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Discover Packrafting in Helvetinjärvi National Park (Finland)

A waterborne adventure exploring the impressive geological landscapes of southern Finland

  • Guided
  • Easy-Med
  • From £493/person
  • Apr-Oct, 4 days/3 nights
  • Adults (min. age 15), Groups, Solo
  • Itinerary
  • Dates & Prices
  • Good to Know
  • Gallery & Comments
  • Description
  • Day 1
  • Days 2-3
  • Day 4

Located just 50km from Tampere, Helvetinjärvi National Park is a rugged and remote region of gorges, canyons, lakes and sandy beaches. Packrafting offers the perfect way to explore the park, giving a very different perspective to that available on a hiking tour.

A packraft is a lightweight (a 1-person raft weighs approx. 2.5kg), inflatable raft that can be easily inflated for paddling and deflated for land transports or short hikes. Packrafting combines the flexibility and tranquility of canoeing with the added portability of an inflatable craft and the chance to try something new.

Scheduled tours take place from spring all the way to autumn. The early and later parts of the season are wonderful and very quiet times to be outdoors in Finland (be prepared for some chilly nights!), while summer tours typically offer the warmest temperatures and the chance for a swim in the lakes. Private tours for groups of min. 4 persons are also possible on other dates by arrangement.

This packrafting tour is accessible to anyone with general good level of fitness and interest in the outdoors and makes an ideal introduction to paddle adventures. No previous experience is required and all equipment, including camping equipment, is provided. You will be using a combination of one-person and two-person rafts on the tour, which can be easily inflated/deflated and carried during the land portages during the trip.

You will be rafting on calm water on a 4-day tour led by experienced local guide, camping wild along the way each night and taking in some of the impressive geological and natural features of the park - imposing cliffs and crevasses, ancient forest and inviting dune beaches.

Starting from Lake Kovero, you take in the lakes of Luoma and Helvetinjärvi and finally the stunning dune beach at Haukka. If water levels are high enough, a trip down the Haukka river is also possible.

Each evening you make camp at a suitable spot to enjoy dinner and campfire as the sun sets. Accommodation is camping and all necessary equipment is provided, but if you're feeling adventurous, you can also opt to sleep in lean-to shelters for some added challenge! You will have the opportunity to learn a great deal about the natural and cultural heritage of the area from your guide.

At the end of your tour, you have the opportunity to take a sauna (an essential ingredient of any trip to Finland!) in Tampere along with farewell meal with your guide before departure.

Day 1 - Arrival

Transfers are timed to meet Finnair flight AY265 from Helsinki arriving Tampere Pirkkala airport at 16.45. It is also very convenient to travel by train - Tampere is just 1.5 hours by train from Helsinki airport. For guests overnighting in Tampere before the tour or arriving by train from Helsinki, pick-up is at Tampere railway station or accommodation in Tampere around 17.30 following the airport pick-up.

From here, transfer time is around 1.5 hours to reach the park. Tonight you will make camp at a lovely spot on the dune beach at Lake Haukkajärvi for your first night around the campfire. It will probably be around 21.00 by the time you are preparing dinner and making camp for your first night in the wilderness!

Day 2

Breakfast followed by a short transfer (approx. 15 mins) to the start point on Lake Kovero to begin your packrafting adventure. During the day you will take lunch at Luoma, followed by a short walk (approx. 2.5km) to the lovely marshland lake area at Iso Ruokejärvi to enjoy the evening there around the campfire. The brave might even wish to take a dip in the beautiful clear waters of the lake!

In the evening, your guide can introduce you to some basic bushcraft skills for outdoor experiences in Finland, such as setting up a tarpaulin shelter and preparing a camp fire using only knife and matches.

Rafting distance: approx. 12km. Portage: approx. 3km

Day 3

You begin with a portage with your rafts to reach the Helvetinkolu gorge, where you inflate the rafts and head down the lake for lunch. You portage through some small lakes to Haukkajärvi to paddle from there to the beach at Haukanhieta beach to camp for the night and, for the hardy (water temperatures during the spring and autumn will be typically around +10 degrees C), an evening swim! When water levels are high enough, the day's paddling can be extended by a few km with a trip on the Haukkajoki river.

Rafting distance: approx. 8-12km. Portage: approx. 3km

Day 4 - Departure

Your adventure comes to a close, but not before a breakfast around the fire (and optional swim!) before breaking camp. You leave the park for tranfser (approx. one hour) to Tampere, where you visit a public sauna to wash, relax and reflect on your trip. You then have lunch at a local restaurant (included) with your guide before transfer to train station or airport for departure.

Departure transfers meet Finnair flight AY206 to Helsinki departing 17.05. For guests departing by train, you will be at Tampere railway station around 15.00.

  • Dates
  • Prices
  • Included
  • Not Included

Dates 2018

  • Spring tours: 10.05-13.05.18, 17.05-20.05.18, 24.05-27.05.18
  • Summer tours: 28.06, 01.07.18, 05.07-08.07.18, 19.07-22.07.18, 26.07-29.07.18, 02.08-05.08.18, 09.08-12.08.18
  • Autumn tours: 20.09-23.09.18, 27.09-30.09.18, 04.10-07.10.18, 11.10-14.10.18

Private tours can also be offered on other dates by arrangement between mid-April and late October on request from groups of 4-8 persons. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Prices 2018

Prices are in British Pounds and Euros. If you wish, you are also welcome to make your payment in Swedish Kronor (SEK) - please contact us for details.

Standard Prices  
Per personGBP 493EUR 500

Included

  • Packrafting equipment: One-person/two-person packrafts, paddle, buoyancy aid
  • Camping and cooking equipment: Tents (shared 2-person*), sleeping bag (down** sleeping bags, rating 850 cuin), sleeping bag liner, sleeping mat (Thermarest Z-lite closed-cell foam), cooking equipment/eating utensils.
  • Rucksack: Waterproof rucksack (60 litres). You are welcome to bring your own if you prefer, but if doing so please advise in advance and ensure rucksack is waterproof with at least 60 litres capacity.
  • Meals: All meals from dinner on arrival day to lunch on departure day. During the tour, normally dehydrated camping foods*** are used as primary meals. Breakfast will typically be porridge, bread with toppings, etc. Lunch at restaurant in Tampere on departure day is included.
  • Sauna: Use of public sauna in Tampere on departure.

  • Transfers: Local transfers to/from Tampere in connection with fixed travel times for the tour as outlined under "Itinerary".

  • Guide/instructor: Services of experienced local guide during the tour.

*Solo travellers will normally share tent with another solo traveller (of same gender). Single tent occupancy for solo travellers may also be possible on request - please contact us for details.

**If you have an allergy to down, it is essential to advise us of this well in advance so that alternative equipment can be offered.

***As dehydrated camping foods are often used during the tour, common dietary requirements such as vegetarian, etc, can be easily accommodated, but opportunities to accommodate more restrictive diets (such as gluten-free, vegan, particular allergies) may be limited. Please advise any dietary needs in advance and contact us to discuss your requirements.

Please be careful with your equipment! If some part of the equipment should break as a result of misuse or carelessness, you may be charged for the damage caused.

Not Included

    • Travel: We do not arrange flights or domestic travel, but are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey. See under "Good to Know > Getting There" for general travel information.
  • Required
  • Getting There
  • Combine This With
  • Groups
  • Eco Info

Required

Health requirements/experience:

Min. age 15 years.

This experience is suitable for a wide range of participants. You should have a general good level of health/fitness, enjoy camping and the outdoors and be prepared for portages of approx. 3km carrying backpack and packraft. Each person will carry own equipment - where 2-person rafts are used, weight will be shared. A 1-person raft weighs approx. 2.5kg + buoyancy aid approx. 0.3kg and paddle 1kg. A 2-person raft weighs around 4kg. The required portages are short and not particularly demanding. During portages, the rafts can be attached to the rucksacks that are provided as standard.

Note that some scheduled tours take place during spring and autumn, when temperatures can vary between +20 degrees C and zero degrees. For tours at this time, you should be prepared for cool evenings and that the water can also be very cold (typically around +10 degrees C).

No previous experience of paddle tours is required.

What makes this "Easy-Medium"?

The tour is guided with full equipment provided. As a 4-day/3-night tour (2 days' rafting), the tour will have a lower level of challenge compared to paddle tours of longer duration. Some portages are required and, as tours take place in the early/late part of the season, conditions will typically be cool.

NB: Perception of difficulty is very subjective. What is hard to one person may be easy for another and vice versa, depending on factors including level of fitness, age and previous experience. Weather conditions/temperatures can also dramatically affect the actual level of challenge encountered.

Equipment/clothes needed:

For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "Dates and Prices > Included".

A detailed recommended packing list for personal items to bring will be sent with your booking documentation.

NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing. Note of course that the most appropriate clothing to use as well as the level of challenge experienced during any outdoor activity may vary significantly depending on factors such as the time of year and the particular weather/temperature conditions during your trip.

Minimum number:

Scheduled tours have no minimum and tours are guaranteed from the first booking. Private tours on other dates can be offered on request for groups of 4-8 persons.

Getting There

Detailed information on travel options to this experience will be provided in response to your enquiry. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.

Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.

By Air:

Fly to Helsinki for train (approx. 1.5 hours) or domestic flight (approx. 35 mins) to Tampere, from where transfers (approx. 1-1.5 hours) are included to the start/end point of the tour at fixed times.

Without Flying:

Train from UK to Stockholm (Sweden) for ferry to Helsinki and onward train to Tampere.

Combine This With

This experience makes a good combination with the following:

Groups

Max. group size 8 persons.

Eco Info

This provider has a written environmental policy

Helvetinjärvi National Park

Covering a total area of just under 50 square km, Helvetinjärvi National Park was founded in 1982 to protect the wild forests of the Tavastia region and the landscape of gorges and rugged scenery created by faults in the bedrock. The name translates in English as "Hell's Lake".

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