Survival guide to mountain hiking
We've compiled some tips for you! Cabin to cabin, or just a day trip? If you’re prepared, you’ll be safe in the mountains.
Not all who wander are lost. This quote from the author of The Lord of Rings sums up much of the joy of hiking.
And die-hard Tolkien fans may well tell you that the book The Hobbit is actually called There, and back again; words you should also consider when planning your trip this summer. Let us share with you the key to a comfortable and safe hike in the mountains!
Because we want you to return home in good shape, even if your trip is rather long from A to B, like the trip we've planned this summer. We're planning a long trip, taking us past Langedrag National Park to Hardangervidda National Park, from east to west. It means that for a couple of weeks we'll be crossing mountains, plateaus and valleys, so we'll need to be very well prepared.
Be ready for sunshine one minute and snow the next!
'Until Dovre falls'
Just like the constitutional fathers swore their loyalty until Dovre Mountain falls, there’s one thing you can be sure the Norwegian mountains will provide: Constantly changing weather. In the mountains, we can predict the weather with a good, old-fashioned weather forecast, but you should be ready for anything, and local conditions can make a big difference.
That’s why it’s often quite a challenge to pack your bag correctly for this type of trip. Since a kilo less or more makes a big difference over long distances, it's important to be conservative. That’s why we're lucky to have the Norwegian Trekking Association's (DNT) self-service cabins. That way we don't have to pack tents and sleeping bags.
And this is why you have: Sunscreen and sunglasses in one pocket. Hat, gloves and thermos in the other.
Out of all the stuff we're taking with us, it's quite clear that the biggest load on the scales is the clothes we need to bring. What comes to the rescue on a trip, when you think of comfort and effect? Good, warm wool, of course!
No plastic fantastic
You can read page after page about technical baselayers and various synthetic baselayers, it's wool that's the king of baselayers. The original, out and out winner has always been the only type you need for the mountains – after all, it's all the sheep we meet on the way need!
If you were packing for a week in the south, you would have taken plenty of changes of clothes, but here we have to think practically, and that's where wool comes in. Firstly, it’s very light; secondly, wool regulates the temperature itself; and thirdly, it's ideal for both sunny and bad weather. It also handles moisture well and dries quickly.
The three-layer principle: Thin wool as a baselayer, a warm mid layer and an outer shell layer.
Therefore, we only have two inner layers (but you can pack three if you’re a bit fussy!), so one can dry overnight (or hang off your bag while you're walking) while you sweat and struggle in the other. The big bonus is that wool is antibacterial. So it won't start smelling, even after many days on a demanding trip.
You can always rinse your woolen clothes and hang them out to dry when you arrive at your destination for the day. Your nose, and your companions, will thank you!
A reliable water bottle is all you need: There will be plenty of running, clean water on the road.
The mid layer and the underwear layer
Also, don't forget your feet while you're thinking about smell and comfort – don't make the mistake of packing cotton socks! Plus, your feet are put to hard use on a long trip, so always be sure to use sports tape, elastic bandages or blister plasters. To stop rubbing, we recommend wearing an inner sock and a thicker outer sock inside your hiking boots.
Wearing a shell jacket as an outer layer helps against the wind, but can feel clammy to walk in. That’s why it’s a good idea to choose wool for the mid layer too. A down jacket or fleece jacket tends to be a popular choice of mid layer in winter, but you will need good ventilation and not mind a mid layer that may get wet. That's where fleece and down fall short of the mark.
There are few cups of cocoa that are more well-deserved than after a 6–7 hour walk.
Ulvang’s selection of comfy sweaters will do wonders here. Check out in particular the half-zip with high neck, Alta, for men and for women. Wool keeps the wind at arm’s length and breathes well. This type of sweater is a great travel companion since it will do all the “hard work” when it comes to keeping you warm and snug.
Makes you one of the mountain folk
There are few experiences that can match the feeling of having negotiated several days of marching across terrain, through valleys, over mountains and down to the next valley again, when you can stand there and look back and be able to say Over there, that's where we've come from!
In our long, stretched-out country you will find sheep trails, marshes and rivers, endless rocks and scree, snowdrifts and moss beds. The diversity over such a distance is enough to take your breath away, and the hard work of hiking across the terrain, no matter the pace, will actually take your breath away! Know that whatever landscape your route takes you through, good woolen clothing and good preparations are what guarantee a good time.
Have a great trip!
Tie your shoes well, use tape and woolen socks and start early every morning.
This article has been published on Fri Flyt.