Preparation for hiking

What to prepare for hiking in Finnish lapland in Autumn? I have only hiked in Taiwan (twice!) and camped in Åland during the summer (twice!). Well, not exactly an applicable experience, since hiking in Taiwan was really hot and humid, and putting up tent in campgrounds in Åland was not exactly very outdoor-sy (read my experience of cycling and camping in Åland in my blog here). I checked out an all-male group’s experience in Finland’s second largest national park at FIVE DAYS HIKING IN LAPLAND. It’s quiet cool! I am so excited!

Luckily, my dear Finnish friend H who has lots of hiking experience taught me where to look for a smooth hiking experience in Lapland! First and foremost, she pointed out that the national park website of Finland contains insane amount of information for people who want to go hiking! Not surprisingly, hiking in Finnish lapland is featured as one of the must-go places 🙂 I am so excited about seeing the stunning beautiful ruska.

OK, so what to prepare for this stunning trip? This is not a exhaustive list, but it gives some clues for first-timers to do preliminary preparations.

What to bring? An overview

Impressive list of things recommended by H for a hike in Lapland!

It is amazing to see so many things actually fit in the 65l backpack! I explain below first on meals, then clothing and sleeping, followed by walking through wilderness and other important things to remember.

For meals, it is important to bring camping stove (the round thing with black lid next to the sitting pad) so we can actually cook stuff. You can bring salt and pepper to season the food– I am seriously thinking I can bring my own soysauce and chili sauce. It is also not a bad idea to bring chocolate and energy bars. For utensils, you should pack lighweight spork, eating containers and knief.

For clothing, it is important to have layers that not only keeps you comfy and warm, but also insulate and protect you from rain and wind. We can look at it through three layers (see more at Layering Basics).

  • Base layer (underwear layer): wicks sweat off your skin, keeps you dry and warm
  • Middle layer (insulating layer): locks your body heat inside, keeps you warm but not sweaty.
  • Outer layer (shell layer): shields you from wind and rain and snow.

For the base layer, synthetics or wool are both fine, but don’t use cotton. The idea of base layer to keep the skin dry and comfortable. If you wore cotton as base layer, you’ll be in trouble if the cotton layer got wet–since it’s real difficult for cotton to get dry.

Both wool (up) and synthetics (down) are good for base layer.

For middle layer, you want a layer that helps you to keep warm. I think I will dig out my polyester fleece for the hiking trip. Last but not least, you need an outer layer (or shell layer) to protect you from rain and wind. I will try if my water-resistant snow pants would work, otherwise I still need to buy outer pants (preferably waterproof). In addition, wool socks, gloves, hats, mitton and some kind of multifunctional headwear (such as buff) should be included in packing.

Multifunctional headwear, woolen socks and sitting pads are good to have.

For staying, althought we have already booked wilderness cottage but we just want to be on the safe side. H told me warily that one should always be mentally prepared that there might be nothing available and we are on our own. It makes sense to me. That’s why I want to make sure we have tents and prepare my own sleeping bag and slik liner (H recommds silk liner from SPR). If we are camping outdoors, I have to say I am so excited to see the stars in the northen sky!

Summer sleeping bag (left) and autumn sleeping bag (right) are two totally different thing.

For walking through the wilderness, I borrowed a pair of shoes from H and I am planning to test them out in one of the rainy days in these two weeks. I want to make sure I don’t have blisters with those shoes on a 11km walking trip. H also recommends the brand called ‘keen’ because they are amazing for outdoor use. I will keep an eye out on this brand from now on!

So excited to try out this pair of shoes!
KEEN has amazing gripping power and will help you stand firm on the ground.

Last but not least, here are the remaining important points reminded by H. Some of them are already mentioned above but I still wrote it down. You know, as a double reminder.

  1. Headlamp — obviously it’ll be very dark up north, and in this time of the year we might need to walk a hour or two in the dark. So it is important to have headlamp.
  2. Sit pad — it is light, compact and has potential for multiple usage. H points out it is good especially to sit in a wet surface.
  3. Matches and lighter — everyone should bring some fire-starter stuff.
  4. Spork — plastic is the best material: easy to clean and carry.
  5. Pants — it is good to have a water-repelent pair that you wear in the normal hiking days, AND another pair of waterproof in wet rainy day.
  6. Good pair of socks — H recommends the smartwool brand.
  7. Blister plaster — or first aids in general is good to have.
  8. Hiking knife
  9. Enamel cup — H has a kuksa (traditional Finnish wooden cup) but I don’t. Fortunately I have two enamel cups that I can bring. The idea is that you can put hot water in it and it’s light to carry around.
  10. Compostable sanitary pads/napkins/wipes
  11. Taskumatti

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