Five alive for new arrivals

people on mountain plateau
Some international students are surprised to find that few warning signs or guardrails mar Norway's rugged wilderness.

​Here are our 5 expert tips for exploring your surroundings safely.

1.Talk to locals (or just join them)

- Acquire knowledge about local conditions prior to departure. Talk to local organisations or individuals who know the conditions and who can access updated information. Locals can provide invaluable information and warn you of known dangers, says Alf from the Norwegian Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Bodø.

- We encourage visiting students to participate in our organised activities. It is a good way to acquire knowledge and experience that will be useful later on, says Kari from the Norwegian Hiking Association in Bodø.

- You can start with small-scale excursions in the local area before proceeding to more advanced treks. That is a wise move, she continues.

Rago National Park is an hour's drive north of Bodø. With the right knowledge and equipment, you can explore the magnificence of Northern Norwegian nature.

2. Prepare for cold and wet

- Always bring warm clothes and extra food and drink, says Lars, advisor at Nord University and leader of Red Cross Search and Rescue.

As a guide and receptionist, Kari is often in contact with visiting students.

- We see that visiting students can be unprepared for unstable weather, she says, - They do not always realise that the weather can change at any time, and that you can experience all the seasons in just a matter of hours, she says.

- Bring warm clothes, hat, mittens and raingear if you are going on longer treks, especially overnight, she elaborates. Even in summer, you may encounter snowfall, strong winds and sudden drops in the temperature.

3. Bring a map (and know how to use it)

- Whether you are going trekking on your own or with friends, make sure you have a map of the area you are going to, and be able to read and make use of it, Kari urges.

- If you follow marked trails, you will not need to use a map very often. But markings can be hard to spot at times. Even if you are following a marked trailed, a map is an important tool.  It can help you make informed decisions about how to proceed if you lose the path or encounter obstacles.

4. Stay in touch (or plan to call)

Alf also recommends bringing signaling equipment, especially on longer trips.

- Make sure to bring a mobile phone, and find out whether you will have coverage. On longer treks, bring a personal locator beacon (PLB) if possible, or at least try to find out where and how you might contact help if you need to.

5. Be sensible

- Choose a destination that fits with your experience and abilities, says Lars.  

- Yes, you might want to capture that spectacular view for Instagram, but make sure you are not risking your life to do so.

- Study the map and make sure you are prepared and equipped, regarding distance, elevation and unstable conditions.

"God tur!"

Plan your trip on DNT's hiking website "UT". It includes heaps of trip suggestions, information about mountain cabins, maps and a route planning tool.

Borrow free hiking equipment, including tents, map protectors, sleds, backpacks and boots. Both the student welfare organisation and BUA in Bodø offer free equipment hire. 

Stay safe! You can find more basic safety rules in the Norwegian Mountain

Expert panel

Kari Helene from DNT
Kari H. Ofstad is a hiking guide and receptionist at the Norwegian Hiking Association in Bodø.

Alf from JRCC
Alf Hågensen  (here at work) is a rescue coordinator at the Norwegian Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Bodø. The JRCC in Bodø is one of only two centres in Norway.

Lars from Red Cross
Lars Røed Hansen is an advisor at Nord University and leader of Red Cross Search and Rescue Bodø.