Seiland: Gear List

Preparation for this one has been interesting. I'm less in control than usual. Having poured over the map for several evenings and having read through the information here (a great web resource for peak bagging in Norway and beyond if a little hard to find your way around) I have a good feeling for the terrain but I don't have any detail on the route and will be basically following where Randulf  leads. I'm also unsure about what to expect in terms of weather and the need to ship gear three weeks in advance means I don't have the benefit of the short-term forecast . The only certainties are that I'll be in good company, that Seiland will be breathtakingly beautiful and that the sun won't set for the duration of my trip. Several exchanges with Randulf in the lead up to putting together my pack list have largely determined what's in the bag and shipped:

Randulf On the Weather: "You can expect anything from +25 and sun 24/7 to -2 with snow and sleet."

Sounds like a Scottish afternoon. What to pack? Well I'll be wearing merino base layers (Icebreaker Bodyfit 200) my favourite Haglofs DWR trousers (knitted, stretchy and comfortable with a DWR that works), and boots (Hanwag Banks). The latter will have lightweighters reeling but I'm not a fan of trail shoes for the kind of rough, untrodden terrain I'll be up against. I also don't like wet feet. Not at all. Certainly not for five days at a stretch. Lined, lightweight boots are my tool of choice. For those occasions when a baselayer alone isn't enough there will be a Mamut micro fleece gilet and a Rab neutrino windshirt in the bag. I never leave home without them. Next up, for when it's wet, and for some reason I'm expecting wet (the geography, mountains and sea, has me thinking of Knoydart), I've gone for the Haglofs Oz pullover and Montane Atomic DT Rain trousers. The former got a run out in Rondane and although I have some issues with it it's a solid performer and very, very light. The latter are newly purchased so I'm hoping they're up to the job. For insulation on breaks and evenings I'm assuming -2 rather than +25 and going with a PHD Ultra pullover with hood. Arguably not the best choice if it's really wet and calls for careful management but it's cosy warm for very little weight. Besides, I had mine knocked up with a Drishell outer (so it's technically not an ultra perhaps a minim with 900 fill down?) for just such occasions. There'll also be the usual collection of odds and sods including a beany, liner gloves, buff and spare socks (the only spare clothing I intend to pack). It's all shipped but of course I can travel with clothing in my carry on bag. I'll keep a close eye on the forecast and may take one last opportunity to swap clothing out when I land.

Randulf On Insects: "There are probably fewer insects than on the vidda, but it can still be a fair bit... Bivvy bag and tarp, thus is no go - at least for my part. I have a 2 kg tent. Isn't that light enough? .......I'm happy to carry it."

I'm going to run with Randulfs advice on this one. The last time I used a two skin tent, or any shelter other than a bivvy/tarp combination, on a summer trip was in 2006. Finnmark mosquitoes are, however, infamously vicious and if Randulf says we need a tent then we need a tent. Besides, over the years I've become prejudiced against tents. My stance is that they have their place but are not as necessary as many claim. Time then to face down the prejudice and get back in a tent and see how it is. Randulf will supply the tent. I'm not sure what it is, he's being very secretive which I guess means he's got it under review, but I think a 2kg shelter between two is respectable . The only catch is, it's all going in my bag so adds a kilo plus to my MLD Grace Duo and Alpine bivvy combo (900g). The reason why I've offered to carry it follows.

The choice to go with a tent and the possibility of -2 degree temperatures has also forced my choice of sleeping bag. Out is the Cumulus quantum 200 and in is the PHD Minim 300 (only available through PHD's bespoke service or occasionally in the sales). The extra down will be welcome at those temperatures and it lets me leave extra night-timeme clothing at home but the main reason for the choice is once again the Drishell outer which will help me deal with prolonged wet. Again, on the basis of the short-term forecast, I can, at a push,  travel with the Cumulus bag and swap out on landing.

Randulf On Dogs: "Another thing: Do you like dogs? We have two Greenland dogs (8 and 9 months) They are very kind, but may be a bit on the enthusiastic side..........The dogs require one kg/day in total. That goes in my pack as well."

It seems we'll be travelling as a group of four. Randulf will have, I guess, seven or eight kilos of dog food on his back. He does this kind of thing for a living and clearly isn't scared of carrying a few kilos, but I think the decent thing is to carry the shelter and take some of the strain.

The rest of my gear list can be seen here. It's a strange mix of ultralight and, lets say, less than ultralight but the juggling act has got my starting weight down to 12.5kg which is in my "basically happy zone". There's a white box stove and meths in there which, although not strictly necessary (Randulf will bring a the main stove which is better suited to cooking in a tent, I'm guessing more test kit to play with) but I want to share my delight in it's simplicity and function. There's also a kilo and half of SLR and lenses. The latter hasn't been shipped so a last minute change of heart might see me ditch a lens, ND filters and tripod but I'm expecting great light and great scenery, as ever, the camera is the hardest call of all.


  1. An interesting kit list Dave and a very interesting trip by the sound of things. The Ultra Down Pullover looks good and I wish I'd gone for it rather than the vest.

    Whatever you do don't leave out the tripod and filters.

  2. Dave - it's tough trying to pack for such changeable conditions, in a region you've not been to before. What I think we learned on our trip to Sweden was that technique triumphs over technology and it is possible to tackle damp, cold conditions with very light gear.

    Whilst I totally agree with the rationale behind the shelter choice (having a refuge from the bugs will probably save your sanity!) I would still chose trail runners. It will be interesting to see how you get on with the boots. And life would be boring if we all did the same things! :)

    Travelling with dogs? Brilliant. I'm sure this will add a fantastic dimension to the trip. Carrying their food though? I'd be looking hard at some doggie rucksacks, plus you could sneak your toilet trowel in there and let them carry it... ;)

    And the camera equipment? That's exactly the sort of luxury that going light allows us to take guilt free!

  3. Ah yes, Camera Kit. It has pretty much being the driving force for my move to lighter gear. I like to take my tripod too, and if I take both lenses can be looking at 4kg. I did toy with getting a Gorillapod, but after the original supplier let me down I never got around to ordering another, and think I've talked myself back out of it.

  4. As Joe said, boots will be interesting to see in use, personally I won't use boots again.

    Travelling with dogs sounds fantastic, jealous of that! If they're that young they can't yet carry their own food, once they're a bit older it shouldn't be a problem, though.

    So what does Randulf do for a living? He's a Wilderness Guide or something in that direction?

  5. Richard, Yes I like the ultra pully. Probably my favourite bit of HD kit for the momet. Unfesibly warw for it's weight. Camera gear is going to be a hard call. I'll go with my gut closer to teh day of departure.

    Joe, I'm confident I can use down in nasty wet. I should post a backdated trip report form the alps in which down and torrential rain both play leading roles.

    Spent much of my youth running around fells with wet blistered, peeling feet. I'm not anti trail shoe and don't buy the usual ankle support argument but I do like warm dry feet. I apear to be one of the few who like lined boots. I have a feeling that the inov-8 talon 240's would be ideal footware for me if it wasn't for the fact that they're not lined. Also, I get so few hill days that I'm reluctant to change my footwear formula. The Hanwags aren't my ideal boot but lightweight boots basicaly work for me. Nothing ruins a trip more completely than foot problems.

    Fraser, Yoor're setup makes mine look like a cheap compact. You're numbers do make me feel better about my own weight penalty though :-) On teh subkject of tripods, I can ust get away with a velbon v-pod since my Oly is light enough and I'm not generaly doing anything with long exposures.

    Hendrik, Indeed, I'm looking forwards to the experience of travelling with dogs. I think the dogs are probably a little too "enthusiastic" to be trusted with a weeks supply of food for the moment.

    As for what Randulf does for a living, he's an outdoor journalist and photographer. He explains it better than I can, check out the link to his web page and blog on the right.

  6. Like the blog, Dave. May have a similar problem to you as I may one day find myself living in Denmark (highest hill c.250m). Planning trips to Norway & Sweden already. Ah well, guess I'll become initmately familiar with Scandinavian sleeper trains!

  7. Maz, welcome. Glad you like it here. There are worse places than Denmark. I found compensation for the lack of hills here by taking to the water. I imagine Denmark is a great place for sea kayaking! Better still, that new bridge gets you into Sweden pretty quickly. Remember crossing it on my way up to Canoe Glaskogen a few years ago. Scandinavia is a good place to get to know i.m.h.o.

  8. If we do ever end up there, I'd be reasonably happy with that, I have to say. Just need to get public transport sorted for weekend trips to Norway and Sweden.

    I already kayak white-water (not for a little while though) but fancy a bit of Sea Kayaking or canoeing and I know someone who's worked in Amager in the kayaking shop there so may ask for a test-drive. I've also done Glaskogen - the Stora Gla in fact - but hiked round it rather than kayaked in it! It was a wet trip - have a look at my site.



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