Gear used along the Nordkalottruta

The following comments are my reflections on the use of the gear over the 11 day period of which 9 nights were spent camped out.

HMG Porter Pack

The HMG Porter is an excellent pack, and it carried the 16 kg weight well. I used a ZPacks Multi-Pack as a chest pocket for my camera and added a set of MLD hipbelt pockets for snacks and essentials. The pack also included the new HMG Stuff Pocket, which was perfect for holding the items that I may need during the day.  The pack fabric is water resistant, and I have also seam sealed the seams but I always use pack liner as well. The lack of absorbency of the fabric means that you will get a sweaty back, and if that is of concern, then careful choice of a shirt is important which is why I prefer merino. The ladder straps on the outside provide ideal attachment points for tents mats etc. as well the roll top closure is perhaps the best I have used, all in all a very good pack which will become my go to pack.

View towards Geatkkutjavri, HMG Porter



Tarptent Notch

The notch kept me dry, mosquito free and warm. I became better at erecting the Notch as the trip progressed and as long as it is pegged down thoroughly it can withstand strong winds, though there will be some deflection of the side panels. I will write more about my experiences with the Notch later, suffice to say I feel it is an excellent shelter and can handle above tree line conditions but will have its limitations on extended trips especially in severe weather.
Camp above Buntadalen

Pacer Poles

I use alloy pacer poles which were excellent. However, during the trip when attempting to cross a river on a log, the log broke, resulting in me getting wet after which I noticed that the middle section of one of the poles had a nice bow to it. With some careful straightening I was able to get it back to shape. This served as a reminder of the importance, for me, of using alloy poles (instead of carbon fibre poles) especially when the poles are also used as the shelter support.

Clothing worn

Rab Boreas

The Boreas was worn as a windshirt, midlayer and as a shirt. In each case it was ideal and as a consequence it was worn every day. I also found that it is the perfect physical barrier against Lapland Mosquitos, YMMV (Your Mosquitos May Vary).

BPL.com boxers

These have been my goto boxers for long trips but sadly they did not last the trip out. I then turned to my Macpac merino boxers which I found to be cooler and equally comfortable, especially with their gusseted crotch.

Defeet Wooleater socks

I wore the same pair of Defeet Wooleater socks for the entire trip, rinsing them out every day or so. Most days they were wet, and even when wet these thin socks kept my feet warm. The warmth provided was especially evident after crossing icy rivers with my almost numb feet quickly regaining feeling once I started walking. I also found that the socks would often dry overnight in the vestibule of the shelter.

The picture below shows the socks at the end of the trip. There is still plenty of life in them.

Defeet Wooleater socks

Inov8 Roclite 315

These shoes now have about 400 km on them, 200 before Lapland and 200 in Lapland and I am very happy with them. The sole has lasted well and the stitching on the uppers appears to be holding. Shoe choice is a personal thing and I will leave the final comment to a Norwegian hiker who looked at my shoes;

and said “water in water out”

I replied  “yes I find it quite good”.

He shook his head and walked off.

Roclite 315

Suunto Core

Previously I used the Suunto Vector but for the last 12 months I have used the Suunto Core primarily for it’s barometric function when out hiking. In particular I watch for large changes in barometric pressure indicating a significant change in the weather. Normally I set the reference altitude in the evening which then allows me to detect any likely change in the weather pattern the next morning. The Core performed admirably.

Dirty Girl Gaiters

They were certainly dirty, but were very effective in keeping out sticks, stones etc. The gaiters are easy to take on or off and once fitted to they shoe stay in place.

Dirty Girl Gaiters

Etrex 10
The etrex 10 is a simple non mapping gps. I use it for position finding, recording distances and heights. On long trips I use lithium batteries for their weight saving and longevity. On this trip one pair Lithium AA batteries lasted 8 days, 180 km, or about 70 hours. Which is very impressive. The batteries can be affected by the cold, however. Note that I always carry a complete set of paper maps of the area, as well as a simple compass.

Overall, I was happy with my gear list but may consider more carefully my choice of stove and shelter for future walks in Lapland.

This entry was posted in Clothing, Footwear, Gear, HMG Porter, Kalottireitti, Lapland, Nordkalotten Trail, Nordkalottruta, Pacer Poles, Tarptent Notch. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Gear used along the Nordkalottruta

  1. Mark Roberts says:

    I was, of course, interested in all the gear you had with you, and made a few immediate purchases on my return. The Boreas is an interesting top. I was wearing one yesterday over a thin, long-sleeved merino base, and eventually this became too hot for me. While I rarely find merino to be cool in the summer (as often claimed), the Boreas worn as the sigle layer was surprisingly refreshing – probably a result of the material and relaxed fit. The DeFeet sock will be next on my list, and perhaps the gaiters. I normally don't bother with them, but perhaps I should challenge that.The eTrex battery consumption rate was remarkable compared to the Dakota 20, and seeing as the maps for Finland are horrifically expensive, it's definitely worth considering. I kind of like that it's simpler too – the lack of maps make it a very useful backup device rather than (wrongly) seeing a GPS as an all-encompassing navigational aid.You didn't mention the piece fo kit that I was most impressed with though: the BPL Thoroghfare trousers. The way they repelled the icy streams was remarkable.

  2. wanderlust says:

    Just wondering what made you switch to the HMG pack after using Aarn packs for such a while.

  3. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks Mark, I was also interested in your gear and was glad to be able to look a the new Mariposa, which was appealing and try the GG poles. The Boreas will be the first item into my pack (or on me) for the foreseeable future. The DeFeet socks, even now washed and clean are only showing minor wear and certainly can be recommended if you are in the market for Merino socks. Regarding the gaiters, it would be easy to make your own, if you have a little time and the right materials, I find them ideal to keep out all the rubbish from my shoes and think in the whole trip there was only two occasions where something had snuck in.The eTrex 10 battery life surpassed everything I expected, and given 25 hours is the suggested I am very surprised my the battery life of mine.BPL Thoroghfare pants as you say were amazing the water seems to bead off and they are good at blocking some wind, they also dry very quickly and do not collect dirt stains. A quick rinse in the hotel and within 2 hours they were dry enough to wear. I would love to know what fabric was used and whether it was treated as I would like to make some more.

  4. nielsenbrown says:

    Hi WanderlustThat is a very good question and I will try and provide the short answer.Ever since I stopped using Macpac's in the late 90's I have been looking for lighter comfortable packs. I tried several before using McHale custom made packs. However, at the time I was having some back problems and felt I wanted to try another concept. Thus I began using Aarn, my favourites are the Featherlite Freedom (http://www.nielsenbrownoutdoors.com/2011/05/aarn-featherlite-freedom.html) and the Natural Balance, both of which I still own. But with the weight of my pack down around 15 kg at the beginning of the trip I felt that I would like a lighter pack and was taken by the simplicity of the design of the HMG Porter and the way it can be adapted depending on the load. The fit was perfect for me, as I had begun to realise that I am not as long in the back as I think I am, and in this case careful measuring of the back length has ensured a perfect fir for me with the Porter. Finally, the best way to test a pack is to use it on a long trip which I am pleased I did.The Aarn's are great for big loads and if my load approaches 20 kg then I would use an Aarn. The Featherlite Freedom without the front pockets replicates in many ways the simplicity of the Porter and I intend to use it as well over the coming months. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. AlanR says:

    Strange how we can be so different. My Boreas now remains in the wardrobe. I find it neither windproof, water resistant or comfortable. It can be too warm it can also be too cold. I find the sleeve always fall down when you push them up for ventilation. The hood is poor. The length is excellent but for me thats the only good point.

  6. nielsenbrown says:

    Interesting comment about the Boreas, I wonder if it is a location thing, that is in Lapland there is less humidity than say in the UK? And of course biochemistry will play a part in a persons experiences with certain types of clothing. However, I agree the hood is not ideal (It does stop mosquitos though). In my view it is wind resistant, okay in a drizzle and comfortable. Undoubtedly each persons experience will be different. Thanks for commenting.

  7. Family Guy says:

    Great to hear about the Porter and Notch! Hopefully my previous commentary to you was reasonably "spot on."

  8. nielsenbrown says:

    HI David, yes your suggestion in respect of both the Notch and Porter were very helpful, and with the new half solid inner for the Notch I feel it will make a good shelter for most conditions I experience in this part of the world.

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