If you haven’t heard of Icebug before, you’re not alone. It’s a very cool Swedish shoe brand that’s big in Scandinavia, but is only now expanding to the rest of the world. Their shoes and boots are known for their excellent traction – both in the summer and winter.
While in Gothenburg for the Adventure Travel World Summit, I had dinner one night at Icebug’s headquarters. The building is pretty much what you would expect for an outdoorsy company in Sweden – a converted warehouse with lots of wood and wide-open workspaces, a sauna, a mini ping pong table and very fast wifi! But the best thing about the headquarters is that it’s literally at the edge of a forest, and Icebug’s employees use the forest’s trails every day. There are racks of shoes near Icebug’s entrance for people to use for a quick hike or a run.
The Icebug Xperience
In addition to making shoes, Icebug has its own series of races throughout Sweden, Norway and Finland, with the goal of getting people outdoors in all seasons. They have runs in their backyard forest. They have ice marathons on frozen lakes. They have events just for women. And they have multi-day runs around entire Swedish islands.
Count me in! Except that I’m not really a runner, and I didn’t have several days. But when Icebug invited a group of us to hike with them for a morning along a portion of the Icebug Xperience West Coast Trail, I jumped at the chance.
Roughly an hour and a half northwest of Gothenburg is Ramsviklandet Nature Reserve, an island with forests, coastline and granite – a special pink granite not found anywhere else. We arrived at Ramsvik Stugby & Camping at roughly 8:30am, had coffee, got an orientation of the island, and picked out Icebug shoes to wear on the hike. And then we set off!
I loved the hike. The mid-September weather was cool and windy, but it was a clear day and the rocks were dry (not that our new shoes couldn’t have handed wet granite). We started by heading south along the coast, cut across the island though the trees, rock-hopped a lot to reach the western coast, and then hiked around the northern tip of the island until we were back at Ramsvik Stugby & Camping. It was roughly a 8km hike (the Icebug Xperience three-day event is 75km) , and I’d consider it to be an easy hike with kids.
The Edible Country
Along the hike we came across a picnic table and learned of its significance. Sweden has partnered with four of its Michelin-starred chefs to create nine do-it-yourself menus representing Sweden’s geographical areas and seasons. Some of the ingredients need to be purchased (e.g. butter), but most can be found in Sweden’s forests or taken from the sea. Then there are 13 picnic tables throughout the country – including the one at Ramsvik – that can be booked in advance to enjoy the meal you just cooked with friends and family. I love all of the ways that Swedes appreciate and use their nature! Click here for more on The Edible Country.
Ramsvik Stugby & Camping
We began and ended the hike at Ramsvik Stugby & Camping, a lodge with cottages, campsites, two saunas, a restaurant and access to pretty much any land-based or water-based activity you can think of. I’d love to return and spend several days there – and of course book the Edible Country table nearby.
Smögen is a small, very cute, fairly-touristy village in far western Sweden and was easily accessible from Ramsvik by boat. So we hopped on the M/S Soten (arranged by Ramsvik) and headed around the coast. The town was largely closed down in September (summer really is short in Sweden), but it was still fun to walk around and get a feel for everything.
I really enjoyed the shortened Icebug Xperience hike and Smögen. I’d highly recommend renting a car in Gothenburg, driving the hour and a half to Ramsvik, and basing out of there for several days while you explore Ramsviklandet Nature Reserve and everywhere along the coast.
In Gothenburg I stayed at the Clarion Hotel Post, nicely central next to the train station.
This Day of Adventure was included in my registration for the Adventure Travel World Summit. It followed my four days of mushroom and berry picking in the forests of central Sweden.