Gear Reflections: Nordlandsruta 2013

Fredheim

A quick summary, 13 nights out of which 3 were spent in huts, distance covered 335 kms, with a total ascent of 10 000 m. Conditions were generally wet, windy with a mixture of wet and rocky ground.

I have already written elsewhere my thoughts on the inov-8 315’s.

Rab Demand Smock and Rab Drillium pants kept me dry the whole trip, I had re DWR’ed them with Nikwax before leaving and after about a week the DWR on the smock around the pressure points (shoulder straps, backpack) had worn off. But even on the last day when it was dripping water and with no wind I was still comfortable inside and would have been happy to continue. I partnered the Smock with a Patagaonia Capilene 2 long sleeve top and I was impressed, I was comfortable and did not overheat in the conditions. The question on mind was why hadn’t I done this before? Would I use the smock and pants again, yes, however given the unavailability of the smock I am concerned that there is no obvious replacement on the market.

Jetboil, I have used a Jetboil on every trip up north and chose this time to replace my pot as the original was showing corrosion (oxidation) in the heat exchanger, sadly the new pot fared even worse and whilst it still works I would prefer not to use it in future. Instead I will either take an alcohol stove, where the pot can also be used with open fires, or a top mounted canister stove.

Montbell Tachyon Smock, when not  wearing the Rab Demand, I was wearing the Tachyon (see photo below), with a weight of 69 gms. it is one of those items of clothing that should be packed for every trip. Overall I felt that it was very effective as a wind shirt, as well as a mosquito barrier. One annoying feature is the hood which has no way of being secured when not in use as a result it can flap in the wind, though, I did find I could tuck the hood down the back of the shirt and this solved the problem. Would I use Tachyon again, yes.

Outdoor Research – Ultra Trail Gaiters in wet and muddy conditions these gaiters are a vast improvement on the Dirty Girl Gaiters I have used in the past, they stayed attached to the velcro much longer than the DirtyGirl ones and I suspect using David C’s suggestion of a 2″ square of velcro on the heel these gaiters are not likely to move. I did not use any attachment string under the foot but this would undoubtedly help with the maintenance of a secure fit over the shoe. The gaiters are orange, which helps when locating your feet in the bottom of a bog. Would I use these gaiters again, yes.

Boulder field below Lønstinden

HMG Porter 4400, last year I used the Porter 3400 and found it to be an excellent load carrier, which is also true for its larger brother. However, unsurprisingly, the pack is not water resistant as stated by HMG, I am not talking about the seams or where other attachments have been stitched I am talking about areas of fabric, which when exposed to either hard rain or persistent rain, water will seep through. Given that this pack had only been used for 6 days prior to this trip it was perhaps a little surprising but not unexpected. My guess is that the laminating had broken down with all the rolling and folding. But having said that the pack was excellent and it was pleasing to see it able to survive the rigours of baggage handling without recourse to an extra carrybag. Would I use the pack again, yes.

Tarptent Moment DW, last year I used the Tarptent Notch and was generally pleased with its performance, the weather was dry and for the most part not too windy. However, this year I wanted a shelter with a little more structure and not being dependent on walking poles, thus I chose the Moment DW.
Moment DW beside Kveppsendalstjønna

The conditions this year were wetter, windier and generally less pleasant than last year. The Moment DW stood up well to all the challenges presented to it, I would have preferred a solid inner when camped near Lønstinden as a strong cold wind blew in one side of the innr tent and out the other.  Whilst the night at  Kveppsendastjøna where wind blown rain hit the tent for most of the night, on this occasion I lowered the outer down on the windward side and with the protection of the judiciously placed rocks no moisture got into the shelter and in each case I was warm and dry thanks to my Western Mountaineering MegaLite bag.

The side panels do deflect in the wind, but with the crossing pole deployed the general shape of the Moment is not changed, I would always use the crossing pole in exposed environments. One of the new features in the DW is the ability to move the inner to make a larger vestibule on one side which also narrows the inner. In wet conditions this option is a real advantage as the vestibules can be made big enough to handle wet gear while the sleeping compartment is better protected from spray on the outer.

Adjustable inner

However, I do have some concerns. The Moment is dependent on 2 pegs (stakes) 1 at each end for structure and rigidity and it is these 2 stakes which also make it it so fast to erect. Thus requiring firm anchoring points  and if finding firm anchoring points is difficult then the shelter can or may become a “kite in the night”. On two occasions the ground appeared okay and one peg could be fully inserted but the opposite end was more problematic, in each of these situations I double pegged (see below) as a work around. Part of the problem in my view is a consequence of the larger Easton peg being lifted out of the ground by the crossing pole, I was using the CF pole which according to Henry Shires is more rigid, than the alloy pole.

Two Pegs

Over the years I have found on many different brands of shelters that tags, velcro tapes and other connections to the seams wick water through the seams to the inside of the shelter, the Moment is no different, so the velcro tie back loops on the outer were wicking moisture even after they had been excessively seam sealed at home, a partially solid inner would have limited the drips entered the inner sanctum.

Would I use it again, for a long trip probably not, because I would like a little more space for dealing with poor climatic conditions. Don’t get me wrong it will withstand anything you would normally expect up north at this time of the year, but if your tent bound or want to erect a shelter to get out of the wind or rain during the day then a mid would be a better option.

This entry was posted in Clothing, Gear, Jetboil, Nordlandsruta, Tarptent, Tarptent Moment DW. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Gear Reflections: Nordlandsruta 2013

  1. oddisabeba says:

    On the Porter 4400. I had just the same experience with my 4400 on my trip to theTafjord mountains. Had strong wind and rain for 80 % of the 4 days I was backpacking. I noticed that the items at the bottom half of my pack were somewhat wet, most probably caused by windblown rain. Still a brilliant pack, though 🙂

  2. Joe Newton says:

    Well, good to hear about some real world experience. Seems the Porter's been telling fibs about it's waterproofness! Others have suggested that it's so waterproof that you can dispense with the dry bags/pack liner and rely on skimpy stuff sacks inside. I did this in Alvdal Vestfjell and didn't suffer any wetting out but then the weather wasn't that wet. I'll go back to dry bags for my quilt/spare clothes on the evidence of you and Odd Arild's experience.On the Ultra Trail gaiters: I too am much happier with them than my Dirty Girl gaiters. They have slightly more structure and durability about them. I prefer using them with the under-heel cord but I'll be adding sections of aquarium tubing to the next cords as six days hiking in rocky terrain shredded the supplied cords to within a millimetre of their lives.I should get around to doing a gear round-up after our trip to Alvdal Vestfjell.

  3. Interesting observations. Unlike some (!), I find post trip gear round ups interesting and useful.I've been waiting patiently for a solid inner Moment. However, perhaps it's not for me. I think I'd rather suffer the extra weight and take a Scarp, or, as you say take a mid. Would you use the Trailstar?As an alternative to the Demand, have you looked at the OMM Cypher Smock. Not perfect, as in really heavy rain there is some leakage around the zip (I've not experienced it, but Alan Rayner has). I really like it. Superb hood.You might want to look at the Rab Scree Gaiters. I've got a pair, but not worn them yet. However, they seem pretty good and the material is the same as the Sawtooth jacket, which I have worn and liked. I prefer using a cylinder top stove (Snow Peak GST100) to the Jetboil as it's more flexible (although less efficient). It would be interesting to see how it compares with a Jetboil using a heat exchanger pot. I doubt there's a huge difference TBH if you use a wind shield. Probably more important is using a stove on a low setting so there's less heat escaping up the side of the pot.Thanks for sharing your observations! Shame about the Inov-8s.

  4. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks, oddisabeba, I am glad to hear that some one else has experienced moisture in the bottom of the pack, what surprised me was the dampness on the a synthetic puffy packed at the top in the "throat" of the pack. The moisture had penetrated where was no seam and nor other means for the water to enter so I can only assume it came through a fracture in the lamination as there is no evidence of a hole. I agree for big loads it is a great pack.

  5. nielsenbrown says:

    Hi Joe, I suspect that many HMG users are aware of the possibility of water seeping through the outer of the HMG packs, and in most cases it is probably minimal. I normally pack my sleeping bag and dry clothes in a waterproof stuffsac (I prefer ones with an eVent end) and also also a drysac for other gear, in this instance I had used my Cocoon hoody to stuff around the sides and it was damp from moisture weeping through the fabric.On a side note I tested the drysacs when I got home, only the heavy duty eVAC sac from StoS was not leaking : (Rocky terrain and gaiter strings, I have tried many things but not aquarium tubing, but I still think Dave C's 2" square of velcro offers the best option for me.

  6. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks for your detailed responses Robin. I prefer to comment on some pieces of gear I use on longer trips especially to help those who are considering the purchase of an item of gear and are looking for firsthand experience, so you will always see some gear comments from me.I believe a solid inner for the moment will be available in August, and it would make the Moment DW an ideal shelter for winter in my area. During my trip I wondered about whether a Scarp would have been better and in some contexts the answer was yes, but the ability to quickly erect a mid and shelter from the weather would have been more useful I feel. BTW I have owned a trailstar and my only concern with it is the big footprint, but it is an excellent shelter and would undoubtedly work well.I have considered the OMM smock, as it seems there is a dearth of light weight eVent tops these days, a friend of mine has one so I will take a closer look.I am not sure if I would bother with a HE pot, my feeling is that I want a pot that I can sit on a fire or a wood stove in a hytte, Most HE pots are heavier than a Ti pot and the savings may not be as good as required to counter balance the weight increase. There is no doubt that a top mounted burner and Ti pot with windscreen will use more fuel than a Jetboil, but that is the price you pay I guess.

  7. The new OMM Aether Smock or jacket is what you should take a look, as the Cypher isn't made anymore/ hard to get afaik: at: http://hikinginfinland.com/2013/07/outdoor-news-iii.htmlDo you have a photo of the Jetboil? I went back to the Caldera Cone/ Sidewinder and really like it. Pot works also on a fire place as we have here, or with Esbit if I am comfortable.My Porter 3400 was used on the packrafting course for four days in rainy weather and while packrafting, but I don't think my client (who used the pack) said anything about wetness/ fabric saturating (and I neither saw anything when I handled it). Maybe a bad batch of fabric?

  8. nielsenbrown says:

    Hendrik's (Hiking in Finland) comment seems to have got lost in the ether:Hendrik: The new OMM Aether Smock or jacket is what you should take a look, as the Cypher isn't made anymore/ hard to get afaik: at: http://hikinginfinland.com/2013/07/outdoor-news-iii.html Do you have a photo of the Jetboil? I went back to the Caldera Cone/ Sidewinder and really like it. Pot works also on a fire place as we have here, or with Esbit if I am comfortable. My Porter 3400 was used on the packrafting course for four days in rainy weather and while packrafting, but I don't think my client (who used the pack) said anything about wetness/ fabric saturating (and I neither saw anything when I handled it). Maybe a bad batch of fabric?My response. Thanks for the tip on the Aether smock, I also like the look of the Rab Newton (big side pockets for venting perhaps?) I do not at this time have any photos of the jetboil but will update the post in the next couple of days. The sidewinder or gas burner are my choices, and for short trips clearly the sidewinder is a lighter option. My suspicion re the HMG pack is the persistent wind blown rain will find any weakness in the fabric and if it rains long enough then the material begins to wick moisture, especially when the pack has no opportunity to dry between showers.

  9. -maria- says:

    Thanks for the gear reflections! Is it the Jetboil Sol Ti you have been using? My heart still beats for alcohol stoves but I have been surprisingly happy with my Jetboil Flash (with an aluminium pot) so far. I haven't owned it for a long time, but it worked flawlessly for a week in Lapland just recently.-maria- / http://mostlywalking.blogspot.com

  10. Very interesting as usual, Roger. There is a Porter 4400 on its way to me right now, will use it in Sarek in September. Was inspired by looking at yours on Coast2Coast Sweden. Interesting that you are leaving the Jetboil. I have never used one, since the increased fuel efficiency seems to crave long duration hikes to pay off. I have also felt that an ordinary pot is more versatile, just like you are writing. And it does of course hurt that you have got a lighter wind shirt than my 85 g Haglöfs 😦

  11. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks for stopping by Jörgen, I don't think you will be disappointed with the Porter they are a good load carrier. Yeah I have a love hate relationship with the Jetboil and if I could have guaranteed enough methylated spirits I probably would have taken a caldera. This trip was not conducive to open fires but the multiple uses of a top burner and pot possibly outweigh the weight disadvantage, more experimenting required. As for the windshirt if I include the carry sac that is an extra 2 gms, and maybe a couple of pieces of duct tape and the weight would be the same. In reality I would happily give you my windshirt for the opportunity to visit Sarek in September.

  12. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks Hendrik for the tip on the Aether smock, I also like the look of the Rab Newton (big side pockets for venting perhaps?) I do not at this time have any photos of the jetboil but will update the post in the next couple of days. The sidewinder or gas burner are my choices, and for short trips clearly the sidewinder is a lighter option. My suspicion re the HMG pack is the persistent wind blown rain will find any weakness in the fabric and if it rains long enough then the material begins to wick moisture, especially when the pack has no opportunity to dry between showers.

  13. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks Maria for taking the time to comment. Yes it is the Jetboil Sol Ti, I have used it now for 3 years, and to be honest it has been good to me. I hear you about alcohol stoves, and if you can resupply regularly on a long trip then they are lighter, all those empty gas canisters add up. I have taken a quick look at your blog and enjoyed your report on your recent trip, I will revisit to dig further.

  14. Very nice summery after putting the gear for a good test.I have similar experience with my HMG Expedition (now called Porter 4400). There seems to be some water seeping trough in prolonged exposure (packrafting or rain). I've always thought that the water seeps trough the seams and stiching (often quite stretched in my pack) and that the fabric wouldn't absorb any water, at least not much. I guess the well worn bottom does soak some water but other than that there isn't much. The little moisture inside isn't much of a problem as I pack my gear in waterproof sacks anyway. Some say this defeats the purpose of the cuben backpack but I disagree.I'm also on a look for new gaiters (maybe for next summer, my Inov-8s are still in servicable conditions, though they dry veeery slowly) so good info on those too.

  15. nielsenbrown says:

    It seems Jaakko that there is a general agreement that some moisture will get inside the HMG packs, but in contrast to a "normal pack" it is probably a lot less. "boots and braces" is a statement that comes to mind when it comes to including some waterproof sacks in your pack. That is having an extra layer of insurance is important for the unexpected or an planned for experience, such sacks also provide a certain level of organisation that is not readily available if everything is thrown into the pack. I am a fan of OR stuff, what they make is well designed and thought out in my view and I can trust their sizing.

  16. BadNeo says:

    Just found your blog, cool reading, especially since I'm hiking in Norway….any particular reason for choosing the Moment/Notch over the Scarp?

  17. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks for dropping by BadNeo, The Scarp is a very good shelter, and the new Moment DW comes closest to it with the extra crossing pole. My reason for preferring the Moment DW is the weight and packed size. On a long trip a little bit of weight and volume saved is important. If I lived and hiked in Norway all the time I may prefer the Scarp for its liveable space. Hope that helps.

    • NB… Thanks for posting these very helpful reviews… do you think the DW with inner wall option and outter support would have been suitable in general?
      I switched from a Jetboil to MSR reactor for Iceland because of the wind (no flame heat transfers directly into heat exchanger On the bottom of the pot… extremely efficient… it’s an amazing stove.

      • nielsenbrownoutdoors says:

        Yes, the solid inner would have made a big difference though what I had was okay, the extra pole is ideal for windy conditions and as I have indicated it really does provide a certain amount of stability. That being said I still feel that the DW is a little fiddly to set up when compared with a mid or the Notch, especially in bad weather. Thanks for the tip on the MSR reactor, I have heard a lot of good things about the reactor and could be tempted.

  18. Karl says:

    Sorry for commenting so late on this post, but my curiosity won over my politeness:Why did you choose to get and use the Moment DW instead of the Rainbow? Using the cross pole on the moment DW, it weighs in heavier than the Rainbow. The Rainbow can be used free standing, the Moment DW not. The living/floor area on the Rainbow is larger than the one in the Moment DW (at least when using the inner on the Moment DW). The Moment DW and Rainbow are both rated as 3+ season shelters. Packed size is the same for the two shelters.Was it "only" the possibility to separate inner from outer (with all the advantages connected with that) that made your decision? Or maybe the Rainbow was never on your radar./ Karl

  19. nielsenbrown says:

    Hi Karl, happy to answer questions anytime. I have used a Rainbow Version 1, a long time ago, and I would be happy to use one around the forests but would prefer not to take one up north because I found it draughty and I prefer a removable inner. I am not that interested in free standing and the shelter in my view is mostly for sleeping in or at least laying down. If I was to go for a bigger shelter it would be the Stratospire. In hindsight I would have preferred a solid inner and the Notch. More than likely next year I will use my Megalight whose weight will be about the same as the Moment DW and heavier than the Notch but will provide quick and easy shelter in bad weather. The Notch can be erected quickly and it would be my tarp tent of choice up north. Hope that helps

  20. Karl says:

    Hi Roger,Yes, that certainly helps, thank you. I understand where you're coming from regarding the solid inner preference.Me and a friend were using the DR on a week long trip up in the Kebnekaise area this summer. The tent worked brilliantly, but I did wish for a solid inner on a couple of windy nights. Had to build up wind breaks with pack and rocks to get a good nights sleep.I'll have to have a serious think about the Notch with a solid inner. It does seem a tad small if I have wait out bad weather for a day or two, but otherwise it does look really good for 3 season use.On a different note: Do you use the Megalight with or without an inner?

  21. nielsenbrown says:

    Hi KarlI do not see myself spending a day in the Notch, for me it is an overnight/resting shelter not a long term stay in the tent shelter. The weather would have to be pretty bad for me to not pack up and move somewhere. But I also feel I could, if I had to. As for the Megalight I have used it without an inner, and with an MLD Solo inner. However, I am currently waiting for my Oookworks custom inner which will be my preferred inner for the shelter on long trips up north. I expect that the weight of shelter+ inner will be in the vicinity of 1000 gms. and I will use my alloy pacer poles as the centre pole. In the new year I expect that I will post photos and further details of the set up. BTW I like the Megalight for its simplicity in set up and the quick access (2 minutes approx.) to shelter that it provides.

  22. Karl says:

    A huge shelter like the Megalight weighing in about 1kg sounds very attractive indeed. And it's a very tried and tested shelter at that, so should be good for all seasons, really.I just wish you a much faster delivery of your Oookworks inner than what I've experienced so far. I ordered an Oookworks inner to my Trailstar more than a year ago, and am still waiting for it to arrive to me.

  23. nielsenbrown says:

    Sorry to hear about your difficulties with Oookworks, I suspect part of the problem is he has become too popular and cannot deliver as fast as he gets orders. You could also look at BearPaw (bearpawwd.com) in the states. There is no doubt the Megalight is a palace for one, and if you use your hiking poles the fly only weigh 700 gms, with an inner or bivy taking the weight up to the kilo mark. I am sure it would be fine in all seasons, certainly for my needs at least. I like it for its simplicity of erection, four pegs and step inside and insert the pole, job done. You can read more at David Chenault Bedrock and Paradox site, do a search for Megalight.

  24. Karl says:

    Yeah, the wait for the Oookstar has been long, is still long, and I guess will still be long for some indeterminable time. There's unfortunately no information at all from Sean as to when I can expect the inner, despite me asking him.Thanks for the tip, Roger. I'll check out BearPaw.And definitely also search Megalight in Bedrock and Paradox. Your Megalight looks so good on the pics from your latest wanderings in Skagen, it's hard not to start lusting after it.

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