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Hiking in the Jotunheimen mountains Hiking in the Jotunheimen mountains Hiking in the Jotunheimen mountains
Hiking in the Jotunheimen mountains Hiking in the Jotunheimen mountains
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Hiking in the Jotunheimen mountains.
Photo: Live Andrea Sulheim
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Better safe than sorry

Before you embark on a trekking adventure in the Norwegian wilderness, take a moment to ponder the practicalities. Be prepared, stay safe and pack your bag like a hiking pro.

Most of the time, Norway’s countryside is a wonderful place to be. But outdoor pursuits are not completely risk-free – nature can be as ruthless as it is rewarding.

Your safety is our top priority, but it is your own responsibility to learn how to look after yourself in the mountains and familiarise yourself with the recommended safety precautions.

A little bit of planning can go a long way – be prepared and find out how to act if the weather takes a turn for the worse or if you get lost.

Here you will find out what kind of weather you can expect, how to dress, and what the Norwegian mountain code is. Not sure what to fill in your backpack? Check out our suggested packing list.

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Weather icon white What’s the weather like?

We would like to tell you that it’s always sunny in Norway, but unfortunately that’s not the case. The good news is that the summer climate here can be very good, with temperatures up to 20­ to 25 degrees Celsius.

However, the weather can change rather fast, also in the summer. The best advice is to check the forecast before you go, and prepare for any eventualities.

At altitudes of 1,000 metres or more, daytime temperatures are often around 15 to 19 degrees during summer, or a bit cooler when it is raining. The spring and autumn months are a bit chillier, but nature finds a way of compensating you. The spring in Norway is beautiful when nature comes back to life, whilst in the autumn the colours are spectacular. And on the plus side, it is rarely too hot to stay active!

 

 


Dressed for success

Expect the unexpected – this may be the most important advice when packing for an outdoor adventure. Regardless of the season, and regardless of the weather when you set off on your excursion, remember that the weather can change quickly in the mountains.

Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind:

  • Wear proper hiking boots – regular trainers do not have a good enough grip for hiking, especially if you are going up in the mountains. 
  • Dress in layers to make it easier to control your temperature.
  • Make sure that the outermost layer is wind and water proof.
  • Get into wool – as opposed to cotton and polyester, wool absorbs moisture without losing its ability to keep you warm. Fleece is another good material, especially for winter trips.
  • Use sunscreen – the sun can be deceptively strong, even in the winter and also when it’s overcast or windy.
  • Finally, do keep in mind that to be "well dressed" in nature is a practicality, not a fashion statement!

Hiking packing list

Plan ahead and pack like a pro! Make sure you slip the following into your backpack before setting off on your summer hiking adventure. If you are going any other time of year, you will need more warm clothes. The lists below are based on the recommendations found on DNT's (the Norwegian Trekking Association) website.

Clothing

  • Wool, part wool or synthetic underwear
  • Wool socks/stockings
  • Wind jacket/anorak or all-weather jacket
  • Mountain trousers
  • T-shirt and/or light sweater of wool or fleece
  • Hiking boots

In backpack or pockets

  • Rain jacket (if your jacket isn't all-weather)
  • Rain trousers (if your trousers aren't all-weather)
  • Cap/hat
  • Scarf/neckband
  • Gloves/mittens
  • Shorts

Sleeping under the stars? Don't forget...

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Cook set and fuel
  • Food
  • Plate and cutlery
  • Cup

Please note that the lists are intended for summer hiking trips in the summer. If you stick to forest and/or coastal trails, you can get away with a lighter load. Remember to bring extra warm clothing if you are going in spring or autumn.

 

Other essentials

  • First aid kit
  • Toiletries
  • Towel
  • Toilet paper
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Insect repellent
  • Map and compass
  • Map case (with pencil and paper)
  • Knife
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • Boot waterproofing
  • Lunch packet
  • Water bottle
  • Thermos
  • Emergency rations
  • Money
  • Keys
  • DNT membership card
  • Binolculars
  • Camera
  • Transport schedules
  • Medicines
  • GPS
  • Book(s)
  • Candle
  • Firestarter paper
  • Sitting pad

Safety in the mountains

Return to hike another day

Norway is an incredible place to explore, with untamed mythical landscapes, mountains, valleys, and fjords. Before you enter the outdoors, get familiar with the nine simple rules of the Norwegian mountain code to help you stay safe.

  1. Plan your trip and inform others about the route you have selected.
  2. Adapt the planned routes according to ability and conditions.
  3. Pay attention to the weather and the avalanche warnings.
  4. Be prepared for bad weather and frost, even on short trips.
  5. Bring the necessary equipment so you can help yourself and others.
  6. Choose safe routes. Recognize avalanche terrain and unsafe ice.
  7. Use a map and a compass. Always know where you are.
  8. Don’t be ashamed to turn around.
  9. Conserve your energy and seek shelter if necessary.

Read the mountain code with supplementary comments.


The right to roam

Guidelines to roaming where you want

As long as you understand and follow a few basic rules and regulations, you are free to walk almost everywhere in the Norwegian countryside. Outdoor recreation is an important part of the national identity, and access to nature is considered a right established by law.

The so called right of access (“allemannsretten”) is a traditional right from ancient times. Since 1957, it has been part of the Outdoor Recreation Act. It ensures that everybody can experience nature, even on larger privately owned areas.

The main rules are easy: Be considerate and thoughtful. Make sure you pick up your rubbish and show respect for nature and people – in other words, leave the landscape as you would want to find it.

The right to roam applies to open country, sometimes also known as “unfenced land”, which is land that is not cultivated. In Norway, the term covers most shores, bogs, forests and mountains. Small islands of uncultivated land within cultivated land are not regarded as open country.


Leaving it as you found it

Take only pictures, keep only memories

Norway is a country of outstanding natural beauty, with dramatic waterfalls, crystal clear fjords, majestic mountains, and spectacular glaciers. Preserving this landscape, its communities, and the way of life is essential for locals and visitors alike.

Norwegian philosophy is very much that conservation is everyone’s responsibility. Enjoying nature and the outdoors is considered a national pastime, and this is reflected in our attitude towards the preservation and use of the wilderness.

Whether it’s hiking in the mountains or biking on an idyllic forest road, Norwegians try to leave as small a footprint as possible. Leave it as you would like to find it is the mantra, regardless of whether you are a guest in nature or in a small fishing village.

Quality of life is what it is all about, not only now, but for the time to come as well. It’s about recognizing that everybody else are just as important as ourselves, and taking steps to implement that thought in all aspects of life. It’s neither easy nor quickly done. But it is definitely worth it.


Different hikes for different people

One of the best things about hiking is that everyone can do it, but that doesn't mean that every hike suits everyone. We can see the lure of Besseggen, and we understand that it is tempting to set off to Trolltunga – just make sure you know what it takes to get there. Do your research, listen to the locals and pick hiking trails according to your experience, fitness level and ambition.



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