Ever since we’ve moved to the country side I’ve had the forest just outside my front door and thus the possibility to go on hikes everyday. Far away adventures, like trekking in the Himalayas or walking for days without meeting anyone in Swedish national park Sarek, is amazing but getting a daily fix of the outdoors is essential for my wellbeing. I’ve tried to live in central Stockholm as well as the suburbs but it just doesn’t work.
In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.Ralph Waldo Emerson
The small things, like the adventures next door, have real impact on my mental wellbeing. It might me a cliche but nature is my happy place. I am quite sure Flexie agrees, she loves to hike and hang out in the forest and she notifies me if someone is getting to close. She turns 9 years old this summer by the way.
Testing gear before heading further away
Another advantage of going on shorter hikes in your living area (preferably in nice weather conditions) is the ability to practise with new gear and equipment. I’d rather know exactly how to put up my tent and where in my backpack I have the first aid kit before a situation arises when you have to be really quick about it.
Thus, for this short hike (basically just a few kilometers from my house), I brought my new Jack Wolfskin Gossamer II tent. I took my time whilst putting it up, read the manual and made sure I know how to do it. This weekend I went out with friends and one borrowed this tent. We put it up around 10 PM and there was mosquitos everywhere. It was nice to know how to do it and I knew because I had already practised.
For winter camping I have got a Hilleberg Nammatj GT and guess what, I have even practised putting it up in a wind tunnel that gives the same strength of winds as a storm in the mountains wood. I have also pitched it in complete darkness. So yeah, I take practise quite seriously and I am sure it will help me if I end up in a survival situation.
Anyways, I am looking forward to try the Gossamer II on a really warm night. It is possible to just use the inner mesh tent and thus almost sleep under the stars just without the bugs. This tent is also smaller and lighter which is good now that I have got a motorbike and need to keep the weight down.
What I do when I get a new tent:
- Pitch it in your garden or in a forest nearby and check that nothing is missing or broken, read the manual and learn to pitch it correctly.
- Go for a weekend adventure or someplace where it is not critical that everything works, pitch it during worse weather conditions.
- Bring the tent on a trekk or other adventure further away.
Flexie is used to camping. She’s actually comfortable with both tents and vanlife. I might be biased but she is the best companion I could wish for outdoors.
My stove in the photo above is a foldable stove of the Esbit type. I like it for these kind of cozy adventures though I would not bring it if I went out for a longer hike since it is not very energy efficient and it takes a while for the water to boil using the fuel tablets.
Grand adventures are great but going out shorter but more often changes your everyday life and it is possible to fit those hikes into a busy work schedule. I guess I just wanted to encourage everyone to seek the easy access everyday adventures. It does not have to be more complicated than a short hike in your neighbourhood forest.