To trek light isn’t always easy. To trek light as a photographer is a great challenge. Claes Grundsten, one of our fellow outdoor enthusiasts decided to attempt this challenge on his ten-day hike through Sarek in the north of Sweden, one of the oldest and wildest national parks in Europe.
When Claes was young, he didn’t mind heavy backpacks and in the era of analogue cameras having 35-40kg in a 120L bag on his back was not uncommon. During this trek, his 50th anniversary in Sarek, the backpack weighed less than 16 kg.
Below are his thoughts about packing light:
Mirrorless cameras have revolutionized my backpack. They are lighter than SLRs and I don’t need the bag of film anymore! On this trip, I decided to bring my SONY RX1r with its sharp Zeiss 35mm lens. The lens isn’t changeable, but 35mm is great for landscape and the image quality is that great I can enlarge portions of the photo in post-production.
For my ten-day trek in Sarek I needed a 70L backpack, but I found the lightweight range in Europe to be limited. The light ones in Scandinavia are never bigger than 50L. Instead I found an American backpack, Hyperlite 4400 Windrider, which was fairly expensive but is made of top quality material, weighs 1 kg and I can fit a minimum of 70L thanks to the roll top opening. It’s definitely the best pack I’ve ever carried!
I brought a light down sleeping bag, which weighs 0,9 kg. The lightest mattress by Sea to Summit as well as their inflatable pillow, 0,9 kg. Also the tent was 0,9 kg (!!) a Hilleberg Enan, single tent. For extra warmth and comfortability, I brought a down jacket in a water sealed bag, 0,4 kg.
I decided to bring a Primus Lite+ as my one and only stove. It runs on gas and has an advanced burner that fits inside the 0,5L pot. It doesn’t need an additional windscreen and it comes with a suspension cord so I could hang the stove from my tripod when the ground was troublesome. As I’m only boiling water on these hikes it’s easy to calculate the amount of gas I need. A 100g gas cartridge has a burn time of 59 min, and thus I landed on a 230g cartridge for ten days. It sounds little, but I even had gas left after the trek! Together with matches, foldable bowl and mug, titanium spoon, foldable knife, gas together with supportive legs for additional stability, foldable bucket and 2 foldable 1L water bottles in case I had to walk far to fetch water my cooking and water equipment didn’t weigh more than 1,2 kg.
Food is a separate chapter. Being a rather austere man, I’m happy with freeze dried food. I brought two packs a day for lunch and dinner. For breakfast, I had 20 bags of Hot Cup sweet soups with müsly. For snacks, I packed 30 pieces of cracker bread, 40 slices of cheese and cold cuts. All together it weighed 6,2 kg.
I won’t go into details about my clothes, all can be found in the equipment list. But I’ll tell you about my boots! I started my hiking years in gum boots and then I’ve been walking in leather boots since the 70’s. I’ve been of the perception that one have to hike in sturdy boots. But for this hike I tried a pair of light trail shoes. One shoe weighs 0,4 kg in comparison with my 1kg old boots. And I have never had this much spring in my step! What trail boots don’t have in sturdiness they make up for in ground contact. I felt balanced going both up and downhill. Only minus, when it’s cold, trail shoes are definitely colder than a pair of leather boots.
To sum up, by the start of the hike my backpack was 16 kg, instead of my normal 22-25kg Sarek pack. Thanks to this and by the least, my light trail shoes I could keep a faster pace and therefore stop more often to photograph the beautiful scenery of Sarek.
My equipment list for this tour = 15.9 kg
Total 3.8 kg
Total 0.9 kg
Total 0.3 kg
Total 0.1 kg
Total 0.3 kg
Health Care & hygiene:
Total 0.6 kg
Total: 1.5 kg
Clothing in a waterproof bag:
Total 0.8 kg
Total 1.9 kg
Total: 0.6 kg
Total: 0.1 kg
Total: 6.2 kg