By Jörgen Johansson
(This article has, more or less, been published in Swedish before).
Having been on the peak before, in winter and with everyhing covered in clouds, I could advice that if Jakob wanted to be sure to actually see something from the top, we needed some leeway. If the weather was bad it was essential that we had time to wait.
We landed on planning for a weeks hike, which in practice meant 5-6 days of hiking and the rest travel to and from the mountain. The idea was to go from the trailhead in Nikkaluokta to the foot of Kebnekaise in one day, and then make an ascent along the Western route the next day. If this did not work we would stay in the neighborhood and always have the Durling route or the Western route within reach if the weather looked promising.
Our homemade tarptent with their two individual bug/innertents. Note that the whole front can be closed with the flap and zippers.The three big ones
The basis for all lighpackingt is to reduce the weight of the big three; wear, shelter, sleep. So during the winter I made an ultralight backpack of some smaller caliber than my own homemade of 600 grams of Jacob. The weight of his pack landed at 225 grams, plus a waist belt /waist bag of 135 grams. This serves takes the load of the shoulders since you sort of have the pack 'standing' on the fanny pack. The pack and belt holds about about 50 liters.
As a sleeping pad and also serving as a back plate for the backpacks, we chose two Thermarest Short weighing 525-600 grams depending on thickness. I did of course hog the thickest for my weary old bones. We also carried two very light and cheap Jysk closed cell pads weighing around 150 grams each. These were used for breaks on rough terrain and to insulate our legs and feet while sleeping, since the Thermrests were only 1200 mm long. A great setup that I still use, with a Neoair these days.
Having a space that makes you feel protected all around and where you can cuddle up and read when the weather is bad, is worth carrying. With kids you will likely spend more time in your shelter than with adults or on your own. So some extra margins for shelter are recommended for trips with kids.
My initial idea was that Jakob should carry his own personal equipment, I would carry mine plus everything else such as tents, cooking gear and safety equipment.
This meant that in Jacob's backpack in addition to sleeping pad and sleeping bag you also found his raingear. This was a ligth and inexpensive Packaway set from ITAB costing approximately SEK 600 and weighing some 500 grams for jacket and pants. This rain suit was also the right size for my wife which made it an investment not only for this trip. Since I like hiking with an umbrella Jakob was also furnished with one.
There was also a fleece jacket, down vest, fleece hat, gloves, pile socks for camp and sleep, and a pair of waterproof socks from Sealskinz to use in cold and wet weather. A cup, spoon and an eating bowl Pack base weight, that is what Jakob carried all the time was 4.5-5 kilos.
We both wore thin, short sleeved synthetic shirts of no particular brand and bought really cheap. This was keeping in style with our thin synthetic trousers and so called water sport shoes with mesh uppers. We both used walking poles and mine were also used as tent poles.
All that now was needed was food. My first thought was that Jakob could carry his own food. This would have added another 4-5 kilos to his load and would not have been impossible for him. But a better and more elegant solution, in my mind, was that we divided the food between us so that the total pack weight was the same percentage of our respectiv body weights.
Trousers of thin synthetics were already part of Jakobs wardrobe, shirt and baseball cap as well. A cheap windshirt was bought at a clearance in a sporting goods store for 200 SEK (€20). It also fits mom who is still using it when biking or riding.
The water sport mesh shoes were used as sneaker to school every day until winter after the trip, so no extra cost really. Thin nylon socks are not expensive and the fairly light rain jacket and pants have already been mentioned. Same brand that Gustav from The Bearable Lightness used on the infamously wet Vålådalen trek this year.
There is no doubt that the low weight of our packs ensured that Jakob had a great hike and could enjoy some really strenous passages well away from the trails and the more frequented parts of this alpine area. Not to mention how nice it was for dad not to have to lug a 25 kilo pack across the Pyramid Pass.