Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spring Updates

Just wanted to do a quick post with some updates on what's going on with this blog and my backpacking life in general.  

I am going on a 3 day trip to cover more of the E1 trails this coming weekend, which of course I am very excited about.  I hope to complete at least two, maybe three sections of trail, and trip reports will follow soon after.  

The weather has been very inconsistent this year, even for south-west Sweden (known for unpredictable weather, especially in spring/fall).  There have been days recently where it has been 20C and sunny out, with nights around 5-10C.  Now all of a sudden it looks like it will drop to as low as -4C at night in the area I will be traveling through.  This would be nearly as cold as it was at night on my last section hike over a month ago, when it was -6C at night!  I was ready to put my warmer (rated -1C) sleeping bag away in favor for my 1+ season bag (rated 5C), but looks like it will still get some use into late spring.

Speaking of sleeping bags, I recently bought some material to make a summer sleeping bag, which I will also be using as a bag liner for winter/cold trips.  I hope to make something that will not only have more effective warmth than say a thin base layer, but also be more light weight.  The materials arrived yesterday, and I am very excited about this project.  It will be a top layer of M90, which is quite breathable, then a top layer of synthetic insulation (2.5oz Climashield Apex), which will be both sewn onto a silk liner.  I will write a detailed post about this project, and naturally with lots of pictures, when it is completed.  

I estimate that this piece of gear should weigh around 240-260g.  This summer bag/bag liner would have really been useful on my last and my next section hike, where temperatures hover in between two of my gear lists (very cold/4 season and cold/3 season).

I mentioned several times here on my blog, and on forums like BPL and reddit, that I was planning on doing a long section hike of Kungsleden in northern Sweden this summer.  This will have to wait until next year, but it's for a good reason that I actually don't mind the wait.  In observing my preparations for this big section hike, as well as pictures, and hearing lots of good things about the area from mutual friends that have been there, my wife finally asked me if she could go with me on this hike--which would be our first long section hike together!  

We've had many shorter hikes and backpacking trips together, including not just trails here in Sweden, but also parts of the AT in the USA and trails in Spain.  We are both really looking forward to this.  We would have done it together this summer, but could not work out babysitting and work vacation times for each of us.  So now we have booked over a year in advance both babysitting and vacation.  The only thing we need is a larger shelter, as I only have 1 person shelters, because I am the only one that uses them for longer trips.  For car camping and for short trips together we have relied on either two 1 person tents or trail shelters/cabins.  We're not sure which one to buy just yet, but odds are I will probably write a first impressions review on whatever we decide on getting.

In another update back in December I mentioned that I was going to try and do some trail maintenance on some local trails in my area.  Well unfortunately I have not had any luck here.  I contacted some authorities in charge of some of the trails, one of which said they already had someone for the job, another didn't bother to reply to me, and yet another informed me that the trail in question I was contacting them about has been officially abandoned and would no longer be maintained.  Oh well.  At least I tried.  I'll just focus my efforts on my trail guides.

My little blog continues to grow and get much more hits than in previous years, so thanks to anyone reading this.  Still advertizment free, and still no sponsors as of yet.  I have gotten a lot of good feedback over the years, and am happy to be a resource to the backpacking community.  If anyone has any questions, feedback, or even constructive criticism, as always I encourage you to get in touch.  Leave comments, send an email, or tag me in a blog post if you happen to have a blog.  

If you'd like me to write more about a particular topic, or cover something that I haven't written about yet, have an idea for a text/review or whatever--just let me know.  I am even starting to consider making the jump to Youtube to do videos in the future, but not sure yet.  I'd have to get a better video camera, for one, and I'd rather put funds into backpacking gear to be honest.

As usual, what started as what I thought would be a quick and short post has gotten long-winded, so I'll shut up and get back to planning the last little details of my upcoming trip.

Peace out.