Well, the Scandinavian outdoor award event is over and the jury has made its decisions, which will be announced soon. Until the official statement is made I've promised to keep quiet and not even drop a hint. I can say that I thought the whole process went well and that it was good to have a chance to actually try gear and talk through the pros and cons over a reasonable period of time. A wide range of products was submitted - tents, sleeping bags, stoves, boots, various items of clothing and one that was hard to classify but which would definitely have won the entertainment award, if there was one. Are in the Swedish hills proved an excellent place for the event, once we had all managed to get here. Even Erlende from Norway and Mikko from Finland didn't find the travel very simple.
Our base was in the fine Tott Hotel (where I am writing this in the lobby before heading to the station for the sleeper to Stockholm, the start of my 47 hour journey home) in a little conference room with a panoramic view down the shining waters of Indisalven to distant snow-spattered hills. Much of the time was spent outdoors however, with an overnight camp in the birch woods of Ulladalen followed by a walk back to the hotel along the flanks of Areskutan, where we climbed, traversed and descended steep slopes of snow, mud, wet grass, wet rock, loose gravel and mixtures of all of them. For weather we had rain, cold winds and sunshine. For a trip that lasted about 18 hours we experienced a wide variety of weather and terrain, which of course was excellent for testing gear.
With jury members from 7 countries representing 8 outdoor magazines (two from Germany) there was a wealth of knowledge and experience (and strong opinons!) that I think gives the award credibility. Once the result is official I'll post about the products that have the award (one overall, one for sustainability) and those that received honourable mentions.