A Trip with Joe & Hilleberg to Sweden

So about two months ago I get an email from Taunton Leisure head office saying that I’ve been selected to go to Sweden in September… AMAZING!

Joe is, in fact, not a person as such but the Jämtland Outdoor Experience – a collection of outdoor companies from Ostersund, Sweden who think it is very important to give retail staff a true experience testing their products where they are designed and some are even made.

I will give you a brief account of what it was I did while I was over there.

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So here is a view from the plane of the area Jamtland lots of water and wide open space, perfect for or track hiking.

On arrival I was given a great big bundle of gear for testing from the three clothing companies, Lundhags, Klattermusen and Woolpower.

Most people will not have heard of these as they are not widely available in the UK yet, hopefully that will change soon though. All very expensive, they are made to last, built to very high standards and all follow strict environmental rules they have set themselves.

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And we have;

  • Woolpower Merino socks and 200gr baselayer
  • Lundhags Rockateer shell jacket and pants, Makke trekking trousers, V12 75L pack and off screen a pair of Jaure High boots (the best boots I’ve ever used for walking, perfect for the wet and boggy conditions underfoot.)
  • Klattermusen Liv Down Sweater.

There was also a range of Hilleberg tents to try over the coming nights.

A trip around the Lundhags factory shop where they make some of the boots and carry out repairs on the boots and clothing.

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In Sweden they would rather make product last and be repairable than disposable and cheap, so the boots I was testing would cost around £400 and have no Gore-tex lining, SHOCK!

They are, however, made in a modular way meaning every part of the boot can be replaced in the future. So, you effectively will need just one pair of boots for the rest of your life.

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A great place for an outdoor lunch before we start the trek.

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About an hour into the trek, the locals were not used to the heat in September so it was shirts off!

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Camp 1

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My tent mate, Pierre, puts up the Allak – an excellent free standing tent with very good ventilation. Apart from some loud snoring, a great night’s sleep.

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Wild bluberries the best ‘organic’ mountain snack! Get foraging!

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A glorious 7.00 AM start

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Camp 2, a great place for a bath, though the water was a little cold, but great for relaxing those tired muscles.

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The next tent was a Nammatj 2, this tent was very quick to pitch and its made bomb proof, however for to people with big packs I’d go for the GT with extra porch space!

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The morning after. It was cold – everything was frozen! Lovely!

Below you can see the inside with my RAB Neutrino 400 sleeping bag – what a great bit of kit. Lovely and warm and light; was perfect for the trip as it got to -5 one evening yet I didn’t feel the cold.

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In the background here you can just make out Norway!

Below area few more snaps of this great wilderness and gorgeous part of the world to go trekking! I cant wait to go back again.

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The Altai tent used with walking poles is a brilliant group shelter for meals and getting in from bad weather or cold.

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The final river crossing before the last night in a mountain lodge with a Sauna, perfect end to the trip.

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So what have I learnt?

  1. Swedish gear is tough and built to last, it’s an investment that should last a long while.
  2. Peak bagging is not important, I’d rather carry lots of comforts and enjoy the surroundings in a bigger tent than go ‘Lightweight’ and have grim freeze dried nice food and walk too fast just to get to the top of a hill.
  3. This part of Sweden is beautiful and clean, you can drink out of the streams and lakes with no need to filter or treat the water.
  4. The local people and companies care deeply about the environment, and are trying their best to limit their impact upon it, something id like to see happen more in the UK outdoor market.

Thanks for reading,

Stuart, the Hilleberg Expert (with T-shirt to prove it)

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