Equipment

Annas backpacks – AK01 and AK02

Make your own back pack

Some years ago I visited my dear friend Kerstin and her boyfriend Thom in Bremen. They are both into hiking and also interested in hiking with as light a pack as possible. They have given me a lot of good advice and also been so kind and lent me their light tarp tent and their wood stove a couple of times.

During my visit they showed me their backpacks that they have made themselves, they were very tiny and very very light, I think they didn’t weigh more than 300 gr. That inspired me to make one for myself. I started to search on the net and found a lot of people who shared their experiences and knowledge in making their own gear. One site I can really recommend is Anders Jonssons, a Swedish guy who makes all his gear himself.

This inspired me to start sketching my first backpack and I used Anders backpack as a starting-point. I decided to make it a little bit bigger than Thom and Kerstins as I’m not that hard core yet. I found the materials at Shelby in Finland, I chose two kinds of fabric; one that was a little bit stronger and heavier for the back and bottom and one that was lighter and thinner but still quite strong. I also ordered buckles and webbings. I sew it during Christmas at my mothers place, who is a tailor and has a big cutting table and some nice sewing machines. I usually spend Christmas there making clothes so she is used to me taking over her sewing studio during the holiday.

It turned out to be really fun to make and not as hard as you might expect. A little tricky now and then as because I made the pattern myself, I didn’t have any real instructions. My goal was to make a back pack that weighed 500 gr and the end result was slightly higher 575 gr but I have to say I am really happy with the result.

My hiking friend Ýrr was jealous, so we decided to make a deal – a really good deal! She knitted me a really nice Icelandic sweater and I made her a backpack. And I have to say my second became even better then my first so I will soon start making myself a new one.

I have used the backpack on two longer hikes and one shorter. I have had to make some small repairs but never anything serious.

I can really recommend making your own backpack, unfortunately I do not have any proper pattern, further down you can see a sketch of my backpack pattern. You can find plenty on the net, for example at backpacking.net.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annas pack list for the Dolomites 2011

This is my pack list for the hike on Alta Via 1 in the Dolomites 2011 (1.5 L water and some extra food added up the back pack to approximately 11 kg). I try to improve my packing every year and find gear that have low weight. Since last year I have I have approximatelly lowered my ground weight with 1-1,5 kg. You can compare with my packinglist from last year when I was hiking in the Pyrenees. See below

 Clothes
2 tank tops 119
1 long-sleeved 120
1 small wool sweater 143
1 Iclandic sweater (DIY) 256
1 rainponcho (could probably skiped this) 200
1 rain/windjacket 204
1 rain trousers (yrrs) 150
1 zip-off trousers (wearing) 374
3 pair of briefs 70
3 pair of socks 75
1 pair of wool tights 89
1 pair of tights (thin) 79
2 buff 70
Dress (for sleep and travel)  134
2 pair of bra 57
First-aid kit:
Steri-Strip™ Adhesive Skin Closures 5
Elastic bandage 37
Blister blocks 25
Band-Aid 3
Medicin 29
Disinfectant solution 63
Wound compresses 12
Medicin tape 20
Wet wipe 25
Plasters
Utensils:
Plate/bowl with cover 89
Spoon 8
Knife 37
Mug 23
Tea-strainer 5
Food:
Dried vegetables 470
Tea 21
Coconut powder 130
Fruit purée (break first) 161
Olive Oil 244
Müsli 186
Dried fruit 274
Toiletries:
Towel 141
Toothbrush 9
Toothpaste 48
Schampo 93
Soap 43
Lotion 72
Sunblocker 58
Sunstick 31
Earplug 15
Pinsett 7
Nail scissors 14
Tampons  10
Toilet bag 16
Deodorant 44
Sleep:
Tarp tent 957
Sleeping bag 804
Ground sheet 310
Resquekit:* 50
Gaffatejp 70
*Spinnaker tape
*Sewing things
*Thread
*Spare parts back pack
*string
Other things
Walking sticks 474
Boots
Teva sandals 388
Compass 7
Maps 324
Penn 4
Note book 22
Passport 34
Camera 335
Charger phone 49
Charger camera 89
Cell phone 83
Binoculars 215
Washing soap 40
Sitting ground sheet 18
Reading glasses 13
Sunglasses 22
Flashlight 19
Back pack (DIY) 575
Stuff sacks 43
Waterbottle 5 dl 28
Water hose 65
Waterbottle 1,5 l 60
Net sack 5
Handbag/stuffsack 23
Wallet 3
Lipstick 9
 SUM  9 751 kg
 SUM WITH OUT FOOD/STICKS/WEARING CLOTHES  7 367 kg


Ýrrs packing list 2011

I try to pack as light as possible not bringing anything I will not use. I have some favorite stuff that makes my hiking mote comfortable.
A small dress to put on in the evenings and to sleep in. It’s a pleasure taking of the boots after a long day of walking and putting on the Teva sandals. The buff keeps my hair in place and can also been used to keep my head or neck warm. Bringing a book to read is worth the extra grams, it’s lovely to read a little before sleeping or when you finish the walk early. Headlamp is good when you need to do stuff in a dark room filled with people sleeping or when you need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. You really get to appreciate earplugs when you sleep in a room with other people.  A small stomach bag were I keep all the small stuff I need during the day like, peanuts, sunstick and the guidebook,

My backpack weight around 9- 10 kg without water but of course it’s not a complete packing since I was not walking alone. Anna had some stuff I needed and I had some stuff she needed.

 Clothes
1 tank top
1 t-shirt
1 long-sleeved kashmir wool
1 thin fleece sweater
1 Icelandic wool sweater (DIY)
1 sharon
1 rain/wind jacket
1 rain trousers
1 zip-off trousers (wearing)
3 pair of briefs
3 pair of socks
1 pair of wool tights
1 pair of nylon tights (thin)
1 buff
Dress (for sleep and evenings)
2 pair of bra
 Total

First-aid kit:
Blister blocks
Band-Aid
bandage
Pain killers
Novalcov
Tiger balsam
Toiletries:
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
 Shampo
 Soap
 Lotion
 Sunblocker
 Sunstick
 Earplug
 Tampons
 Deodorant
 Hair conditioner
 Lipbalm
 Comb
 Total
Utensils:
Plate/bowl with cover
Knife, fork, spoon
Mug
cooking
 knife
gas
gas kitchen
 two pots
 Matches
 Lighter
 washing up liquid
small tea cloth
 Food:
 Dried vegetables, sweet potatos, aubergine, onion
 Dried banans
 total
 CousCous
 Rice
 Bulgur
Oatmeal
total
Hot chocolate
Varma koppen
total
 Sleep:
 Sleeping bag
 Ground sheet
Other things
Walking sticks
Boots
Teva sandals
Compass
Guidebook
Pencil
Note book
Passport
Camera
Charger phone
Charger camera
Cell phone
 Towel
Sitting ground sheet
headlight
Back pack (DIY)
Waterbag
Net sack
Handbag/stuffsack
Books

Icelandic wool sweaters

Ýrrs knitted wool sweaters.

Icelandic wool sweaters are warm and comfortable. They are nice to wear in the evenings. The knitted pattern is typical, but I designed them as we wanted them practical for our hiking. Since I don’t like wool close to my face and neck I made a wide collar on my sweater, Anna wanted a collar to warm her neck and she wanted a zipper. The sweaters are tight, since we don’t want any extra weight. Here are some free patterns

Anna and I made a deal, she made me a backpack and I knitted her a sweater.

Annas first rainjacket

For the hike this summer in the Dolomites I needed a light rain jacket that also worked as a wind stopper. The material needed to be both breathable, waterproof and weigh as little as possible. To buy this kind of jacket is usually very expensive and as I don’t have that kind of money right now I decided to make my own jacket. The trickiest part was actually not the sowing, it was to find the right material. I looked at many sites that sell this kind of material and I also read a lot of forums that discuss these things. It’s hard to find fabrics from well-known brands like Event and Gore Tex as the fabrics are not allowed to be called by their real name. Even so this kind of material can be rather expensive, so I decided to make my first rain jacket in a rather cheap material, so if something went wrong it wouldn’t be that painful.

I bought the fabric, P2B – Featherweight Breathable Nylon, and some waterproof zippers from www.pennineoutdoor.co.uk . On all the seams I put some Seam seal, SilNet, to make them watertight.

The pattern I used is from Green pepper (women’s rainier wind and rain suit, nr 133) and I used it as a base pattern and adjusted it a little bit to get it exactly how I wanted. For instance I skipped all pockets to save weight and I let the zipper go the whole way down as I don’t like jackets that I have to drag over my head, a specially not a rain coat.

I am quite happy with the result and I like to wear it and I will probably do the next in a similar way but use a better quality material. As I didn’t use any lining, the membrane in the jacket will wear out quicker.

The weight of the jacket is 204 gr and it kept me dry on our hike in the Dolomites. But as we didn’t have any heavy rain for long during our hike, I still have to test the jacket in proper heavy rain.

Tarptent making over Christmas (Anna)

A sketch made in Sketch up.

 

During this years Christmas, while visiting my mother, I have finally taking up my tent project again. It has been berried three years now and I was surprised to find it all most ready and also on how well I seem to have made it. Why I didn’t finish it back then is something I don’t remember, maybe I lost my believes in succeed in my project. At the moment I have high believes that it will work out just fine.

The only reason I did not finish it now was that I missed out some things to construct the fastening device at the back of the tent. When this is ready I will test to set up the tent in the field. I need to have it up to do the last decisions about how to solve the closing of the opening in the front.

The tent is a variation of Henry Shires tarptent and I have used some of his original pattern and instructions but I adjust it a bit:
www.tarptent.com/projects/tarpdesign.html

It is actually not so difficult to make your own tent, but it can be a bit tricky to handle all this huge amount of fabric which also is very slippery. You will need some space, I am happy that my mother is a tailor so she has a big room and a big cutting table that I can use.

It is also good if you have the possibility to set up the tent inside while testing as when it still not ready it is also quite fragile so even a breath of wind can make damages.

The fabric I choose to use is a very light sil nylon bought from www.extremtextil.de , (I cant really recall the weight but I think it was something like 60-80 gr). As mosquito net I used a fabric that you can buy at IKEA called SARITA. I used this as I have found other peoples recommendations to use this fabric, it is very light and cheap :) For the floor I used a little more strong fabric than the sil nylon. I bought it from www.shelby.fi

The goal is that my tent will have a weight of 1 kilo with the sticks.

I have got many nice tips from many different sites on the internet by people sharing their experiences in making their own tents, Among those is www.andersj.se and also the forum on the Swedish site: utsidan.se

I will soon post some images of my tent project and also try to make a closer description on how I made it.

 

A short follow-up on my tarptent project

Last weekend me and Yrr joined Amit and Gunnel for a sawing session at Amits house in Hammenhög. Amit has a very big space, very suitable for a tarptent-project. It is so big that you easily  can set the tent up indoors which is very good before you have all fixing/secure points ready, a wind can easily ruin your project.

Yrr started with her rain jacket. She has found such a nice and beautiful fabric for this and she will write a post about this soon.

The tent is all most ready, and I thought I would be finish it, at least so much that I could make a outdoor test. But the bow construction was more tricky than I had imagine and it was really important to get it right as the the tent would easily break if I made a bad solution.

The next step is to set the last fixing points and then when I can set it up I will find out a closing/opening construction. I would like to avoid zipper so I will probably use Velcro.

 

testing of the tarptent indoor

Yrr, Gunnel and I making one of the first set-up. I have to say it looks promising. (foto. Amit Sen)

 

 

 

Annas packlist in the Pyrenees 2010

This is my packlist from our hike in the Pyrenees in summer 2010.

2 tank tops 147
1 long-sleeved 110
1 small wool sweater 143
1 Iclandic sweater (DIY) 256
1 windjacket 414
1 rain poncho (1 euro) 47
1 zip-off trousers (wearing) 360
3 pair of briefs 83
3 pair of socks 90
1 pair of wool tights 112
1 buff 36
1 skirt 142
1 hat 104
1 sport bra 68
First-aid kit: 271
Steri-Strip™ Adhesive Skin Closures
Elastic bandage
Blister blocks
Band-Aid
Medicin
Disinfectant solution
Wound compresses
Utensils:
Plate/bowl with cover 129
Spoon 8
Knife 68
Whisk 23
Mug 23
Tea-strainer 17
Corkscrew 40
Dried food 1074
Tea
Milk powder
Coconut powder
Couscous
Lentil
Fruit purée
Olive oil 181
Toiletries: 746
Towel
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Soap/schampo
Lodtion
Sunblocker
Sunblocker stift
Earplugs
Pinsett
ETC
Sleep
Tarp tent 1013
Sleeping bag 794
Ground sheet 305
Resquekit:
Gaffatejp 113
Spinnaker tape 82
Sewing things  9
Thread 8
Spare parts back pack 43
String 13
Other things
Walking sticks 472
Boots
Teva sandal 403
Compass 7
Maps 259
Guidebook (1 st) 185
Guidebook (1 st) 271
Pen 5
Notebook 22
Passport 53
Money
Ticket
Camera 335
Camera stativ 46
Charger phone 65
Charger camera 136
Phone 89
Binoculars 218
Washing powder 128
Sitting ground sheet 16
Reading glasses 44
Flashlight 15
Backpack 575
TOTAL SUM 10 416
SUM EXCL WEARING CLOTHES/FOOD/STICKS 8 013

Finding the right tent!

There is so many things you have to consider while picking gear for your hike. As our next hike will last for four month you will have to consider some other things. You really need to find stable, reliable and strong gear.

One thing we have to find now is a suitable tent. Some of the requirements is that it has to be lightweight and at the same time both comfortable and withstand bad weather.

On internet you can find plenty of website and forums with reviews and discussions about gear for your hike.

The first tent we thought of was Stephenson’s Warmlite but at the moment I have second thoughts as I have read some reviews about it and it seems a bit small to sit two person at the same time.

We have before used a very light tarptent from tarptent.com. It is very nice but a bit uncomfortable as you can’t sit up straight inside it and you have to crawl out and in. For shorter hikes this works all right but for a long distance hike I think you should use a bit more comfortable one. It should also feel safe and cope with heavy weather with strong wind and rain.

I have been looking at some other tents from tarptent.com, Scarp 2 (ca 1,7 kg)and StratoSpire 2 (1,1 kg), Double Rainbow (1,2 kg). All of them seems really nice. StratoSpire 2 and Rainbow is much lighter then the Scarp 2, but they all seems comfortable, roomy and they have space also for your package. Double rainbow feels a bit smaller but two person can still sit up at the same time. My experience also tells me tarptens.com tents usually are very fast and easy to set up which is especially of importance if it is bad weather and when tired. All three also comes with a really nice price compare to many other lightweight tents.
Take a look at them on Youtube. StratoSpire , Double Rainbow , Scarp 2

I think I like Scarp 2 best for it’s comfort but it is a bit heavy compare to the other two. With some extra equipment this one also can be used in winter time but I guess it will be a bit heaver than 1,7 kg then.

If any tips or advice or thoughts on these tents or any other for that matter, please let us know.

 

Annas latest backpack: [AK05]

My latest backpack (AK05) differs a bit from my previous models. It is made of silnylon and for the back and bottom I have used a bit stronger material, normally used for tent floors etc. This is the same principal I have used before. I am very happy with it and think I have improved some things. What I like and what I think will work really good is the mesh pockets on the outside that can be used for wet or dirty clothes, tent or other things you want carry inside the pack. It will also be very useful for things you want to reach easily during the day like lunch, stove etc.

 

AK05 UL-backpack

 

The top pocket and top closure also have much better fit and construction than before, a solution I am very happy with. I will soon take some better pictures on this and post here.

The pack is very light, about 330 gram., which is about 200 gr less than before.

I made this pack for my boyfriend and I am now planing to make my self a similar one to be used on my long-distance hike this summer. Just to be on the safe side as I will be using it for a long period I want to make it in a little stronger fabric than silnylon.  I am plan to use Dyneema Ripstop, some part will probably be made with a little lighter fabric.

 

AK05 UL backpack

Our new tent has arrived!

The tent we choosed to use for our hike is Scarp2 (tarptent.com). It is a bit heavy (1,6 kg) but we think it is worth it as it will give us the comfort we wish to have on our long-distance hike. Still it actually is a bit lighter than expected but probably after seamsealing all the seams this probably will add up to a total weight of 1.7 kg, according to the specifications found on their website.

We will soon test it in the field. Afterward we will post a review and some images here.

 

Our new tent, Scarp2 from Tarptent.com

UL wallet

UL-wallet made in Silnylon

Today I (Anna) made myself an UL (ultralight) wallet. I am quite happy with the result, even though I could have sewn it a little bit nicer. The next one will be much nicer looking as I know how to make it now.

The weight is only really nice, only 4gr and can hold 1 credit-card, 1 identity-card and some money. I used red silnylon.

 

UL-wallet made in Silnylon

UL-wallet

Mountainhikers