Complete Outdoors

Fjallraven Classic Sweden


Earlier this year, I was asked whether I would be interested in participating in the Fjallraven Classic in Sweden.

Not knowing anything about it, I immediately said yes... I had never been to Sweden after all.

Read about David's experience of completing the Fjallraven Classic hiking challenge in Sweden

Once I briefly read what the Classic involved, I was very glad I had signed up to it! Trekking 110km through the Swedish back country with everything you need on your back seemed like the perfect getaway to me.

I also thought about what a generous offer this was from Fjallraven, a brand we had only recently started to stock in store.

So the day came to head to Sweden... a 3am taxi to Heathrow, a flight to Stockholm and then an internal flight up to Kiruna in the Arctic Circle.

I was worried I wasn't going to be in the best state to start the 110km trek first thing on the Friday morning, but as we started to descend towards an airstrip surrounded by the most beautiful Swedish Forests, there was great sense of excitement on the plane full of participants - and I was buzzing.

Upon arriving at the "basecamp" that evening, we signed in and collected our map, food and gas. We then checked in to our accommodation before heading off to an introductory talk welcoming us to the Classic...

This was the first point at which I truly understood what the Classic was really all about. Karl Hard, the event organiser, took us through the history of Fjallraven - explaining that from it's foundation, Fjallraven had been a company that is committed to making nature more accessible. He also described the Classic as not only a trek, but also a celebration of the outdoors! Inspired and raring to go, we headed back to our hut to pack our bags and get our heads down. It would be an early start the next day, so we needed to be well-rested and prepared.

After a quick shower, we jumped on the coach for an hour long journey to the starting point at Nakkaluokta. I was already very impressed by how well-organised this trip was - with 2000 people participating from countries all around the world. I was also moved by how friendly the Swedish people were, many of them volunteers who were here purely because of their love for the outdoors.

I set off in a group of four, with three other guys from around the UK and Ireland who I had only met briefly on the flight into Kiruna. It was quite refreshing to be in that situation again, and one that I hadn’t been in for a while…getting to know new people whilst taking in what the beautiful surroundings had to offer. We made our way through birch forests with rounded peaks rising to meet the sky in the distance.  We started at quite a pace, making our way along lakes as we approached the first check point at the base of Kebnekaise – Sweden’s highest mountain.

Here, we were welcomed into a large Tipi and offered cake and coffee from a lovely lady who was raising money to help re-build the lives of those affected by the Nepalese earthquake in April 2015. As we were chowing down our Turmat freeze dried lunch, they battened down the hatches and zipped us into the tipi. I asked one of the organisers what was going on, and he signalled that there was a helicopter approaching to deliver as container of food and essentials to the opposite hut. It was nice reminder of how remote our trekking location was, and it was also quite cool to see the piloting skills needed to hover so low.

Even though we were only half a day into our five-day trek, we already had a great rapport between the four of us. It was a great reminder of how being out in nature, away from all the distractions in day-to-day life, is such a great way to connect with others. It gave us space to contemplate things and forget about the unnecessary stresses back home. We pushed on through the valley, following the river in gorgeous sunshine. At this point the starting group of several hundred had spread right out, so we felt like we had the land to ourselves. In this setting, I really started to appreciate how beautiful this part of the world really is!

Soon enough, one of our group started to flag a little, suffering from the first of many blisters to come. We decided to pitch up for the night and found a lovely spot right next to the small lake, just off the trail. We all unloaded our camping equipment before having the inevitable kit comparison session that you’d expect with four people who work in the outdoor retail industry.

All things considered, this trip was a fantastic opportunity – and one that I will personally never forget. Trekking by vast lakes in the wake of breath-taking mountains and sprawling forests was a truly humbling experience, and certainly a celebration of the outdoors.

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