Learn Smarter Backpacking in Arctic Scandinavia

Events Some readers will remember that I offered a course on using lightweight and ultra light gear in above timberline conditions last summer. Unfortunately I did not offer it before last summer. I got several encouraging e-mails stating the same thing: Good idea but too late, my plans for the summer are already made. This time I hope to give you ample warning. The aim of the course is still to give people who are into lightweight backpacking the know-how of gear and techniques needed to be confident in using them in what is probably of of the most demanding circumstances; arctic and subarctic three season conditions.

Artic means hiking and camping above timberline, with sometimes considerable distances to the protection that the forest can give.

From the curriculum:
- How to chose lightweight gear for extended tundra backpacking
- How to use lightweight gear in the above timberline conditions of northern Scandinavia
- Staying warm, dry and well fed come rain or come shine
- Route finding away from trails
- Crossing rivers (without using bridges)
- Preparing and training for solo hikes
- And lots more.

The gear theory will be very much based on the know how from my book Smarter Backpacking. You will learn how to use the gear advice in this book for real in some faboulous mountains.

The course will be run August 20-26 in northern Sweden. The language of the course will be English and we especially welcome participants from different countries. Teacher will be yours truly: Jörgen Johansson. I have made several several 500 kilometer treks in Arctic conditions with light gear, as well as numerous shorter ones. See http://www.smarterbackpacking.com/ for more info.

The course will start with a day and a half in a mountain lodge, with theory and practice of lightweight techniques and then we take off for three nights out, before returning to the lodge for dinner and debriefing. After this you will be ready to venture out on your own mountain treks with next-to-nothing on your back, in company of others or solo.

The weather can be cold and rainy. It can also be bright and sunny. The sun will set at night but it will not be particularly dark. There will be rather severe restrictions on what you can bring and how heavy your gear can be. The scenery will be beautiful and other hikers will be extremely scarce. And you will learn that backpacking does not have to be backbreaking. Lighter and smarter backpacking opens new worlds for young and old, strong and weak, men and women, all of whom are welcome to this course. How ever, in order to insure that everyone will develope their hiking techniques and have a good time, some demands will be put on the participants.

This is not a beginner’s course for basic backpacking techniques. You should have done at least a couple of hikes with at least three nights each in tent or tarp in mountains or forests. On the other hand, it need not be in particulary exclusive wilderness areas, I just want to be sure you've slept outside before. You should at a minimum have an interest in and maybe even more or less extensive experience of lightweight gear in other parts of the world than the exposed areas of Scandinavia’s mountains.

You should also have celebrated your 18 birthday (or whatever legal age is in your jurisdiction). You should be fit enough to hike 20 kilometers during 10-12 hour days with a pack on your back, for three days in a row. We will not aim for speed but for enjoyment and learning, but you need to be reasonably fit and not have a BMI exceeding 25 with very much. So you are not a complete beginner, but you need not be an expert outdoorsperson. And you are willing to try new things and maybe do old things in a different way that you are used to.

The number of participants for the course will be very limited and I will try to pick a group that facilitates learning by an optimal combination of people with different backgrounds in some aspects and similar background in other aspects. If you find this information interesting there is a lot more specific information to be had. Send an e-mail to info@smarterbackpacking.com and I will be happy to furnish more detailed info.


  1. Wow, a great opportunity for those wanting to learn from a great teacher! Plenty of humour to be had too! I wish you all the luck with this endeavour Jörgen.

  2. Thanks Joe, but you must have mistaken me for someone else. I never joke.
    At least not very often.
    And not about serious things. At least not very often.
    And particulary not about lightweight backpacking. At least not very often...

  3. Hm, this is interesting - I'll consider joining this course

  4. I hate to say it but I already have plans! Erk! Good luck and perhaps if you run it in 2012 as well, I'll be able to persuade Mrs M (and Little M) to release me...

  5. Maz,
    Such is life. We'll see about 2012. It does of course depend on the interest 2011. Give my best to M&M ;-)


Post a Comment