Suunto Ambit2 (HR) Review

By Phil 2014.08.19 in Fjällräven Classic

I was recently asked to test and review the Suunto Ambit2 (HR) GPS watch while taking part in this years Fjällräven Classic trek.


This was the first time I had used a GPS watch, as I currently use Walkmeter application on my iPhone to track all my hikes. I was interested to see how this would compare to Walkmeter, so I decided to use both simultaneously during the trek. I also own a Casio Pro-Trek PRG-550 watch which only has altimeter and barometer, so was pleased the Suunto Ambit2 had these additional features, which meant I could leave my Casio in my stored luggage.

“The Suunto Ambit2 is the GPS for explorers and athletes. All you need for outdoor sports – navigation, speed, heart rate, altitude, weather conditions and features for running, biking and swimming. Thousands of Suunto Apps available to add new functionalities to your watch. Packed in a glass fibre reinforced casing with a battery life of 24 hours with GPS, Ambit2 is ready for any adventure.”

Setting Up:
I was given the watch when I arrived in Sweden at Nikkoulatta. The first thing you need to do us power it up it with its supplied USB lead. As I was camping the night prior to the Classic I didn’t have access to any electricity mains supply, but luckily I had my Powermonkey Extreme USB solar charger with me and was able to set it up in a matter of minutes. This was a good start to show how easy it could be charged when in the outdoors.

Setting it up was really easy and helped by a simple step by step interface where you set various parameters such as your birth year, weight and sex which is used to calculate heart rate. Calibrating the compass was also very easy and quick and done by rotating the watch in several directions for a few seconds.

Look and Feel:
Wearing the Suunto watch was a much better fit than my Casio Pro-Trek watch and very comfortable to wear. The display screen is also very clear and descriptive as well as a much smoother look and less complicated looking screen. I was also impressed with the size of the watch, which was smaller than I expected given the amount of functionality it has.


Measurements: 50mm x 50mm x 18.1 mm (1.97″ x 1.97″ x 0.71″)
Weight: 89g (3.14oz)

For this test I would only be using the trekking option to track the Classic route. The 5 buttons around the watch are very easy to access and have a raised pattern on each with I guess will be useful when using the watch when wearing gloves like during a winter hike. The Start/Stop button also has different sounds which I also found useful, as I often forget if I have re-started the tracking of hikes after a lengthy break. Having different sounds for these functions seem to stick in your mind more.

The full list of functions are as follows:

Full-featured GPS (SiRFIV v2.2)
Adjustable GPS recording interval
Location in multiple coordinate systems
Waypoint and route navigation
Find back
Track Back
Track logging, viewing and sharing*
Point of Interest (POI) creation
Route planning*

Barometric altitude
GPS corrected barometric altitude (FusedAlti™)
Total ascent/descent
Vertical speed
Altitude graph

Barometric pressure and graph
Sunrise/sunset (Suunto App)
Storm alarm (Suunto App)
Tide information (Suunto App)

GPS-based speed, pace and distance
Real-time, average and max. heart rate
Heart rate limits
Heart rate graph in real time
Peak Training Effect & Recovery Time
Manual & autolaps
Countdown timer
Interval timer
GPS track analysis*
Heart rate zones*
EPOC & V02 max values*

Swapping of sport while logging and exercise
Preconfigured multisport modes
Sports comparison*
Post-analysis of multisport exercise by sport*
Interactive map and charts by sport/section of an exercise*
ANT+™ and Suunto ANT support for PODs

Responsive running pace/speed (FusedSpeed™)
Running cadence with Foot POD
Lap comparisons by each kilometer/mile*
Ghost Runner (Suunto App)
Marathon End-time Estimator (Suunto App)

Multiple Bike POD support (Suunto ANT/ANT+™)
Bike Power (W), average and maximum
Bike Power 3 s, 10 s, 30 s
Bike lap and lap maximum power
Power distribution & graphs*
Peak Power Curve for peak power outputs*
Bike Power requires use of optional ANT+™ bike power sensor

Swimming time by pool length, lap, total
Swimming pace & distance
Swimming stroke rate, count & type
Automatic intervals
Dynamic lap table with strokes, pace and durations*

1000+ free Suunto Apps for outdoors & training
Up to 50 Apps pre-configurable in watch
Logging of all App values for post-analysis
Suunto Apps creation with:
Chrono, GPS, HR, weather and altitude data
Running, cycling, swimming data
Rich math functions, if/then logic, sound, backlight, etc.

Accuracy of Information:
I was very surprised with the accuracy of information when checking the altitude we were at during the trek, as this corresponded exactly to the readings on our map. Also you didn’t need to calibrate the altitude settings before starting like I have to with my Casio Pro-trek. At first the information provided in terms in distance we walked was slightly confusing, as compared to my Walkmeter app on my iPhone, the watch was slightly less in distance compared to than recorded on my iPhone and wasn’t sure which was more accurate. However towards the end of the trek it was only around 0.5km behind my iPhone. Not sure what could have caused this other than a loss of GPS signal on the watch or iPhone while doing an ascent/descent or time delay between me stopping and starting both watch and iPhone. I plan on doing further simultaneous tests on some future hikes to see how they differ.

One of the things I really like about Walkmeter app is the ability to view online and share in social media sites which is very easy to do via the iPhone app. In order to view the Ambit2 output, you need to setup an account with Suunto’s Movescount site and synchronise your watch to download recorded routes to your account which you can then view and share online. Once your recorded logbook entry has been uploaded, the graphical view is pretty good, as you can see here. Obviously with it being a watch rather than a graphical iPhone application, having to use an application on a PC or iPhone to download your recorded logs is the method I would expect to use to export your logbook. Once account has been setup and software installed on PC, it is very easy to use.

I think the Suunto Ambit2 (HR) GPS watch is an excellent product and would recommend to anyone looking for a GPS watch with multiple features. It’s a lot easier to start/pause your treks than it is when using the iPhone Walkmeter application, as well as having a pretty good battery life. I only had to charge once with my solar charger during the trek, and that was only because I didn’t want it to drain completely and risk losing what I have already recorded. There was still 30% battery life at the time. I will try it again to see how long battery life last from 100% to 0% when recording future walks. Although I didn’t need to use the compass for navigation during the trek, when I did check positioning with the map, the compass reading on the watch was very accurate. Again this is a feature I would like to test fully and compare with my Garmin Oregon 600 GPS on future hikes now I’m back in the UK. I also never got to try the Heart Rate monitor which is included with this watch, but I do intend to give a try. Also using your Movescount details you can upload GPX route files which can then be synchronised to your watch. This is a really useful feature and helps you to keep on the right track when hiking an unfamiliar route. I hope to try out this feature in 2 weeks when I do Ben Nevis again.
The watch is also compatible with 1000′s of mobile applications which can be found here.
I know one of my friends has been thinking about buying a GPS watch and will certainly be recommending this one to him. A great product!

The Tale of Two Kings

By Phil 2014.08.03 in General

Well today I did my final practice walk before I head off for the Fjällräven Classic on Friday. I left today’s walk choice up to Jason as he wanted to get some practice in for our Toubkal Two Valley Morocco trek in October, as did Joe.


So we headed off to Northumberland and Thrunton Woods for a 18km hike. This was my final chance to do a hike with a fully loaded rucksack weighing around 18kg, which is what I will be carrying for the Fjällräven Classic, so I packed every single item that I will be taking with me, including tent, stove and sleeping bag, though obviously I had no intention of using any of these on this hike, but with our track record of getting lost, you just never know.

After getting slightly lost on the drive to the start point, we finally arrived at the forest car park. There were a number of walking routes from this point, so Jason had picked the longest for us, which meant following the Red Arrow Waymarks. Great! Waymarks! “We probably won’t need map, GPS or guide book then.” Yeah right!

We started off really well as we headed through the pine tree forest. It was stunning. I couldn’t believe this walk was so close to where we lived. Not a sheep or cow field in sight and I now know where to come for my Christmas tree in December. I’m sure they won’t miss one!


We could only follow the Red Arrow Waymarks to a certain point before we had to leave the route and go off-piste. Great. Means we had to use map, GPS and guide book. Well as usual those worked for a little while, but we eventually realised we had taken wrong path, so we put our faith in technology and headed back 2km until we found the path we missed. We decided this would be a good spot and time for lunch stop.

In recent months I have been trying various outdoor ready to eat hot or cold meals, and have to say I have been very impressed with all I have had so far. Apart from maybe the Lancashire hotpot Manon and me had up Scafell doing her visit from Holland in May, that was pretty awful, but didn’t help I had left the oxygen absorbing sachet inside the meal as I ate it. Anyway today was my first chance and trying the Beyond the Beaten Track self-heating meals, Meatballs and Pasta in Tomato sauce. All you need to do is simply place the sealed meal in with the heater, add a small amount of water, and a chemical reaction produces heat to warm through your dinner! Easy. I followed the instructions while Jason and Joe tucked into their homemade sandwiches. After I placed the water in the self-heating pouch I placed it on the ground as instructed. Within a few minutes the bag started self-inflating with steam coming out from one end. I thought it was going to take off and explode as I ran off in opposite direction, not wanting to be pebble dashed in pasta and meatballs if it was to explode. They never mentioned that on the packet. Anyway after a few seconds it stopped expanding, as I slowly made my back to my food as if it was a firework which hadn’t gone off. After 10 minutes it was piping hot and ready to eat and as previous meals, it was very tasty. I’m glad we will be using different ready meals on the Classic though, as I don’t think I could go through that experience every meal time, unsure if it is going to explode in your face.


We then headed uphill to some crags and stunning views towards the Cheviot Hills. I still couldn’t believe this hike was so close to where we lived and that we had never done this one before. This has certainly become out number 1 North East walk. We headed along the ridge of crags where I started noticing some different Waymark signs which was called “The Kings Way”, which I thought was quite ironic seeing as this time next week I will be walking the Fjällräven Classic with my Fjällräven Polar team mates along the classic hiking trail Kungsleden “The King’s Trail”.



Although it was a great hike, the amount of flies around was unreal. First of all we thought they were just after Joe, as he was a little hungover from last night and maybe they wanted some of the alcohol which was sweating out of his body, but then they turned on me also. For some reason they left Jason alone. Maybe they don’t like vegetarians. It was like Lord of the Flies as they bothered us constantly throughout the walk.

Overall it was a great hike and good to meet up with Jason and Joe, as it has been a while since the three walking Kings have been together and look forward to future hikes as we build up to Morocco in October.

Roll on the Fjällräven Classic on Friday!

Today’s walk details can be found here

Fjällräven Abisko 75 Review

By Phil 2014.07.28 in Product Review

Following my Fjällräven Friluft 45 Review back in May, I thought I would do a review of the Fjällräven Abisko 75, now that I have used it for a number of long distance hikes as part of my training for the upcoming 110km multi-day Fjällräven Classic.


On my past two long distance hikes doing the Cathar Way in the French Pyrenees and the Tour du Mont Blanc, I had used the Berghaus Jalan Luxe 70+20 and the Berghaus Bioflex Light 65 respectively. Both of which served their purpose well at the time, with the Jalan Luxe also doubling up as a holdall by being able to zip the rucksack straps away and use a single shoulder strap, but this meant the rucksack was heavier than most for its size. The Bioflex Light 65 was a smart and lightweight rucksack, but it tended to lean to one side no matter how you packed it, which I think was due to the minimal support structure which allowed it to be so light for a 65 litre rucksack and which often lead to aching on one shoulder and having to constantly re-adjust it.

Now back to the Abisko 75. In April I was lucky enough to be one of 20 Fjällräven Polar 2014 participants, where we were given the Fjällräven Abisko 75 litre rucksack to carry all our clothing and personal equipment during our Polar adventure. As the Fjällräven Polar was a dog sled adventure, we didn’t really need to carry the rucksack for long periods as this was transported on our dog sleds. After a number of recent practice hikes and camping trips, I can now share my experiences.



I will explain the features I like and how I use them in detail below:

  • Like most rucksacks nowadays, the rucksack lid has both internal and external zipped pockets. These are both very big in size, with the mesh pocked under the lid being the biggest. Both lid pockets can be used for the usual things you would want quick access to without having to open the main part of your rucksack. For items such as gloves, hat, sunglasses/goggles, snack food etc. On top of the lid there is also an elasticated cord which can be used to stuff a light waterproof or fleece should you need quick access to it.
  • The front of the backpack has a large zipped pocket which can be used for things like a sit mat, maps, waterproofs, food and even micro walking poles which I use it for. Micro walking poles fold to the perfect size for this large zipped pocket.
  • The side pockets are also a very good size and I use these for storing things like my camera tripod and water bottles.
  • The rucksack has a pre-shaped reinforced bottom for stability when placing rucksack on the ground to allow it to stand up straight.
  • Inside the backpack a back wall zipper safety pocket and a multi-function pocket which I use for the hydration pouch. The hole for the reservoir tube is neatly hidden at the top of the backpack and is elasticated, which makes it easy enough to feed the mouth piece of the reservoir tube through.
  • The back of the backpack has a handle at the top which is really useful when moving backpack in transit.
  • The shoulder straps have one stretch strap near the top which can be used to hook carabiner clips onto for carrying things such as GPS or a compass. And one metal ring on one strap which can also be used to hook things on to.
  • There is one hip pocket on the right hand side on the waist belt.
  • The rucksack can be top loaded or laid on its back and unzip the whole front of the rucksack to give a much easier access to the inside of rucksack for packing. Something I found most useful.
  • The rucksack lid can be extended quite a bit to allow enough room to store things like a sleeping mat or even a tent and then use the compression straps to tighten.
  • My favourite feature of the Abisko rucksack is the compression straps. These are removable and attach to slots in a webbing strap so they can be moved to different positions and fastened across the front of the pack to go round bulky items of gear or used as normal to compress the rucksack if not fully loaded. Being able to adjust the height position you can adjust to suit what you might be carrying in the side pockets. For example I like to secure my tripod which I carry in one of the side pockets during my hikes.
  • The adjustable chest strap also includes an emergency whistle.
  • A large adjustable rain cover is also included.

Overall I think the Fjällräven Abisko 75 is an excellent rucksack for long distance hikes or a camping trip. It has everything I need and more, with some features that I haven’t seen on other rucksacks. During my recent practice hikes carrying 18.2kg, I found it to be very comfortable on my back and around the hips, with no discomfort at all. I’m so impressed with it, that I’m even considering buying the Abisko 55 for when I don’t need to carry as much as required for long distance hiking, for example, where you don’t need to carry tent or cooking equipment if staying in accommodation during a hike. I have now sold my two Berghaus rucksacks on eBay and would recommend the Fjällräven Abisko 75 to anyone and really looking forward to using it during the Fjällräven Classic in 10 days time.

Classic Countdown

By Phil 2014.07.25 in Fjällräven Classic

Well it’s two weeks today before I head back to Sweden to take part in the Fjällräven Classic, a 110km trek along the classic hiking trail Kungsleden (The King’s Trail) from the village of Nikkaluokta in the south to Abisko in the north. I can’t wait!

Kebnekaise, the highest mountain in Sweden

The Fjällräven Classic route

I’m really looking forward to this trek and meeting up again with 5 of my Fjällräven Polar 2014 team mates as well as Fjällräven Polar 2013 participant and fellow Outdrr blogger, Andrea from Norway. It will be good to catch up again and share what I’m sure will be another amazing experience. In the last few months we have been sharing various training tips, packing lists and many other things as we prepare for the Classic. The majority of us will be arriving on Friday the 8th, with Greg arriving on the 7th and charged with the task of finding us a good camping pitch, before our 9:00am start on Saturday the 9th of August.

My fellow Fjällräven Polar Homies team consist of: Alex (US), Hana (Sweden), Manon (Netherlands), Greg (US), Johan (Sweden) and Andrea (Norway) who was part of the Fjällräven 2013 team.

profile_alex profile_hana
Alex Hana
profile_manon profile_greg
Manon Greg
profile_johan andrea_profile
Johan Andrea

This will be my first multi-day trek where I will carrying my Fjällräven Abisko 2 tent, Fjällräven Sarek Three Season sleeping bag and cooking equipment, so I have had to be very strict with my pack list but doing the usual weighing of each individual item and limiting the number of luxury items I would usually take with me, so no silk pyjamas, dressing gown and slippers this time. ;) I’m also not sure how I will cope without my fellow UK Polar team mate Phil Parkes, as I got used to him cooking all my meals during the Polar, even if we did have things like Chilli Con Carne and Pasta dishes for breakfast, rather than the porridge our fellow Polarists were eating. I also haven’t done as much training as I would have liked prior to the Classic, but I hope to squeeze in a couple of hikes over the next two weeks.

Since the Polar in April I have already managed to meet up with 2 of my fellow Fjällräven Polar 2014 winners, when Manon from the Netherlands came to visit me in the Lakes in May and most recently Jostein from Norway, when I went to visit him 2 weeks ago and hiked up Trolltunga, so looking forward to crossing another 5 off the Polar list of 20, as well as meeting up with our friends and organisers from Fjällräven. Just wish the rest of our Polar team mates could have joined us.

I do plan to write a daily blog of the Fjällräven Classic, though will be posted after the event. So watch out for future updates…

It Takes Two To Trolltunga

By Phil 2014.07.15 in General

This weekend I visited my Fjällräven Polar mate Jostein, who lives in Stavanger in Norway and who I have kept in regular contact with since the Polar. We had talked about meeting up, but this was a very much a spur of the moment meeting before he goes back into the Norwegian army in a few weeks’ time.


We got on so well while on the Polar as Team UK were teamed up with Team Norway for the trek. As Jostein had picked up my Mackem accent so well during the Polar, I thought it was only appropriate to take him some gifts from my home city and gave him a Mackem Legends t-shirt and a gourmet tin of Peas Pudding for him to eat when he next makes a ham sandwich, as well as a box of doughnuts which he had specifically asked me to smuggle into Norway for him. He really is now an official adopted Mackem. Whay aye!


The plan for the weekend was to wild camp and hike Trolltunga, which is a few hours’ drive north of Stavanger. I had previously seen photos of the stunning Trolltunga (the Trolls Tongue) rock, but never thought I would get this opportunity to hike it. I also saw this as perfect chance for further practice for the Fjällräven Classic in August, which I’m doing with 6 of my other Polar team mates, so I packed my rucksack as I would if hiking the Classic. This included sleeping bag, tent and all others things required for overnight hiking and weighing about 18kg.

We left Stavanger early Friday morning like the famous expedition duo of Shackleton and Amundsen and headed to Odda where we would start the hike up to Trolltunga. With Jostein’s military background and vast knowledge of the outdoors, what could possibly go wrong…


The weather was perfect, very hot and clear blue skies, so Jostein decided we wouldn’t need my tent I was carrying as we would camp out in the open like we did on last night of the Polar, but without the snow and freezing temperatures. I decide to carry the tent anyway just in case and to also give me practice carrying the extra weight, though I soon wish I hadn’t.

We should have took note of the sign above! But instead we followed this route

We left the car at 14:45 and headed up the steep marked path up towards Trolltunga. Within minutes of starting the hike I was really struggling. Not sure if it was due to lack of sleep and energy, the heat, extra rucksack weight or combo of all of those, but it was tough. The sweat was pouring out of me and I was constantly drinking water from my rucksack water bladder. Jostein then reminded me about what Johan Skullman taught us on the Fjällräven Polar about the importance of maintaining the correct body temperature, though this time I needed to be a lot cooler than when we were on the Polar, so we took a break before taking our tops off and carried on topless for the rest of the steep ascent. This did help to some degree, but I still found it hard going and needing to stop for rests. Jostein again used his skills and helped me mentally by setting the pace and focussing on hiking for a set time before having a short rest and drink of water and increasing the time after every stop. This really helped as it gives you something to aim for and drive you on and helps to forget about how hard you are struggling. It also showed me how much I have lost my fitness since returning from the Polar in April and how much I need to get back into training ready for the Classic in August.



We finally made it to the first of our summits before taking a food break while sunbathing and refilling our water bottles from the constant streams of water coming from the melting snow from the mountains around us. It was stunning. It was a combination of large grassy crags from the Lake District, snow covered mountains like the Munro’s of Scotland and the Alps all rolled into one, with a small scatting of beautiful Norwegian cabins.




I was also surprised at the lack of people walking around us on such a popular hike, but there was a reason for that. We headed on over the large crags through many streams before we reached a large lake. It was then we realised that we were probably not on the official Trolltunga path anymore and probably the reason for lack of other hikers around us. Yes you guessed it, we were lost. Well kind of. We had obviously missed the red T way mark turning point we should have taken and instead had walked a good few kilometres further north. It was now 19:00 and there was no way we could make it to Trolltunga before dark while carrying our full rucksacks, as we knew we had to head over 2 or 3 large summits before picking up the path again rather than walking back to where we should have turned off. So we decided to abandon our rucksacks and hide them behind some rocks and cover with Jostein’s camouflage sleeping bag. We took our head torches, extra layer of clothing, a water bottle and some emergency food rations and headed off towards Trolltunga. Despite us being lost and having to walk over some very steep summits; it was an amazing hike with some stunning views as we walked across large deep snow patches, around frozen lakes and the occasional scrambling up rocks.





We finally arrived at Trolltunga at around 22:00 and luckily it was still fairly light, as we watched the sun set across the Fjord, before taking the usual iconic tourist photos of Trolltunga. It was stunning! As it was very late in the day, there were no large crowds of people, just the odd few who obviously wanted to see the sun set also and a small few who had obviously planned on camping nearby.




Standing on Trolltunga was a really strange feeling. It was great to see the views across the Fjords from the rock, though I wasn’t daring enough as Jostein who decided to sit on the edge of Trolltunga with his feet dangling below. It made my stomach turn just watching him. Even now as I’m writing this I can still feel that feeling in my stomach. Despite him telling me: “It’s just like sitting on a chair. How many times have you fallen off a chair? Go on, give it a go!” I decided to not chance sitting on “the chair” and was happy to keep a little distance from the edge.



As we arrived late and had a 3 hour hike back to our rucksacks and planned camp for the night, we decided to head back along the tourist path before turning off to where we thought we needed to. We thought staying on the path for as long as possible would be the safest option at that time of night.


After an hour of walking, I started to get slight blurred vision. I wasn’t sure if it was tiredness, dehydration or combination of both, so we stopped for a short break and more water before putting on my head torch, which seemed to help a little bit. At about midnight we had to make a decision if now was the time to go over the top of the summit or stay on the path for a little longer. We could see in the distance the summit was slightly lower and maybe that was best time to head over, so we continued towards it. Then out of nowhere appeared a little hut. I looked at Jostein and asked if he thought it was a refuge hut. He wasn’t sure so I went and had a closer look. Sure enough it was. The door was open and inside was a bunk bed and a stove. We had struck gold! This gave us the option of spending the night there before heading back to our rucksacks in the morning. Even though it wasn’t particularly cold outside, it was certainly the best and safest option we had at that time of night.



Despite the luxury of a hut and mattress for the night, it certainly wasn’t a great night sleep, but a couple of hours were better than nothing. We quickly finished off what little food we had left before heading back over the top towards our rucksacks. It was another beautiful sunny day as we headed over more snow topped mountains and lakes. We had quite a laugh about our previous days exploits as he recited scenes from Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit with references to Mackemshire and Lakeshire which he believes how I live back home here in England. It certainly kept our spirits up.

It Carlsberg made refuge huts, this would probably be the best refuge hut in the world!




Two hours later we finally arrived back at our stashed rucksacks. We had left two banana skins as markers on a large rock close to where we had left rucksacks, which was a good job, as you really couldn’t see them hidden under his camouflaged sleeping bag. We decided to chill for a bit around the lake before heading back to the car. I decide to put my fire making skills to the test by making a small fire with just my knife and fire stick which we had learned while on the Polar, while Jostein decided to soak and sunbathe by the small lake.

Jostein was delighted to find his camouflaged sleeping bag covering our rucksacks. Can you see it??

As we headed back to the car we came across two elderly Norwegian men heading towards the lake where had left our rucksacks. Jostein told them that we had been to Trolltunga and which route we had taken. They were both impressed and said we had done it via the best route possible, away from the crowds on the tourist route and a much more scenic route. Though he did leave out the details that we hadn’t intended on doing that route and that it was only due to us getting slightly lost.

As we head back towards the car, we could see the path going up the side of one of the mountains which was very busy with people heading towards Trolltunga. I’m glad we got lost and took the path we did, as we made our own route and got to see some amazing scenery that others wouldn’t have seen. I’m also used to getting lost and love experiencing the unknown and not knowing what’s around the corner. It’s what makes it an adventure.

The final 2km steep descent back to the car were not pleasant at all for me, as my now common problem with my feet and boots were starting to kick in. My feet and toes were in agony. I really thought after 4 pairs of hiking boots I had found the right pair, but maybe not, as every step was met with sheer pain. Despite my moaning and whining, I got little sympathy from Jostein. “I need to stop mate and need water.” To which Jostein replied. “You want water, you don’t need water. Now howay man, come on. Not far to go now. ”Which is just what I needed. I needed to be pushed or else I would have taken the easy option of many stops on the way down. We finally arrived back at the car at exactly 14:45. It had been 24 hours exactly since we had left to do Trolltunga.

My face of fatigue! Feet in agony!

Despite my struggles at the start and the end, getting lost, walking in the dark, blurred vision, and sleeping in a refuge hut, it was an amazing hike/adventure. I learned a lot of things during those 24 hours, especially how to mentally deal with certain scenarios and how you cope with unexpected things put in front of you in certain conditions. It was without doubt the best single hike I have ever been on and one I will never ever forget. Cheers Jostein mate for making it possible. Though next time we take a map yeah?

After a quick change at the car and a few celebratory high fives, we drove to Odda and booked ourselves into a hotel for a well-deserved rest, wash and proper food! Ironically the bar in the hotel was call the Trolltunga bar. I thought we had left that thing behind us hours ago.



After a good night’s sleep in the hotel, we had early breakfast before heading back to Stavanger. As if the hike up Trolltunga wasn’t enough, Jostein had a surprise planned for me later that day before my flight home. He told me we were heading to the airport to meet two of his friends for my surprise. This worried me, as he is a keen Skydiver and had been trying to get me to bungee jump and push myself out of my comfort zone all weekend, as if Trolltunga wasn’t enough. Luckily for me, he wasn’t planning on pushing me out of an aeroplane with a parachute strapped to my back; instead it was a leisurely flight over Stavanger and up the coast.


Two magnificent men and their flying machine, they went up tiddly up up, they came down tiddly down down…

We met his pilot friend Victoria at the hanger of the 4 seater Piper Cherokee Arrow R200 plane which we would be flying in. I couldn’t believe he had arranged such a thing for my visit. I had never been in a plane so small before, but I wasn’t nervous at all, until Victoria, Melissa and Jostein started talking in Norwegian to each other and laughing and mentioning the words “rollercoaster” and “loop”, until I realise they were winding me up.

After our very short briefing from Victoria we were up in the air. They let me sit in the front next to Victoria as she flew us over Stavanger and towards Preikestolen, which is another famous tourist attraction, a steep cliff above Lysefjorden. It was a stunning sight as we flew around it a few times looking at the crowds on people standing on it. After our final lap of the Preikestolen, Victoria gave me control of the plane! She talked me though how to control the plane and told me to head to the coast. I couldn’t believe what was happening. It was an unbelievable experience. There I was in full control of this little plane flying over the coast of Stavanger. It was a perfect way to end the weekend.

Cockpit selfie of me, Melissa, Jostein and Victoria


Flying past the tourist on Preikestolen rock

Flying past the tourist on Preikestolen rock

I had an unforgettable long weekend visiting Jostein in Norway. I knew we would have such a great time, but never expected it to be such an epic and fun adventure as it turned out to be. We had such a laugh from start to finish as well as experiencing an unbelievable hike to Trolltunga and learning a lot of things along the way. As if that wasn’t enough, he topped it off by arranging our own personal flight with his pilot friend Victoria and a chance for me to fly a plane! Unbelievable.

I always say that spur of the moment adventures and experiencing the unknown are the best and this surely was one of those! Cheers Jostein mate for making it possible and inviting me “Great times!!!”. Can’t wait for our next one.

My Carryology Interview on Fjällräven Polar 2014

By Phil 2014.07.15 in Fjällräven Polar

Interview with Phil Raisbeck :: Fjällräven Polar 2014 participant


For part two of our Fjällräven Polar series we went direct to the source – 2014 participant Phil Raisbeck who kindly agreed to share his first-hand experience of this amazing and exhilarating event…

Click link below for full interview:


Welcome to my blog about hiking, trekking, Fjällräven Polar 2014, in fact anything where you require boots and the outdoors.

My name is Phil, and following my outdoor epiphany which started in the summer of 2012 I’m now hooked on everything outdoors. So far my biggest treks have included the 250km Cathar Way, the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc and best of all, winning 1st place to take part in the Fjällräven Polar in April 2014.

I plan to use this blog to write about all my adventures, which will include my personal goal of becoming a Munroist (completing all 282 Scottish Munro mountains), summer treks, weekends in the Lakes and many more.

I like to try and make my blog posts humorous so I hope you enjoy reading and that I can put a smile on people’s faces while showing you some amazing places.

If you have any questions about the blog or the places I'm writing about, don't hesitate to contact me on: phil@philyourboots.com

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Please checkout my fellow Polar bloggers and read about their experience in their words:

Alex Kalita (USA)

Madeleine Hanssen (Norway)

Manon Kloosterman (Netherlands)

Peter Blom Jensen (Denmark)

Tuija Pellikka (Finland)