Simona D'Auria

First camping of the season in the Gulf of Bothnia

First camping of the season at Eskön on the Swedish east coast, among beautiful forests, clear waters, floating isles and seabirds. A magical experience!
Landscapes of the Gulf of Bothnia
Seagull flying over the waters of the gulf

Hej my friends! Hope you’r doing fine …

It has been a while since my last post … The fact is that spring has finally arrived in Sweden too and if like me you live in a typical Swedish red wooden house which is dated 1942, spring also means maintenance works! Wood is a beautiful, warm and charming material but it needs love and care on a regular basis! 😊

Before we got trapped in the renovation works, my partner and I managed to take a few days for our first camping of the season, with the main intent to test our new tent, and to check the total weight of our backpacks and whether we are still able to carry them 🙄

When you spend the night outdoor, there are plenty of things you need to carry with you, tent, mattress, pillow, sleeping bag, food, pots and pans, first aid kit, a change of clothes and most of all WATER, especially if you are planning to camp by a seaside place where is more difficult to find a fresh source of it. For some destinations you might be able to find information online on whether and where you can find water supply, but this is generally true only for known itineraries. So, to make sure you don’t end up being without water, you have to bring with you an extra supply and that is a lot of weight!

After a long winter indoor with little training it’s always a very good idea to start the camping season being aware of how much weight you can carry and how long for. This way you can wisely plan your route, decide where to place your tent, and avoid getting too tired and unable to reach your destination!

The total weight of your backpack depends of course on the weight of the single items and this is something I strongly recommend to take into consideration when buying camping equipment.

Usually, the lighter you go the less comfortable you are, and this is particularly true with regards to tent, mattresses, pillows and sleeping bags, so you have to understand what it is more important to you. If you cannot think of sleeping but on a comfy mattress and a soft, thick pillow, then you have to think about being lighter on other items, like the tent for example. On the other hand, a lighter tent might mean less space and less protection as well, therefore season and expected weather conditions need to be taken into consideration.

If you are lucky enough to be able to sleep anywhere with your arm as a pillow on a thin light mattress, then you’ll be able to save yourself quite a bit of weight and volume in your backpack and you can decide to bring a more spacious tent if the location allows it.

I intend to make a post entirely dedicated to the camping equipment, maybe it can be of some help when choosing what best suits your needs according to location, season, and other variables.

Being our first camping of the season, we decided to take it easy and be comfortable. We have chosen our bigger tent and we have looked for a camping place that was not too far away from where we would park the car, in order to test the weight of our backpacks on a short distance. Looking at maps and google earth, there is a lot that you can understand on the location and its characteristics however, the first time you visit a place it’s always a matter of guessing and hoping for some luck!

Eventually, we have chosen to camp near Eskön, a seaside place in the Gulf of Bothnia, about threes hours away from home. According to the map, there was a 1 km walk on a forest path from a kind of car park leading to a clearing in the forest by the sea shore, it looked promising and we decided for that. Of course, we could not be sure the spot was ideal for camping, we only knew that there was no camping ban there, as in many places in Sweden, and possibly enough room to set our three places tent.

Plan B was that we would eventually sleep in the car if the spot didn’t prove to be a happy choice… yes, you always need to have a plant B!

Eventually, we did have luck, the place was perfect 🥳! Just an opening among the woods on flat ground by the sea shore. It was even equipped with a fire place and a lovely wooden jetty with view on the sea. 

An isle in the gulf of Bothnia
Evening landscape in the gulf of Bothnia

It was late afternoon when we arrived, so we have set up the tent, lit the fire, cooked our ready meals, and enjoyed the peaceful view over the Gulf of Bothnia and its islands, the overcast sky and the seagulls adding charm to an already beautiful soothing seascape. Definitely better than television!

The Gulf of Bothnia is the northernmost arm of the Baltic sea, between Sweden and Finland.

There is something particularly sweet and peaceful about this stretch of sea. Its waters are very still like the ones of a gigantic lake with floating forest islands and rock barriers that seem to come out of nowhere. In fact, both the depth and the surface of the gulf are constantly decreasing, as the land is slowly re-emerging after it was sunk during the last ice age.

If you taste the water, you’ll find that it’s not as salty as the sea water normally is and this is because a number of rivers flow into the gulf from both sides of it decreasing its salinity, especially in the northern part where the water is so sweet that you can find freshwater fish.

It’s a pity that it was still too early to take a bath, the snow had just melted a couple of days before our night camping and the water was still too cold even form me! I guess it would be extremely pleasant to bathe into those waters!

Anyhow, we have enjoyed so much our short visit to the gulf that we will definitely come back soon!

We spent a pleasant and comfy night in the tent thanks to our new mattresses and pillows, although we did not sleep too much as it always happens on our first night of camping, too excited and happy to be outdoors. Also, we knew this was a one night camping and that the day after we would just have a morning hike, so we did not need to be well rested and we could then sleep once at home. We just really wanted to enjoy the night outside.

We have listened to the light rain falling on the tent, and the seagulls having fun with the Canada geese until late into the night. They were entertaining us with such a concert!

Occasionally, we would get up and step outside the tent to look at the night sky and the forest surrounding us.

We woke up around 5 am to the sound of the birds in the forest and the seagulls flying over the gulf, and we sat on the shore staring at the sea that had now the dreamy colors of dawn at blue hour, until eventually the sun appeared.

It has been one of the most peaceful and magic morning of my outdoor adventures 🤍🤍🤍

Landscapes of the Gulf of Bothnia
Purple morning

After breakfast, we’ve started packing up in order to be all set and ready to go before the first morning visitors would arrive. We like to leave the place intact when we leave … actually we have left it even better than we have found it!

The weather man said it would be a beautiful day and he got it right, it was a sunny and warm morning!

We returned to the car where we left the heavy backpack and took with us the light ones and we spent the morning walking through the forests and along the coast.

Finally, we had lunch on a beautiful little sandy beach. I am sorry I did not take any pictures there, the sun was so sweet and warm and I got really lazy… I just wanted to lay down and enjoy it!

After lunch, it was time to go back to the car and return home, with a promise to ourselves …. that we would soon return to the magical Gulf of Bothnia for a new longer camping experience.

As for the test on our equipment … well, as I said, comfy means heavy…. This time we have taken it easy, but it’s been confirmed that our backpacks were too heavy to allow us to walk long distances, so we’ll have to make some changes and try to lighten us up for our next outdoors excursion!

I hope you have enjoyed this post and the pictures of this amazing, super relaxing place that definitely is worth a visit if you happen to be in Sweden!

Until next time … take good care of you and enjoy the spring season!


Simona 🤍🤍🤍


Simona D'Auria

Hi! My name is Simona and I am a photographer and an illustrator in love with the natural world.

I live in Sweden in a small village on the forest hills, where I moved a few years ago leaving behind the busy city of London to pursue my artistic activity. ​This has been a long time dream that I eventually managed to fulfil. I have never regretted it!​​

Nature is my only place to be, hiking my way to explore it and photography is one of the means I use to record the fantastic stories I am so lucky to witness during my excursions. Many of these stories also turn into graphics or illustrations.