Should your sleeping bag contain down or hollow fibre?
If weight is important, down is the lightest filling. However, it also has a disadvantage in that the down clumps together if it gets wet and will then not provide any insulation. Hollow fibre helps keep you warm even when it’s wet.
There are many different qualities of down and there are also several different types of fibre filling. A good down sleeping bag with a waterproof and breathable outer layer is much lighter and less bulky than a fibre sleeping bag. It’s expensive, but a good solution.
Regardless of what you choose, never buy a sleeping bag with through-going stitching as this will enable cold to penetrate more easily. In the summer season in the fells you can make do with a sleeping bag with a comfort temperature of around minus 5 °C.
The sleeping bag must fit your height and build, i.e. not too wide or too long, otherwise you’ll expend unnecessary energy heating up the sleeping bag. It’s therefore crucial that you try the sleeping bag in the shop and get the right advice.
A good sleeping bag makes a good night-time companion and can last for 10 years
The sleeping bag must fit your height and build, i.e. not too wide or too long, otherwise you'll expend unnecessary energy heating up the sleeping bag
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The most popular model is without doubt the anatomical rucksack (frameless rucksack) where everything must be inside the rucksack (including the sleeping bag), although a sleeping mat and tent can be attached to the outside of the pack. In addition, the bag can be taken off and you can carry things on the frame.
Try the rucksack at the outlet concerned. Choose one which fits your back and not least what you’re able to carry.
It’s still possible to try a full rucksack at certain outlets. This will give you a realistic picture of what the particular rucksack is like in daily use. In fact, it’s a good idea to choose your rucksack on this basis.
If you want to be absolutely certain, buy recognised brands such as Lowe, Bergans, Osprey, Arc’teryx, etc., all of which are very durable.
A cover for your rucksack is a good idea for use on rainy days and to use in the apsis of the tent, where the rucksack can be placed on the cover so that it doesn’t get damp and mouldy.
Extra webbing (nylon) can also be made and attached to the rucksack so that the sleeping mat is held securely or bags of nylon suitable for clothes and similar items located within the rucksack so that everything remains in place.
There are several good tent designs, e.g. the tunnel tent, the traditional ridge tent and the dome tent.
Requirements with regard to a tent should be robustness and stability in bad weather conditions. There must also be enough space for gear and people. This is easily achieved with a tunnel tent, which is erected with the apsis facing the wind so that that the smallest surface area is exposed to the wind and the tent can thus withstand harsh weather conditions.
A tent that is erected on a level surface is the most comfortable to sleep in.
Make sure that there’s running water close by, as this is required when preparing food, etc.
Choosing a tent can be difficult as there are many different designs on the market, often with different combinations of types of tent (dome/tunnel tent). However, a tent doesn’t have to have been tried and tested on Mount Everest to be good.
A map shows details in the landscape.
The vertical lines on the map are called meridians. These should be used when deciding on the compass direction.
Contours are lines which show how steep or flat a mountain or a hill is. Close contours indicate a very steep slope.
The map also contains another important item of information, i.e. magnetic declination, which indicates how many degrees the compass has to be offset.
The compass is your guide. It has an arrow which shows the direction you have to follow. The round circle in which the compass needle sits is called the compass housing. It can be rotated so that magnetic declination can be taken into account. It is essential that this is taken into account, as the magnetic declination in Greenland can be as much as 40 degrees. The red section of the compass needle points towards magnetic north. If you’re using the map and have to use the course in the terrain, you have to add the degree of magnetic declination, but if you have the course in the terrain and shall apply it to the map, e.g. for a bearing, you must deduct the declination.
In addition to compass error, you also have to take into account the fact that in certain areas of Greenland there are metals in the ground that can affect the accuracy of the compass. In the event that this occurs or that you lose your compass, it’s essential that you keep an eye on the surroundings and establish your own sense of direction.
If you lose your compass and map, it’ll become more difficult to orientate yourself correctly, but if this should occur, you can find the four cardinal directions by means of an accurate watch with hour and minute hands. If it’s before midday (12.00), point the hour hand at the sun and find half the distance between the hour hand and the 12 on the watch. This indicates south. After midday (12.00) you can find south by halving the distance between 12 on the watch and the hour hand.
Once you’ve located south, you can then also find north, east and west, and thus navigate without a compass in an emergency.
GPS (Global Positioning System) is a radio navigation system that is used all over the world.
GPS is a type of electronic compass. It’s based on a network of satellites, control stations and receivers. It’s as if every square metre of the world is assigned its own address. Highly advanced GPS devices enable a degree of precision down to less than one centimetre!
Today, it’s become economically feasible to purchase a GPS receiver and the technology is more or less universally available.
Before embarking on fell-walking with a GPS device, it’s important that you’re familiar with its functions – and remember to take enough batteries with you to last the entire trip!
You might also consider taking a SPOT GPS transmitter with you which transmits signals with information about your exact position at short intervals. This enables family and friends to follow your whereabouts on Google Maps, but can also end up saving your life if you get into difficulties and are forced to activate the built-in alarm.
Before setting out on a hike, you should procure a hiking map of the area you’re planning to visit.
On the back of the maps from Visit Greenland you’ll find detailed information about local, climatic, geological and safety aspects for the area in question, as well as a wealth of other information that is required to ensure a safe and successful trip.
A total of 19 different hiking maps have been produced covering North, South, East and West Greenland. They can be bought at the various tourist offices throughout Greenland and typically also at souvenir shops.
You can also find map retailers here on the site under ‘Maps & Geography’.
Food provides both pleasure and is a source of energy for your body.
A successful hiking trip is often dependent on your energy level, and therefore it’s important to eat at least three regular meals a day, preferably supplemented by snacks between meals.
The need for fluids must never be underestimated – therefore drink before you actually feel thirsty!
When you’re hungry, food should preferably be prepared quickly and safely.
A lot of good cooking equipment is available that uses either paraffin, petrol or gas, but for beginners the Trangia storm-proof stove system is probably the best choice, as it’s easy to use and very reliable.
A standard Trangia set includes two saucepans with lids. The lid can also be used as a frying pan should you be lucky enough to catch a trout or two.
The standard kit is more than adequate; kettles and other accessories take up space and despite its low weight, this extra equipment is almost unnecessary.
In addition to the Trangia, a plastic cup for cocoa or soup and a spoon are actually enough. You can save weight by using the saucepan as a plate, but if there are several of you using the same cooking equipment, then take lightweight bowls with you.
The consumption of spirit is approximately 0.1 litres per person per day. If you’re impatient and think that 10-12 minutes is a long time to wait, then a relatively modest extra outlay will enable you to install gas in the Trangia, which enables water to be boiled in about 4 minutes. Expect to use about 1 canister of gas per person on the trip.
The only accessories necessary for the Trangia are a nylon pot scourer, storm-proof matches and a lighter.