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Need help on gear/prep.
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Mike Harold
(Borealis) - F
Need help on gear/prep. on 11/05/2010 10:24:32 MDT Print View


My friend has been looking into hiking in northern Sweden and asked if I would like to go along, as he knows that for some time now i''ve been meaning to try something adventurous like that before I move to Canada where i''ll have the opportunity to do it in my ''back garden''.

Anyway, the plan is to fly to Kiruna airport and head north to where Sweden meets Finland and Norway.
We''re not experienced climbers but some sort of mountain travel would be nice to see and try.

Basically what i''m asking for is some advice on how best to prepare myself mentally and physically for it as well as the kit I would need to buy to make sure i''m well prepared.

We don''t mind if it takes 2-3 weeks round trip but ideally to be done in 2 weeks or less because i''m assuming we''re going to have to take all of our provisions with us, such as food.

As it stands, the kit i''ve bought so far is as follows;

~ Well insulated coat recommended for arctic weather.
~ Two pairs of trousers as above.
~ Good quality base layers.
~ Good quality boots and gaiters.
~ A backpack with 45 or 65L capacity.
~ A 3 man tent.
~ 100 foot of military grade Paracord.
~ Distress whistle.
~ Extensive first aid kit.
~ GPS hand set.
~ High quality torch. ( Batteries to be explained later )
~ A flint
~ A high quality knife with 3.8 inch blade.
~ 2 foil hypothermia suits/blankets.
~ Small shovel.
~ Sleeping mat/bag.
~ Water bottle.
~ Compass

I may have missed a few things off of that list but I will soon remember when it''s mentioned if I have or not.
But that''s what I have so far.

Now the obvious thing that springs to my mind is how much all of that is going to weigh, bearing in mind that we may have to carry 2 weeks of food with us.

Anyway, to the important questions.
What would be the recommended weight you would suggest people would be comfortable carrying and ideally not to exceed?
What sort of batteries retain their energy in cold temperatures ranging from freezing to 20 below?
Is it better to keep batteries disconnected from each other and circuits when not in use?
Should I wrap them up in some sort of insulation?
How far do you think we should aim to travel each day? When would you advise stopping and taking a breather and a snack and a drink?

They''re the main questions that spring to my mind at the moment but hopefully after a few replies i''ll be inclined to ask a few more.

Thanks in advance,


Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Batteries on 11/05/2010 11:15:13 MDT Print View

Mike, the only batteries that you can count on in those temperatures are the Energizer (8X) lithium ones. They aren't affected by cold down to -40*F, as all others are (alkalines peter out at +32*F, NiMH around the same temps, maybe slightly colder). Just leave them in your flashlights, unless you are worried about accidentally having the light turn itself on while it's in your pack.

Mike Harold
(Borealis) - F
Thank you. on 11/05/2010 11:32:18 MDT Print View

Gary: Excellent, thank you very much.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
notes on 11/05/2010 12:39:24 MDT Print View


for eating and drinking id recommend you eat many smaller snacks in between bigger meals ... it is absolutely important that you keep hydrated and fed in winter as your body uses more liquid and calories to keep you alive ... plan on 4000+ calories ...

if yr piiss ever turns dark, drink more water ... snack and drink every 2-3 hours on the move ...

try to keep yr winter base weight under 20 lbs .... less is of course better without comprimising safety

the danger in winter is not so much the cold itself, but the sweat ,,, work out a clothing system that will keep you cool while moving ... but warm and fuzzy when stopped

sweat will soak yr garments and could lead to hypothermia

i do recommend carrying emergency vbl in the form of a garbage bag, food handling gloves, and bread bags for the feet .... or just use yr stuff sacks if it gets ultra cold ... the amk 4oz emergency bivy makes a great emergency VBL for yr sleeping bag as well

also bring at least 2 pairs of gloves/mitts and thick socks ... you can dry one pair under yr armpits when moving or sleeping

Edited by bearbreeder on 11/05/2010 12:47:58 MDT.

Mike Harold
(Borealis) - F
Response to Eric. on 11/05/2010 12:53:45 MDT Print View

Hello Eric,

Typically I find myself sweating quite often during exercise.

I think the coat I have chosen will play a huge part on weather or not I sweat and whether I stay cool.
If you follow the link you will see the one I have;

Now i'm guessing there are still ways around tailoring my clothing to be comfortable without having to be radical and change my coat all together.
To my knowledge most people wear a comfort layer, warmth layer and then outer shell. So if I perhaps lose one of the layers and for example try and find a 'Comfortable warmth layer' that I can wear on its own beneath my jacket, should that on its own be sufficient?
The jack has adjustable wrist fittings, so I can have it open wide or I can have it closed tight, so i'm guessing if I heat up i'll open those.

I have also seen that there are some of the base layer materials that draw sweat away from the skin as it's absorbed into the material, will that play a huge part? Or even with it absorbed will it still pose as a problem?

Thanks for all the other advice aswell, I appreciate it!



eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
jacket on 11/05/2010 13:30:19 MDT Print View


Im assuming that you plan on hiking in yr puffy at 0C to -25C temps?

if the above is incorrect apologies

What i use at those temps is what climbers popularly call an "action suit" rather than a "layered system"

at its heat you still have
1. thin base layer .. thinner the faster it wicks moisture
2. some insulating ... thicker "base" layer, or fleece jacket, or both if it gets really cold
3. wind layer ... basically a DWR windshell or light softshell
4. MAYBE a hardshell ... if the temps are near 0C and rain can happen ... if the hardshell is breathable enough like event or goretex pro ... then i bring this instead of the windshell as well
4. puffy layer ... also called a belay jacket/parka ... should fit over all yr other layers ... you jacket looks fine depending on what temps u expect

the basic concept is that once you warm up and are moving, you dont need to wear you puffy ... as you will sweat and soak out yr insulation

body heat, light insulation and wind protection will keep you warm on the move ... which is why you see vids and pics of climbers in base layers all the time on high mountains

the moment you stop all that heat that you built up with start whats called a flash off... basically the heat along with the sweat will start leaving yr body and soon youll get chilled

so at the top of the pack (or strapped to the pack) is the puffy layer ... the moment you stop for any longer than taking a piiss .... it goes one ... and you preserve that heat

the concept was developed and popularized by climbers such as mark twight, andy kirpatrik and craig connally ... and others

where it WONT work is in extreme cold when youll need everything on you ... or when its borderline freezing rain when you need your insulation under yr hardshell ... but then you shouldnt need a puffy then

for the best explanations go here ...

Edited by bearbreeder on 11/05/2010 13:32:35 MDT.

Mike Harold
(Borealis) - F
Re: jacket on 11/05/2010 13:44:40 MDT Print View

Eric, I greatly appreciate the information, thanks a lot!!

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
temps on 11/05/2010 14:07:49 MDT Print View

np mike ... what temps are you expecting?

Mike Harold
(Borealis) - F
Re: temps on 11/05/2010 14:10:49 MDT Print View

At the moment there it's -3 standing air temp near the airport, as for further north there aren't really many readings because there is no civilisation further north than the airport itself really.

I am guessing the further north ( further into the arctic circle ) that it will get colder?

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
youll be fine on 11/05/2010 14:18:40 MDT Print View

youll likely be fine down to -15C+ , maybe more with that jacket it has 14 oz of 650 fill ... the same as 9-10 oz of 800 fill ... with yr shell and fleece under it

youll also need a good fleece cap/ear muffs and gloves/mitts of course

for lower temps bring fleece or syn insulated pants

remember that for every 1000m change in elevation the temp decreases by ~6.5C

Edited by bearbreeder on 11/05/2010 14:19:57 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: temps on 11/05/2010 14:19:20 MDT Print View

-3 F or -3 C ?


Mike Harold
(Borealis) - F
Re: youll be fine on 11/05/2010 14:34:55 MDT Print View


I have a good fleece, mitts and hat in place ready to go.


The site i'm looking at doesn't sais whether it's C or F. But right now it's -6 with a 3MPH wind.

Mike Harold
(Borealis) - F
Temp on 11/05/2010 14:35:39 MDT Print View

Oh, i've just seen it in an obscure part of that page, it's C.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Hydration!!! on 11/12/2010 23:22:17 MST Print View

I recently read an article in the National Ski Patrol magazine regarding hydration.

The article stated that in tests of two groups of people, one well hydrated in the AM and one who followed their own routine that: ONCE YOU GET BEHIND ON HYDRATION IN THE MORNING YOU CANNOT "CATCH UP" ON HYDRATION AT NOON OR THE REST OF THE DAY. And this definitely lowers performance for the balance of the day.

Thus it is of great importance to begin the day with good hydration and maintain it throughout the day.

Edited by Danepacker on 11/12/2010 23:22:48 MST.