Categorie archief: How to be an adventurer?

How to see the Basking Shark?

 

The basking shark is the second largest fish in the ocean, after the whale shark. They have an average length of 6.7 – 8.8 meters. They have a torpedo-like body shape and  prefer to ‘bask’ in the upper layers of the water, which can give you quite a fright when all you see is the dorsal fin gliding through the sea.

They can be found in temperate seas the world over, including the Irish coastline

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Distribution map of Basking shark

 

When to see the basking shark in Ireland? 

It’s hard to say when the exact period is since there are always early and late sightings, but basically basking shark season in Ireland starts in April and runs through to early August. Peak of the season is mid May to mid June, giving fantastic opportunities to spot them.

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Ideal basking shark weather

Having calm weather after a period of sunny days in May or June are your best chances to spot the basking shark. When the seas are calm, it is easier to see the tell-tale dorsal fin breaking the water surface. Besides that, fine weather gives a boost to the phytoplankton production, which in turn increases the concentration of zooplankton at the water’s surface, attracting the sharks up to feed.

Where to see the basking sharks in Ireland?

Basking sharks live wherever there is an aggregation of the zooplankton they feed on and can occur anywhere around the Irish coastline during the spring and summer months. However, there are a few hotspots that will raise your chances. From the south coast of West Cork to the Western coastline in Kerry, the North West coast of Mayo, Sligo and Donegal (Malin Head).

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Basking shark in Ireland. Best hotspot: south of the Blasket Islands (Slea Head)

The best place in Ireland to see the basking shark however is near the Blaskets Islands on the tip of the Dingle Peninsula (Slea Head). Anywhere with a good view over a large expanse of water is suitable. Headlands, such as Slea Head, are ideal, as they give an expansive view of the open ocean. Basking sharks are often seen at the surface of the water, so bays and inlets with shallow water are an option as well. For this reason, the bay near Wine strand is a good spot as well.

How to see them? 

There are several options to see the basking shark. Since they venture very close to the shore and follow the aggregations of zooplankton it is possible to see them from the beach. Even better if you choose a watching site above sea level.

To improve your odds of spotting a basking shark, you can opt to join a eco-boat tour, starting in Dingle harbour. The most adventurous option however, is to get yourself a kayak and venture on the waters on your own.

Tips to spot the basking shark: 

Spotting a basking shark requires a lot of patience. Scan the water surface methodically  looking for tell-tale signs of shark activity — here are some things to look out for:

  • Flashes of sunlight: The black dorsal fin of the basking shark is very shiny when wet. On sunny days, this fin can work like a mirror.
  • Diving gannets: Diving gannets gather over shoals of fish they feed on. This type of fish often eat the same plankton that basking sharks are feeding on — so the birds are a good indirect indicator that there could be sharks around.
  • Tidal fronts: In places where warm water meets cooler water, a tidal front causes an oily slick of water off a headland or at the mouth of a bay. These fronts attract plankton, the basking shark often feeds on.

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Hoe boek je tickets voor de Transsiberian Express?

De Transsiberian Express is een treinreis van meer dan 9000 kilometer die wereldwijd faam geniet. Vanuit Moskou doorkruis je Rusland tot in Irkutsk en Vladivostok. Daarnaast zijn er ook twee internationale lijnen die leiden naar Peking (China) en Ulaanbataar (Mongolië).

Hoe boek je tickets?

Moskou – Vladivostok

Om tickets te boeken voor de Transsiberian Express die van Moskou naar Vladivostok reist, kun je makkelijk op voorhand tickets kopen. Als je wat meer vrijheid wil, kun je ter plaatse in Rusland naar het station gaan om een treinticket te kopen voor eender welke binnenlandse trein, dus ook de Transsiberian. Je hebt enkel je paspoort nodig. Dit is uiteraard de goedkoopste manier.

Om misverstanden en de taalbarrière te vermijden kun je echter beroep doen op een agentschap die alles voor je uitklaart en regelt. Dit is echt aan te raden als je geen Russisch spreekt.

Moskou – China of Mongolië

Wie treintickets wil kopen om van Rusland naar een Aziatisch land te reizen, kan dit enkel doen in Rusland zelf. Het alternatief is een reisagentschap contacteren die de tickets voor je bestelt.

Meer informatie over  de verschillende treinen, de vertrekdata en de prijzen vind je op deze website.

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Hoe plan je de West Highland Way?

Tijdens onze informatiesessies op de Fiets- en Wandelbeurs in Gent kregen we talloze vragen over het wandelen van de West Highland Way. Net daarom willen we nog even onze tips meedelen.

Wie de West Highland Way zelfstandig wil plannen kan onze praktische e-guide downloaden. Met deze gids krijg je een antwoord op al je vragen.

Is de West Highland Way iets voor mij? 

Zowel de afstand (155 kilometer), het eenvoudige terrein als de verschillende mogelijkheden om de tocht af te leggen zorgen ervoor dat de West Highland Way een trektocht is die iedereen kan bekoren. Of je nu een ervaren wandelaar bent of het de allereerste keer is dat je een meerdaagse tocht wil afleggen.

Hoe lang doe je over de West Highland Way? 

Dat hangt in feite af van hoe lang je het zelf wil. Sommigen kiezen ervoor om de tocht af te leggen in vijf dagen, andere in negen. De gemiddelde wandelaar doet er zo’n zeven dagen over. Hiermee houden we dan zelfs al rekening met reizigers die nog geen ervaring hebben met het wandelen van trektochten. De West Highland Way is immers een ideale introductie in de wandelwereld. 

Waar kun je overnachten? 

Voor wie het wat comfortabeler mag, is er tijdens deze Schotse trektocht de mogelijkheid om voortdurend in B&B of hostels te verblijven. Schotland is echter ook een van de weinige landen waar je mag wildkamperen, dus ook wie eerder op zoek is naar de wilderniservaring kan met zijn tent de tocht afleggen.

Welke periode is het best voor de West Highland Way?

Verrassend genoeg raden we de zomermaanden juli en augustus af. Waarom? De voornaamste reden zijn de midges, een vervelende muggensoort die je wandelvakantie kan ver****en. Onderschat deze muggen niet. Ze zijn niet vergelijkbaar met de soort die we hier kennen. Een andere reden kan zijn omdat de zomermaanden vaak iets natter zijn. Hoewel regen bijna onvermijdbaar is wanneer je naar Schotland trekt, kun je uiteraard altijd de kansen in je voordeel vergroten.

Wie meer info wil omtrent het plannen van de West Highland Way kan ons altijd contacteren of onze praktische e-guide downloaden

Van plan om de beklimming van de Ben Nevis of de Great Glen Canoe toe te voegen aan je reis door Schotland? Onze andere e-guides vind je hier

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Travel light with a backpack: what to take with you?

IT’S A COMMON PROBLEM NOVICE HIKERS OR BACKPACKERS FACE. A TOO HEAVY BACKPACK IS TURNING YOUR WALKING HOLIDAY IN A REAL DEATH MARCH. WHILE PACKING YOUR BACKPACK, EVERY GRAM COUNTS. IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO TAKE TOO MUCH WITH YOU AND BUY SOME LIGHT, HIGH QUALITY GEAR.

Tent (2.24kg)

When we go hiking in the mountains or in remote landscapes our first thing to pack is our the-north-face-assault-2-summit-seriestwo person North Face Summit Assault tent. This four season tent is one of the lightest on the market weighing only 2.24kg. It is often used in high altitude mountaineering.

Sleeping bag (1.092kg)

aciorThe Millet Dreamer is a perfect sleeping bag for hiking and trekking in alpine conditions. This mummy-shaped sleeping bag still is my first one since I bought it. I used it on mountains like Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc, Aconcagua as well as during trekkings in the Alps. With a comfort temperature of 6 degrees Celsius you’re fine for any hike! Weight: 1,092kg

Sleeping pad (510g)

The self-inflating Therm-a-Rest Prolite sleeping pad is your mattress for any outdoor adventure. I started by buying a thin one but changed this recently to a  3cm thick one.  With a weight of only 510g (regular size), they are designed to be used by the ultralight backpacker.

MSR MicroRocket Stove (122g + 306g)

When you hike, you need a lot of food to provide your energy. TheMSR MicroRocket Stove onecolis ultralight (122g) to bring along and is everything you need to make yourself a warm meal in the evening. In little less than four minutes you can boil a liter of water. You can buy aMSR Alpinist 2 Pot (306g) made of aluminium to cook soups, pastas and much more.

Bowls, cups and cutlery (80g + 45g + 42g)

To eat your food you need offcourse, bowls, cups axset3and cutlery. From the first moment I purchased them I’m a big fan of the Sea to Summit X-Bowl Collapsible Bowl (80g) and Sea to Summit X-Cup Collapsible Cup (45g). They are easy to eat from, ultralight and easy to be stocked in your cooking pot together with your stove. They also have ultralight cutlery (42g).

Other necessary fun-to-have gadgets

Survival set including fire starter, waterproof bag, micro whistle, razor saw, compass, led light. (total weight: 85g)

Ghosthunt: not just for Halloween

Haunted Rooms

Last year we participated in a real ghost hunt vigil and stayed at Britain’s most haunted castle to finally have an answer to the same old question: ‘Are ghosts for real?’ Unfortunately, it left us behind with only more doubts. Are these vigils a scam? We don’t believe so. With Halloween only a few days away, it’s time for a reflection.

We joined a professional group of ghost hunters in Liverpool to check out the Newsham Park Hospital, an abandoned asylum that formerly was used as an orphanage. With room for 400 orphans and later 400 patients, inside it is a truly decayed scene with the assembly hall, a chilling mortuary, a warren of corridors (the notorious ‘naughty boys corridor’ where children were punished), dormitories, nine psychiatric wards, winding staircases with anti-suicide grills and treatment rooms. Rusting broken beds and wheelchairs still lie scattered around. Spending a night keeping vigil turned our sceptic look at things into doubts as we did witness some strange behaviour in the building. Moving items, succesful table tipping sessions, … Do we believe in ghosts now? No, not yet, but we won’t be claiming it’s all fake either. Joining a professional ghost hunt or vigil is not a scam in our opinion. It’s a way for them to raise enough money to ‘rent’ an evening in a big haunted location they want to investigate. Something they could not do if it wasn’t for the many enthusiastics who want to experience a ghost encounter.

Ghost hunting. Not just on Halloween.

You would think these organized ghost hunts are just a creepy way of spending Halloween but no. Ghost hunts are a real phenomenon in the UK and there are dozens of haunted locations all over the country. Ghost hunters really do believe in paranormal activity (or they are really good actors!). Ok, sometimes they are overexited when some activity is perfectly explainable by a wind gust or airborne dust. But still…

We did check if these ghost appearances were fake by spending a night in Britains most haunted castle: Chillingham Castle. We booked a room which was claimed to be haunted and checked for ourselves. Again strange noises at night (while the castle was abandoned) and a bizarre phone call (while there was no reception) made our experience not much more than a story without explanation. We promised that day that we would come back again for another ghost hunt.

If you’re interested in having your own vigil, here are a few things you need to know:

  • Location, location, location

Ghosts can be found in pretty much every location. Allthough abandoned buildings with some history often do the trick to encounter some spirits.  From lost souls to murder victims, playful spirits to angry ones. Don’t trespass but get permission for keeping vigil.

  • Don’t go alone

Bring some friends with you. They are not only an extra pair of eyes and ears but are a safer option since you’re exploring an old, secluded building that could be structurally unsafe. You never know if you need some help. You may also want to share the experience with a team and have other people there to verify any sightings. You should also tell other people where you are going, and if possible, take a mobile phone.

  • Be prepared

Once you have decided on the location, it is wise to explore first in daytime. Make a map of the hazardous places and pinpoint the spot(s) you want to investigate. Also do your research on the location. Find out as much as possible about the ghost(s) you may encounter. When do they appear? Where have they been spotted? Are they vocal?

  • Talk to the spirits like they are living people

Don’t forget these ghosts were people once too and you are on their property now. Introduce yourself and ask permission to take pictures and be on their property.  Invite them to be in your photos.  If they respond in any way to requests, thank them.  When you leave, thank them for having you.

  • Follow your instincts when taking photos

If you feel you need to take a picture in a certain direction, take it.  Take pictures behind you over your shoulder.  Take as many photos as you can. The more pictures you take the better chance you will have catching something strange.

  • Have proper equipment with you

If you experience paranormal activity, you’re going to want proof and that means having the right equipment for the job. A digital camera and voice recorder is standard stuff. Make sure the batteries are charged and you have spare ones with you. Pen and paper are also interesting for taking notes on anything abnormal such as changes in temperature, flickering lights and unexplained noises.

Another piece of equipment, widely used by professional ghost hunters, is an EMF metre. Spirits can be detected by interrupting or creating their own electromagnetic fields and EMF metres can detect extremely weak static, electric and magnetic fields. Most ghosthunters also take a thermometer, laser grid, motion detectors and ghost box with them for capturing anything paranormal.

  • Ask a lot of questions

It’s advisable to ask a lot of questions as if you know the ghosts are there. ‘What is your name?’, is better than, ‘Is there anyone there?’.

You want to spend your next Halloween not watching Paranormal Activity or Poltergeist? Why not keep vigil in one of Britains most haunted places? You can book one of the events on hauntedrooms.co.uk. They offer ghost hunts all year round.

Tips for interrailing in Europe

US citizens, Asians or even South American travelers tend to travel through Europe in one big trip. To do this, interrailing might be one of the best ways to discover the more than 30 countries, hundreds of cities and even more villages. Here are some tips for travelers seeking the ultimate European adventure. 

Maybe you are planning on traveling through Europe on a budget this summer. In that case, chances are big that you’re exploring the continent by railway. You can combine the sunny French Mediterranean coast with culturally rich cities in Eastern Europe or remote wilderness places in Scandinavia. Or what about alpine villages in the Swiss Alps?

DON’T TAKE TOO MUCH LUGGAGE WITH YOU

When traveling with railways it’s better to keep your luggage to a minimum. In fact a simple backpack should do the trick. It’s easiest to carry while traveling across a continent. Just take some clothes, money, your passport  and a tootbrush with you and that’s all you need.

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Paris, easy to reach by railway
CONSIDER YOUR BUDGET DRASTICALLY

Europe is expensive. In fact, it might be one of the most expensive continents in the world. Eventhough there is a difference between traveling in Eastern Europe (cheap) and Northern Europe (expensive). But still.. pretty expensive. The main part of your budget will go to food, transport and accommodation. A tip to find cheap accommodation is using Airbnb. You can find rooms at decent prices AND you’re staying with local folks.

Register via the link above and earn 30$ travel credit.

LEARN A FEW BASIC WORDS OF EVERY LANGUAGE

Europe has a lot of countries and unlike continents such as North America and South America, there are a lot of different languages. It might be wise to learn some of the basic words of every one of them. Just to make sure you’re able to say ‘Hello’ or ‘Thank you’ in their native language.

TAKE THE SCENIC ROUTE

When planning a route the website will most often show you the quickest way to get from point A to point B. But sometimes there’s another route that might take a bit longer, but the view out of the window makes it well worth the extra travel time. Europe has a lot of scenic train journeys to choose from. The Flåm Railway between Oslo and Bergen, the West Highland Line, Fort William to Mallaig or Bernina Express between Chur and Tirano. You can read more in our post about ‘Scenic railway journeys in Europe‘.

PLAN YOUR ROUTE…but keep room for adventure
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Get a view at the Matterhorn while traveling with the train

It would be real adventurous to go on an interrail journey without planning anything. It would be expensive too. The internet is a great source to compare cheap accommodation, train fares in promotion, etc…

USE INTERRAIL PASSES

Another reason why you should plan your route at least a little bit in advance is to make use of interrail passes. These let you travel through Europe or some countries with one single (more beneficial) ticket. But it would be stupid to buy a pass for the whole of Europe if you’re only going to end up visiting a few countries.

If you’re a European resident, then go straight for the InterRail Pass – you can choose between a ‘Global Pass’, a single ticket valid in 30 different countries, or a ‘country pass’, allowing unlimited travel in your specified country. However, if you are a non-EU citizen, you’ll need to look out for a Eurail Pass.

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Jacobite scenic train journey, Scotland
DON’T TRY TO SEE TOO MUCH

The huge network of train lines and relatively small distances make it easy to whizz between cities and countries.If you’re in Milaan you could be in Venice, Geneva, Turin or Paris in a matter of hours. It’s tempting to see all these cities. Although it’s a rail trip, you do probably want to see more than the inside of a carriage!

DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE SMALLER PLACES

Paris, London, Barcelona, Geneva, Stockholm, Berlin… and so on. There are plenty of cities in Europe worth a visit. Cityhopping from one main city to another will make you miss alot of beautiful places. Think about places like Chamonix, Bruges or tiny Scottish villages alongside the West Highland Way.

Do you still have some tips for travelers who are planning an interrail trip through Europe? 

 

 

 

 

 

Solo Female Travel: Cuba

It’s not always easy finding a travel partner. None of your friends has been bitten by the travel bug and your online search ended without results. Putting your travel plans on hold or take the big step and travel the world solo? My mind was set. Cuba it is.

Out of Linsay’s travel journal

Staying at home or searching for a destination to travel solo. It was a dilemma that

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Cuba

haunted me for months while my boyfriend planned his trip to Argentina to climb the Aconcagua. I had no interest in a physically demanding holiday so I had little choice. Or I stayed at home for three weeks, waiting till he got back, or I would plan my own trip and make use of the occasion by traveling solo for the first time. My mind was set on Cuba, probably the most popular destination at the moment. Solo traveling was an experience I had never had before. ‘Is it safe?’, is a question I was asked many times before leaving. It was a question I didn’t have an answer to… yet.

Here are a few tips for female solo travelers in Cuba:

  • Stay in a casa particular. These casas give a taste of the real Cuban life and are a cheap alternative for the expensive hotels. A typical room in a casa has four beds, even when traveling solo. Sharing a room with people you meet while traveling could save you some more money.
  • Cuba has two different currencies. The national currency (MN) and the CUC (for tourists only). The CUC is about 24 times more expensive than the one Cubans use. It is advisable to have both. All products aiming at tourists will be priced in CUC. However, if you want to eat on a budget, find some restaurant where the menu is printed in their own currency and pay in MN.
  • Negotiate everything. In Cuba other rules apply. If you travel across Cuba and always pay what they ask you will end up telling your friends that Cuba isn’t that cheap as they say. Or.. you play by the rules of the country, negotiate about everything and last but not least… know that you set the price. When you receive a bill that is simply too much, shake your head and offer less. Guaranteed succes.
  • Cuba is a popular travel destination. Solo travelers wandering through the coloured streets of Havana will not be alone for too long. Not only are the Cubans extremely social people but you will meet fellow travelers to spend a day with quite soon. In my own experience, I only spend five(!) minutes alone in Havana before ending up with a German backpackster.
  • Never pay in advance. Like this you will avoid that the taxi driver drops you on a different location and doesn’t want to refund you. Or that you leave your casa earlier than planned but the owners already spent the money.
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    Casa Particular

    Transport yourself with collectivo’s. 

  • These American oldtimers can be considered as the true taxis, collecting people with a single destination. For this ride you negotiate the price in advance.

As a solo traveler in Cuba you are an easy victim to get trapped in the tricks of the Cubans who are after your money. Here are some anecotes to get how things work over here.

Imagine walking through a forest where you notice a money tree. On the ground there are two notes of 50$. You pick them up and you shake the tree. Again, two notes fall off the tree. What do you do? Pick them up and leave? No. You keep shaking the tree till nothing falls off anymore. This is how Cubans look at tourists. Cubans know different kinds of tricks to make tourists pay for everything. (source: CubaConga)

 

ex. 1 To travel to Vinales I used the service of a collectivo. I negotiated the price and persuaded the driver to get me to my destination for 15 CUC. ‘Do me a favor.’, he asks me. ‘Don’t tell what you paid me to the next two girls who will get in. They do pay me 30 CUC’

 

ex. 2 You take a taxi to your casa. The driver is searching and searching but claims he does not know your casa or he doesn’t find it. But he does know another casa. A better one. It’s one of the many tricks applied in Cuba. When a Cuban recommends you something, be sure he gets paid a commission by what he recommends. Besides, your casa will be more expensive since his commission is paid by what you pay the casa. And the casa you had planned in advance? He probably did know it.

Cubans are macho. Do not fear that you will be dressed too sexy and like that will be provocative to them. Chances are big you cannot match the sexy dressing style of Cuban women. No doubt you will receive compliments while traveling solo as a woman during your trip. Often with no harm intended. If they are annoyant, just make it clear to them and if necessary, be angry.

Traveling in Cuba is learning to deal with Cubans. After having traveled for three weeks across the country I did not only boost my confidence, but met a lot of new friends and started loving the country. A country some much more than just cigares and oldtimers. An experience worth repeating. Allthough my boyfriend will think differently.

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Traveling solo in Cuba

How to capture your adventure with GoPro?

Any traveler wants to capture his adventure with a GoPro to keep his memories alive or to share his experiences. When mountaineering, cycling, diving or skydiving it might be clear that capturing your actions is somewhat more challenging than posing for a selfie.

I’ve been on adventures many times, always packing my GoPro as I go. Still I have to admit, taking footage of my adventures wasn’t always easy and I will try to share my experience by giving the best tips on creating top quality adventure videos.

1. Keep your lens clean

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Vespa in Rome

This might be a basic rule but nonetheless it’s the most common mistake travelers make when shooting their video. Snow, fingerprints or water drops are obstacles that might ruin your golden moment. When filming underwater one of the tricks is to lick the lens and wait for it to dry before using it.

2. Choose the best lighting

Photographers will agree. There are two ideal times to shoot: early in the morning and late in the afternoon. The sun is low in the sky and shadows are reduced creating more cinematic moments. Sunny days are best for making videos.

3. Have a story to tell

When you start your video project, don’t just shoot random footage. Know how your video will look like even before you start. Think about the beginning, middle and ending. About the story you will tell. This will save you a huge amount of time when editing and your video will be more professional and more powerful. Extra tip: plan for the unexpected. Unplanned moments are often the most valuable for your video.

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Paddling in Sweden

4. Get creative with shooting angles

Think of the best angle to use when capturing your adventure. Should you hold your camera high or low? To help you use the best angles, there are different kind of mounts you can buy.

5. Save Battery Life

Battery life often is the main disadvantage with every GoPro but it’s getting better with every release. Still, your camera batteries are very likely to run out when you’re on an adventure. A usb compatible solar panel can save you on those moments or you can bring some extra batteries. To save your battery it’s wise to turn off the wifi.

6. Be creative and invest in GoPro Mounts

GoPro has a lot of mounts and accessoiries that are useful to travelers willing to capture their adventure. It is wise to invest in some of these that could be meaningful to you.

Some of the extras are:

GoPro pole

This is one of the items I wouldn’t travel without. Especially when you’re traveling solo or if you want to jump into your own frame this is one must-have.

Chest Harness

The Chesty makes it easy to capture  video and photos while skiing, mountain biking, motocross, paddle sports or any activity where you want a more engaging, lower-than-the-helmet view of the action. You’ll capture more of your arms, knees, poles and skis while skiing—and more of your arms and handlebars while biking or riding your motorcycle.

Floating Hand Grip

The handler is a buoyant grip that is best used for underwater activities. It’s ideal for shooting selfies, POV or follow-cam while diving. When losing grip of it, your GoPro isn’t lost in Davy Jones’ Locker.

GoPro Head strap

The GoPro head strap is ideal for activities such as cycling, mountaineering or even skydiving. It is perfect for capturing videos in own perspective and will show show people what you see through your eyes.

3D Robotics Solo Drone

If you want top action adventure views shot from the air than this might your new favorite toy. The 3D Robotics Solo Drone is one of the very best drones giving you the possibility to fly and shoot videos with a video game-style controller.

ONECOL (1)GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition is one the very best action cameras on the market. You can buy these online for 449.99 (USD). 

 

 

 

Five tips to make your backpack lighter

Making a long-distance hike carrying nothing but you backpack with you can be a unique experience. But not if your backpack is so heavy thay you need to drag yourself to your destination. Whether you’re staying in mountain cabins or pitching a tent every night, you will need to bring a lot of gear with you. Take in account your food and water and you’ll be carrying above 15kg, easily. Reasons enough to have critical look at the content of your backpack.

Here are five tips to make your backpack lighter:

Tip 1: Make a gear list

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Hiking in the mountains can be an unique experience

The only way to have a look on how to save weight in your backpack  is to make a list of all the gear you need. Write the weight of every item next to it to get an idea what is making your backpack heavy. It is better to weigh everything yourself and not just read the description of the product. To get an idea on what a gear list should look like, you can have a look at our gear list.

Tip 2: Only take what you really need

Taking to much with you is a mistake every novice hiker makes. When packing your backpack, always ask yourself: ‘Do I really need that?’ Only pack the necessary items and avoid luxury items such as chargers or beauty products.

Bringing too many clothes has no use. Try to estimate what you will need. Picking many lighter layers is better than bringing different outfits. With lighter clothes you can add layers depending on the weather conditions.

When planning your hike, check the possibilities regarding resupplying. Carrying seven days of food when you have the option to visit a store everyday is waste of energy. Only take what you need and add one day extra of supplies. Water can be found (and purified by boiling) in every river or lake.

Tip 3: Choose light gear

Some gear is essential. Tent, sleeping bag and even a cooking stove. However this does not mean you haven’t got any options left. There is a huge amount of gear available online. When you have alternatives, choose the lightest option. But when adapting your list, keep these things in mind:

  • Pack what you need and then look a the weight.
  • Weight is important but so is quality!
  • Lighter gear doesn’t mean inadequate quality.

You can find our recommendations about light gear in our blogpost Traveling light with a backpack: what to take with you?.

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Preparing dinner with a light cooking stove

Tip 4: Test your backpack at home first

When you’ve hiked your first kilometers of your walk and feel your backpack is too heavy, you’re already too late. Your first hike with your backpack should be at home, where you still have time to adjust. While making this ‘test hike’, don’t forget to use all of your gear. It is better to test new gear in advance.

Tip 5: Gear is one thing, stamina another

You can decide how obsessed you want to be when it comes to a light backpack but weight is only one thing. When venturing a long-distance hike be sure to prepare yourself well. Plan your hike or expedion well, work on your skills and don’t forget your body. Make some training hikes carrying your backpack to prepare yourself physically well for the challenge. A decent stamina is more important than a light backpack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel light with a backpack: what to take with you?

It’s a common problem novice hikers or backpackers face. A too heavy backpack is turning your walking holiday in a real death march. While packing your backpack, every gram counts. It is important not to take too much with you and buy some light, high quality gear.

Tent (2.24kg)

When we go hiking in the mountains or in remote landscapes our first thing to pack is our the-north-face-assault-2-summit-seriestwo person North Face Summit Assault tent. This four season tent is one of the lightest on the market weighing only 2.24kg. It is often used in high altitude mountaineering.

Sleeping bag (1.092kg)

aciorThe Millet Dreamer is a perfect sleeping bag for hiking and trekking in alpine conditions. This mummy-shaped sleeping bag still is my first one since I bought it. I used it on mountains like Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc, Aconcagua as well as during trekkings in the Alps. With a comfort temperature of 6 degrees Celsius you’re fine for any hike! Weight: 1,092kg

Sleeping pad (510g)

The self-inflating Therm-a-Rest Prolite sleeping pad is your mattress for any outdoor adventure. I started by buying a thin one but changed this recently to a  3cm thick one.  With a weight of only 510g (regular size), they are designed to be used by the ultralight backpacker.

MSR MicroRocket Stove (122g + 306g)

When you hike, you need a lot of food to provide your energy. The MSR MicroRocket Stove onecolis ultralight (122g) to bring along and is everything you need to make yourself a warm meal in the evening. In little less than four minutes you can boil a liter of water. You can buy a MSR Alpinist 2 Pot (306g) made of aluminium to cook soups, pastas and much more.

Bowls, cups and cutlery (80g + 45g + 42g)

To eat your food you need offcourse, bowls, cups axset3and cutlery. From the first moment I purchased them I’m a big fan of the Sea to Summit X-Bowl Collapsible Bowl (80g) and Sea to Summit X-Cup Collapsible Cup (45g). They are easy to eat from, ultralight and easy to be stocked in your cooking pot together with your stove. They also have ultralight cutlery (42g).

Other necessary fun-to-have gadgets

Survival set including fire starter, waterproof bag, micro whistle, razor saw, compass, led light. (total weight: 85g)