I have been reading about problems with mould in sleeping mats when you inflate them with your breath; especially in the Neo Xlite which I have.
I tried to find a 3V USB pump on the internet to inflate it with, but there isn’t such a thing, so I contacted Biolite to ask if they were interested in producing one to use in-conjunction with the USB port on the BioLite Campstove, but they were not.
So I have had to come up with an alternative idea……I have a dry liner dab in my rucksack, which has a valve in the bottom. I fill the bag with air and then close the top. Using a piece of tube, I connect the two valves from the bag to the mat
I then compress the bag and the air flows into the mat
The bag holds 50 litres so I only need a couple of bags full of air to inflate the mat.
Last weekend I also tried making a tent out of my new Aqua Sil Guide Tarp, and I was very pleased with the result.
The width is 2,5 metres so there is more than enough room for my Thermarest Cot.
We have a pair of Pine Grosbeaks visiting our bird table at the moment, and I managed to get a decent picture of the male.
Chaffinches, Yellowhammers, Greenfinches and Whooper Swans have also arrived for the summer.
I hurt my back last Thursday, so wasn’t able to do much over the weekend. Fortunately after exercising my back is much better today.
I have just purchased an Aqua Quest Sil Guide Tarp. Aqua Quest is a Canadian company. I have not had chance to set it up yet, but have had it out of the bag. It is very lightweight, well made and packs down small.
- 20,000 mm hydrostatic resistance
- Weight: 1.9 lbs / 860 g
- Packed Size: 12 x 6 x 2 in / 30 x 15 x 5 cm
- Total Area: 12.6 x 9.8 ft ( ca. 130 sq. ft) / 3.91 x 2.95 m (ca. 12 sq. m)
- 40D RipStop fabric
- Non-toxic dual Silicone & PU coating
- Reinforced stitching
- Heat taped seams
- 17 reinforced webbing loops
- Stuff sack included
Here is their website where you can see pictures and find out more information; https://aquaquestwaterproof.com/product/guide-sil-tarp-large/
I bought mine from a site on Amazon UK where they were selling them for under half the recommended price.
Last Thursday evening I went to see a country and western singer called “Doug Seegers in concert.
I had never heard of Doug before and it was interesting to hear about his rise to fame. He had been an alcoholic, living on the streets, when a Swedish music artist heard him playing music during the filming of her TV series. Doug had written the song himself and she was so impressed, that they recoded the song together and it went to number 1 in the Swedish i-Tune charts. This was the launch of his career and he is so grateful to the Swedish people, that he comes from Nashville each year to tour around Sweden.
You can find more about him by searching on YouTube.
On Saturday evening I went out snow-shoeing in the forest to listen for owls calling. I did not hear anything, but found a lot of tracks and feeding sign from Arctic Hares.
Monday and Tuesday I was driving around the county with Dutch tour operators, showing them hotels and activity companies that their tourists might be interested to visit.
On Tuesday we were in the mountains and visited my friend Per-eric, who showed them his reindeer, joiked for them and talked about Sami culture.
Later in the day we visited a Sami Camp, where they spent the night.
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…