Hiisi's Elk 2019
The smell of pine tar on wooden skis and hot coffee in a kuksa will reach your nose as you read this story of tracking the largest game animal in Finland.
Army tales: Offshore March and Shelter exercise
Garrisons - especially in countries with conscription - are a wonderful cross-section of societies. You'll meet so many different people from different backgrounds.
Army tales: Missing Item Report
The mandatory military service in the Finnish Defence Forces was never really an issue or a big deal for me before it began. To the last minute, I postponed my decision to either go and do some time in Finnish correctional facilities, also known as jail time, or just “doing my time”.
Army tales: An APC driver's porcelain dream
Not many people can resist the attraction of a figurative low part of a fence. (A common idiom in Finnish for following the path of the least resistance - editor's note.) Vehicle drivers in armed forces are rather familiar with this concept. It was a cold mid-winter in early 2004, which meant that there was less service before us than behind, but we weren't exactly close to the end either. Our service time as conscripts in the Rapid Deployment Force would be from July 2003 to July 2004.
Army tales: Full Moon in Kiikala
The year was 2008 and our NCO class was training in Kiikala around a small airfield. It was late winter, there was very little snow left and most of the day was pitch dark. We had our foxholes dug and our platoon was positioned to defend a forest next to the airfield. Amongst conscripts, Kiikala has a notorious reputation of having shitty or abnormal weather conditions.
Operation Unethicality Program 2019 - 2021, Phase 1: Recon
Varusteleka is on the good side and attempts to reduce destruction to the environment. We head towards the following main goals:
Psst, wanna buy a used sleeping bag?
New good quality sleeping bags cost a lot. Used armeijan makuupussit cost relatively very little, but there's a few things you'll need to know. Let's go through these a bit, but first we'll explain the playing field, in other words what you can expect from a bag bought from us.
Cooking with Skrama
Skrama is one sharp piece of metal and the flagship of our Terävä brand. While some might think that it's not optimal for cooking, and they might be right, we wanted to try it out. If you're brave enough, you might do the same and share your results with #cookingwithskrama hashtag!
South Carelian Military March 2019
Our experience in the SCMM road and off-road divisions. There are never too many good marching events and the South Carelian Military March - organized for the tenth time this year - is definitely among the best in Finland. You can choose between a division that has your patrol avoid being detected while completing tasks, or a traditional march along roads. The idea is a straight-forward and fun challenge. This year we participated in both main divisions and here's our report.
Varusteleka Profit Report 2018
The books for last year have been cooked and our inspector has given the green light, so here's our retrospect.
Shot Show 2019
The army and outdoor industry have a calendar of their own. The year doesn't start from 1st January, but the real kick-off to a new year is Shot Show. Because we are in tune with this rhythm, we packed our bags once again and headed to Las Vegas to further our cause: Total World Domination.
The Forbidden Internet
Sometimes we look back and remember how things were better before. It's a false memory, of course, because the world has actually become a better place. But there are things we could learn from the way things were traditionally; in other words, cave into peer pressure from dead people.
Road Trip in New Zealand
Summer vacation cancelled! Varusteleka's relocation operation happened during the best summer vacation season in Finland. Thus, we flipped the vacation game upside down with my girlfriend. We postponed our vacation to December and January and headed to the Southern hemisphere.
Christmas Holiday In Thailand With A Light Pack
Well, well, well! I had the first opportunity in years to spend proper long X-mas holidays, so I seized it like a hungry racoon. In a democratic fashion my spouse and a couple who are our friends decided to head far away, because it's often so hectic at work. After a short and random process we decided on sunny Thailand.
Army surplus: how it works
In a nutshell, army surplus is too good to be true, but it's true: durable, well-tested solutions for the most demanding use, which is military use - and for cheap. We'll tell ya what this stuff is all about and how it ends up in some Finnish army store.
A simple list of outdoor apparel you should own
This article aims to be a simple guide to outdoors(wo)man's wardrobe, so he or she will have means to stay comfortable in most weather types. All of the items here can be found at Varusteleka of course, but you might already own some garments that fill the purpose, or think you can find better deals somewhere else. There's a lot of links to different categories our web pages in this article, and you don't have to open them all as a reflex. They just direct you straight to the appropriate product groups.
Three Nights In Prague And A Light Pack
An extended weekend in urban Central Europe is a brilliant choice to spend a few days of leave. This time I decided to visit Prague, where the weather forecast promised typical conditions: a bit below or above freezing, no high likelihood of rain or storm.
Where is Thofern?
Have you seen Thofern? We have his sleeping mat here and judging from the things written on it, he desperately wants it returned to him. We understand - it must be horrible sleeping on the cold cold ground!
Varusteleka's House Brands Roadmap, DEC 2018
Things that have been and things to come The year 2018 felt short due to everything going on. We threw a fashion show of our own in GoExpo. Check out the videos for day 1, day 2 and day 3. In this year's Road Show we presented new clothes and gear, and the Särmä TST clothing system has become whole enough to ditch any mentions of being under construction.
The Metal Faces The Bucket: Varusteleka Road Show 2018
The #varustelekaroadshow 2018 has ended. This year we made 16 gigs in 13 different regions. Twelve of the jobs were market square gigs done during six consecutive weeks in spring and fall. Further, we participated in Tuska Metal Music Festival, Riihimäki International Sportsmen’s Fair, GoExpo - Sports and Outdoor Event and Hartola Fair. As far as we are concerned, it went damn well! According to our records, there were 8000 purchases combined. Based on our estimates, every other visitor bought at least a pair of socks, so we reached at least 16 000 people. One tenth of those purchases came from Tuska-festival, and you won’t guess what the most sold item was! Nope, Scho-Ka-Kola came second as Bundeswehr's Flecktarn field shirt took the first place. Now you know the dress code, in case you're in for some metal music during the summer in Finland. You’re welcome!
Kevo Canyon as a Kebnekaise rebound
Me and my buddy started the car on 23th SEP at 1700 hours from Hyvinkää, South Finland. The original destination, North Sweden and Kebnekaise, switched en route to Kevo canyon in Utsjoki, Finland. Winter had come early to the Kebnekaise massif and cut all coach connections and brought the tourist season at Nikkaluokta-Abisko to an end on that very same day.
Sleeping bag size selection guide
The woes of fitting a sleeping bag online We're often asked about sleeping bag sizing. Especially large persons struggle to find a big enough sleeping bag, but an oversized bag means unnecessary weight and reduced warmth for a slender person.
The ascent of Halti in fall of 2018, part 2/2
In the first part we made it halfway up the slopes of Halti fell, as we had decided to attempt going all the way to the summit the same evening. Morale was growing thin in the rocky uphill.
The ascent of Halti in fall of 2018, part 1/2
We are employees of Varusteleka and a couple, who spend a lot of time in nature. We make short hikes nearby every week and several overnighters every year. In addition to these, we are committed to two longer hikes or other adventures each year. This year we went to Koli national park in May and in late August / early September, we went to Halti fell. Last year we made a trip to the Kaldoaivi wilderness area.
Herajärvi Trail - Amateur Hiker Flying Solo
During the busy stretch of our relocation and preparing for the Mega Grand Opening I started to think that a time-out in nature would be a brilliant way to get my mind off of work. The first phase of planning was potential participants. This phase was done pretty fast. At the end of August, all of my hiking-oriented friends had spent their summer holidays already.
Visiting Scotland with Särmä
I had my one-week summer leave in late August and desperately needed a cooler place to escape the heat wave that had tormented Finland for the best part of summer. I opened the weather forecast map of Europe and saw that there were two locations for me to go: Iceland or the UK. Everywhere else: Scorchio!
Camping with the Defence Forces
Laid-back camping and hiking is fine and a globally well understood thing. Among other things Finns sometimes do differently than others is military excercise and reservist training as a replacement for "civilian-style" outdoor pastimes. Making this choice means you voluntarily restrict your freedom (only for the duration of the excercise of course), but in turn you get to do interesting stuff in varying environments. Here are a few tips how to make most of military training trips.
EKS/SCMM 2018, Part 5, Team Leka Final march exercise
Training rehearsal and recon mission 6-8.4.2018. Our march is approaching and the demands put on us by our training have grown. This time we rehearsed our march and did a little recon where this will all take place.
Varusteleka's brands 12 month warranty
On top of our regular 100 day returns policy all our Särmä, Särmä TST, Terävä and Jämä products have a 12 month warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. The 12 month period stars on the day the customer receives the product.
Särmä TST backpack use as daypack lids
Särmä TST day/combat packs are designed to enable attachment onto the Särmä TST RP80 recon pack for use as daypack lids. In this tutorial we present two ways to manufacture the necessary adapter straps, using a Särmä TST DP10 Roll-Top daypack as example. The same basic idea and adapters will also function with numerous other daypacks and rucksacks, feel free to experiment!
Varusteleka Profit Report 2017
We have crunched the numbers, and our results from 2017 are in. Here’s a little recap of everything that happened last year.
EKS/SCMM 2018, Part 4, Team Leka Fitness
Our team continues training and this time we had scheduled some physical training at our gym. Coach for this session was Petteri Kantola. Petteri is officer (ret.), assumingly gentleman as well, martial artist and damn good personal trainer. Due to the fact, that Petteri has first hand knowledge about coaching soldiers, we were sure that this evolution will be highly beneficial for our military march project.
Varusteleka´s in-house brands Roadmap, SEP 2018
Varusteleka's own in-house brands Särmä, Särmä TST, Terävä and Jämä play a key role in our plan for Total World Domination. This is a historical list of our releases, from here on Roadmaps will be all-new articles. The last (not just latest) update was made 13.9.2018.
EKS/SCMM 2018, Part 3, TCCC
Preparation for SCMM continues. Our goal is to refresh our basic soldier skills, and this time we were focusing on Tactical Combat Casualty Care basics. We managed to get ourselves a really good instructor. This individual has trained TCCC for the Finnish Border Guard’s Special Forces and he has a degree in trauma care, as well as plenty of experience.
This article is written from a Finnish viewpoint based on the Nordic climate. And since we are utterly commercial the clothing presented is based on Varusteleka's sortiment.
EKS/SCMM 2018, Part 2, First March Exercise
We held our patrol group's first training march on 12.12.2017. The purpose of this training march was to try operating as a group, as well as to test the base levels of the group and the equipment. The mission was a light 15 km evening stroll that took us from Varusteleka - the top of Malminkartano - Paloheinä - the top of Paloheinä - Varusteleka.
EKS/SCMM 2018 Team Leka Introduction, Part 1
How to spend some quality time with the colleagues? Well, taking part into demanding military patrol competition, instead of drinking beer at cozy Sotima bar. But such is life at Varusteleka…
Särmä TST RP80 recon pack assembly and adjustment
The pictured RP80 is an early production piece, some details such as buckles and has changed since then but the assembly is done exactly as described in this tutorial.
Washing clothes and other textiles sometimes raises questions. We try to give care advice on each product page the best we can, but a separate article still defends its place for spreading knowledge on the subject.
Private Military Contractor - Operation POLAND
A year back I and a few friends of mine went to explore what sort of experiences the Polish Euseca's (European Security Academy) Close Protection Basic and -Advanced courses could offer us. Well, the course was a proper "no bullshit" experience and ever since I've longed to return to Poland one day.
Shemagh-scarf is a convertible piece of gear. Unlike your everyday neck-warmer, it serves as a baclava, or even as a makeshift backpack if it comes to it... Keeping it to headgear: this scarf offers protection against wind, sand and snow as well as against extreme colds AND extreme heats. This might come in handy if you leave your cap somewhere during winter but still have you scarf.
Operation 120 Pickles of Sodom
There are many ways to field-test equipment. This time we're diving into less conventional means, which may appear completely out of line and reason to some. The operation wasn't exactly a great success, but we're glad no-one died out there.
The Night of Drifters
We had long planned to do some field testing in an urban environment and also toyed with the idea of homelessness. These thoughts combined with Night Visions movie festival and our own showing there, we realized this had to be done. The movie in question was, of course, Hobo With A Shotgun, starring Rutger Hauer.
Varusteleka photograph contest 2010
The winners of 100 euro gift cards Jyri Kaasinen – Hello, I'm from the internet Do we really even need to explain this? Good job Jyri!
Paracord bracelet instructions
Be ready for the situation where you might suddenly need a short length of string, line or cord - for example pitching a tent or to replace a snapped shoe lace - by wearing a paracord bracelet. By following these instructions you will get a paracord bracelet, that contains 2,5-3,0 m long piece of paracord always with you. No extra part, for example buckles are necessary.