, and here is the official site for Hallandsleden.  

I must admit after printing out and using this map on the trail, that I did not like it.  It's proportions are not accurate, there are unnecessary pictures in the way on the actual map itself, and shelters and other useful things for hikers are not clearly marked.  I recommend buying a better map of the area, which is what I did for the next section with much better results.

The next section going northbound is the second half of the northern part of Hallandsleden, Stättared to Blåvättnerna (about 40km), and also where this trail ends and the E1 continues on Bohusleden.

If you have not read the introduction to this trail guide yet, you can do so here, and there is also a list of links to other completed trail reports of the Swedish E1 trails.  Please keep in mind this is still a work in progress.

Now on to the guide!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

General Tips and Information on Backpacking in Sweden

One of my sons enjoying Swedish summer.

Now that I am beginning to have a somewhat sizable collection of trip reports and trail guides that are mostly located in the nation I call home, I figured I ought to have an article dedicated to how it's like to hike and camp in Sweden along with some helpful tips and such.  I feel lucky to live here for many reasons, but one very important reason is that for an avid nature lover and backpacker, it has several aspects that make it one of the best places for outdoor life in the world.  

In addition to the huge amount of gorgeous wilderness to explore, clean water, plenty of trail shelters, abundance of marked trails, kind people, and good train system, perhaps the biggest factor in what makes Sweden such an amazing place to go and be out in nature are its "Everyman's Rights" or Allemansrätten in Swedish.  These are laws and regulations that allow anyone to travel freely in nature as long as they obey certain rules and are respectful of nature.  For instance, private land owners cannot put up fences or otherwise restrict people from traveling through the wilderness, and anyone is allowed to camp out in the wild anywhere unless by special exception (nature preserves and the like).  Notice that I use the word "wilderness" here, and this obviously does not apply to people's private backyards, so don't go and pitch your tent on grandma's flowerbed.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Cesar's Complete Gear Combinations for 2014: 3 Season

If you haven't already, please make sure to read my introduction to this series of posts related to my full 2014 season selection of gear and clothing for backpacking.  It gives a lot of relevant background information and details regarding all six of these gear lists in general.

These two gear lists are for brisk weather conditions I plan on experiencing typically throughout most of spring and fall, and cover what I consider to be "cold" and "cool"--both of which fall under the 3 season category for me.  Also note that these temperatures also reflect the lowest predicted temps (i.e. typically at night and at dawn) in weather forecasts for a given trip. I personally define these terms as follows, and the final weights are listed for the impatient:

Cold = -2 to 9 C / 28 to 48 F
  * On trail - BPW 4209g / 9.3lbs, CW 1436g / 3.2lbs
  * Off trail - BPW 4534g / 10lbs, CW 2271g / 5lbs

Cool = 10 to 15 C / 50 to 59 F
  * On trail - BPW 3964g / 8.7lbs, CW 1296g / 2.9lbs
  * Off trial - BPW 4341g / 9.6lbs, CW 1918g / 4.2lbs

Please feel free to check my math and let me know if I have made a mistake.  It's easy to make mistakes when dealing with so many numbers.

3 Season general pros: Less bugs than peak season, good campsites and shelters not as crowded, flowers and new life in spring, colorful leaves and mushrooms in the fall, don't have to melt snow/ice for drinking water, and not as much bulk/weight from warmer clothing and sleep systems.

Cons: Some bugs in "cold" to moderate amounts in "cool" conditions, cold rain and potential risk of wet snow during cold saps.