Monday, April 16, 2012

OUT - Day out with the kids....

well, at least half a day.....
We had planned a little fieldtrip yesterday, trying to see if we could find signs of spring and for some outdoor "cooking"; making some soup and grilling a saucage.
I checked the weather and forecast weather was some sun, some clouds, maybe some rain and about +8C. So I figured I would travel "light", meaning no backpack. A good reason to try out my Finnbag's new layout, too. Just to be on safe side I brought my German poncho.... We were all dressed in cotton pants, hiking shoes and boots, t-shirt, wool sweater and the kids wore their raincoats, whilst I wore my army cotton fieldjacket.
Logistics required a different way of thinking on my behalf. What to take on a hike such as this one and how to distribute it (the weight and volume). We all had 1 filled up canteen, there was food for 3 and I brought my standardstuff, too. We all had a fixed bladeknife, a foldable one and a set of binoculairs, too.
The first signs of spring we found were in the wooded area, right behing the house.
this little flower is about 5-6cm high
Further on the way we found the first (for us) white forestanemones

And some horseshoefungus, the biggest we ever saw! 

They were going good! The pace we kept meant that we were still able to talk and we did not break into a sweat. My son opted for the old Dutch army canvas pack, carried as a shoulderbag. He had his canteen on the wastebelt, all ex-army and of the same vintage, too.

As I said, I brought my poncho along, too. Rolled up in it there's a small sack, containing 4x1meter bungees, 2 guylines and 3 metal groundpins..... This allows me to put up a rainshelter in very little time..... just in case.

We ended up on the lakeside again, the one we often visit. We just love that place! Weather was still fair, but here we were exposed to the wind, which did not bother us, while we were still between the trees, and that started to become noticable quit fast!
We saw and heard  many birds and we used our binos to stufy them and we were pointing out all kinds of things to one another. After a while we sat down for lunch and I lit a fire. Out came the saucages, the bread and the soup. I made my kids lunch first, but in the meantime my son started to complain about being cold. I myself did not notice it actually and he does have a tendency of complaining about that quit fast, so I did not pay much attention to it at first. I told my kids to close up their jackets and pull up the hoods, to keep the wind out of their necks. they were running around and exploring the place, so everything seemed ok. The wind kept increasing in strength, growing from a gentle and chilly breeze into a stiff and bonechilling wind. I still wasn't cold, but they were practically begging me to hand over the hot soup and saucages. While they were eating their lunch and I was preparing mine, I noticed my daughter had fallen silent, which never is a good sign, and my son started to shiver. It was obvious they were really starting to suffer from the icy wind and that's when I decided to pack up. We had to get out of the wind and needed to start moving again. I skipped lunch, extinguished the fire and packed up. Unfortunately the place did not allow the poncho to be used as a windshelter. Apart from the tree on the picture, there are no trees within easy reach.

On our way home I noticed that my fellow woodswalkers moved less well-coordinated than on the way in. They were quit tired. I guess that, besides the 5km walk in, the cold had drawn on their reserves pretty heavily. I spared them the long walk home and called my wife to come pick us up.
While we were waiting, we had some time to scout the area. We noticed some very tall anthills some 15 meters apart. One was at least 1 meter high and the other was even higher!
I do not know who has stuck his head into this one, but there must have been some nasty surprises for him/her waiting!

Can you guess what the darkbrown stuff is???

yep.... These babies were up to 1cm each!

We heard a car coming....

yours truely.
From now on, hiking with kids is no longer hiking light. Next time I will at least bring a shelterhalf and an extra layer of clothing for them. This means a backpack at all times. I did not bring an axe with me either and I was able to take care of business without, but it sure would have been handy.

One of the things my son was carrying, was a toiletpaperdispenser. I have shamelessly copied this idea from Johan Forsberg's blog HERE . My daughter had the pleasure of fieldtesting this idea and she was more than happy with it! Especially when travelling with kids I can really recommend this idea!!

Here's a shot of the contents of my Finnbag. Apart from the filled canteen with pouch and metal cup, the poncho and the large firstaid-kit, is was packing the following items;
Small compartments from left to right;
- DC4 + firesteel in pouch. The latter can be attached to the belt,
- multitool with small flashlight build in,
- notebook and pencil in ziplock, binoculairs and lenseatic compass
- sewingset, fabric handkerchief, foldable sunglasses/snowgoggles, foldable cup and spork, large sturdy plastic bag and a tin Wilma's Nordic Summer.
Larger compartment;
- large firstaid-kit and reflective emergencyvest
Main compartment;
- German army gloves, foraging bag/net, ziplock with 10 meters paracord, fieldlibrary with Collins gem Food for free and SAS survivalmanual, ziplocked to keep dry and a compasspouch with my camera.
With the Mora clipped to the front, the whole thing weighed a total of 6kg, but as said, that was with the filled canteen and poncho, adding 2,5kg. It was not uncomfortable to carry, but I will have to find another way of carrying the canteen, I guess.
The pack was still bulky and the snaps kept popping open. I have some alteraltions in mind for the pack, like adding loops to secure the Moraknife. Carrying it like that was quite handy. I need to add some padding for the shoulderstrap, though. I will also need to modify the closingsnaps in some way, too, because I was constantly worrying about losing gear.


  1. Nice outing, Ron. Spring is definitely much further along there compared to here. Most of the ground in the forest is still covered, but another warm rain and a week or two and it will be gone.

    Sorry to hear the kids got cold. Looks like they had fun, though!

    I can see the gas mask bag is getting some use. :) I've noticed that putting too much stuff in it can make the snaps pop open, so I try to arrange my gear so that the bag doesn't become too "fat". Stacking stuff up high, rather than filling the floor space, can help with this. If all else fails, you could attach one or two buckles or other closures to the lid to keep it closed. Padding for the shoulder strap is a good idea, and the first modification I made to mine.


  2. Hi WW,
    It was a fun trip and we learned a lot, again.
    As for the finnbag, I'm currently working on some mods for it, so keep your eyes open for it's next appearance!