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FAQs - Dog Sledding

Frequently Asked Questions about dog sledding: Can I drive my own sled? How fast does a dogsled go? Find out here!

See also: Compare our range of dogsled tours | When to go dog sledding

Everything you ever wanted to know about dog sledding but were afraid to ask!

Dog sledding is a unique experience, and one of our most popular winter activities. We've collected the answers to questions our clients commonly ask about our range of dog sledding holidays in Sweden, Norway and Finland.

Whether you are an experienced musher or a novice yet to discover the thrills and adventure of dog sledding, we hope that you will find the information helpful to give you an idea of what to expect from your mushing holiday.

We love talking dog sledding, so if you have a question that's not answered here, or would like help choosing the best dogsled tour for you, don't hesitate to get in touch!

  1. How many dogs are there in a dogsled team?
  2. Can I drive my own dogsled if I haven't been dog sledding before?
  3. How fast does a dogsled go?
  4. What happens on a typical day during a hut-to-hut or winter camping dog sledding tour?
  5. What distance do you cover in a day of dog sledding?
  6. What is the accommodation like on a multi-day dog sledding tour?
  7. Is dog sledding suitable for solo travellers?
  8. How many people will be in the group during my dog sledding tour?
  9. What nationalities/age ranges will be in my group?
  10. Is dog sledding suitable for children?
  11. How fit or strong do I need to be to go dog sledding?
  12. Is there a maximum age limit for dog sledding?
  13. What clothing will I need to go dog sledding?
  14. Where are the best places to go dog sledding?
  15. Will I see the Northern Lights during my dogsled tour?
  16. What is the best time of year to go dog sledding in Sweden, Norway or Finland?
Your husky team will typically have 3-5 dogs

Photo: Jonathan Lamb

Take a look at our blog article How to drive a dogsled to find out more!

*For One-day and Overnight Husky Tours in Kiruna, there is the option to drive own sled or share one per two persons. For Aurora Husky Adventure in Finnmark, the tour normally begins with using a "tandem" sled, where you share a sled one per wo persons and both participate in driving at the same time (that is, neither person is riding as a passenger). For information on dog sledding for families and possibilities for children to drive, for example for Discover Dog Sledding in Lapland, please see information on the relevant tour page.

The speed of a dogsled will vary depending on terrain and snow consistency

Photo: James Padolsey

When the day's sledding is over, it's time to take care of the dogs

Photo: Corinne McManus

When you reach your destination for the day, you will prepare the dogs for the night. Exact procedure for this will vary depending on the tour and on the weather, but will often involve putting the dogs on a long wire and if necessary maybe even digging a wall of snow for the dogs to protect them from the wind. Depending on facilities and your accommodation for the night, you may need to melt water for the dogs to drink. After feeding and seeing to the dogs, it's time to relax and enjoy your evening - reflecting on the day's adventures with your fellow mushers, preparing and cooking dinner together and maybe even taking a sauna to soothe those tired muscles!

Wilderness cabins are the most common accommodation on a dogsled tour

Photo: Nature Travels

Cabins along the route will normally have shared sleeping rooms with bunk beds and facilities for cooking. Many cabins do not have electricity or running water - this is very much part of the wilderness experience - and everyone assists with tasks such as fetching water, chopping wood, and assisting with cooking/washing up, etc.

For some tours, accommodation is wild winter camping along the way - a unique and challenging experience!

See tour information for details. Some of our husky tours, such as Northern Lights Dog Sledding in Lapland and Husky Mountain Expedition in Lapland are also ideal for larger groups, for example for Armed Forces adventurous training expeditions (groups larger than 8 persons will normally be divided into smaller groups to follow parallel itineraries, both for safety reasons and to maintain the quality of the experience).

Group size varies depending on the tour and many tours are also possible as private groups

Photo: Ryan Pape

A number of our dogsled tours are suitable for adults only or for families with older children, while some are also ideal for younger children (min. age 6).

Apart from One-day and Overnight Dogsled Tours in Kiruna and Discover Dog Sledding in Lapland, which are ideal for a family-friendly dogsled tour, in general dog sledding is not suitable for younger children, though for private tours it is often possible to accommodate younger children than would be possible on the public tours. Please see the information for your chosen tour for details of age limits and other requirements. For some tours, older children aged 13-16 are certainly possible.

The level of fitness required will depend on the tour you choose (terrain, length of tour, whether it's a cabin or a winter camping tour). The weather, temperature and snow conditions you encounter can also greatly affect the level of challenge - dog sledding on hard-packed trails under clear blue skies is much easier than sledding through deep snow in a blizzard!

We offer a very wide range of dogsled tours with levels of challenge from quite easy to very hard - please see tour information for your chosen tour for details.

For all tours, you should be in generally good health and enjoy the outdoors, as well as be comfortable living in close proximity with others. Some strength is required, particularly when braking the sled when travelling downhill (this is very important, as a poorly-controlled sled can overtake and injure the dogs) or assisting your team when travelling uphill.

Going uphill when dog sledding, especially in deep snow, can be hard work

Photo: Tom Smith

It is of course important that you are comfortable with the physical demands of your chosen tour - if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to ask and we will be very happy to discuss the most suitable option for you.

Note that the level of challenge of any tour will be significantly affected by weather and snow conditions - sledding on hard-packed snow under clear blue skies is much less physically challenging than sledding in fresh, deep snow in a blizzard!

Specialist outer clothing for dog sledding is included for the majority of tours

Photo: Lydia Lam

Participants will normally need to bring only their own base and mid-layer clothing. A detailed recommended packing list will be included in your booking documentation.

For your clothing, we recommend you use the layer principle:

  • Closest to your body an inner layer that transports humidity away from the body, such as a woollen base layer top and long-johns.
  • Then a second layer that keeps in the warmth your body generates and absorbs the humidity from the inner layer, such as a fleece or jumper.
  • The outer layer should protect you from weather and wind and be wind- and waterproof. This is normally a snowmobile suit and is provided as standard for our tours.
  • You should also have something to cover your face, such as a scarf or Buff, and ski glasses or goggles to protect your eyes and improve vision.

Do not use cotton on the inner layers closest to your body, as cotton collects the humidity your body generates. The clothing gets heavy and chills you. Better materials to use are synthetics, wool etc.

To see the Northern Lights you need three things: the sky must be clear (with little or no light pollution around), there must be Aurora activity, and you must be awake!

Many dogsled tours give very good chances to see the Northern Lights

Photo: Ben Roberts

Many guests travelling with for dog sledding have an interest in the Northern Lights. However, we recommend that you see the excitement of the activity and the beauty of the landscapes as the main motivation for travelling and regard a display of the Northern Lights as a bonus. Even in areas with excellent chances, it is possible that it will be cloudy, there will be no activity, or (very common) you will be fast asleep after a long day of mushing adventure!

For this reason, we strongly recommend that you also consider our tour options located in areas not normally within the "Northern Lights zone". These areas offer fantastic possibilities for dog sledding, beautiful scenery, and may even be quicker or more affordable to travel to than locations further north.

Each part of the winter has its own special atmosphere

Photo: Sam Lombard

Read our article on When To Go Dog Sledding for more information.

Browse our full range of dog sledding holidays in Sweden, Finland and Norway.

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