HIking gear 2015

Photo: My Fully loaded Osprey Xenith 88 and Norrøna Narvik Fleece

2015 Gear List – Kungsleden trail, Sweden

Here is my gear list for my September 2015 hike on Sweden’s Kungsleden trail. While I am starting a little on the late side, the goal is to hike from Abisko to Hemevan, a total distance of 440 kilometers. Most of the equipment here is well tested gear that I’ve used in northern Scandinavia over the past years, with the exception of a tent being the most important piece of new gear.

For the first 2 weeks of the trip, I will be utilizing the STF mountain huts, typically spaced 12 – 20 kilometers apart. For the second half of the trail, a majority of the route will require tent camping for periods up to 5-6 days between shelters. This means I need to be prepared for 6 days and 6 nights of rain with no ability to dry off. Lets hope that doesn’t happen though!

Backpack: I’ve now put in a good amount of miles with the Osprey Zenith 88. While I wish I could carry a small and lighter back, the realities of being a photographer mean this is not possible for me yet. The good news is that the Zenith 88 is an incredibly comfortable bag, probably the best backpack I’ve ever owned. It carries 25 kg like a champion, making long days on the trail pass just a little bit easier. If I were not a photographer, the Osprey Talon 44 would be my chosen bag for this trip, and is what one of my hiking partners will be using.

Tent: I have updated tents for this year, exchanging a Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum for a MSR Hubba Hubba NX. Contrary to my usual advice, the MRS is actually substantially heavier than the Big Agnes. I like the Big Agnes a lot, but having given it quite a bit of use over the last couple years, I don’t feel it will be a suitable 2 person tent for multi-day backpacking in inclement weather. Just getting in and out in the rain is a chore, and greatly increases you and your stuff getting wet. The MSR will provide much better livability for the inevitable rainy days and nights.

Clothing: Even though I’ll be on the trail for an expected 30 days, there is not much to spare here. In other words, I’ll pretty much always be wearing most of the gear on this list. Should I have better than expected weather, then there won’t be much extra to carry, but on the other hand, if the temperature drops much below freezing, then I will be a bit borderline in my comfort level while stationary, which just means I can’t take long breaks on the side of the trail in a snow storm.

In the inclement weather, I expect to have a 50/50 usage of softshell and hardshell pants. If it looks like it’s going to rain as I dress in the morning, then hardshells it is. My fleece jacket will probably be constantly worn. And though I have given some thought to a wind-shirt type jacket for a little extra weather protection for light drizzle or snow, so a fleece is a bit less flexible in this situation, it’s what I have.

Shell Layers: I’ll once again use my Mountain Hardwear Thrice jacket, so same jacket I wore in 2012 on the trail. While I would like the weight savings of a lighter shell, I know this jacket is waterproof in the likelihood in which I will be required to hike multiple days in cold rain while camping. The Norrona Falketind shell pants are light and with full leg zips. I’m probably not going to risk overheating, but if I do, then I have some ventilation.

Gloves: Fleece gloves aren’t too effective in cold rain. Ideally, I would suggest a light pair of goretex lined gloves to keep your hands dry while hiking in the rain.

Shoes: I’m once again going with lightweight goretex lined trail runners, as the last time on the trail I was able to keep my feet pretty dry for the most part. And during the first 2 weeks, there is the nightly option of drying any potentially wet shoes while staying in the huts. There will be some risk for the middle section of the trail when I will be camping each night, with no real option to dry off, especially if I’m unfortunate enough to experience multiple consecutive raining days. There are a few lightweight mid-hight boots that I’ve looked at, but these will have to wait till another year.

Base gear and sleeping:

Backpack – Osprey Xenith 88 2380g – 48oz
Sleeping Bag – REI Sub Kilo -7˚C – 20˚F  820g – 29oz
Sleeping Pad – Thermarest Neo Air – 397g – 14oz (old version)
Tent – MSR Hubba Hubba NX  1720g – 61oz
Stove – MSR WindBurner  432g – 15.25oz
Trekking Poles – Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z 297g – 10.5oz

Clothing:

Shell Jacket – Mountain Hardwear Trice 489g – 17oz
Insulation – Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 197g – 7oz
Fleece – Norrøna Narvik w/hood 431g  – 15oz
Pants – Norrøna Falketind Flex 1 softshell 434g  – 15.3oz
Shell Pants – Norrøna Falketind Dri 3 Full Zip 408g – 14.3oz
T-shirt – 3x synthetic hiking shirts
Underwear – 3x
Socks – 3x
Gloves – fleece
Beanie
Rain Hat
Knee brace

Other:

First Aid Kit
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Camp Soap
Camp Towel
Sunblock
Lighter
Plastic Spoon/Fork
Knife

Footwear:

Inov8 Roclite 312 gtx

Food:

Maximum 9 days of food at a time, with an average of 500-600 grams per day
Breakfast: Muesli bars, Almonds, Cashews, Dried Fruit
Lunch: Muesli bars, Almonds, Dried Fruit
Snacks: Dried Fruit, Chocolate, Chocolate Covered Almonds
Dinner: Cous Cous, Instant Asian Noodles, Instant Soup, Instant Mash Potato

After my last time on the trail I didn’t eat cous cous again for at least 6 months. I suspect this time it might be up to a year. The goal is for compact, nutrient rich foods with a good energy to weight ratio. I could eat a pack of rice cakes to fill my stomach for breakfast, but then I would need a whole other backpack due to the volume.

As you can see, I’m only carrying the minimum of gear to complete the trail. But this unfortunately my backpack will be much heaving than this, as I haven’t included camera gear yet, which will probably end up weighing as much as my camping gear. And as I wrote above, where I not going to carry camera gear, a 40-50 liter backpack would be sufficient, and is what you should use if you are not a photographer. My choice would be an Osprey Talon 44, a bag I often use for short 1-2 day peak bagging trips where camera gear is at a minimum.

Hiking Kungsleden trail in Autumn, Sweden
Photo: Opsrey Talon 44 backpack, Kungsleden trail, September 2012