Estonia with a Bare and a Teepee

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May 22, 2011
march, cambs
Firstly let me state that I’m absolutely rubbish at creative writing, and I think you will agree that we have all been spoilt by Paul (Bare thrills) and Pete’s (Teepee) rendition of our epic trip.

So mine will be pretty sharp and to the point.

I also had to use my daughters Fuji point and shoot camera, which I think did a very good job indeed considering the temps but none the less it’s only a cheapy job so hopefully the pictures come out ok, my lovely Sony camera is somewhere in Magaluf, I say somewhere as when I left it I was in no state to remember a thing on the first night of my stag weekend lol.

So here we go, my version of our trip which for me is summed up in one word EPIC!!!

Back in Oct 2012 I came across a thread by Paul telling us about a trip he was planning to Estonia, he was asking for advice on a kit list for his adventure, I saw this quite early on and straight away it caught my eye, not because Estonia is a place that I have always wanted to go, or because I know a lot about the country, in fact in my naivety I knew absolutely nothing about this stunning place other than it was very different indeed to all the other trip reports and destinations that the lovely people on the forum share with us on an almost daily basis.

So with this in mind, and exchanging many a Pm with Paul I finally plucked up the courage to ask him if he wanted some company on his trip, to my joy he was very kind indeed to share his adventure me, and after juggling some holidays at work and getting permission from the boss (wife) before I knew it the flight was booked and the trip was really happening!!!

I won’t lie to you in the fact that between booking the flights and actually leaving for the Baltics I didn’t have any doubts, in fact I had a lot of doubts!!
Was my gear good enough for such a trip, having a wife mortgage and 4 daughters I really wasn’t in a position to throw a lot of money at gear that I could exclusively use for 1 trip.

Was my skills and admin up to the task? Yes I have been to a few meets and also on a couple of trips with Pete, but this was a whole new ball game for me, with hypothermia and the risk of injury being that much greater in a foreign place I really didn’t want to be a burden on my travel companions, couple that with my health issues was I really being wise to myself in trying to do such a thing in the wilds in Estonia.

And lastly and possibly the thing I pondered most about, after a brilliant talk by Two dogs at the last Northwood meet on trip planning, he left a lasting impression on me, and what stuck out most was a phrase he said GROUP DYNAMICS.

He said that every member needs to bring something to the group as whole, great cook, excellent knowledge, great skills such as wood working and fire prep, but my real question to myself was, what exactly do I bring to the group? I was hoping a sense of humour and a love for the outdoors would be enough, but over the coming weeks and months I really wasn’t sure!!

I will give you an example of what I mean; Paul is possibly the nicest man I have ever met!! Nothing is ever too much trouble for him, I have spent many many hours on the phone to him asking different questions and he always has an answer for me, if he doesn’t he always reassured me that we would work through it, his knowledge of gear and the homework and planning he did for the trip ensured that everything went to a tee and nothing was left to chance, even the weather!!

A little while after myself and Paul booked up, between us we managed to Pete to jump on board the Baltic express and come with us on our first overseas wild camping trip, and what a great move that turned out to be, what that man doesn’t no about gear and how to use it isn’t worth knowing, from wiping your backside to just how technical fabrics work and how to machine them into beautiful tarps and hammocks, I have used Pete as a font of knowledge over the short time I have known him and tried to take in as much of what he tells me as possible. The man looks so natural in the woods it’s unreal!!

Too me he is wasted as a painter and decorator and could easily make a living sharing his knowledge with those of us who are still very much green behind the ears. Any bushcraft company’s reading this, snap the boy up before someone does!! If not you will lose out big time!!

Which then comes down to what exactly I brought to the party, well like I said earlier I was hedging my bets on my sense of humour and willingness to muck in and do as I was told lol to get me through.

But after many conversations with Paul, he really did put me at ease, I think MAN UP may have been used a few times lol.

So after loads and loads of interesting posts of the kit list thread and buying of new kit it was time to everything in order and fill my pack for the trip ahead.
When I left my house on the 26[SUP]th[/SUP] march my hold bag weighed in at 15.6kg.


I was originally planning on sleeping in my hammock for the duration of the trip, but it would appear that 3 weeks wasn’t long for Uk hammocks out sort my tarp out, and with the snow we had just before leaving my tarp was stuck in Leeds, (it actually arrived the day after I left) so plan b was to use my Appy trails 3 man tent, but after chatting with Paul, her persuaded me to use his golite 5, and although I didn’t really want to borrow any more kit (I was already using his headlamp as mine was in Sweden at Silva as it was faulty) I knew he was right and that it would be a nightmare to spend a week in such a small tent.

So my final weight came in around 17.2kg which I was more than happy with considering the amount of spare clothes and stuff I had packed.

I managed to book us in at a nice hotel near Gatwick called the Little Foxes hotel; it cost £59 and included secure car parking for the week.
We arrived at the hotel at around 4ish and decided we would have a sort out of our gear before the flight the next morning.


I don’t think Paul liked the mess me and Pete were making lol.

His bed was the big one in the middle which was nice and tidy.

After a bit of kit sorting the lady in reception told us about a Hungry horse restaurant down the road so we piled back in the Veedub and went down there for some food


That was the biggest burrito I have ever seen!! It was on the menu as man vs. burrito, I managed about 2/3’s of mine and managed to push the rest on Paul, but he was struggling too after eating his so didn’t touch the food I gave him.

Pete however ate every last crumb of his man vs. burrito, the man is a machine!!

Back at the hotel I got my last fix of footy for a week in the fashion of a rubbish England game and then we pretty much turned in for a 6am taxi to the airport.

I was loving the new Baffin, or Biffin as I kept calling them, snow boots that Pete was kind enough to sell to me, they worked a treat in all the temperatures we encountered.


Paul’s choice of footwear however, I wasn’t so impressed with lol


Last minute adjustments by Pete at a very busy Gatwick airport


The flight was good, we arrived in Tallinn a little earlier than planned which is always a good thing, I would love be able to insert some lovely pictures from the window of the airplane, but unfortunately I’m not a good flyer so I was too busy bricking it!!!!!

First order of business after picking up the hire car from Tallinn airport was a food run at the local hypermarket.


Looking mighty pleased to be here!! As was I


We decided to have a group meal every night so we split the cost of that and just bought our own bits for lunch and snacks etc. (I’m pretty sure to my disgust I didn’t pay enough money over there so if I owe you boys any cash PLEASE let me no).

Inside I saw my very first ostrich egg, and my word what a specimen that was!! Imagine the omelette you could cook with that bad boy!! But at 28 euro’s we thought it was a bit steep so we put it back…..carefully.



Pete however had no problem spending his cash on a bounty of booze; this is just for night 1 lol


And most importantly our own personal self-defence weapons bear spray.


We then decided that we would get straight into the trip and head to the park and in particular Purekkari Cape.

We had a bit of drama on the way in the form of speeding tickets and getting the car stuck in the snow but what happens in Estonia stays in Estonia eh Paul??? Lol

On our arrival we were met with this view





These are possibly my favourite picture's I took in Estonia, I’m not very good with a camera but this 1 of Paul came out very nice indeed.


We then found the perfect location after a good recce and then set about making base camp 1.

With the light fading Paul and I decided that we would share his shelter a Seek Outside lavu for the first 2 nights. But due to the frozen ground his Msr snow stakes were having none of it; this is when Pete introduced me to dead men anchors. So after a bit of tying, digging and shovelling snow we soon had the seek up and we set about cooking the first of many magnificent stews, the first being a pork and cider. Very nice indeed.

We turned several brews and many a spoken word later after what was a very tiring day indeed, but I had the feeling already that this place was special, and that my 2 comrades were going to make my stay a fantastic one.

Seek outside tent


After a nice brekkie of homemade porridge packs, we then set about the task of digging out the ground fire pit, I say we but really it was Pete and Paul, I was busy trying to sort kit and eat breakfast.

The reason we did this was because we needed to filter and boil snow for drinking water, we brought 15 litres at the supermarket but clearly this wasn’t going to last long with us 3 Olympic standard coffee drinkers.

So we set about the task of getting the fire going, for purifying water using the 2 gallon millbank bag Paul bought of the forum (cracking bit of kit too) and we boiled it in the 6 litre group pot Pete had brought along, I was to bring the group frying pan but Pete modified his frying pan so it acted as a lid to the group pot. And very well it worked too!!




Paul also built an amazing tripod for all the equipment to hang from!! Great wood working mate!!


I had no idea just how time consuming melting and purifying water is for 3 men. It really took an age to get 15 litres and I could see Paul getting a little frustrated as he, like myself wanted to get out for a walk to look at the place we camped.

My feet had got a little wet from the previous day due to sweating; my only thought on this happening was that they went from a comfortable uk temperature to deep snow in the space of a few hours.

I took my Brasher hiking boots and gaiters as spare boots so I hung the Biffins in front of the oven to dry while we did other things.


Kit drying in general was something I had decided that I would make sure I did every day, and after waking up with frost on my down quilt this was the start of what was to come all week in rigging up a drying line for my gear

Kit drying


After we had got enough water for the day, we decided that from then onwards that if we wanted to see as much as we could, it would be an idea to buy bottled water and carry it into camp so that way we were not wasting half a day melting snow.

After a nice lunch of pasta, sausage and salami in a passata sauce we decided to go for a walk and have a good look around, and in particular go and see the frozen Baltic sea.






We also saw some evidence of bear activity at the peninsular


Simply stunning!!



After our walk we went back to camp, ate, chatted and discussed moving camp the next day.

It was decided that we would move on to Nommeveski a day earlier than planned, this was the place we were meeting Jaan of this parish so to us it made sense to get over there and settled in so we didn’t need to rush the day our visitors were coming to camp.

The facilities at Purekkari were simply awesome. The wood was good and dry, and for some reason I actually enjoyed sitting on the throne (composting toilet) as you could have the door open and soak up everything around us.

The throne at Camp 1, my daughter loved the fact it had a pink seat lol.


We packed up early morning on Friday 29[SUP]th[/SUP] march; I’m pretty sure that we were packed up and on the road for 9.30 which I think is pretty good.

On the way to base camp 2 we stopped at local shop for a few supplies but mainly to buy as much water as we could find.

We didn’t have a lot of joy at the first shop, but down the road we found another where we did manage to buy as much as we needed.

And more importantly next door was a builders merchants where we decided that due to the walk we had from the car park to the camp site, we would buy a couple of tarps and turn them into pulks.

We arrived at nommeveki in good time, fully re supplied and ready to go.

We left the car park and had a walk down the steep ice covered road to find a suitable point to put our home made pulks in.

We were greeted with these views of a frozen fast flowing river





We then loaded up the improvised pulks and headed off to find our next site that we were going to call home for the next few days.



I won’t lie, I had loved our first camp so much that I had everything crossed that we hadn’t peaked too soon and done the best site first.

Thankfully I was totally wrong.

Nummuvesku was equally as stunning, a beautiful view of a frozen river with visible bear footprints along it.

The site had all the great features of camp 1, but this time the wood store was much much closer to the fire, and also mostly split so it cut down on the work we had to do



It also had a wooden shelter which is referred to locally as a Lavvu, Paul had decided that he would spend the next couple of nights in there, and he looked very comfortable in there too lol


Pete’s set up


For me this was the first night that I would be sleeping in the Golite, so once I found a good pitch I set about the task of erecting the tent.

The snow was deep here and I tool Pete’s advice that it would make sense to dig out a hole big enough for the tent and also the dugout snow would act as a snow wall.


After a few adjustments to the size I then had to dig in some more dead men


I then got the tent up and sealed it with snow around the bottom.


To be honest I didn’t make the best job of this shelter, I had the sides know here near taught enough, and I think that can be seen in the picture.

All good experience though for next time I did it

30[SUP]th[/SUP] March – the day we had visitors to camp.

On our 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] day at base camp 2, Paul had arranged to meet Jaan and a friend or 2 at Nommeveski.

Paul had been mega excited about meeting Jaan as his help had been superb in helping him plan the Estonia trip, I however was a little nervous, I have always found it quite difficult to interact with people who don’t speak English as there first language, and normally end up speaking to them like they are stupid by talking really slowly and odd lol, with Jaan and his cousin Mikael I had no such worries, in fact they probably spoke better English than the 3 of us!!

They turned up around 15.30, and time just flew by, it went too quickly in fact!! They were only planning on staying a few hours, but before we knew it the sun was setting after spending a lot of time talking about their culture and also with the teaching us a few ‘choice’ words in Estonian!!! Lol

Here are some pics of our afternoon with the common grey Estonian man (sorry Jaan, blame Mikhel for that lol)

The 4 explorers on our walk


Pete and Jaan being very Bear Grylls on the frozen River


More evidence of Beaver


It’s true, Bare’s are great climbers!!!


A well-deserved rest, I really like this picture too


Jaan (on left) and his cousin Mikhel


We also tried some fantastic blood sausage and some local beers which went down a treat!! Thanks guys!!

After they left later than they planned and with Pete’s man flu taking full effect we decided that we wouldn’t have stew that night as it would have been really late, I had a load of calories in the shape of some noodles and a load of toasted cheese sarnies cooked on the fire!! Very nice too!!

I’m not sure of the temps overnight but that was by far the coldest night I had personally over there.

I think it was a combination of a few things, not having a stew, not sealing the tent off properly but mainly, as I found out later, I didn’t have my quilt synched up properly!!

The next morning we were all up early ready to strike camp and head to base camp 3 at Oandu.

But before we left, the first thing I did in the morning the, as with every morning was to get my bags out on the drying line as I seemed to suffer with moisture on the outside of my quilt quite a lot.


Oandu is the one place I identified before we had left which looked the most amazing of all the campsites.

I was really looking forward to camping there, and hopefully using our newly acquired hobo lines I bought myself and the boys to do a spot of ice fishing.

Base camp 3 Oandu

On the 31[SUP]st[/SUP] march we moved to our 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] and final base camp at Oandu.

The drive wasn’t too long, and we stopped off in Vosa for some supply’s that would see us for our last few days.

We bought a few more big bottles of water but Paul was convinced that he read somewhere that there was a well at Oandu, so even if we were to run out of bottled water a quick trip to the well would resupply us in no time.

We arrived at Oandu and parked up the motor and went for a little walk, the visitor centre was obviously shut as it was Easter Sunday, but thankfully Paul was right about the well, and soon after we arrived Pete had found it.



We got down to the camp sites, and again we Paul had done his homework and seen that there was another of the wooden Lavvu there, so I asked if anyone minded if I had it and the guys were happy for me to have it.



The lavvu was a little further down the other end of the camping area than the main base camp. It almost felt like I was on my own a times.

So I went about getting some materials together so I could have a fire to keep the chill out at night.

This is the first time I have lit a fire using my fire kit and a Ferro rod so I was really happy with myself lol.



It was here that I had my moment, once the fire was blazing away, I sat back a minute to take in the stunning views that surrounded me, and it then hit me exactly where I was and what I was doing!!

It felt amazing, and then I suddenly felt the urge to listen to some music so I stuck the iPod on and listened to a bit of cold play.

The song paradise was certainly very fitting for the moment!!

View from camp




After my ‘moment’ had past, feeling like a million dollars I then joined the lads at base camp and proceeded to dig the ice out from around the ground fire pit so we could all sit round there at night.

After the most amazing beef and ale stew I have ever tasted, Paul was feeling it today so turned in early in his beautiful seek tent and titanium wood stove.


Yes I do have major tent envy!! The kind that can only be cured by buying the same awesome tent and stove set up!!

Pete had transferred the fire from the standing oven to the ground pit, Paul in his haste took the group kettle to bed so it left my little £1.50 Tesco aluminium kettle to provide the pre bed hot choccy this night.



So we sat around and chatted for a while, but I was gagging to turn in quite simply because I knew when I woke I would have the most amazing view from my bed ever!!

So on that note we turned in, I stoked my mini fire and put a few logs on to keep me going for a bit, nice and warm, and stuffed from a fantastic stew!!
Life was very good indeed!!!

My fire pit


Unfortunately I didn’t have the best night’s sleep ever, the wind did a massive change of direction, which meant that it was blowing quite hard in my face most of the night.

Having a down quilt meant that I couldn’t put my head under the covers as it would have meant a world of moisture in my bag, so I had to just put up with it.

I had a wind proof balaclava in my bag, but I had completely forgotten about it, I soon got it out the next morning so I wouldn’t be making that mistake again.

After my dodgy night’s sleep, my morning wasn’t going much better, getting the fire going was an absolute nightmare in the wind, I managed to get some water boiled for a wash and a brew, but small things like folding up my collapsible bowl so it could fit in my bag was doing my head in!!!

I was missing my girlys back in the Uk like mad, and the wind was cutting through me as I was so exposed!!

It didn’t take long for me to realise I had hit a wall!! Pete came over for a chat, and was quite worried for me as the winds were due to pick up later that day and told me that I should really think about moving camp.

So with that I went over to the communal area, told Paul how I was feeling, and got the most amazing man hug EVER!! Sounds a bit strange but I felt a hell of a lot better after that lol!! Cheers mate you’re a star!!!

So after my little hissy fit, and the man hug, feeling like a million dollars again, I got to work on setting up the go lite.

Again I used the dead man anchors except this time I didn’t dig out a pit as the snow wasn’t deep enough. I laid the tent out this time too, (I didn’t do it last time despite recommendations by Paul to do it, I’m a man, I no best lol, it created more work work than I wanted though) so that the tent would be more taught, it worked a treat and as you will see from the pics the golite looks 100 times better.


You could play a tune on it the tent was that taught lol.

We did cook a sausage stew for tea, but for some unknown reason none of us were really hungry, we set about picking our way through the snacky type things we had. Lots of moose sausage, cheese, ham, bread and chocolate bars latter I was done and decided to have an early one.


Pete and Paul however decided that as the temps were due to be a lot lower that night, that they would try and make a good dent in the alcohol ‘rations’ we had accumulated over the week, and what a dent they made!!

I think the next few pics say a thousand words on exactly how they felt the next morning lol!!

Hanging in Estonia lol




Thankfully after a good sleep in the sun for Pete, and a good few strong brews for Paul they were pretty much back to normal.

I thought I would document a picture of myself after a week away from home and more importantly away from the shower lol


The Paramo smock and neck Knife were among my best bits of kit.


Damn I look rough lol!!

Later in the day we went for a little walk round the surrounding area.
At one point a few dear jumped out from the forest across the river, unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures as the zoom is rubbish on my camera. Paul got some brilliant ones though so check them out!!

On our little walk we came across a wooden hut that is provided for camping




There is always time for a bit of Brucie!!


About 20 metres from our camp, down on the jetty Pete found a Beaver lodge



This picture is looking back at camp from the jetty


We then had our final camp meal of the trip, the sausage stew form the night before.


None of us were late turning in again, Paul was done in from the 4am finish the night before and Pete was busy doing some packing for the trip home the next day.


We were all packed up and ready for the road buy 9am


We left our final camp at Oandu and headed back to the airport.

Paul having a final stretch at his special rock


We stopped at the shopping centre so we could buy some bits for our loved ones and moose sausage for Pete, he got some right funny looks at the security scanner in the airport and had to empty his bag of sausage lol.

We dropped the car off and then headed to the airport to catch our flight home, reflecting on what an awesome trip we had, very sad to leave such a stunning country behind, but for me I was looking forward to getting back blighty so I could go and see the ladies in my life.

The flight went well; I even got brave and tried to take a couple of pics from the plane window.


As you can see, not that brave lol!!

I enjoyed my in-flight gourmet meal lol


Arrived back in the uk in 1 piece just (the dodgiest landing EVER!!!)

And then set about getting back to the hotel to pick up Paul’s Veedub to ferry us all home.

I have thought long and hard about how I would finish off this trip report.

So I thought I would break it down into what worked and what didn’t.

Kit –

The go lite was an amazing bit of kit, its pure luxury for 1 person and weighs in at 1.2kg so it’s brilliant for that kind of trip.

My paramo and M90 smocks were must have bits of equipment, they worked brilliantly.

My quilt, once I had figured out that it synched up tight around my neck it worked an absolute treat and stopped me feeling the cold.

The Biffins, they were again brilliant but my feet sweated a lot.

Kit that I need for next time-

I was incredibly jealous of the boy’s bivi boots, and I will be making damn sure I get a pair for the next cold weather trip.

I used an Exped synmat 7 medium, although I never felt the cold through the floor, it really isn’t wide enough and as a side sleeper I found my knees hurt a few days in to the trip. So again I will be buying a nice down mat 9 long wide or similar for the next adventure.

Vapour barrier socks look an interesting way around the sweaty feet and wet boots problem, so again that could be a future buy.

Admin, good admin is key to a great trip, and out there is was an absolute nightmare to stay organised. By nature I’m an organised person, I hate mess and everything has its place. But out there I really struggled, even now I can’t quite put my finger on way, I’m guessing that maybe I just need to try harder.

But that is certainly something that I will work hard to improve before my next trip.

And finally some merino long johns, my cheap ones from mountain where house really didn’t cut the mustard and were not the nicest thing to wear for 7 days straight.

My travelling companions, like I said at the begging of this massively long winded trip report; they were quite simply amazing guys to be around.

And once again I thank you both from the bottom of my heart for everything you lent me, everything you did for me and generally looking after me in the good and the down day, ( I thoroughly recommend a man hug from the Bare lol).
Over all, the trip was quite simply EPIC!!

Where I go from here trip wise, I don’t know, but what I do hope is that my future trips involve Teepee and Bare thrills!!

Thanks for reading this, I’m sorry it’s massively long, I never intended it to be, but I couldn’t fit it all in as few a words as I would have liked.

And what’s worse I’m sure I have missed out loads of good bits lol, but I’m sure between the 3 of us it’s given a great impression of how much of a beautiful, stunning place Estonia really is!!

All the best


Last edited:


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Feb 22, 2006
Great report and nice pics, looks you guys had a fantastic time :D.
Very jealous, I'm yet to take bushcraft overseas but all these great threads are an inspiration.
Dec 5, 2011
United Kingdom
A very good read mate and great to see a few pics i didnt know existed. Particularly like the one of me taking a pee :D:D:D

Seriously though mate your creative writing skills are better than you give yourself credit for. goodjob

Red Fox

Full Member
Dec 31, 2012
I have not read this report yet, just looked at the pictures so far. So far i am convinced that estoneia is well worth a trip. Does anybody know the tempertures you get in febuary in estoneia? Now i am going to enjoy reading over this report with a cup of earl grey tea thanks for sharing:) ...
Dec 5, 2011
United Kingdom
I have not read this report yet, just looked at the pictures so far. So far i am convinced that estoneia is well worth a trip. Does anybody know the tempertures you get in febuary in estoneia? Now i am going to enjoy reading over this report with a cup of earl grey tea thanks for sharing:) ...

It gets down to about -25 in the peak of winter near the coast although i think the record is at Jogeva inland at about -40 something


Apr 22, 2011
Tallinn, Estonia
It gets down to about -25 in the peak of winter near the coast although i think the record is at Jogeva inland at about -40 something

Spot on. Usually February is our coldest month and -25 at nights is what you would prepare for.

I think I took this picture in February:



Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 10, 2004
Cracking looking trip and cracking write up, thank you so much for bothering to write it's been well worth reading.

Its been nearly 4 years since I've been anywhere that chilly and you've reminded me what I love and have been missing.


Bam. :)


Maker Plus
Nov 16, 2008
West Midland
Nice one a very honest trip report documenting the emothionel highs and lows ( not sure about the man hugg thing thow lol but it worked for you )

As imagedude said what a cracking year for winter trip reports lets see what next year bring.



Mar 6, 2012
Brilliant trip report. Looks like the trip of a lifetime. You are actually very good at creative writing which makes for a brilliant read. Thanks for taking the time and looks like you got lots of photos done.


Full Member
Sep 27, 2005
Oxfordshire and Pyrenees-Orientales, France
Very good report, thank you. It is interesting to read three reports of the same trip- what one misses, the others see.
I don't know why you are less than confident about your writing ability. As an ex-professional editor of reports, I'm very pernickity: nothing wrong with yours apart from the odd typo that we're all prone to. You must have a good editor!

Thanks for taking the trouble to share- it is much appreciated.
PS How's the Jack Wolfskin Bivvy? Clearly not the tent for a trip like this. I can see the advantages of the Go-lite, a good combination of space and weight.

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