Prepare your trip

Here we have collected some of the most common questions and answers. You are more than welcome to call or e-mail us with your questions, we are always happy to help our guests prepare and plan their tour.

Why kayak in Stockholm Archipelago?

In short, because it is the largest and most diverse archipelago in Sweden. It has everything from sandy beeches and large islands with centuries of history and culture, to thousands and thousands of smaller skerries, wild and uninhabited (except for birds and the occasional seal). There are no tides, currents or big swells to worry about here.

Another good thing, is that it is conveniently close to Stockholm city. Stockholm city is itself built on 14 different islands, so the archipelago is in fact not only close to the city, the city is part of it! This is why sometimes Stockholm is called the venice of the north. Most of our guests who enjoy a guided kayak tour in untouched nature together with us also spend a day or two experiencing the urban city pulse of Stockholm. 

Oh, and of course, Stockholm is easy to get to by both road, rail, water and air, which means you will have hassle-free and convenient travel and transfer. Needless to say, that does not hold true for all parts of Sweden.

Is it difficult to kayak?

Our experience is that with the right introduction, anyone can do a kayak tour with us. You do not need any prior kayak experience. If you choose our self-guided packages, we include a thorough introduction and “light kayak course”, and make sure you are ready before you set out. If you choose our guided tour, the guide will be with you every step of the way and chances are you come back with some newly found skills. 

Is it safe to kayak?

Yes, with some common sense and after out introduction in kayak safety. You do not need any prior kayak experience, but should be used to water and able to swim unaided. Our double kayaks are very stable and are well suited for beginners and intermediates. We can offer you single kayaks as well, but they require a lot of prior kayaking and skills. In Stockholm Archipelago there are no tides, currents or big swells to worry about. Typically, the most challenging part is handling strong winds (if they occur). We will guide you on how to choose different alternatives for routes when the weather is windy, and there is always the option to spend a day discovering your surroundings on a beautiful island while waiting out windy weather.

Who will be my guide?

The Kayak Trail is run by a small group of warm-hearted down-to-earth kayak instructors. The guides leading the groups are always certified wilderness guides. Most of the guides work with kayak tours during the summer season, and spend the winters guiding in the Scandinavian fells. They are also certified for Wilderness First Aid. Needless to say, you can trust us to deliver a beautiful nature experience to you, but also to keep you safe and handle any unexpected situations (in the unlikely event that one should occur).

What do I need to bring?

When booking our guided or self-guided tours, everything you need is included, from start to finish, including all kayak and camping equipment you need. The guided tour includes food, and for the self-guided tours you can add our tasty food package. Transfer is also an optional add-on that we recommend for your convenience. What you do need to bring yourself is a few sets of clothes for outdoor use, shoes for water and land, towel and swimwear, sunglasses, sunblock and toiletries and other personal items.

How do I travel to Stockholm?

It’s super convenient to get to Stockholm. You can travel by road, rail or air. Check out our full guide here.

How will the weather be?

The Swedish summer weather, and especially the archipelago weather, changes a lot and quickly. We will equip you with the SMHI app and make sure you know how to get the latest forecasts so you can plan your day accordingly. If you are with a guide you will go through the weather forecast together. There is no typical weather and temperature vary a lot, but normally it stays between 20-27 °C during the day. In our experience during a 4-6 day trip you will have some sunny days, some cloudy ones, some calm and some windy ones. Perhaps some rain, but normally it passes quickly. For the occasional bad weather day, our great equipment will keep you dry and safe. 

What do we need to know about tides and waves?

To be honest, nothing. There are no tides and no ocean currents in Stockholm Archipelago. You won’t even find big swell, as the larger waves break on the outer skerries and islets further out. This is what makes the area perfect for kayaking. What you do need to know, is how to check the weather in the morning using the SMHI app to see how the weather and wind. We will show you how to do this before you set out, or the guide will do it for you if you are on a guided tour. 

What equipment will we get?

We have thought of everything, so you do not have to. For all our tours, you will receive all the gear you need for a safe and comfortable stay in nature. For more info, and a full equipment list, please check here.

Can we leave our luggage bags with you?

The simple answer is: YES! Anything you do not wish to bring, including luggage bags and other items that you will not use during the kayak tour, can be left safely with us. Your items will be locked in our insurance grade containers, marked with your name and waiting for you once you get back from your tour.

What about fresh water?

We will provide you with 5 liter tanks (as many as you need) and advise on how much water to bring.  If you booked a guided tour, the guide will take care of this for you.

For longer tours, there are a few places out in the archipelago were it is possible to refill during the trip (our kayak guides will show you on the map before you go). As a rule of thumb we recommend bringing 2,5-3 liter of drinking water per person and day.

Please remember to bring your own small water bottle (we recommend 0,5-1 liter) so that you can stay hydrated while on the water.

Can we wild camp anywhere?

The simple answer is: almost anywhere. This is something we will talk you through during the introduction session for the self-guided tours, so you know all the Do’s and Dont’s. On our guided tours, you can rely on the guide to make sounds decisions regarding the camp sites you visit throughout the tour. Below is a bit more information if you are curious to know more. 

  • In Sweden we have something called Right of Public Access. This is a statutory right that allows all people to cross, stay and wild camp in nature, even if the land is privately owned. However, you cannot do whatever you like. You have an obligation to take care of and be careful with the environment. This means, for example, that you are allowed to camp on an island owned by someone, but that you must not cut down trees, damage plants or animals, or otherwise make visible signs that you were there.
  • A good guiding principle is to ‘travel invisibly’. That is, it should not appear that someone has been at the place when you packed up and leave from there. Leave nothing but footprints.
  • Keep in mind that the Right of Public Access does not apply to land that is directly adjacent to buildings—so you must not pitch the tent on someone’s lawn! If someone tells you you are to close to their dwelling, the reasonable thing to do is to respect this, and perhaps ask for a suitable alternative for the tent.
  • You can learn more about the Swedish Right of Public Access  here.

Good apps to download before your tour

Even though you are out in the wilderness, there is surprisingly good mobile coverage in large parts of the archipelago. Swedes do love nature, but we also love the internet..! There are several apps for your smartphone that can be of use during your kayak trip. Here are a few examples that we really like. The guide will go through the apps (especially weather) in the introduction session.

  • Weather apps. SMHI or YR are recommended. These weather app have good weather data for Stockholm archipelago, and you will use the app to check the most recent forecast every morning. Windy is another alternative, perhaps a bit over-the-top for casual users, but very good at providing timely weather data and forecasts about wind and rain. The free version of the app is all you need.
  • Maps apps. We recommend using google maps (download the offline map of the areas just in case). All our physical maps have a QR code printed next to the legend. If you scan the QR code with the camera on your smartphone this will redirect you to a digital version of the map inside Google Maps. This comes in handy if you get lost among the myriad of small islands and skerries, or simply want to double-check that your navigational skills are good.
  • 112 SOS Alarm. Download and allow the position function. This way, if you need to call 112 in an emergency, the operator can see your exact GPS location, which is very handy. Only in Swedish but it is really simple, so with a bit of google translate you will be able to download and register.

What about alcohol?

To grab a beer after a day in the kayak or to enjoy a bottle of wine in the sunset can be the perfect rewind after a fun and intense day in the kayak.

In regular supermarkets in Sweden you will find drinks with up to 3,5% alcohol level. Stronger stuff like wine and spirits can be found at  Systembolaget, the public alcohol monopoly. Search on Google maps or equivalent to find your closest Systembolaget store. Be aware they have limited opening hours especially on Saturdays, and are always closed on Sundays. So plan your shopping accordingly. Make sure to do any shopping for alcohol before the transfer picks you up (or before arriving at the kayak center if not using the transfer).

Please note that you must be 18 years or older to drink alcohol in Sweden (in bars etc.) and  20 years or older to purchase alcohol at Systembolaget.

Finally, we strongly discourage drinking alcohol while on the water, as this can significantly increase the risks associated with kayaking, and negatively affect your safety. We advise all our guests to drink in moderation (if at all) throughout your kayak tour. Anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be allowed to depart in kayak from our centers.

Can we make a camp fire?

It is very cozy to sit around a fire in the evening. Unfortunately, it is often very dry during large parts of the summer, which increase the risk of wildfires. When it is especially dry outdoors, a general ban on making fires can also be imposed in Sweden, or regionally in the Stockholm region. At these times it is forbidden to start a fire, even if you build a proper fireplace first.

Please note that it is your personal responsibility to ensure that you are following local rules and regulations as well as adhering to any ongoing fire bans. The Kayak Trail strongly recommends that you do not light any fires while out kayaking with us.

  • Starting a fire on the bare rock is strictly forbidden and will be seen as a very serious offence by the natural reserve rangers, by The Kayak Trail, and by fellow swedes. A fire on the bare rock destroys the rock forever (it cracks). Remember all our beautiful flat rocks have been carved out by thousands of years of ice pressure during the last ice age. Do not be the one to destroy it.
  • Any fire should be made in a properly constructed fire pit, dug down in earth and sealed of by many large stones. Remember that you are not always allowed to build fire pits, especially not in natural reserves where the nature should be left untouched. If you build a fire pit, you must remove it before leaving the camp in the morning, placing stones where you found them, put back the earth and preferably also the grass if you manage to save it (goal: leave no sign of the fire place).
  • If you have any questions regarding lighting of fires, please ask the Kayak Trail team members before you set out on your trip.

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