Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Response to 20 Viewers' Backpacking Tips

A month ago I announced a give-away contest on my Youtube channel, the winner getting their choice of either a tarp or a bug bivy from Borah Gear.  Thanks again to Borah Gear who were nice enough to put up the prize for this contest!  They make great gear and have a well-earned good reputation in the online UL community, for instance on Reddit's UL forum.

So the contest was pretty straight forward: to enter just leave a comment with a favorite backpacking tip on my 1000 subscriber video special, and I would take 20 of them and pick one at random.  I also wanted to share all 20 of these tips here on my blog and also give some feedback on each tip, so here we go!  I will make a short video picking the winner at random shortly after publishing this post.  

Thanks to all my readers, Youtube subscribers, and special thanks to everyone that left a tip and entered the contest.  These are good tips, and I've been looking forward to responding to them as they collected over the past month.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Cesar's Guide to The Troll Trail/Trollleden: Introduction


The Troll Trail (or TT for short, or Trollleden in Swedish) is a long distance hiking route I created that goes from city of Göteborg in the south, to lake Grövelsjön in the north on the Swedish-Norwegian border.  It passes through mostly southwest Sweden, but at times goes into southeast Norway or follows along close to (or even right on) the border.  It is approximately 1,100km long, but there are several side trails, loops, and optional parts of the route that are not included in that total.

The TT can be hiked as an alternative section of the E1 European long distance path in Sweden, rather than the official Swedish E1 route.  You can read more about the official E1 route in my guide to it here.  I created the TT as a direct result of hiking the Swedish E1.  While I enjoyed this path overall, there were some problems with several sections, such as lack of trail maintenance, very little information/documentation, very isolated areas (making it difficult to resupply or have access to public transportation), and some sections had quite a bit of walking on asphalt and/or gravel roads.

But the shortcomings of the official Swedish E1 trail was not my only motivation in putting together this trail.  After many years hiking in the areas that the TT goes through, I really fell in love with the nature and terrain of places like Bohuslän and Dalsland.  I discovered more obscure nature reserves and woodland trails that not as many hikers travel to, or even know exist.  Yet other established and well known hiking trails were not that far away.  The more I hiked, the more a new route made sense, and I had a great time in the process as well.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cesar's Guide to the Edsleskog Loop








Introduction

This lovely little loop is based on several trails around the village of Edsleskog, which is west of the town of Åmål.  It's a shorter loop, starting in and then returning to Edsleskog being a total of only 20-30km, depending on how you hike it.  There is a small network of trails that cover much of the nature reserve, along with a few gravel roads, though there is not much road walking overall--and better yet, very little asphalt involved.  You can get to the village by bus from Åmål, or you can hike there on a trail that connects the two places.  


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cesar's 2017 Go-To, UL Big Three


Intro

It's been a hot minute since I did a detailed breakdown of some of my favorite pieces of gear, so this time I figured I'd do all my big three configurations for each season of the year.  Regular readers will recognize quite a bit of gear, which itself is a testament to its quality and durability.  But there are some new additions to my collection of big three gear that I am very excited about, and can't wait to get more good use out of them.  

Before I get to the gear, however, some of you may be new here and some context is helpful to better understand why I chose the essential components of my kit.  So let's get that out of the way first, but you can also read my more detailed post on outdoor life in Sweden here.

General use
Solo (or with friends but sleeping solo), wilderness, UL backpacking on section hikes and weekend trips during all four season of the year.

Location
Scandinavia, mostly in the forests and fjälls (alpine mountains/hills) of the lower half of Sweden, and sometimes across the boarder in southeast Norway.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

My Current, General Trail Routines

Introduction

My take on trail routines was inspired by this great book I am reading at the moment by Liz "Snorkel" Thomas, Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru Hike.  I thought it would be fun for me and perhaps useful and fun for others to see a rough sketch of what my routines are while I'm out wilderness backpacking, and this is the result.  In Liz's book, she gives her and other experienced thru-hiker's trail routines, and I found it both useful and interesting to compare them to my own.  

Now I am no thru-hiker (yet), but a humble section hiker, and Liz and her choice of experts are some of the most experienced backpackers you'll find on the entire planet.  While I do have a fair amount of experience under my belt over the last few decades of backpacking and outdoor life, it's but a shadow compared to other hardcore hikers like Liz.  They would maybe laugh at my daily personal goals when it comes to how far and long I hike, as they would likely have no problem hiking literally double of what I usually hike.  But the book gives me hope for my future life as a thru-hiker once I sort out some life complications that prevent me from getting out there more and for longer periods of time.

Anyhow, it's a great read so far (I'm about halfway through it), in case anyone reading this is looking for a good, non-fiction backpacking book to read.  Though this book is specifically for people who fully intend on going on (or who already have gone on) one or more thru hikes, not the casual backpacker, I would add.  And no, I didn't get a copy for free, nor do I know Liz at all--just an honest recommendation!  

Now on to some of my routines.  I will breakdown my most common trips, which are section hikes here in Scandinavia for 2-6 days.  These trips are usually on marked trails, but there are also the occasional off trail/bushwhacking trips I like to do as well.  The main difference is that I usually don't hike as far on off trail trips, as they are often to familiar stomping grounds where I want to relax and maybe read a book, pick more wild edibles, go for a longer swims, etc.  So I won't get into my off trail routines, which can vary greatly depending on my mood, weather, the season, etc.