Crossing Iceland on Foot

Łukasz Supergan posted a terrific summary of options for hiking across Iceland.

I’m looking to do some bike touring and hiking summer 2022. #research

Łukasz did the #4 route (green) in winter, for example.

He recommends we do it in summer.

Variant no. 2 may be the easiest, but it leads through the roads used by cars, which may be tiresome.

Variant no. 1 is more demanding.

Variant no. 3 is the fastest traverse from all of the options. Going east-west requires more time and planning, and it is combined with bigger difficulties (less roads, more paths and sometimes the wilderness, crossing the rivers, long distances with no water). Choose it, if you are sure of your skills and you can survive far away from people. …

Crossing Iceland. Part 1: the route and preparations

I’m also researching options for bikepacking Iceland.

Trek Checkpoint 4 – Bikepacking or Mountain Biking?

I’ve customized my NEW 2021 Checkpoint ALR 4 for Bikepacking.

Transportation to-and-from hiking trailheads. (VIDEO)

BUT … occasionally I’d like to take off the panniers and use the aluminum gravel bike for single track.

So far, so good. So long as I keep my tires on the ground. The suspension is … not great.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

My NEW Trek Checkpoint ALR 4

By BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

I’m considering FUTURE trips to Iceland, Norway, northern BC and/or Yukon. Great hiking. Bad weather.

For transport to trailheads, I’ll fly with my own touring bike.

Though it wasn’t easy during the pandemic, I did locate an appropriate ride IN STOCK. For the past week I’ve been testing my 2021 Trek Checkpoint ALR 4.

So far, so good.

This gravel frame is aluminum, not steel. Base weight 10.12 kg / 22.3 lbs — though I’ve already customized it with a number of add-ons.

The fewer flats the better. SO added heavier Bontager HARD-CASE ULTIMATE tires.

Having had racks fail in the past, I added Bontager DELUXE MIK pannier racks front and back.

Good lights. Fenders and kickstand.

Click PLAY or check it out on YouTube.

I’ll use a Sportneer 7mm, 3.2ft-long, combination bike lock. Not the most secure lock available, but convenient and only 1.57 pounds.

Mt Quimper circuit, Sooke B.C.

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

Mount Manuel Quimper is a great hike close to Sooke on Vancouver Island.

I looped back via Mount Brule, an easy 10km circuit using AllTrails for navigation.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

There are many other hiking and mountain biking trails to choose from.

It’s just off the Galloping Goose Regional Trail, a 55-kilometre (34 mi) non-motorized path to Victoria. Ideal for me as I cycled to the trailhead.

Hiking Vancouver Island North

A pandemic is a good time to stay local.

And physically distance from strangers outdoors. 😀

The only hiking I’ve done atop Vancouver Island is famed North Coast Trail.

In early July, I’m hoping to bikepack trailhead-to-trailhead.

There’s much to see. And a touring bike looks to be good transport in this remote area.

I’d get a ride to Port Hardy. Then cycle to as many of Gregg Strong’s recommended areas as possible.

I’d navigate with apps and the Vancouver Island Backroads Mapbook.

Click PLAY or watch some highlights on YouTube.

Check a map of trails and attractions.

WHAT is Bikepacking?

It wasn’t all that long ago that I had to ask Kraig Becker … WHAT is Bikepacking?

I wanted to get to hiking trailheads by BIKE.

… But isn’t that called Bike Touring?

BikePacking.com considers those 2 terms nearly identical, except that touring is mostly on pavement. Bikepacking mostly non-pavement.

Camping + minimalist Cycling.

Like everything in cycling, terms continue to be invented. Each one getting fuzzier. 😀

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Englishman River Trail, Vancouver Island

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

AllTrails calls this adventure the Englishman River Trailway.

But you don’t need follow the AllTrails 10.5km out and back route.

It’s a network of mountain biking / walking trails on the west side of the Englishman River. You can’t really get lost so long as you parallel the water.

I spend a lot of time here as I have family in Parksville.

This is temperate rain forest. It can be wet. It can be muddy.

Riparian.

But hiking is accessible year-round. In fact, this video was taken early December.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Most people park at the Top Bridge trailhead (green dot) close to highway 19 at Parksville. Head inland along the river for as far as they wish. Then backtrack.

I started on the far left of the map below at Middlegate Road trailhead. Walked to Top Bridge Park close to the highway. About 5km one way plus many side trips.

I often, as well, head the other direction, under the highway towards Parksville on the 5km Top Bridge Regional Trail.

In good weather, the bridge near the parking areas is a popular swimming spot.

Summer

Nitecore NU25 headlamp review 2021

I needed enough light to cycle in the dark as well as for hiking / camping.

After reading good reviews, I went with the Nitecore NU25 headlamp.

I like it.  Comfortable, adjustable headband.  

Four settings for white light.  Three for red.

In addition, a three second press of the white light sets off the well known ••• – – – ••• Morse code sequence.  

Simple design.

  • rechargeable with micro-USB (from battery or solar if necessary)
  • maximum output of 360 lumens
  • max. Beam Distance 81 m
  • indicator reports remaining battery power
  • lockout to prevent accidental activation
  • 0.99oz

Headlamps have turned on accidentally during transport in the past.  That won’t happen when you lock out this one.

It will work while charging from a portable battery, if needed for many hours.

 

Click PLAY or watch a review on YouTube.

Here are other recommended headlamps in 2020.

The NU 25’s main limitations are its short battery life (in our testing, the NU’s burn time was much shorter than listed) and the fact that it’s hard to keep the light from shining in your camping partner’s eyes due to its wide beam pattern.

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD battery

Though I’m now bikepacking with solar, to be SURE I’ve got enough juice to get my devices through a weekend hike I’ve also purchased the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD with 30W.

This is the largest portable battery currently allowed for airline carry-on baggage.

26800mAh of power charges most phones over 7 times, tablets at least 2 times or notebooks at least once.

There are two parts: battery and USB-C wall charger.

Charging devices from a wall socket (including the battery) is claimed to be up to 3x faster.

On longer cycling trips when I’m carrying a laptop, this unit IS powerful enough to recharge a MacBook Pro. That will help me keep up-to-date with photos, video and trip reports.