Author: Hike Mike

TA Day 112 – A day on the farm

12th February 25.9km Telford Camp 2805.7 to Birchwood Farm 2832.6km It rained overnight. The air was humid and many sandflies stuck to the inside fly sheet of my tent. When packing the tent it took a lot of shaking to remove them all, the last thing I wanted were sandflies in my backpack. Linton station […]

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12th February 25.9km Telford Camp 2805.7 to Birchwood Farm 2832.6km It rained overnight. The air was humid and many sandflies stuck to the inside fly sheet of my tent. When packing the tent it took a lot of shaking to remove them all, the last thing I wanted were sandflies in my backpack. Linton station […]

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TA Day 113 – Toilet paper everywhere

13th February 44.4km Birchwood Farm 2832.6km to Old Quarry Camp 2877km Warning – Graphic descriptions of other people’s inability to poo in the woods appropriately. And how I suffered as a result. I sat on the side of a small forestry road to eat my second lunch, I was hungry. A strong wind funneled up […]

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13th February 44.4km Birchwood Farm 2832.6km to Old Quarry Camp 2877km Warning – Graphic descriptions of other people’s inability to poo in the woods appropriately. And how I suffered as a result. I sat on the side of a small forestry road to eat my second lunch, I was hungry. A strong wind funneled up […]

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TA Day 114 – Cracking my head on a tree

14th February 52.7km Old Quarry Camp 2877km to Riverton 2929.7km I woke to the sound of rain hitting the outer fly of the tent. It was warm inside my tent as I cooked my oats and enjoyed a nice hot cup of coffee. As I unzipped the tent I felt the cold wet air of […]

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14th February 52.7km Old Quarry Camp 2877km to Riverton 2929.7km I woke to the sound of rain hitting the outer fly of the tent. It was warm inside my tent as I cooked my oats and enjoyed a nice hot cup of coffee. As I unzipped the tent I felt the cold wet air of […]

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TA Day 115 – I just hiked the Te Araroa Trail

15th February 66.9km (42 miles) Riverton 2929.7km to Bluff (end of the trail) 2996.6km (1862 miles) It was cold when my 3am alarm sounded. The Milky way galaxy was a bright streak in the otherwise dark sky. Some familiar constellations like Scorpio were my guiding lights as I hiked out of the town of Riverton […]

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15th February 66.9km (42 miles) Riverton 2929.7km to Bluff (end of the trail) 2996.6km (1862 miles) It was cold when my 3am alarm sounded. The Milky way galaxy was a bright streak in the otherwise dark sky. Some familiar constellations like Scorpio were my guiding lights as I hiked out of the town of Riverton […]

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Te Araroa Trail Gear Review

This is my Lightweight Te Araroa Trail Gear review that may come in handy for any hiker wanting to hike the Te Araroa Trail in the future. Any hiker that wants to attempt the Te araroa Trail should endeavour to reduce the base weight of their hiking gear to prevent injury and fatigue. This can […]

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te araroa trail gear review

This is my Lightweight Te Araroa Trail Gear review that may come in handy for any hiker wanting to hike the Te Araroa Trail in the future. Any hiker that wants to attempt the Te araroa Trail should endeavour to reduce the base weight of their hiking gear to prevent injury and fatigue. This can […]

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Te Araroa Resupply

Te Araroa Resupply This is a complete resupply guide for hiking the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand. The guide includes everything from small take away food stores and large supermarkets to places that sell hiking gear and gas canister. It also details which Post Offices will receive Bounce Boxes with their address and open […]

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te araroa resupply

Te Araroa Resupply This is a complete resupply guide for hiking the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand. The guide includes everything from small take away food stores and large supermarkets to places that sell hiking gear and gas canister. It also details which Post Offices will receive Bounce Boxes with their address and open […]

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Lightweight Sleeping Bags and Quilts

Top 10 Lightweight Sleeping Bags and Quilts for 2019 Top 5 Lightweight Sleeping Quilts 2019 Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt – 20F / -7 – 26oz / 748g Sea to Summit Ember EB3 Quilt – 14F – 25F / -10C/-4C – 25.5oz / 725g Enlightened Equipment Revelation – 20F / -7C – 22.5oz / […]

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Lightweight Sleeping bag quilt review

Top 10 Lightweight Sleeping Bags and Quilts for 2019 Top 5 Lightweight Sleeping Quilts 2019 Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt – 20F / -7 – 26oz / 748g Sea to Summit Ember EB3 Quilt – 14F – 25F / -10C/-4C – 25.5oz / 725g Enlightened Equipment Revelation – 20F / -7C – 22.5oz / […]

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Lightweight Sleeping Pads

Lightweight Sleeping Pads are getting better every year and 2019 is an exciting year with many top brands stepping up their game. The quality of the lightweight sleeping mats in this review are a huge leap forward from only a couple of years ago. What is the best lightweight sleeping mat? Best Lightweight Sleeping Pads […]

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Lightweight Sleeping pads review

Lightweight Sleeping Pads are getting better every year and 2019 is an exciting year with many top brands stepping up their game. The quality of the lightweight sleeping mats in this review are a huge leap forward from only a couple of years ago. What is the best lightweight sleeping mat? Best Lightweight Sleeping Pads […]

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Reflections on the IWA OutdoorClassics 2019

What does an ultralight backpacker, skier and climber do at the IWA OutdoorClassics fair? Blending in, obviously =)

Disclosure: I’m a co-founder of the Outdoor Blogger Network and we were a cooperation partner of the Nürnberg Messe for the 2019 IWA Outdoor Classics. However, I haven’t been paid to write this article, and I maintain full editorial control of the content published on this site. Read the Transparency Disclaimer for more information on transparency.

If you’re interested exclusively in outdoor gear and don’t carry a knife in the outdoors, better read this article. If knives, warm boots, and toned-down garments are something you are interested in – dive in!

This Opinel N°08 Black Oak was my favourite piece of hardware on the show. It’s lightweight (45 g) and simply beautiful. It felt great in my hand and I think I want to pick one up.

Also the other goods from Opinel were top notch and especially the two sets for kids were amazing, as a father of a seven year old boy I r..

What does an ultralight backpacker, skier and climber do at the IWA OutdoorClassics fair? Blending in, obviously =)

Ken at the IWA 2019

Disclosure: I’m a co-founder of the Outdoor Blogger Network and we were a cooperation partner of the Nürnberg Messe for the 2019 IWA Outdoor Classics. However, I haven’t been paid to write this article, and I maintain full editorial control of the content published on this site. Read the Transparency Disclaimer for more information on transparency.

If you’re interested exclusively in outdoor gear and don’t carry a knife in the outdoors, better read this article. If knives, warm boots, and toned-down garments are something you are interested in – dive in!

All Black Opinel | IWA 2019 Impressions

This Opinel N°08 Black Oak was my favourite piece of hardware on the show. It’s lightweight (45 g) and simply beautiful. It felt great in my hand and I think I want to pick one up.

Colourful Opinel Knives #8 | IWA 2019 Impressions

Colourful Opinel Knives #7 | IWA 2019 Impressions

Opinel Kitchen Knives for Kids! | IWA 2019 Impressions

Opinel for Kids! | IWA 2019 Impressions

Also the other goods from Opinel were top notch and especially the two sets for kids were amazing, as a father of a seven year old boy I really loved the wood carving set which lets the child build a small sail boat. Similarly, the kitchen knife set allows the kids to help safely in the kitchen – and cooking together is a lot of fun!

Marttiini Damast Puukko | IWA 2019 Impressions

Also this Marttiini Damast Steel puukko was a work of art, Made in Finland. The birch handle is waxed and felt really good in my hand, and damast steel with it’s intriguing patterns is always an eye-catcher.

Swiza Knives | IWA 2019 Impressions

Apparently All Black is a trend in the knife industry, also also the Swiss Brand Swiza had an All Black pocket knife. This one felt lightweight and could be a good knife for weight-conscious backpackers.

Swiss Army Knives | IWA 2019 Impressions

Victorinox Folder | IWA 2019 Impressions

Victorinox Pocket Knives | IWA 2019 Impressions

At Victorinox a person was showing some visitors how to carve with the knife in the middle, and it was interesting to watch. This Swiss Brand had a wide array of different knives, and it seems even some collectors editions.

Leatherman | IWA 2019 Impressions

Mora Kniv Hook Knife | IWA 2019 Impressions

Mora Kniv Hook Knife | IWA 2019 Impressions

And at Morakniv they were very proud of their new hook knife for carving, and it’s a great – and SHARP – knife for sure. This knife now finally comes with it’s own leather pouch which protects it during transport, which is a good thing. Also I learned that Mora produces some insane amount of knives each day – 20.000 to be exact!

Silky Saw | IWA 2019 Impressions

As I have around my house a large pine hedge which I cut once a year, a good saw is mandatory in our house. I checked out the Silky Saws booth and these Japanese saws looked amazing, I feel when my Fiskars saw is at the end of it’s life cycle I might replace it with a Silky one.

Damast Hultafors Axe

Hultafors Axes

Hultafors from Sweden makes Axes since a loooong time, and their Hultån, Åby and Ågelsjön hatchets felt amazing in hand. Sadly they didn’t have any wood for splitting along, but I am pretty sure these axes are up to the task! Oh, and that Damast Axe – it’s a unique piece which is unlikely to see mass production, and with a price tag of around 2.000€ it’s also more likely an Axe which you’ll hang on your wall than using it in the forest.

FixPlus Straps

FixPlus

I met the guys from FixPlus which make lightweight straps with which you can connect your gear to all kinds of stuff – from closing your cook kit securely to attaching your skis to your bike, these are multiple use and lightweight – and unlike the classic Voilé straps more durable and UV resistant.

Conscious Hunting

IWA 2019 Impressions

IWA 2019 Impressions

Fjällräven

Fjällräven was with their sister companies at the fair and their new hunting trousers looked amazing – both very comfortable and made for a good time in the outdoors, in any weather. I liked the pattern, too, and imagine that we will see many people wear these for normal backpacking and hiking.

Savotta Chimney | IWA 2019 Impressions

The Hawu Roll Chimney from Finnish brand Savotta was amazing if you’re into hot camping in winter, a really great chimney that’s easy to set up and pack down, and also works with UL wood stoves. At 1 kg it might be heavier than the Titanium foil UL options, but the Hawu was so easy to use that I wouldn’t bother with any other chimney.

Polyver Boots | IWA 2019 Impressions

And finally, as we’re still in the midst of winter here in Finland and Scandinavia, warm boots! Polyver Boots are Made in Sweden, not far away from Åre, and are fairly lightweight – around 700 g for a Size 42 Premium Low boot, but hold on before you start to write “That’s not….” – these are made for cold weather activities. Like, -25°C cold. Activities like ice fishing. And that’s where they will keep your toes toasty and dry, because waterproof they are too.

Härkilä

Take Aways

As I have said for years in my wrap-ups of the OutDoor Friedrichshafen and ISPO shows, these happenings are less about the gear for me and more about the people. And I met great people at the IWA, which care for nature and enjoy their time in the fjells and forests. I too really enjoyed my first IWA show and seeing all the new gear which I never see at one of the usual shows I attend, and best of all I had ZERO meetings which meant I was free to stroll around the fair and look at the stuff I am interested in. And so I came home with new impressions of a new fair and outdoor market, and got to know some interesting new equipment. Let me know in the comments on Facebook or via Twitter if you found this article interesting, and if you saw some interesting kit! I’ll leave you with some more impressions from the show and wish you a happy outdoor weekend!

Good boi!

Good boi

Nikon Binoculars | IWA 2019 Impressions

Gore-Tex Booth at the IWA 2019

Kelty Tent | IWA 2019 Impressions

IWA 2019 Impressions

Living Room Atmosphere

Landrover

Fenix | IWA 2019 Impressions

Stanley | IWA 2019 Impressions

HAD Balaclava | IWA 2019 Impressions

Enjoyed this article? Support me on Patreon and get some useful rewards (like hanging out on Discord with me, where you can pick my brains!) or buy me a coffee – I work Full-Time on Hiking in Finland to bring you inspiring trip reports, in-depth gear reviews and the latest news from the outdoors. You also could subscribe to the rarer-than-ever Newsletter and follow along on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube for more outdoorsy updates!

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Is Backpacking a Sustainable Hobby?

Being outdoors, sleeping in nature, hiking through the forest, paddling on rivers and cycling on beautiful single trails – being outdoors seems on a first look to be a very sustainable hobby. But is it really?

This article is part of the Bergfreunde Series of “Sustainable Outdoors” and several bloggers write about this topic – you can find a list with the other articles at the end. We are not paid to write these articles and have full editorial control.

Going outdoors feels like a sustainable hobby – especially if you compare it to sports and hobbies which need large buildings or areas to be played & practiced. But is it really sustainable to drive in a big car to a trail head, being dressed in garments made from oil-based materials and hiking in sensitive areas which contributes to land erosion and degradation? That is a question which I am pondering in this article, so read along to find out what in my opinion are our biggest “sins” as backpackers.

Getting there

Only very few of ..

Being outdoors, sleeping in nature, hiking through the forest, paddling on rivers and cycling on beautiful single trails – being outdoors seems on a first look to be a very sustainable hobby. But is it really?

Storådörren Valley from the other side n better weather

This article is part of the Bergfreunde Series of “Sustainable Outdoors” and several bloggers write about this topic – you can find a list with the other articles at the end. We are not paid to write these articles and have full editorial control.

Going outdoors feels like a sustainable hobby – especially if you compare it to sports and hobbies which need large buildings or areas to be played & practiced. But is it really sustainable to drive in a big car to a trail head, being dressed in garments made from oil-based materials and hiking in sensitive areas which contributes to land erosion and degradation? That is a question which I am pondering in this article, so read along to find out what in my opinion are our biggest “sins” as backpackers.

Getting there

Only very few of us life in nature and can start hiking or skiing from their doorstep – most of us life in towns and villages and need to travel to the start of a trail or to the hills. Those who read me since a while know that I neither have a driving license and our family also does not own a car. If I go backpacking somewhere it is always by public transportation, most usually a combination of train and bus when in Finland, or by ferry, plane and then bus or train when abroad. As I have been travelling like this since 20 years this is normal for me, but for those who have grown up with a car in front of their house this might seem strange. Yes, I am dependent on schedules and trains and busses to get somewhere, but I have learned to life with that and it usually works out nicely. My waiting time I use for reading and studying the map, or stocking up on calories!

Bikepacking Season is upon us!

Getting to a local trail here in Pohjanmaa means either jumping on a bike or taking a bus or train and possibly a Taxi. Sometimes I make the bike ride part of the journey and just call it a Bikepacking and Hiking Adventure as cool and catchy names are important =) I really love to ride my bike and it’s my favourite way to get around when in town or if I’m travelling, it just feels great. Going by train or bus is fine, though – I can charge my phone and listen to music or chat on Discord and the speed is good and if going by bus I usually also can get off quite close to a trailhead and just hike the last bit.

Golden Hour

When going abroad flying is something I hate. I hate the noise, the people and the emissions I accumulate while travelling by plane, but for long distances in a short time there’s no alternative for me right now. I am cutting down on my flights and assignments abroad drastically, though, and each trip I can realize by taking the ferry, train, bus and Taxi are a win in my book. Plus going by plane also often means I have to add a night in an AirBnB or Hotel at the beginning or end, depending on the connections at the destination to get where I want to go which adds to the costs and length of a trip. But some trips are just too good to miss out on, like my Causeway Coast Way thru-hike or backpacking on the Via Dinarica in Bosnia Herzegovina. These were amazing hikes and totally worth getting into a plane for, and also the John Muir Trail is high on my list, as well as several other trails abroad.

My take-away for getting there is probably to try to enjoy your local outdoors as much as possible. I know I am guilty of dreaming and hiking on distant trails, while I have a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site on my doorstep which would be great for packrafting, cycling and hiking. But the benefits of hiking locally are so many: You can hike more – have a free afternoon and day ahead? Just go to a local trail for a night out! Take the bike instead of the car if you feel like it, and for longer trips why not explore more of your own country?! If you fly somewhere for your yearly long backpacking trip – and you can! – offset your emissions by supporting reforestation measures or similar.

Umeå C

The Gear

Another topic which we have to ponder is how sustainable our outdoor gear is. Unless you use exclusively natural materials like cotton, hemp, flax, wood or Merino wool chances are you have something that’s made from oil => plastic in any form or shape (it can be called Dyneema, XPac, Cuben fibre, Polyester, Nylon, Cordura or or or). The good thing is that most of our outdoor gear is so well made that it can last us a life-time with some proper care, so the environmental footprint of a tent which gets used several times per year is relatively small after 15 years of use.

HMG UltaMid in a wet forest

Also, most new outdoor equipment is made from recycled or recyclable materials which is an amazing step forward. I remember my first OutDoor where the sustainability topic was still in it’s baby shoes and I had more the feel of “Greenwashing” here and there. But now, five years later, it’s front and centre for many companies, and one of their most important messages. From Patagonia who doesn’t want you to buy their jackets to Houdini which lets you rent their garments instead of buying them, many companies wake up and realize we need to do something to keep our outdoors healthy.

100%

But what’s even better is that many of our outdoor gear also can find it’s way into our everyday life. Don’t be dumb and only use your Hydroflask on the trail – take it with you when you go to work or walking the dog! Get a good mug for your coffee on the go, and also your lunch can be packed in a Light My Fire meal box. I also wear my outdoor clothes all the time – my hiking pants are my every day pants as well, when I pick up my kids I wear my Alpine Start Hoody or a shell jacket and I don’t really use any other shoes than my trailrunning and hiking shoes. If you’re working at a office where a suit is mandatory you might not get away with wearing your outdoor garments all the time, but if your employer is relaxed about the dress code there’s no good reason why you can’t wear your flannel shirt and hiking trousers to the office.

Time for some Coffee!

Finally, instead of buying a new piece of kit once an old one is broken might not be necessary – many pieces of equipment can be fixed, from stoves to garments. If a rain jacket doesn’t keep the rain out anymore it often just needs a wash with a good detergent to re-activate its waterproof properties, and if a tear is too big you can have it often much more cheaply fixed than buying a new one.

Unscrew everything!

Land degradation

Land degradation and erosion is especially a problem at very popular trails and areas – from the Karhunkierros in Finland to certain trails in the Lake District and elsewhere, where a lot of people hike or ski the earth under our feet gets eroded and with rain and wind popular trails quickly can look like deep scars in the landscape. Well built and maintained trails minimize this problem, and also we can – by choosing to hike on “less popular” trails. Now less popular does not equal less beautiful, and as many of us go into nature to escape busy cities it’s a smart thing to search out these less popular trails and enjoy them on your own.

Clearing up

If a trail gets really popular then trail erosion is often the smallest problem – often rubbish which is left behind, from 💩 to plastic bottles and tissues – are a much bigger issue. What we as knowledgable outdoors men and women can do is to educate our fellow hikers when we catch them in the act, or collect the trash and carry it out. Carrying a small Ziplock bag for these situations is common for me, because I really hate it to see rubbish left in nature.

The Old Man of Coniston

Bottomline & What you can do

My conclusion is that being outdoors, be it hiking, backpacking, biketouring, packrafting or ski-touring is inherently a sustainable activity. By spending time outdoors in nature we learn to care more about our planet, and in the long run we will adapt many of the things I have suggested throughout this article, though if you’re at the start of your hiking career and just started with backpacking you can now of course skip ahead and pick up these good behaviours and ideas!

To sum them up, these would be my three take-aways:

  1. Adventure more locally and take the bike, train and bus to get to the trailhead!
  2. Use your gear until the end! Resist the urge to buy new gear, repair what you have and consider renting or buying used gear.
  3. Search out less popular trails, keep Leave No Trace principles in mind and pick up other people’s trash if you encounter it outdoors.

I also want to encourage you to not geo-tag your images online and generally share & spend less time on un-social networks like Instagram and Facebook which both promote Fear Of Missing Out and other negative feelings. Finally, #FridaysForFuture are not just for kids – also responsible Adults who are not happy about how those in our governments misuse their loaned power can take to the streets and demonstrate for politics which ensure our planet, including all these amazing National Parks, hiking trails and mountains remain for future generations. Take the ext Friday off and go demonstrate!

Bodensee

Further Reading

The Bergfreunde write about sustainable winter holidays, Stefanie ponders the topic of travelling and sustainability, Heiko shares 11 sustainable tips for home & outdoors, Björn reports about the DAV Day Sustainable on Ski Tour, the Climbing Plus guys show how climbing has changed over the years, Ulrich writes about Sustainable Tourism on Iceland and Dennis ponders about sustainability when hiking and backpacking.

Enjoyed this article? Support me on Patreon and get some useful rewards (like hanging out on Discord with me, where you can pick my brains!) or buy me a coffee – I work Full-Time on Hiking in Finland to bring you inspiring trip reports, in-depth gear reviews and the latest news from the outdoors. You also could subscribe to the rarer-than-ever Newsletter and follow along on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube for more outdoorsy updates!

The clouds are moving in

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