Norway Explorer

Overview Details Itinerary What to Pack FAQs Before You Go

Overview

Explore the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Norway’s got it all – breathtaking landscapes, friendly locals, fascinating culture and some of the most stunning summer hiking there is.

After we meet in the country’s capital, we’ll take a train – one of the most beautiful train rides in the world – to the west coast city of Bergen, where we’ll explore fish markets and hikes just outside the city’s limits.

Next, we’ll sea kayak through the fjords. On our three-day trip, we’ll paddle among Norway’s famous fjords, including Nærøyfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll cook together each night with our guides, enjoying Norway’s 24-hour summer light.

We finish with a backpacking trip through Aurlandsdalen, one of Norway’s classic hiking routes. The locals are adamant that there are trolls along this route, but we’ll cross that bridge when it comes. Our sense of camaraderie will be strong now, and we’ll be at our best as we enjoy the beauty of Norway’s natural world on our trek together.

Back in Oslo, we will reflect on the things we’ve accomplished and the friends we’ve made. There will be stories to tell, and we’ll know that when we head home, this journey will stay with us forever. Having spent time in such a unique place, with people that we’ve come to rely on, our need to explore will continue to grow.

Kids are exposed to different cultures by being immersed in hands-on experiences. Our son came away with the knowledge of another country's way of life. You can't learn this through text books.


- Terry Estes, Moose Pass, Alaska
Itinerary may vary by group and is subject to change.

Day 1: Trip Start in Oslo

We’ll meet at the Oslo Airport before hopping on Norway’s world-class public transport. At our campsite just outside the city, we’ll start to get to know one another as we learn basic camping skills, review gear and look at the two weeks ahead of us.

Days 2 & 3: Explore Bergen

On our first morning together, we’ll take a stunning train ride across the country to Bergen, Norway’s west coast hub. In the city, we’ll have time to explore a famous fish market before heading to our accommodations outside of Bergen. The next day, we’ll gear up for our first hike as a group, in Bergen’s Seven Mountains. With sweeping views of the city and the sea beyond, we’ll start to yearn for the wilds of Norway.

Days 4-7: Sea Kayak the Fjord

Working with professional guides, we’ll learn basic kayak paddling and safety skills. We’ll set off from the small Nordic village of Flåm and explore the sheer cliffs of the world-famous fjords, camping each night at sites on the water. We’ll learn about marine life in the area and the important role that the sea plays in Norwegian culture. The final leg of our kayaking trip will be through a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nærøyfjord.

Days 8-11: Hike the Aurlandsdalen

We’ll continue to make our way back east as we head to the northern limit of Hardangervidda National Park. After spending a day preparing and day hiking, we’ll head out on a classic three-day trek through the Aurlandsdalen, a valley that boasts dramatic alpine views, glaciers and even the occasional reindeer. Averaging seven miles each day and practicing Leave No Trace principles, we’ll continue to hone our backpacking skills. Passing streams and waterfalls at every turn, hiking through rain and sun, we’ll come to depend on one another. We’ll end the trek at one of the Norwegian huts run by the Den Norske Turistforening, where we’ll celebrate a successful hike.

Days 12 & 13: Trip End

On our last full day together, we’ll make the journey back to Oslo, where it all began. We’ll remember the people we met and the places we explored. Our final dinner will be full of laughter and smiles as we appreciate the friendships we made and the challenges we overcame in the Land of the Midnight Sun.

 

Accommodations

8 nights of frontcountry camping. Campground facilities will have flush toilets and may have showers and laundry.

4 nights of backcountry camping, occasionally with access to bathroom facilities.

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Things to know

  • We travel light on Overland trips; please only bring items on your packing list.
  • Your group will have access to laundry periodically.
  • Please do not bring any electronics (including your cell phone). See FAQs for more information on our cell phone and electronics policy.
  • Do not bring any type of knife or multi-tool (such as a Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool).
  • If you are flying to your trip start, wear your hiking boots and carry your sleeping bag and sleeping pad on the plane in case your checked luggage fails to arrive on time.
  • Pack everything in your backpack or day pack. Do not bring additional luggage.
  • There are no reimbursements for lost, damaged or stolen items.
  • Please wear the navy Overland shirt that you will receive from the Overland office to your trip start location.

Clothing

  • Navy Overland Shirt (1)
    We will send students an Overland shirt prior to their trip, and we encourage students to wear their Overland shirt to trip start. We highly recommend this for students flying to their trip start location.
  • Fleece Pants (1)
    Please do not bring cotton sweatpants (they are heavy and bulky and will not keep you warm if wet).
  • Synthetic Hiking Pants (1)
    Lightweight and quick dry material. Non-cotton warmup style pants are acceptable.
  • Synthetic Long Underwear Top & Bottom (1)
  • Synthetic or Wool Top (1)
     Medium to heavyweight. For layering with long underwear and jackets.
  • Winter Hat
  • Gloves or Mittens (pair)
    Insulated, warm and waterproof. Avoid knit and porous materials.
  • Synthetic Shorts (1)
  • Synthetic T-Shirt (3)
    Short-sleeve T-shirt or tank top.
  • Underwear (5)
  • Wool and/or Synthetic Socks (4)
  • Neck Gaiter or Buff (optional)
    To protect the neck and face from the elements
  • Hat with Visor
    For protection from the sun. Baseball hats are acceptable.
  • Swimsuit (optional)

Outer Layers

  • Fleece Jacket or Pullover (1)
    Medium to heavyweight and reasonably compact.
  • Packable Synthetic or Down Jacket (1)
    Midweight, compressible, synthetic (Primaloft or similar) or down jacket. Full zip or 1/4 zip are acceptable.
  • Waterproof Raincoat (1)
    Waterproof material required (not just water resistant). Rain coats provide protection from wind and rain and serve as an extra warm layer. Your jacket should be large enough to allow layers underneath. We recommend hoods and breathable materials. Gore-Tex is a well-known waterproof and breathable fabric but there are many other quality fabrics. Ponchos are not acceptable.
  • Waterproof Rain Pants (1)
    Waterproof material required (not just water resistant). Rain pants provide protection from wind and rain and serve as an extra warm layer.

General Gear

  • Internal Frame Backpack
     65-85 liters or 4,000-5,100 cubic inches. Before purchasing a backpack, find your backpack size by measuring your torso length and your hips (instructions are available here). We recommend getting fitted at a store and trying on multiple packs.
  • Waterproof Pack Cover
    If your backpack does not come with a cover, we recommend buying a cover one size larger than your pack.
  • Day Pack
    Basic two-shoulder backpack large enough to hold your lunch, two water bottles, snacks, extra layers and rain jacket. Use your day pack as a carry-on for your flight and for daily activities or hikes. A standard school backpack is usually fine (no satchels or shoulder bags).
  • Synthetic Sleeping Bag
    A lightweight, compact synthetic sleeping bag rated to 15 degrees Fahrenheit or less. A synthetic sleeping bag is required for this trip; down is not appropriate as it does not insulate if wet. Your sleeping bag should compress into a stuff sack no larger than 20" in length.
  • Sleeping Pad
    Full- or ¾-length compact sleeping pad. We recommend closed cell foam that is thin and firm (e.g., RidgeRest) or self-inflating (e.g., Therm-a-Rest).
  • Bowl, Mug & Utensils
    6" to 8" plastic dish or bowl with top, insulated plastic mug, spoon, fork and knife. These don't need to be special camping utensils (a Tupperware dish and regular utensils are fine).
  • Water Bottle
    One 1-liter bottle. A Camelbak or similar water carrier is acceptable.
  • Headlamp & Extra Batteries
  • Adjustable Trekking Poles
    To add stability, reduce strain on the knees and improve balance while crossing unstable surfaces.
  • Gaiters (optional)
    Calf-height, waterproof gaiters to protect your legs and feet when hiking through brush, across snow fields or streams.

Footwear

  • Waterproof Hiking Boots
    Choose comfortable boots designed for hiking with a pack (i.e., mid to high cut for ankle support).  Boots should be waterproof. Break them in before the start of your trip.
  • Camp Shoes
    Closed-toe shoes to wear around camp. Crocs or lightweight tennis shoes are ideal.

Travel Documents

  • Passport
    A passport that is valid until at least six months after your trip end date
  • Passport Photocopies
    Make at least four photocopies of your passport and visa (if applicable). Leave one copy with your family and put photocopies in both your checked luggage and carry-on luggage for the flight, separate from your original documents.
  • Photo Identification
    A current school or other kind of photo identification (if you have one).
  • Unaccompanied Minor Fee Receipt (if applicable)
    For students travelling as Unaccompanied Minors, please print a copy of the UAM fee receipt for your child's leaders to keep on file.
  • Baggage Fee Receipt (if applicable)
    Some airlines allow passengers to input credit card information to cover checked bag service charges when checking in online prior to the trip. To reduce hassle at the airport, we encourage you to pay for checked baggage beforehand and supply your child with a copy of the receipt for his or her leaders to keep on file.
  • Permission to Travel to and from Norway
    Please bring a copy of your Permission to Travel to and from Norway form.

Miscellaneous

  • Synthetic Camping Towel
    A medium-size synthetic camping towel (synthetic camping towels dry much faster than regular towels).
  • Gallon Sized Ziploc Bags (10)
    To organize and waterproof your gear and small items.
  • Large Trash Bags (4)
    To waterproof your gear.
  • Sunglasses
    Polarized sunglasses that wrap around to protect from glare are ideal.
  • Sunscreen (SPF 15+) & Chapstick (with SPF protection)
  • Toiletries
    All items should be travel size (if necessary, you will be able to restock during the trip).
  • Package of Moleskin or Molefoam
    To protect your feet from blisters.
  • Camera, Charger & Extra Batteries (optional)
    A digital or disposable camera and, if necessary, a charger and large enough memory card to accommodate your pictures (4 to 8 GB).
  • Personal Journal or Book (optional)
  • Spending Money
    $50 per week in local currency or a debit/ATM card (please notify your bank of international travel before trip start).
  • Health Insurance Card
    Please bring an original or copy of your health insurance card.
  • Insect Repellent
  • What is the weather like on Norway Explorer?

    The weather in Norway during the summer varies, though its climate is relatively temperate. Average temperatures in July range from the 40s to 60s during the day and are cooler at night. Brief rain showers are common, and it can change quickly from sunny and warm to windy, rainy and cold. Layering is the best strategy. Our packing list takes these variables into consideration. Please follow the packing list, paying close attention to rain gear specifications.

  • What are the arrival and departure airports for my child's trip?

    You will need to arrange transportation for your child to and from Oslo International Airport (OSL) at trip start and end. We will provide more specific travel information once we have placed your child on a program.

  • How often will my child have access to showers and laundry?

    Groups typically shower and do laundry once a week.

  • Please tell me about the currency on this trip.

    Norway uses the Norwegian krone (plural: kroner). Some banks may be able to order kroner. Students can also exchange money in airports throughout the US, or leaders can help students withdraw kroner using a debit card or exchange US dollars upon arrival in Norway.

  • Please tell me about safety at Overland.

    Safety and risk management are at the forefront of our decision-making–from trip planning to leader training to supporting our groups in the field. We cannot guarantee absolute safety–no program can. All recreational activities include inherent and other risks. Therefore, we strive to manage the risks that we can, knowing we cannot eliminate them. We work hard to recruit, train and support our trip leaders so they can create the kind of trips that have made us successful for over 30 years. Please click here to read more about our approach to risk management and our accreditation by the American Camp Association.

  • Does my child need to have previous experience?

    While no previous experience is required, we have high expectations of our students. We expect your child–with your help–to select a trip that is appropriate for his or her interests and abilities. You should spend some time familiarizing yourself with the details of the specific program and help your child understand what to expect. We also expect our students to prepare ahead of time: to review the packing list, gather clothing and gear and complete whatever training the trip requires (for recommended training please see the Before You Go tab). Once the trip begins, your child should be ready–and excited–to contribute to a wholesome and enthusiastic group where each group member feels welcomed and valued.

  • Please tell me about Overland’s admissions process.

    For more information, and to access our application, please visit our Apply page.
    When we receive child’s application, if the first choice is available, you will receive a phone call and an email containing a link to our Overland Portal where you will find our Admissions Review Forms. We will accept your deposit to hold your child’s place in the program pending a favorable Admissions Review. If the first choice is not available, we will call you to confirm that the second choice is acceptable. If neither the first choice nor second choice are available, we will call you to discuss options. For those students placed on our waitlist, we will notify you as soon as a spot becomes available.


    We seek to admit students who have demonstrated that they possess the personal qualities and experience necessary to succeed on an Overland trip. While Overland is always supportive and nurturing, an Overland program is unlike a traditional camp in that our small groups–12 students and 2 leaders–travel, live and work as a group, making all of their own meals, helping each other and cooperating in ways big and small, and they do all of this far from home. As a result, every student must be able to thrive in an environment that places equal emphasis on:


    1. 1. Teamwork and Shared Responsibilities.

    2. 2. Independence and Self-Reliance.

    3. 3. Support of Others and Consideration for Others.

  • What are Overland’s policies on phones, electronics and communication?

    PHONES:
    To maximize independence and self-reliance, we do not permit phone calls, emails or text messages to or from our campers (the exceptions to this are: your child will call home on arrival and departure with our phones and assistance, and in the case of an emergency). If your child brings a phone for use while en route to Overland, please do not send him or her with an expensive smartphone; instead bring an inexpensive prepaid cell phone. All phones will be collected on arrival and returned at departure. While we will take reasonable steps to prevent damage, theft or loss to phones, we take no responsibility for phones and we will not make any reimbursements for lost, damaged or stolen phones.


    ELECTRONICS:
    Cameras are welcome but please do not bring any other electronics (e.g., iPods, iPads, Kindles or other readers, GPS or similar devices). All electronics (except cameras) will be mailed home on arrival (at your risk and expense).


    COMMUNICATION:
    We are committed to providing extraordinary support to you and your child; to that end, the Overland office is staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week during the summer (outside of office hours our answering service provides emergency coverage). Our leaders in the field are in touch with our office regularly; they carry cell phones (and in some cases satellite phones). Anytime a camper is treated for an injury or illness by a doctor or medical personnel, parents are notified by our office. A director will call the parents to explain the nature of the injury or illness, the sequence of events leading up to the injury and/or the steps leading to the treatment. Parents are typically able to speak with the medical personnel, with the leaders and with their child.


  • What vaccinations and medications does my child need in order to travel abroad with Overland?

    Overland strongly recommends that families of students traveling abroad consult their child’s doctor and visit a travel clinic well before the start of the program to discuss options for travel-related vaccinations and medications. These are in addition to your child’s routine vaccinations and regularly prescribed medication.


    You and your doctor are encouraged to generally review information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. State Department, the World Health Organization (WHO) or other sources, in addition to the specifics of your selected program, to consider health issues and determine what, if any, travel-related vaccinations and medications are appropriate for your child. Overland will provide a “Travel Vaccinations & Medications” form to assist with this process.

Hike, backpack and kayak in the Land of the Midnight Sun and learn about Norwegian culture.

Students going on Norway Explorer should prepare for:

  • 5 days of hiking with an average of 7 miles per day
  • Traveling internationally
  • Travel to and from the trip
  • An Overland experience

We expect you to arrive to your trip fully prepared for all activities.

Preparing for Hiking

On Norway Explorer, you will spend a total of three days backpacking and two additional days on day hikes. You will hike on well-established trails over a variety of terrain ranging from rolling and gentle to steep and rocky. We will hike at elevations below 5,500 feet, but you should prepare for days with considerable elevation gain and loss.

Backpacking is a strenuous physical activity and requires proper training. While backpacking, our groups are fully self-supported—meaning that you will carry all of your belongings (clothes, sleeping bag and pad), some group gear, food and water. Your leaders will distribute group gear and food among all members of the group. Pack weights will vary trip by trip, depending on the location, weather, student and the distance covered. Typically when backpacking, pack weights average about 30% of a hiker’s weight.

Before your trip, we strongly advise you spend time breaking-in and adjusting to your hiking boots. We expect you to prepare adequately so you can keep up physically and participate in all of your group's activities. Please follow our guidelines as you prepare for your program.

Pre-trip training:

  • 5 weeks before your trip: wear your boots for 15-30 minutes a day. Walk around your house or neighborhood so your boots begin to conform to your feet.
  • 4 weeks before your trip: take three 30-minute hikes or walks in your boot.
  • 3 weeks before your trip: take three 1-hour hikes or walks in your boots.
  • 2 weeks before your trip: take three 1.5-hour hikes or walks in your boots with a backpack loaded with 10-15% of your body weight.
  • 1 weeks before your trip: take two 1½-hour hikes or walks in your boots with a backpack loaded with 20-25% of your body weight.

Groups typically average between 1½ and 3 miles per hour (although pace varies by group). You will take multiple breaks throughout the day - for water, snacks, lunch, to adjust packs, etc.

Preparing for International Travel

International travel requires extensive planning and preparation. You must have a valid passport and an understanding of the necessary visas and travel vaccinations and medications if applicable.

Overland provides step-by-step instructions to enrolled students regarding international travel preparation. More information is also available in the FAQs.

Preparing for Travel to and from the Trip

Families are responsible for arranging flights to and from the designated airport during a specified window (please do not purchase flights until you have received an email confirming our review of your health forms and school reference). Overland staff will be at the airport to welcome you at the start of your trip and to assist with your departure at trip end. You will call home upon arrival and before departure. You may also be dropped off at the airport, or in Williamstown (depending on your program’s start and end locations). More information regarding travel to and from your trip will be provided with the admissions review forms upon applying.

Preparing for an Overland Experience

Overland programs are wholesome, structured experiences with high expectations of each student’s behavior. Overland expects all students to contribute to an enthusiastic, positive group. We expect you to be helpful and supportive of your trip mates and leaders. We ask that you leave your cell phone and electronics at home (cameras are always welcome), so you can fully engage with your group and your trip. You will have the opportunity to send letters and receive mail at designated mail stops, which are shared in the spring.