Preparations and packing lists
Read up on our advice and tips on how to do a pilgrimage on the St. Olav Ways – the pilgrim paths to Trondheim. A prepared pilgrim is a happy pilgrim!
The pilgrim season - when can you go?
The main season for pilgrimage in Norway is from June to September. In the high mountains the season is somewhat shorter due to snow and snow melting. Hiking outside the main season is possible, but the weather can be more unstable and many of the pilgrim accommodations are closed. Check the trip planner and, if necessary, contact the regional pilgrim centres to check the conditions along the path and which accommodations are open.
Safety in the mountains
St. Olav Ways – the pilgrim paths to Trondheim goes through small villages, agricultural landscapes, narrow valleys and quiet forests, but depending on which path you choose you can also walk in mountain plateaus and demanding high mountain terrain. If the latter is the case it is important that you familiarize yourself with 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.
Take your time
If you are going to embark 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 are able to get familiar with the shoes you are going to wear, the weight of your backpack and you get in better shape. Stretching out regularly is also important to maintain and increase mobility and to prevent strain injuries.
Plan as you go
When you are on your pilgrimage, call the accommodation a day or two in advance to book accommodation. If you do not take part in an organized pilgrimage, you should bring three meals with you in the bag. 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.
The best footwear
The St. Olav Ways – the pilgrim paths to Trondheim are mostly on footpaths, asphalt and dirt roads and do not require heavy footwear such as traditional mountain boots with rigid soles. Hiking shoes and 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. They can often be ankle high, it is better in wet terrain. If you have boots without cushioning, the use of soles in cushioning material can be helpful. If possible, please alternate between shoes, boots and sandals.
Good padding of the feet prevents rashes and water problems. One to 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 best prepared.
For rainy days
Your clothing should preferably cover a temperature range from around zero to over thirty degrees Celsius. With underwear, pants, shirt, wool sweater and rainwear, particularly made for hiking, you can handle this. Artificial fiber fabric dries within hours and can therefore be washed daily.
A rain poncho covers both you and your backpack, but can be a little difficult to keep in place 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 put on and off with your boots on.
Microfiber trousers ⁄ shorts and shirt 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.
Which backpack should you use?
Other equipment to bring
Some of the basic accommodations do not include bed linen or wool blankets. It is recommended to bring a light sleeping bag of 0.5–1 kg with a zipper on the side. In some accommodations you will need sleeping mats. This is also good to have if you want to take a rest outdoors along the way.
We recommend a walking stick - or two - which is helpful during the pilgrimage. With a backpack you have a poor 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 be less sound.
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 helpful.
Have a great pilgrimage!