If you are going to hike for the first time, it is difficult to determine what you will and will not bring. Tips on tent, backpack and sleepingequipment.
I have compiled a packing list in which you can see globally what we are taking with us. You can download it here. On this page I will give you some gear tips. I will discuss the most important items: the tent, the backpack, the mats and the sleeping bags. How did we come to these choices and what are the possible advantages or disadvantages?
During previous treks we took lightweight tents from The North Face with us. These were not really suitable: too small and too cold. That is why in 2016 we started looking for a new tent. A number of tents were dropped immediately because we did not find them strong enough (Vango) or the model didn’t suit us (MSR).
The Hilleberg tents are strong, suitable for three or four seasons and have fine colors. They are expensive, so we doubted. On Marktplaats we found a Nallo III that had already served several vacations. There was nothing to be seen!
Hilleberg Tentmakers have been making this type of tent for 30 years. They make tents with three different labels, black, red and yellow, depending on the desired requirements. The Nallo falls under the red label. You can find more information on their website.
This tent immediately seemed pleasant to us. A good weight, spacious and pleasant colors. In addition, the reviews were fine so we wanted to take the chance.
The Nallo III is a triple tunnel tent with two poles. The length is 3.40 m and the width 1.70 m, the awning is 1.30 m. The height is 1.15 m. You can sit upright in it. The backpacks fit into the awning. The Nallo is 2600 grams. The tent has a 1200 Kerlon outer fabric and DAC aluminum poles. The canvas feels thin but is very strong.
The Nallo III is a comfortable tent. It performs well under harsh conditions such as snow, strong winds and heavy rain showers. A true four-season tent. We like that you can sit comfortably in it and that it is spacious in both the sleeping tent and the awning. In addition, we think it is great that the awning is yellow, this gives you a spatially fresh feeling.
The handy features such as the side pockets, the washing line for your wet socks and the good ventilation make it a complete tent. In addition, it is a nice tent to take with you during a trek, but also when we make a long trip and rent a car we take this tent with us. It is compact and fits well in a duffel.
A lighter tent?
After a few hikingtrips we got the idea to replace the most important items with lighter ones. Then it quickly comes to the tent and the sleeping equipment. We still liked the Nallo III but perhaps there is a lighter tent with the same features: we searched the internet, read reviews and looked at tents in various stores including the Zwerfkei and the Bever in Houten.
There were a number of tents that potentially came close. The Hubba Hubba Trekking Tent from MSR is cheap, light (1720 grams), has two spaces for the backpacks, but we think the tent does not have nice colors. The Fjällräven Abisko Light is slightly less light (2070 grams), is made of beautiful material, but is slightly smaller than the Anjan. The Vango tents are very cheap but we are not confident that we can use them for years. One tent after the other fell off and we again ended up at Hilleberg tents.
The Anjan II has a number of the same characteristics as the Nallo and immediately feels familiar and pleasant.
The Anjan II is a double tunnel tent with two poles. The weight is 1800 grams. The Anjan has Kerlon 1000 fabric and DAC Aluminum poles. The canvas feels very thin and the groundsheet is smooth, but appears to be very strong. The Anjan has a length of 3.35 m and a width of 1.30 m. The awning is 1.05 and the height is 1 meter. Clearly a bit smaller than the Nallo, logical because this is a double size.
We are very happy with the Anjan. The Anjan has been used on a number of short trips and during the holidays in Bosnia. The tent is nice, we were a bit worried about the thinner canvas and smooth ground sheet, but in use it works fine.
The features that pleased the Nallo are also present here, such as the side pockets and the clothesline. In addition, the Nallo in the awning has the option of opening the door to the left, right or in the middle. We find this very pleasant and work well.
The Anjan is a three-season tent, in less favorable conditions you will notice that the wind comes under the tent cloth. That is fine in warm conditions, but in Lapland this seems less pleasant.
Als je voor het eerst gaat trekken is het lastig om te bepalen wat je wel en niet mee zult nemen. Het is afhankelijk van het type trektocht dat je gaat maken ( bijvoorbeeld twee dagen of drie weken), de plaats waar je dat gaat doen (in Nederland, in Bosnië of in Lapland) en de weersomstandigheden.
Ik heb een paklijst samengesteld waarin je globaal ziet wat wij zoal meenemen. Je kunt hem hier downloaden. Op deze pagina zal ik ingaan op de belangrijkste items: de tent, de rugzak, de matjes en de slaapzakken. Hoe zijn we tot deze keuzes gekomen en wat zijn eventuele voor- of nadelen?
Tijdens eerdere trektochten namen we lichtgewicht tentjes van The North Face mee. Deze waren niet echt geschikt: te klein en te koud. Daarom zijn we in 2016 op zoek gegaan naar een nieuwe tent. Een aantal tentjes vielen direct af omdat we ze niet stevig genoeg vonden (Vango) of het model ons minder aanstond (MSR).De Hilleberg tenten zijn sterk, geschikt voor drie of vier seizoenen en hebben fijne kleuren. Ze zijn wel duur, dus we twijfelden. Op Marktplaats vonden we een Nallo III die al meerdere vakanties dienst had gedaan. Daar was niets van te zien!
Hilleberg Tentmakers maken al 30 jaar dit type tent. Ze maken tenten met drie verschillende labels, zwart, rood en geel, afhankelijk van de gewenste eisen. De Nallo valt onder het rode label. Meer info vind je op hun website.
De Nallo III
Deze tent leek ons direct prettig. Een goed gewicht, ruim en prettige kleuren. Daarbij kwam dat de reviews prima waren dus we wilden het gokje wel wagen.
De Nallo III is een driepersoons tunneltent, met twee stokken. Met 3.40 m is de lengte behoorlijk en de breedte 1.70 m, de voortent is 1.30 m. De hoogte is 1.15 m. Je kunt er rechtop in zitten. De rugzakken passen in de voortent.De Nallo is 2600 gram. De tent heeft een 1200 Kerlon buitendoek en DAC aluminium stokken. Het doek voelt dun maar is erg sterk.
We vinden de Nallo III en prettige tent om in te verblijven. Hij doet het goed onder zware omstandigheden zoals sneeuw, harde wind en forse regenbuien. Een echte vierseizoenentent. We vinden het prettig dat je er goed in kan zitten en dat hij ruim is zowel in de slaaptent als in de voortent. Daarnaast vinden wij het heel fijn dat de voortent geel is, dit geeft je een ruimtelijk fris gevoel.
De handig features zoals de zijvakken, het waslijntje voor je natte sokken en de goede ventilatie maakt het een complete tent. Daarnaast is het een fijne tent om mee te nemen tijdens een trektocht maar ook als we een verre reis maken en een auto huren nemen we deze tent mee. Hij is compact en past goed in een duffel.
Een lichtere tent?
Na enkele trektochten kregen we het idee om de belangrijkste items te vervangen voor lichtere varianten. Dan gaat het al snel om de tent en de slaapbenodigdheden. De Nallo III beviel ons nog steeds goed maar wellicht is er een lichtere tent met dezelfde features?We hebben het internet afgezocht, reviews gelezen en in diverse winkels waaronder de Zwerfkei en de Bever in Houten naar tenten gekeken.
Er waren een aantal tenten die in potentie in de buurt kwamen. De Hubba Hubba Trekkerstent van MSR is goedkoop, licht (1720 gram), heeft twee ruimtes voor de rugzakken, maar wij vinden de tent geen fijne kleuren hebben. Van Fjällräven is de Abisko Light is iets minder licht (2070 gram), is gemaakt van mooi materiaal, maar is net iets kleiner dan de Anjan. De Vango tenten zijn enorm goedkoop maar we hebben er geen vertrouwen in dat we er jaren mee op pad kunnen. Zo viel de één na de andere tent af en kwamen we wederom bij Hilleberg tenten terecht.
De Anjan II
De Anjan II heeft een aantal dezelfde eigenschappen als de Nallo en voelt direct vertrouwd en prettig aan.
De Anjan II is een tweepersoons tunneltent, met twee stokken. Het gewicht is 1800 gram. De Anjan heeft Kerlon 1000 doek en DAC Aluminum stokken. Het doek voelt erg dun aan en het grondzeil is glad, maar blijkt erg sterk te zijn. De Anjan heeft een lengte van 3,35 m en een breedte van 1,30 m. De voortent is 1,05 en de hoogte 1 meter. Duidelijk een slag kleiner dan de Nallo, logisch want dit is een tweepersoonsformaat.
We zijn heel blij met de Anjan. De Anjan is gebruikt op een aantal korte trips en tijdens de vakantie in Bosnië. We maakten ons wat druk om het dunnere doek en gladde grondzeil maar in gebruik voldoet het prima. De features die bevielen bij de Nallo zijn hier ook aanwezig, zoals de zijvakken en het waslijntje.
Daarnaast heeft de Nallo in de voortent de mogelijkheid om de deur links, rechts of in het midden te openen. Dit vinden we heel prettig en werkt goed. De Anjan is een drieseizoenen tent, bij minder goede omstandigheden merk je dat de wind onder het tentdoek doorkomt. In warme omstandigheden is dat prima, maar in Lapland lijkt me dit toch minder fijn.
In 2016 we bought the Osprey Aether 70 liters for Joost and the Osprey Ariel 65 for me. To orientate ourselves, we read reports on various websites and visited the Zwerfkei in Woerden and the Bever in The Hague.
We have used a number of criteria. I will go through that with you below. What you find important when buying a new backpack is of course decisive. There are a number of criteria that you can include in your decision. For example, the price was less important, but the wearing comfort was. This is a very person. What are you going to use your backpack for?
Are you looking for a backpack for a day of hiking, a kayak trip, climbing a mountain top or a tour on a mountain bike? Every activity requires different qualities. The freedom of movement that a backpack offers, the stability of the backpack are important aspects.
f you are going to do a trek of two to four days, then a backpack of 20 to 40 liters is enough. If you are going on a hike with provisioning options, you need a backpack of about 50 to 60 liters. Longer trips, without supplies, require a 60 to 90 liter backpack.
We chose the 70 liter Aehter and the 65 liter Ariel. At the time, this seemed like a good choice. We had and still have enough space for all our things. On a trip through Lapland you can stock up, but you can also choose to carry all the food on your back, then enough space is nice. Now that we are a number of years later, I would perhaps rather opt for a slightly smaller backpack.
The wearing comfort means that you like to have the backpack on your back, even if it contains 15 kilos. Good, padded and adjustable shoulder straps and an external frame that can be easily adjusted to your body size. In addition, material that feels pleasant, that does not rub or pinch. This backpack has an Anti Gravity system with hip straps that adapt to your body.
The Osprey Aether / Ariel has an external frame. This is a personal choice. Some hikers find this a horror, others swear by it. I think it is an advantage for two reasons: the backpack is easy to adjust on my back and wearing the backpack is less warm. This backpack is very stable on your back and gives you sufficient freedom of movement. The Ariel is specially made for women.
Get well informed in an outdoor shop. Let them also adjust the backpacks of your choice to your body, with weight in it. This is a precision job! So that you feel exactly which backpack suits you best.
The volume of the Ariel is 65 liters, the weight of the backpack itself is 2.28 kilograms.
The backpack has a large main compartment that you can reach from the top and the front. This main compartment is separated from the bottom compartment, which you can open with a zipper. If you don’t want to use a bottom compartment, you can loosen the straps, then the divider will drop down. On top is another large compartment, for things you need quickly. At the front is a mesh pocket, for example you can put your seat mats or rain jacket.
There are also two mesh pockets on the sides, which are slightly stretchable. Handy for a drinking bottle or rain pants. You can also grab that drinking bottle while walking. There are also small zip pockets in the hip straps, handy for your phone. The number of compartments makes this backpack easy to pack and ensures that you can properly distribute your belongings and the weight.
The number of compartments makes this backpack easy to pack and ensures that you can distribute your belongings and weight well.
You can store a camel bag on the back wall, and let the hose run forward. There is a large rain cover. If you have extra items attached outside, they are also protected by this cover.
The backpack has compression straps and extra loops everywhere, this means that you can make your backpack nice and compact. That is nice when your backpack is not completely full because that makes the backpack more stable. By the way, you can also remove those compression straps if you don’t need them.
There is an emergency whistle on the backpack and the backpack has a storage system for your hiking poles.
The backpack is still available in various outdoor stores in red, blue and black. Look around, because the Osprey Ariel is regularly on offer, such as at Bever. We bought the Ariel and Aether each for 191 euros at Bergfreunde, but the backpack is now a lot more expensive.
I think the advantages of this backpack are that it has an external frame and good tires. This makes the backpack comfortable to wear. The hip straps are sturdy. You carry most of the weight on your hips, so that’s important to me. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have bruises for the first few days … but it does mean that I still enjoy wearing my Osprey after two weeks. Another plus I think is that the backpack has many compartments, it has been well thought out.
I find the weight of the backpack a downside. The backpack itself already weighs two kilos. In addition, I would probably go for a slightly smaller model next time, because we actually want to take less weight with us. And the more space you have, the more you will take with you.
What should you pay attention to when buying a sleeping mat?
First you choose the type of mat. What are you going to use your sleeping mat for? I assume that you are hiking where you camp. A traditional air mattress is then dropped, because it is too heavy, but nowadays there are also light variants for sale. A sleeping mat such as the Therm-a-Rest that I discuss below is a common choice. They are strong, reasonably light and have a good insulation value.
A foam mat is an extra mat that you place under your sleeping mat to insulate better. Some hikers only bring a foam mat, but then you compromise on comfort. Finally, the self-inflatable mats. In recent years, there has been a lot of choice in this regard. Therm-a-Rest mats also partly inflate themselves, but you still have to inflate afterwards. The self-inflatable mats each have their own system. They are generally light mats with a high level of comfort. Many hikers use a self-inflating mat.
Weight and size
Weight and size are important. A sleeping mat that is too heavy and too large will not fit in your backpack, so don’t take it with you. The length of your sleeping mat is also important. Does the mat fit in your tent? And are you taking a sleeping mat on which you can lie completely? Some walkers opt for a shorter version because every gram counts. They solve the shortage by, for example, putting clothes at their feet. I don’t like that myself. So I would rather choose a mat with the correct body length, but this is personal.
Isolation and comfort
Then you look at the insulation value of your sleeping mat. You lose most of the heat through the ground when you lie in your tent, so this is an important aspect, especially if you are camping in countries such as Sweden or Scotland. Finally, the comfort. How thick your sleeping mat is and when it is comfortable for you is also very personal.
Years ago we bought our first Therm-a-Rest mats in America. The dollar exchange rate was favorable and we provided the whole family. We were immediately enthusiastic. Pleasant, fairly compact mats with good comfort and especially fine insulation. Once you are used to this you will never want to sleep on an air mattress again!
Therm-a-Rest has many different models. We especially used the Trail Pro Regular a lot.
Trail Pro Regular
The insulation value of this mat is 4 (according to their own standards from Therm-A-Rest), it is open cell foam. The mat is 830 grams, 5 cm thick and has a size of 183×51 cm. The mat is self-inflating, you only have to inflate. I sleep very well on this sleeping mat, it is wonderfully comfortable, it. The mat insulates well. However, the mat a bit slippery, if you have a smooth sleeping bag then slide there from. This old model is still available and now cheap, because there are now many new models on the market. The mat is available in Regular, Large and Ladies.
The Trail Pro Regular is now an “old” mat. You could also opt for the Trail Lite R. This mat is thinner and has a lower R value 3.4. The Trail Lite has the same dimensions, but when folded it is a lot smaller 28 x 15 cm. Suitable for use from spring to fall. If you find that a little too thin and too cold, then you choose the Pro Lite Apex, size m. It has the same dimensions, but a higher R value, namely 3.8. The Pro Lite Apex is 790 grams.
Lighter, insulated air mattresses
We started looking for an even lighter sleeping mat. A mat that is more compact. There are now several variants for sale. First, we looked at the Therm-a-Rest Neo Air Xlite mat. After all, we are a fan of this brand.
This mat is very compact and light. The specs are really a dream for a backpacker who mainly wants to take fewer grams with him. The insulation value is high, 4.2 and the weight only 340 grams. While the length and width are the same as the other Therm-a-Rest mats, but the thickness is 6.3 cm. Are there no downsides? Yes unfortunately it is. When we test lay in the store, we notice that this mat makes a lot of noise. Every movement, no matter how small, is followed by a lot of creaking. If you are alone in the middle of nowhere, you might be able to do it, but we don’t like it at all.
We also looked at the Sea to Summit mats. Such as the Ultralight Insulated Regular. This sleeping mat is very compact, 23 x 10 cm, which is smaller than a carton of milk. The weight is also fine, 480 grams. The dimensions are comparable to the Therm-a-rest mats and the thickness is 5 cm. The fabric feels nice and creaks less than the Neo Air. Still, we are less enthusiastic because the R value is on the low side: 3.1.
We ultimately opted for an Exped sleeping mat, the SynMat UL M. This is a comfortable sleeping mat with a synthetic filling. These mats have partitions between the air chambers, which, according to Exped, ensures that you are warm. It contains a Texpedloft microfibre, which gives a high insulation value.
The dimensions of the SynMat UL M are 24 x 10 cm and the weight is 475 grams. The mat is 7 cm thick and has an insulation value of 2.9. The sleeping mat is 183 cm long and 52 cm wide. The mat is inflated with a supplied Pumpbag, the Schnozzel. If you inflate the mat more fully, it insulates better. The mat can be used up to an outside temperature of -6.
The SynMat UL M is pleasantly comfortable. The mat has a rough layer so that a sleeping bag will not slide off quickly. The mat is compact and light, so you can easily put it away in your backpack. Inflating the mat requires some practice, on you tube you will find various videos. The seller managed it in a few seconds, it really takes a little longer for me. The mat has an inflate and deflate opening, if you have inflated the mat it is handy that you can take out the Schnozzel pump bag and the mat does not deflate. The pump bag is super light and waterproof, you can also use it for other things.
So much for the advantages, unfortunately we have also discovered some disadvantages. The Exped mats are sensitive to sharp protrusions such as stones and twigs. This can cause them to leak. This will not happen so quickly, but the material is more sensitive to this than, for example, the Therm-a-Rest mats. When a room breaks down, you can actually no longer lie on the mat. One part of your mat is then full of air and you roll off it. In addition, the SynMat makes significantly less noise than the previously discussed Therm-a-Rest Neo Air, yet this mat does creak somewhat.
A sleeping bag is an essential item in your equipment. The sleeping bag ensures that you sleep well and start your next day rested. Ready for the adventure! But how do you choose the right sleeping bag?
There are a number of things to take into account. Your personal preference also plays a role. The type of sleeping bag is important, do you want a traditional sleeping bag or do you opt for a mummy? Do you want a synthetic or a down? And to which destination do you travel and when? Do you mainly camp in the summer and in southern countries or do you also go in the winter or to cold destinations such as Iceland or Norway?
Sleeping bag type
The mummy sleeping bag is a logical choice if you are going on a camping or hiking trip. The mummy fits better on your body. All the extra space in your sleeping bag means extra space that you have to heat. A mummy insulates better. Some people think a mummy is too tight, but you get used to it quickly. Usually they are also lighter because you take less fabric with you. Win-win!
Down or synthetic sleeping bag
A down sleeping bag is usually warmer than a synthetic sleeping bag, in any case the down version is lighter and that is important when you go on a hike. A disadvantage of down is that it is sensitive to moisture. So you have to make sure that your sleeping bag does not get wet!
The quality of the down in the sleeping bag is indicated with a cuin value. This indicates how far the springs expand. The more the springs expand, the more air there is in between. The air provides better insulation. So pay attention to the amount of the cuin value when purchasing.
In addition to the type and heat of the sleeping bag, you can also take into account other features such as an extra storage compartment, a neck collar, whether the zipper is on the right or left and how long the sleeping bag is. Ladies can opt for a special ladies’ sleeping bag that provides extra insulation at the level of the abdomen and feet (because women are generally more cold than men).
The comfort temperature
The comfort temperature of the sleeping bag is the temperature stated in the specifications. It is the temperature at which you can sleep comfortably in the sleeping bag without waking up. Sometimes the limit temperature and the extreme temperature are also given. For example, it says 3 / -6 / -18. The first -3, is the comfort temperature, measured so that women can sleep for 8 hours, the second limit temperature indicates that men can sleep for 8 hours, and the extreme temperature is for women who can stay for six hours, where they can have frostbite symptoms like frozen toes. There is quite a difference and you do not focus on the limit and extreme temperature. Assume the comfort temperature.
If you are camping in the summer or if it does not get cold that quickly, you need a sleeping bag with a different comfort temperature than when you go to the far north. My experience is that the comfort temperature is often less positive for me, so I feel cold more quickly. How you can prevent this can be found at the bottom of this article with the tips.
The Yeti Tension 500 L
We have opted for a mummy from Yeti, the Tension 500. This is a light down sleeping bag of 980 grams. The insulation material is 90/10, 650FP European duck down. The fabric feels nice. The sleeping bag is very compact, 30 x 16 cm. The sleeping bag is available in three sizes, I have a large which is 220 cm, suitable for persons up to 190 cm. The comfort temperature is 3 degrees. The zipper has a baffle and the hood can be closed completely.
Yeti has different sleeping bags. The Passion series are all down sleeping bags and very light. The Passion One is more suitable for warmer regions, comfort temperature 15 degrees. The sleeping bag is super light, 320 grams. Yeti also has warmer sleeping bags in this series, for example the Passion Five. This sleeping bag has a comfort temperature of -2 and the weight is 790 grams.
We like the sleeping bags from Yeti. We had a synthetic sleeping (Haglofs). That was very big and heavy. The Yeti sleeping bag is light and fits easily in my backpack. The fabric feels nice. I sleep well in it. When we camp in the north, this sleeping bag can sometimes be too cold. I am a real cold person. I may choose an even lower comfort temperature for the next sleeping bag.
In general, down mummy sleeping bags, which are suitable for the colder climes, are not cheap. Not this one either. It is a rib out of your body. We have been able to buy our Yeti sleeping bags, which normally cost around 300 euros, for a third of the price. Orient yourself well and look for offers.
- You shouldn’t wash a sleeping bag too often. When you return from a trip, hang the sleeping bag outside to air out. If the sleeping bag really needs to be washed, use a special detergent, do not put the sleeping bag in the dryer. You don’t have to wash a sleeping bag as often if you use a sheet bag.
- When you get home you take a sleeping bag out of the bag. You prefer to place it in a dark, ventilated place.
- Make sure you get into your sleeping bag warm. So do some exercises. You don’t have to sweat, but it is nice if you don’t go into your sleeping bag cold. The heat that you take with you into your sleeping bag is well retained by the sleeping bag.
- If you dread changing in your tent in the morning and having to put on “cold” clothes, you can take your clothes with you in your sleeping bag.
- Make a pitcher, warm water in a bottle. It doesn’t have to be super hot. Put these in your sleeping bag.