on hiking no 5 / 2021
Get out there! Many folk found their feet in nature over the last year. We see more people than ever sharing tips and encouraging others to try something new or take those first steps outside – into the great outdoors. One activity that's received particular attention is hiking. For us, hiking is about discovering what's around us: whether that's your neighbourhood or somewhere completely new. It can provide an opportunity to drink a coffee in the woods, take the tent and sleep outside for a night or leave civilisation far behind. Hiking gives us a new perspective on what we can do outdoors. These days, we're spending a lot more time exploring local landscapes and holidaying closer to home. We've learnt we don't always have to travel far to find experiences that strengthen and inspire us. Hiking doesn't require the latest or most expensive equipment. No one's too old or too young to do it, and you can fit it in around everyday life – even if it feels like you don't have time. It's never too early or late to find adventure via the hiking trail. Hiking is for everyone. Victor Inggårde Brand & Marketing Nordics
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Bring The Kids!
Definitely Not The Last Trip
Better Safe Than Sorry
Feet In Focus
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Bring The Kids!
68 Firestarter 72
A Weight Off Your Shoulders
A Luxurious Weekend In Nature
CREATORS Julia Möller
· Emelie Voltaire · Victor Inggårde
Martin Netinder Uddvägen 7, 131 54 Nacka 08-403 047 03 email@example.com / www.addnature.com
Anna Kernell Ben Lubin Bramm Clitherow Emma Carlsson Jenny Wikman Mattias Rastbäck Olof Lange Rosie Hendry
THANKS TO ·
August Alvtegen Lundgren Louise Dahl Nevena Gaco Sebastian Spendrup Theodor Norgren Tim Latte Viktor Åberg Somogyi
COVER Erik Nylander
COPYRIGHT All rights reserved. Nothing in whole or in part may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. © Addnature 2021
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Bring it on. Shake it off.
L . I . M B R E A T H E G T X S H A K E D R Y TM J K T VAT T E N AV V I S A N D E FJÄ D E R L ÄT T HÖG ANDNINGSFÖRMÅGA
L.I.M BREATHE GTX SHAKEDRY TM är den ultimata jackan för pulshöjande aktiviteter i oförutsägbart väder. Den kombinerar låg vikt, utmärkt andningsförmåga och en genial teknologi för att göra den vattentät. I stället för att ha det vattentäta membranet inbäddat i själva tyget är det placerat utanpå – för att avlägsna vattnet behöver du bara skaka den.
Photo: Otto Norin
to our new Addnature Family member, Marika Wagner Marika is a passionate multidisciplinary athlete who competes in everything from adventure racing and swimrun to mountain biking, and has won gold in both the Åre Extreme Challenge and Ö to Ö. WHAT’S YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT? - My biggest wins. I’m not so much proud of what I did during the race as everything I did leading up to it. In moments like these, everything that leads to such a success – all the hard work and hours of focus, all the difficult choices and trade-offs – comes together. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE GADGET? - A good headlamp that opens up the potential for
really long adventures; where the sunset doesn’t mean the end of the day. WHAT’S THE BEST HIKING FOOD? - On my adventures, limiting weight and moving fast are important, so it’s all about the most calories per gram (read: sweets) and stuff that doesn’t require me stopping to eat. If I’m not in a hurry, a favourite is fig porridge from Lyofood. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THIS SUMMER? - I’m continuing to train for competitions. I’m also looking forward to lots of mountain biking, running and other adventures in the mountains and along the coast. Kayaking in waves on the West Coast is also high on my list.
STEPS FORWARD Excuse the pun, but the shoe industry has taken some major strides onwards in recent years. Boundaries have been blurred and new materials introduced. Walking in lighter trail shoes has become a popular trend. At Addnature, we're investing in brands such as Adidas Terrex, and plan to stock up on their popular Free Hiker shoe for the summer, says Sabina Widing from Addnature's purchasing department. At the same time, Scarpa is doing its bit for the environment. The brand has launched its popular Mojito approach shoe in a 100%-biodegradable version: the Mojito Bio. Everything is completely recyclable – from its textiles and shoelaces to its natural rubber soles.
UT MED ESCAPE WITH FAMILJEN THE FAMILY Are you stuck in a rut with your kids and want to try something new? In The Family Outdoor Guide to Stockholm (An outdoor guide to Stockholm for families with children), Jonas Westbom and Emma V Larsson, both experienced hikers, show you short excursions and slightly longer hikes in the Stockholm area. All routes featured are also accessible for smaller explorers. So pack the cuddly toys, snacks and dry socks and get going!
Photo: Jonas Westbom
2021 – THE YEAR OF OUTDOOR We outdoor enthusiasts can finally stop apologising to our colleagues, acquaintances and in-laws for spending all our free time in the woods. This year, it's their turn! The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is running the Luften är fri (The air is free) campaign together with Svenskt Friluftsliv (Swedish Outdoor) and about 150 other partners. Beginner outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy activities like outdoor bingo and geo-treasure hunting, as well as hike famous trails while listening to audio guides with interesting tips and facts. This initiative aims to get 10% of Sweden's population spending more time outdoors than before. They want to increase interest, highlight the important values of outdoor life and educate people about nature and the right of public access. Find more information at www.luftenarfri.nu
“This is the view from Sielmatjåkka over the Vistas valley. We started the climb from Vistas (the mountain is normally climbed from the other side, from Nallo) so we climbed up through this glacier. It was perhaps the most beautiful valley of the whole project.” Remote Peaks p.16 / Photo: Emma Svensson
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1. Jacket: Klättermusen 2. Trousers: Arc’teryx 3. Shoes: Black Diamond 4. Cup: Addnature 5. Jacket: Black Diamond 6. Fleece: Houdini 7. Climbing trousers: Houdini 8. Shoe: Arc’teryx 9. Water bottle: Addnature 10. Thermos: Hydroflask
1. Cap: The North Face 2. Headlamp: Black Diamond 3. Running vest: Salomon 4. Wind jacket: Salomon 5. Shorts: Patagonia 6. Running shoes: Hoka One One
1. Backpack: Black Diamond 2. Cap: Patagonia 3. Jacket: Klättermusen 4. Jacket: Snow Peak 5. Trousers: Klättermusen 6. Boots: Lundhags
REM O TE PEA KS Text & Photos: Emma Svensson
So close but oh so far away What do you do when things don't go according to plan? You think again. Alpine climbers Emma Svensson and Anton Levein found challenges closer to home in a year when nothing went according to plan.
Emma Svensson is an alpine climber and photographer. Three years ago, she decided to climb the highest mountain in every country in Europe – in one year! She set a new world record with this feat and started an enduring love affair with the mountains.
We hop off the bus in Kvikkjokk and are immediately attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes. I don't think I've seen so many mosquitoes in my entire life – and I'm somebody mosquitoes love. We shelter inside the mountain station for a while before the adventure begins for real; me and my friend Anton Levein will head into the Swedish wilderness to climb all of the country's 2000-metre peaks. In each 38-litre daypack, we've packed everything we need for the next twelve days in Sarek: climbing and camping equipment, food and clothing. We carry 16 kilos each, and on our feet, wear trail shoes. Neither of us has been to Sarek before, and we don't really know what to expect other than an exciting adventure. This is exactly what we need, especially with all our other plans cancelled and the world upside down. We start by following the Kungsleden trail towards Pårtestugan before turning off at the sign towards Pårek. This puts us on the trail towards the Pårte massif and the two 2000-metre peaks, Pårtetjåkkå and Palkattjåkkå. After a few kilometres, we head west and instead of taking the well-marked trail, we follow a nearly invisible path. We lose it a couple of times and get lost but manage to find it again. The mosquitoes are everywhere. Mostly on my forehead, right where the cap ends. I count twelve mosquito bites on the forehead after the first day and close to thirty-five on the rest of my body. We can't stop for a break without being eaten alive, so we walk continuously for many hours. We lose track of time – it's the end of June, and the sun never sets. We've heard warnings that there's more snow than ever in the Swedish mountains and that the streams are flowing high and fast. After 18 kilometres, when it's almost midnight, we set up camp by a nice lake. We eat our freeze-dried dinner, crawl into our sleeping bags and don't wake up until 9 o'clock the following day. The second day begins with the first of many fordings. Early on, we realised that we would probably have wet feet for two weeks and since we wanted to minimise the load, didn't bring any extra shoes. Instead, we go straight through the water in our trail shoes. We do, however, wear Sealskinz waterproof socks that keep the water off and our feet warm, even though the water is knee-high. It takes longer than we expect to get to the first peak, but after 15 kilometres and 1400 metres of elevation, we find ourselves at the top of Pårtetjåkkå. Technically speaking, it's Sweden's easiest 2000-metre peak to climb. The way up is hiking on pebbles. We're met with cold winds at the top. Now we have to traverse the ridge that will take us to Palkattjåkkå. The climbing is straightforward: we free climb without ropes, up and down over other peaks along the way. The ridge is sometimes narrow; the rocks unstable. We do two rappels along the way. When we're 100 metres from the top,
we find a flat piece of glacier to pitch the tent on. You'd be lucky to find a better campsite than this at 2000 metresabove-sea-level in the Swedish mountains. We quickly fall asleep after 15 hours of climbing and almost 2000 metres of altitude in one day. We start the third day with our first and only argument: to descend along the Palkattjåkkå ridge we have to climb down on loose rocks and at one point have to rappel down. The problem is that there's nothing good enough to rappel from. Finally, we find a boulder that will have to do. It's slightly larger than a pillow and I'm scared to death. Will it suffice? It does, and we continue down a glacier, into a valley. We wade across numerous streams and spend a lot of time finding the right place to cross as the water is high. It's a never-ending trek and the relentless mosquitos wear us down. We set up camp by a river, halfway to the Sarek massif. Day four begins with more wading and then continues up and down glaciers, through swamps, bushes, and rugged terrain. As we approach the Sarek massif, we find an emergency shelter where we take a break to escape the mosquitos for a while. We decide to spend the night there as we're mentally drained by the constant buzzing around our faces. We have to set the alarm for 4 am, but it's worth it. The fifth day is one of the best of the adventure. The weather is perfect, and we're about to climb all four 2000-metre peaks in the Sarek massif. We start the day by crossing Smajlatjåkkå, a wide stream with a powerful current. The summer bridge hasn't been set up yet and halfway across, we have to turn back. We find another place to cross that feels safer. The water reaches our thighs and splashes up to our waists. It's freezing cold but we're so focused on crossing the stream that we don't even feel it. Scary! We continue up the glacier and end up just south of the southern peak. We scramble up via a ridge and after a grade II climb, reach the passage between the southern peak and the Buchts peak. Here we leave our backpacks, unpack ropes and climbing equipment and immediately head up the Buchts peak. We follow an exposed but short ridge and after a grade 4 crux, untie ourselves and leave the ropes behind to continue up the pre-peak towards the main peak. After reaching the Buchts peak, we return to our backpacks. After a smooth rappel down, we cross the exposed ridge and head up towards the south peak. The climb is fun and easy. From the south peak, we continue towards Sarektjkåkkå and then up towards the north peak. The traverse winds up and down along a ridge with easy grade III-IIII climbing and a couple of rappels. Reaching the north peak, we hear thunder approaching and hurry down the glacier to set up camp down in the valley. It's not a minute too soon: in total, we've completed 25 kilometres of climbing with 1000 metres of altitude
Rain, snow and zero visibility on the Nygren trail on Kebnekaise. At least the mood was good!
About Remote Peaks 2020 was the year the pandemic forced the whole world to press pause and many plans were put on hold. Emma Svensson was supposed to spend the summer in some of the world's highest alpine areas but when these summer projects were cancelled, she and her climbing partner Anton picked more-local destinations. The result was a challenging and exciting summer, trekking in trail shoes with 38-litre backpacks through Sarek National Park and climbing all of Sweden's twelve 2000-metre peaks. This is Emma's story about their Remote Peaks project.
during the day. After the Sarek massif, a three-day hike to Ahkka awaits. This takes us across glaciers and streams, through swamps and bushlands – with a constant swarm of mosquitoes buzzing around our heads. We cover close to 53 kilometres and 2000 metres of altitude before the rain starts pouring. 8 kilometres from the foot of Ahkka, we finally reach a cabin, soaking wet. This is our chance to dry some things before it's time to climb the next peak. In a blizzard. When we head out again around two o'clock in the afternoon on the ninth day, it's the coldest July day in decades and with the windchill feels like -10° at the peak of Ahkka. My feet are stiff with cold in my trail shoes after two cold wades. We hike across snowfields and the heat never returns. Anton has to bite the bullet, and I sit with my feet in his armpits for a while. The warmth and feeling come back and we continue. Winter reigns supreme at the top, a frozen world sprawling out in front of us. We fight our way up in deep powder snow, balancing as we traverse the narrow ridge between the two peaks. There's an old, frozen, fixed rope to hold on to and we're grateful we have microspikes on our shoes and ice axes in our hands. It's three o'clock in the morning when we finally cross the bridge that links to the Padjelanta trail. We're completely exhausted when we set up camp on a patch of grass in the middle of the trail. For three hours, we've bushwacked our way through a swamp, bushes and trees so dense that we practically have to claw our way through. It's the worst section of the whole project. When we wake up, we only have a few kilometres to the boat that will take us to Ritsem, but I can barely walk: with tendonitis in my heel, I scream with pain as I put my shoes on. I then have to limp the long and painful kilometres to the bridge at Änonjalme. At this point, we've finished the first stage of the project, two days quicker than planned. This was especially lucky because, by this point, we had to ration our food. We already knew from the beginning that we were a bit short on food, as we chose to pack light. We averaged 1500 calories per day, which meant a severe deficit as we were on the move at least 12 hours a day. Arriving in Ritsem, we buy pizza, chocolate, crisps, and stuff ourselves on the bus journey back to Kiruna. In Kiruna, we get to rest for a couple of days and this rest is sorely needed as I can barely walk by this point. But it doesn't get much better before it's time to leave again. This time for Kebnekaise! But I don't give up and change into hiking boots for more support around my feet.
The view across Vistas valley
The approach to Björling’s glacier on Kebnekasie – one of the rare occasions during Remote Peaks where Emma and Anton actually hiked a trail.
We're set on taking the eastern ridge up to the north peak, but it's raining and snowing and visibility is poor, so we take the Nygren trail instead after crossing the Björling Glacier. I'm familiar with this one, having done it before, and this is a great advantage when the weather isn't on your side. We have zero visibility on our way across the ridge to the south peak. The whole time my foot hurts so much that I want to scream but I still have to take turns with Anton leading slippery rock sections and steep snow passages on the ridge. We'd planned to climb the Silhuett trail for fun the next day, but I have to cancel. Instead, Anton runs up the south peak via the eastern route and back to the mountain station in 2:57 while I sit by the fire, resting my foot and eating chocolate. The day before, on our way to the top, we'd met Petter Engdahl, who came running at full speed down the mountain. What we'd seen was a world record in progress: up to the top and back down again in 1:47. We stay at Kebnekaise for a few days before we trek to Tarfala and climb Kaskasatjåkka the following day. The weather is still just as bad and we can't see a thing: to find
the trail we have to feel our way with our poles in front of us. With a little help from the GPS, we manage to navigate our way up to peak number ten. The biggest challenge awaits us the next morning. It's six o'clock when we head out towards the southwestern ridge of Kaskasapakte. Although it's alpine grade D, it feels much more difficult under the current circumstances: poor visibility, alternating rain and snow, strong winds and hail. The rock is slippery and we're soaking wet while climbing with our heavy backpacks. At one point, balancing is tricky and I keep bumping into stuff with my backpack. With the tent attached to it, I can't manage to get through tighter sections. I laugh at how clumsy I am with the backpack on my back, but when Anton cries out "damn, that was the scariest manouevre I've ever done", after a crux that was hard to belay, with precipices in all directions, I understand the severity of the situation. This trail is not for tourists but real climbers. It's a long day, up and down several ridges with the trail getting trickier the higher we get.
As we reach the top, the sun pokes its head out for a few minutes. We relish it more than ever and celebrate with some chocolate before heading down the western ridge. With loose rocks and having to make delicate moves mindful of our balance, it takes time. Still, we manage to pitch the tent at the foot of the mountain in the nick of time before a heavy downpour comes bucketing down. Only one peak to go! Onwards to Vistas, a short walk of 25 kilometres over rough terrain! For the last bit, we follow a trail through Vistasvagge, which the previous week's bad weather has turned into a muddy stream. If the mosquitoes were a pain in the ass before, it's nothing compared to now. This is the worst hike I've ever experienced, but we have to keep moving, injured ankle, mosquitos and mud notwithstanding. Arriving in Vistas, we're greeted warmly by the cabin host, who gives us each a Coke on arrival. Our plan is to climb Sielmatjåkka from here. Usually, you do it from Nallo, but there's a way up from this side as well. We trek across the moraine, continue up a glacier and an ice wall, then have several crevasses to navigate. A walk across the glacier, a steep snow wall, some easy scrambling along the ridge, and we find ourselves at the top! Now we have to get down and back again, and we've made it! Twenty kilometres later, back in the Vistas cabin, we splash out and celebrate with noodles for dinner. We've eaten so much freeze-dried food that we can barely stomach another spoonful – we deserve some luxury. Anton asks me if I'd do it again: I tell him I'll never go back to the Swedish mountains during mosquito season. In these two-and-a-half weeks, I've collected over 300 mosquito bites – even though I've bathed myself in mosquito repellent. No, next time I climb a Swedish mountain, it'll be in August or September when the mosquitoes are gone. Or maybe on skis during winter – there are no mosquitos in winter!
“As we reach the top, the sun pokes its head out for a few minutes. We relish it more than ever and celebrate with some chocolate.”
Anton enjoying the view before heading up to Sielmatjåkka’s peak
Underappreciated and forgotten hiking treasures Text: Anna Kernell
Classic Swedish hikes like Kungsleden, Jämtlandstriangeln and Österlenleden never disappoint, but you don't really need another article about them. Instead, we’ve collected some overlooked hikes and trails less travelled. Near the sea, in the mountains, through green valleys and deep forests. Trails for everyone – from the whole family to the lone wolf.
The Magical Marsfjället Fatmomakke–Marsfjällskåtan– Blerikstugan–Fatmomakke
Where? Southwestern Lappland, about 10 kilometres northwest of the town Vilhelmina.
Who'll like this hike? The wilderness lover who wants the mountains all to themselves.
What are the main attractions? Sami cultural heritage and unspoilt wilderness areas in southern Lapland.
Best time to visit: August. Length: 35 km. What you need: Tent, mosquito spray and two to
three days' food. Bring water if you plan to camp on the mountain, at Marsfjällskåtan, for example. If you can manage the trip in two days, you can spend the night in a cabin that's located halfway along the trail. This way, you can pack light and go without a tent.
How to get there:
You can drive and park in Fatmomakke. It takes a bit of effort to get there, but Marsfjället is well worth a visit, with a natural wilderness made up of mountains, primaeval forest and boggy highlands. This hike is a special treat for birdwatchers and it's also home to many rare plants.
You start in fir forests at the base of the mountains and work your way uphill before continuing through a mountain-birch forest along a stream. When you reach Marsfjällskåtan, the landscape opens up, with a magnificent view of the Marsfjäll massif. From here, you can make a detour to climb the Marsfjäll summit, southern Lapland's highest peak at 1590 metres. It's a fantastic summit hike that offers spectacular views. On a clear day, you can see far into Norway. The hike then continues over grass heaths towards Blerikstugan. If you're lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a mountain fox or a wolverine. When you're close to the cabin, a majestic panorama opens up over the Bleriksjöarna and Rissjön lakes and the Borkafjäll mountain. Here you can take a dip before warming up in a cabin with a stove. The next morning, make an early start and head west towards Svartbäcksdalen. It's uphill at first but then levels out. Svartbäcksdalen has many traces of older Sami culture, such as stalotomts (ruined Sami buildings) and storage pits. The last part of the hike is through the beautiful birch forest, and you'll finish the walk where you started.
Top Tip! If you start in Kittelfjäll, you can take a bus from Vilhelmina. The trip will then be about 60 kilometres.
The green 'Grand Canyon' of Skåne
Where? Just south of Klippan in northwestern Skåne. Who’ll like this hike? Mushroom and deciduous
forest fans. It’s easy to adapt this tour for small children and the elderly.
What are the main attractions? A colossal ravine with dramatic valleys and beech-covered ridges. Rare lichens, mosses and mushrooms. Best time to visit: August – October. Length: About 6 km. What you need: A packed lunch. A
mushroom basket if you come in autumn (Klöva hallar is a mushroom mecca).
How to get there: You can drive and park in Klöva
hallar. Or by train from Helsingborg (30 minutes), Hässleholm (30 minutes) or Kristianstad (50 minutes) to Klippan station. From the station, walk 5.5 kilometres along a country road to get to Klöva hallar.
Top Tip! Pack your climbing equipment, spend a night at the sheltered lunch spot and tackle one of Solväggen's or Kristallväggen's famous climbing routes the next day. Want something a little tougher? Continue along the Skåneleden trail through Klåveröd's walking area and Söderåsen National Park. From Skäralid, you can take a bus back to Klippan station. The trip will then be about 30 kilometres (24 on Skåneleden).
Klöva hallar is a smaller version of the more famous and busier Skäralid ravine in Söderåsen National Park. Here it's just as beautiful, wilder and gets less visitors. Enjoy relaxed hiking with stunning views from the ridge or go off-trail and explore the enchanting and more demanding landscape. Top Tip! Start by following the Skåneleden trail from the parking lot before turning left onto an unmarked path that appears after about fifty metres. The path isn't maintained, so expect to have to negotiate fallen trees and climb over smaller boulders. However, it won't take long before you encounter Klövabäcken, which flows along the bottom of the ravine. Next to the stream, there's a narrow path that you then follow. Steep rock walls, the babbling brook, and the dim light transport you to another world. There are several opportunities to get out of the ravine, but if you continue past Soffabacken, there's a sheltered area that's perfect for a lunch break. There's also a good (but steep) path from the valley that leads you back onto the Skåneleden trail. Via Skåneleden, you can walk back to the parking lot at your own pace. It runs through a beautiful beech forest along the northern edge of the ravine and offers several stunning vantage points over the dramatic landscape. NOTE: Soffabacken is closed between 1st March and st 31 July. So, do the hike in autumn or choose another route if you come here in the middle of summer.
A rough diamond on the 'Best Coast'
Where? In the sea outside Strömstad, close enough as far north as you can get on the West Coast.
Who’ll like this hike? Anyone who loves rugged coastal landscapes and cliff paths.
What are the main attractions? Sweden’s
first-and-only marine national park with its unique and species-rich sea environment.
Best time to visit: Spring, summer and autumn. If you want to avoid the vacationers, go in early June or after the end of August. Length: About 8 km. What you need: Packed lunch – there are no
shops or cafés on Nordkoster after you leave the coast. Swimwear and approach shoes can come in handy. Swimming goggles and snorkel are a good idea too if you want to spend some time under the sea.
How to get there: By ferry from Strömstad. The
line is busy during the summer and takes between 30 and 60 minutes.
Nordkoster is the wilder of the two main islands in the Kosterhavet National Park. Lots of rare species thrive here, in the sea, as well as on land. Two four-kilometre trails run through the beautifully-barren landscape, but there are many opportunities for exciting detours, so no need to plan your hike in detail. Disembark at Västra bryggan and start hiking. There are no cars here (apart from the ICA cars), and after only a few hundred metres, you leave the island’s tiny settlement. Soon you’ll encounter the orange trail that takes you out into Pumpedalen, over heather moors, dry meadows and vast shingle flats formed by the last ice age. Here on the northwest side of the island, it’s strikingly beautiful. Climb the cliffs at Valnäs, look for seals and see if you can find the small cave with luminous moss. When you arrive at Norrvikarna, the clear blue water is a pristine swim spot. The southwest side is just as stunning. A marked path leads to Björnsängen, one of Koster’s finest bathing spots, further over mountains and rocks to Ö-udden with its wreckage and rare flora.
Still got some energy? Continue on Sydkoster (about 14 kilometres around the island) or take on any number of stages on the Bohusleden trail towards Strömstad and finish off with the trail on Nordkoster.
The invisible river in northern Jämtland
5 kilometres north of Stora Blåsjön in northernmost Jämtland.
Who’ll like this hike? The whole family. What are the main attractions? One of Sweden’s
most varied geological areas. The underground river with its incredible cave system is something you don’t want to miss.
Best time to visit: Late summer or early autumn:
until midsummer, there can still be a lot of snow and water left.
Length: 13 km. What you need:
A packed lunch, swimwear and
torches or headlamps.
How to get there: You can drive and park near the
Bjurälven is a unique karst area nestled between the mountains in the northern tip of Jämtland. The dramatic landscape has unique flora and is a honeycomb of craters and caves. The 'Invisible River' flows underground in places, but it surges up from the ground here and there. The unusual activity of the river has sculpted the landscape both above and below ground. From the car park to the karst area, it's a threekilometre hike through lush mountain vegetation. At the Lillälven rest cottage, there's a fireplace, an outhouse and a waste bin. A bit further along the trail, there's also a campsite. If you're hiking with your family, it's a great spot to spend the night, then you'll have plenty of time to explore and divide the route into two days. Just the right distance for small adventurers! From here, the adventure really begins. Bridges, stairs and ladders have been built to facilitate the 6-kilometre-long hike through the area. There are several lovely (but cold!) swimming spots along the trail, so bring your swimwear and challenge yourself. You can also take your headlamps and take a look inside the caves.
Sweden's longest underwater cave, the Coral Cave, is just a few kilometres away. If you have time, it's definitely worth a visit. If you want to crawl around in the dark caves, you'll need to book a guided tour.
A gem on the Sörmlandsleden trail Stages 11, 12, 13, & 13:1
Where? The walk starts in Järna, south of Södertälje. Who’ll like this hike? Those who want to leave
the loud city behind and long for the quiet rustle of the forest.
What are the main attractions?
An easilyaccessible weekend trip through a wilderness rich in woods and lakes.
Best time to visit:
Weather permitting – all year
Length: 45.5 km. What you need:
Shelters are scattered along the trail, but a tent will give you the freedom to pick your own spot.
How to get there: Take the commuter train no. 40
from Stockholm to Södertjäle hamn. Change onto train 48 towards Gnesta and get off at Järna. The journey takes just under an hour.
Top Tip! Make a day trip out of it by turning onto stage 12:1 towards Mölnbo after Vattgruvsmossen. The trip will then be about 15 kilometres long, and you can catch the train back to Stockholm from Mölnbo.
You don't have to go far for an adventure. This is a wild and scenic part of the Sörmlandsleden trail that leads through the Vattgruvsmossen and Stora Envättern nature reserves; both are full of forests and lakes. Head out on a Friday afternoon and do the hike over the weekend. The first stretch takes you to the scenic countryside around Vattgruvsmossen. Here you'll find ancient untouched forest, bog woodlands and black grouse that sing in spring. The Stora Kobäcken lake is a nice rest area where you can spend your first night. As you continue your hike after a good night's sleep, you'll encounter old iron ore mines from the 18th century in the middle of the forest. Picturesque and beautifully overgrown; but not fenced, so be careful where you put your feet! The trail leading up to Yngsviken offers more demanding hiking. After the connection point for stage 12:1, it has steep uphill and downhill sections amongst cliffs and high-lying forest terrain. Several nice rest areas at Horssjöarna and Alsjöarna offer the chance to take a quick swim. Stage 13 is a proper wilderness stretch that begins with a steep climb before mellowing out along the path towards towards the Stora Envättern lake. During your hike, you'll meet beautiful old-growth forest and surroundings dominated by lakes, bogs and mountains. Set up your tent in a quiet spot and fall asleep to the tranquil sounds of the woods. At the Djupsjön lake, stage 13:1 connects to Gnesta. You walk on forest trails and roads, down over Långberget, past Klämmingsbergsbadet and Södertuna castle, before finally reaching the train station in Gnesta.
BRING THE KIDS!
Text: Mattias Rastbäck / Photo: Jonas Westbom
It doesn't matter if you've been a hiker since you learned to walk or you're still breaking in your first pair of boots – if you have kids, you'll probably want to bring them along. But how? Where to go? When? The questions might be numerous, but the answers are quite simple. Some of us just can't stay inside. We need to be outdoors as much as possible and spend at least one night per week in a tent. We're happiest when we're at least two days away from the nearest supermarket. Others of us aren't quite as bold; enjoying hiking for a couple of days every now and then on well-known routes and heading to the woods when we get a free weekend. Last year, many new hikers hungered for the outdoors and headed to pleasant local spaces in the aftermath of lockdown-enforced seclusion. Now, some are even looking to go deeper into the wilderness. But if you're bringing the kids, where do you start? Are they old enough? And what stuff do they need?
Jonas Westbom WORK: PR at The Guides and Scouts of Sweden, hiking-with-kids influencer. Recently released a book about outdoor life around Stockholm for families: The Family Outdoor Guide to Stockholm (Calazo) with Emma V Larsson. FAMILY: Wife Jenny and sons Ville, 13, Otto, 4, and Love, 1. FAVOURITE HIKING FOOD: Instant soup and quesadillas cooked on the gas stove. INSTAGRAM: @away_into
Why go out in the first place?
Jonas Westbom has been an outdoorsy type all his life. Today he works for The Guides & Scouts of Sweden, working to raise awareness of and popularise the outdoor life. His personal Instagram account features post after post of him and his family out and about. These pictures are uploaded mostly with the same goal: to inspire people about the outdoors. – I believe it’s important to feel safe in what we call nature, he says. And if you have an emotional connection to nature, you’ll value it more. So, I see what I do as a way of saving the world. So, what advice can Jonas give to those setting out on their first hike with kids? Well, firstly, lower your expectations. – It doesn’t need to be anything super-ambitious, because kids don’t have it in them to go that far anyway. Our focus is mainly on the camping: to go somewhere and get cosy. If you’re new to it, make sure you get out on your own before bringing the kids. If you bring them along, you need to know how to pitch and tear down your tent, how to set up and light your stove and so on. If you feel confident, your kids will feel safe. And once you know the ropes, let the children lend a hand. – Setting up camp, pitching a tent and rigging the stove: these things are easy to grasp in a way that few things are, and feeling competent is empowering, says Jonas. And even if small children can’t carry all their stuff, let them feel like they’re at least helping: a little backpack with some snacks, a beanie, gloves, and their teddy bear will do the trick. You may not be into shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, but some nature will do you good – that’s a fact. If a busy middlemanager can find peace in the green of nature, who’s to say the same doesn’t go for their kids? Hiking with children means you don’t need to go on an epic trek. Once you get out into the woods or even off the beaten path, you’re on an adventure. An area of 200 m2 can be a jungle, a playground, and an endless obstacle course for a young child.
Pack it up papa!
So, you want to take the family hiking and you’re going to need some gear. However, we all know how money has a way of disappearing the minute you walk into an outdoor shop! But, hold your horses a second. Even though Jonas is a fan of lightweight gear, as you’re going to have to carry your child’s stuff as well as your own, he recommends waiting a bit before you go for the fancy stuff: – You can always borrow things, or even rent. Look for a second-hand synthetic sleeping bag and tie it off at the end to fit your child. A classic ’cellular’ plastic sleeping mat
is also okay. If it’s your first trip, you might even manage without a tent: spending the night in a stationary shelter can be a real adventure. Later, when you know everyone likes it, you can upgrade your gear little by little.
There’s gold in them hills!
Leaving everyday life and going into mountain regions, with their wide-open skies, is for many not only the embodiment of hiking, but freedom itself. And even if you and your children like hiking in the woods, this is possibly where you’re longing to be: out in the real wild. Sure, spending your nights in the comfort of a hut, mountain lodge or similar may seem great. What’s not to like about a comfy bed, a roof over your head, shelter from the wind and a kitchen to cook in? Or maybe even a nice restaurant! Well, think again. With miles and miles between them, planning your hike to include cabins may cause stress with kids: although keen to walk, they usually aren’t that fleet of foot. Not to mention, if you’re carrying a child and all your gear, you won’t be going that fast either! With a tent, you bring your own cabin and can sleep virtually anywhere for the night. If your child is tired by lunchtime, or it starts pouring down, just set up camp and relax. If you’ve still got the legs in the afternoon, maybe there’s a peak nearby or a nice bit of trail to explore. If you still feel cabins are your thing, mix it up a little to make it more interesting and child friendly. – How about doing the Jämtland triangle in a week, as Jonas suggests. Split the different stretches in two and stay in a cabin every other night. That way, you get the convenience and security of the tent and the cabins for a bit of luxury. – If you leave the trail and walk parallel to it, the terrain can be surprisingly wild. If you still feel concerned about sleeping outside, there’s one alternative that has all the comfort you could ever want: installing your family in a fjällstation (a mountain lodge) and doing day hikes from there. Car or public transport will take you to, for example, Grövelsjön, Storulvån or Abisko. You can sleep with a roof over your head every night, and if you really want to treat yourselves, take advantage of the breakfast buffet and restaurant. The experience might not seem quite so adventurous with these luxuries included, however! – Although it’s hard to know what to do on day two (there aren’t that many options and hiking back and forth can be a drag, according to Jonas) you could always try rounding a peak. Remember, just a couple of nights of accommodation in a cabin can cost the same as a high-quality tent that will provide shelter for years to come.
As an adult, you may have the patience to spend a rainy day in your tent reading and playing cards. But what if you brought the kids? Jonas has a couple of tips to pass the time: • Disco: A good playlist on your phone (downloaded, make sure your battery is charged) plus a small loop of LED lights can make for a cool spontaneous party. You may have to ’dance’ sitting down, in the posture of a vulture, but for a small child, a tent isn’t that small. • Inventory: Unpacking all your gear and seeing what you’ve brought can be fun. It provides an excellent opportunity to check your headlamp for batteries and that you have fuel for your stove and so on. • Kim’s game: Put a few things out on display – say a spork, a beanie, a pair of socks, a knife and your child’s teddy bear. Let them take it in for a minute before closing their eyes. Take away or cover up all the items and ask your child to tell you what was there. For an easier version, remove only one or two things.
• Always bring plastic bags and extra socks. Kids love jumping in anything that’s wet, and a soggy pair of socks (and feet) can ruin the whole trip! • Chocolate, nuts, sweets – anything goes on a hike. It takes a lot of energy to keep moving, so leave the carrot sticks at home.
Anytime is a good time
There’s no bad time to start hiking with children. Every season has its silver lining, from nature’s (re) awakening in spring to the deafening silence of a snowcovered forest in winter. But summer has a lot going for it: you don’t need as much clothing and if you’re lucky, it won’t even rain. If you’re camping, summer sleeping bags are pleasantly lighter to carry. Additionally, dry terrain isn’t as demanding for the hiker as autumn mud and winter ice are. But summer has one big disadvantage: biting insects. Hiking in the mountains in July and August can be a dream, but if there’s no wind and you’re below the tree line in a birch forest, the mosquitoes and gnats can drive you crazy. And you’ll spend a lot more time standing than your child will. – Early summer is the best time, says Jonas: it’s warm but the mosquitoes haven’t arrived yet. It’s a great time to get out and sleep in a shelter. The same goes for late summer and early autumn when it’s still warm but the insects have gone. So, off you go! As Jonas puts it: – It isn’t that hard at all. The hardest part is setting out.
DEFINITELY NOT THE LAST TRIP
Text: Klas Beyer / Photo: Erik Nylander / Illustration: Julia Möller
It's tradition. Every year, for one week, we do something like this together. That means hiking, paddling, making fires and socialising. One week to recharge for the other 51 weeks of the year. And now it's finally here, this summer's 'Christmas Eve'!
The river Dellik appears like a wide finish line down in the valley
Somewhere in the summer
We've packed the tents, eaten our breakfast, and now we're brushing our teeth in a mad rush. The eagerness to get going is so great that the whole morning routine is sped up and streamlined, almost like a Formula One tyre change. It's the second day of our adventure week and we have a long hike ahead of us, but that's not why we're so eager; we're racing through our breakfast because it's the first day we get to paddle! On this year's trip it's me (Klas Beyer), Oskar, Kire, and Erik, all from the Norrland coast. Then we have the mountain division which consists of Jocke, Jonas, Lucas, Anton and another Klas. It was originally snowboarding that brought us together and nowadays we have this summer tradition together too. In the beginning it was mostly about beer and fishing, but over the years the focus has shifted to lighter loads and better equipment, so there's a lot less beer and a lot more kilometres. This is the sixth year we've done a trip. The biggest change took place three years ago with the introduction of the packraft. Suddenly our horizons opened up and we started to dream big. Of course, it's practical to cross lakes in minutes that would otherwise have taken hours, but the real joy of the packraft is how it allows you to paddle in remote places that you couldn't normally reach with a regular boat or canoe. We each have a three-kilo inflatable canoe, but apart from the oars poking out from everyone's bags, nothing differentiates us from a bunch of ordinary mountain hikers. Even though the path is narrow where we're walking, we constantly change places on the trail. Everyone wants to talk to everyone and catch up on what's happened since we last saw each other. What new gear has everyone bought? Are they ultralight boots? And who really has the cutest puppy at home? We walk for a couple of hours until we finally crest the last rise and see the river Dellik flowing through the valley, like an oasis in the desert. We step off the trail into bogland with a few willow trees dotted around and get pretty muddy as we approach the river but it doesn't matter. Soon we'll take our first paddle strokes and leave the mud behind. At the water's edge, we squeeze together on the few dry spots and have some lunch. I quickly inflate my packraft and put on a pair of neoprene shoes. Behind me, I can see snow-capped
“The real joy of the packraft is how it allows you to paddle in remote places that you couldn’t normally reach with a regular boat or canoe.”
“The heat gently spreads through the body, all the way down to the toes and after a while we are warm again.” 38
Throwline, life jacket, satellite phone, map and compass, straps (to secure your luggage), neoprene gloves (for frozen hands), helmet (for tougher rapids).
Learn about safety when paddling in fast waters. Be smart and don't take unnecessary risks. In a mountain environment, the water is cold, so it's smart to use neoprene shoes. This way, you can get out and walk the kayak through shallow sections instead of having to fully carry the packraft.
peaks and in front of me, the river. With a full stomach, I tie my dry bag to the canoe's bow and push off into the flowing water. I feel the power of the river as I slowly glide into the middle. Even though it's not flowing very fast here, I notice how the river takes control, and I follow its lead. We paddle, float and feel our way forward at the same time and our hiking muscles get a chance to rest. After each small rapid, we gather in a group and cheer on the next person as they come down. The atmosphere is joyous, and all we need to think about is paddling. The plan is to paddle for a couple of hours and then set up the tents, but everyone who's been out in nature knows the plan can change quickly. My friend Erik gets a puncture in his packraft and so we're done paddling for the day. No one's had a puncture before, so everyone's keen to get involved with Erik's repair that evening. It's surprisingly easy to fix the hole, and that's great, but a small part of me wanted it to be a bit more challenging.
A new day. Erik's repair from last night seems to be holding up and we bob happily down the valley. But we don't
even make it an hour before disaster strikes. This time it's my turn. I manage to wedge the paddle between two stones in the middle of a rapid, and it snaps like a pencil. With a couple of young birches and a generous amount of gorilla tape, I manage to make a rough splint for the paddle. It's not a particularly elegant repair but it seems strong enough. We laugh a bit at this miserable start and I feel stupid for saving money on a cheap paddle. After that, everything flows (literally) on. With a mix of excitement and energy, we put many kilometres behind us before setting up camp for the night. Later in the evening, when I've crawled into my sleeping bag, the rain begins to patter on the flysheet and I fall asleep to my favourite sound; far away from the paperwork and VAT receipts of my day-to-day life.
Water always takes the path of least resistance, but that doesn't necessarily mean we can do the same. Sure, the first kilometres of the day went by quickly and painlessly, but by now the rapids have become tougher, and we often have to portage the rafts to get to calmer waters. When we're having lunch, Erik, who's an old rafting guide, says we can probably
Erik ”Kire” Karlsson fearlessly storming into the rapids
RIVER DELLIK STUORA TJIERMAT SVÁRRA NÁMIEKE
PARKING PADDLING HIKING
THE KING’S TRAIL PAVED ROAD
When you cry-laugh in the rain, only the laughter is visible
Anything that can’t be fixed with duct tape is broken
tackle some of the wilder rapids; partly to avoid all that carrying but also because we've become better at paddling and reading the river. It turns out that Erik's right: after lunch we tackle more rapids and walk less and less. At the larger paddle-friendly rapids, one person jumps out and stands on the bank with a throwline ready, in case someone falls in. We manage this surprisingly well and are moving down the Dellik, bouncing like pinballs. But we have to work harder now, and the water surges on with relentless force. It goes fast, almost twice as fast as our normal hiking pace. But a few hours later my enthusiasm levels have dropped slightly – I have aches and pains and the pace is taking its toll. Just after I pass a medium-sized rapid, I hear a cry behind me. I turn around and see an empty packraft; someone has fallen in. Shortly after, I see Klas swimming towards the bank and I barely have time to react before Kire is overboard too. Even though it's the middle of summer, it's only 7 degrees, and the water is still cold. My friends swim ashore fast and the rest of us gather their stuff as it floats past. About an hour later we're sitting around the fire. The atmosphere is cheerful, but Klas and Kire definitely seem to be a little closer to the fire than the others!
A memory of a downpour
The paddling part of the trip is over, and standing on the bare mountain we're met by a real storm. Before going on this trip, I had to choose between trail shoes and boots. I decided to go with the lightweight option and wore the shoes; now they fill with icy marsh water with every step I take. I should've worn the boots. After an hour of hiking, everyone's in their own bubble. Nobody's talking and everyone's in a trance. It's raining heavily, the wind is blowing 24 metres per second and it's only four degrees. This isn't the first time I've experienced this type of trance, and it seems like it comes when it's needed most. Your feet walk
automatically, and your brain just switches off. It's raining more horizontally than vertically, and you have to squint so your eyes don't get stung by the rain. When I come out of my trance, my eyes meet Jonas' empty gaze. "This is the coldest thing I've ever experienced," he mumbles between rattling teeth. I give him my gloves and wonder how long we've been walking, but quickly realise I have no idea. Either way, it doesn't matter, we've got to camp before we end up with frostbite. We call out to the others and agree to camp at the next stream we pass. Pitching a tent in a storm is as hard as it sounds, but the desire for cover gives us the strength we need. When all the tent poles are in the ground, and all the storm lines are tight, we hurry into the tents. We change into dry clothes, crawl into the sleeping bags and cook some soup. Slowly, the heat returns to our bodies, all the way down to our toes and we're warm again. When the rain subsides, we quickly slip out of the tents to dry some of our gear in the wind. We stand there with our arms outstretched, nine scarecrows on a bare mountain, the wet clothes in our hands fluttering in the wind. As we look at each other, we erupt in laughter. I don't know if it's joy or relief that this dark day is over, but we're all happy again.
After this hellish day, struggling up the bare mountain, we get two trouble-free hiking days. We take long coffee breaks, share all the goodies that were left and enjoy the stunning mountain scenery. This trip gives us exactly what we need: the wilderness offers a perfect contrast to the city. Hiking, paddling, talking and enjoying our friendship, and after all the struggle and hardship, these lovely days seem lovelier than ever.
Alaskan adventure boats
Inflatable boats suitable for wilderness adventures have been around for almost a hundred years. Light, inflatable kayaks for hiking trips started to appear in Alaska in the late 20th century. At first, these plastic kayaks punctured quite easily, but later strong nylon was used to make them more durable. New models weigh between 1.5 – 6 kilos and come in different sizes and designs depending on whether you’re looking to paddle on a calm lake or take your dog and 100-litre backpack through some rapids!
“The picture was taken in September in the northern part of Fårö, during one of my favorite runs through the sheep pastures in the forest.” Photo: Sofia Sjöberg
Get adventurous with your camp cooking Text: Anna Kernell / Photo: Emelie Voltaire
Eating outdoors is a relatively cheap luxury – it’s special but doesn’t break the bank. All you need is some tasty ingredients and an outdoor kitchen or open fire. The best part is that you can choose your own dining room: by a lake, in the forest, or even halfway up a mountain. Billy White, chef at Rosendal Garden and ultra-runner, shares some tasty recipes that are easy to cook when you’re out on your adventures. They’re delicious, simple, and nutritious enough to keep you full of energy and ready to tackle whatever comes your way.
Billy White Bio:
Chef at Rosendals Garden, ultra-runner, and author of the Eat, Run, Enjoy cookbook.
Best food for a multiday hike: Usually, I bring
energy gels with me. I’m not a big fan of them, but they’re easy to digest and an easy way to get calories. I also bring salted nuts, trail mix and some homemade energy bars. Cold pizza is something I love to have in my backpack. I also bring bags of freeze-dried food because it’s light, and I need something warm after a long day of running. I always have porridge and coffee for breakfast! On multi-day hikes, I usually plan something a little fancier, it’s 100% worth the extra weight and effort.
100 g mix of rye flakes and oatmeal 1 tablespoon flax seeds 1 teaspoon chia seeds 2 tablespoons raisins 2 tablespoons chopped dried apricot 1 pinch of salt 2 tablespoons milk powder 250 ml water
TRAIL PORRIDGE 1 SERVING
To serve: Jam
Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer slowly for about five minutes. Stir often so the porridge doesn’t burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the porridge is smooth and the grains and flakes have been broken down. If the porridge gets too dry, add a little more water. Serve with a large dollop of jam.
SHAKSHUKA WITH SWEET POTATOES & BEANS 4 SERVINGS
1 yellow onion 2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed 2 teaspoons smoked paprika powder 1 teaspoon chilli powder 1 large, sweet potato, cut into cubes 400 g cooked mixed beans 1 jar crushed tomatoes 4 eggs 1 green jalapeño, chopped Fried/roasted onion flakes Salt & black pepper Olive oil for frying
1. Fry the onions in olive oil for two minutes, and then add garlic and spices. Fry on low heat for another two minutes and then add sweet potatoes, beans, and crushed tomatoes. Salt and pepper. Let the pot simmer for at least thirty minutes, preferably longer. 2. When the pot is ready, crack the eggs onto the mixture. The shakshuka should be so thick that you can make small pits where you crack the eggs. Be careful not to break the yolk. Put the lid on and simmer for a few minutes until the eggs are ready. Top with chopped jalapeños and onion flakes.
2 eggs 300 ml milk 100 ml condensed milk 150 g spelt flour 3 tablespoons coarse rye flour ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon sugar 2 tablespoons melted butter 100 g blueberries
BLUEBERRY PANCAKES 6 –7 PANCAKES
1. Whisk eggs, milk and condensed milk together in a bowl. Stir in spelt and rye flour, salt, sugar and melted butter. Whisk everything into a loose batter. 2. Gently mix in the blueberries. 3. Melt butter in a frying pan or skillet and measure out servings of batter. Fry the pancakes until they’re golden on both sides. 4. Serve with maple syrup and strong coffee.
INSTANT MACARONI CACIO E PEPE 2 SERVINGS
2 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon black pepper 400 g instant macaroni 80 g parmesan (or pecorino), grated 1 egg Salt
1. Melt the butter in a frying pan and stir in the black pepper. Let it get warm for a few minutes. Remove from heat. 2. Boil the pasta in salted water. When the pasta is almost ready, pour the water out but save 200 ml of the pasta water. 3. Whisk about 100 ml of pasta water into the butter, add almost all the parmesan cheese and stir to a creamy sauce. 4. Add the macaroni, dilute with a little more pasta water if necessary, and mix. I always crack an egg into the mixture at the end and mix in it. It provides some extra calories and protein, which you may need for your adventures. 5. Salt to taste. Grate the remaining parmesan and serve immediately.
OUR GUIDE TO CAMP COOKERS Text: Anna Kernell / Photo: Emelie Voltaire
What could possibly beat a meal that's cooked and enjoyed in a leafy corner of the forest or on a mountain with majestic views? Not much. Perhaps the journey there? Is it the fresh air, or a sense of following in the footsteps of our ancestors that makes it seem so special? Eating out in harmony with nature just feels right – like we used to do, long before highrise buildings and high-speed broadband were even conceivable possibilities. And, in fact, long before the first camping stoves made an appearance. Camping stoves from Swedish Trangia, Primus and Optimus rightfully enjoy a good reputation around the world – and have a long history to boot. As early as 1892, Primus created the world's first soot-free kerosene stove, hence their name, which means 'first' in Latin. And when Roald Amundsen became the first person to reach the South Pole in 1911, he was (appropriately) accompanied by a Primus stove! In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay carried a Primus stove in their pack when they became the first to climb Mount Everest (and manage to make it back down alive). Trangia was founded in 1925 and initially made aluminium household pots, but when two weeks' paid holiday became a statutory right in the 1930s, the demand for camping equipment dramatically increased. In 1951, the first prototype was launched and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, there are a whole host of different camping stoves on offer, which of course, makes it difficult to know which one to choose. But, Hooked has accepted the challenge, and we hope we can help you out!
THE FIRST STEP Time to ponder
When buying a camping stove, there are two questions you should start by asking yourself: What are you going to use it for? And when are you going to use it? There's no point in lugging around a fully equipped Trangia if you only intend to make a cup of coffee or satisfy your hunger on a day trip with a pack of instant noodles. Which qualities are most important to you? Light and easy to set up, or stable with smart features which increase the weight? Nowadays, there are alternatives that meet most requirements, but usually you have to prioritise something.
Buying a camping stove is in many ways a matter of choosing fuel and burner, which in turn depends on the conditions the stove is to be used in. If you go hiking in the woods from spring to autumn, it's really just a matter of taste what kind of fuel you use. When it gets really cold, however, you have to consider more carefully. Then it's usually safest to use petrol, diesel or kerosene. If you're on your way to high altitudes, it's petrol that withstands the cold best. BUT, it's also explosive, so most high-altitude climbers usually use winter gas as it's safer!
Thing to keep in mind when choosing a stove: • What kind of adventures will you bring it on? • Do you want to be able to use it in the winter? • Will you mostly use it for yourself or for the whole family? • What other requirements do you expect it to meet?
Gas is one of the most efficient fuels available. It lasts a long time, has a low weight but high heating effect and the stoves are usually easy to use. It's the best option if you want to avoid spill, fuss and soot – and have a stove that can be set up quickly, with an easily controllable flame. It suits those who refuse to wait longer than necessary for an energising cup of coffee or tea; the boil time is considerably faster than that of spirits. We're talking about a difference of about 5-7 minutes. One disadvantage of gas is that you'll have to carry the entire container if you have some left. Once it's completely empty, you need to hand it in at a special recycling facility. Due to the risk of explosion, you absolutely must not put it in the metal recycling. The efficiency of gas also tends to drop when the temperature falls a few degrees below zero, but you can boost it a bit by warming up the gas container in a sleeping bag or inside your jacket. If you know that you're going to head out in really cold temperatures, you should switch to winter gas to ensure your stove will work.
Spirit stoves are a real classic and one of the cheapest options. You don't have to deal with mechanical parts and external fuel tanks – just pour the alcohol into a small beaker, light it, and it'll burn with a large flame. Another advantage of spirits is that you can easily adjust how much fuel you bring with you and thus shave unnecessary weight off your pack. Since the fuel bottles are plastic, they require much less energy consumption to recycle and are therefore a greener alternative compared to metal pressurised gas containers. But the burning effect is quite low since the spirit burns completely without pressure, so expect to wait a while if you're going to boil a litre of water. You'll also need to bring quite a lot of spirits with you if you're heading out in subzero temperatures or on a multi-day trip, which will result in a heavy backpack. Other disadvantages are that it can be a bit tricky to adjust the flame, and easy to accidentally spill the fuel and end up with sooty vessels.
+ Easy-to-use + Short boil time
+ Cheap + Lower-impact recycling
Finding it tricky to choose between gas and spirit burners?
With a Trangia stove you can easily change burners without having to change the entire set.
If you tend to go on various adventures year-round and need a versatile stove, a multifuel stove is the best option; for the simple reason that you can adapt the fuel to your conditions and needs. When travelling by plane you're not allowed to bring any type of fuel with you and it can be difficult to get hold of certain fuels in other countries, which is why a multifuel stove is very practical. Especially since it can be powered by the petrol and diesel that are available at petrol stations around the world. However, multifuel stoves often cost a lot, so it can be smart to consider how important its features are for you before you lighten your wallet. They are also a touch more complicated to use and do require some practice before you head out.
+ Versatile + Travel-friendly
A wood burning stove is perfect for those who want to be able to quickly and easily start a fire to cook on. There are many versions out there; from neat and simple to heavier and more advanced. One advantage is that since they are a bit bulkier they also function as effective wind protection. Many versions have an integrated heat generator that converts the heat from the fire into electricity. This electricity partly drives a fan that reduces smoke formation and partly charges your phone, camera or lamp via built-in USB ports. The clever thing about wood stoves is that their fuel can be found on the ground so you don't have to lug gas containers and spirit bottles around with you. However, it can quickly turn into a disadvantage if you can't find suitable wood! The fire must also be actively kept alive, which can be either pleasant or frustrating, depending on the weather and your mood.
+ Natural fuel + Ambience
Where can I use my camping stove? In Sweden, a storm cooker can be used all year round in most places as long as you place it on a surface that can handle the heat. If you want to make a fire you must choose the place with care. There should be no risk of the fire spreading and damaging soil or vegetation. Contrary to many people's beliefs, you shouldn't light a fire on or next to rocks or large boulders as they can crack from the heat. Sandy or gravelly ground is often a suitable surface. Remember that you're not allowed to saw or chop down trees and shrubs, nor break off branches from living trees. Pine cones, sticks and branches lying on the ground, however, you can pick up and use as firewood.
What if there’s a fire ban? Storm cookers with gas or spirit flames are usually permitted in the event of a fire ban, as long as there's no risk of ignition and fire spreading. In the event of a stricter fire ban, they may still be permitted but the ban may also prohibit all lightning of open flames, including gas and spirit flames. You'll need to keep yourself informed of the local rules and regulations of wherever you're camping or travelling through.
OUR FAVOURITES FOR... ULTRALIGHT HIKES: • Optimus Crux Lite Solo Cook System • MSR PocketRocket 2 LONG WINTER HIKES & EXPEDITIONS: • Optimus Nova Multifuel Cooker • MSR WhisperLite Universal Combo FAMILY HIKING & ALL-ROUND USE: • Primus Essential Trail Stove • Trangia 25-4 UL / 27-3 UL
BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY Text: Emma Carlsson / Photo: Emma Svensson
Andreas Hovden from the Red Cross in the Norwegian village of Ringebu teaches us about mountain safety and tells you how to plan a safer hike.
It's impossible not to be inspired and dream about hiking when you're surrounded by beautiful nature. We see clear blue skies and stunning scenery; what we don't see are the possible dangers lurking. But don't worry, with some simple preparation you'll be just like legendary Norwegian adventurer Lars Monsen: ready for anything. Andreas Hovden is operations manager at the local Red Cross office in Ringebu: an idyllic Norwegian village that's about three hours north of Oslo. Ringebu is bordered by two magnificent national parks: Rondane to the North and Jotunheimen to the West. Put simply: it's a paradise for anyone passionate about the outdoors. As with any area of natural beauty, many accidents have happened here. But after a couple of conversations with Andreas it becomes clear that the majority of these hiking-related emergencies could have been avoided. The causes of these situations can be split into the following two categories:
Lack of preparation
Proper planning is essential. You're less likely to have a disaster in the mountains if you follow simple mountain safety rules, explains Andreas: – People without much experience tend not to bring enough clothes, especially when you bear in mind how quickly the weather can change. You can still get hypothermia in the summer! Our colleague Jenny Wikman experienced first-hand some volatile weather on a hike to Trolltunga in the Norwegian fjords. The forecast had promised sun, but when Jenny and her crew got there, the weather quickly turned very bad. Jenny and co. met a very wet, very cold hiker in shorts and had to dress him with all the clothes they could spare from their backpacks. – It could've been bad for him if we hadn't been able to give him any warm clothes – he'd already gotten very cold. It's not only the weather you have to prepare for, says Andreas; hiking can also be very physically demanding. – Many people we meet expect shorter hikes than what they end up doing – they don't always understand quite how challenging it can be. It can be very tempting to make every hike a big one in the mountains. A rule of thumb is to bear in mind your own physical limitations and get advice from more experienced people – both can equal much safer hikes.
The second category of emergency situations is accidents. – Accidents often happen when people hike on steep and challenging trails or fall and break an arm or leg. It's difficult to prepare for a sprain or a broken arm, but you can think about how you'll go about finding help in such a situation. – Many people trust mobile phone network tv commercials and believe that 'world-wide' coverage also includes the mountains. It's easy to believe a phone will help you in the most remote places, especially when the industry unveils an even-smarter smartphone every six months. But beware: the reality is that phones rarely have signal way up in the mountains. Therefore, the chance of rescue may be slim, especially when you haven't notified anyone about where you're going or when you plan to get back. This is something Andreas has experienced several times during his time working for the Red Cross. Accidents can happen anywhere, but don't let this stop you: with the right preparations and the right stuff in your rucksack, you'll be able to explore the magical north safely.
Remember the STOP rule in case of an emergency: - Stop, remain calm - Take control of the situation - Orient yourself - Plan measures
Swedish mountain safety rules
1. Bring the right equipment 2. Tell people where you're going and when you expect to be back 3. Tailor your hike to suit conditions 4. Follow marked trails 5. Bring a map and compass 6. Get advice from people with more experience
In addition, Norwegian mountain safety rules state:
7. Tailor the hike to suit your level of expertise and the conditions 8. Be prepared for bad weather and cold temperatures, even on short hikes 9. Bring adequate equipment to help you and others 10. Choose safe trails – watch out for potential avalanches and dangerous ice 11. Conserve your energy and seek shelter whenever necessary 12. Make sure to turn back in time – there's no shame in doing so!
Four categories of shoes & boots
HIKING BOOTS – Sturdy boots for multi-day hikes with heavy packs on uneven terrain. HIKING SHOES – Low shoes with a flexible midsole suitable for warmer climates, day trips and everyday life. DAY TRIP BOOTS – Good for day trips with, for example, a mountain station as a starting point. They’re agile but lack the support needed for more challenging terrain. SHELL BOOTS – The shell boot, like a shell jacket, consists of just a protective exterior. Inside, you can easily adapt them to different temperatures and activities via your choice of socks and insoles.
FEET IN FOCUS Step-by-step advice on choosing hiking boots, how to look after them and how to prevent blisters. Text: Julia Möller / Photo: Emelie Voltaire
Feet that tingle when you take off your boots; their true colour hidden somewhere under layers of dirt and dust. The sweat of the recent days has already settled deep in the fibres of your socks. The tideline of mud reaches far up your calves, which are screaming for an intense sports massage. But, then and there, life feels good.
How your feet feel during a hike can make or break your entire experience – it is, after all, your feet that move you forward on the trail. For your feet to feel good, planning is essential – right down to your skin.
Hiking boots & shoes – not a footnote!
The job of hiking boots is to provide protection and comfort, so your feet feel good both during and after a long hike. So, they must work for how and where you’re walking, and of course, also with your feet. Before you start putting your boots or shoes through their paces, think about how the terrain and climate are where you’re going to hike, as well as how heavy your pack will be.
Which is the most versatile hiking boot?
If you’re looking to invest in a pair of boots that will work for everything from hiking to mushroom picking and rainy weekdays, mid-height boots are a safe choice. They provide support for the ankles, manage mountain terrain, and keep you dry. This boot is the most commonly used on hiking trails and is available in many models, from light ones with less cushioning to heavier ones suitable for alpine terrain.
Breaking in your shoes
Of course, it’s exciting to have new shoes – but for many it can also mean something much less pleasant: blisters! Spend time and effort breaking in your boots or shoes properly before your hike. Increase the distance gradually.
1. 2. 3.
Start wearing the boots or shoes indoors, with the socks and insoles you’ll use on the hike. Take them for a walk around your block. Go on day trips with a lighter backpack.
When you try boots
You should have 1–1.5 cm of space in front of your toes in hiking boots…
Hiking boots and shoes are designed to offer stability and protection on uneven ground. If you’re walking the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) in dry weather, you might enjoy a pair of meshed, ventilated hiking shoes, whereas hiking the Kungsleden (King’s Trail) will require much higher levels of waterproofness. Here, both the terrain and climate come into play. In the Swedish mountains, the terrain is rougher and often wetter. It’s also quite cold, so wet boots will be uncomfortable to wear and dry slowly. In smoother terrain and warmer weather, the risk of your feet getting wet is lower, and if it does happen, your boots will dry faster. A low model is often more suitable if you’re hiking with a lighter pack and want a lot of flexibility. Higher models – classic hiking boots – with more ankle support provide stability when you’re carrying a heavy load.
• • • •
… and 0.5–1 cm in front of your toes in hiking shoes. Try boots at the end of the day, as your feet often are a bit swollen then. Try them together with hiking socks (a thin one plus a thicker). Your heel should stay firmly in place.
When you carry a backpack and walk downhill, the weight of your backpack will push your feet forward. So, find a sloping surface and consider carrying a little weight on your back when you try on boots. Walk uphill and downhill. For hiking shoes, you don’t need as much space in front of your toes as they can be laced tighter with a fit that resembles a running shoe. Your heel should stay firmly in the rearmost position and not move up or down. If you have the right size but your heel is still loose, it may be the model that doesn’t fit. So change the model – don’t go down a size. If you have different sized feet, base your decision on the larger foot. A boot that’s too tight will be harder to solve – there will be chafing, tension and poor blood circulation. However, you can compensate for a small gap in your boot with, for example, an extra liner sock.
Lacing your boots
There are many different ways to lace your boot, depending on how the terrain looks and how your feet feel. Lace all the way up when the terrain is tough and you need extra stability. When the surface evens out, you have the luxury of lacing up your boots for more flexibility and better ventilation. If you’ll be walking uphill, lace the hooks tightly up to the ankle and the ones above looser. This will give you more mobility. Downhill, tie the laces over the ankle tighter to stop your foot from sliding forwards. Many boots also feature a pair of lace holes or hooks at the ankle that sit a little ‘behind’ the others to give extra stability where it’s needed most. Here are three special lacing methods that you can use if your heel slips anyway or if you feel pressure somewhere on your foot.
Caring for your boots
Even if your hiking boots were made to handle muddy paths, you’ll still need to take care of them. If you give them the care they need, they’ll last as long as their wearer. You’ll need a shoe brush, a root brush or a toothbrush. • Remove the shoelaces and gently brush away dirt from the boot • Clean the boots with lukewarm water • Don’t dry them in a drying cabinet: best is room temperature with low humidity • Remove the soles and keep the boots cool between hikes • Treat your boots the first three to four times you use them • Remember to moisten and impregnate the boots at regular intervals
1. Pressure relief for the toes a. Unlace the boots completely. b. Lace up your boots, but leave the first hooks out so your toes are free.
2. Pressure relief for the back of the foot a. Unlace the boot all the way down to the hooks just below the pressure point. b. Lace-up by going straight up to the next hook before crossing your laces again.
3. Preventing your heel from slipping a. Push your heel back into place and find the two pairs of hooks closest to the part where your foot begins to flex forward as you walk. b.
Twist the laces around each other two turns and tighten and lock in the next two hooks.
c. Repeat step two with the next pair of hooks. d. Finish by lacing your boot as usual.
Hiking socks – every step counts
Hiking socks play a big role in how your feet feel during the hike. Use two pairs of socks to reduce friction and the risk of abrasion. Layer 1: Closest to the skin, wear a liner: a thin sock that should fit snugly, be flexible and made of merino wool. It’s essentially underwear for your foot. Layer 2: On top of the liner, wear a hiking sock that adds padding, durability and insulation.
“Everyone keeps talking about merino wool socks; can I not just use cotton or synthetic ones instead?” Sure you can. But your outdoor experiences are so much better when you’re comfortable. As well as all the other reasons to choose merino, there are two that weigh extra heavy. Wool warms when it’s wet; cotton and synthetics don’t. The view from Njullá isn’t as fun if your feet are freezing. It’s also naturally odour resistant. Often, two pairs of merino socks are enough, even on a long hike, but with synthetic or cotton socks, half your backpack will be taken up by spare socks.
These socks are usually made of merino wool and act as a ventilator, like a chimney. For this reason, they should reach higher up on the leg than your boot – because there’s no point having a chimney that ends under the roof! The thin inner sock should also be longer than the outer one so it doesn’t wrinkle underneath. To choose the length of the socks, look at how high your boots are. How much padding a sock has gives you an idea of how thick and warm it will be. Ultra-light socks without padding are well suited for hot climates. Liner socks also fall into this category. Socks with padding range from those with light cushioning to models with very thick padding. The thicker the padding, the longer the hikes, tougher the terrain, and colder the climate they’re suitable for.
PREVENTING & TREATING BLISTERS Blisters are one of the most common injuries hikers get – and no matter how small or innocent they may seem, they can ultimately ruin your whole hiking experience. WHY DO YOU GET BLISTERS? Knowing why you get blisters is the first step towards taking care of them. Blisters are caused by a combination of moisture, friction and pressure. Moist skin is more susceptible to damage when friction occurs. But friction also increases with moisture, so it can easily and very quickly become a vicious circle. Friction occurs when skin sits against a layer, in this case, your sock. A pressure point can happen in a place where your boot is tighter or your sock has wrinkled. It usually begins as a fluid-filled blister, and when it breaks this results in a wound. Someone who has a lot of experience of long hikes with a heavy pack is Emelie Hjelm, who works in the Intelligence and Security Service in Sweden’s National Defence. We talked to her about how to best prevent blisters and what to do if one happens anyway. - A hike is very much about what your body can handle, but it’s also about what it needs in terms of equipment and care, says Emelie.
your feet, and you’ll have time in the morning to see if there are any defects in the application – and can then redo it. It’s better that you find out about this before the hike rather than during it. Be sure to always tape your feet in places where you know you’re most likely to get abrasions; it usually varies from person to person. Taking regular breaks and airing your feet at every opportunity helps keep your feet dry. Time for your lunch break? Give your feet a bit of fresh air and check if your socks are damp and need to be changed. - Change socks more often than you think you should. That way, you’ll keep your feet dry for longer and avoid chafing. Take time for shorter breaks, don’t avoid them just to get there faster. It’s always worth stopping if you feel like an abrasion is on the way and fix it immediately. See it as a crack in the windshield of the car, don’t let the damage grow bigger. WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF CHAFING OCCURS? - If you feel chafing despite taping, act quick. Remove your boots and socks, air your soles, wipe your foot dry with a dry item of clothing and apply a blister patch. Don’t tear the tape off as it’s likely that will damage your skin even more. If you’ve taped well enough, you can apply the blister patch on top. I’ve used a lot of different versions but personally think that Compeed works best. Always have blister patches ready and available in your pack, and you’ll also need tape, a sterilised needle, and scissors in your blister kit. Choose higher quality products – your feet will thank you for it. If you get a blister, what should you do? - Don’t pop it! By putting a blister patch on top, you create a protective layer and won’t have to pop it. Blisters can be tricky and it can be difficult to know if it’s a blood or water blister, so stay on the safe side and patch it. If it’s a water blister and you don’t have any blister patches with you, make sure you use a sterilised needle to push through a small area of skin right next to the blister. This will puncture it safely.
PREPARE AND PREVENT The hike begins even before you step onto the trail, and the best way to deal with blisters is to prevent them from happening in the first place. It’s vital that you make good decisions before you start hiking and don’t neglect your feet during the trip. - My best trick to avoid abrasions is simple: don’t get complacent, says Emelie. Step one is to choose your boots very carefully. - Don’t buy boots that are “a little too tight”, even though they may be cheaper. Something Emelie emphasises is how important it is not to rush your preparations. - Taping their feet is one thing people often leave too late; many tape Emelie Hjelm last-minute just before they go on an adventure. JOB: Sweden’s National Defense Instead, tape your feet the BEST HIKING FOOD: The best hiking food is carbnight before you start the heavy; tortellini is the best! Don’t forget a hot, sweet hike (editor’s note: look for drink as well as your food; the body absorbs fluid sports tape or Leukoplast that’s body temperature or warmer faster. In colder at the pharmacy). If you hiking environments, I can guarantee that it will make do this, the tape will have a big difference to your mood and your ability to time to attach properly to warm your body up during your break.
Spine A straight sharpened spine can be used with a fire striker
Edge The grinding varies, but the most common types are convex grind, Scandinavian grind or flat grind
Usually stainless steel or the easier-tosharpen carbon steel
Certain knives have this to stop the hand sliding down to the blade
Provides a safer and firmer grip
Tang A full tang means that the blade’s steel runs all the way through the knife’s handle
Handle Grip-friendly material, often rubber, thermoplastic, wood or carbon and fibreglass mixtures
“MAN'S OTHER BEST FRIEND?” Text: Anna Kernell / Photo: Emelie Voltaire
When hiking and adventuring out in nature, the knife can be your most important tool. But when you leave civilisation, it truly challenges the dog's position as ”man’s best friend”. In fact, the knife is one of our oldest hand tools, and now that summer is looming, it's time to brush up on our knowledge of this handy companion. The knife has a long history. As early as 2.3 million years ago, in the Stone Age, humans made the first knives from flint, bone or obsidian. They were vital tools and had many purposes: killing, dismembering and eating animals, for handicrafts and as weapons. Although materials technology has taken enormous strides, the basic design has largely remained the same: a cutting edge, a sharp point and a grip to hold on to. As we learned to use and process different materials, knives became more efficient and sophisticated. They first existed in bronze, then iron and once we learned how to add carbon:
steel. Carrying a knife has been a fundamental part of life for most of human history. Men and most women would always carry this indispensable tool, which also served as a status symbol that commanded respect. Those who could afford it would have their knives decorated and embellished to show wealth and displayed them proudly. It was common to get your own knife when you reached adulthood and was often the most expensive thing you owned, so it was tenderly cared for and followed you throughout your life – and in many instances even to the grave.
The mass production of knives began in the early 1800s and from the middle of the century, blades were made of carbon steel, which was standard up until the 1930s when stainless steel became more common. Even though we use knives in much the same way today as two million years ago, the biggest change is probably that, in the past, the knife would never leave your side, while today you can't just walk around with a knife on your hip. Nowadays, you’d only bring a knife with you for specific purposes, for example on camping or fishing trips. In 1988, The Swedish Knife Act came into play.
The Swedish Knife Act It’s against the law to carry a knife, stabbing weapon, cutting weapon or other dangerous object in public places, in areas around schools, or in vehicles in a public place, unless having such a weapon may be considered justified or appropriate under the circumstances. This could be a craftsman who uses a particular knife for work, or a hunter or hiker carrying a knife for a specific purpose.
The outdoor knife
In nature, the knife plays the same essential role today as it did in the past. For hunters, fishermen and adventurers alike, a good knife is a must-have, a versatile tool that comes in handy in many situations. Choosing what knife is right for you depends on what you intend to use it for and where you intend to go on your adventure.
Folding knife or sheath knife?
A folding knife is flexible and compact. When folded, the blade is protected inside the handle, which makes it easier to carry around than a knife with a fixed blade. This is extra convenient for those who spend time in urban environments. A folding knife is great for hiking: it handles the most important jobs and you can keep the weight down in your pack. However, they’re not as strong as sheath knives and therefore not suitable for heavy work. For survival purposes, where you need to be able to build windbreaks, chop branches and even hunt, a fixed blade knife is the obvious choice. They’re designed to withstand a lot of stress and can handle heavier work without problems. If you choose a knife with a full tang and a blade length of 9 to 15 centimetres, you’ll be able to handle most things that come your way. Sheath knives are a very simple design, without attachments or other features, so in many cases are easier to work with and handle than a folding blade. Most folding knives require two hands to open, while a sheath knife can be removed from its sheath with one hand, something that could be crucial in emergency situations.
Michael Almqvist, multipleawardwinning knife maker Stainless steel, carbon steel and different degrees of hardness – how does one choose the right knife?
Which type of steel one prefers varies a lot. If you’re a hunter, you usually don’t want steel that’s too brittle, as it risks chipping when you cut bone, for example. Extreme sharpness is usually not the most important thing for them either. The outdoorsy type is probably looking for more of an all-rounder knife, where reliable and robust design is key. A high-carbon steel blade is easier to sharpen and get really sharp but doesn’t, on the other hand, retain its sharpness as well and can rust quite easily if you don’t look after it properly. A stainless-steel blade (which ought to be called stain-resistant, because all steel can rust) is often a little harder, especially if it’s a so-called powder steel. They can withstand severe stresses but can also be a little difficult to sharpen for the inexperienced.
What constitutes a good outdoor knife?
than just the type of steel, including size and weight, the shape of the blade and handle. In outdoor contexts, a folding knife shouldn’t be underestimated. But in general, as a knife maker, I’d recommend a knife with a maximum blade length of 10 centimetres, stainless steel and a shaped handle that resembles a fish body. That is, a flattened oval shape, but preferably with a small finger guard close to the blade.
How does your favourite knife look?
As a knifemaker, I have to consider the constant balance between form and function when designing and producing a knife. You don’t always have to sacrifice one for the other, but it can happen. I have always been inspired by the Sami knife craft where reindeer horn and masur birch are commonly-used materials. The engraving on these knives adds a lot to the aesthetic value but is also a difficult art to master. So, horn knives (as we call them when they’re not made by a Sami) are among my favourites. Another beautiful material that I like to use is mammoth tusk. Available in different colour scales, depending on where they have been in the last 10,000–20,000 years. And yes, it’s 100 percent legal to use as the mammoth is extinct and not protected by the Cites regulations. If you want to have a look at Michael's exclusive knives, go to www.carlmichael.info
More factors come into play here
Some timeless advice
• If the knife blade has a straight spine with a sharp edge, you can use it with a fire striker. • A colourful knife stands out a bit more in the forest's green-brown palette and is a bit more difficult to lose. • Remember to wipe your knife before putting it back in its sheath. • Do not cut or chop with your knife against stone – it will last longer. • Keep the knife sharp by regularly sharpening it with a fine, flat diamond whetstone.
We teach you the ABCs of fire starting Text: Olof Lange / Photo: Sofia Sjöberg & Erik Nylander
Long after you’ve put your boots away, the scent of smoke still lingers on your clothes, bringing back memories of evenings around the campfire, gazing into the flickering embers, just as our ancestors did thousands of years ago. In many ways, fire made us civilised. Mastering fire gave us light, warmth and protection against predators. Cooking food increases the calories gained from food and reduces digestive load. This gave our ancestors more energy to spend on other tasks and meant they had to spend less time foraging. Fire is still important to us, not least when we’re in the great outdoors. But how does fire really work, and what skills do we need to light one – and keep it alive?
Fuel, heat and oxygen
Combustion depends on fuel, heat and oxygen, and, like a tripod, fire won’t work without all three legs. Only with the right balance of these three, will the fire be sufficiently intense. We start combustion by adding heat, but a single twig won’t keep burning long as heat quickly dissipates. Sticks bundled close together heat each other as they burn, continuing the chain reaction. The heat breaks down the big molecules that make up the wood into combustible gases, which burn, with some carbon and ash being left behind. Oxygen is vital to the combustion process. Hot smoke rises, and fresh air is sucked in, but we often need to blow in some extra air to get a fire going.
If you camp at a popular campsite, there’s a good chance all the nearby branches have already been collected, so gather branches along the trail as you walk. This way, you can light your fire as soon as you arrive. Branches you find on the ground and those with bark are often moist or rotten. Look for dead branches still attached to trees and without bark, if possible. Branches that snap sharply make good firewood. Even if a branch looks wet, the wood is often dryer inside. You can usually find dry twigs close to the trunks of pine trees. Prepare the fireplace and make sure the fire can’t spread. Remove any nearby flammable material and
check how damp the soil is. If the area has been dry for a while or is prone to droughts, there can be dry roots or peat under the soil that can catch fire even if the topsoil is damp. Even if you think you‘ve put the fire out, these roots and underground elements can smoulder and burst into flame long after you’ve left, so you must make sure you fully extinguish any fire you make.
What rules apply in the wild?
The right of public access in Sweden forbids you to cut down living trees and bushes or make use of wind-felled trees for firewood, as they have an essential role in the eco-system. Never make a fire directly on solid rock – it’ll crack and never be whole again. National parks and nature reserves have special rules regarding fires. Counties and municipalities have information about local regulations and possible fire bans.
Start small and dry, then build up the fire with bigger sticks as flames grow. You can use damp sticks and logs as they’ll dry out as they’re used. The most common pitfalls are running out of kindling (it burns very quickly) as you start a fire or putting on too many larger sticks at once and smothering the fire. Neither birch bark nor fatwood (resinous pine kindling) are necessary for starting a fire, but they help, especially in poor conditions.
Using a fire steel
A fire-steel is long lasting and works in all temperatures, even if wet. It requires some experience to master, so take every opportunity to practice. The steel sparks are over 3000°C but need tinder that catches them and bursts into flame. The outermost layer of birch bark or fine scrapings of fatwood is perfect. Rosebay, willowherb and reed plume are also commonly used. Support the tip of the steel and strike downward along the steel with the back of your knife. The sparks will fly downwards toward the tinder.
The wind can keep a fire going – or be a problem when it’s too strong. A pit in sand or snow protects your fire from the wind but can also deprive it of oxygen, so you can fix this with an air channel. Kindling needs space to burn well but thicker branches can lay closer together. It’s possible to burn damp or even wet wood with some care and a lot of heat, which will burn slower.
The ‘log cabin’ technique
Building a fire up like a log cabin is a good strategy. Stack the fuel in a stable square shape; this is excellent for cooking. The logs and branches also give the first flickering flames some shelter from the wind. - Start with two thicker branches as a base. - Lay down the next layer perpendicularly, at the ends of the base, creating a square. - Continue stacking upward, with the branches getting smaller as you go. It should end up looking a bit like a Mayan pyramid! - Light the fire at the top, and the fire will burn down. This will give you a long-lasting and maintenance-free fire with little smoke. or - Build the fire around the kindling so it burns outward, drying out any moist wood as it goes.
Why does it smoke?
A perfect fire leaves only carbon dioxide (which is invisible) and steam. But most campfires aren’t perfect; the smoke that appears is a mix of unburned gases and particles like tar and soot. Many of them are poisonous and will hurt your lungs and eyes.
How can you avoid smoke?
First and foremost, you can get out of the way and try to improve the fire. Are the sticks too close together without oxygen, or too far apart and not heating each other? Have you put on too much wet wood at once? Stack moist wood around the fire to warm it up and dry it out first, and don’t put on new wood before the old wood is fully alight; this way, you’ll avoid lots of smoke. If you have an emergency and want to attract attention, add wet leaves and fresh grass to make your fire extra smoky.
A luxury fire
With a fire crackling away, it doesn’t matter if you’re alone on a desert island or camping with your family close to town. When you don’t need a fire, it becomes a luxury, something you make because you enjoy it, not because you need it to survive. Having a campfire makes your camp a bit more cosy, is perfect for cooking some marshmallows or swapping some scary ghost stories! For many people, a campfire is synonymous with the outdoor life – not only do we long for nature, but we also long to sit around a fire.
“If you camp at a popular campsite, there’s a good chance all the nearby branches have already been collected, so gather branches along the trail as you walk. This way, you can light your fire as soon as you arrive.”
A COURSE ON STAYING ON COURSE Text: Jenny Wikman / Illustation: Emelie Voltaire
Whether you're crossing continents or on a walk in the woods, the compass is a cornerstone of your safety equipment and a reliable helper that doesn't require electricity or charged batteries (unlike a GPS device). And, the more you know about your tools, the better you can make them work for you. So let's navigate (see what we did there?) the basics of your trusty compass.
7. 11. 10. 8. 5.
The compass is built on a durable acrylic base – transparent so you can see the map details through it. It’ll pretty much last a lifetime and has heat-embossed markings and rulers that are virtually impossible to wear off.
2. Compass housing/bezel ring
This is the hub of the compass. The housing is filled with liquid so the compass needle quickly and stably finds north. To navigate by map, you’ll need a compass with a turnable housing that can be adjusted to the map’s cardinal directions and show you the course ahead.
3. Graduation scale
The numbers and latitudes on the edge of the compass housing show your bearing. The bearing is the direction from your current location to a destination, expressed in degrees.
4. Compass needle
This small, magnetised helper is the basis of the entire compass’ function – to be able to orientate itself according to the cardinal points. The red half of the compass needle points to the Earth’s magnetic north pole (and the other white end points south). Be warned: the needle can be demagnetised by electronics like your GPS or mobile phone, so remember to keep the compass away from these devices!
5. Orienting arrow (north arrow) Unlike the compass needle, this doesn’t automatically point north – but is manually aimed there when you turn the compass housing, depending on how your route is positioned on the map.
6. Orienting lines
These complement the orienting arrow. It’s easier to point the north arrow correctly if you also make sure these lines are parallel to the map’s meridians.
7. Direction-of-travel arrow
Another arrow – and maybe the most important of them all! The course arrow does exactly what its name suggests; pointing out your course in front of you once you’ve plotted it on the map (using the Silva 1-2-3 method. Read more on the next page).
8. Index line
An extension of the direction-of-travel arrow. The index line lies towards the edge of the compass housing. It makes it easy to read the bearing – or course – on the gradient ring when you’ve set a route on your map and are aiming to follow it in reality.
9. Luminous markings
Help you stay on course when it’s dark.
10. Magnifying lens
Helps you read small details on your map.
Hot-stamped prints on the compass’ edges that help you measure distance on the map. Sometimes compasses have rulers adapted for 1:25 000 or 1:50 000 scale maps, and they usually feature a millimetre ruler so you can – with a little mental arithmetic – measure distances at any scale. Some compasses also come with a printed scale on the hand strap for when you need to measure map distances longer than the compass.
12. Declination adjustment The
north and the geographical North Pole is called’ declination’ – and sometimes you’ll need to compensate for it. For 16th-century sea captains, this was hugely important, as sailing across the sea with a single degree of declination would mean missing their destination by hundreds of miles! The declination scale is engraved in the compass housing, between the east and west marks. It’s used as an extra step between step 2 and 3 in the Silva 1-2-3 method. First, turn the housing according to your course ahead on the map – then adjust x degrees according to the engraved scale to compensate for declination. (You’ll need to research the declination before heading out. Your compass won’t tell you this). Now the directionof-travel arrow will show the correct course ahead, despite the declination in your geographic area. Tighten the screw and you’re set! The UK generally has very small declination and terrain with lots of landmarks to aim for. Here, there’s no need to consider declination; just combine the compass bearing with what you see around you and you’ll eventually find the right destination.
The clinometer needle is a freelymoving needle that follows gravity, which makes it ideal for measuring slopes and elevation. Turn the compass housing so that the west and east marks are aligned with the index line and direction-oftravel arrow. The declination scale will follow one of the compass’ long edges and can be used as a graduation scale for the clinometer needle. When tilting the compass’ long edge downwards, the inclination needle will point straight to the ground and the declination scale will show the slope angle in degrees. This is very useful for anyone who needs to keep track of avalanche terrain.
Navigate from point A to point B – using the simple Silva 1-2-3 method
Do you have the map in front of you facing north? Great! Now:
1. Place the compass on the map with its long side following your planned path. That is, from point A to point B, with the direction-of-travel arrow in your direction of movement.
2. Turn the compass housing so that its orienting arrow points north on the map – and your orienting lines are parallel with the map’s meridians.
3. Hold up your compass – point it so that the magnetic needle lines up with the orienting arrow, both pointing north. Now the direction-of-travel arrow points in the direction you need to go to reach your target destination. Use it to point out a visible landmark, for example, a tree further ahead on your path, and start walking towards it. When you reach your landmark, whip out the compass to find a new one. Landmark – walk – new landmark. Repeat until you reach your destination!
Lost? This is how you find your position on the map Triangulation is a nifty method for understanding your location on the map if you've managed to lose your way. In fact, you're just following the Silva 1-2-3 method – backwards! Try to make your way up to a high point where you'll have a good view of your surroundings. Compare the map with the terrain in front of you – what can you identify? Maybe a hilltop or a lake?
1. Turn yourself towards the target. Hold your compass up at nose height with the direction-of-travel arrow pointing towards the hilltop you've identified. While holding the compass in this direction, turn the compass housing so that the orientation arrow lines up with the red, north end of the compass needle. 2. Bring the compass down and put it on the map. Turn the baseplate so that the orientation lines are aligned with the meridians and the orientation arrow points north on the map. Now align the compass' edge with the hilltop and draw a long line from it in the direction shown by your compass. Turn around and pick another landmark in a different direction, perhaps a lake. Then do it again from a third direction. Preferably around 90 degrees from your first mark and from each other. When you've done this procedure three times, you'll have three lines on the map forming a triangle where they meet. You are somewhere in this triangle!
Look for map markings within this triangle – perhaps a large rock or a stream. All that's left is to take a little walk to find this mark in real life. Now you have your exact position on the map again and can continue your adventure!
PS. Didn't bring a pen? Use long blades of grass or a muddy fingertip to mark or draw out the lines. All's fair in love and war after all (and getting lost in beautiful but wild surroundings surely counts as both!).
A WEIGHT OFF YOUR SHOULDERS Text: Olof Lange / Photo: Emelie Voltaire
A long day's hike is at its end. You've taken hundreds of steps, and now your legs and back are crying out for a rest. After a long uphill finish, the campsite is finally in sight, down by the stream. Taking your backpack off and resting your weary feet is a glorious feeling. Now picture the same scenario with a backpack that's half the weight and comfortable shoes that weigh grams instead of kilos. Doesn't that sound good? Now, we're not suggesting you need to go and replace all your equipment, obsessing over every gram, but a bit of knowledge and a few smart hacks can lighten the load for anyone.
Heavyweight terminology in the world of lightweight hiking
Base weight is all your gear, including your backpack. Clothings and consumables like food and fuel aren't included. The big three are the parts of equipment that weigh the most: your shelter, sleep system and backpack. By reducing the weight of these items, you can quickly shave several kilos off your back. It comes with a price tag though: the lightest, high-quality equipment is rather costly. Lightweight & ultralight
refers to your base weight, and there are a few different definitions in actual grams. A lightweight pack with moderate comfort can be achieved by relinquishing all but the most necessary items and choosing the lightest options. An ultralight pack requires more knowledge and bigger sacrifices – but lets you hit the trail with just a few kilos on your back.
“The very lightest are, of course, the items you don't bring at all!”
A rolled up sleeping
pad in your backpack
equipment and see
where you can save
without a frame
Small, simple hacks can go a long way
Only bring the amount you need on the trip
The thought that counts
If you go into the wild to hike rather than camp, abandon the camping gadgets in favour of weight savings on the trail. Every step will be lighter – and even on the shortest of trips, these weight savings really make a difference to how agile you feel. Truly lightening your load is just as much about your mindset and experience as it is about featherweight gear. One such mindset hack is that all the items in your pack should be multifunctional. Trekking poles also work as poles for a tarp or Canadian tent. Dental floss works as sewing thread, and one container can be a pot, bowl and mug. As well as making it lighter, this also simplifies your pack.
Think in systems
To optimise equipment, it's good practice to think of how items can work together to provide the function and comfort you aim for, at the lowest possible weight. A sleep system is what you sleep in, and on, during the night. An insulated sleeping mat, sleeping bag liner and a warm jacket can complement a lighter sleeping bag on a cold excursion. If it's only your feet that get cold at night, then a pair of down socks are lighter and less expensive than a warmer sleeping bag. Just like a tent, a much lighter tarp can work together with a bivvy bag or a hammock to provide shelter from rain and wind. It also brings you closer to nature. Assess your needs first, then your gear.
Weigh & list all your gear
The kitchen scale is your friend and maybe the most useful tool for lightening your load, even if it never
leaves the house. There are plenty of spreadsheets and other resources on the internet to utilise. To see how much all those little bits and pieces really weigh will probably be an eye-opener. It's satisfying to follow the process and the overview makes it easier to see where there's weight to be saved. The very lightest are, of course, the items you don't bring at all!
Water bottles often tempt us with wide openings, carabiner fastenings or promises of (their own) eternal life. But the lightest and most readily available are the bottles at the supermarket, still or sparkling according to taste. They're surprisingly tough and can be recycled when they do wear out. Sports caps and wide openings are also options here as well. Don't carry more than you need, learn how to find water and plan routes and stops with streams and wells. Guidebooks and articles are your best friend here.
Drillium – the substance that weighs less than nothing
Like other athletes, space explorers, and alchemists, real weight-weenies trim and modify their gear. The most sought after element is 'Drillium', which appears when equipment is cut, ground, or drilled full of holes. After all, what weighs less than a strap that's not there or a toothbrush handle that's been cut off?
Small steps towards zero
Cutting a toothbrush might seem silly, but every gram counts in the end, so cut or drill some holes in the handle as well. Maybe trim the length of the
straps on your backpack once you've adjusted it to fit – a small step, but free! Measure consumables and pack them in smaller containers. Don't bother with small tubes of toothpaste – dry it instead and keep it in a small ziplock bag. The next step is to consider whether toothpaste is even necessary for a weekend! A word of caution for those who easily obsess: the first kilos are easy to shave off; after that, the effort, commitment and cost increase exponentially the closer your pack gets to zero.
The journey between adventures
Many of those who want to minimise the weight and optimise the versatility of their pack approach their optimal base weight in small steps – having ideas, making upgrades and learning between adventures. Start with what you have and eliminate what's not necessary for the trip. The most important thing here isn't a hack, but some encouraging advice: experiment. Evaluate your equipment or new hacks with daytrips and overnighters. How many clothes and gadgets can you do without before you miss them out on the trail? Challenge your comfort zone with a night below a tarp or under the stars, and feel where your limit is. Try trail running shoes rather than boots and see if you can possibly handle having wet feet. Worst case scenario, you return home halfway through the weekend, tail between your legs. But, what's more likely is that you come home with new experience and inspiration for your next trip!
"Most important here isn't a hack, but some encouraging advice: experiment."
Hints & hacks Ziplock bags
are light, waterproof and reusable. Their contents are visible and they're perfect for packing rations of foods like oats and nuts.
Trail running shoes have treaded soles that work well in rough terrain and weigh much less than high boots. With light and agile feet comes more control in the step, but lightweight shoes are really only for light loads. Try a thin nylon sock and wool socks together against chafing. A quilt is both lighter and more versatile than a sleeping bag and can be adapted to different scenarios. It’s easy to ventilate when it's warm and cosy to wrap around you instead of a jacket when the nights get cold. Are quilts for you? Hack an old sleeping bag to try it out. Make a 2/3 length cut on the underside towards the footbox and seal the edge with webbing, or simply sleep with the zipper open under you if the bag has one.
A LUXURIOUS WEEKEND IN NATURE Text: Anna Kernell / Photo: Nordisk – Tom Novak
It's time to rethink the weekend getaway. Forget crowded subways and wandering the streets to find trendy restaurants; instead, get out into nature and relax – for real. Do you need a change of scene this summer? Do you want to go on an adventure but still take some creature comforts with you? Camping doesn't have to be a test of endurance – find a scenic basecamp and take day trips on foot, by bike or by kayak. This way, you don't have to lug around heavy backpacks and equipment all day long and can enjoy a bit of luxury. Imagine coming 'home' to a cold beer and a comfortable chair, with atmospheric lighting and relaxing music. When it's time for sleep, a comfortable bed awaits – maybe that's a sturdy camp-bed, a deluxe air mattress or a pleasantly-swaying hammock. Does that sound good to you? Then let's look at how to set up a successful camp!
Location, location, location
Of course, which location is best depends on whether you plan to set up tents, sleep in a hammock or out in the open under the starry sky. You'll then want flat ground, free from rocks and roots, or in the case of a hammock, wellpositioned trees. No matter where you choose to sleep, make sure you have a stream close by for freshwater. If you spend the night near a lake, it's wise to set up camp a few metres back from the water where the air's slightly warmer. Study the sun: when it rises and sets. If you set up your tent in a place that catches the morning sun, you'll be sure to wake up in a polyester sauna. And what about the wind? A little wind can be good to keep mosquitoes and gnats away, but if the spot is too exposed, you might get too cold
and need to look for shelter. Being able to gather around a campfire when darkness falls is lovely, but then you need to make sure there's a safe place to build a fire. And for God's sake, remember to avoid anthills!
If you bring dried or canned foodstuffs, you won't need to worry about keeping them cool. Besides, you can easily rustle up a delicious feast from dried meat, dried fruit, crisps, nuts, oatmeal, rice, pasta, and some canned food. However, there are few tricks for keeping perishable food and liquids cold: either make it easy for yourself and invest in a good cool box that can keep stuff cold for several days, or put it in a dry bag, seal it tightly and lower it into the nearest lake or stream.
A deliciously cold beverage
It doesn't get much better than rounding off an exciting day of adventure with a refreshing cold drink. A classic method for keeping your beverages cool is to let a lake or stream do the hard work. But in the height of summer, lakes can be too warm or shallow to offer sufficient cooling. Instead, wrap the beer or soda can in a wet piece of cloth (towel, t-shirt or anything else you have to hand) and put it in a windy place in the shade to dry. The water evaporates in the wind, drawing the heat from the drink and cooling it down.
’Thanks to Sweden’s freedom to roam laws, you can spend the night on someone else’s land if you only have a couple of tents and stay a night or two. Just make sure not to pitch tents near residential buildings, lot boundaries or arable land. If you intend to stay several nights or are part of a larger group, you’ll need to ask the landowner for permission, as the risk of land damage and sanitary nuisances is greater. In some areas, such as national parks and nature reserves, special rules apply. Find out what’s allowed before you visit a new place.
Without a trace
The freedom to roam laws also bring certain responsibilities. Yes, we can roam free in nature, but must also work together to look after it. Always remember to take your rubbish with you. Take another look around for other people's trash and take it with you if you find any.
So fresh and so clean
A nearby stream can provide drinking water and water for cooking, doing the dishes and personal hygiene. But it's important not to do everything in one place; otherwise, you can contaminate your drinking water! Source water for drinking and cooking at the top of the stream. Further downstream, you can wash your dishes, and below that, take care of personal hygiene and wash your clothes if needed. If you set up camp by a lake, don't do the dishes or wash right on the shore in stagnant water. Instead, fetch water and carry it away from the water's edge. A small bottle of hand sanitiser is always practical: this way, you can stay clean regardless of water quality. Bring soap and detergent that are biodegradable for the least possible impact on nature.
Out in nature, toilet paper alone isn't going to suffice when nature calls. A camping shovel or trowel for digging a pit is convenient. Small plastic bags or dog poop bags are suitable for collecting used toilet paper before you can throw it away in the next bin. If you have resealable freezer bags, use them to store unused toilet paper and keep it dry. If you remove the cardboard cylinder, the roll takes up less space in your bag, and you can pull the paper out from the middle. Then, follow these simple steps: 1. Walk away from your camp, at least 50 metres, preferably further. 2. Look for easy-to-dig soil without roots and stones. 3. Dig your hole by a tree if you want something to hold on to, or by a rock or log if you're going to sit down. 4. Cut a 'lid' with the shovel. 5. Dig a hole a few decimetres deep. 6. When you're done, fill in the hole, put the lid on and stamp on it a few times. What if it's not possible to dig a pit? Try to hide the poo under a rock or a piece of moss. The most important thing is to make sure that it quickly becomes 'manure' and no one accidentally steps in it.
That extra bit of luxury
• Portable/Bluetooth speaker, preferably waterproof • 'Mood' lighting: battery- or solar-powered string lights, cosy lanterns and tent lamps • Tent bed, a hammock for two or a generously thick, luxurious air mattress • Comfortable slippers for hanging out in the evening • Blankets for extra warmth • Camping chairs to relax in • Muurikka for open-fire barbecue parties