Saturday, 11 May 2013

No more pots - new-school sacks instead

As I've been trying to grow some tomatoes and garlic of my own, I decided to give a go for HomeGrow Sacks by GreenHouseEffect. These sacks are a totally new way to grow house plants at your home. The plants won't need to stand on the floor anymore, as the sacks can be hung anywhere. Be creative. What comes to the aspect of lightweight living, they're pretty handy as you'll need less storage space for them compared to smallish pots. They can be re-used as well by washing them at 40 C. I ordered ten sacks that came in a 30x22x3 centimeter cardboard box, so I'll bet one's ten two-liter pots will take a whole lot more space on one's shelf in winter.

The sacks are perfect for smallish house plants like herbs, tomato etc. At the moment, I happen to have a basil in one, but I'll plant few tomatoes in them once they've grown bit bigger.

Finally, I'll probably have to admit that two founders of the company are my course mates from university and I'm pretty proud of them and their concept.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

@ Sipoonkorpi national park

Since I decided to spend this May Day in a different way, the plan was to head out to Sipoonkorpi national park by foot from Viikki suburb. As microadventures seem to be in fashion at the moment, we decided to give a go for one in the name of scouting. Microadventure is a bit branded name for a quick outdoor spurt away from everyday life, but I would still claim it's a pretty good concept for getting more and more people to give a go for outdoor escapes.

What comes to the planning of the route, I somewhat used the point-and-shoot method encouraged by Alastair Humphreys. I spotted a pothole on the map of Sipoonkorpi national park that was the way to go. In the evening of the 30th, we hiked from Viikki suburb to the first lake area that is located in the southern part of the national park. The first half of our route followed some smaller streets and recreational paths until we arrived south of the first lake area. On May Day, we hiked into the national park's larger area, at where we had our lunch nearby the pothole located in the middle of the area. Next, we decided to head towards the main road that is located at the eastern border of the national park. By following the road southwards few kilometers, it is possible to utilize the bus no. 93, which leaves from Landbo suburb, to get back.
[ A rough overview of our route (length approx. 25 km) ]
What comes to the weather conditions, it couldn't have been better as sun was shining at all times. The night was though bit chilly as the temperature was around two celsius degrees. During this microadventure, I managed to test my new UL sleeping pad that didn't perform so well. The aluminium foil was ripped at some parts of the pad that I was actually bit worried about beforehand. The foil should have been thicker to resist abrasion and better glue should have been used for that kind of purpose. Otherwise, a 120-centimeter pad works fine, especially as I happen to have a built-in ~50x50cm foam pad in my Osprey Mutant backpack.

Finally, I'll have to admit that the pothole might not be worth visiting, if you've seen them before. The pothole is about 60 cm in diameter and about 80 cm deep. The national park itself is pretty nice as it is located really close to Helsinki, even-though it has the "thousand path" dilemma of the southernmost national parks. There are quite many paths and intersections that are not marked on the map, so we managed to hike some elsewhere that we should few times. Still, we managed to find the destinations, where we were about to go. If you're really into pinpoint accurate orienteering, buy a map. We used free prints from the web service of National Land Survey of Finland. We would have had a map of the Sipoonkorpi area at the meeting place of our scout group, and all the paths we missed were marked.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Signs of Spring

As I got a tomato (plant) as a present in last summer, I decided to spare some seeds from the tomatoes for this spring. It took few weeks for the seeds to germinate, and I was pretty surprised that the germination rate was so high as the seeds haven't been treated in anyway. I didn't count the rate, but I'd say it's way higher than 80%. Hopefully, they'll do fine and give some more tomatoes for the coming summer as well.

Another spring project took place today, when I decided to do some ultralight modifications on my old foam sleeping pad, also known as "the Spartan model". Earlier in this winter, I had cut the pad into 120 cms. The latest modification was done by gluing aluminium foil on it. To be honest, I'm a bit skeptical about the foil, but we'll have to wait and see whether it works or not.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Green corridors - a city's link to the surrounding nature

As the current trend of urbanization leads into a situation where the moving flow concentrates on bigger cities, the pressure of building on new sites becomes inevitable. Some cities were originally designed so that natural corridors were left for splitting the city into different sections by leaving e.g. long forested corridors in between. These so called "green corridors" are offering a possibility to be used for recreational purposes by the citizens. One example of these cities is the capital of Finland, Helsinki, where a few green corridors have existed, but they've been diminished due to construction of new buildings in the latest decades. These green corridors are formed by natural-like forests even-though there are some small man-made roads for recreational purposes like jogging, cross-country skiing etc. Nowadays, there are only two larger and uniform corridors left, or at least what I concern significant. Well, there is a third one as well (the easternmost) that doesn't really form a corridor but it's still a major area, even-though it was recently influenced by the new harbour area of Vuosaari. (highlighted on the following map)

[The map was created by using publicly available data produced by  National Land Survey of Finland.]

For a winter sports person, the green corridors offer great possibilities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The Central Park forms a long link of cross-country skiing tracks through out up to it's northernmost part, where the most popular skiing facilities are located. Snowshoeing can be done almost everywhere, or at least when there's enough snow for relevant use of snowshoes.

On a nice sunny day, it's awesome to utilize the opportunity to head outside into a green corridor from your doorstep. I did a short cruise using snowshoes, as I've been cross-country skiing in Lapland for six days during last week. The use of a HR-belt indicated that snowshoeing is a pretty good way for doing a recovery exercise, if you don't perform any significant spurts. At the same time, I was further testing my new Devold Multisport baselayer merino shirt that I found from a bargain basket at a Lappish sport shop. I'll have to admit that it's pretty awesome what comes to its performance compared to synthetic materials. Previously, I've sometimes used another merino shirt, which is more like a base/midlayer shirt, and it has been so awesome that I really wanted to give a go for another one for baselayer usage.

Finally, it's important to remember that Helsinki is a small capital compared to the big cities around the world. All in all, I would still claim that it would be important to implement this kind of infrastructural design to keep people in contact with nature, as urbanization is leading people away from it that scares me the most.  There are built parks in many cities but natural-like habitats could be considered more important.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Modern wisdom:
Living light - getting started

Nowadays, the society seems to be lively due to the fact that well-being is highly based on consumption.  Vast consumption has lead into a situation, where the production of goods is highly optimized for efficiency, and thereby it often discards social and ecological effects. Even-though there are nowadays many responsible companies manufacturing e.g. outdoor clothing and equipment, it's mostly one's own responsibility to take actions to decrease consumption.

What comes to the modern outdoor clothing and equipment, the materials are mostly plastic-based e.g. different types of Nylon fabrics. Luckily, these modern fabrics exist in many different forms at the moment like fishing nets. The smartest recycling pioneers of the outdoor gear industry have realized the potential of grinding and reforming fibres into new fabrics. But the final frontier would still be the relevance of one's decision making before purchasing, I would say. Questions like "Do I need this for improving my performance?", "Do I already have a similar product?", "Would the new one perform somehow better than the old one?" etc. could be considered important.

There are many good articles about living lighter and optimizing your possessions not only in outdoor-wise but in general as well. Living lighter doesn't only make your move easier, but it'll also give an opportunity to stay organized. The following blog post about ultralight living at home somewhat opened my eyes for getting organized, as I've realized how much I possess e.g. clothing that I probably won't need. So I can't really brag about my skills, as I'm hopefully on the way towards living lighter.

Create your own necessity list to ease your life in modern world!

Here's my necessity list that I could figure out quickly for now. At least for me, the making of the list will probably be a continuously evolving process, as the relevance of each piece should be considered thoroughly. Mine probably lacks the everyday household necessities as well as sport equipment like bedding, tableware, skis etc., but I can admit that I possess only two sets of bedding that is enough for a normal and humble person. I guess it's time to start a raid against my closet.

My list:
  • Down jacket 
  • Softshell jacket 
  • Waterproofs (jacket and pants)
  • Beanies*
  • Cap
  • Fleeces*
  • Merino shirts*
  • Long johns*
  • Gloves/mittens*
  • Walking shoes
  • Hiking boots
  • Pants*
  • Belts*
  • Socks*
  • Briefs*
  • Tee shirts*
  • Button down shirts*
  • Sunglasses
  • Personal hygiene kit
  • Day pack
  • Water bottle
  • Water bag
  • Mug ("Kuksa")
  • Camera with memory cards and battery
  • Laptop computer
  • USB thumbdrive 
  • Printer and paper
  • Wristwatch
  • Headlamp 
  • Cellular phone and charger
  • Pens, pencils
  • Writing pads
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Sheath knife
  • Hiking kit (one backpack and contents)
    • sleeping bag 
    • sleeping pad 
    • waterproof stuff sack 
    • first aid kit 
  • Toolbox with tools
(* items are multiples)

P.S. It's time to say good bye to the old blog name Multipurpose outdoors that served well for three years. At first, I thought about starting a new blog but I didn't want to start from scratch, so I'll just change the name and hopefully the content as well.