Sarek Part One: An Amazing Arctic Adventure – or – Is It Wrong To Love A Tent?

The first inkling that there might be mosquitoes, was while we were waiting for the bus to take us from Lulea airport to the hotel. It was evening and we suddenly became aware of being eaten by the nasty things. At the last minute, I had packed a brand new bottle of Mosi-Guard for the trip, but hadn’t really been expecting to use it! Luckily, we didn’t have long to wait for the bus that night though and soon arrived at the Comfort Hotel Arctic for a well earned rest after our two flights that day – Manchester to Stockholm, then Stockholm to Lulea.

The next morning, Lulea was unbelievably quiet as we wandered to a supermarket for supplies and then onto the station.

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Once at the station, I looked after the rucksacks whilst James went off to the local outdoor shop hunter-gathering the gas we needed for the next week.

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That day we had a two hour train journey followed by a four hour bus journey, to get us to Kvikkjokk, our jumping off point for the trail.

I wasn’t looking forward to the bus section – but in actual fact it turned out to be delightful. The driver never went above about 40 mph, and there were several stops along the way. It was obviously a local service too. At one stop I managed to pick up a Magnum – strawberry ice cream smothered in white chocolate – and at another place enjoyed a most delicious chai latte.

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The countryside was all lakes and trees, with houses nestled in the forests.

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We finally arrived in Kvikkjokk in the early evening and set off walking to our first night’s camp. This initial section of our route followed the Kungsleden Trail.

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Athough this would arguably be the busiest section of our entire route, we still hardly saw anyone until we got to where we planned to spend the night. Here, there were already several tents pitched, this being a kind of unofficial spot where people on the Kungsleden congregated. There was also a wooden privy – very civilised!

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The most notable thing for us though, was the mosquitoes. Loads of them. Huge things, the size of helicopters…..

Out came my Mosi-Guard and James’ headnet. Unfortunately, James hadn’t brought any repellent at all.

I did share.

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James’ version of Part One can be read here.

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About chrissiedixie

Love being out on the moors and mountains, backpacking, dogs, travelling generally. Favourite place in the world - Yosemite National Park. Retired teacher and ex Mountain Rescue Deputy Team Leader. Married to Geoff, who puts up with all sorts.
This entry was posted in Backpacking Trips, Trips Abroad. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Sarek Part One: An Amazing Arctic Adventure – or – Is It Wrong To Love A Tent?

  1. backpackingbongos says:

    No, its not wrong to love a tent but you have to careful how you love it.

    Thanks for the mozzie spray, although you should have carried 2 bottles……

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  2. Robin says:

    Poor Geoff. Tent as a love rival 😱

    Next time you should take a midge jacket! I’m told that midges/mossies hate lavender. I’ve used lavender linen spray on tents and clothes but not really encountered enough insects to say whether it works. A Scottish fisherman told me he uses it and said it was very effective. Also hides sweat smells!

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    • And what makes you think I might have smelled sweaty?!
      To be fair, my Mosi-Guard worked brilliantly. Being all natural you can spray it on clothes as well as your body, and by the end of the week I had the grand total of three mozzie bites, whereas James was covered in them….

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  3. Robin says:

    Good to know Mosi-Guard works. Perhaps a citronella candle might be worth taking as well

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  4. Robin says:

    BTW my midge jacket only weighs 118g.

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    • I wonder if they could still bite through the mesh where it touches the skin?? I use a Rab Zephyr jacket as a windproof and that also worked well at keeping the beasties at bay.

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    • backpackingbongos says:

      I have to say that although a midge jacket would work with midges it would be as useful as a dog harness made out of cheese when it comes to clouds of mozzies!

      Its full of holes and the mozzies we encountered in Sarek had long drill bits which would fit nicely though those holes. They tend go do for the bony bits of your body like the shoulders and the backs of the hands. The midge jacket would be touching the skin on your back and shoulders (especially when wearing a pack) and the mozzies would simply chomp away. I therefore highly recommend a nice thin wind proof.

      A headnet is essential but I had the mistake of just wearing a baseball cap, this meant that the back touched my neck. The mozzies had a field day on the back of my neck…….

      The 118g would be wasted 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Robin says:

    It’s quite baggy do I suspect it wouldn’t be much of a problem. The advantage over a windproof is it wouldn’t be so hot in warm weather. Supposedly ghillies use them in Scotland. I got mine cheap, so I thought it was worth it just in case. If I was going to Scotland in midge season or Scandinavia in summer I think I’d take it.

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  6. A nice start to what no doubt will be an interesting report. I have never seen Kvikkjokk as displayed in your photos as I have jumped of the bus and then headed fro the boat to take me to the Padjelantaleden. The bus trip is an enjoyable one as it winds its way into the mountains, with the stops along the way at Jokkmokk and Årrenjarka providing shopping and relaxing opportunities. Mosquitoes are part of the Lapland experience (I use Autan) along with a headnet. And as you have noted a good impenetrable top works well for me it is the Rab Boreas, though I have read that silk shirts also work well. What makes you love your tent (they do look good)?

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    • Hi, thanks for the kind comment 🙂
      Although we had expected the mosquitoes to have given up for the summer by then (and they certainly hadn’t!) I actually became quite philosophical about them after a few days. Not only did the repellent and my Rab top work well in defence of the little critters, I did discover that I developed a kind of mental tolerance to them and they ceased to bother me to a large extent. Incidentally, my Rab Zephyr top is exactly the same as the Boreas, only it has a full length zip. Over the head smock types are something I don’t cope with so well, I always seem to end up fighting them!
      Why do I love my tent?
      I’d bought it specially for the trip (it’s a Hilleberg Enan) and had only used it once before, but I quickly found it to be spot on for my needs. It’s smaller than my other (Terra Nova Superlite Voyager) but I was pleasantly surprised at how all my gear still fitted in with no problems and it had a super cozy feel to it. People joke about Hilleberg tents having condensation problems, but I honestly don’t think condensation was any worse (or better) than any other tent I’ve used.
      It’s also the first tent I’ve had which pitches either outer first or inner and outer together, and when the weather became very wet later on in the week, it was a bit of a revelation to me how much difference it made being able to take the inner down dry and pack it separately from the sopping wet outer and then reverse the process when re-pitching it and have a dry tent to get into.
      Of course, I’m sure there are lots of other tents which are equally as good, but it certainly became my little haven which I looked forward to sleeping in each night! 😀

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  7. surfnslide says:

    Nice to read a different perspective to James write ups. Mossies would have driven me mental 🙂

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  8. If there’s one thing I can’t stand at all, it’s biting insects. I’d have a hard time with that.

    I was eating a white chocolate Magnum the other day as they’d run out of the milk choccie ones and was thinking it needed to be strawberry ice-cream. The plain icecream just didn’t go at all!
    Carol.

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    • Some of those mosquitoes did seem to be of a very large variety as well!
      Don’t know if it’s just chance, but I’ve only ever seen those strawberry and white chocolate Magnums in Sweden. I also had several when Geoff and I were over there with the van, a few years ago 😀

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  9. Amazing stuff Chrissie. Nothing wrong in loving a tent, they respond well to a little love and affection?? Great write up too.

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  10. Rowena says:

    I’m late in getting to these – was trying to save reading them for when I could see them on my computer (as opposed to phone). Lovely pictures – makes me want to go to Sweden…

    Like

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