After a long winter, summer season is finally upon us here in the Swedish mountains and I’m probably not the only one longing for those endless summer nights and that bittersweet buzzing sound of the mosquitoes.
Last year I shared a post with My Top 10 Backpacking Gear and my favorite gear hasn’t changed much since. But two things have: I have a new camera (!) and I’ve added a security item to the list. I’ve also gone through the post and made some refinements to it.
In addition to the post I’ve put together a detailed PDF Gear List that you can download below.
I will point out that this is not the cheapest gear around but it’s my experience that high quality gear lasts longer which is better for the environment.
You also get to develop that special bond with a favorite piece of gear that’s been with you for a long time. I think some of you might now what I’m talking about. For example, the jacket that I’m wearing in the picture above has been a great companion on many adventures and is still going strong.
Let’s get to it.
- The Backpack – Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter 5400
Lightweight, nearly waterproof and versatile. I’ve used the the 4400 version before but I find the added space of the larger 5400 model to be nice for hauling heavy equipment on longer trips. It’s a minimalist type of pack but you can add extras outside.
I found this pack to strike a good balance between durability and weight. If your’e not carrrying as much gear as me the 4400 version is probably the better choice. They also make a model called Southwest which has convenient pockets on the outside. Petra, my partner, has one of those and it works really well for her.
- Tent – Hilleberg Niak / Soulo / Allak or the HMG Ultamid II
I choose tent depending on the terrain I will encounter and I’ve acquired a few over the years. I really enjoy pyramid shelters like the Ultamid II for their simplicity but in some terrain it’s better with a freestanding tent like the Hilleberg Niak or Soulo. All are excellent and roomy options for solo adventures.
In terms of stormproofness my experience is that Soulo is the best, followed by Ultamid and then Niak. The same order applies when it comes to durability. For exposed terrain I choose the Soulo and it has the benefit of being a true 4-season tent. For two persons I recommend the Ultamid or the Hilleberg Allak 2 which is a great allrounder.
- Camera Equipment – Fujifilm GFX 100S + Lenses (Updated!)
This year I’ve switched camera from the Fujifilm GFX 50R to the Fujifilm GFX 100S. The main reason is of course the higher resolution which will be stunning when I print my work. I’m also excited to try it out as a video camera. As you might have seen I’ve filmed more and more on my adventures and I’ve felt somewhat limited by the 18-55 mm lens I’ve used on the XT-4 so far.
The lenses I use for the GFX system are the 23 mm, 32-64 mm, 100-200 mm and the 250 mm and I’m now looking forward to use them for video to get more creative possibilities. Sometimes I bring all four lenses, other times I pick the three that I think will be most suitable for the terrain and the type of work that I want to do.
- Tripod – Feisol 3442 Tripod + Acratech GP-ss Ballhead
The best lightweight tripod system I’ve found. The tripod is tall enough for me (I’m 178 cm) and the ballhead is both sturdy and have some extra features like the ability to make easy panorama stitching by inverting the head.
- Insulating Jacket – Arcteryx Atom AR
Synthethic insulation isn’t as warm per gram as down but this jacket has become a favorite of mine. It’s a great allround piece and dries much faster than down. Also, after years of use, I have found it to be more durable than the lightweight down jackets I have used before. Very comfortable!
- Wind Jacket – Arcteryx Squamish Hoody
A simple wind shirt is an essential piece for wilderness travel. I love this one from Arcteryx. It’s lightweight, breathable and as a bonus it works as a protection from the mosquitoes. Quick drying and versatile!
- Sleep System – Katabatic Gear Flex and Therm-A-Rest Xtherm
In the summer I use quilts instead of sleeping bags as I find them more comfortable. I believe Therm-A-Rest makes the best sleeping pads in terms of comfort, weight and durability. The Xtherm model works all year round which I like. One pad for everything.
- Stove – MSR Pocket Rocket 2 (or Wind Pro II)
I’ve used the original version of this stove for more than 10 years (it’s still going strong) and the new version is even better. Coupled with a titanium pot it makes for a great summer cooking system, although you need to have shelter from the wind to use it. If you want to be able to cook outside of the tent I would instead recommend a remote gas canister stove, for example MSR Wind Pro II.
- Hiking Poles – Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork
When carrying a heavy backpack in difficult terrain a pair of hiking poles makes life easier. I like these ones from Black Diamond and they work equally good in summer as in winter and are also sturdy enough to pitch the Ultamid with. Makes water crossings easier and safer. Once you start hiking with poles it’s hard to go back
- Security – Garmin InReach Mini (New!)
Carrying a satellite communication device gives peace of mind for both your loved ones back home and yourself. You can send both pre-programmed messages or you can write text messages by connecting it to your phone through Bluetooth. Worth noting is that you need to be on a service plan for the unit to work. You can write a message directly using the buttons on the unit but I’ve found it to be tricky to say the least.
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