Plan, pack light, travel, hike, raft… a gap year rehearsal

Since our last trip into Sarek it has been quite hectic, to say the least. It’s hardly possible reaching the kitchen from the bedroom. Maps, gear, boxes and dust scatter the house. Our cat is roaming around the house, but seem not to find her peace. There is a growing suspicion towards the 2-legged-ones. What the heck are you guys doing? Are you moving out? Or you going to leave me behind? This leads to more scratches after the usual evening coddling.

Packing for a general rehearsal on hiking and packrafting in the Alps - click for more details

Packing for a general rehearsal on hiking and packrafting in the Alps – click for more details

This isn’t preparing for a regular trip. This swallows every second of free time. We’re 6 weeks away from a gap year of a packraft-thruhiking adventure on 3 continents. With legs hanging we shoveled to our bosses for an aproval letter for a career interuption. You enter the office and close the door behind you. They already know how late it is. We’ve been there before. It’s times like these, when unknown facial expressions uncover. Thank you Els and Tim, loving bosses, for aproving us to live our dream.

Climbing up to the snowy pass, on a quest for the Lech River.

Climbing up to the snowy pass, on a quest for the Lech River.

We are in an unceasing quest of organising, checking, testing, evaluating, discussing our gear. Yeah I have been spending hours, days, weeks, months bent over maps. That’s fun and quite easy. Mapping, planning and organizing is 1. But gear considerations is the uttermost important part of the preperation. And small 3-4 day mini-adventures to keep the quest and finetuning going. i have been promising gear reviews here. They will appear. Deadlines, I hate them.

Scouting for a packraft put-in along the Lech River

Scouting for a packraft put-in along the Lech River

Since 2 years we made a complete switch from classical backpacking to lightweight. Pack light. The key issue for the plans we have in mind for the gappy year. Previous backpacking trips in wilderness areas made us realize we need something to overcome that frustrating problem. Besides that we didn’t want rivers, lakes or fjords to be an obstacle anymore. During 2 months Arctic Scandinavia and 5 months Patagonia, we will haul our Unrigged Explorer Packraft. Volume, weight, durability, funcionality. Always a discussion. We’ll need a framed pack for the mentioned packrafting destinations. There going to be streches of hiking/rafting on which we will need to carry gear and food for 14 days without resupply. For the 3-month thru-hiking of the Nepalese part of the Great Himalaya Trail we’ll exchange the packraft and framed pack, for a frameless pack, filled with crampons and ice axe, and a multifuel stove.

To river or not to river... packraft considerations

To river or not to river… packraft considerations

We are proud to anounce that 2 cottage manufacturarers have taken partnership with us, by providing us significant discount on their gear and food. We are not active on a search for sponsors or partners, but if you feel like 2 fools living outside for a year on some remote parts of the world is a good test case for checking functionality/durability of your cottage gear in development, just shout. We’ll glad to be a field rabbit.

Sean at Oookworks is finishing a nest for our Twing Tarp, which we will use as the only shelter for the whole upcoming year. When it arrives in the coming week you may expect an update on the blog for a first review.

The nice Dutch people at Globetrotter Outdoor Foods are helping and providing us discount on huge amounts of home-made dehydrated food for the Arctic and Patagonian part of the year. Our food drying machine just can’t handle the job alone.

In the coming 6 weeks there will be maps apearing on the site, giving you some insight on what we have planned. Please come back and have a look. If you are familiar with the areas, please give feedback.
Just like in the past we look forward on meeting new people on the way. Fresh ideas will spark alternatives. Beside that weather conditions will determine our plans. That’s for sure. Thank you weather for being bad at times. It will force us to change intentions and provide us with memorable experiences in the other option. Flexibility. You bet!

Bivaouc along the banks of the Lech River

Bivaouc along the banks of the Lech River

We look forward to a physical and mental challenge. A battle. Sometimes it’s going to be tough. Pffff what’s tough. Tough is battling to survive. Like millions of people do every day. Spoiled Western tourists. Do something extra-ordinary with your life. Hike, pack, raft… but take time for the people too. We are investigating local volunteer options in Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. That’s where we hope to end our trip between May and August 2013.

The trip report from our last general rehearsal 4-day trip has been put in video. It somewhere summarises what you might expect us doing for the upcoming year, when it’s gonna be quiet on the blog, but a little bit louder out there. That’s what you get when I get out. I can be loud. Necessary for trying to overrule them wild silences. Please push play. And have a look in the album.



  1. Enjoy the year, Katrijn & Steve! Sounds like a superb adventure, with plenty to write and share about later (or are you planning to write up trips while on the road?)!

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