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Kungsleden questions: fuel, maps, transport links

Thanks for your help!

msfliss
post 25.Mar.2013, 03:30 PM
Post #1
Joined: 25.Mar.2013

Hi all! Looking for some local knowledge to help with my trip to Sweden to walk part of Kungsleden over 2.5 weeks in mid-June this year.

Our first question is where we will be able to get fuel for our backpacking stove. It's a multi-fuel stove, so can run on kerosene/paraffin, white fuel, etc. - the questions is whether we will be able to purchase any of these types of fuels in Kiruna or Abisko. I've been unable to turn up anything in my internet searches that is useful, so would be great to hear from someone about this. We can make alternative arrangements and use traditional gas canisters if necessary but need to know before we go.

Also, we would like to have some good maps of the trail with us while we walk; are these easy to purchase in Kiruna and/or Abisko? Where would you recommend getting these?

What we can expect in terms of river crossings in the northern section during mid/late-June. It seems quite early (we start on the 13th and some huts don't open for another week after this), so I was wondering if anyone knew about whether the bridges will be in place - read somewhere that some some bridges are removed during the winter? Also, what is the deepest we're likely to face in terms of a river crossing - a meter? more?

My final question is about leaving the trail and getting back to Arlanda airport. We've book the train to get to Abisko but didn't want to restrict ourselves by having to get somewhere by a set date to get back. Instead, we're hoping to find a good place to exit the trail that works with our natural schedule. It'll be likely to be Kvikkjokk where we exit, or possibly Saltoluokta if we're slower than expected. What are transport links like from either of those places to Stockholm? I've seen the Inlandsbanan website and thought this would be a possibility, Jokkmokk to somewhere further south to get a connection; is this reasonable or would there be a better/quicker way back to Arlanda?

Thank you in advance for reading and I hope you can help make our trip even better!
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gplusa
post 25.Mar.2013, 04:15 PM
Post #2
Location: Luleå
Joined: 4.Sep.2009

We've walked the northern part of Kungsleden several times. Starting out at Abisko. Unfortunately I can't help you out with question re the lower parts of the trail.

The river crossings over the first 100km aren't too bad. Below knee deep. Remember however that it is mountain water and very cold. Cold enough to lose feeling, so keep a towel at the top of your pack.

There will likely be snow at the top of the pass. Knee deep but the trail is still clearly marked.

Huts you don't need to book, there is always enough room for everyone. Kebne is the only place you need to book if you are heading that way. Personally I would recommend taking a hut where possible. The ground is pretty stoney and not the most comfortable for sleeping. Some of the days can be quite long and hard going, you might want to treat yourself to some comfort in the evenings.

I can't say that I've seen fuel for sale along the trail, but maybe it is. In Kiruna there are some good camping stores that sell the stuff. Abisko Tourist Station is quite large, and it's likely something they would carry. If you make use of the cabins then you won't need any fuel at all, apart from a couple of stretches where there is no hut for a lunch stop off.
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skumdum
post 25.Mar.2013, 06:53 PM
Post #3
Joined: 28.Jun.2011

Yes, you will be able to find fuel for your stove. Go to the nearest gas station and ask for fotogen, lysfotogen, lampolja or campingparaffin.
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msfliss
post 26.Mar.2013, 09:04 AM
Post #4
Joined: 25.Mar.2013

Thank you for the replies. If we got fuel from a gas station, would they sell it to us in small-ish quantities? We'd want to carry about 1-2 litres so if they only sell it in 5 litre jugs (like they do here in the UK), that's a bit of a pain.

We will keep it in mind about using the huts rather than camping out, but a large part of the attraction for us is the wilderness aspect. Luckily we have good mats for sleeping!

Would the camping stores/tourist station have maps of the area, do you think?

And would still welcome any comment from anyone about getting off the trail at the end, if anyone has ideas of a good exit point with goods links to Stockholm, etc..
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gplusa
post 26.Mar.2013, 09:48 AM
Post #5
Location: Luleå
Joined: 4.Sep.2009

Yes, any camping store has a map of Kungsleden. The trail is also exceptionally well marked, so you're highly unlikely to get lost. We've taken small flasks of fuel with us, which we bought from ICA or COOP, just to boil some water for lunch on the long days. I have to say that nearly everyone I met who were camping in tents, camped at the cabin sites. Mostly because there is not a lot of flat ground elsewhere. You'll have almost 24 hour daylight during the time you are on the trail, in the northern part at least, so you will get a lot of time to appreciate the wilderness aspect.

For the maps I think that you will need Fjällkartan BD6 and BD8. You'll find them in most book stores or outdoor sports stores.
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gplusa
post 26.Mar.2013, 09:56 AM
Post #6
Location: Luleå
Joined: 4.Sep.2009

Sorry, just realised that you're not in Sweden. You can buy the maps on-line from Bokus.com or from any other Swedish book site. The shops I'm referring to are local supermarkets.
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Alohart
post 26.Mar.2013, 07:02 PM
Post #7
Location: Uppsala
Joined: 25.Oct.2007

Abisko would be an especially convenient location for the start of your trek because the Abisko Turiststation train stop is adjacent to the northern terminus of Kungsleden (i.e., no other transportation is required to access Kungsleden) and the Abisko Turiststation which is open year-round and has a small store that would likely have what you need (i.e., maps, fuel). I suggest contacting the Abisko Turiststation (contact information is available in the link that I provided) to ask whether they sell what you need just to be certain.

Trail conditions in mid-June depend on the snow accumulation and the rate of spring thawing. There are numerous small bridges that can be damaged by high, rapid streams. Swedish counties are responsible for their maintenance. You might be able to contact Norrbotten län (county) to learn more about bridge conditions and when any repairs might occur.

Possibly a bigger concern would be lake crossings that occur on Kungsleden sections south of Kebnekaise. Various boatmen offer crossings for a fee when the cabins are open, but they would likely not operate their crossing services prior to that. Alternatives are row boats that should be at every lake crossing. Whether they're available depends on whether the last person that used them ensured that at least 1 of the 3 boats on each lake are at each end of the crossing. In exchange for using these boats at no cost, it is the responsibility of users to leave at least 1 boat on each end which could mean that you'd need to cross a lake 3 times, once involving 2 boats. This can be challenging in windy weather.

A few lakes have trails around them, but most don't. If they do, you might need to ford a large river which could be dangerous or even impossible.

Bus transportation from either Saltoluokta or Kvikkjokk to towns on major north-south highways is provided by Länstrafiken Norrbotten. Check their Website for bus schedules which vary by season. You could catch a train or long-distance bus back to Stockholm from these towns.

Should camping be unattractive at some point along your trek, each Svenska Turistföreningen cabin should have one room with a small number of beds open year round even when the cabin itself is closed. There are emergency radios in many cabins should you need one.

Trekking Kungsleden can be a really beautiful experience. Going in June, you'll avoid the crowds of people common on the northernmost section in July and August. However, you might not avoid the crowds of mosquitoes which can be quite oppressive if you are not one of the lucky people not bothered by mosquitoes. If spring is late, you might be there before too many have hatched, but be prepared (head net, repellant).

Have fun!
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skumdum
post 26.Mar.2013, 07:13 PM
Post #8
Joined: 28.Jun.2011

The fuel comes in 1 liter plastic bottles but don't carry those around in the backpack as they can easily break and ruin everything. Buy a proper fuel bottle like the Triangia red or an aluminium one.
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msfliss
post 27.Mar.2013, 09:24 AM
Post #9
Joined: 25.Mar.2013

Thank you again everyone. I'm feeling a lot more sorted thanks to your advice.

Regarding the mosquitoes: we've done the Highlands in July, with midges, so we're used to flying biting things. I tend to think mosquitoes might be slightly more pleasant to deal with - midges have a tendency to get into your foot, for example, which is deeply disgusting! Grey porridge, yum!

We should be hitting the bits south of Kebne once the huts are open, so hopefully the ferries will be in operation just in case the rowboat situation is impossible.

Thank you again for all of your help - hopefully I won't need to pop back to ask anything else.
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