Ultra lightweight sleeping system test

Ultra lightweight sleeping system test

Last weekend I used a:

  • Cumulus Quilt 250 with a control weight of 484g
  • Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite Small sleeping pad including standard storage bag with a control weight of 211g
  • VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat 8mm with a control weight of 110g. It also doubles as a seat pad. (see photo below)

Total control weight = 805g

HMG Windrider 2400

The Cumulus Quilt 250 is not new gear and I have been using it for about a year now. This is the second season in use. I am happy with the low weight and compactness. When I was using my HMG Windrider 3400 last season, I wasn’t compressing the quilt, and it just laid in the bottom of my pack in a pack liner. Now that I am using a HMG Windrider 2400, I have chosen to compact the quilt into a ZPacks Medium-Plus Cuben Fiber 9.5 Ltr dry bag. I have noticed that when I pack my gear in the mornings that there are some small amounts of goose down from the quilt in my shelter. I’ve only noticed this after I started compacting it. I only use the quilt when temperatures are a minimum 6 or 7 degrees ℃. I’m a bit of a cold sleeper and I use these temps to gauge when I will start using the bag at the start of the season. I’m not saying that this is what you should do, only that this is what works for me. I’ve used it in lower temps around 3 or 4 degrees ℃ and I just didn’t like it because of the draughts and it was just too cold. I regard this quilt as my late spring/summer/early autumn gear. A lot of people complain that when they toss and turn at night that you have to adjust the fastening system to stop the cold air on their backs every time you turn over. This is also my experience. I basically only use the fastening system at the beginning and the end of the season. Otherwise I don’t use the cord system. I had them fastenned on the last hike I did, but they are now removed and I’m ready to use the quilt for the summer.

I have recently purchased both the Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite Small and the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat 8mm. These are my findings:

Advantages:
– very lightweight
– you can use the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat as a sit pad for resting on and as I did, it was great for lying on when I got sick last weekend
– the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat is a closed foam and therefore doesn’t soak any water up
– the Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite Small is very comfortable ( I only use these Therm-A-Rest Neoair sleeping pads. I have a regular size that I use in early spring through to autumn, and I have a Therm-A-Rest Neoair XTherm Regular as well which I use all through winter)

Disadvantages:
– I found that travelling on the train and busses that the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat was awkward and kept getting stuck on corners and hitting people and things etc. I mainly only take public transport, as I am travelling to Sweden all the time, so this is important for me.
– hiking through some brush it got caught often as well. I think that it would rip easily too, but that is nothing a bit of duct tape couldn’t fix.
– when I used the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat during the day I found it difficult to remove all the twigs and leaves etc. They tended to mould easily into the mat and sat there real good.

Conclusion:

I’m defiantly not against the idea of this ultra lightweight sleeping system and I’m always willing to try new ideas and this is why I used my money and time on it. However, me being over 50 years old, and an arthritis patient (I have arthritis in my spine and have constant pain and therefore take medicine for this), I really prefer my Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite – Regular, because of the extra comfort I experience on my back.

I said that I have mixed feelings in my recent trip report, because I’m not convinced either way. I will definitely use this system again and continue to experiment. But like I’ve written above, I have this medical condition as well and I guess I’ll just do what I always do and plan every hike like a new one and use the gear that suits that hike.

I had a recent suggestion from Karl on my Facebook page that could be interesting. He uses 4 sections cut off from a Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite SOL. The 4 sections weigh 116 grams which is only 6 grams more than my “awkward” VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat! I could arrange it easily on my pack so that it doesn’t stick out like the Vaude as it will fold more compactly. It will still double as a seat pad too.

I’ll let you know how this develops.

SL1, Sections 3,3A,4,5,6
Cumulus Quilt 250, Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite Small, Vaude Evazote sleeping mat 8mm, HMG Windrider 2400 Pack for leg support, HMG Cuben Pillow/stuff sack (also storage bag for “Puffy” jacket)

Skåneleden Trail SL1 / Sections 3,3A,4,5,6 (Sweden)

Skåneleden Trail SL1 / Sections 3,3A,4,5,6 (Sweden)

I rode the train from Copenhagen central to Bromölla station in Sweden on Wednesday evening after work on 24/05/2017. From here I caught the bus up to Östafors where I left the trail last time. The time was 6:22 pm.

Photos on Flickr

Photos on Facebook

It was a short hike to camp 1 at Östafors. There were signs indicating drinking water somewhere down the road. Although, I and the only other person at the site, a German traveller (car camper), could not locate the tap anywhere. There was a good flow in the creek so I used my water filter and collected enough water for the night and for in the next morning.

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my water source

25/05/2017

I had a good night’s sleep. Next morning I awoke in the early hours to a mist over the local area. The mist hung around until the sun warmed things up. I noticed that, as there was no wind and with the presence of the mist, that there was a little condensation on the inside of my Zpacks Duplex shelter. I dried it all off with my micro fibre cloth and the shelter was dry when I packed it down.

After breakfast and coffee I followed section 3 up to Bökestad, where I have been several times before. The lake looked gorgeous with the beautiful blue skies above.

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Raslången lake

From Bökestad I followed section 3A to Lerjevallen. I had never been there before so I was looking forward to this section. At Bäen lake, where I have camped before, I took a lunch break. It was a hot day so I made sure that I was drinking enough water as well.

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lunch time besides Bäen lake

At around 2pm I arrived at Lerjevallen. At this stage I had hiked 23 km for the day. I had originally planned to camp here, but as it was so early in the day, I decided to move on. I could see on my map that there should be some drinking water available. I asked some locals, who were swimming down by the lake, if they knew where I could find the tap. They were not certain, however they said that there was a little cabin down near the shelter and I might find something there. I located the cabin and around the back there was a water tap. I filled up and with a little more as I had approximately 18 km to camp two. I doubled back on section 3A until I was near lake Bäen again and then made my way north until I could join section 4 around Skärsnäs. From here there was only 3 or 4 km to Brotorpet, where I camped for the night.

I arrived at camp 2 around 6pm and started this morning at 8:00 am from Östafors. I had a half hour lunch break. I hiked a total of 41 km today!

I made camp and then took a dip in Immeln lake. The wind had started to blow a lot but it was hot, so the swim was fantastic and my first swim ever in one of the lakes in Sweden! After my refreshing dip I organised my evening meal, which was one of my homemade dehydrated meals. I cleaned up and then went to the lake to watch the sunset.

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sunset at Immeln

 

26/05/2017

My camp was situated behind some trees so that I had some protection from the wind. Although there was still enough air flow so that next morning there was no condensation at all on the inside of my shelter. I always sleep with the doors open as well. Only once has been necessary to sleep with the doors closed in a storm. I slept like a baby.

I felt fine today, even though I had hiked 41 km the day before. I departed camp at 7:30 am. The section is number 5 heading to Vesslarp and is 13 km long. I made my way around the northern end of Immeln through som country that I had not seen before. At some stage I was greeted by this squirrel. I saw one yesterday at the lake at Lerjevallen too.

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can you see the squirrel?

I made it to the shelter at Vesslarp around 10:45 am and decided to have an early lunch break. I boiled some water from the pump at the shelter and made some noodles for lunch. I took a hour’s lunch break and was feeling refreshed and ready to hike the next section 6 to Glimäkra which was 19 km away. My idea was to make it to Glimäkra and camp there for the night and then make my way to the bus stop next morning.

However, little did I know that all my plans would be all changed within a few hours!

As I approached the lake area at Vesslarpssjön I started feeling ill and very weak and then came some violent retching. I had to take several breaks and lie down on my sleeping mat for half hour breaks before I could continue. At around 3pm I was at a beautiful area, which would of been great for a camp BTW, at the the Vesslarpssjön lake.

I would walk about 1 km and then sick and then rest 1/2 hour before I could move on. I did this until at 5pm when I sent a message home to Denmark that I could not go on. I simply had no energy left. I laid out my sleeping mat and quilt by the side of a forrest road and slept on and off for about 3 hours. I must of had fever too as I was freezing on and off.

At aprox. 8:30pm on Friday night 26/05/2017 my family reached my location and drove me back to Denmark. I would not of copped on my own and water ran out around 8pm too.

After nearly 24 hours I just starting to feel only slightly better. This was a good call. Never be afraid to call off a hike. It’s not worth it!

Final thoughts

I still managed to hike 65 km from Wednesday through to Friday. I throughly enjoyed the challenges, scenery, wildlife and the diversity of the countryside on this adventure. I wouldn’t change anything and I was happy with ny preparations and backup plans I had in place.

I’m not 100% certain about the sleep system I tested on this hike and I have very mixed feelings about the advantages and disadvantages with the small size sleeping pad. Although, I was quite happy to have the sleeping mat with me as I needed it to rest after I fell ill.

I won’t be back until Autumn in this area again as the mosquitos were just starting to be very annoying. Think I will do some hiking around Österlenleden (Skåneleden 4), as it is on the coastline and hopefully I should be safe from the mosquitos there.

I’ll be hiking Fjällräven Classic Denmark at the end of this month and maybe I’ll get an overnight hike in as well before that too.

Thanks for reading!

 

Skåneleden Trail SL1 / Sections 1 & 2 (Sweden)

Skåneleden Trail SL1 / Sections 1 & 2 (Sweden)

May 6th 2017 Saturday 08:28am

Last Saturday I took a train from Copenhagen to Sölvesborg in Sweden. From here SL1 section 1 starts from the railway station heading through the town and then heads up to Ryssberget about 150m above sea level. On the way up I stopped in my tracks as there were three European grass snakes (non-venomous) lazing in the warmth of the sun’s rays mid in the trail. Although, as soon as I came closer, they quickly dispersed and slithered away into the safety of the leaves and grass on the sides of the trail.

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European grass snake

Not far after that I rested for a while at the overlook enjoying the views.

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I stopped for some lunch at the cottage at Ryssbergsstugan where I also could top up my water bottle. I chatted to a local Swedish guy about the snakes I saw lazing on the trail and he thought that they were “snogs” European grass snakes which was confirmed later by a Danish friend, Peter (@naturvagabond) on Instagram. Thanks for the help Peter to identify them. Even though I grow up in a land full of snakes I am not at all an expert on them!

After lunch I followed the forest roads and trails through the hilly woodland until I reached the lake at Grundsjön in the late afternoon. I headed to the north side of the lake to find my campsite for the night. On the way I located the water source which was tap water mounted on the side of the trail for backpackers. This was a luxury which I was not accustomed to. I was lucky to have the site all to myself too.

I quickly made camp and then got on with my food preperations for my evening meal. I have been making my own dehydrated meals since March this year and tonight I had prepared some cooked ham, vegetables and mash potatoes (ok, the potato powder was purchased).

After dinner and a quick clean up I rested and listened to some podcasts from the Cascade Hiker (talking to Henry Shires from Tarptent), Inside The Adventure and The Outdoors Station.

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May 7th 2017 Sunday

Around 5am I awoke to some people talking loudly down at the lake. When I arrived the day before the outskirts of the lake was populated with people fishing. There must of been some early fishing going on I presumed.

I had a comfortable night’s sleep with perfect sleeping temperatures at around 9 ℃. This was the first time that I had used my Cumulus Quilt 250 this season. There was not much wind and there was no moisture in the air so my tent was also ready to pack up when I was ready.

During breakfast a fox suddenly exited the bush not too far from me, in the fenced paddock, next to the camp site. I noticed it’s thick bushy tail. After it saw me it soon disappeared again.

Today’s hike, SL1 section 2, leaves the lake at Grundsjön and follows the trail towards Östafors. I experienced forest roads, forest trails, large rocks, beech trees, and some good elevation with ups and downs. About 2km after leaving I walked up a little rise on a forest road and as I came down the other side I startled 3 moose which raced quickly into the forest as soon as they were aware of my presence. It all happened so fast that I didn’t really register what happened and what they were at first. I was disappointed that I didn’t manage to get any photos as this was my first moose sighting ever!

After this sighting I passed through Näsums reserve and up on to the ridge line north of Drögsperyd. I stopped for lunch at an overlook with a lovely view of the valley.

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After lunch I continued and leaving the ridge I made my way towards Östafors. I exited the trail at a point where I only had a short walk to the bus stop. On arrival at 1pm I read that the bus should arrive at 1:28pm. I was back in Copenhagen again around 4:30pm as the busses and trains were running late.

I’m already looking forward to my next adventure again starting here where I left off at Östafors. I’m planning a 3 day hike next time so that I can cover a lot more of the trail.

All my photos from the trip are here on Flickr or Facebook

Thanks for reading; just ask if you have any questions.

 

Skåneleden Trail 3 Sweden, SL3 Sections 11, 12, 13 & 14 (57km)

Skåneleden Trail 3 Sweden, SL3 Sections 11, 12, 13 & 14 (57km)

SL3 Sections 11, 12, 13 & 14 (57km)

In February this year I hiked sections 8 to 10 and finished at Ekeröd, where I took a bus to the train station, and then travelled back to Copenhagen. It was here at Ekeröd where I started this adventure from where I left the trail last time.

Thursday April 20th 2017 I caught a train from CPH central station to Mamö C. From here I rode the bus, SkåneExpressen 1, to Ekeröd arriving about 11AM.

It was very windy and cold. I had to put on my “puffy” layer while I adjusted my trekking poles and got myself ready for the hike. I got myself orientated and set out. There was not much sun and with the wind chill factor it was necessary to keep moving at a brisk pace the whole time so as not to feel the cold. Really lovely spring time weather 🌬.

My plan was to only hike 13km today and camp at the Timan shelter area, so I decided to stop, which is totally out of character for me, and eat lunch. I found an area in a gully with a bit of wind protection.

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I had plenty of time so I made a cup of coffee too. After lunch I set out again. Winter was still hanging on in these parts as there was still snow on the ground around the outskirts of the forrest floor. With the strong winds and snow on the ground, it still felt like winter today.

The trail on this section 11 followed mainly forrest roads. It was only about 3km before the Titan shelter that there were forrest trail present. After that, I either missed a turn-off or the trail soon disappeared. I could see on the map that I was only about 600 meters from where the trail should be and heading in the direction I wanted. So I got my bearings and “bush whacked” in that direction. Easier said than done. I was soon presented with a new challenge; bog or marsh, or what ever you want to call it, it was wet. So I changed direction until I gained a little elevation heading around the bog. Here I found an old stone boundary line and it happened to be heading in my desired direction. It was not long before I found the trail again. This whole incident took up an extra half hour or so, but it didn’t worry me as I had a lot of daylight hours to play with. It is always clever to stop up in a predicament such as this one, keep a cool head and don’t panic, try to find out where you are, and make a plan, and stick to it. I knew that if I held my bearing and continued in that direction, that I would eventually hit the trail again.

After that incident I soon found the shelter area at Timan. I was a little disappointed with the site at first. There was no suitable area for me to pitch my tent. There was no grass area at all and there were many dead and fallen trees. It was blowing so much that I didn’t think it was a smart choice to pitch my tent for the night. So I set myself up in the shelter. No-one else was there and no-one else turned up for the night. I had the whole area to myself. There was also drinking water and plenty of firewood too.

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Next morning, Friday April 21st 2017, it was still blowing and at 7am it started to rain on and off too. I was happy that I had packed my trekking umbrella, as I could put it easily up and down with the intermittent rain. It would of been useless at a higher elevation, but with the protection of the forrest, it did the job well.

The trail (section 12) started with some road walking until just after the village of Timan, where it took me around a swamp area on some very poorly maintained track. There were trees blown down everywhere and I found myself having to leave the trail several times to get around the fallen trees. After Harphult and Brännestad the trail took me through an area that reminded me of the terrain that I experienced at the end of March in Jutland in Denmark, up at Hanstholm. This area too was alive with bird activity.

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As the day progressed, it started to storm more and then at 2PM the “on and off” rain turned into a constant downpour which lasted until 8PM that night. Which was okay, as I managed 21km through until 1:45PM, where I took a short lunch break at Rebbetuaröd shelter area, where I could study an old ruin at the same time.

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After lunch, I only had 7KM (section 13) to the Agusa shelter area, which is where I camped on my Österlen Circle Trail hike in March this year. With the rain persisting and the winds increasing, it was becoming a task to control my trekking umbrella, although it coped and did the job well. I hadn’t packed any rain pants, however my “rain kilt” got the job done.

I arrived at Agusa at about 4PM. On arrival I checked the weather forecast which read that the rain would stop about 6PM. So I sat in the shelter, put on warm clothes and changed my wet socks and waited. At around 5:30PM I checked the weather forecast again and this time it read that the rain would not stop until around 8PM. So I waited until the rain eased off a little and pitched my tent. I did not want to sleep in a shelter again tonight. I found a spot where I knew no trees would fall on me.

I was a little disappointed to learn that the water source, like my last stay here, was still not turned on. Luckily there was a good running stream about 5 minutes from the site. You can see a photo here.

After an eventful day and 28KM hiked, I got off to bed about 8:30PM. The rain had stopped but the winds increased and it stormed all night. I awoke at some stage through the night and I was sure that I heard a girl walk briskly past my tent singing as she went. Weird stuff! The wind was really howling through the site.

Next morning I awoke to sunny skies and the wind had decreased to intermittent gusts. I was quite pleased with how my Zpacks Duplex had handled the storm. It sat exactly how I had pitched it the evening before. Once you get the Dyneema Composite Fabric (earlier known as cuben fiber) nice and tight and sitting correctly, it just stays like that. Doesn’t sag at all and doesn’t absorb water.

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Saturday April 22nd 2017

After breakfast and coffee, I set out on the last section 14 (16KM) of this Skåneleden 3 trail. With no rain, sunny skies and decreased wind gusts, it was a pleasure to finish this trail in such fine conditions. I also knew this section well as I did it on the Österlen Circle Trail hike last month. I arrived at the Brösarp Bus terminal at approximately 12:20PM and the bus came at 12:34PM. Perfect timing I would say.

This was a proud moment for me as I realised that I had now completed (section hiked) the entire length 162KM of the Skåneleden 3 trail.

You can see my photos on Flickr or on my Facebook page.

I’ve completed section hiking 162km SL3

I’ve completed section hiking 162km SL3

Today I completed ✅ section hiking the Skåneleden SL3 Trail in Sweden 🇸🇪162km 👍Now on to the next trail. Not sure which one is next. SL 1, SL2, SL4 or SL5? Thinking of doing SL4 next. Should be nice with the warmer weather coming soon.

Trip report to follow soon.

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Thy National Park – Denmark’s Largest Wilderness

Thy National Park – Denmark’s Largest Wilderness

A couple of things changed since my remarks on my blog from March 18th 2017. I didn’t pack my Tarptent Notch after all and I took my Zpacks Duplex instead. Just love that tent.  The route that I had planned to take I changed underway as well including the sites where I planned to overnight. The drive to Jutland, on the west coast of Denmark,  took about 5 hours and not 4. At the last minute I unpacked my rain pants and packed my trekking umbrella and rain skirt instead. I just love this piece of equipment (trekking umbrella). The weather forecast was with a little rain but not much wind.

You can see my route here Total distance was 46.1km

Total base weight was 5.6kg and total pack weight 8.6kg

After leaving Copenhagen approx. 9am Friday March 31 2017, I was dropped off at the northern outskirts of Hanstholm Nature Reserve around 2pm. “Are you actually going out there where there is nothing and no-one ?” I was asked. As you can see below there are no marked trails, but the landscape is easy to traverse. You just have to study the map and plan your journey around the low lying water areas up to the camp site on the eastern side of the reserve at Sårup. Just before you climb up and out of the reserve to Peter Odgårds Plads, where the camp site is, there is a little creek that you have to cross. Here you will get wet feet, which didn’t worry me, as my trail shoes dried out within a couple of hours. You can see photos of the creek here on my Flickr site or here on my Facebook page.

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This is at the start of my journey at the northern end of Hanstholm Nature Reserve

As I traversed over the wild reserve I came across an European adder or European viper, “Hugorm” in Danish. This is a is a venomous snake! They are also protected and you are not allowed to move them, kill them or whatever. I left it alone and kept on my way.

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As I said in my initial remarks on March 18th, the park closes between April 1st and July 15th every year, so I only had today to experience the wild reserve. I also saw a red deer on a rise and it just looked at me and then kept on it’s way. There was also a lot of bird life in the park especially around the water holes. I really want to come back here sometime and experience a lot more of the reserve as I only saw the tip of it.

I had the camp site at Sårup all to myself. Later around 8pm 2 people turned up and overnighted in the shelter. You are not allowed to “wild camp” anywhere you want in Denmark and a lot of the sites you have to book. All of the sites in Thy National Park where I hiked, it was not necessary to book if you are not travelling in a group. The distance I covered today was 5.7km.

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My Zpacks Duplex at Sårup Shelter place

Saturday April 1st 2017 I departed at 9am. I made my way down through Tved Dune Plantation, around Nors Sø (lake), Vandet Sø (lake), Nystrup Dune Plantation, Vang Sø (lake) and finally Tvorup West camp site, where I overnighted. Before that and just north of Bøgsted Rende I caught a glimpse og the west coast.

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just north of Bøgsted Rende with the sun low in the sky

The day’s distance was actually 37.3km and not the 38km as I wrote on Instagram; sorry about the error folks. There was a water source at the site in way of a little stream. I filtered some water while I made camp and then prepared my evening meal. This was the first time I was eating my own home made dehydrated food. It turned out to be a huge success; lots of food and tastes just like is does at home. I made chicken curry with rice the first night and beef with tomato sauce and pasta the second night.

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chicken curry with rice
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my water filter system

 

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beef with tomato sauce and pasta
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my camp at Tvorup West camp site on Sunday morning

It rained for half an hour on Friday night when I had gone to bed and then about a few hours on Sunday morning before I got out of bed. So I never had to hike in rain the whole weekend!

I listened to several podcasts while preparing dinner and also when I went to bed from the “Inside The Adventure“.

On Sunday I hiked the small 3.1km through Tvorup Dune Plantation to Nørre Vorupør, a little fishing town. Here I could watch the fisherman sorting their catch ready for the market.

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An hour or so later I was collected and we made our way back to Copenhagen again. I’ll definitely be back here again and looking forward to seeing a lot more of Hanstholm Wild Reserve.

 

My next hike will be in Thy National Park on the west coast of Denmark at the end of this month

My next hike will be in Thy National Park on the west coast of Denmark at the end of this month

On Friday March 31st I’ll be heading to Hanstholm on the west coast of Denmark. I’m planning a 3 day hike starting at the harbour at Hanstholm and finishing 50 km south at Nørre Vorupør.

BaseCamp

It will take about 4 hours to drive from Copenhagen to the start. The first section is therefore only about a 8 km walk to my first camp at Sårup. I am particularly interested in this 1st section as it takes me through Hanstholm Nature Reserve which is closed every year between April 1st to July 15th because it is the birds’ breeding season. So I will just make it the day before it closes. 😀

Thy National Park stretches 12 km inland along the west coast and it includes dunes and plantation and has great national and international importance.

At Hanstholm Nature Reserve you can find a large red deer population, foxes, otters and a variety of bird types. The reserve is the breeding ground for approximately 5 pairs of cranes and 50 pairs of wood-sandpipers. The osprey and white-tailed eagle are regular visitors as well. The strong coastal winds coming in from the North Sea have also influenced the landscape and vegetation in this area.

My plan is to camp at Sårup on the first night and somewhere around Vandet Sø on night 2 which is a lake area.

I’m looking at using my Tarptent Notch on this adventure as I believe that the strong west coast winds will be more suited to it than my Zpacks Duplex.

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I’m also a big Formula 1 fan, so next weekend it starts in Melbourne, Australia and then I’ve got my hike the following weekend in Thy National Park. It can’t be much better than that!