Last weekend it was Gällivare Marknad. A chance to buy such items as dried meat, skins, bread and much more.
It was really nice weather on Sunday, so we had a BBQ. I used the opportunity to try my Biolite Campstove with pellets. I weighed out 1kg pellets, and wanted to test how long they would last.
1kg pellets gave 2 hours cooking time and a litre of water boiled in three and a half minutes (just as fast as burning wood). The pellets however were much more difficult to ignite.
Once a hand full of pellets had burned down, I found that if you added another hand full with the Biolite fan on low, it created a really effective emergency smoke signal
If the fan was switched to high, the pellets would then ignite again.
I know that Spring has finally arrived here in Lapland because yesterday I saw 11 Snow Buntings where I work. The arrival of the first Snow Buntings is always the first sign of spring for me.
Last Sunday was the first time for two years that I have felt fit enough to go ice fishing
Unfortunately there was 30cms of water on the ice
so my feet got cold after an hour
I did not catch any fish, but it still nice to be out and it was a good opportunity to test my Biolite camp stove
I still use my reindeer horn ice fishing rod that I made a few years ago
Last weekend was the Arctic Balloon Festival here in Gällivare, with crews from all over Europe attending.
There were also other activities and there were many people there.
On Saturday night I set up my “Harlton Hacienda” again (it takes less than 5 minutes to put up). I dug down through the snow to reach ground and made a large fire in front
For the first one and a half hours it was 26 degrees C in there. This is the view from inside, looking through the plastic.
At some point I fell asleep, but awoke later feeling cold, because the fire had burnt down (the outside temperature was -23). I put more wood on the fire, but just could not get the fire to burn again. I then realised that as the snow around my hole had melted, the hole had filled with water and it would be impossible to remake the fire. So in the end I had to give up and head to the house. You live and learn!!
On Sunday I made the first batch of minced meat sausage. This time I have used Moose meat, mixed with beef and garlic.
The sausages have to hang to dry now for three weeks.
This is what the end product will look like.
Although the temperature was only -8c last weekend, the sun was out and so we decided to have a bbq. We cleared away the snow from the side of the house, and put out some chairs and reindeer skins to sit.
One of my belts split in half yesterday, so I have decided to use the buckle to make a “survival belt” out of reindeer leather. A survival belt is hollow in the centre, and allows you to keep items inside. People have even used this type of belt to carry a bow-saw blade. In the picture below I have have run a thin bead of glue in the crease to help maintain the fold.
It will put up a picture here next time once it is completed. I am already debating what to put in it; cord, fishing kit, sewing kit, matches and so on…
I learnt a lot about Mors Kochanski’s invension “The Super Shelter” when I was on his winter survival course in 2006.
There is a lot of work that goes into its construction, and so one of Mors’ understudies (Kelly Harlton) devised a simplified version, that can easily be carried and set-up. How the shelter works is explained in the video
I have now made a Harlton Hacienda which I can use in conjunction with my Thermarest Ultralite cot.
To make mine I have used;
- a piece of Mylar Survival Blanket
- my new silnylon tarp which I made
- 0.6mm thick plastic sheeting (2x – 2m x 5m which I have taped together.
I used Aluminium tape around the edge of the Mylar survival blanket to help give it strength, as they tear so easily.
I could only buy plastic in a 2m width, so I have to use a special tape to tape together two sheets of 5m x 2m sheets to give me a sheet that was 5m x 4m (5m x 5m would be even better).
This is how it looks once up.
and with my cot inside
Here is a view from the side, which shows that a fire should be made one pace away from the front of the shelter.
The outer temperature and the amount of equipment you have with you, dictates the size of fire required. So if you have a sleeping bag with you, you might only use a small fire to add a little extra heat inside, but if you have no sleeping bag you would require a long-log fire which will generate much heat.
The shelter packs down small and weighs about 1.2kgs.
At the end of last week the temperature dropped again and was in the low 20’s. Yesterday however it was +8 degrees. This really is a very strange winter!!
Now I have all the parts to my Thermarest cot, I wanted to sleep out and test it.
I also bought an unused second-hand Thermarest NeoAir Xlite from Sweden’s equivalent to Ebay to use in conjunction with the cot.
The NeoAir XLite mattress delivers more warmth and comfort per ounce than any other three-season air mattress available. Our patent-pending technologies deliver that performance with minimal weight and less bulk than a one-liter water bottle. Softer fabrics bring better next-to-skin comfort and a boost in durability, all with no added weight. For the discerning alpinist, thru-hiker or backcountry minimalist who’s counting every ounce, there is simply no better choice to assure the kind of rest you need to enjoy tomorrow. Stuff sack and repair kit included.
- Ultralight: Advanced fabrics and a tapered design make this the lightest 3-season backpacking air mattresses available, with no peer in its warmth-to-weight ratio.
- Warm: Patent-pending, reflective
In this patent-pending application, we vary the location and number of ThermaCapture layers within each NeoAir mattress to meet specific warmth targets. Combined with Triangular Core Matrix construction, a single ThermaCapture™ layer can boost warmth by up to 50% and creates the unmatched warmth-to-weight ratios offered by a NeoAir™ mattress.
” data-original-title=”ThermaCapture™”>ThermaCapture™ technology traps radiant heat while
Triangular Core Matrix™
Our most advanced design uses patent-pending technology to minimize heat loss with two stacked layers of triangular baffles, creating hundreds of individual cells in our warmest mattresses. Simultaneously this internal structure adds an unmatched level of stability to every NeoAir mattress.
” data-original-title=”Triangular Core Matrix™”>Triangular Core Matrix™ construction minimizes convective heat loss–all without the bulk, weight or durability issues of down and synthetic fills.
Comfortable: 2.5” (6 cm)-thickness, soft-touch fabrics and baffled internal structure provide unrivaled stability and support.
Ultra-Packable: Low-bulk materials make the XLite mattress the most compact NeoAir mattress ever – as packable as a water bottle.
I am very impressed with the NeoAir Xlite as it packs down small, is incredibly light, but is also thick and comfortable. It is however quite noisy (especially when it is really cold).
I dug a “snow grave” to sleep out in, but the temperature dropped to -22C and my down bag is only good at around -12C, so I decided to put a reindeer skin roof on to help hold some heat
The grave was just large enough for the cot.
I also used a Gortex bivi bag, which was a big mistake because as vapour exchange properties of Gortex does not work below -15, a thick layer of ice formed on the inside of the bivi bag and on the outside of my down bag.
The cot and sleep mat worked really well and I was not cold on my underside at all, but the upper part of my body was really cold!!
The day light is getting longer now and there have been some beautiful sunrises and sunsets during the last few days, but unfortunately this has been the only one I have been able to capture.