Packrafting in Swedish Lapland: “Earning a River” Film

packrafters in sweden

Packrafting northern Sweden’s Kaitum River

Aqua Bound ProStaffer and filmmaker Jacob Kastrup Haagensen documented a packraft trip in northern Sweden with a group of friends. Their demanding route hiking to and packrafting the Kaitum River became the film Earning a River.

“Earning a River is a film about why people seek rewards in beautiful mountains, and following the love for nature and the comradeship of travel together.” ~ Jacob Kastrup Haagensen

Watch the trailer:

The Group’s Destination in Northern Sweden

Jacob and five friends embarked on a demanding route of hiking and packrafting in 2018 in northern Swedish Lapland. Their goal: the Kaitum River.

“Kaitum River is a pristine and free-flowing river that has its source around Sweden's highest mountain, the Kebnekaise. From here it flows for about 150 km until its confluence with the Kalix River.

“Until the village of Kaitum, halfway down to Kalix, the river is completely roadless and any paddling to the upper part has to be approached by either helicopter or hiking. We chose the latter, and our hike was by no means the easiest way to the river.” ~ Jacob Kastrup Haagensen

about to packraft Kaitum River in Sweden

Ready for the Kaitum River

Poor Weather for Hiking and Camping

Five years earlier, one of the groups members had attempted a solo trip of the same route, in this very northern part of Sweden above the Arctic Circle. When he met bad weather and large waves, he was forced to turn back without reaching his goal.

This time he convinced his friends to attempt the trip with him. They did their trip prep and headed out to the mountains to begin…only to meet the harsh reality of bad weather as Jeremie had five years earlier:

“Things didn't turn out as planned. We did not pay enough attention to the forecast and soon after starting our hike up the mountain bad weather, poor vision, and bad orientation forced us to make an emergency camp long before the distance we planned to achieve. And as the weather just deteriorated we soon found ourselves in the same dilemma that Jeremie had been too five years earlier. To continue or turn back…?” ~ Jacob Kastrup Haagensen

bad weather ahead in sweden's mountains

Those clouds do NOT look good!

The Film Documentary: "Earning a River"

Since Jacob completed the film documentary about their adventure, we know they decided to continue! We’ll have to wait for the film’s release to get the full story of their adventure of hiking to and packrafting down the Kaitum River.

Earning a River is currently making its way through international film festivals (as of August 2021). The film premiered at Nordic Adventure Film Festival in December 2020 and won Best Danish Adventure.

South Americans can watch through August 28, 2021 as part of Ushuaia Shh Festival. Then the film will be featured in Sweden’s Västerås Film Festival October 14-31, 2021.

packrafter kaitum river, sweden

What a journey in this beautiful and remote part of Sweden!

We’ll let you know when the full film is ready to view here in North America.

About the Director, Jacob Kastrup Haagensen

Jacob was born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark and currently lives in Sweden. He’s been documenting and making films about his outdoor adventures—including packrafting—since 2012.

His first packrafting film to be screened at a film festival was Inflatable People, a portrait of the international packrafting community that converged in Sweden.

jacob kastrup haagensen

Filmmaker Jacob Kastrup Haagensen

You can read more about Jacob and his packrafting world on his website,

(All photos courtesy of Caj Koskinen)

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