Specialists for Nordic Outdoor & Adventure Holidays in the Nordic Countries since 2006


Photo: Wolfgang Fuchs

Timber Rafting on Klarälven (Sweden)

Build your own timber raft for a Huckleberry Finn adventure with wild camping on the riverbank

  • Self-guided (min 2 adults)
  • Medium
  • From £/adult, £/child
  • Jun-Aug, 5 or 8 days
  • Adults, Families (min age 6), Groups


  • Build own raft from logs and ropes
  • Raft 35-100km down slow-flowing river
  • Wild camping on the riverbank
  • A unique outdoor experience
  • Optional camping equipment and provisions pack
  • Ideal for adults, active families or groups

Description »

A unique river adventure

Timber rafting is an ideal adventure holiday for adults, active families, small groups of friends or larger groups such as Scout groups and school parties.

Building and piloting a timber raft is a marvellous exercise in teamwork and a unique adventure. Camping wild each night along the river bank on your voyage downstream is surely the stuff of childhood dreams.

The River Klarälven ("Clear River") has the longest history of use as a professional logging route in Sweden and was used for this purpose right up until 1991. Timber Rafting on Klarälven gives you the opportunity to keep this tradition alive.

Timber rafting is ideal for groups of friends

A standard-size raft measures 3m x 6m and is suitable for up to 6 persons. Photo: Stephen le Beau.

From initial construction under the guidance of local instructors to final dismantling at the end of your tour, your timber raft will be your very own creation.

Raft downstream by day, camp wild by night

You can choose either a 5-day tour (with instruction evening, building day and 3 nights on the river) or an 8-day tour (with 6 nights on the river). You plan your tour as you wish, deciding how much of the overall distance to cover on a particular day (tand where to pitch camp on the riverbank at night.

The experience is based on wild camping on all nights, but depending on the route you may also pass one or two "proper" campsites during your tour, where you can overnight (additional charge payable locally) if you wish.

With flexible start days and a choice of distances and duration, Timber Rafting on Klarälven is a very special kind of adventure holiday suitable for those who enjoy the outdoors and are willing to "let go" and to relinquish control to nature for a while. The tour is ideal for adults (min. 2 persons), active families or for groups such as scout and school groups. Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more.

Timber rafting is ideal for groups of friends

Taking time for a dip in the river or to explore with the included canoe is very much part of the adventure! Photo: Josh Meaden.

Nature sets the pace - go with the flow!

Whether you choose a 5-day or 8-day tour, the total distance you cover will vary depending on the water level in the river. The water level affects the speed of flow (and also the number of obstacles such as sandbanks that you will encounter) and therefore the time on the water required to travel a particular distance. Just a small variation in speed of flow in the river can make a significant difference to the number of rafting hours required to complete the route.

The river level is regulated by the local water authority depending on expectations for rainfall in the weeks surrounding your tour, and cannot be known far in advance. As the level of water in the river may change at short notice, you will be advised of the arrangements for your tour on arrival. If water levels are high and the river is flowing faster, you will normally do a longer route, as you will cover distance more quickly. If water levels are low and the speed of flow slower, your tour will be a shorter overall distance to enable you to complete the route in the time available.

The arrangements made for you will be the most suitable depending on water levels/speed of flow at the time of your tour, to offer the best and most enjoyable experience for you and to allow time to complete the tour.

For a 5-day tour, total distance travelled on the river will typically be between 35km and 55km. For an 8-day tour, total distance will typically be between 50km and 100km.

Constructing Your Raft

The timber rafts used on the Klaräven river are straightforward to build and to dismantle after the trip. Ropes and logs of different thicknesses about 3m long are the only materials allowed. It will normally take several hours to construct your raft, and this is very much part of the experience.

When complete, your raft will measure 6m x 3m and weigh around 2000kg! A raft can accommodate up to 6 persons, so if doing the tour as just 2-3 persons, you can also choose if you prefer to build just one 3m x 3m section to reduce the level of challenge during the building process.

Building your own timber raft

Following an instruction session, you will construct your own raft for the voyage - an enormously satisfying part of the experience. Photo: Stephen le Beau.

A canoe or sit-on-top kayak is included as standard with each timber raft. This gives you much greater flexibility when on the water, and also makes landing the raft much easier (as one person can paddle ahead to check for suitable camping spots and then paddle ashore with a line).

A Mix of Relaxation and Challenge!

For those who enjoy "living in the moment", timber rafting is the perfect way to experience the forest landscape of rural Värmland and the Klarälven valley, with good chances of encountering beavers along the way!

Timber rafting can be both a very active and a very relaxing experience in one. The rhythm of your days and pace of your tour is dictated wholly by the river - in the most literal sense, you will need to learn to "go with the flow"!

Timber rafting can also be physically challenging - you will need to keep a keen eye out for obstacles, learning to handle your log raft with pole and paddles as you steer her towards your final destination.

There will be periods of intense activity and exercise, with "all hands on deck" as you struggle to free the raft from a sandbar, manoeuvre to negotiate an upcoming turn in the meandering Klarälven river, avoid overhanging branches or work together to break clear of an eddy or backwater.

These will be interspersed with periods of calm and reflection, drifting downstream, taking in the forest landscape and spending time with your travel companions and with your own thoughts. Writer Nick Thorpe said of his trip, "More than any of my previous adventures to date, the combination of simple, primal tasks in the open air, the company of my brothers, and the enforced slowness of our pace created a sense of both intimacy and contentment."

Off the Water

Your timber rafting tour takes you through a beautiful rural area of forests, small villages and farmland. The level of challenge of a particular tour and time needed on the water each day to complete the distance can vary greatly depending on water levels in the river and speed of flow - the river typically flows at around 1-3 km per hour.

If time allows, you may have the opportunity to stop and explore some of the surrounding countryside along the route (under normal water flow conditions, we recommend the option to do the 5-day distance over 8 days if you wish to have additional time to explore along the way).


Itinerary »


Detailed information you will need for your experience, including a description of the route, is sent out once full payment has been received.

It is not possible to arrive later than the times given below.

Check-in 15.30-17.00 at the timber raft centre, where you will be issued with the equipment you have booked for your tour. You will have an instruction meeting where you will go through the techniques used in building your timber raft, the timber raft route and information on camping and the Right of Public Access. You camp at the timber raft centre for this night.

The start day is Day 1 of your tour. Rafting begins on Day 2 once your raft has been built. For the 5-day tour, you will spend total 4 days/3 nights on the river. For the 8-day tour, you will spend total 7 days/6 nights on the river.

Following Days

On average, the river flows at around 2kph. Water levels and consequently speed of flow vary to some extent (normally between 1kph and 3kph) depending on rainfall, etc, and this will influence the total time on the water necessary to complete the route and also the level of challenge and number of obstacles such as sandbars encountered. During periods of high water, the river will slow slightly faster, reducing the time needed on the water but increasing the time available for activities on land, while during periods of low water, additional time will be required on the water.

NB: The total distance you will cover for your tour will vary between 35km and 55km for 5-day tours and between 50km and 100km for 8-day tours, depending on water levels and speed of flow at the time of your tour, and cannot be known in advance. For more information, please see under "Description > Nature sets the pace".

In the morning, you will be transferred up river to the timber raft building site for your chosen tour. On the river shore there will be good supply of 3-metre-long logs and rope, which is all you need to build a stable timber raft. The timber raft must be constructed in the water. Capable instructors will be at hand at the building site. Building a raft is fun but can be hard work. We recommend you bring some working gloves to avoid blisters!

In the afternoon you should be ready to cast off. For the following days, an 18 square metre timber raft will be your home. The raft will go with the flow of the river, normally around 2km per hour depending on water levels. There is no whitewater. The speed of flow of the river will dictate the amount of time you need to spend on the river each day to complete your route. You may have time to set ashore and explore various attractions along the Klarälven - there is a variety of heritage centres, local handicraft shops, churches and beauty spots, oxbow lakes and sandy riverbanks. You can purchase a fishing licence for the length of the route, and the Klarälven river also offers very good chances to see beaver during your tour.

Timber rafting can be a wonderfully relaxing experience but also an adventure - the river is a living and ever-changing environment - you may encounter challenges such as sand bars and eddies - and you will need to work together and have patience to work yourselves free! You will need to keep a check on the pace of the river, observing the contours on the map and letting the raft follow the flow of the water - and you will need to use your pole and paddles to stay clear of eddies, sandbanks and overhanging branches. Steering with paddles takes determination - the current is strong and the raft heavy - but if you do get stuck in a backwater or eddy, there is only one thing for it: paddling is the only way out! If you find yourself stuck on a sandbank, it's time to use the pole - but don't forget to push off in the same direction you came from!

Each night you will choose a suitable spot to camp along the river bank. You decide yourself how much distance to cover each day to complete your voyage, spending the nights under canvas on your own well-moored timber raft or ashore in a tent.


In most cases, your finish point will be back at the timber raft centre where you arrived on Day 1. Sometimes, especially when water levels are unusually low, your finish point may be further up river. As water levels in the river can change at short notice, any amendments to standard end arrangements will be advised on arrival before you begin your tour.

At the finish point, you dismantle your timber raft, setting the logs adrift to be collected by the log trap, and return your hired equipment by 17.00. End time depends on how you have planned your journey and the distance left to cover on your final day.

Dates & Prices»

Dates 2024

  • Start days Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays between 05.06 and 28.08.24.
  • Additional start days on Fridays between 05.07 and 09.08.24.

Prices 2024

Prices include one canoe or sit-on-top kayak per timber raft.

  • Standard season: Start dates between 05.06-12.07.24 and 14.08-28.08.24.
  • High season: Start dates 14.07-12.08.24.
Standard Prices 
5-day tour 
Standard season tour dates/adultGBP
Standard season tour dates/child under 16GBP
Standard season tour dates/person group size 10+GBP
High season tour dates/adultGBP
High season tour dates/child under 16GBP
High season tour dates/person group size 10+GBP
Per person for group size 20+ (all tour dates)GBP
8-day tour 
Standard season tour dates/adultGBP
Standard season tour dates/child under 16GBP
Standard season tour dates/person group size 10+GBP
High season tour dates/adultGBP
High season tour dates/child under 16GBP
High season tour dates/person group size 10+GBP
Per person for group size 20+ (all tour dates)GBP

Please note the following:

  • Groups: Prices are per person regardless of age. 5-6 persons/timber raft. Group rates are available for groups of min. 10 persons with additional discount for groups min. 20 persons. NB: For group rate bookings, special conditions apply for deposit payment and cancellation - please contact us for details.
Optional Extras (see description below) 
5-day tour 
Kitchen equipment/adultGBP
Kitchen equipment/child under 16GBP
Kitchen equipment/person group size 10+GBP
Sleeping bag package/personGBP
Provisions package/adultGBP
Provisions package/child under 16GBP
Provisions package/person group size 10+GBP
Tent (3-4 persons)GBP
8-day tour 
Kitchen equipment/adultGBP
Kitchen equipment/child under 16GBP
Kitchen equipment/person group size 10+GBP
Sleeping bag package/personGBP
Provisions package/adultGBP
Provisions package/child under 16GBP
Provisions package/person group size 10+GBP
Tent (3-4 persons)GBP
  • Kitchen equipment*: See image below. Trangia hurricane stove* with fuel, mug, plate, knife, fork, spoon, carving knife, chopping board, frying spatula, cheese cutter, whisk, tin-and bottle-opener, potato-peeler, washing-up bowl, dish-sponge, washing-up liquid, kitchen roll, matches and one storage box.
  • Sleeping bag package: Includes sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner and foam sleeping mat.
  • Provisions package: See image below. You can choose to add a food package for the tour. The food provided is that eaten by a typical Swedish family. At the start of the tour you will be given a provisions box with the food for the trip (if you have specific dietary requirements, please let us know so that arrangements can be made). The exact contents of the package may change depending on the season and availability. The food is purchased from small, local countryside shops. Typical ingredients include: bread, butter, cheese, juice, milk, yoghurt, muesli, coffee, tea, salami, jam, meatballs, fishballs, Swedish beef stew, ham, sausages, pork loin, mashed potatoes, onions, carrots, vegetables, beetroot, apples, biscuits, tomatoes, cucumber, rice, macaroni, asparagus soup, cauliflower soup, salt and pepper. You may need to purchase additional fresh milk, etc, along the way. Please note: If choosing provisions, for organisational reasons all persons travelling together must choose food packages (i.e. it is not possible to split packages or to purchase for only some members of a group). As the provisions packages are sourced from small, local stores which may have a limited range of goods, ONLY the following dietary requirements can be catered for: Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Lactose Free. Other requirements (vegan, allergies, etc) can unfortunately not be accommodated. If you prefer, you can also purchase provisions independently in Karlstad before travelling to the tour, which offers a wide range of larger food stores and supermarkets where provisions for special diets are available.
  • Tent: See image below. High quality 3/4-person Hilleberg tents. Please note that, like all tents rated 4 persons, the tents are most comfortable for 3 adults.
  • Fishing: Simple fishing equipment and fishing licences can be purchased at the timber raft centre on arrival.

*If choosing kitchen equipment and/or provisions, please note that all persons travelling together must choose kitchen equipment/food packages (i.e. it is not possible to split packages or to purchase for only some members of a group). You are also welcome to bring your own kitchen equipment or provisions for your tour if you wish.


*Exact contents may differ from example shown

Hilleberg Nallo 4

Tent (for 3-4 persons)

Provisions package

Typical food package contents (for 4 persons)

What's Included »


  • Timber raft equipment: Logs, ropes, life ring, paddle, pole, buoyancy aids, tarpaulin, matches, plate for spirit stove, first aid kit, bucket, garbage sack, toilet paper, spade, fresh water container (5 litres), topographical map, storage box.
  • Instructor: Instruction meeting and guidance during construction before your tour begins. NB: It is intended that participants do all that is required themselves in terms of the physical aspects of building the rafts. The instructors are on hand to provide advice and guidance and ensure that your raft is constructed correctly, but apart from minor interventions (e.g. correcting a knot) it is not the intention that the instructors take part in the construction.
  • Transfers: Transport by bus for participants and equipment from the meeting point to the raft building site.
  • Canoe or sit-on-top kayak: Provided one per timber raft (additional canoes available as optional extra). This gives greater flexibility when on the water and also makes landing the raft much easier (note that either canoe or sit-on-top kayak will be provided subject to availability and cannot be specified in advance).

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

Please see "Prices > Optional Extras".

  • Food: There are opportunities to stop and shop in small stores along the way, but we recommend that you take all essential supplies with you from the start of your tour as you may arrive at local stores outside opening hours.
  • Kitchen equipment
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag

Good To Know »


Health requirements/experience:

Swimming ability required by adults. All participation at own risk. You should be in good health and have a reasonable level of fitness and strength. A good deal of physical activity is required during this tour. The poles for building the raft must be carried to the water and assembled once in the water. This requires some effort, but above all it is necessary to help each other and work together. It is not necessary to be particularly strong - many "normal" families take part in this tour - but the work can be demanding. You should also be used to and enjoy the outdoor life.

A minimum of 2 adults (at least one person 18+ and one 16+) is required for each raft. Recommended minimum age 6 years.

You should bear in mind that, while many persons participate in the tour as 2 adults, for only 2 people it can be physically demanding to build and pilot the raft. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding what is involved and we will be happy to answer your queries.

What makes this "Medium"?

Constructing the raft requires no previous experience/skills, but can be physically demanding and takes some time, especially if just two persons or a family with younger children. The tour features wild camping on all nights. Level of challenge experienced can vary significantly depending on water levels and therefore the number of obstacles, sandbanks, etc, encountered.

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.

How to Build a Log Raft:

As well as logs and rope (your only building materials), you will need to bring a sense of teamwork and a sense of humour to the water's edge as you assemble your log raft. Generally the raft consists of three levels. The largest logs go on the bottom layer, the thinnest ones at the top, and a mixture of clove hitches, half hitches and reef knots will be used to secure the logs together.

Once the base is complete, all that is left is to string up a tarpaulin to shield you from the sun (or rain!), choose a pole (vital for steering), pack the raft and push off!

Equipment/clothes needed:

For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "What's 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.

Preparing for your trip:

For further reading, we also have a number of general information articles to get you ready for your trip, covering a wide variety of topics from what to do on a city break before/after your tour, advice on packing, eyewear for winter and considerations for female travellers.

Combine This With

This experience makes a good combination with the following:


Timber rafting is ideal for groups, including adult groups, youth groups/scouts and corporate activities. Group rates available for groups of 10+ and additional discounts for groups of 20+.

Eco Info

This provider has received a prestigious Swedish Ecotourism award for its commitment to high standards to cultural and environmental sensitivity.

The Klarälven river was actively used as a logging route from the early eighteen thirties until 1991. During the last years of the operation, around 6 million logs made their way down the river each year. At various points along the way, logs would be collected and stripped to make paper pulp, with around 95% of the pulp timber originating from the Norwegian section of the river. Today, although the river is no longer used to transport logs commercially, forestry and paper production continue to be a vital industry in Sweden. The very logs that you will use to build your timber raft will one day follow their "ancestors" to become paper. But what a life of adventure they lead in the meantime!

Getting There »

Getting There

See below for a summary of travel options. To learn more about how to travel to this experience, please get in touch!

Detailed information on travel 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.

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

Travel Summary:

By Air:

You can choose to fly to Stockholm, Gothenburg or Oslo airports. From here, you travel by public transport to Karlstad (around 2.5-5.5 hours depending on options chosen). From Karlstad, you travel by local bus to Gunnerud (around 1.5 hours). You can also choose to travel by hire car.

Without Flying:

Ferry Dover-Dunkirk or Newcastle-Amsterdam for onward connections to Gunnerud.

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