The lavvu lives again

Before I jump into today’s post, I’d just like to mention that Ilkka Seikku’s website is down temporarily. He is still there working and taking orders. He can be reached at


I was fortunate enough to get out to the forest again this weekend for a few hours. My main goals were to get some exercise, enjoy the sunshine and reconstruct my winter shelter, a lavvu/kota/teepee which I set up for the first time about a year ago. My inspiration for the shelter was the temporary shelter tent used by the Saami and other reindeer-herding groups of northern Eurasia.

I drove to the same spot as last time and parked the car.

When I got to the deeper snow, I strapped on the snowshoes and followed the path I made last weekend. Along the way to my campsite I spotted this (made by a ruffed grouse as he took flight, I believe).

The sunny forest was just beautiful.

This next track is kind of hard to see. I think it’s from a lynx.

And some bunny tracks.

There’s a small pine sapling in here somewhere.

A few shots of the area surrounding my campsite.

When I first got to my campsite, it was about -18*C/-0.5*F.

I managed to find my shelter cover after a little searching in the snow.

After a bit, the temperature had dropped to -20*C/-4*F.

After a bunch of ice-breaking, struggling and cursing, I managed to open up the frozen folded tarp and set it up crudely on the frame (It will need to be adjusted and tailored in the future). I can’t wait to do an overnighter there soon and use my new stove from Perkunas.

The sunset was beautiful, and it was about time for me to go.

While snowshoeing back, I noticed that the cold temperatures and heavy snow load had caused two pine trees to break and fall over the road sometime after I had passed there earlier. I was already having problems taking pictures with my camera at -20*C/-4*F, and there was no chance of getting any shots at -23*C/-9.5*F (the temperature at the time), though I did try. I broke off a few dead branches by hand so I could pass under the trees and continue on my way. Next time I go that way I will cut those trees and move them off the road. I guess I can’t really complain about my camera not working, though, since it’s the same low temperatures that also made the sky so clear and beautiful (I believe it has something to do with it being difficult for clouds to form).

Fake-fur hat update: It worked really well on this outing, but was still too hot for snowshoeing at -18*C/-0.5*F on the way to my camp! I was able to wear it on the way back though, after the temperature had dropped. It was very comfy and warm while I was sitting around eating lunch and not moving around at my campsite.


17 comments on “The lavvu lives again

  1. I never thought I would enjoy hiking in the winter – your photos let the secret out – thank you.

  2. Ross Gilmore says:

    Very cool. The temperature where I am went back up, so now everything is a slush. 😦 I wish we had some more snow. Sounds like you had a great trip. I look forward to the overnight.

    • Thanks, bud. The temperature is expected to drop to nearly -30*C over the next few days, so I am looking forward to more ice-cold fun. 🙂 In February, it can drop to -40*C or so in this area, so the coldest part of the winter is yet to come. I’ll be doing an overnighter sometime in Feb. I think I’m nuts!

      Hope you get some snow and cold temps soon!

  3. Egads – don’t freak me out so early 🙂 I am still astounded I actually walked a flat trail…

  4. Ron says:

    Nice going again, Matt!
    Those first few foto’s are christmascardpics!!
    You definitely have lower temps. then we do and also a lot more snow. I can see why this lavvudesign is the way it is. It sure does come in handy with 40 or more cm of snow on top it things!
    So the fakefurhat is for static wintercamping only, hmm… Really makes me wonder weither I actually should go for an ushanka or not. Guess not, since I’m not all that cold that quick. For now I’ll just see what I can do with what I have.

    • Thanks Ron. The landscape sure is beautiful!

      Well, I’ve found that the hat is comfortable to sit around in at temperatures around -7*C (the weekend before last), but also at -20*C or colder, so it is a good hat for a range of temperatures. But yes, I found it too hot to be worn while being very active unless the temperature is below -20*C. So I have decided to bring along another hat for use while I am hiking/snowshoeing, and will then switch hats when I go to rest. I think it’s the only solution at certain temperatures, but if your weather is warmer than here, you probably wouldn’t need one.

      By the way, thanks for adding my blog to your blog list at your blog. 🙂

  5. OZme says:

    it is a beautyfull Finnish winter wonderland. thanks for showing!

  6. […] about my daytrip to the forest, where the temperature was -7*C (19.5*F). I went to the same place the following weekend, but the temperature during that outing ranged from -18*C (-0.5*F) to -23*C (-9.5*F). Well, […]

  7. Elen Sentier says:

    Beautiful … very envious 🙂

  8. […] to not only tolerate the winter, but embrace it (a few outings from last winter can be found here, here, here and here). No bugs, no rain, silent forests, gorgeous scenery…what’s not to […]

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