Best Arctic

Photo of a Sami traditional tent

What is a Lávuu – the Sami traditional tent

What is a Lavuu tent? You may have encountered this word during your research about Norway or the Sami people. Learn more about this traditional sami tent here.

The lavvu served for centuries as portable housing for reindeer herders. This design has a documented history that reaches back at least 2,000 years. This traditional Sámi dwelling is similar to the Tipis of the North American Indians but is built lower to the ground to give the best protection possible against the arctic climate.

This structure is extremely practical, energy-efficient and, at least in its original form, built wholly from local materials. The Lavvu is still very much in use in the Arctic, albeit now using modern materials such as Alimunium poles and canvas to replace the reindeer skins.

However, the lavvu is also important as a gathering place beyond just protection from the elements. Sitting around a campfire in a circle is a transformative experience that transports us back in time into a different mindset; after all, we humans as a species have spent considerable more time around a campfire than in front of the tv or kitchen table.

We have incorporated the Lavvu into several of our activities for your enjoyment; you can experience it at some of our Aurora camps (on our northern lights chasing tours) where you will have a traditional Sami tent at the location of this activity (subject to availability – not all Aurora Camps have Sami tents, the Aurora Camp is chosen every evening, according to where the weather is best, with the more clear ski and higher chances of seeing the northern lights). The Aurora Camps with the Lavvu tents have chairs inside with reindeer skin on, where you can rest and warm with an inside bonfire, while eating some snacks and hot drinks (tea, coffee or hot chocolate).

You can also see another example at the husky sledding location and several different Sami tent models at all our Sami Experiences like the Overnight in Lavvo with Reindeer Sledding, where you can actually sleep inside a Lavvu just for yourself and have a real Sami experience or warm yourself on a wood Sami tent, after a reindeer feeding on the Reindeer Feeding and Sami Culture tour!

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