Gear

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


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.

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.

 

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

My forth backpack (AK06)

For our long hike this summer, I have created a new backpack. As we will be away for four month I decided to use a bit stronger fabric that I used before. two of my sack uses silnylon which I think would work just fine but it might have needed more maintenance and carefullness so it felt more safe to go for stronger this time. the fabric I choose to use is xxxx. it is not just strong it is also water resistant and I also like the look of it, crossing white stripes on black. the negative side of it, it’s also more heavy than silnylon.

this version is based on my last one that I made for my boyfriend but with some adjustments. one major change is that I am using a frame to give it more support, for my back but I also believe it support itself when carrying heavy loads, which is not my intention but I think there will be times I will have to carry some extra food, water or anything.

the frame is in aluminum that I got at gossamer. I had an idea to built it myself. but I don’t have a workshop to do this kind of things and I wanted to concentrate on the pack construction instead so I went for a well tested frame. so far it seem working really well.

I really like building my own pack, it gives me a thrill but also a controll of my own gear. I can make it to fit my needs and get it comfortable to carry. this is very important to me and nothing i want to neglect. i think some really light weight packs, at least to me, they seems not to be so comfortable as mine an most of them are missing some support i have added. and still my packs are really light accept maybe from this last one, xxxx. But still If I would by a light pack in the store it would be at least the double in weight.

The pack is also very light compare it to if I would buy it from a normal store.

Mountainhikers