Hiking in Norway is no joke. Here is all the info you need to make your hiking experience as safe and comfortable as possible.
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The number one activity for people visiting my home country is hiking. The nature up here is divine after all and what better way is there to enjoy it than by hiking? As lush and chill it might look on Instagram however, hiking in Norway can also be challenging and even dangerous, especially if you don’t take necessary precautions and plan your hike well. To ensure your hiking experience is as safe and comfortable as possible, here comes 30 of my best tips for hiking in Norway. Happy hiking!
Table of Contents
What To Prep Before Hiking In Norway
1. Research And Plan Your Hike
The first thing you need to do when prepping for a hike in Norway is to do research and plan your hike. Find detailed information from a reliable source like a hiking book, the local tourism office, locals, or people who have done the hike themselves. Always pick hikes according to your fitness level and experience. Research:
- Distance: How long is the hike in kilometers/miles?
- Duration: How much time do reliable sources claim the hike takes for the average person? How much time will you need? How much extra time should you add to your itinerary for taking photos/traffic/etc?
- Trail: Where does the trail start? Is the trail marked in any way or will you need to use GPS/map & compass the entire trip?
- Driving & Parking: How will you get to the trail head and where do you park?
- Food & Water accessibility: How much food should you bring? Will you be able to refill your water bottle during the hike or not?
- Equipment: Will you need any special equipment for this hike?
- Sunrise/sunset: When it will get dark? Will you need a headlamp?
- Temperature/weather: How warm/cold can you expect it to get the day of your hike? What does the latest weather forecast predict?
2. Consider A Guided Hike
If your research shows that the hike you want to do is particularly hard, needs special equipment, or you’re just not experienced enough, please consider booking a professional guide instead of going out there on your own. It can potentially get very dangerous. If you don’t want to or can’t afford a guide (been there!), there is always another amazing hike you can do on your own instead. Seek advice from locals or a tourism office.
3. Print Important Hiking Info
Print all the information you need (including a map of the hike trail) and bring it on the hike. Most of us rely too much on our phones when hiking, but how helpful is that phone when it dies unexpectedly due to cold weather, gets dropped off a cliff, or if you get lost in an area without any service? As helpful as it can be, modern technology cannot always be trusted and you shouldn’t rely 100% on your phone when hiking.
4. Tell Someone Where You’re Going
This one is particularly important if you’re hiking alone. In case something were to happen to you it is always a good idea to tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. This way you’ll have someone who will notice if you’re not back in time and who’ll report it to the right authorities. It will also make the process easier as they’ll know what area to look for you. Morbid, I know, but hey – it might save your life.
5. Inform The Entire Group
Everyone in your hiking group should have a basic understanding of where you’re going on your hike. Also make sure everyone knows to call the Norwegian emergency number 113 if something happens. Very important if you’re traveling with kids, so that they know what to do in case an adult gets hurt.
6. Install The App Hjelp 113
Download and install the app Hjelp 113 on your phone prior to your hike (iOS/Google Play). The app tracks your location and makes it a lot easier for the right people to find you if you get hurt, lost or stuck on your hike in Norway. Not only can you call the nearest medical center or the emergency number directly from the app, it also shows you all the closest defibrillators in a map – which is good to know in general in case you find someone in need of CPR while traveling in Norway.
7. Eat A Filling Meal Before Hiking
Don’t forget to eat a filling meal before hiking – but not so filling you’ll want to take off your pants and slip back into bed.. Eat something that will keep your blood sugar level even for hours like oatmeal, scrambled eggs, a whole wheat sandwich, etc. The last thing you want is to get super hungry after hiking for two minutes.
What To Wear While Hiking In Norway
8. Wear Layers, Layers, Layers
Wear several layers of sportswear depending on the weather conditions. Layers allows you to easily regulate your body temperature as you get warmer and colder during the different parts of your hike. Fight the urge to wear jeans (which we see fairly often among first-time hikers here), as they will not give you the flexibility you need for hiking in Norway. Instead, wear leggings, a t-shirt or long sleeve, and choose base layers and outerwear depending on the weather (more on that below).
9. Wear Merino Wool Underwear & Base Layers
Merino wool and wool are the fabrics you should go for when hiking in Norway. Its soft, breathable, does not retain body odor, and most importantly it helps regulate your body temperature. Merino wool will keep you warm and insulated even when you’re wet from rain, sweat or both, and keep you cool when your body temperature is skyrocketing. Pretty much any type of clothing is available in merino wool, including socks, underwear, sports bras, t-shirts and shirts. You should always wear merino wool or wool as a base layer in the colder months, on colder summer days, or if you’re hiking at night in northern Norway.
10. Always Bring A Shell Jacket
Always wear or bring a shell jacket as an outer layer when hiking in Norway. Even on the warmest summer day it can be cold at the top, especially if you’re drenched in sweat (odds are, you will be). Your jacket should ideally be light, somewhat stretchy, wind-resistant and water-repellant. Non-insulated shell jackets are great for warm summer hikes or if you plan to wear other warm layers underneath. In the need for more heat you should consider wearing/bringing an insulated jacket.
11. Consider An Extra Top Layer
Consider wearing or bringing another warm midlayer to wear between your base layer and shell jacket, like a fleece, hoodie, pullover, or a knitted wool sweater that will look cute in photos. Especially if you’re hiking on a windy or cold summer day, during winter, if you’re wearing a non-insulated shell jacket, oooor if you plan to spend some time relaxing or taking photos at the top.
12. Choose The Right Accessories
Gloves, a warm beanie or headband and a neck warmer are a must for the colder seasons, but I also recommend you bring some for summer hikes in the north as well. As previously mentioned, it can get windy and cold at the top.
13. Wear The Right Shoes
Choose the right shoes depending on season, weather conditions, the type of hike you’re doing (terrain, etc) and your personal preferences. For most hikes in Norway I recommend shoes that are waterproof, have a good grip and made of a breathable material like Gore-Tex. A lot of people prefer hiking boots due to their ankle support, like these waterproof Timberland boots. I personally find hiking boots bulky and heavy to wear and if you’re anything like me I recommend trying lighter shoes, like these waterproof Salomon X Ultra hiking shoes with Gore-Tex. Whatever you do, just don’t be one of those people that try to hike in heels (yes, they exist!).
Bonus Tip: New shoes? Break them in before hiking in Norway!
14. Consider Trekking Trousers
In addition to flexible leggings and/or base layer bottoms, consider wearing comfortable trekking trousers for extra protection and insulation. An elastic pair the Fjällräven Abisko Trekking Tights are great for the warmer months (I looove mine!), while something a little thicker and more durable like the Fjällräven Vidda Pro Trousers are a better choice for the colder months.
What To Pack When Hiking In Norway
15. Bring A Comfortable Backpack.
A comfy and practical backpack is a must for hiking in Norway. There are a ton of great daypacks out there for shorter hikes, as well as larger backpacks for longer trips that require more space for equipment. I recommend getting a high quality brand if your budget allows it – although they can be pricy, they’re more versatile and lasts longer (and often come with a great warranty policy). As much as I love my Fjallraven Kanken, its honestly not the most comfortable choice, and even on short hikes I recommend you pick a more comfy one with a chest strap like the Osprey Daylite Plus. Larger backpacks (for longer hikes) should ideally have chest and hip straps, room for a sleeping bag, straps for a sleeping pad, and a hydration reservoir compartment, like the Osprey Kyte 36.
16. Pack Enough Food & Snacks
Food and snacks are always smart to bring, even on short hikes. Snacks are a hiking necessity, and they’re very helpful when your motivation drops along with your blood sugar. Trail mix, chocolate bars and bananas do wonders for your body while hiking. How many meals you should bring depends on the duration and intensity of your hike, but you should bring at least one filling and nutritious meal. Sandwiches and dinner leftovers are both easy to pack and eat. Grilling hot dogs over an open fire is also a good option, while freeze dried meals are great if you bring an open-fire-kettle or a camping stove system. Want the ultimate Norwegian hiking experience? Bring hot cocoa or coffee on a thermos and enjoy it at the top.
Psst! All use of open fire in Norway is forbidden in or near forests and other outlying areas from April 15th to September 15th.
17. Bring Enough Water
Bringing enough water is super important, especially on hikes without water accessibility, so make sure to fill up your reusable water bottle or CamelBak before your hike. A CamelBak is a water reservoir with a tube that makes it so much easier to hydrate while you’re hiking and I cannot recommend it enough. No more need to stop for a sip of water! A CamelBak hydration pack can also be used as a daypack, or you can place the reservoir in any backpack you have. Most new backpacks come with a hydrating compartment these days anyways.
18. Consider Bringing A Map And Compass
As mentioned in tip #1, you shouldn’t rely 100% on your phone when hiking. Consider bringing a map and compass that includes your hiking trail (and learn how to use it), particularly on longer and more complex hikes.
19. Pack Extra Layers
Always pack extra clothes and layers as mentioned in tip #8.
20. Don’t Forget Your Camera
Hiking in Norway is a beautiful experience you’ll want to capture, so make sure you bring your camera. Extra batteries and memory cards is also smart. I recommend a light travel camera with interchangeable lenses and the option of shooting in RAW. My favorite is the mirrorless Sony a6500 camera (or try the newer Sony a6600) with the 16mm 1.4 lens for landscape shots.
21. Pack A First Aid Kit
Always bring a first aid kit while hiking in Norway. You never know when you, or someone you meet, need one. Either purchase a kit or create your own. Don’t forget to pack toilet paper and pain killers, too.
22. Other Things To Consider Packing
Considering packing toilet paper (when you gotta go, you gotta go), a head lamp, heating pads for cold hands or feet, a powerbank, a hiking knife, and camping supplies if you’re spending the night outside, including a tent, sleeping bag, camping stove system, cooking utensils, etc.
What To Be Aware Of While Hiking In Norway
23. Beware of Sudden Weather Changes
The weather changes quickly in this part of the world, so beware of sudden weather changes when hiking in Norway. This is one of the reasons why I stress you pack extra clothes, food and water. Because even if its sunny and clear skies when you begin your hike, theres no guarantee it will stay that way throughout the day. Seek shelter if necessary, and be extra careful if you’re hit by sudden fog.
24. Take Lots Of Breaks
Take lots of short breaks while hiking, don’t go all in from the beginning – you might burn out quickly. And eat a snack when you need a quick spike in your blood sugar.
25. Pay Attention
Pay attention to your surroundings while hiking, and watch where you’re going. Scrolling while hiking in Norway can be lethal. And don’t keep your hands in your pockets.
26. Don’t Take Risks
Respect the forces of nature and don’t take any risks by stepping too close to a cliff or doing a flip or something just to get a cool photo. It might sound obvious to most of you, but its still important to mention in these Instagram times. After all, people die every year just cause they wanted that perfect Instagram shot. Getting a cool photo is great, but its not worth risking your life over it. Please be careful.
27. Know Your Limits
There is no shame in turning around if you feel like you’re entering a world you’re not qualified for. Pushing your own limits is great and all, but too much? That can be dangerous. Listen to your gut and trust your instincts.
28. Don’t Hesitate To Call 113
Do not hesitate to call the emergency number 113 if you get hurt or stuck on your hike in Norway. There is no shame in needing help. There is a group of wonderful people ready to help you get down safely if necessary. Either by helicopter or manually by a rescue team. They are happy to help you, and since its socialistic Norway we’re talking about here you wont get bankrupt over it either.
29. Leave No Trace
Be responsible and leave no trace while hiking. That means that you must pick up your own trash and bring it with you, and to avoid pooping on the trail. Walk as far as you can from a public trail to do your deed, and cover it up with a rock or something after so no one has to step in your poop later.
30. Remember To Enjoy The Hike!
Don’t forget to truly enjoy hiking in Norway! It is an amazing experience that you’ll probably want to repeat for the rest of your life. Even if you’re exhausted, or busy getting those perfect photos, don’t forget to pause once in a while and take it all in.
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