When I’m out on longer tours, the food can become rather one-sided. I often prepare the food on some sort of kitchen with burners, pots and frying pans. This is the equipment the cooking is limited to. Sometimes during the trip, it is still fun to spice up the ordinary and make the food more luxurious. Nothing for example beats a fresh baked chocolate cake far away from civilization! The problem is that you don’t usually carry an oven with you, but fortunately there are several tricks to that. I tested one of these tricks, and for that you need the following:
• Trangia, pots and frying pan (lid). I recommend a Trangia with a gas burner.
• Disposable aluminium foil pan
• Chocolate cake dough
Say that you would like to bake a chocolate cake in the wild. Well, good news for you then! Grocery stores sells “ready to bake” flour mixtures of different sugar cakes. The only thing you need to add is oil and water. Then you just have to follow the instructions below:
Do you travel to areas where there is poor cell phone coverage? Have you thought how you in an emergency get help to those places, without any reception? Well, here is one option for you: SPOT.
You can get a SPOT for under 200€, but you also need a trace service to get your SPOT to work optimally, which costs around 100 € per year. Youcan get theolder SPOT modelless expensive, egMarinekauppa.comsellsthe older modelfor 99€.
The trip was organized by Ankarat Avotunturit. If you are interested in arctic expeditions I recommend you to check out their courses, programs and expeditons: Ankarat Avotunturit. If you want to read the blog we wrote from day to day on the glacier you’ll find it here: Blogi Vatnajökull (in Finnish).
I participated today in an evening at Yrjönkatu Partioaitta. Pata Degerman was host for the evening and the theme was winter touring. The emphasis was on clothing and equipment. Although some of the content was already familiar to me, I also learned new things. I got for example to see a Paris sled which was equipped in a slightly different way than my own. I also got a good tip on how to fix a protection around my thermos bottle, so it will not get dents what could cause heat leakage.
The eternal question, of what kind of sleeping bag to wear in winter, was also discussed. According to what I’ve learned from previous lessons and courses, you should have an inner down sleeping bag and an outer bag with a synthetic material. That should move the moisture away from your body through the down bag to the synthetic material. According to yesterday’s discussion it was recommended to only have one sufficiently thick down sleeping bag. But it hard to say what is right and what is wrong. As long as you don´t freeze it´s good. We also went into the subject on how to do when nature calls in a snow storm, and that it may be more difficult for ladies to go to the “bathroom” quickly without having to remove several layers of clothing. Well, now there is GoGirl on the market! I’m not going in on that subject more, but you can check out this link: GoGirl, and make your own opinion on how practical it would be.
This was a pilot evening, and we can hope for that Partioaitta is going to arrange more evenings like this in the future. This concept is great!
Scroll down for a an update on the review (1.3.2016)
I bought a new tent! At first I had difficulties to choose which tent I was going to buy. I’ve had my Jack Wolfskin Eclipse II dome tent for several years, and I have actually been quite satisfied with it. The biggest issue has been the weight. It’s quite a small tent but weights up to almost 4 kg! It´s the poles that have the most weight, because they are heavy glass fiber poles with rubber coating. On the last trip to UKK it also made clear that the tent isn´t so good in any wind.
So, I wanted following features in my new tent: 1) lighter than 4 kg, 2) wind proof, 3) roomier, 4) the feature that the rain fly is attached to the inner tent when pitching the tent, so the tent keeps dry when pitching in rainy weather.
I first looked at some models of Hilleberg tents, but sadly my economy didn’t give in. At the XXL store they have Helsport tents, quite similar to Hilleberg models, but a little bit cheaper. I actually for a long time considered buying a Helsport tunnel tent. Then I found the Bergans Trollhetta 3 tunneltent at the same store. It was half the price of a Helsport tent, weight around 3 kg, the vestibule was roomie and the tent was made for three persons! At first I was a little bit skeptical because the tent was cheap compared to other tents, but I thought I would give it a try. It was at first difficult to find any information and reviews about the tent, but then I discovered that the tent model is called Bergans Rondane 3 in the U.S. and in some other countries. The previous model for the tent was called Bergans Compact Light 3, and it’s quite similar to the new one. I found some good reviews about the tent, and it was clear that the tent also was wind proof.
I think that the three-person tent is perfect for two persons, because on long trips it´s nice to have that extra room when sleeping and spending time in camps in the evenings. And of course it´s nice with a bigger vestibule so you have a bigger shelter when you cook and a roomie place to store your equipment over the night.
More specs and opinions about the tent come later when I have had time to pitch it for the first time.
The Bergans Trollhetta 3 tent was with us to Koli on a winter adventure. Here’s a quick review:
It was easy to set up, and with snow pegs in the short ends, we got the tent firmly standing on snow. When we pitched the tent the temperature was 0°C or warmer, and the snow was pretty loose. During the night it had snowed and the tent had a a layer of wet snow in the morning and also the rain fly had become looser. We got the tent tight by tightening the guy lines. Inner tent hung still a lot, and it was hard to get tense.
In the evening the temperature had dropped to below freezing, and when we tightned guy lines for the night I noticed that the loop that the guy line runs through had frozen solid so that half of the guy rope became loose (see picture). The tent was held tense until the morning because the loop was still frozen, but if the weather would have become warmer the rope would have dissolved and the tent would have lagged together.
As previously mentioned, I’m super happy that I chose the three-person tent, because it is really crowded for three persons, but perfect for two. But if you have all your stuff in the big vestibule, there is enough room for three persons. In the foot end, there is not much space, either sideways or upwards, so here you easily kick the inner tent against the rain fly. If you’re tall, the length of the tent can be a problem. If it’s snowing, the heavy snow can push the rainfly against the innertent, and your feet cam accidentally push the innertent against the rainfly.
We had both of the ventilation open when we slept, and in the morning there was only a little frosty condensation on the inside of the tent. So in winter conditions the tent’s ventilation works apparently fine. In the summer the dark color of the tent can cause it to be too hot in the tent during calm weathers if the sun shines directly on the tent.
Read also the comment section below.
Here is a new update of the tent. This time the tent’s fabric is in focus. I pitched the tent on a hot day and the tent looked perfect. The fabric was tense and there were no folds or loose facric. It was over 20°C and the sun shone straight on the tent. Inside the tent it was even warmer. A little too hot. Although I had all the vents open and the door open, it felt as if the air was kept really still in the tent, although there was a slight breeze outside. So this is not a cool summer tent, mostly because of the dark tent fabric.
In the evening, when the sun went down and the humidity rose, the tent began sagging together. In the pictures you can compare how the canvas reacts. Now this is just the difference between day and evening. At the night it was even more loose. I also wonder how the canvas then reacts in rainy weather if the fabric stretches this much only of relative humidity.
Project Aluminium box began when I few weeks ago hatched out of me the following: ” How hard can it be to a build a box for two burners?”. You can by boxes that are made specially for this purpose, but they costs nearly 150 €! Sure, it also would be possible to rent a box for the trip. Dad promised nevertheless to help with the construction. He did not know for sure what he had settled in on. So the project started! The result, which was better than expected, you can see below. Somethings is yet to be fixed, so it is not completely finished.
Planning in progress.
Drawings for the project.
The base for the box.
A lid and a front hatch with piano hinges.
Place for bottle and burner 1.
Place for bottle and burner 2. (The pot is in the burner’s place.)
Photo additions to the post: This is how the finished product looked like:
A Trangia with gas works great when the temperature is above freezing, but causes problems immediately when it gets colder. Nowadays you can find wintergas, but I’m not convinced that it would work flawlessly in tens of degrees below zero. Now I have in front of me a multifuel burner: the MSR XGK EX, which actually works with which liquid fuel whatsoever – everything from automotive gasoline to jet fuel. I use Neste’s 4T -petrol, which you can buy in 5l canisters, for example from K-Rauta. It’s much cheaper than the “real” fuel that you can purchase from outdoor stores. The idea is that you can travel around the world and get the burners to work with the fuel that is available in that area you are in. XGK is in all temperatures reliable, and it’s not called in vain for the world’s most reliable outdoor kitchen. Earplugs can probably still be in place, especially if you’re going for hours to sit next to the kitchen in a small space; the burner sounds like a jet engine! It’s difficult to cook food that need less heat during cooking, because the burner has no fine adjustment of the flame, it works with the principle on/off. For melting snow this is no problem!
In order to have the kitchen in the tent (Yes, I know it is against all tent manufacturers’ advice …), it’s good to have a box to keep the burners in. In the box, made of aluminum, the burner with fuel bottle, and the necessary pots take place. If the kitchen for some reason could flare up, you can close the lid and throw out the entire package in the snow. Most boxes have space for two burners and fuel bottles. When one is in use for melting snow, you can use the second to warm up and dry up the tent. So yes, it is possible to get things dry in the tent. For safety’s sake you should only take your sleeping bags in the tent when you have switched off the burners. At night it becomes cold, but a good sleeping bag can handle it well. I started today to plan an aluminum box for two burners. I have now the measurements done, so will see if it gets to produce one.
I have for a long time thought that it would be nice to try drying minced meat, because you would have a little more food possibilities on the tours. So now it was time to try some experiments. I dug 500g minced moose meat out of the freezer. Moose is perfect for drying purposes, because you want to dry meat containing as little fat as possible (otherwise it can go rancid quickly). It’s possible to fry meat without fat in a non-stick fry pan, just do not have the pan too hot when you begin. After frying, the meat weighted 300 grams. You could then spread out the meat on a baking sheet that you put in the oven. 70 degrees for about 10 hours will do it. You can leave the oven door slightly open so that moisture can escape better from the oven. At the end the dried meat weighted 108 g.
Now I have tried the meat I dried some time ago. At first, I was a bit skeptical about the whole thing, because it looked and smelled quite like cat food. But the result was still a super good meal! The meat was allowed to stand about 20 minutes in a food thermos, with added water. (I got the TV-Shop thing Aromipesä in mind…) I made som mashed potato from powder, to get the right sense of the whole thing, and yet I was pleasantly surprised how good it was. I think I’ll try drying other things too, but what I do not know yet. Will take some inspiration from the book Torka mat (Dry food), by Eric Tornblad, 2012, which contains everything you can imagine having to know about food drying.
A Fjellpulken fiberglass sled costs nearly 1000 €, but you can get a sled much cheaper than that. EraPro Paris Expedition is a plastic sled which works well for some purposes, and you can buy one for under 60 €. You can find them for example at Varuste.net. In Sarek, I pulled around one, with Fjellpulkens parallel drag, and it was perhaps not the most optimal in mountain conditions. For glacier skiing it should be perfect, because you mainly ski on a flat surface. I got an own Paris sled which I have equipped with rope drag. I have drilled some holes in the sled, and attached a rubber band for holding the load in the sled. To get the luggage in shelter, I have a big bag that is as long and wide as the sled (Snowsled Expedition Bag). As harness I use the basic Fjellpulken harness, which I have equipped with a chest strap.
Arctic expeditions often uses tunnel tents, because the shape can handle the wind and the tents are easy to roll up into a large roll that is attached on the sled. Today i attached straps on my sled, which can be used just for this purpose. The straps also keeps the stuff in the sled steadier in place. Bauhaus had 25 mm straps and fitting clips for the purpose. The result below: