The Canoe trip, our canoe adventure in Sweden (Route du Soleil)

18 September 2018

The Canoe Trip is perfect for those looking for a special and adventurous holiday! Away from all the rush that passes by every day. We went canoeing and wild camping for a week in the beautiful nature of the Swedish Värmland! It was a trip full of adventure, survival, friendship and pure nature.

Sweden, the country of red stugas and the moose

The beautiful Scandinavia has not only an impressive fauna and flora, but is also known as an expensive destination. This was a prejudice that we also had. Not everyone knows that Sweden is the cheapest Scandinavian country, look at that! One more reason to explore Sweden. Sweden has the “Freedom of Roam” which means that you have the right to walk, cycle, ride, ski and camp almost everywhere with the exception of private gardens, near a dwelling house or land under cultivation. But keep in mind that you have to treat nature with respect. This means leave no trace!

The Canoe Trip

When it gets dark

The Canoe Trip, ready to push your boundaries (literally and figuratively) 

Most of us know the concept of Route du Soleil, where young people have to get to a certain destination while lifting as quickly as possible. Now, the organization has many more exciting projects of which ‘The Canoe Trip’ is the perfect example! This 7-day trip by canoe through the Swedish Värmland looked like the perfect challenge for us. As experienced travellers, it looked tempting to explore the unspoiled nature of Värmland with only a map and a canoe. Sounds as a plan, right? There are different routes mapped out by the organization itself, so you can choose from different levels of difficulty. This way you sail from island to island through the rough nature on the border of Norway and Sweden. You can choose the schedule all by yourself. If you have a day of bad weather or don’t feel like sailing, you can take a shortcut. If you want a challenge, you can follow the extensions. Finally, there are so-called ‘shelters‘ present, where you can legally make fire. This is also the best place to chat at the campfire with a refreshing beer or a hot cup of tea.  Leave no trace! You can’t leave any waste behind. On one hand out of respect for nature but on the other hand because you can get a fine of 530 euros.

The Canoe Trip

The lake at Basecamp North

A Good preparation is essential

Since it was the first time we went canoeing, we had to prepare ourselves well. Yannick had already done a camping trip to Norway together with a friend. A golden tip is to invest in good equipment. Check the weather forecast in advance so you know what temperature it will be at night, whether it will be raining,…. This way you can prepare yourself for a week of wild camping! I have written a separate article on how best to prepare for a camping or canoe trip!

The Canoe Trip

My daily cup of tea in the morning

Basecamp north, one big family

After a long bus ride to Sweden we arrived at one of the 2 basecamps of ‘The Canoe Trip’. We stayed in the largest camp, namely Basecamp North. This camp is owned by the famous Swedish adventurer Preben. This living legend has already done numerous adventures and survivals and is well known in Värmland. The first day is to set up your tent and get to know your fellow canoeists. The Basekamp is your home base for departure and arrival. You will love it, especially if you have been floating on the water for 6 days. The moment of your first decent shower is by no means ‘lovely’.

Basecamp North

Our friend for the upcoming week

Mr. Mortenson, the Swedish survival icon

He is 85 years old and survival has no secrets for him anymore. This seasoned ex-paracommando personally built the first shelters in Värmland and knows everything about this region. He is the man who will give everyone a good explanation before departure. The 2nd day is the big day, at 9 o’clock we gathered with the whole group at the basecamp. All practical matters are discussed extensively such as the basics of canoeing, how to steer and how to ‘survive’. Every time we used the word ‘survival’, Preben had to laugh and said “Camping people, survival is something else”.

Safety first

Safety is the priority of Preben and his team, therefore everyone is obliged to wear a life jacket. Furthermore, you get a GPS tracker with SOS button, this can only be used if you are in danger! For other things you can just call one of the rangers.

I don’t have a canoe experience, is that a problem?

Don’t panic, we also had no experience until the start of the trip. This is certainly not a requirement! A healthy portion of perseverance will help you through the trip.

The start of a great adventure through the Swedish nature

A good start is half the battle

With a big smile we started our trip through Värmland. The weather looked promising and after a few minutes of paddling we could already take off our sweater. The route was clear and our orientation was good. After about an hour of paddling the map had fallen into the water, without our knowledge . Luckily we knew the way towards the shelter, so no worries. By the way, we sailed ‘clockwise’, so our first day at Iron Lake consisted of 15 km canoeing and 3 km land transport. I have to admit, land transports were sometimes challenging in the beginning. It’s searching for the best position to transport your canoe, but it works better when you’ve found one. Oh, important to mention, you get some wheels to transport your canoe on .

A day to remember

From Iron Lake to Harnasfjorden, a day that I will remember. It rained and it kept raining, but that didn’t stop us from  continuing our trip. Everyone got stuck at the same places. As a result there was always someone to help you. In some places it was not always easy to lift your canoe out of the water and an extra pair of hands were more than welcome.

Which animals live in Värmland?

Wild boars, beavers, wolves, the brown bear and the famous moose. I hear you thinking,’ damn’! Now we have to admit we have not seen any of these animals. Maybe better so. Although a Swedish moose would have been unique. Tip: It may also have been our fault, you have to be very quiet to spot a moose! Next time less talking and more watching.


A Swedish Moose, unfortunately not photographed by us

Useful things to take with you on your camping trip

Read here everything about all practical tips for your camping/canoe trip!

The best future trips of Route du Soleil

I couldn’t help myself as I searched already for the future trips of Route du Soleil. There was one trip that immediately caught my attention ‘The TUKTUK Trip’ through Sri Lanka! What a great, adventurous and authentic way to explore the beautiful Sri Lanka . I would love to do this!

The Canoe Trip

The amazing nature of Värmland, Zweden

This trip was in collaboration with Route du Soleil.


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