exceptions to gravity
I’ll try to approach this gear post in Andrew Skurka style. In his book he brings out the main points on how he decides what gear to bring along to a certain trip.
Trip objectives: Long spell of inactivity between “some” skiing when there was snow and cycling when there was no snow anymore have made me somewhat lazy, out of shape and otherwise stagnant. In addition to that I can’t really think of a better way to spend a month of my vacation than being almost alone in the wilderness of Scandinavian mountains. The plan is to start from Hemavan, go along Kungsleden to Kvikkjokk, take a left turn onto Padjelantaleden, reach Sulitjelma and from there follow Nordkalottleden until Kautokeino. I should re-emerge into the civilization fit as ever after 1000+km of walking. Time is chosen so there won’t be much traffic yet. I go solo and have arranged some re-supply points along the way in 6 to 9 day apart.
Environmental & route conditions: As Kungsleden is very popular in the season thee shouldn’t be any problems for route finding. Padjelantaleden and Nordkalottleden are less so, but still no worries.
Temperatures: According to yr.no the average temperature in June in Hemavan is 11,7C. This year the average temp in May has been 1.4 degrees colder than average – and the temperatures at the moment are around 0 C. you can go into more detailed information in here.
Precipitation: Again the yr.no site indicates that June is the driest month with only 10 rainy days. Although there is quite a lot of snow left in the mountains there shouldn’t e any additional.
Daylight: It’s midnight sun in this time of year so there are max 4 hours per day when the sun isn’t above horizon.
Ground cover: Mostly on beaten path consisting of rock, turf. Might be a little bit wet as it’s snow melting time
Vegetation: If at all then there shouldn’t be much more than birch and willow, not very high or thick as I’m following a path. Lower vegetation shouldn’t be a problem also
Sun exposure: Sun is high and up most of the day so skin protection is needed
Water availability: Lots of rivers, streams, lakes and so on. No problem.
Wildlife & insects: There could be reindeer, lynx, wolf, wolverine and brown bear, but I doubt that any of those will be hanging around the paths. Snakes maybe – just have to watch my step. And of course mosquitoes. It seems that I have aimed for the first hatch so it could be intense. Luckily there’s almost always windy.
Remoteness: The huts are plenty along the way, but traffic scarce as it’s early in season. Some huts in the beginning might be closed. No idea about cell reception, but there are emergency phones along the path. I’m not hoping for much human encounter.
Natural hazards: some rivers might be swollen with meltwater, but bigger ones should have bridges. Some snow, but shouldn’t be any avalanche danger.
So here are the main items I’ll take.
Shelter: Integral Designs SilPoncho. I now most prefer to take a more enclosed shelter, but that’s the one I have. Although there is a pretty sweet deal on the Shangri-La1. The wind prediction is quite low and despite it could rain on most days I have experience that I can pitch it down low enough so there won’t be any trouble.
Sleeping system: Old BPL Vapr bivi, Thermarest Z-lite, GoLite RS+1 and Ferrino liner. As the quilt is rated at around +3 then it should carry well with the added warmth of the bivi, liner and warm baselayer I’m going to wear while sleeping.
Backpack: GoLite Pinnacle. Gotten used to it and as it was a little too big last year, but now I have to carry up to 9 days of food so it fine.
Footwear. Salomon XA3D ultra2. I now wasn’t absolutely happy with them last year, mainly because the crappy soles. So when looking around in the shops I really didn’t find anything that seemed proper enough. All those ultra cushioned and colored and tuned.. and I went to the tested ones’. I know the possible problems and can avoid some mistakes. And they were comfortable. But about 3 days after I had bought the Salomons I found out that there is a inov8 dealer in Estonia. But that’ll be something I’ll try next time.
Cooking: I’ll be using an alcohol stove now with a titanium pot. Fuel is available in the Swedish huts so. But I feel that I should have gone with the Emberlite, which being a wood stove is much more hassle-free. There’s always next time.
Clothing remains mostly the same, but I have purchased the GoLite Tumalo jacket. It should carry me through the worst weather.
The topo will be taken care the same way, but now I won’t be carring all the maps, but only those I need on the current stage. Others will be (hopefully) waiting with the food boxes along the way.
Some how it feel like underprepared. Like there has been too little effort to set this thing up. I hope that it just seems like that.
But anyhow I’ll be on the trail noon tomorrow. I think the first part – getting to Hemavan is most nerve wrecking with a night in Arlanda airport and so on. I don’t know how often will I be able to make updates, but I’ll try.
See you on the trail!