Norway indeed is a wonderland apart from all the phenomenons it is home to; the culture and the history this place treasure is another thing to be wondered about. But how much free-spirited and crazy Norwegians could be is measured by this very law their government passed decades ago.
“The Right to Roam”
In 1957, The Outdoor Recreation Act was introduced by the Norwegian government wherein they announced Norway as ‘All Man’s Land’ exalting the concept of ‘Allemannsretten’. The act was very well celebrated because of the inherent culture and streak for exploration and love for nature in the heart of the people of Norway. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come and roam freely and liberally on Norwegian ground while taking in nature and its beauty.
Therefore, the term ‘Wild camping’ is very popular in the region and is actually quite a frenzy amongst travelers who are always on a lookout for something unusual.
Open Air Life as termed by Henrik Ibsen, an iconic Norwegian Writer, is what this Wild Camping is all about, originating from the history of having Vikings who were originally the seafarers and explorers even before Columbus. The trend of hiking, skiing, and camping has been in their civilization since the beginning of time.
But apart from a history loaded with this culture, Norway is so picturesque and gifted with nature, why should one not have this liberty to just roam around and set up a camp wherever it pleases them?
This free-spirited law and warmth come with a rule book, which is necessary and essential to intact nature as well as the values attached to this ritual of the Norwegian Land.
Rule No-1: Be Considerate
Being kind and considerate of nature and surroundings is the first rule of free camping. Whilst you’re free to enjoy the scenery and the vast lands, you’re to be careful to not harm and destroy it with littering and any other irreversible damage to your environment. The basic philosophy is this that you have to treat the land as it is yours, live on it and take care of it like you would have taken care of your own land.
Native flora and fauna need to be protected at any cost and as a measure, the government of Norway expects you not to interrupt and disrupt their functioning.
One important part is to not build ‘open fires’ unless you have proper means to do it without hampering the environment around it.
Rule No-2: The Prohibited Lands
Norway though opens its arms for anyone and everyone who want to scrounge the lands in order to seek the natural beauty, but there are areas you absolutely can’t camp and few, where you need permission.
- On any private land without the owner’s permission
- Cultivated lands
- Industrial land’s building plots
The private lands are referred to as ‘fenced lands’ by the government and aren’t to be camped upon without the permission of its existing owner. Pretty Fair! But the logic behind it is just that the pre-inhabited lands are off-limits, not particularly “fenced”.
For protection and well being of the pasture and cultivated lands, they are again not allowed to be camped upon. Only, there is an exception. You’re allowed to camp on them during winters because the rest of the land is covered with snow and practically unfit to be camped on.
Oslo is one of the Industrial Land with lots of building plots, so just avoid camping when in Oslo.
Rule No-3: Maintain the Distance, Please!
Gather around kids, you need to remember this as a thumb rule. Your camps should be 500 feet away from any nearest dwelling to respect the privacy and peace of the people around. Wherever you are sleeping even, with or without the camp, this rule prevails.
To add on, the land is vast and beautiful so will be no problem finding yourself a perfect spot.
Rule No-4: Proper Defecation
The worst form of littering a place is through human open defecation. You’re strictly prohibited to do that. And there are designated places where you can properly defecate, hence advised and ordered to do so.
Here we talked about the rules, but the next most important thing is how to go about camping if you are a novice or even a pro when you are in Norway.
1. Leave your house thoroughly prepared!
Pick a spot and then do proper R&D before leaving for the camping. Don’t be too enthusiastic and leave your house without knowing the grounds. If possible, familiarize yourself as well with the place before the camping day. Take a hotel for a day, sweep the grounds and gather all the pros and cons of the place. Safety before anything!
Also, pick the place as per the activity you want to do there, is it skiing or hiking? You pick!
2. Pick a Nice Spot
Nice spot don’t include good scenery here (though a part of it not entirely). It should be a:
- Away from low areas
- Have a natural shelter
- Water source nearby
Choose a place with grounds not so rocky so that you aren’t uncomfortable when sleeping. A night of good night sleep is important before any adventure! Low areas can get flooded, hence stay away from them. A natural shelter is a natural protector and in any of any climate shifts, you can take refuge there. Having a water source nearby could be recreational as well as essential for the survival and navigation but a safe distance in case of any high tide should be maintained as well.
3. Pack all the Essentials
Camping ain’t all fun and game. It could be life-threatening if you don’t go prepared with all the necessary supplies. Supplies like:
- Sleeping Gear’
- Basic Cooking Equipment
- First Aid
- Warm Clothes
- Frozen Food & Energy Bars
- Waterproofing material
Each of these items mentioned is important and crucial for any camper and aren’t to be compromised upon.