This past June, I had the privilege of being able to hike some of the Kungsleden with my two best friends before we all left Sweden. Since returning many people have asked us “how hard was it?”, “do you need to be experienced?”, “do we need to train?” among others.
My friends and I grew up hiking, so our opinions could be different than others, but overall, I think the trail is manageable even if you are not that experienced. The trail is well marked, and often relatively flat. The key thing is to be prepared – this includes doing some research, putting on your hiking shoes and backpack and doing a lap around the block!
** Disclaimer – that being said, do your research and make sure to prioritize your safety. You have a better idea of your capacity and experience and you can always start with a different hike and build up.
Before you go, look into what the average weather is like during that period. The temperature and conditions can vary quite a bit depending on the season, but they also can change depending on which part of the trail you are walking.
Beyond your own comfort and safety, the weather is very influential to the conditions of the trail. At certain times of the year, the paths can be flooded, waterfalls overflowing, animals more exposed etc. making it not possible to complete certain parts of the path.
**Thankfully, along the trail, they have emergency shelters open year-round that have fireplaces, bunk beds and emergency phones (not that you should plan to use them!). We hiked a bit before the season officially started, so the regular cabins were closed, but it was nice to know, if something were to happen, we had access to a phone.
Having appropriate gear is crucial for the trail, regardless of which time of year you go:
- My number one suggestion is RAIN GEAR, you cannot have enough. When I went, I brought a rain jacket, rain poncho, rain pants, waterproof hiking shoes, a rain cover for my backpack and a waterproof tent and I used all of it almost every day!
- If you are going to hike pre-season as we did, bring enough propane and matches, because you will not be able to replenish at the cabins.
- The warmer your sleeping bag, the better. Even in the summer, the nights can get quite chilly. Ideally, a hooded sleeping bag, which keeps a lot more warmth.
- Bring comfortable shoes to wear after a long day of hiking. My personal favourite is always some form of Crocs because you can still wear warm socks in them if you need them.
- Bugs can be a real issue! When we went in early June, they were not bad, but later in the summer they can be, so make sure you have enough bug spray.
- Get a large backpack (with a rain cover!), we mostly had 60L bags. **Tip – pack your clothes in dry bags inside the backpacks, at least the clothes you really want to keep dry like socks and pyjamas. They don’t have to be fancy dry bags, even Ziploc or grocery bags will do.
Bring more food than you think you need! After a long day of hiking, there is nothing better than having warm meals and enough snacks. We decided to buy the freeze-dried meals, which were light and really delicious, but they also can be a bit expensive. We bought ours at Decathalon and Naturkompaniet. It is definitely possible to make your own freeze-dried meals for much cheaper, it just takes a bit more work.
My favourite snacks to have along are granola bars, salami sticks, trail mix, and chocolate and gummies for the evening!
Keep an open mind
The reality is, no matter how much you plan or how experienced you are, you cannot control nature. There are certain things that may come up on the hike that will change your original plans. This can be frustrating, but the most important thing is that you don’t push it and stay safe. Additionally, some of the most unexpected positive things can come out of these changes. On our hike, we had to take a different route, and in the end, it turned into one of our favourite days!
Overall, this hike is amazing and a lot more beautiful than I was expecting. If you get a chance to go, I definitely recommend it!
Hi! I am Lauren, I was born and raised in Canada, and you probably will hear me talking about how much I love Canada, especially the mountains. I am the blogger for the Master's Public Health Sciences Health Promotion and Prevention stream and I am excited to share my experiences with you!