Tour paddling in Sweden

Turpaddling i Sverige

Our long coast has unique archipelagos

We Swedes are lucky. Namely, we have access to a very long coast; both in the south, east and west. The entire coastal stretch from Svinesund on the Norwegian border to Haparanda on the Finnish border is approximately 250 kilometers long. If all bays and headlands are included, the distance is many times greater. Along this coast are some of the world's largest and most scenic archipelagos. Apart from parts of the Stockholm and Gothenburg archipelagos, large parts are unexploited and available for visits. If you avoid the month of July, you can move around surprisingly undisturbed. And if you travel in a kayak, you can basically reach all parts of our coast and our archipelagos.

The kayak is an excellent means of transport

The kayak originates in Greenland. It is known that already during our Viking Age in the 11th century, the kayak was used by Greenlandic hunters and has been necessary for survival in Greenland right up to the present day. The first documented Swedish kayak was built in 1882 by Carl Smith. Canoeing thus has a long tradition in our country, not least through many international successes on the competitive side. Interest has gradually broadened so that tour paddling has come to have more and more practitioners. Tour paddling then means traveling by kayak, also Canadians in calm waters, for the sake of the nature experience either on a shorter day trip or a multi-day trip with an overnight stay in a tent in nature. Our unique public right gives us great opportunities to travel freely along our coasts, but also requires the individual not to abuse the trust the public right implies.

Plan your trip

Plan your trip in advance. Should you use your own kayak or rent one? Renting is a good option if you do not have access to your own kayak. Along our coasts and in the great lakes, there are plenty of canoe hire companies who can also provide you with the right equipment and can give you tips on routes, places to rest and spend the night. If you do not return to the starting point, you may need to order collection if possible. If you have your own kayak, you may need to arrange transport back on your own. What does the weather forecast look like for the time you will be out? The weather and especially the wind is absolutely decisive for whether the trip will be successful or even feasible.

Some good advice

If you are going to do a paddling tour over, for example, a weekend, you should think about the following:

  • You should be comfortable with the kayak you are going to use; You should feel safe in it. Feel free to test paddle if you are going to rent a kayak you are unfamiliar with. If you are above, choose a kayak that is designed to be stable.
  • You have to sit comfortably right from the start. It is difficult to adjust the seat or backrest once you are out on the water. If you experience numbness in your feet, it can sometimes be corrected by placing a seat pad on the seat. Numbness in the fingers can be avoided if you regularly straighten your fingers while paddling. Back rest and rudder setting must be adjusted already on land.
  • Make sure that you, or someone in the group if there are several of you, have a map of the area. Preferably also have a compass that you know how to use. If you can't use it, it's of no use. Continuously monitor where you are on the map.
  • Bring the right equipment. Make sure to bring a dry change of clothes. The clothes you kayaking i always get wet. When you go ashore, change into dry clothes. A windproof jacket and a hat with a brim to protect against the sun are important. You must bring drinking water in sufficient quantity; in the archipelago, drinking water is often in short supply. Make sure to drink continuously during the tour. If you are going to camp, dome tents are preferable, which therefore do not require anchoring in the ground. However, make sure to put in heavier objects or anchor with ropes if possible so that the tent does not blow away when no one is in the tent.
  • If you are paddling in the archipelago, you should avoid dotted fairways as much as possible during the boating season for safety reasons. Traffic can be heavy here and kayaks are very poorly visible. Should you still follow a fairway, make sure to lie just outside the path.
  • Turk kayaks are designed to be loaded. The seal causes the center of gravity to be lowered so that the kayak becomes more stable and has a smoother ride in the water. Pack so that what you need first in the evening is in the innermost part of the kayak and what you need during the day is more easily accessible. What is needed during the actual paddling, e.g. drinking water, rain gear, hat, small treats, fruit should be available in the cockpit. On the aft deck, you can have an extra waterproof bag with extra clothes, a spare paddle and rescue accessories such as a pump and any flotation cushion. All properly secured in the deck lines. Bulky objects on the aft deck, however, make it difficult to get back into the kayak after a capsize and can create wind and wave traps and thus make the kayak less stable, especially in bad weather.
  • Have a lanyard between the paddle and the kayak. If for some reason you lose the paddle, all you have to do is pull the rope and you will have the paddle back. Otherwise, the paddle easily floats out of reach. Without a paddle, you're in big trouble.
  • The strap on the canopy should face outwards so that it can be easily grabbed if you fall over.

Common law and common sense

Our unique public right gives you access to practically all Swedish waters. You can go ashore, rest, swim and spend the night if you do not disturb or destroy. This unique right requires responsibility, consideration and good judgment. Do not disturb, do not destroy are watchwords.

Pay attention to the behavior of birds. Avoid roosting or camping too close to their nests. Bird protection areas are protected during certain times. There it is forbidden to go ashore, sometimes even to get too close. The color of the signs indicates the type of regulations that apply. Times may vary from location to location. In some areas, public access may be limited, for example in some nature reserves. Other nature reserves may be set aside specifically for the needs of mobile outdoor life and overnight stays are permitted there. The regulations that apply in each such area are indicated on signs. You can also go to the respective county board's website and get information about this.

It is generally allowed to camp overnight provided you do not disturb nearby residents or risk damaging the land. If there are houses nearby, you should ask permission in advance, especially if you are a group. In nature reserves, you are generally allowed to camp for two days unless otherwise specified. Read the signs posted. Natural needs must primarily be met at the campsite's toilets if there are any. Otherwise, dig a pit and cover properly. Bring all debris. It should preferably not be seen that you were a guest at the place afterwards. Do not place loose garbage bags next to a garbage can. The animals then spread the contents around. Fire bans often prevail in summer, otherwise it is permitted under the greatest caution. Small field kitchens are always allowed. If you make a fire, put it out carefully and never fire directly on rock slabs. During land transport, it is not permitted to pass over empty or damage-sensitive land. You are generally allowed to fish freely with rod and hand gear along the Baltic Sea coast.

tour paddling

With a dome tent, you can easily spend the night on a smooth rock face next to the water