New gear for 2013 Lapland trip

In just under two weeks, I’ll be riding the rails up to northern Finnish Lapland, where I will meet up with blacksmith and wilderness guide Pasi Hurttila for a one-week bushcrafting, backpacking, fishing and hunting trip to Lemmenjoki National Park. If you are a fan of Lars Monsen, you might remember that he visited Lemmenjoki in one of his “Nordkalotten” show episodes. Being 2,860 km² (1,100 mi²) in size makes it the largest national park in Finland and one of the largest in Europe. To the northwest of the park lies Øvre Anárjohka National Park in Norway.

Over the past few weeks, I have been spending a little time here and there preparing for the upcoming trip. I’ve been filling a few small gaps in my gear list to make sure the trip will be a successful and dry one (the weather can be sunny, rainy, snowy or all of the above at this time of year…) so I thought I’d show you the new items I’ve picked up for the trip. When I return, I’ll write a separate post with a full list of all the gear I brought with me.

New items for upcoming trip to Lemmenjoki National Park.

Starting from the top and moving clockwise:

  • Swedish army LK-70 rucksack previewed here. This 70-liter pack has more than enough room for the gear I’ll be bringing. It’s an old pack, but it’s comfortable and rugged.
  • Although the Swedish army boots I’ve been using for a few years were serving me well, I had to retire them due to an unintentional incident involving the Woodsboy which rendered them unusable (more on that another time…). I bought a pair of Alpina Vento MID hiking boots and so far have spent about 2.5 hours breaking them in. They’re starting to soften up now, and I will continue working on them over the next two weeks so they’re ready for the trip.
  • Even though I’m going to waterproof the canvas pack ahead of the trip, I went ahead and bought a Tatonka rain cover for it. It’s very compact and lightweight and will come in handy if we get caught in any downpours.
  • The “white and green rectangle” is a topographic map of Lemmenjoki Park which Pasi was nice enough to send me. We spent some time this evening going over the places we’d like to visit and our general off-trail route through the park, as well as other aspects of the trip. Pasi seems like a really nice and knowledgeable guy!
  • Next up is an Ortlieb map case for said map.
  • It was time to buy a new compass (the old one had a large bubble in the fluid-filled chamber), so I picked up the Brunton model O.S.S. 30B compass. It seems like a solid compass and a quality piece of gear.
  • The orange roll is a self-inflating sleeping pad made by the Finnish company Retki. The foam pads I had been using for the past few years have seen much better days, and it was time to replace them.
  • After years of rolling my Swiss army sleeping bag up in my bivy bag and taking up too much room in/on my pack with it, I finally bought a dry sack from Sea to Summit to keep it in. It’s much more compact and protected from the elements now.
  • Last, but not least, in the center of the picture, is NIKWAX Cotton Proof canvas waterproofing agent. I’ll use this to treat the LK-70 pack, as well as my cotton pants.

Well, that’s about it. These items should complement my existing gear nicely and provide me with extra comfort, security and protection from the elements. With these purchases, I should now be all set for my upcoming trip!


24 comments on “New gear for 2013 Lapland trip

  1. Rocky says:

    I had one of the Swedish packs and it disappeared in one of my moves. Really miss it and wish I could find another in a surplus store or ?? I surely envy your upcoming trip and into such beautiful country. I visited Norway a few years back on business and enjoyed every minute except the smoke filled pubs. They seem to smoke like chimneys there!
    BTW, my double bit axe is coming along slower than I had hoped but I’m also busy with the early archery season as a guide. I’m going to take my time and make it a nice one. Perhaps it will end up as a winter project? How is the cabin coming along?

    • I can send you one of the packs from here, Rocky. It would cost about 55 Euros ($70) plus international shipping. It might end up being cheaper if you buy one from a place in the States, though.

      Sounds like you’ve been busy with outdoor activities. Good to hear. 🙂

      Haven’t been to the cabin lately, but I think we’re planning on going there every few weeks when time permits. I’ll be sure to post updates here. 🙂

  2. wgiles says:

    Your comments`about your new boots reminded me of an experience that I had several years ago. I was planning a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains N. P. I had bought a pair of Vasque Sundowners a few week before my trip and had them fitted to me at the store. I wore them for some short hikes around home prior to my trip with no apparent problems. Once I got to the Smokies, I went on a short hike to low gap, about 5 miles round trip and maybe 1000 feet elevation difference. By the time that I got back from this hike, i could hardly walk. It is hard to describe what happened. I wasn’t blistered, but the backs of my feet, just above my heels hurt so much, that I had great difficulty walking for several days. I switched to a different pair of boots, and, after recovering, had no more problems. My Sundowners are good comfortable boots and I have to believe that my problems came from not wearing them longer before hiking in them. I think that one factor was the change in topography. Where I live, it’s relatively flat and I can’t simulate a mountain hike. Since that time, I have never gone on a trip with boots that don’t have quite a few miles on them. I have never had a similar experience. I hope that your trip goes well and that you have many rewarding adventures.

    • You’re absolutely right, Bill. Breaking boots in properly for the terrain you will be covering is so important. As of right now, I’ve spent 3 hours in my new boots, and there’s a long way to go. I will continue breaking them in every day until I leave for Lapland, including dayhikes. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  3. Carol says:

    Have a great time!! Enjoy using your newly purchased items too!!

  4. stellingsma2010 says:

    bring youre puuko and firesteel 🙂 my roots are in finland miss that country 🙂 have a good time …..

  5. Skaukraft says:

    Looks like yuore in for a great trip.
    Good luck, and stay safe.

  6. Ron says:

    I so wish I could have joined you, but it wasn’t meant to be.
    Stay save, enjoy it and return in one piece. I hope you’re packing some cold weather stuff too, since I have that odd feeling you’ll be needing it.

    • Maybe next year the circumstances will be right and we can plan another trip, like to Swedish Lapland. I’d definitely be up for that! 🙂

      You can be sure I’ll be prepared for cooler weather. I’ve had enough of “nature’s surprises” in Finland to have learned a lot of important lessons. 🙂 The temperature can easily drop below 0*C overnight, and I’ll be ready if it happens.

  7. Chad says:

    I’d be interested in what you think about the Finnish-made Retki.

    Great Stuff!

  8. OZme says:

    Will wait for the trip report, but probably, when you have the report up, I am out there in Russian wilderness.
    Have fun and great time!

  9. HenLan says:

    I just today got an swiss army sleeping bag delivered to me. I think it is the same as the one you have. I was surprised over how big it was. It will be very hard to get it in a rucksack. I saw on your picture that you stuffed it in a dry sack from Sea to summit. How big is that pack? My sleeping bag is approximately 70×30 cm when I roll it up.
    Great blog by the way. I just found it a couple of days ago and are reading from the beginning.

    • Yes, the Swiss bag is big, but I like it that way, both because I like to move around a lot when I sleep and because it easily lets me fit other sleeping bags inside it. It will compress down to a reasonably small size, as you noted with the Sea to Summit stuff sack. That sack is roughly 40-50 x 15-20 cm. Sorry I can’t be more precise, but I don’t have it here with me at the moment to measure it.

      Glad you are enjoying the blog, and thanks for the comments! 🙂

      • HenLan says:

        Is it this Sea to Summit dry sack you use to your sleeping bag:
        In order to get the sleeping bag in to that dry sack do you fold it in any special way? Do you have room for the liner in the dry sack? When I look at my sleeping bag I have hard to believe I can fit it in that dry sack, but maybe I can learn a trick or two from you.

        • Looks like that could be the one, but I’m not absolutely sure. The sleeping bag and stuff sack are at the old farm, so I don’t have access to them right now. I will be going there this weekend, though, and can check for you!

          I don’t fold the bag in any special way to make it fit. I just squish it in bit by bit, making sure that it’s always as compact as can be before putting more in. Unfortunately, the liner does not fit in there as well.

          Again, I can check the size of the stuff sack for you this weekend!

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