“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

– Steve Jobs

A life worth living.

We believe that life should be about living the dream, not dreaming about living. We seek to live simpler, to consume less and focus on what really matters. For us, it means living as sustainably as possible in a way that does not require trading too much of our time for money while doing the things we love. We love hiking, running and climbing mountains. We find that time in nature is a great way to silence the mind allowing time for some reflection and contemplation—and it is about freedom. The longer time out disconnected from society the better. One reason we are really passionate about long-distance thru-hiking.

Hiking adventures

Long-distance hiking

Thru-hiking simply means continuously hiking a long-distance trail from end to end.

Hiking a long-distance trail demands focus and determination. While it is a lot of hard work we feel that it gives us a better perspective on life in return. It is a form of active meditation, and for us, there is no better way to achieve mindfulness. You fall into a meditative rhythm where life becomes simpler. Your job is to eat, sleep, walk—repeat. For months! There is a bit more minimalistic approach to gear and more focus on distance when you are out on really long trails. Mainly because you value traveling light, but you soon realize how few things you actually need. Long-distance hiking differs from “regular” hiking in the sense that while it is still a great physical achievement, it is more a mental and logistical game.

Hilleberg Niak tent in Sarek Sweden

Long-distance trails

Completed thru-hikes

Kungsleden
Sweden
Distance: 440 km
Hiking window: June–September
Thru-hike: Karma – completed 2016

Kungsleden is a beautiful 440 km trek through the Scandinavian mountain range between Hemavan in the south and Abisko in the north. Arguably Sweden’s most famous long-distance trail with National Geographic listing it among the “World’s Best Hikes“ among its claims to fame. Trailing across majestic mountains, river valleys and highland plateaus it is a truly breathtaking experience! Early in the season, you can enjoy the midnight sun and later the northern lights. Due to the weather which can be unreliable all season and the northerly location around the arctic circle, the trail has a pretty short hiking window from late June into early September.

Te Araroa
New Zealand
Distance: 3000 km
Hiking window: Sep–Dec (sobo), Nov–Jan (nobo)
Thru-hike: Karma – completed 2016-17

Te Araroa is a 3000 km trail spanning the entire amazing country of New Zealand, from Cape Reinga in the north to Bluff in the south. A relative newcomer on the though-hike circuit the trail features a wide variety of experiences. It is true what they say about the North Island being more about the kiwi culture and people you meet along the way, while the South Island is all about the stunning alpine landscape. Te Araroa serves up an incredible variety, from tropical forests to epic mountains, stunning valleys, impressive rivers, beautiful lakes, and massive volcanoes. Te Araroa is Maori for the long pathway, and while it is long it has been worth every step! Recommended hiking window for a southbound start is late September-December to finish no later than mid- to late April. Northbound starts from November-January. These recommendations take into account the unforgiving New Zealand weather as well as seasonal closures (for lambing etc).

The Skye Trail
Isle of Skye, Scotland
Distance: 128 km
Hiking window: May–September
Thru-hike: Karma – completed 2017

The Skye Trail is an unofficial 128 km route through the whole amazing Isle of Skye in the Scottish highlands. The trail goes through some of the UK’s finest landscapes, such as the Trotternish Ridge through the Quiraing to Old Man Storr and skirting the intriguing Cuillin mountain range on its way from Rubha Hunish in the north to Broadford in the south. A fairly straightforward walk although there is a fair bit of “weather” battering this slice of heaven so expect to get wet. If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes – and it will get worse, lol. Some basic navigation skills are needed too as there are no waymarks for the route and some sections lack a formed path, but mostly it was easy going. Recommended hiking window is late spring to early fall.

Pacific Crest Trail
USA
Distance: 4265 km (2650 mi)
Hiking window: March–October
Thru-hike: Karma & Scott – completed 2018

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) stretches about 4265 km (2650 miles) from the Mexican border to the Canadian border in the western United States with a total elevation gain of 95 923 meters. The PCT goes through California, Oregon, and Washington from the desert in the south through the mighty mountain ranges of the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades further north. Despite its popularity, arguably being one of the most famous long-distance trails in the world, only about one in five thru-hikers actually make it all the way. It takes most hikers about 5 months from start to finish with a recommended hiking window from late March to early October, depending on the year.

The Arctic Trail (Nordkalottleden)
Scandinavia
Distance: 800 km
Hiking window: Summer
Hike: Karma & Scott – completed 2019

The Arctic Trail (Nordkalottleden in Swedish) is an 800 km long trail that passes through Finland, Sweden and Norway. It starts at Kautokeino (Guovdageaidnu in Sami) in Northern Norway and ends in Sulitjelma (Sulidälbmá in Sami) in Norway alternatively I Kvikkjokk (Huhttán in Sami) in Sweden. The trail crosses these borders back and forth about 10 times. The trail is primarily Alpine to lower Apline and highlights include hiking under the midnight sun and a chance of expereincing the northen lights. We completed the trail as a part of our Green Ribbon thru-hike in 2019. The primary hiking window is from end of June through early September.

The Green Ribbon (Gröna Bandet)
Scandinavia
Distance: 1300-1500 km
Hiking window: Summer
Hike: Karma & Scott – completed 2019

The Mountaineers Green Ribbon (Fjällfararnas Gröna Band in Swedish) is a long-distance hike from Treriksröset (Three Country Cairn) to Grövelsjön mountain station through the Scandinavian mountain range in the far north. The route is not fixed, and we chose to hike primarily on the Norwegian side of the border with shorter visits into Finland and Sweden along the way. Our route measuried 1498 km by the time we reached the southern terminus. The trail is primarily Alpine to lower Apline and highlights include hiking under the midnight sun and a chance of expereincing the northen lights. The primary hiking window is from end of June through early September. The trail can also be completed on skis during the winter season, it is then referred to as the White Ribbon (Vita Bandet).

Planned thru-hikes

The Via Alpina
Europe
Distance: ca 2400-3000 km
Hiking window: summer (our plan: May/June–September +)
Thru-hike: Karma & Scott – 2020

The Via Alpina is a network of five long-distance hiking trails across the European Alps. There are 5 international trails, through 8 countries and over 5000km between 0 to 3000m above sea level. The trails are not technically difficult but demanding due to the amount of elevation gain/loss, weather conditions, and the short summer hiking window. Our dream would be to hike the epic 2400 km red trail from start to finish, but this is the longest and probably the most demanding route and a massive undertaking to manage in one hiking season. So we will create the best route for our Via Alpina thru-hike from a combination of the different trails options (blue, red, purple combo), as we aim to trace the complete arc of the Alps from Monaco to Trieste in Italy.

Croatian Long Distance Trail
Croatia
Distance: ca 2145 km
Hiking window: spring-summer
Thru-hike: Karma & Scott – 2021

The Croatian Long Distance Trail (CLDT) is a 2145 km long national scenic trail through Croatia. From the eastern terminus in Ilok—near the beautiful Fruška Gora mountain on the border with Serbia to southernmost point, Prevlaka near Dubrovnik. The trail takes hikers on a journey of mountain trails, rolling hills, beautiful forests, wide plains, glittering coastline, and three stunning national parks.

Kom–Emine
Bulgaria
Distance: 650 km
Hiking window: summer
Thru-hike: Karma & Scott – 2021

Kom–Emine is a high-mountain long-distance trail that follows the main ridge of the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. Beginning at Kom Peak in the west near the border with Serbia, and continuing east for some 650 km until it reaches the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast at Cape Emine. Due to its length and altitude, Kom–Emine counts among Europe’s longest uninterrupted high-mountain trails and is Bulgaria’s longest, oldest and most famous hiking trail. In total, around 100 individual peaks are either summited or circumvented. Typically, the Kom–Emine hike takes 20 to 25 days to complete. The route is marked by white-red-white paint markings and around 30 mountain huts provide accommodation to hikers. Primary hiking season is summer.

Te Araroa
New Zealand
Distance: 3000 km
Hiking window: Sep–Dec (sobo), Nov–Jan (nobo)
Thru-hike: Karma & Scott – ca 2024-25?, (previous: Karma – completed 2016-17)

Te Araroa is a 3000 km trail spanning the entire amazing country of New Zealand, from Cape Reinga in the north to Bluff in the south. A relative newcomer on the though-hike circuit the trail features a wide variety of experiences. It is true what they say about the North Island being more about the kiwi culture and people you meet along the way, while the South Island is all about the stunning alpine landscape. Te Araroa serves up an incredible variety, from tropical forests to epic mountains, stunning valleys, impressive rivers, beautiful lakes, and massive volcanoes. Te Araroa is Maori for the long pathway, and while it is long it has been worth every step! Recommended hiking window for a southbound start is late September-December to finish no later than mid- to late April. Northbound starts from November-January. These recommendations take into account the unforgiving New Zealand weather as well as seasonal closures (for lambing etc).

karma + scott mountaineering sarek national park

Some of our favorite gear

Clothing choices depend on the mission, but we do of course have a few favorite brands.

brandsfavorite products
Icebreakerwe looove merino!!! mid layers, base layers (thermals), t-shirts, shorts, socks , accessories
Norrønamid- and reinforcement layers (gore-tex jacket, pants)
Rabmisc (down puffy, alpine gaters etc.)
Mountain Equipmentmountaineering gear (winter down gear etc.)
Salomontrail runners (XA Pro 3D GTX, X-Chase Mid GTX)
Lundhagsleather hiking boots (Jaure II LT)
La Sportivamountaineering boots
Superfeetinsoles (green)
Dirty Girlgaiters for trailrunners (= sanity)
brandsizegrams
backpack: Osprey Aura AG 6562L1900g
backpack: Osprey Atmos AG 6565L2190g
rain cover: Osprey Ultralight L90g
waterproof pack bags: Sea to Summit/ OspreyMisc
compression dry sacks: Sea to Summit UltraSil eVent (sleeping bags)90g
brandsizegrams
tent: Hilleberg Niaksolo1700g
tent: Hilleberg Rogen2-pers, 3-season2100g
inflatable mats: Therm-a-Rest Neoair XThermL max652g
sleeping bag: Western Mountaineering Alpinlite (-7C)mummy (wide)880g
sleeping bag: Western Mountaineering TerraLite (-4C)semi-rectangular820g
pillow: Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight60g
brandsizegrams
Primus express gas cooker98g
Primus PrimeTech non-stick pot1L282g
spork (titanium)20g
Wildo vikkåsa (folding cup)0.6L46g
brandsizegrams
Sawyer Squeeze filter77g
Platypus Hoser bladder3L120g
Evernew/Sawyer (filter water sacks)2L42g
Klean Kanteen Classic (stainless bottle)0.8L174g
brandsizegrams
trekking poles: Black Diamond Trail Pro490g
multi-tool: Leatherman Style CS41g
knife: DEEJO Naked15g
Therm-a-Rest Z-seathalf each42g
headlamp: Petzl Bindi (200ln)x235g
First aid kit
The Deuce of Spadespotty trowel17g
brandsizegrams
iPhone 8x2148g
Lifeproof (waterproof case)42g
Ocean Signal rescueME PLB1emergency beacon116g
Apple 12W USB power adapter(w/travel kit)74g
Anker PowerCore13000 mAh240g
Anker Dual USB Solar Charger15W354g
Røde VideoMic Me microphone46g
Lexar lightning jumpdrive C25i128gb10g
branduse 
Gaia GPSnavigation
Guthook Guides**Te Araroa Hiker, *PCT guide
DayOne Journaljournalling
Spotifymusic/podcasts
iMoviemovie editing
Social media
Weather/tidal apps
Messengercalling/messaging home

The blog

Archives

Categories

Popular blog categories

Walking the World

Kungsleden thru-hike

Te Araroa thru-hike

Sarek National Park

PCT thru-hike

Latest from the blog

Load More Posts

Vanlife stories 

Nomads for love

Due to visa restrictions, we are not allowed to legally live in the same country until one of us immigrates, which in our case is an up to 2-year-long process. Long-distance relationships are not all they are cracked up to be—we have been there already! So we made up this crazy plan of traveling and living full time in a van, jumping borders every 3-months when our tourist visas expire. Just so we can be can be together! So, after converting a 25-year-old VW bus to our new home we simply drew a boundary on a map of where we could not go and then started driving south, chasing summer. No research. No plan. Guided by curiosity as much as necessity. Follow our adventures on Instagram too for more frequent updates.

Dory, the blue adventure bus, ticked all the boxes on our wishlist and stole our hearts immediately.

We documented the self-buld conversion of this beautiful 1993 Volkswagen LT28 modern classic van to our new home as well as our epic adventure through Eastern Europe. She turned out to be everything we had hoped for – and more. Everywhere we went she turned heads, either smiling or shaking their heads, but still. We took her to some places you’d never think of taking a fancy motorhome and she made us proud every time!

The route

Van tour

Dory—the blue adventure bus

The Blog

  • nomads for love episode 6

Nomads for love – episode 6

In this episode, we finally reach the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. A dramatic and storm-swept coastline completely deserted this time of year. We spend some time exploring the rugged natural and historical sites. From the [...]