Hiking tips

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 backpack like a pro.

Please note that these lists are intended for summer hikes. They are based on the Norwegian Trekking Association’s list of essential summer hiking gear. 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 any other time of the year – please check out the Norwegian Trekking Association’s list of essential winter equipment.

Must-have packing list

Extra clothing

  • rain jacket (if your jacket isn’t all-weather)
  • rain trousers (if your trousers aren’t all-weather)
  • cap/hat
  • scarf/neck warmer
  • gloves/mittens
  • sweater/jacket, wool or fleece
  • wool or synthetic long underwear
  • shorts
  • T-shirt
  • sleeping liner if you’re staying indoors overnight.

Sleeping outside? Don’t forget your camping gear

  • tent
  • sleeping bag
  • sleeping pad
  • portable cooking stove, fuel, and cookware
  • matches
  • plate, cutlery, and cup

Going hiking in winter? Check out the Norwegian Trekking Association’s list of essential winter equipment.

Other essential hiking gear

  • enough food and water!
  • emergency rations
  • thermos if you want to bring something warm to drink
  • first aid kit
  • medicines
  • map
  • map case (with pencil and paper)
  • compass
  • headlamp/flashlight
  • extra batteries
  • reflective west, in case you need to be rescued
  • sitting pad
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • insect repellent
  • knife
  • toiletries
  • towel
  • toilet paper
  • money
  • binoculars
  • camera
  • transport schedules
  • GPSr
  • book(s)
  • candle
  • firestarter gear
  • tarp, bivy, or reflective blanket
  • boot waterproofing
  • indoor footwear
  • DNT key
  • DNT membership card
  • keys (car, home, cabin)

What to wear

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

Wear proper hiking boots – regular trainers don’t 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. And as we say in Norway: Wool is cool. As opposed to cotton and polyester, wool breathes, isolates, keeps off moisture, and is temperature regulating and self-cleaning. Fleece is also acceptable, especially in winter.

  • Inner layer: wool or synthetic underwear (light sweater, long underpants, socks).
  • Mid-layer: Wool or fleece sweater. In winter, you’ll need extra trousers.
  • Outer layer: Hiking trousers and jacket/anorak or all-weather jacket. Make sure that the outermost layer is wind and waterproof.

Use sunscreen – the sun can be deceptively strong, even in the winter and when it’s overcast or windy

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. Always, always, always check the weather forecast before you go.

The good news is that the summer climate here can be very good, with temperatures up to 25 degrees Celsius. However, the weather can change rather fast, also in the summer.

At altitudes of 1,000 metres or more, daytime temperatures are often around 15 to 19 degrees Celsius during summer, or a bit cooler when it’s raining. The spring and autumn months are chillier, but worth it – spring in Norway is beautiful when nature comes back to life, while the autumn colours are magnificent.

Read more about seasons and climate in Norway

Stay safe

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 more about safety in the mountains

The right to roam

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 found it.

The right to roam applies to open country, also known as “unfenced land” – land that isn’t 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.

Read more about the right to roam

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