maandag 27 december 2010

North Sea Trail: Den Haag - Katwijk - Den Haag

The weekend before Christmas I hiked from Den Haag to Katwijk aan Zee, through the dunes and hiked back on the beach. This was my first "light" weight winter hike and I have made a lot of mistakes but learned a whole lot more. You can read about it on the internet but the realty is always different.

So the trip, it was quite hard to get to Den Haag, because of the snowfall. People were driving 50km on the highway. But when we arrived in Den Haag it almost stopped snowing. So we parked the car and packed our back. In the car we where debating if we should take the snow shovel or not. I taught it was quite funny so I strapped it on my pack. But it proofed quite useful.

So we walked to Scheveningen and started our hike at the pier of Scheveningen.

After a small section on the beach we continue our way through the dunes.

In the dunes hiking became more difficultbecause of the snow drifts witch made you sink in the snow knee deep. But some other walkers and skiers (langlauf) had made a compact path.

A fen that has not been frozen

The bar is open!

After we had opened the bar, we pitched our tents and we noticed the difference between the carbon fibre tent pole and the aluminium pole. The Aluminium drained all warmth from your hands. After we pitched the tent we cooked our dinner, noting special just boil in the bag dinners. Here again we noticed the difference between two products. Plain Coleman gas and Power gas from Primus. I put my Coleman gas canister it briefly in my pants to heat the gas, it was a new experience, not worth repeating. The Primus gas worked so much faster.

After the dinner we walked back to Katwijk for drinks. When we returned from the bar it began to snow.

When we waked up the next morning my friends tents looked a whole lot smaller. Normal size can be found here

My shelter was also a bit smaller but thank to its shape the snow glide of it. Some random pics:

So after breakfast we packed our gear and headed back to Scheveningen.

After a couple hours we did see the pier again.

So what did I learn?

My sleeping bag is to warm, I used it more like a quilt. Slept under it wearing only my boxer short.

I need some more insulation under my Neo Air. After one night I did melt all the snow under my shelter and I felt sometimes the cold rasing. A thicker EVA mattress will do.

A snow shovel isn't only funny but convenient for clearing your camp spot and digging your friend out.

Bring two pair of liner gloves.

If you are using open trail runners your feet will get wet but stay warm as long as you walking. Better is wearing waterproof socks. My sealskinz socks are worth their weight in gold.

Frozen shoes aren't the best way to start your day.

Discipline is very important! Discipline is very important! Discipline is very important! Put the things away after you used them and don't let them laying around.
Things will get wet and it is very hard to get them dry again.

And probably much more...

vrijdag 17 december 2010

Everything Weighs Something.

I'm probably the worst lightweight backpacker ever. I have never and I mean never weight all my gear. Most people start by doing that but not me. So from today I break the ban and start weighting all my gear and start making gear lists.

This weekend I'm going to hike a piece of the North Sea Trail. I'm starting in Den Haag and I will see how far I get. It will be a two day walk and I'm hoping to cover 25-35 kilometres.

I included my packing list in this post, as well as an explanation why I carry certain stuff.

Backpack Golite Jam2: I removed the foambackplate and use the BW folding sleeping pad as a frame. The NeoAir I use for comfort.
Sleeping Bag Marmot Couloir is a bit of an over kill, the weather forecast is minus 5. But this is the only sleeping bag I have that will keep me warm. I have bought it for a trip to Norway.

The Six Moons Design Lunar Solo replaces my Coleman Rigel X2 tent. The Lunar solo I bought on Marktplaats (the Dutch EBay) and used it a couple of nights and I like it better then the Coleman. It isn't bigger but I like the fact that it is higher and that it has a small vestibule.
The Carbon pole I need to put up the tent because I don't use walking sticks.

The North Face Women's Venture Pants. I bought this rain pants sometime ago. I tried them on in the store and it fits fine. When I got home I found out that is was the women’s model.

Quechua Soft Shell Bionnassay. I got those at the Decathlon. The Jacket was €60 and the trousers €50. They are not the lightest soft shells but at that price there are the best. Clever design and very durable. I have them for over a year and they are like new. Washed them a couple of times and they still shed water like on day one. When I'm wearing my soft shell clothing I almost never use my rain gear.

Map and Compass you don't really needs those but I like to have a map with me and I use the mirror on the compass to put my contact in and out.

The reason I packed a saw is that I am hoping to make a fire and a saw is very convenient when your are gathering wood.

If you have any questions or comments about my list. Feel free to ask them.

zaterdag 4 december 2010

The Alaska Experiment & Out of the Wild.

With a couple of centimetres of snow the Dutch society comes to a hold. Like Monday when we had the longest traffic jam ever. And yesterday the KNMI, the Dutch national weather forecasting service issued a code orange. Not because of the World Cup bid because the weather would be awful. Nothing happened and on the same day the code orange got repealed. I wonder how other country's cope with snow or winter for that matter.

So on advice of Her Majesty's weather forecasting’s service I stayed home and watched the Alaska Experiment. The story is quite easy a group of nine people gets dropped in the Alaskan wilderness and they have to survive and hike out. The funny part is when you seen what they take with them. Nothing says Ultra light more then a Dutch oven!!

Out of the wild is the second season of the Alaska Experiment the first season is harder to find. But still very nice. The first season is more bush craft then hiking oriented because the people stay in their shelters for three months and you see them preparing for winter.

And for all the Dutch and Belgian followers een fijne Sinterklaas (morgen) en om alvast in de stemming te komen deze klassieker.

vrijdag 12 november 2010

Seven ways to pass the time of day

Being unemployed for al most 2 weeks really gets under my skin sometimes so my seven was to past the time of day:


Sleeping and getting out of bed.


Go for a run, check my mail, check my favourite websites for news and stuff and check sites like Monsterboard for jobs.


Doing things that should be done a long time a go. So here it goes: My review of the Optimus Crux Lite & Terra Solo Cooking System.

Many many moons ago I participate in het Optimus pass around organised by Hendrik of Hiking in Finland. After a fantastic review by Joe from Thunder In The Night there isn’t much I can add to it but anyway here are my thoughts on it.

The Optimus Crux Lite: What can you say about a stove? It works the way it should. The Optimus stove is faster then and lighter than the stove I was used to, the Markill Hotshot. But I found it harder to let the Optimus stove simmer, it was full on or off. Maybe it was because I wasn’t used to the Optimus. In responding I also didn’t like the control switch.

The Dutch magazine Op Pad reviewed some gas stoves some time ago and called the Optimus Crux as the test winner. You can find the movie which contain the results here.

The Terra Solo Cooking System: I found the pot too small for my needs, if you only use it to boill water it should be fine, but I used it to cook a cheap 5 minute pasta meal from the supermarket which requires 0,5 litres of water and it won’t fit in one go. The pot is designed to fit a 110 gram gas cartridge, but I found it quit hard to find a 110 gram cartridge, my locale outdoor store only sells 220 or bigger. I can’t blame the pot for that but. But still. The bigger cartrigdes are also cheaper to use and it reduce your waste. The lid of the pot is a nice options but I don’t think somebody will ever use it as a fry pan because it is way to small. I argee which Joe and I think it would be better if they make the pot bigger and dropp the fry pan lid.

So if it was the reall world and it was my own money I wouldn’t buy the set. For the same amount of money I would get Primus Litech one litre pot. It is a bit heavier but also bigger. I think it would be more usefull. Or save a bit longer and buy instead of the Primus Litech a titanium pot. The stove is fine I think you must getting used to it.


Planning weekend trips, thinking about thru hiking the Pieterpad, the original Dutch long distance hiking trail and making and modifying my gear. Examples and trip reports will follow...


Check mail, check my favourite websites for news and stuff and check sites like Monsterboard for jobs. Again.


Cooking, since I'm home a cook a lot. Not only fancy things like Boeuf Bourgoin. But I'm also creative with couscous for when I'm out on the trail. And making other trail foods likes snacks and non couscous dinners.


watching this clip on YouTube and waiting...

zaterdag 23 oktober 2010

GlobeWelt Köln 2010

Last weekend I went to the Globetrotters Globewelt in Köln. It was the first edition of this event. And I’m looking forward to next year.

I was hoping for an event like the outdoorshow in Friedrichshafen only a bit smaller, but it’s was al little too small for my taste. But anyway I had great time visiting the different stands. I didn’t go to any of the presentations, my German isn’t that good. But at the show I got a lot of information and inspiration for new trips. After visiting the Globewelt. We went to the Globetrotter store in Köln, six floor filled whit only outdoor gear. It was a gear junkie heaven. I had to controle myself and my credit card. And the end of the day I only bought A Primus MicronStove Ti that was on offer and a folding Nalgene bottle.

So all in all it was a great day indoor outdoor.

vrijdag 22 oktober 2010

Primus was here!?

Sometimes ago I submitted the photo below on the Primus website.

And yesterday I received this message in the mail:

Thank you for your picture! We have now published it on our website. We are always more than happy for pictures from our users!
You can also join us on Facebook and see news, pictures and talk to us.

See you there!

Best regards,

You can check the picture and the site here

donderdag 14 oktober 2010

Weekend hike

A couple of weekends ago, I hiked from Zutphen to Olst, It was a two day trip organised by Spring, a youth division of the Dutch Naturfreunde. The first day our goal was Deventer and the second day we would end in Olst. The first day we walked 17 km and the second day a little less only 13 km.

For this hiked I used my "new" backpack the Golite Jam2 (2009 model). It was the first time that I used for a weekend hike. During my holiday I used it a lot. And I must admit I'm quite keen with it. It easily fits everything for a weekend and for a daypack it also works. The only downside when using it as a daypack is the roll closure it isn't very convenient if you just need something fast from your pack. And when using it on my bicycle it gets very sweaty but that is because the pack is to close to the back. But that is oke because the jam2 wasn't designed with that intention. The Only thing I really dislike about it is the useless logos on it. I spend a lot of money getting my equipment lighter and those morons make it heavier by putting al lot op patches on it saying Golite. So I immediately removed those. But overall I really like this pack and its versatility.

Sleeping: I used my Lafuma warm and light 600 down bag with the polycotton liner. I wasn't the warmest night I ever spend. But the conditions weren’t optimal, It was very moist and I maybe had a bit too much to drink. But using my Bergans of Norway down jacket I managed it alright. I slept on my NeoAir and a thin foam mat, the foam mat also doubled as my frame fore my pack because I removed its original frame.
Too sleep under: I had hoped to use my tarp but staying on a campsite near the town I opt fore my Coleman Rigel X2, a "two" person tent weighing 980 grams. It is a very small and low single wall tent, But apart from condensation it kept me dry and more important it kept my stuff out of sight.

Clothing: The weather was very changeable, some short shower and periods with sun. So I decided to test my soft-shell clothing and I didn't bring any rain protection. I must say I worked very well. The clothing kept my dry during the showers and it dried really fast when the sun came throw. So undoubtedly a winner and a keeper!
Shoes: I used my Inov8 330 Terrocs with smart wool socks. They were great. I have used and abused my shoes a lot during my time in Denmark, Sweden and Germany and they are still as new. Because of the rain the track was very wet and the Terrocs a very open I got wet feet. It was my own fault because I had some Sealskinz socks in my pack but was too lazy the get them out, so by the end of the weekend I had wrinkly feet. And the last 4 km's walking form the train station to home wasn't the nicest journey I ever had.

The walk was quite nice, we walked through the meadows and many of the dikes. The second day we walked through fields and woods.

vrijdag 17 september 2010

Skåneleden/ Österlenleden

When we where in Sweden we hiked a section of the Skåneleden/Österlenleden. The plan was to start in Ystad and park the car there and hike the entire Österlenleden. But when we arrived in Ystad the campsite where we had hoped to park the car was way too crowed and there wasn't a possibilty to park the car. The main reason to choice Ystad as a starting point was that we are a big fan of the Wallander books by Henning Mankell. So after one day in Ystad and after the beachside barbeque we left Ystad and drove to the town of Tomelilla.

In Tomelilla we found a nice and quiet camp side and a nice place to park the car. From Tomelilla we started our hike of the Österlenleden, we took the bus to the coastal town of Simrishamm. There we officially started our hike with section 5 to Kivik witch was a 18 km hike. Just as the booklet said "The fifth section offers walking with virtually everything-flat beaches, wild cliffs with woodland an elements of both the picturesque and exotic." It also offerd al long boring part with too much asplath witch strangely the booklet didn't mentioned. But it also offered my first experience with hiking on a beach.

For the first day a 18 km walk was quite a lot and we were glad when we were at the campsite in Kivik.

After a good night sleep we where ready for the second day en we had planned to walk te section between Kivik and Vantalangan. At Vantalängan there was a shelter with a well, a fireplace and an wc. It was a nice section with a lot of different sceneries. We started at beach and ended in the forest. After a couple of kilometres of beach there was a cabin of the STF and we had a cup of coffee and some Bullar. after the little break we continued our walk to Vantalangan. The route took us though pastures and rolling hills. The track was very well marked only sometimes in the fields the cattle had knocked the marked polls down. But if that was the occasion we turned to the map. During the walk to Vantalängan the weather was constantly changing, form sun to rain and very thing in between. When the sun disappeared I wore my wind shirt, I must say that I used my wind shirt a lot, even during the rain.

When we arrived in Vantalängan we put up the tent and made a fire.

The well at Vantalängan didn’t provide us with the best water.

The left bottle is how the water looked after we had boiled and treated it. The right bottle is clean water from a tap.

The third day we combined two sections (7&8) and we basically walked form Vantalängan to Heinge. The first section(7) was nice, we just followed the river but the lack of water that we trusted made it the we walked it a little to fast.

Near Verkasjön we found a house an where able to get clean water.

After a small break and a nice lunch at the Christinehofs Ekopark we contued our way to Heinge. This time we carried enough water because a the shelter near Heinge there wasn't a well. The wall to Heinge was easy and not every interesting. A lot of forest roads. But we did see a Roe Deer.

I know it isn't the best picture but I didn't bring my good camera.

At Heinge we put up the tent and made a fire.

When we wake up the next morning we both received sms message from friends saying the weather would turn and I would be better to head back to the car.

So we decided to hike to Lövestads and get a bus to Tomilla bur the only problem was that the bus didn't go on Sunday. So after check with the locals (we didn't have a map, we only had the map of the Skaneleden which offers only the sections and doesn't give an overview of the area) we started to walk to Tomilla it was about 18 km but we all ready walked 7km to get from Heinge to Lövestands. So this day would be around 25 km. But luckily after 21 km we did get a lift to Tomilla.
So the Skåneleden is impossible to compare with my previous hiking experience but i must admit I kind of like it and disliked it and the same time. There were a lot of place to buy food so the pack could be light. But the downside was it never get really exciting, last year in Norway sometimes I got the feeling I was completely alone. This year it was the complete opposite.

What did I learn?

Swim short are ideal for hiking in hot weather, fast drying, multifunction, easy to wash and no need for underwear.

polypro shirts and camp fire don't work, The burn on my back healed but there is still a hole in my shirt.

Folding saws are great for gathering wood.

Axes are cool and I want one.

Wind shirts are great when it is warm and raining a the same time.

And probably much more witch I all ready have forgotten!

woensdag 8 september 2010

In the Danish Mountains.

The first week of our holiday we spend near Mons Klint in Denmark. We stayed at the campsite near the Geocenter. From the campsite to the Geocenter was a nice walk of 3 kilometres.

To get to Mons Klint we needed to go through an old beech forest. In the forest there also was a nice MTB route which we did.

Mons Klint was very impressive. It is always nice to see nature that isn't in control by humans. Because the shore is made of lime it isn't very strong so the elements have a real big influence on the landscape.

Views form above

We followed a lovely route which starts at the Geocenter and follows the shore, halfway we took the stairs down and walked back to the Geocenter following the coastline.

The traces of erosion

The force of nature

I would like to come back in the autumn when the sky isn't blue and when the winds are strong.

woensdag 25 augustus 2010

Did you know what I did this summer?

mer, it feels like it is a million miles way. If I look through my window it feels more like autumn. I'm now back for 2 weeks and working and it feels like I didn't went.

But I did. The first week of my summer holiday I spend in the Danish mountains, near Mons Klint

The second week I spend in Sweden hiking a section of the Skaneleden which was nice but a bit boring, too much Asphalt and I didn't really get the back to nature feel like I experienced on my last trips in Norway and Sweden. It was too civilized, shelters with fireplaces and a woodsupply and even a loo!!

The last week of my holiday I went to Berlin and the Harz because the weather expectations in Sweden where poor. Berlin is very nice city and I really can recommend it. The only downside I could find a proper outdoor store. Only Jack Wolfskin stores which are too German. The Harz was very nice and I have made some really nice daytrips.

The coming weeks I will post a more comprehensive report about my trip.

donderdag 22 juli 2010

dinsdag 13 juli 2010

Last weekend part two.

Isn’t really last weekend any more, but with a heat wave going on In The Dutch Mountains there are better thing to do then sitting behind the computer in a room where the temperature reach 40°C.

So just some random pictures of last weekend some weekends ago.


woensdag 16 juni 2010

Last weekend part one: gear

Last weekend I went with some members of the Dutch Naturfreunde for a hike. The goal was the hike 25 km a day and to sleep in the open air.

When I got at the starting point I soon found out that I was the only one who used a daypack for this overnighter.

I used a Vaude Allalin 24 as pack, not the most suited pack but this is the one I got.

To sleep I used a Dutch army bivi bag, witch is great, its made of Gore-Tex so it breaths very well. But the major down side is it weight more than a kilo!! I have a Coleman 2 person tent that weighs less. I'm looking to replace the bivibag with a Alpkit Hunka or a homemade.
Inside the bivibag i used a Lafuma warm and light 600 down bag. The sleeping bag is excellent. I have used this bag at the Fjallraven Classic in 2008 and last year on the Hadangarvidda and count less weekend trips and never waked up because I was cold. Inside the sleeping bag I using a poly cotton sleeping bag liner. I will replace this liner very soon for a silk one. And I slept on my short Neo Air. Under neat my Neo Air I used a closed cell foam mat because I'm afraid to puncture my Neo air. I sound stupid I know. The closed cell foam mat is also nice luxury during breaks so I'm willing to carry it with me.

For footwear I used my Inov8 330 terrocs. Which were great. The only downside was that my feet goy really hot and I got a heat rash on my left feet. I blame the socks not the shoes. I will try different socks next time and I hope the rash was a one time event. The Inov8 are really comfy and this was the first time I walked great distance in them.
Clothing, I was wearing noting special cheap zip off trousers and a merino wool base layer. When I got windy or colder I used my soft-shell jacket.

dinsdag 8 juni 2010

Biesbosch Trip report

The last weekend of May some me and some friends went for a canoe trip to the Biesbosch.

"The Biesbosch is one of the largest national parks of the Netherlands and one of the last freshwater tide areas in Europe. The Biesbosch consists of a rather large network of rivers and smaller and larger creeks with islands. The vegetation is mostly willow forests, although wet grasslands and fields of reed are common as well. The Biesbosch is an important wetland area for waterfowl and has a rich flora and fauna. It is especially important for migrating geese". Thank you wikipedia!

But we didn't go for the geese migration but we went for the beavers. Hmm that sounds kind of wrong. We did spot some beavers but every time we went for the camera the beavers disappeared.

This is the best picture of a beaver we got.

But thankfully we say a lot of proof that they where realy there.

A great benefit of a canoe is that you can take a lot of gear and you don’t need to carry it on your back. So after a long day of paddling there where some nice cold beers and a nice bottle of wine to accompany the dinner. Later around the campfire there was a some Beerenburg.

The next day it was time to paddle home.

The Biesbosch is nice national park with al lot of small creeks and I definitely will go back someday.

zondag 9 mei 2010

Little update.

Time flies when your are have fun. It has been more then a month ago since my last post. I have been busy with work and study, but I also have found some time for a little escape to Monschau (Germany)and enjoyed a short holiday over there. And I have planned a little trip for this weekend.

And least but not last I bought some new gear, a soft-shell jacket and trousers, a neo air sleeping matt (with arrived the day I came home for my trip to Germany). I will post a little review when I have used them a bit more.

My woodstove project is currently on hold but I have been working on a old axe.

I will be writing about it here over the next few days or weeks.


zaterdag 3 april 2010

Woodgas stove

Being Dutch you don't going to spend nearly 70 euro's for a Bushcooker or even 115 dollars (CAD) for a Bushbuddy that is in fact just a wood burning stove (I know it more fuel efficient than a normal woodstove). Even when after purchase the fuel will be free for ever!

So I decided to make my own stove form some old cans. The internet is full with manuels on how to build a stove like a Bushbuddy or a Bushcooker. Google it and you will find it. So I did.

To cut the crap, I suspect mine isn’t that good, it was more a wood smoker, the complete garden disappeared in a big cloud of smoke. So I will modify it and try again.

Pictures will follow after the smoke is gone!!!

Btw if you are to lazy to Google here is a good link

Happy Easter !

woensdag 17 maart 2010

Getting in shape.

My desk job is killing me! So today after work I decide to go for a run. The only exercise I get on my job is walking for my car to my desk, about 150 meters and from my desk to the coffee machine, about 25 meters. The walk to the coffee machine I will make every half-hour at least twice. I must admin I'm a coffee junkie.

But after work I went for a run it wasn't that far about 6,5 km and it took a very long time when I was home again but it felt good.

My "Powersong" during running.

I especially like the line "It was a chat-up line built not to impress
More a sleazy remark on her whorish dress " It's genius!!

zondag 14 maart 2010

Some gear to test.

Thanks to Hendrik from Hiking in Finland I will get the opportunity to test the Optimus Crux Lite Solo Cook Kit. I'm looking forward to test the stove and I will be curious how it will compare with my current gas stove the Markill Hotshot.

maandag 8 maart 2010

From the top of the Mountain to the bottom of the swap

Last weekend I decide to go for a walk in the Ooijpolder. Polder is the Dutch word for land reclamation; according to Wikipedia we claimed 1/5 of our country form the sea. Or like the English saying: God created the world, but the Dutch created Holland. But in the Ooijpolder we decide to give some land back to the river and we have give God a change to make something of it. And he did the Ooijpolder is nice natural landscape with a lot of wildlife.

High water in the Waal

A ship and some Przewalski horses

Some geese

A close-up.

After 20 pictures the battery of my camera died. So this must be it. But I will definitely go back this spring when the water is low and the signs of spring can be seen and maybe search for some wild foods.