Preparations and packing list

A prepared pilgrim is a happy pilgrim! Here are our tips on how to prepare before hiking the pilgrim paths in Norway.

Foto: Eskil Roll

The pilgrim season - when can you go?

The main season for pilgrimage in Norway is between 1 June and 1 September. Routes that go over the mountains have a shorter season due to snow and snowmelt, while some other routes are accessible and have open accommodations also in the spring and autumn. Check with the regional pilgrim center for the area you plan to walk in, they can tell you what time of year it is recommended to walk, and how the current conditions are. It is also important to check the weather forecast along the way.

Safety in the forests and mountains

Although it is relativly safe to hike in Norwegian forests and mountains, you should have some knowledge beforehand and take some precautions before going on a long hike. Here you can read about safety on the Norwegian pilgrim trails - Including emergency numbers, rules regarding camping and campfires, and advice on how to act when you encounter grazing animals and wildlife.

The pilgrim paths go through villages, agricultural landscapes, valleys and forests. Some of the paths also pass through demanding mountain terrain. If you are going to cross mountains, it's important that you learn about the safety principles for travel in the Norwegian mountains. We strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the Norwegian Tourist Association's Mountain Code before embarking on your pilgrimage.

Foto: Eskil Roll

Take your time

A pilgrimage can be demanding, especially if it lasts for several weeks. Time pressure is not a good feeling, so we recommend that you plan for a resting day per week. Then you'll have time to absorb the impressions, and your body gets time to relax and recover.

You will meet many nice and helpful people along the way, but you have to rely on yourself and your own judgment while hiking.

Get fit

On a pilgrimage you usually walk about twenty kilometres a day, several days in a row. A good advice is to go for long walks well in advance of the pilgrimage. Then you'll get familiar with the shoes you are going to wear and the weight of your backpack, and you get in better shape. Stretching out regularly is also important to increase mobility and prevent strain injuries.

Plan ahead

When you are on your pilgrimage, contact the accommodation a day or two in advance to book accommodation. If you have made a reservation but change your plans, it is important to cancel so that the host does not think you might have gotten lost.

If you do not take part in an organized pilgrimage, you should bring three meals with you in the backpack. The distances vary between grocery stores and it is better to be safe than sorry. In many accommodations you are served breakfast and dinner, but this varies from place to place. Not all accommodations can be paid by credit card. It is therefore recommended to bring with you around 3000 NOK in smaller notes.

Some accommodations offer laundry, in other places you do it yourself. Bring detergent in portioned bags and a nylon cord for drying clothes. Crumpled newspaper can help draw moisture from wet boots.

The best footwear

The pilgrim paths through Norway are mostly on footpaths, asphalt and dirt roads and do not require heavy footwear such as traditional mountain boots with rigid soles. But your hiking shoes or boots must be wide enough, not just long enough - you need to be able to spread your toes, and there must be room for your feet to swell a little.

The shoes must provide good support, have good flex in the forefoot so they do not tilt, and cushioning that facilitates walking on the road. Ankle high shoes are better in wet terrain. If you have boots without cushioning, the use of soles in cushioning material can be helpful. If possible you can alternate between shoes, boots and sandals.

Good padding of the feet prevents rashes and moist problems. One or two pairs of thin wool socks is a proven piece of advice. If possible, wash your socks daily. Two thinner socks per foot dry faster than one thick. Simple gaiters keep pebbles, debris and moisture out of the boots. In areas with a lot of asphalt, it is recommended to change to lighter footwear with good cushioning. Examine the surface before the hike so you are well prepared.

Foto: David Tett

For rainy days

A rain poncho covers both you and your backpack, but can be impractical when it is windy. Alternatively, a rain jacket in breathable material (for example Goretex or triplepoint) with a thin mesh lining will keep you dry while being comfortable against the skin and insulating well. You will then need a rain cover for the bag as well. It is also practical with rainproof pants that can be taken on and off without removing your shoes.


Your clothing should preferably cover a temperature range from zero to thirty degrees Celsius. With underwear, pants, shirt, wool sweater and rainproof jacket and pants, particularly made for hiking, you can handle this. Artificial fiber fabric dries within hours and can therefore be washed daily.

Microfiber trousers ⁄ shorts and shirts weigh less than cotton and also dry quickly. A light wool sweater is important to bring. A cotton scarf makes it easy to regulate the temperature in the neck region. After a long day you can be frozen, and wool underwear (thin pants + sweater) is good to have in your back pack.

Have a look at our suggested packing lists, whether you plan to sleep indoors or outdoors on your pilgrimage.


Backpacks of 50-80 litres, with stiffened back, padded carrying belt, and chest strap are available in many variants. The back pack must have the correct length relative to your back so that the weight is evenly distributed between the shoulders and hips. Simple bags without too many pockets and straps often weigh less. If you are able to pack less than 10 kg, it's less important to have a padded carrier belt. You can use packing bags to sort the contents, and you should have a rain cover to keep the back pack dry.

Other equipment to bring

It is recommended to bring a light sleeping bag of 0.5–1 kg with a zipper on the side, since some of the basic accommodations do not include bed linen or wool blankets. In some accommodations you will also need a sleeping mat. This may also come in handy if you want to take a rest outdoors along the way.

We recommend a walking stick - or two. The backpack may disturb your balance, and the rod provides extra support. In steep areas it acts as a relief on the knees and your back. You can make one yourself, or buy a telescopic one. With rubber knob on the tip, it will make less noice.

Shampoos and other liquid detergents contain fillers. Choose concentrated products to save weight. Microfiber type travel towels are lightweight and dry quickly. Foot care is especially important, both preventive and for problems with blisters or muscle pain. A small headlamp is also helpful.

Have a great pilgrimage!

Maps and guidebooks






  • Olavsweg - Von Oslo über Mjøsasee und Dovrefjell nach Trondheim by Susanne und Walter Elsner, Bergverlag Rother (2023). You can get it at Rother publisher or Oslo Pilgrim Center.

Please note that we cannot guarantee updated information in guidebooks, these may be out of date. You can find updated information on the digital map at