– my personal views on all walks of outdoor life

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Finnish Packraft Gathering 3

This bilingual post is a preliminary open invitation to packraft gathering at 16.-18.9.2016!
Tämä  kaksikielinen kirjoitus on alustava avoin kutsu packraft-kokoontumiseen 16.-18.9.2016!

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In English: Packrafters in Finland – Unite once again!

We (me and a punch of other packrafters in Finland) would like to invite you to join us for the third Finnish Packraft Gathering at Vantaanjoki in Southern Finland on 16.-18.9.2016. The final details are not yet set but the dates are and so is a rough program:

Friday 16.9. Gathering at one of the camp sites (exact place to be announced in August) of Kytäjä-Usmi area (info pages in Finnish). Evening by the fire in good company. Nice lake-hopping and fishing available for those interested.

Saturday 17.9. Walk from the camp to Kytäjoki or Vantaanjoki river (depending on the water level) and paddling down the Vantaanjoki to Nukarinkosket rapids (fishing info in Finnish, kayaking info in Finnish = in brief: requires high water, class III-IV, 25m drop on 1300m). Distance around 20km, plus a few kilometers of walking to start the day. Second night at a fireplace at Nukarinkosket.

Sunday 19.9. Packrafting further down the Vantaanjoki to Myllykoski rapid (fishing info in Finnish, kayaking info in Finnish = in brief: requires high water, class III-IV, 11m drop on 300m). Distance about 13km. From here you can continue further down stream to Vantaa or even all the way to the sea. Or catch a bus back home. Car shuttles can be arranged if need arises.

A helpful .pdf leaflet in Finnish giving an overview of the Northern part of Vaantaanjoki.

More info (i.e. exact places and times) coming later in August. But make a mark to your calendars!

Everyone is welcome to join – even if you don’t have a packraft, you can just come to have a look or join us with a kayak or canoe. But if you’d like to rent one, feel free to e-mail me (jaakko.heikka@gmail.com).

The normal weekend hire is 65 eur (VAT 24%) but I offer rafts for the meeting for a special price of 40 eur (VAT 24%)!

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Suomeksi: Suomen packraft-melojat – on taas se aika!

Haluamme toivottaa sinut tervetulleeksi kolmanteen suomalaiseen Packraft kokoontumiseen Vantaanjoelle 16
.-18.9.2016. Lopulliset yksityiskohdat varmistuvat myöhemmin, mutta ajankohta on lyöty lukkoon ja ohjelma on suuriinpiirtein seuraavanlainen:

Perjantai 16.9. Kokoontuminen jollekin Kytäjä-Usmin (info-sivut) tulipaikoista (tieto tarkasta paikasta julkaistaan elokuun aikana). Illanviettoa nuotion äärellä hyvässä seurassa. Kytäjä-Usmin alueella on mahdollisuus myös mukavaan “järvihyppelyyn” ja kalastamiseen.

Lauantai 17.9. Kävelemme leiripaikalta vedenkorkeudesta riippuen joko Kytäjoelle tai Vantaanjoelle, josta jatkamme alavirtaan Nukarinkoskille (kalastustietoutta ja melontatietoutta). Melontamatkaa kertyy noin 20km, ja aamulle jokunen kilometri kävelyä. Toinen yö vietetään tulipaikalla Nukarinkoskilla.

Sunnuntai 18.9. Jatkamme melontaa Vantaanjokea alavirtaan Myllykoskelle (kalastusinfoa ja melontainfoa). Melontamatka noin 13km. Myllykoskelta halukkaat voivat jatkaa jokea alavirtaan Vantaalle tai vaikka merelle saakka tai aloittaa kotimatkan julkisilla. Autonsiirtoja voidaan järjestellä tarpeen mukaan.

Hyödyllinen .pdf-esite Vantaanjoen pohjoisosista, jolla liikumme.

Lisäinfoa seuraa elokuussa, mutta varatkaa viikonloppu kalentereihinne jo nyt!

Kaikki ovat tervetulleita mukaan, vaikka ilman lauttaakin! Voit tulla vain katselemaan menoa tai osallistua kajakilla tai kanootilla. Mutta jos haluaisit vuokrata lautan, se onnistuu esim. allekirjoittaneen kautta. Tee varaus sähköpostitse hyvissä ajoin (jaakko.heikka@gmail.com), sillä lauttoja on rajallisesti.

Vuokrahinta viikonlopulta on tavallisesti 65 eur (ALV 24%), mutta kokoontumiseen osallistuville tarjoan lauttoja erikoishintaan 40 eur (ALV 24%)!

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The blog’s dead, I’m alive

The blog has been dead for the past four months but don’t worry, I’m alive.

The winter has been extremely busy with work which luckily means lot’s of time outdoors and if not outdoors, then doing laundry and preparing for the next tour. That’s also the reason why the blog has been in coma for a while. More on skis, less behind the screen.

Please accept a few photos from the past winter as an apology. More blog content – words and photos – coming later. Maybe in June…

This winter I’ve been skiing and camping in Finland…

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…and in Sweden…

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…and recently in Svalbard.

But the winter ain’t over yet. At least not for me.

Later this week I’ll head to Greenland to guide a small group across the Greenland icecap from West to East which should mean another four weeks of skiing and living in a tent for me. Though the spring in Finland is tempting, I can’t really complain.

You can follow our progress on Social Hiking and read daily blogs (in Finnish) on the Avotunturit blog.

So, enjoy the spring also on my behalf!

And if you’re interested, I’ll be at the Erämessut in early June so come and say hello! And later in June you can meet me at 64° Wild. After that, I might disappear in the woods for a holiday…

Stuff for sale!

Packing for a long work stint in the North I tend to notice I have a lots of unused outdoor stuff and this winter season is no exception. Here I’ve listed pile of stuff for sale, mostly small and affordable. Some of it used, some new and unused. I hope you’ll have more use for them than I do!

All prices in euros. Real shipping costs will be added to the prices. Payment via wire-transfer or Paypal. If you’re interested in something, write a comment here or send me an e-mail to jaakko_heikka@hotmail.com

Update: Items reserved or sold market with a striketrough. Thanks for all who were interested in the kit!

Berghaus Expedition Lite 80 backpack, size 4

Unused, tags still attached. The size 4 is the tallest but in my opinion fits for a wide range of people, say starting from 170cm.

160 eur


Madshus Glittertind boots (2013 model), size 48

New and unused, tags still atatched and in original box. Nice soft and warm back country touring boots. Size 48 has room for two pairs of thick warm socks for someone normally wearing size 46 footwear, or closer fit for bigger feet. I skied across Greenland in similar boots.

90 eur

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Meindl Vakuum Men GTX hiking boots, size 48

Used but in good condition. Size is 48 but I usually wear size 46 and this fit fine with the classic combination of thin liner and mid-weight hiking sock. As rarely used hiking boots are known for aging midsoles crumbling, I’ll give these one month crumble-free money-back guarantee.

90 eur

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Merrel Proterra Mid GTX, size 46

Seen very little use as they are little too small for me. Nice wide last and roomy but little shortern than size 46 usually is, I’d say better for people using size 45 footwear.

80 eur

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Cold Avenger Balaclava Expedition Balaclava

Seen very little use, in good condition. Some stiches added to the face mask part under the chin for better fit.

40 eur

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Guahoo Outdoor Heavy Merino shirt and pants

New, unused still in the boxes. 230g/sqm, outer 100% merino, inner 100% polyester. Basic design. Size run little small so I’ve added my guess in typical sizing after the actual size.

  • polo style shirt, size XL (L), 30eur
  • pants, size XXL (XL), 30eur
  • pants, size XXXL (XXL), 2 pairs, á 30eur or boths for 40 eur

Aclima Woolnet Polo w/Zip and 3/4 Long Pants

Used and accidentally washed with a wrong program which caused them to shrink so I needed to buy another set. Originally size XL, but now more like wide size L.

Á 20 eur, or 30 eur as a package

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BW Winter Mittens, size 9

BW military surplus winter mittens. In good condition and not used by me but surplus so not new either.

5 eur

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Savotta Rucksack Cover, size L

Used very little but has a rip that has been stiched and sealed with Liquidsole so fully functional.

5 eur

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Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheat Knife

Unused, unopened, in the original package. Includes a sheat. Partially serrated blade unlike the knife in the link.

20 eur

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Hähnel Unipal Universal Charger

Unused but package opened. 12V input (car or wall) and charges about anything.

20 eur

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Olympus Tough 3000 camera + accessories

Old and used but still functional waterproof “tough” digital camera. Comes with the original battery and cables, two accessory batteries and small Gorillapod clone. Not the latest nor the greatest but it works.

20 eur

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Primus Fuel Bottle, 0,6L

Used but in great condition.

5 eur

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Primus Pot Gripper

New and unused.

Two for 5 eur!

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Prestige Bliz Altitude, cat 4 mountain glasses, red

New & unused, spent some time in a box in a pulka as spare glasses. Cat 4 lenses with borwn tint and side shields.  No case though.

20 eur

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Goggles: Scott Cure (cat 2 lens) and Revolution Arctlens F12 (I’d say cat 2)

Both unused and in original package. Basic goggles. Recommended price 39,90 eur each.

á 20 eur

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Sigg Siggnature White Bottle, 0,6L

Used but in good condition. Similar style McKinley branded 0,5L bottle as package deal!

10 eur.


Blå Band Expedition Meal Mixed Flakes with Fruit

Just-add-water high-energy breakfast. Best before 3/2016. (And in my experience edible for a year or morep ast the date.)

The “best before date” is closing in so here’s a little deal: 20 bags for 30 euros!

Outdoor Year 2014 in Pictures

/ A word of warning: As has been the case with the previous OYIP posts, also this post includes a lot of photos. They are nice and varied outdoors photos but there are many. You have been warned. /

It’s again the time annual OYIP post. The time to wrap up the past year in outdoors with a collection of chosen photos and a few words in between. (Just like I did in 2011, 2012 and 2013. It’s becoming a tradition…)

My year started by guiding husky tours in the Taivalkoski region. This time I wasn’t working there for the whole winter  but was happy to help with the busy weeks now and then. Winter wilderness, sled dogs, log cabins, great people… What’s not to like? And I even got help out a TV crew shooting dog sledding for the Erätulilla program.

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I will probably remember the winter 2014 as “the worst winter ever” as we were trying to prepare and train for the big Greenland expedition in the spring but we didn’t have enough snow for skiing or cold weather for testing gear or getting used to it. The winter was excellent for nordic skating but for some reason I wasn’t doing it… Luckily we got enough ice and a dusting of snow on top of it for the Arctic Ski Expedition course I guided in January.

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During the winter we did a lot of preparations for the upcoming Greenland expedition and after one of our training trips on icy lake Konnevesi I headed back to Taivalkoski for more husky tour guiding and then continued to Sweden to guide a ski tour in Sarek National Park. And also finally got some proper manhauling done before Greenland. This time the weather was pretty miserable: temps around and above 0°C, honest heavy rain, high winds and half a meter of snow in the end. But on the other hand it was also good training and I had again the privilege to be guiding a group of great people!

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The main trip of the year was my biggest trip yet: a ski expedition across the Greenland icecap  along the so-called “normal route” from Point 660 in the West to Isortoq in the East. With great imagination we named the expedition “Across Greenland 2014” (loads of photos in my gallery). The crossing took us 28 days and we skied around 560 kilometers unsupported and unassisted, on our own in the middle of the great white wilderness. It was my biggest trip yet and a great success in every way.To be honest, the expedition itself felt actually even too easy. But still, it was great. I hope to return to Greenland in 2016 and maybe one day I will do even bigger trip as this didn’t yet feel like “the big trip”. 😉

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After returning from Greenland I was having quite a serious case of expedition hangover. I was mostly interested in sleeping, eating, reading, walking and biking on the trails in the lush greenery of early summer and of course relaxing at a sauna by the lake Saimaa. The early summer offered mostly pretty crappy weather being cold, rainy and windy. But it got better on the second half of the summer, even to a point that we had to cut our Hammastunturi-Ivalojoki packrafting trip, the main trip of the summer, little short because of the intense heat and bad bugs.

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In the South I did a rowenighter, a rowboat overnighter, with a good old friend. An interesting way to travel in the land of thousand lakes but would be more enjoyable with faster boat with proper sliding seat and all that. But at least you can take all the kit you want to!14-07-15EOS 6D8054_1800

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The outdoor life in late summer and autumn consisted mostly of biking local trails and packrafting. I guided a packrafting course at Kymijoki in August. In September me and N tried again packrafting with a single packraft , but this time with a raft build for the purpose, an Alpackaraft EX 42. It was a success.

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In October I called for the First (Finnish) Packraft Gathering and met lots of great people at Kymijoki. I hope this will become an annual event and I see no reason why it wouldn’t. Packrafting is growing fast in Finland and the people involved are such a great and varied bunch it’s very inspiring to get together for some packrafting and good time outdoors.

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The late autumn didn’t see much trips, save an occasional overnighter but I spent quite some time in the outdoors having decided to get back to hunting and thus being out hunting moose with the local hunting club. In addition I did the usual foraging for berries and mushrooms and we had maybe the best year ever for porcini (Boletus edulis) and the cupboards and now full of dried goodness for the winter(s) to come. This is a part of outdoors activities that I’m getting more and more interested in: hunting, fishing, foraging, etc. Not just being out in the wild but to actually live from the nature. I hope to have more time for this in the future as there is so much to learn, more than enough for a lifetime or two…

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In early November I spent five days on excellent WMA first aid course upgrading my Wilderness Advanced First Aid certificate to WFR (Wilderness First Responder) which I feel to be better suited for guides. Great course again from WMA and Outwardbound Finland though I would’ve liked more and more challenging drills but with limited time… Despite not sleeping outdoors it was very useful way of spending the five days.14-11-06EOS 6D8962_900

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At the end of November me and N traveled to Helsinki for the annual Helsinki Adventure Night and Marko published an open invitation for people interested in an after party to come up with something outdoorsy and so the Helsinki Adventure Night Adventure Night was born. Hopefully this will become a tradition as well!

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Me year will end indoors at my cousin’s wedding and the next year will beginning, once again, by moving house as me and N will be relocating to Riihimäki. Despite the hustle we managed to squeeze in one more overnighter before the year ended. This time with kick-sleds on the recently frozen lake Saimaa! It was my first kick-sled overnighter ever but probably not the last one. Nordic skates would’ve been even better but still lacking them the kick-sleds worked fine too, and enabled quite load hauling too. And with all that carrying capacity I did take my spoon (the classic item to forget) but I forgot the pot (a stupid thing to forget) so we missed all the hot beverages…

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Just like in 2013 I spent some 50 nights under the nylon or stars. This year the great majority of those nights were in Greenland and rest mostly on packrafting trips. In addition I was out around 10 nights on the husky tours. Now that the year is closing to its end I’m happy for all the time I got to spent outdoors but also little sad I didn’t spend even more timeout there. I would’ve had the time and chances if I’d tried…

On other hand the next year looks excellent! I’m not making any resolutions here but… Now as I’m running my own guiding business and having lots of courses, tours and expedition planned I hope to hit the magical 100 nights out next year. But if I don’t I won’t be too sorry for that either. We will see, we will see…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my dear readers and the awesome outdoor blogging community!

May the next year bring you long seasons with great adventures!