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.