I’ll soon write to another blog why I did this, but for now you’ll just need to wait :)
I got great guidance and gear from my internet friend Hendrik (thanks again!). Without his help I could have never done this. Proper preparation is required, so before you attempt anything like this (not saying this was extreme) - do study and prepare!
I sent Hendrik an email a while back asking, how one should try out camping in the woods :)
This is the response I got:
The Outdoors.fi is the best way to find good locations, as you’re in Hki/ Espoo Nuuksio is a great location to go to, good trails, a few laavus and many fire places, not too much people if you go under the week. Take a bus to Nuuksionpää and walk any of the three trails that start at the nature guide hut. The laavu at Holma-Saarijärvi is rather nice - hike a few of the other circle trails to gain some kilometers and see more - or hike up to the other laavu at Takala. Snow shoes might be useful this time of the year if there’s a lot of snow.
Use of laavus, fire wood, puu WC - all free to use, though if the laavus are full (room for four to six people) then a tarp/ tent is useful. Under the week, however, I guess it is save to bet that the laavus are not full and that you get a spot. In either case, you should bring ear plugs if you can’t stand other people snorring! And while the Trails are really good marked, a compass / map are smart to bring in case you get lost.
Gear: You need a warm sleeping bag, a bivy (to protect the bag and keep the wind out) and a warm mattress if you head out now. If you sleep in a laavu you won’t need a tent, which I personally don’t like as you close out the nature when camping - a pyramid shelter in bad weather is great, or a tarp in good weather is a lot nicer - you see the stars & sunrise from you sleeping bag and see what’s going on around you.
Warm clothes - Merino baselayer top & bottom, a softshell pants, softshell jacket or windproof jacket in good weather, and a down/ synthetic jacket for breaks and camp is what you need. Add in a extra pair of socks when you go to sleep and a warm hat, gloves and a Buff to protect the face in cold wind and your set. Shoe wise I hike in Inov-8 or Salomon Trailrunners, now in the winter GoreTex versions with a light Gaiter to keep the snow out; or a Mukluk - the traditional footwear of the Inuit. Super warm and comfy.
You can cook on the fire at the laavus, that takes a bit longer than a gas stove but is very nice - and you’re unlikely in a hurry, either. Take an aluminium pot which you can put in the fire, as you’re melting snow it should be about 1,5 to 2l in size as melting snow takes time. Then you either can buy one of them dehydrated meals where you just pour water in the bag and let it stand for ten minutes (extra benefit: no dishes to clean!) or you cook in your pot. If you like bacon and eggs in the morning, bring a pan (non-stick aluminium) to have a very fine breakfast. Minttu kakao is a perfect drink to consume around the fire in the evening, and Starbucks Via is the best morning coffee (might need to import that from the UK or USA). A Thermos bottle is useful to have at this time of the year, too. Normal 1l Limsa bottles are durable & cheap water bottles for on the trail and preferable to Nalgenes.
A simple hygiene kit (toothbrush, tooth paste, tooth silk, some soap and hand disinfection stuff), some repair stuff (jesus tape, needle & thread, patches for a inflatable mattress), possibly hiking poles, a good headlamp, an extra pair of warm mitts, puukko, kuksa, map, compass, cellphone for emergencies and your set. Here’s an example gear list of mine for a summer trip in Slovenia to give you an idea what needs to be taken: http://mygearlist.info/hendrikmorkel/trips/8/
Awesome, right? What was more awesome, is that he sent me some gear to test drive. “Some” is an understatement:
- Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider backpack
- GoLite Adrenaline 4 Sleeping Bag + compression bag
- Multimat Summit Compact 38 inflatable mat + Repair Kit
- DD Hammocks Tarp
- MSR Reactor stove
That’s a lot of gear. I was amazed how light it actually was. It was super easy to hike with the backpack.
Hendrik is a Wilderness Guide and offers guided trips in case you want to learn all of the above and a bit more in company!