Canoeing in Dalsland

Paddle tour through the Swedish water world

Sweden is famous for its thousands of lakes and rivers. A holiday by canoe in Dalsland, which is often referred to as "miniature Sweden" because of its scenic diversity, is therefore almost a must. We have taken a closer look at the region and compiled the most important information for canoeists.

Have you ever dreamed of staying on a private island? Nothing around you, except the lonely screams of rare birds, quiet, crystal clear water and above you the endless sky?

Well, it is all a question of the weather. If you are lucky, your will experience exactly these picturesque moments on your canoe trip on the countless waterways. But since we are speaking of Sweden, our first advice for you is: get ready for dirty weather, no matter what the weather forecast says.

Packing tip for Dalsland: Get ready for any weather

Swedish summers are among the most beautiful in Europe when the weather is right. However, for your paddle trip you should be prepared for all eventualities. In addition to swim wear, mosquito repellent and sun hat, you will need a fleece, long (trekking) pants and, most importantly, reliable rainwear. It is extremely aggravating to be surprised by a rain shower in a canoe or kayak. You can’t seek shelter easily within the next minutes or sometimes even hours. And camping with wet stuff is no fun at all.

But following this warning, let us talk about the bright side of canoeing in Dalsland.

Dalsland: Island hopping in a true outdoor style

Your friends in Greece or Croatia might sail between sunny Mediterranean islands, but “island hopping" in Dalsland means something different. You can explore almost untouched nature far away from traffic noise and cities with a canoe or a sporty kayak. The thousands of small to medium-sized islands that dot the lakes provide great places for a break or the night.

If you are travelling with less than six people, you can pitch your tent almost anywhere outside the bird sanctuaries. The reason for this is the Swedish “everyman’s right”, which allows people to camp wild all over Sweden. Larger groups have to stay overnight at the official rest areas.

Dalsland, with about 50,000 inhabitants, is sparsely populated and ranges over 5,000 square kilometers. Even though there are some canoeists in the main season on Dalsland's more popular lakes such as Stora Le, you will find enough peace and quiet on the other lakes and rivers.

Equipment: What do I need for a paddle tour?

Additionally to the already mentioned all-weather clothing, we have a few more tips for a great canoeing trip in Dalsland.

Hire or bring along?

If you are already a passionate paddler, it is of course no problem at all to bring your own canoe or kayak. For everybody else, there are many opportunities to rent a boat either in the tourist centers in Ed and Bengtsfors or also at small campsites. In many cases, you don't have to return them to where you rented them - just ask on the spot what options you have.

Waterproof storage options

Obviously, it makes sense to pack your belongings in watertight containers. We recommend sturdy barrels and stuff bags, which you can rent from most canoe rental companies. Tip: Life jackets can also be rented and keep you not only safe but also warm. How to pack your boat? Put the heaviest containers behind you and the light ones in the front. In a Canadian canoe it is best to store everything in the middle where the boat is widest.

Tents and tarps with enough storage space

Make sure your tent has a large enough apsis to accommodate not only your baggage but also the supplies and other equipment. This way, even in the rain everything stays dry and safe. However, your tent shouldn't be too big. Space on the islands is limited and campsites for large tents are rare. If you are on holiday with your family, we recommend two small tents. Another advantage is that not the whole family has to sleep in a tent together. Your children will certainly love it to have some room for themselves. The "alone in the wilderness" feeling comes up and suddenly the family holiday becomes a real adventure.

Additionally to the tent, you can also take a tarp with you. It shields for example the cooking area from sun or rain. And those among you who like chilling should definitely consider a hammock. Is there a better way to relax swinging between two trees and enjoy your well-deserved drink in the evening?

Finally, some words to the beginners. Dalsland is ideal for beginners, as there are usually hardly any waves on the quite narrow waterways. Unless you are really unlucky and a storm is blowing over you - then stay close to the shore...

We wish you a lot of fun!