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A short story about women's voluntary military service in Finland

The author has completed voluntary military service for women in Finland. This article is specifically about military service in the Finnish Defence Forces, but might be useful and applicable for other places, too.

Choosing the right rucksack

The best rucksack for rucking is the one that meets both your traveling needs and your budget. Whether you are going to your backyard or Yellowstone, or with Jimmy Blenkinsops to both of the Kilimanjaros, read this article and get started!

World of Bushcraft

What is bushcraft? Well, it is all sorts of cool stuff in the woods that could fill a range of books. And it probably has - both beginner bushcraft and more advanced one. Here’s a quick overview of the world of bushcrafting. We will delve deeper into the subject in future articles.

How to pack your rucksack

How to pack a rucksack? Packing a rucksack is easy – read this article, and you’ll know how in no time. This article is a brief how-to, which you can apply for your own purposes and personal gear.

How to Choose a Sleeping Pad

The sleeping pad insulates the sleeper against the cold creeping in from the ground and offers a comfortable enough bed so that you can sleep in all sorts of conditions. Selecting the best sleeping pad for camping in the conditions at hand is as important as the sleeping bag selection. If you’re not that familiar with what’s perfect for your needs, this article helps with choosing a sleeping pad that works.

Winter hiking gear list

When you’re planning a wintery hike, the first logical step is the hiking trip packing list. This hiking essentials list is a simple way to make sure that you don’t forget anything crucial. The contents of the hiking packing list vary based on the destination, trip length, how cold it is, how much snow there is, what you plan on doing there, and your personal preferences. Therefore it is impossible to create an all-inclusive list. The list for a wintery ski trek in Lapland will understandably be very different from the one you use when packing for a hiking trip in Hawaii.

Battle Belt Setup – How to win a Finnish sniper competition

There are many ways to come up with a battle belt setup. All serious gear choices are exclusively purpose-driven, and in this article the purpose is to win a sniper competition. In Finland, competitive sniping is an official sport under the Reservist Sports Federation; a sport focused on fieldcraft skills and long-range shooting. There are national competitions such as FinnSniper and the Häyhä national championships.

Bug Out Bag

Wherever you may live, a situation can arise where you are forced to leave your home, at least temporarily. It might be a natural disaster, or a human one, perhaps even a special military operation. Anyway, you’ll have to make a run for it, and you can’t rely on the help of your fellow man, because everyone else is also in the same situation.

DIY Oilskin Coat (or oilskin anything)

Fed up with modern rainwear technology? It's time to take action then! Mankind has created wonderful alternative solutions to Gore-Tex and PVC ages ago. All you need is a cotton/linen garment, linseed oil, turpentine and a lot of patience.

Prepping 101 - a short guide to survival

Crisis preparation is best done before the crisis is in full swing. Having a home emergency food supply and a general plan for preparedness is not a fringe thing. They can be integrated into your everyday life without causing excess anxiety. It is more or less a process of habituation. Similarly, most people have smoke detectors, fire blankets, and even fire extinguishers at home, without the fear of a fire laying heavy on their shoulders. In the event of an emergency, these items can nonetheless make the difference between a nuisance and a total catastrophe. Maintaining a home emergency food supply – and being prepared in general – requires some effort, but will eventually be a normal chore among others.

Winter hiking tips

Especially here in the north, winter takes up most of the year, which means snow and cold are a big part of the life outdoors. This is why we asked our best bushcraft warriors to teach the rest of us about the secrets of winter camping! We gained such valuable knowledge that we wanted to share it with you as well. The boot camp was divided into three stages: camping and sleeping, clothing, and nutrition. So, let’s look at what we learned and what we should all take into consideration on our wintry outdoor excursions.

How to Not Suck When Using Socks

Have people lost the basic skill of using socks properly? Or could it be that knowledge has increased and people were too hardy to complain about blisters before? Either way, taking care of your feet has an important role in covering distances successfully by foot, hence an entire article about socks. Will you find new tidbits of useful information or points of great disagreement? Let's find out!

Using a rain cape as a shelter

Even though there are all sorts of handy shelter options for outdoorspeople, ranging from a bivy bag to tents that fit several people, none of them are as versatile, lightweight, and atmospheric as a rain poncho.

Using a Tarp as Shelter

Ah, the tarp: the versatile shelter of any bushcraft-minded camper, trekker, or hiker.

Introduction to weaponlights

This article talks about the selection, mounting, and use of weaponlights. If you have been thinking about getting some light for your gun, start here.

Making your zippers smarter and quieter

Are you miffed by noisy zipper pulls? In certain use, so are we. That’s why we made this compact article on how to make practical and silent pulls with your own little hands.


In this article, we’ll talk about the joys of traveling by car and introduce three very different road trippers. Hop in!

How to adjust your backpack

In this article, we give you the essential tips on how to adjust your backpack. It’s no rocket science, but there are a few pointers that are good to know.

Plate Carrier Setup - piece together your fighting load

Plate carriers are one of many options to form the base of your modular combat gear. This article covers short reasoning why to choose a plate carrier, which pouches are most advisable, and how to place them.

How to Protect Yourself from Ticks?

The most dangerous animal in Finland is the bastard know as the tick but even if you have zombie dragons in your neck of the woods, these small pricks are quite a nuisance anyway. But don’t let them control your life. You can go hiking, hunting, and fishing to your heart’s delight as long as you do it smartly. In this article, you can find a few tips for neutralizing the tick threat.

Combat first aid kit placement on your gear

There are many dangers and potential hazards on the battlefields and without a good first aid kit you will die, so you should carry the right stuff among your combat gear. But what to carry and where? Let’s find out!

Do-It-Yourself: Webbing Suspenders

Here's some reading for those who can't afford ready-made products and have no imagination to help themselves. Umm... That doesn't sound good but anyways, maybe someone will enjoy this.

Gear Selection for Practical Shooting in Winter

There is plenty of cold and snow in Finland when this article was written, and it is fantastic for us practical shooters. Even though the shooting season is usually more commonly associated with summer, you should still get everything you can out of winter training and test your performance in more demanding surroundings. This kind of training is also useful for our Brutality matches.

The basics of snow camouflage

When writing this article, we have the ideal winter season here in Finland and many other countries in the northern hemisphere, and luckily climate change hasn’t yet killed the chances of having snow. We wanted to give you a compact guide on what to take into account in your camouflage when snow covers the landscape and how to get everything out of the top Finnish design, M05 Snow camo.

Staying effective in different weather conditions

How do you avoid soaking your winter clothes with sweat? Is there anything you can do to relieve yourself in the summer heat? Are freezing toes and fingers in the cold a personal thing that can't be helped? What to do if you fall into the water in the winter and only some spare clothes remain dry? Can you increase or decrease body heat by eating or drinking?

Three lines of gear placement - right gear in the right place

In layered clothing, each layer has a specific role to play. A very similar model can be applied to other gear, too. Different countries use different terms to describe this but the concept is a similar three-layer model. In Finnish, these layers are called circles but elsewhere they are often referred to as lines. In this article, we go through the basic principles of this kind of thinking and give a few examples of how to use the concept in military and civilian applications.

Getting Into Practical Shooting - A Simple Guide

Due to the publicity of the Brutality series of shooting matches by Varusteleka and InRangeTV, many people have asked how to get into this kind of shooting sports: dynamic, practical, action... you get the idea. Here's an overview of how to get started, what to consider when buying things, and make your life easier. In the scope of this article, the various disciplines are treated pretty roughly as one big lump instead of going into specifics of this or that part of any given rulebook.

Freedom to Roam in Finland

In Finland we have this thing called "Everyman's Rights". In a nutshell, it means that nature is for everyone to access and enjoy. While these rights are not laid out in the law, certain things are specifically allowed based on our age-old customs.

March or Die! A Basic Guide to Military-Style Movement on Foot

Loaded marching is a major part of soldier skills. Everyone who served should have memories of marches, healed by time. It sucked back then but afterwards all those klicks are warmly remembered.

Rantala's Orders: Perfect gear list for your adventures

Finland is the hottest travel destination in the world! This is already known by international Instagram celebrities, Bollywood stars, and top athletes (or they at least knew it before this pandemic). Soon also the Finns will understand how beautiful their home country really is…

The washing and caring of wool clothes

When used and cared for correctly, wool is a long-lasting material. It does have certain requirements to maintain its properties and long service life. Pressure and abrasion are not good for wool - they don't make those elbow reinforcements just for show. Table edges are natural enemies of shirts made of wool.

Psst, wanna buy a used sleeping bag?

New good quality sleeping bags cost a lot. Used military surplus sleeping bags 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!

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 of 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.

Sleeping bag size selection guide

Don't know in which bag to hide your body? Read this article and be enlightened!

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 starts on the day the customer receives the product.

Särmä TST Backpack Use as Day Pack 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!

How to dress in layers

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 selection. In this article, we’ll go through the basics of layering clothing and provide recommendations on what you should purchase for each layer. You can access different parts of the article and the recommendations via the contents menu below.

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 textiles

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.


A guide to wrapping a Shemagh-scarf around the head Shemagh-scarf is a convertible piece of gear. Unlike your everyday neck-warmer, it serves as a balaclava, 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 heat. This might come in handy if you leave your cap somewhere during winter but still have your scarf.

Hammock Camping in Winter

The anatomy of hammocking A hammock is a very handy and lightweight sleeping option in summer. It goes where angels fear to tread and it is very easy to set up. It also works nicely in winter - but there are a few issues that need tackling first. When you use a sleeping bag in a hammock, the insulation is flatened underneath you, making the underside easily very cold. It is vital to take this into consideration when selecting your gear and put enough insulation between the hammock and the sleeping bag. For us, a blanket together with a warm jacket has provided enough insulation in -20 degrees Celsius (-4 F), but people are different and you need to find out what works for you the best. A modern sleeping pad keeps the hammock in shape quite nicely.

The Care for Your Shoes and Boots Explained

Proper shoe care is vitally necessary to prolong the service life of your boots or shoes. This article covers how to take care of footwear sold by us, and generally army and outdoor boots. Fancy dancing shoes and fashion items are not included, to keep it as simple and short as possible.

Paracord bracelet DIY 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 shoelace - by wearing a paracord bracelet. By following these instructions you will get a paracord bracelet, so you'll have a 3-meter / 10-foot piece of paracord always with you. No extra parts such as buckles are necessary.