The Kungsleden is a 450km trail system in the very North of Sweden. I guess in a way it’s a little like the pennine way just a little longer and in parts quite remote. In winter it becomes one of the worlds must do ski tours and although not especially hard it’s still a remote region some 200km north of the artic circle, so needs to be treated with a degree of respect.
I planned on doing it last year as part of a group tour, but birthdays and royal weddings got in the way so I knocked it back a year. In doing so it gave me a little extra time for planning and I decided on doing it solo. I’ve really enjoyed the planning part of it and although there is quite a bit of info on line, you have to resist the temptation of visiting these places before you have even been. I know that I could pretty much “streetview” the whole of the trip, by typing in “Kungsleden winter” you can even watch videos of 5 Belgian guys doing it. It’s tricky these days not to overload on information but just get enough to help you out and not make the same mistakes as other people have done.
My motivation for the trip is self sufficiency and the northern lights. The northern lights is easy, they are one of the great wonders of the world and the next few years should see a spike in activity, some say it won’t be better in the next 30 years, so maybe i’ll never get a better chance. Self sufficiency is I guess just a way of getting away from it all, it’s a chance to use some gear and perhaps refocus on the important things. If nothing else it’s a chance to go somewhere nice and do something good.
Although I'm going from hut to hut. I hope to spend a couple of nights out in a snow hole. This has meant some tough targets for pack weight, set against a quite long list of stuff that may be redundant but safety dictates. Sleeping bag, snow shovel, spot, cooking gear, it’s all there and it’s a little over 10kg which I’m very happy with especially as there is 1.8kg of camera gear.The rest of the gear is pretty sparse, with perhaps one extravagance. A solar charger for my iphone and that is only as I am looking forward to listening to some great tunes and 12 days would mean a big pile of batteries.
Read about Nicks Equipment - additions, extravagances and tips
My journey starts in Abisko and the plan is to hop off the train in the morning, hire the skis and get on the trail. However, if the weather report is good then Abisko is one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights, so I might just stay here the night.