Now this has been enough of negative comments about Dalsland: Beside the summer tourist rush Dalsland is indeed the perfect paddling destination. So go there in spring or even better in fall and enjoy. The main tour operator stops running tours to Dalsland in mid-September. After that you'll be almost alone - and you can paddle far into October there. I finished my trip on October 19th. Water temperature was still a balmy 10 degrees Celsius and nights were still above freezing. But you should bring a bit of determination and a lot of cold weather gear as day time temperatures ranged from a very nice 15 degrees Celsius to a not so nice 4 degrees. Spring has the disadvantage of much colder water temperatures but longer day light hours. In mid-October I still had more than 10 hours of daylight and I did not find the lack of daylight restrictive.
Other logistical aspects are good as well: It is easy to get to and away from Dalsland. The main transportation hub is Gothenburg from where you can get to many places in Dalsland by train and/or bus. You can easily plan your trip here. You will also come through several towns and villages and most have a little supermarket, so resupply is easy.
|Electrical outlets at a lock|
Dalsland is a relatively easy paddling terrain. Most lakes are sort of longish in a North-South direction and only 1- 4 km wide. The wind can still kick up waves there but this is nothing compared to the Vänern and Vättern. I had very few days when the wind confined me to a (half) rest day. If a really strong wind comes up you will usually learn this a couple of days before from the weather forecast and can then plan accordingly. There are numerous small and narrow side arms and fjords in the Dalsland canal system where you can still paddle when it gets too iffy on the bigger lakes.
There are no other "obstacles" like rapids or water falls in Dalsland. There is no commercial boat traffic either, only recreational boats. In summer there are plenty of yachts, but this dies down with the end of the locking season. After that there are only the locals left: In October this meant only and occasional fishing boat and some sailing boats on the bigger lakes.
I have used the Tyvek maps from Utekartan.se and found them to be great for such an extended trip like mine. Unfortunately, this map does not show the official campsites. They are only marked on the official Dalsland paddling atlas which I found less than ideal. It is printed on normal paper and has an inconvenient sheet line system.