On September 1st we'll be flying from London to Stockholm, meeting Cody and Justyna in the airport, catching a sleeper train to Abisko together, then hiking the entirety of the Kungsleden over the next 30 days, finishing at Hemavan.
The Kungsleden (or Kings Trail in English) is a popular hiking trail through Arctic Sweden in one of Europe's largest wilderness areas. Measuring a distance of 440km or so it is largely hiked in sections, most commonly Nikkaluokta to Abisko in the north, with less people completing the entire trail in one go.
Leaving Abisko we will work our way south, encountering the ever changing Swedish Autumn with rich colours and potential snow flurries, stopping occasionally in cabins to recharge camera gear and restock our food supplies.
Outside of the cabins we will be in the wild, camping under the stars and drinking from streams. The trail isn't new to Cody and Justyna who've hiked portions of it before, however none of us have ever completed the entire length.
Embarking on this adventure in September poses its own difficulties as the mountain huts begin to close at various dates throughout the month and boats available for crossing large lakes are stored away for winter. As well as possibly missing out on restocking our food supplies if we reach the cabins too late we will also be followed by autumnal weather sweeping its way along the landscape. This summer hasn't been particularly warm for Sweden, so there's a risk the trail may be more extreme than previous years.
Aim of project
Our collective aim of the hike is to provide a resource for others looking to do the same. Cody will be creating a website with guides and information regarding the hike, as well as an ebook with stunning imagery to accompany all you need to know about the trail.
Theo will be filming everything from Day One to create eight weekly webisodes for our YouTube channel with the eventual release of a feature length documentary of our project.
Distant North - Hiking the Kungsleden
Filming the documentary brings about its own set of challenges, largely due to the amount of media we require. Laptops and hard drives won't be accompanying us, instead we'll need to carry a large amount of memory cards to ensure we capture as much footage as possible over 30 days.
Theo will be filming the majority of footage on a Canon XF100 - ideal for this project due to its compact form factor, brilliant image quality, and light weight. Compact flash (CF) cards are required to record footage on this camera, and we've estimated we'll need roughly six extra cards to increase our memory space from 32GB to 416GB, roughly translating to 792 minutes recording time.
This also applies to our GoPro Hero 4. We need around ten 64GB micro SD memory cards to capture extra footage and timelapse on the weatherproof outdoor camera.
Batteries are also an issue; there will be times along the hike where we will be going five or more days without access to electricity - charging will be non-existent.
Editing will take place on the road once we return to the UK in October, with an initial release date for first webisode on Sunday 3rd January 2016.
Backers who have paid for the password protected HD digital download will be have access to the documentary from Sunday February 28th 2016 - a week before the documentary is released on YouTube after all the webisodes have been released.
Theo Gove-Humphries is an award winning professional filmmaker/photographer. He has recently hosted his first successful solo landscape exhibition in Birmingham, largely due to immersing himself within the grand vistas he passes through in his trusty VW camper van, clocking up many miles and over 23 countries.
Bee Roper is an Animal Conservationist, writer, and part of the trio who make up VDubVanLife (Theo and their VW T4 'Belthy' are the final pieces). Since June 2014 they've covered over 28,000 miles, exploring mountain ranges and golden beaches, sharing it all online throughout various social media platforms.
Cody Duncan is an award winning photographer who has visited Scandinavia over 20 times, creating the incredibly informative 68north.com which has become the go-to website for all things Lofoten. An avid hiker who isn't afraid of conquering mountains and camping in the snow.
Justyna Sojka was previously a social worker in the UK, having now relocated to Germany and starting a business after travelling for a few months. Along with Cody she has ventured along the Kunglseden, and has a wealth of experience about the outdoors.
Use of Proceeds
Media, batteries, and weatherproof camera covers make up the largest part of our budget (47%). Without this kit we can't capture the documentary.
36% of our budget is dedicated to post-production, namely to cover the cost of licensing music for the soundtrack and energy costs to edit the documentary on the road (we are forever on the perpetual hunt for energy).
9% covers the cost of printing, packaging, and posting out the wonderful foamex mounted images from the trail.
The remaining 8% will go towards our kickstarter fees.
*Special thanks to Cody Duncan for providing images and footage from his previous hikes along the Kungsleden.
Risks and challenges
Theo is a professional filmmaker/photographer and has created many videos over the years, covering a wide range of topics - from music videos to historical pieces.
With all camera equipment there is a risk that the kit could malfunction and cease to work, which would prevent us from capturing any footage. Ensuring we protect the kit as much as possible with weather proof housing and gentle handling will reduce the risk of camera damage.
The biggest challenge for the four of us is weather; Sweden has experienced a particularly cold summer, which could mean the trail will be a lot harsher than normal. In the worst possible scenario we may need to cut the project short if we are unable to continue further due to extreme weather, but this should hopefully not come to pass.
Cody has hiked sections of the trail before, and along with Justyna together they have a number of long hikes under their belt. Their knowledge of Scandinavia, including the landscape and unpredictable weather, will ensure that we are as prepared as possible to take on the trail.
Sweden itself is a country all four of us have visited previously: Theo and Bee last October/November, and Cody and Justyna numerous times. We are confident with the environment, currency, and language, which will ensure we are also culturally prepared.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)