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What are the rules and culture of camping in Norway? 

What are the rules and culture of camping in Norway? 
The nature in Norway is one of the best things about the country. Photo by Daan Weijers on Unsplash
One of the best things about living in Norway is having the great outdoors on your doorstep. But before you go on your next adventure, it's essential to know a little bit more about the unwritten (and written) rules of camping culture in the country. 

Allemannsretten

Wherever you are in Norway, you will always be close to nature and outstanding natural scenery. The best thing about this proximity to nature is the Allemannsretten, the right to public access. The Outdoor Recreation Act has protected this right to access since 1957. 

This gives people the right to travel or camp anywhere they like, regardless of who owns the land. The exception to this rule is cultivated land.

Another thing to note is that if you are planning to set up shop on somebody else’s land, you can only do so if you are 150 meters from their property, and you can only stay a maximum of two days before you are required to ask for their permission. 

READ ALSO: Five great places to go on a hammock trip in Oslo this summer

Furthermore, while it isn’t a rule per se, those camping with tents and hammocks are encouraged to pick spots already established as camping sites.

So while it may be tempting to look for your own hidden gem, please stay close to an established spot to avoid minimal disruption to nature and wildlife in the area. 

Allmennhetens høstingsrett

Similar to the public right to access, this grants you the freedom to harvest, forage and eat any berries, nuts, herbs, mushrooms or plants you come across. 

There are some exceptions, however, namely cloudberries that are found on private property in Northern Norway. 

This public right to harvest means you can choose a spot abundant with fresh berries, for example, and have them as a dessert on your trip or make them into a jam to be served with some sveler (thick Norwegian pancakes, often served with jam, sour cream or brown cheese).

Keen anglers can also fish for saltwater species such as haddock and pollock without a licence. You will need a licence issued by the municipality you are visiting for freshwater species, however. 

Lighting fires 

Due to the risk of forest fires, campfires are prohibited from April 15th and September 15th in wooded areas and forests. 

However, fires are allowed in areas where the risk of fires spreading is unlikely, such as near water or at an approved campsite.

Campers are also required to bring their own firewood and not to fell any trees.

In extreme droughts, some standard camping equipment such as grills, gas burners and camping stoves will also be prohibited. 

You can check the risk of forest fires spreading where you are going camping by using yr.no

Det er ikke dårlig vær bare dårlige klær

Depending on when and how you hear this, it will either be one of the most infuriating or helpful things a local can say to you. 

Translated to “there is no bad weather, only bad clothes”, this phrase could be the bane of your existence should a Norwegian find you drenched and shivering while they beam from ear to ear in their warm weatherproof outdoors wear. 

It could also be a handy reminder to check the weather and pack appropriately when telling someone you are planning a camping trip or excursion to the great outdoors. 

The weather in Norway is unpredictable, which means you should prepare for all scenarios. 

More importantly, though, this saying offers a good insight into Norway’s relationship with nature. The proverb isn’t just a reminder to pack a jacket. It’s also to encourage people to make the most of the great outdoors even if the weather isn’t picture perfect. 

Ut på tur aldri sur

Out on a trip never sour! This is a phrase all Norwegians have adopted as an unofficial rule when it comes to camping and spending time in the great outdoors. 

This un-written rule encourages people to embrace being in the great outdoors and to take the time out in nature to relax, unwind, enjoy themselves and not take the scenery around them or the opportunity to be with those they love for granted. 

This is an important one to keep in mind if things don’t plan on your trip.

Respect nature

This one may be obvious wherever you are in the world but is especially important given that Norway is home to many endangered species, delicately poised eco-systems and national parks that are meant to be for everyone’s enjoyment. 

You should try to leave no or little impact on the area you are staying in. 

Or, to put it in the words of famous Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss: To use something is not the same as consuming it. 

You should do as little to disturb the surrounding area and wildlife in the site you are staying in as possible. 

If you aren’t camping at a site with toilet facilities, make sure to bring a shovel to dispose of your waste. As well as that, be sure to make sure you don’t go to the bathroom within 50 metres of any water sources, as many hikers and campers in Norway will drink from the streams, waterfalls and rivers.

As well as that, don’t move anything from its natural habitat or leave any permanent changes such as carving your name into a tree or stone. 

Useful links

Below is a list of links to all the resources you’ll need to go camping in Norway, from camping sites to top tips. 

https://www.visitnorway.com/hotels-more/caravan-camping/

The right to roam | Guidelines to roaming where you want (visitnorway.com)

The Norwegian Mountain Code — The Norwegian Trekking Association (dnt.no)

https://campingportalen.no/campingplasser-i-norge

https://viivilla.no/ovrig/campingutstyret-du-ikke-kan-leve-uten-pa-campingferie/

Useful vocab 

Telt Tent 

Sovepose– Sleeping bag

Myggnett– Mosquito net 

Hengekøyetur– Hammock trip 

Stormkjøkken– Camping stove


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