Bikepacking overnighter - Pole Taiga fatbike, sauna & new trails | Taival Outdoors
Welcome back to Taival Outdoors. Today we are going fatbikepacking! I'm in Savonlinna, in a completely new area for me, riding these trails for the first time. But the distances are quite short today and tomorrow, I have a map with good gps trail that I drew for myself. And the main idea for these two days is to enjoy outdoors as always, but perhaps the main point is that I'm testing some new bikebacking gear. I've done three bike packing trips in total with a fatbike.
All of those were with my old bike, and I've never had any bikepacking specific equipment. And now I finally decided to invest in some. Oh, this is wet and muddy, but then again, I'm on a fatbike so it's not a problem. I did not expect these trails to be so wet, because this summer has been extremely hot or unusually hot actually, but here I am, in completely flooded forest and trails, which of course means that it is filled with mosquitoes, and I am being absolutely eaten alive. And the only antidote is to go faster. Good signs all around,
because during winter this is cross-country ski trail and I guess that's the main purpose of this trail. So, it's not super ideal for summer use, but then again, I have a fatbike so I shouldn't be complaining. There we go. No problem. First lean-to of this trail. Nice, sheltered place. The pond that I passed is just over there, so
interesting choice to build this here and not by the shore. But now I must add some more bug spray, because this is getting ridiculous. I'm not going to stay here any longer, I just wanted to see this lean-to, and in fact during these two days I'm going to visit total of three different lean-to shelters. Added some bug spray, hopefully it will do the trick. Now, back on the trail. And I think I mentioned something about the bags, but let's leave that to the campsite as well.
So rocky. Roots. And again, it is wet. Uphill on almost non-existent trail. At least there's some perks. A few wild strawberries and walking the bike.
Six kilometers to the today's destination. Downhill for once. And then steep uphill of course, well that didn't last long. This trip isn't just a test for these bags, but also a test for myself and this bike, because I want to see what kind of terrain I can traverse with this fatbike in this loadout. Of course, road like this I could pedal through with my gravel bike, no problem, but since this bike also has front suspension, I want to see how it works with this loadout.
That's my destination, four kilometers to go. Something happened. My bag fell off of this Versacage, started hitting the tire. Well, that's an easy fix. This was one of the last minute compromises I had to do, because I have ordered the Ortlieb Seat-Pack, the bigger one, but it didn't make it in time, because during midsummer of course Finnish post didn't deliver or do anything else. So, I don't have the Seat-Pack. It's waiting for me in the post office. So, I had to improvise.
And looks like I need to watch out for some heavy rocks and ditches and things like that might bounce this bag off. I should have used two straps, but now I know. 1.2 kilometers, I guess the final stretch of today's journey is then again a bit more off-road. Now, this is the kind of trail I can imagine myself doing with this fatbikepacking setup. Not too ridiculous, but still something that where the front suspension does help and where I wouldn't come with my gravel Bike. Damn, it's hot. It's so hot. Huh duck boards. Long ones. At least my tires are so wide that they don't fall into these cracks.
Still wide enough. Made it! All right so here I am: Tervastupa. Or Tervastupa is actually up there. Here's sauna and that's also free to use for anyone. There's public sauna every Wednesday at six o'clock, so in less than three hours. I'm definitely going to go there. Ah, look at this weather, almost completely cloudless.
I'm guessing close to 30 degrees. Ridiculously hot. Some people love it, but for me, not my favorite season to go and do any outdoor activities, because of the bugs and the heat. This place looks quite nice. Now all I have to do is to find some type of flat-ish ground to set up my tent. I was thinking that maybe I could go and find a way up there or something, Set everything up and then just start relaxing and waiting for the sauna. I think I found a good place for my tent. Not being freestanding, I need some
soft ground to peg it down and that's probably the best and the only spot to do that. And as a bonus, there is a permanent hammock here, and I swear I did not know about this. If I had known about this I would have probably just taken my tarp and tried to spend my first ever night in a hammock, but this is just a nice bonus for now. And at least it's a bit windy here so the bugs aren't that bad. But before setting up the Minipeak XL,
let's take a look at the bike and the bags first, as I promised. So, starting from the back, this is Topeak Versacage. I've had a pair of these for a few years now, so that's nothing new. And then here's the Marine Corps Stuff sack, MACS sack, and I've made actually a video review about this, and in it I mentioned that I bought two of these specifically for bikepacking use, but since I've gotten this, I've been using them on all of my trips. So,
they have been definitely worth the investment. In here, change of clothes, warm clothes, jackets, things like that, and top here on top my cooking pot and everything cooking related in it. Here's just a camp towel. Down here, this is probably the cheapest frame bag available in Finland, roughly 50 euros. It's waterproof, but it is so incredibly tiny that I could just barely fit all my bike maintenance and repair stuff plus a first aid kit is in here. That's my normal first aid kit that I use with a backpacking. Down here just from fuel for the stove.
And then most of the stuff is happening up front. So, this is the bigger 2021 Ortlieb handlebar bag, and it could be still extended, made quite a bit bigger, but because it's compressible, it has an air valve, I’m can get quite a bit of stuff in here. So, inside of this is the Luxe Outdoor Minipeak XL tent, my summer sleeping bag, mosquito or like a bug tent, then of course all the stakes, pole for the tent and Katadyn Hike Pro water purification pump. In front, my old Therm-a-rest Z Lite Sol and my five years old solar panel. I originally bought this panel for like longer, let's say five to seven days and longer backpacking trips, but since then I've invested also to a bigger power bank, so I haven't been using it as much. But I believe it's 15 watt panel
and if nothing else, it's feeding my phone all the time, so at least the phone doesn't go out of battery as fast. So, of course these kind of portable, like camping, hiking solar panels aren't that powerful compared to the needs of modern smartphones, but it does help a bit, and since it's relatively lightweight, it doesn't take any like additional space or anything, so why not. And down here I just have my bigger tripod for filming. I ended up having to put quite a bit of stuff in the backpack, which I would have had anyway with me, because of the water bladder, but most of the stuff that's now in there will in future be then in in the Seat-Pack once I get it. But now, let me set up the camp and let's talk a bit more about bikepacking and gear and stuff in general before heading to sauna. So, here it is, shelter for tonight. I just happened to get this pyramid-shaped mosquito tent from mother-in-law for free. She didn't have any use for it anymore,
and I decided to give it a go this morning. So, I got this day before yesterday, and now this first time testing it with or actually using it with this tent, and as you can see it droops down quite a bit, so I just need to add some loops back home that attached to these, these things, and I can get a lot more space. Of course, it's still floorless, so bugs can get down there, but it's still better than nothing and it doesn't weigh a lot, because it doesn't have doors or floor. So, in that sense it's a nice, simple, ultra-light setup. It's made by Frilufts and it costs roughly 20 euros or so. We'll see. I do have a mosquito, like bug head net which I will use if it gets too crazy with these friends that I seem to have quite a bit. But other than that, camp is set up. I still have two hours before it's sauna time, so I was thinking to
go down there by the shoreline and have a drink or two. Kippis! Well, it's not a lot colder than what I have in my hydration bladder, but it's a bit colder, and I'll take it. Although this trip is quite short in terms of both time and kilometers, this is, like I've, said mostly about testing out gear and also that bike with this loadout, but in fact, I'm going to do a bit longer three day bikepacking trip in one and a half months, or actually not even that, less than that, bit over a month, a month's time. I'm doing it with two friends of mine, three days, but we are doing it with gravel bikes. So, I have two bikes, a fatbike and a gravel bike, and
in my opinion, if you live in Finland, if you buy one of those: a fatbike or a gravel bike, you're pretty much set. Gravel bike is so much more useful and fun compared to a road bike, and then again fatbike is good all-around bike throughout the year, all seasons. So, yeah, doing a bit longer backpacking trip soon-ish and I'm using exactly the same gear. So, although I have two very different kind of bikes, I'm not going to get two sets of bikepacking gear or anything like that. Most of the stuff or actually everything else I have here is what I've you would use normally when I go camping or hiking.
Only specific things for bikepacking are the bags themselves, that's it. So, I try to keep my kit as versatile as possible and so far I'm pretty happy about it. Good info: “Camping ABC, drink, drink, eat, minimize suffering.” Unfortunately, on my trips I cannot always do all those things, but I try to do those. It's valid advice
definitely during this trip: extremely important to stay hydrated. Looking nice. I'm liking this idea of a mid-trip sauna already. I always go to sauna after my trips but in the middle of it… Might have to try to incorporate this thing to more trips in future. That sauna was great and so was swimming. Feeling excellent and very refreshed with clean clothes on and had to put this jacket on as well just because of these bugs. I strung up a clothesline so my cycling clothing wouldn't stink as badly tomorrow morning. And now I think it's time to find a nice spot from down there somewhere and make some dinner. It's already 10 past 7, so about time to do that.
Good looking evening coming up. I've filled up water bladder for tomorrow. I just have to say that this Katadyn Hike Pro, although it is bulky, it's just very handy, because it's so fast and it's kind of no-nonsense approach to water filtration. For dinner, some Tactical Foodpack mashed potatoes and bacon.
And as always it's a good idea to beef it up with some Kuivalihakundi beef jerky. Can never go wrong with that. To be honest, almost any food in this setting with these views would probably taste really damn good. I think I'm going to leave this open like so. Even if it would sprinkle a bit of water during the night, well first of all, it's quite easy and quick to close maybe one side down, but I will sleep probably quite far back there diagonally, so the rain is not a problem.
I will much rather have this increased airflow and being able to look at these views than to be like protected from heavy storms or anything when they are not likely to happen. And before closing things up for tonight, I want to show you one of the crucial pieces of gear that you need to have when hiking or backpacking in Finland during summer and that is a good tube scarf. Not because it would be cold during the night, but this is the only way to get some true darkness in the middle of summer. Oh yeah. I guess that's all for today, let's see what tomorrow brings us. Good night.
Good morning. It's already half past nine, so I guess that means that I slept extremely well and my sleeping mask did work. I haven't had breakfast yet, because I was thinking that remember yesterday I mentioned that there are still two lean-to shelters to visit today, so I figured why not go now to the first one and have breakfast than there. The weather seems a bit cloudier today, so
I don't think this solar panel has much of use, but this is also a handy place to not just charge things, but to keep this solar panel here in general. The first lean-to isn't that far away. Just have to find the correct trail to get there. I think this might be it. What a fun trail to start today's journey. Oh, wet. It's a bit windier today.
Yep, somewhere up there is the lean-to where I'm heading. Sill some ways to go, maybe a kilometer. Oh, the trail might be slowing me down though quite a bit.
So Tervastupa 2.2 kilometers, that's where I came from ,and Mustalampi is actually the last lean-to shelter that I'm going to check out, but now this trail forks, I'm going to the left a couple hundred meters. I need to backtrack to this same place then after breakfast, but at least I know what's in here now. Not for bikepacking. So here we are: Kollaa lean-to.
The trails that I've been riding as well as Tervastupa - the place I stayed last night - are upkept by a local association called Olavin Retkeilijät and this is the only lean-to in the area that isn't managed and maintained by them, but this is instead built and handled by Savonlinnan Reserviläiset, which is the local reservist association. And I figured since this is not too far from my main trails, that I would come here and check this place out as well. It says that it is in public use, which is quite nice of them. But I'm not using any firewood or anything, I'm just using this as a bit of a rest stop in the middle of this morning. For breakfast, pretty standard stuff: one deciliter of oatmeal, one deciliter of protein powder. Using yesterday's Tactical Foodpack bag as my bowl for this.
Don't judge me, it's a handy way of not having to do any dishes. And for coffee, looks like we have Nescafe classic 3-in-1, all right. I don't like quick coffee and I don't like milk coffee either, but this is just what I happen to have left over from some reservist exercises, I believe. Then Grando's soluble coffee, straight from Germany. I might have put too much water in this one, but pro tip: always put too much water in your outdoor meals, you need that fluid inside of you. Quite sweet. While I'm waiting for my breakfast to cool down, I figured I would share with you
all a little story. Although this is only my fourth time bikepacking with a fatbike, I actually did my first bikepacking trip back in 2012. So, what's that now, nine years ago? And only back then I didn't know that it was called bikepacking and I don't know if anyone knew that it's going to be called bikepacking. Back then I cycled with my very standard kind of front suspension city bike from Jyväskylä to Pieksämäki to Juva and then somewhere after that I slept in a lean-to shelter. And that was 170 kilometers first day and then I continued to
Puumala and Ruokolahti, so roughly 110 kilometers I think the second day. With pretty much no experience in that kind of biketouring or bikepacking or anything like that. It went quite well! I did I think three, one day 100 kilometer trips with the loadout just to see if I would have the strength and endurance to pedal with it. I had rear rack and just old German army backpack on the rear rack and then a very small backpack with water and some essentials and that's it. So, no bikepacking type of stuff, very lightweight summer loadout
in that sense, and I kind of envy myself or my past self, because there's no way that I could do 170 kilometers or even I would say 100 kilometers would be pushing it with my back. My lower back cannot take those kinds of distances anymore. But yeah, when going to that bit of a longer bikepacking trip then in a bit over a month's time with my gravel bike, I think that will bring up some memories, cycling around Saimaa and doing it with a more similar bike than what that beast there is. Yeah, just goes to show you that anyone can do what is now called bikepacking, you don't need fancy bike for it or fancy bags for it.
And I've been seeing more and more of those bikepacking videos and pictures and so forth happening in Finland, so I think the boom is definitely here. And also, I couldn't get that Seat-Pack anywhere from Finland, it has been continuously sold out from all stores throughout the spring. Whenever the new batch came in I was always too slow to purchase it, so that's why I had to order it from Germany, I bought rest of those bags or those two bags from Finland, luckily enough. I'm expecting to see a lot more things happening around bikepacking in Finland. I suspect that many national parks will start to adjust their trails or adding new trails and make them more bikebacking friendly destinations. And I don't mind. This will definitely not be my primary way of camping, but just another nice
addition. And who knows, when the dog is old enough I might do some bikepacking with him. After looking at the map and looking at this weather and these clouds, I decided to alter my route a bit. I'm not going to the last lean-to shelter, but instead I'm going to push forward hoping that I will hit a bit bigger trail. Of course, I have no idea what is to expect, what's going on over there beyond this lake.
Maybe it is single track, maybe it's super technical, hard to go through, I don't know, but I wish that if there is some of that, at least there's not a lot of it, so I can get to faster trails a bit sooner. Nice looking little lake, no doubt. Climbed on top of this - pretty much straight up - then maybe 50 meters of nice pedaling and now super steep downhill. In fact, there's actually stairs. And then, it's pretty hard to see from this, but according to my map, I will turn right and start climbing on top of quite a big hill, so we'll see how that goes, but first we need to get down there. Do bikebacking they said it, it will be fun they said.
This is what I'm seeing, and of course it looks like nothing on camera, but it is super steep. Thank God for bicycle brakes. All right. What comes up, must go down. Hopefully I can shake these
mosquitos. So wet, oh yeah. There's not much of a trail to follow really, for example now, maybe this way? There are some planks underneath me, so I guess some type of a trail should go here somewhere. There's at least another one. I've been completely just following the map, because I haven't seen a trail at all. Now
this looks a bit more promising. Made it to a bit bigger, well, not even a trail, but a road I would say, which means that I can finally get away from the mosquitoes. In those wet and dark spruce forests there's more than enough bugs that want to eat you. Finally, back on gravel. And as I am back on gravel, it means that this adventure is about to come to an end. Or has this really been an adventure, since distances have been quite short, and I've had continuously a good map and a GPS in front of me? Let me know in the comments: does this qualify as an adventure? But my name is Joel, you have been watching Taival Outdoors, and at least I have been thoroughly enjoying getting back in touch with fatbikepacking.
I will see you all in the next one!