This review introduces a new sub-category which will focus on outdoor products made here in Finland. From cottage to large companies, these will either be products that I’ve purchased and/or owned for some time, or which I have handpicked for testing. However I will not be presenting anything that I would not myself normally use, or find useful.
With this quick introduction, let’s jump to the first product in the series, and the company behind it. Alcohol consumption in the woods is hardly a trending topic for an outdoorsy discussion, but many, myself included, appreciate a dram of whisky or a shot of something of their liking at the end of the day. Proven good also for the digestion after a heavy dinner by the fire, it’s a modest habit that I’ve had for years. Not much of a drinker otherwise, I think outdoors is where for example a good whisky excels.
Settled to refilling small plastic bottles for overnighters or a larger plastic bottle for longer trips, almost exactly a year ago I received an Ukkomatti 100 hip flask for my 39th birthday from my family. This intriguing steel tubing, with a capacity of 100 milliliters, is made by a company called Continent Finland Oy, in Southern Ostrobothnia, under a brand Ukko Schnapps.
Made with food-grade stainless steel tubing, with screw-on cap and lazer welded bottom cap, it’s plain and minimalistic in design. It’s rather substancial at 277 grams, and comes with a black leather case (which adds another 35 grams), that draws its design cues from puukko sheats. Raw and unpretensious, as the company describes the product, Ukkomatti is indeed clean and utilitarian with a touch of finesse, reflected by the marriage of stiff, stiched leather and polished steel.
The thick leather sheath is a tight fit with embossed brand logo on it. As it’s actually a tube, the lazer engraved bottom of Ukkomatti shines through - a nice original design. I haven’t ran across any fakes so far, but the current models shipping all have also serial numbers engraved in the bottom, which can be tracked down on the Ukko Schnapps website, validating authenticity. Mine is from an early batch when this feature was not yet present.
Obviously simple product to use, threaded cap with a rubber gasket closes cleanly and securely and allows no leaks. The nice thing about steel and leather (like wood, and unlike plastic) is that no matter how many dents and nicks you’ll get, it’ll just add character, instead of simply being wear and tear. I’ve only got one dent on mine, from dropping it on a rock, aside of minor scuffs here and there. You would really have to go to great lengths to destroy one.
What could be improved or changed then? This is a hard one as I really like it as it is, but from hiker’s point of view, one could wish it was a bit lighter, as 300+ grams is quite a lot for carrying 100 milliliters of your favorite liquour, if you’re trying to optimize your pack weight. For short trips and overnighters this is of course not a concern. Then again, it’s not really designed for the weight conscious backpackers first in mind - and I’ve used it to knock a large pike unconscious (percussive stunning they call it in English, had to look that up) when on a fishing trip! I like the sheat, but I think it might look even better with a solid metal ring and a thick leather loop, instead of the soft(ish) spirally loop it now comes with - but that’s me.
Ukkomatti comes in couple of different versions, mine is the original one, and they also have few other products to go with it, such as stainless steel shot glasses - go check them out.
All products can be ordered from the company’s webstore, but shipping is currently limited to Finland and Sweden only. Same goes for Discshop, which seems to stock at least Ukkomatti. In Finland, you can also find them conveniently at your nearest Alko - get your favorite refiller on the same round. Mine is currently Talisker Skye.
❯❯ Flickr album (with more photos): Made in Finland - Ukko Schnapps Matti 100