Summer days of dreaming, cuben and proof reading

After great week in a mountain hut with my family I have now been waiting for inspiration in a lot of areas. It seems to have arrived. I am beginning to discern where my next solo hike will take place. I am also beginning to see how a cuben fiber tent could fit into that trip. And I am trying to rouse myself enough from the holiday doldrums to put the final touches to the translation of one of my books into English.
By Jörgen Johansson
The cuben fiber tarptent will combine the best parts of my old homemade silnylon tents. The largest, seen above, can house two at a pinch. At least it housed me and my 13-year old son a couple of years ago on a hike in the Kebnekaise area.
But this new tent will be smaller, in fact it will be a more or less exact replica of the tent I made for my first serious hike as a lightpacker, when I hiked 500 kilometers through some of the most beautiful parts of the Swedish mountain range in 2004. A hike where I shaved 8 kilos from my old base weight and realised that I was just as warm, dry and well fed with the light gear as I had been with the heavy loads. I also determined that more people should know what I had just discovered; that you do not need a heavy burden to be able to enjoy the mountains of the world. A thought that resulted in my first book and still is the driving force behind my writing in magazines and blogs as well as in my lectures.

You can see that tarptent above, in nice weather mode, with the accompanying inner-/bugtent. The latter is only a bivy around the lower part of the sleeping bag (or as I was using then, quilt) but flaring out from mid thigh or so to become an enclosed tent of ripstop nylon and noseum mesh. I really like to have a space where I can sit and eat and make notes, so I do not really go for the minimalist approach with only a headnet. The weight of the fly/tarptent is 360 grams without lines and the weight of the innertent is 200 grams.

The neat thing about the whole construction is based on using telescopic hiking poles in the tent. So when the weather is nice the poles are raised, giving plenty of ventilation all around. A penetrating wind from one side can be handled by slanting and lowering the poles and fastening the fabric close to the ground on the wind side, while letting the lee side ventilate by still letting the pegs attach to the lines instead.
In storm mode, it is battened down all around and is in fact a real tent that is very storm worthy.

So I'll see what can be done with Cuben fiber along those lines...

I was recently contacted by a reporter from Swedish National Radio, who had read my latest book "Lighter pack from A to Z(Ö)". That is the book that will be published in English this fall, although most likely not with that title. At the moment the title is likely to be "Smarter Backpacking", but that might change. Anyway, the reporter interviewed me on the subject of lightpacking and hiking and the thing will be aired on July 31 at 1800 hours on Program 3, in a show called Planet. Please tune in if you understand Swedish.

Yeah, where am I taking my hopefully ultralight cuben fiber tent? Well, I have not completely made up my mind yet, but it will probably be in the westermost and most inaccessible parts of the Swedish mountains. An area rarely visited because it is surrounded by unfordable rivers and great lakes. So it seems a perfect place to bring a packraft. Some readers will probably guess what area I am looking at from these hints. But I have not made up my mind 100% yet.
I'll be back...


  1. A nice report Jörgen, you must have been reading my mind :) as I am now thinking about shelter alternatives for next summer, some of which appear similar to what you have already made as described here. Cuben fibre, sounds like a great way to lose weight I did wonder about the new Terra Nova cuben fly only, just needs some vents.

    Looking forward to the book in English, sadly swedish TV is not shown in Oz

  2. Thanks Roger,
    It's been a couple of years since I made any stuff of my own now, and it is great fun. I'll keep you posted.
    Tent flys only is usually a pretty good shelter when it is not bug season. The disadvantage with the TN Laser Photon fly I used during our trip to Vålådalen is of course the poor ventilation. Especially in circumstances with little wind and high humidity and rain, when you cannot sleep with the door open.
    I'm looking forward to further reports on your hike along the Nordkalott trail. The interview is on radio by the way, not TV. But I guess that is not for Oz neither.

  3. The radio will be possible to listen to via the Internet:

    But, it will still be in Swedish.

  4. Glad you had a nice holiday with the family Jörgen.

    I find myself inspired everywhere I look, other people's blogs, the books I've just read (thanks for the tips!) and the wilderness I see even when I'm only out for an over-nighter.

    Looking forward to reading about your next solo hike, where ever you end up.

  5. Joe recently posted on your courses and I'm very interested. I'd also like a copy of the book when it comes out in the autumn. There is every prospect I'll be living in DK one day and I am finding the thought of tramping in Scandinavia very intriguing. Given the proximity, through the Helsingør/Helsingborg ferry, of Sweden (that crossing is closer than, say, the Malmø bridge to where we'll be living as family are in North CPH), I am thinking that some tuition from a local seems ideal!

  6. Nice picture of Toulpagorni! Looked at the "Kebstation-valley" from up there this friday, great view but quite windy..!

    A bit curious of where you'll get the Cuben, and which weight? Sewing or gluing? Have you published any plans of your tarptent anywhere?

    Johan, Linköping

  7. Maz,
    On the course; this idea hatched during our Vålådalen trek was too late conceived and too few people could definetely join before the deadline we had set in order to book the lodge and prepare everything. Quite a few people have expressed an interest along the lines "very interesting, but my summer plans are unfortunately already made". So I will probably make a new attempt next year, and give everybody a decent advance notice.
    Good luck with your plans to move to Scandinavia. I'm sure Roger Brown, living in Denmark, can you you a few good tips.
    Yeah, I can imagine it was windy. I have only looked at Tuolpagorna from below.
    I will buy the Cuben from and will both tape and sew. I will publish details as the work progresses.


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