Norway Explorer

Perched on the northern edge of Europe is Norway, a country of remarkable natural beauty. In a land where the summer sun never quite sets, we'll explore Norway’s trails by foot and fjord’s by kayak.

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 people, a fascinating culture and some of the most stunning summer hiking there is.

After we meet in Oslo, we’ll take a train–one of the most beautiful train rides in the world–to Bergen on the west coast. In Bergen, we’ll explore the city on foot and take 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’ll finish with a backpacking trip through Aurlandsdalen, on one of Norway’s classic hiking routes. The locals are adamant that there are trolls along this route–we’ll just have to see for ourselves! Our sense of camaraderie will be strong now, and we’ll be at our best as we enjoy the beauty of Norway’s landscape 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 care about, our desire to explore will continue to grow.

Questions? Contact us!

Sam really had a great two weeks. His leaders set a positive tone with the group, and the variety of activities, scenery and perfect weather made for an unforgettable trip.


- Becky King, Brookline, Massachusetts

Two weeks of fun, friends & adventure in Norway.

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 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 wild lands of Norway.

Days 4-7: Sea Kayak the Fjords

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 six 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, with limited access to bathroom facilities.

Itinerary may vary by group and is subject to change.
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We travel light at Overland.

Luggage

  • 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.

Clothing

  • Navy Overland T-Shirt (1)
    We will send every student an Overland T-shirt prior to the trip. Please wear this T-shirt to trip start.
  • Synthetic T-Shirt (3)
  • Synthetic Shorts (1)
  • 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.
  • Underwear (5)
  • Wool and/or Synthetic Socks (4)
  • Winter Gloves or Mittens (1)
    Insulated, warm and waterproof. Avoid knit and porous materials.
  • Winter Hat (1)
  • Hat with Visor (1)
  • Swimsuit (optional)
    If we swim, many students will wear shorts (and a sports bra for girls).
  • Neck Gaiter or Buff (optional)

Outer Layers

  • Fleece Jacket or Pullover (1)
  • Midweight Synthetic or Down Jacket (1)
  • Raincoat (1)
    Waterproof material (e.g., Gore-Tex, or similar) is required. Your jacket should be large enough to allow layers underneath. Ponchos are not acceptable.
  • Waterproof Rain Pants (1)

General Gear

  • Waterproof Pack Cover
    If your backpack does not come with a cover, we recommend buying a cover one size larger than your pack.
  • 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
    ¾-length or full-length closed cell foam (thin and firm) or self-inflating.
  • 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).
  • Headlamp
    Please bring an extra battery/batteries.
  • Water Bottle
    One 1-liter bottle. A Camelbak or similar water carrier is acceptable.
  • Adjustable Trekking Poles (optional)
    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.

Miscellaneous

  • Synthetic Camping Towel
    A medium-size synthetic camping towel (synthetic camping towels dry much faster than regular towels).
  • Travel Size Toiletries
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen (SPF 15+) & Chapstick (with SPF protection)
  • Insect Repellent
  • Gallon Sized Ziploc Bags (10)
    To organize and waterproof your gear and small items.
  • Large Trash Bags (4)
    To waterproof your gear.
  • Package of Moleskin or Molefoam
    To protect your feet from blisters.
  • Camera, Charger & Extra Batteries (optional)
    A digital or disposable camera.
  • Personal Journal or Book (optional)

Important Documents

  • Health Insurance Card
    Please bring an original or copy of your health insurance card.
  • Passport
    Please bring 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.
  • Permission to Travel to and from Norway
    Please bring a copy of your Permission to Travel to and from Norway form.

Spending Money

  • Spending Money & Miscellaneous Expenses
    Each student should bring a debit card, an ATM card or a prepaid card to cover spending money and miscellaneous expenses. Some prepaid cards do not work internationally (notably, Visa); please ensure you purchase one that does. Spending Money: While all meals and activities are included in the trip fee, we recommend $25/week for spending money (for example: for souvenirs or an occasional drink or snack beyond what is provided to the group as a whole). Miscellaneous Expenses: Most Overland students will incur some expenses while traveling (for example: an equipment repair or baggage fees at trip end). Please add $100 to the debit/ATM/Visa card (in addition to spending money), to cover these expenses.

Things to know

  • We travel light at Overland; please only bring the items on this list.
  • Your group will have access to laundry periodically.
  • Please do not bring your smart phone (or any other electronics).
    Please visit the FAQ tab 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, 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. Do not bring additional luggage.
  • There are no reimbursements for lost, damaged or stolen items.
    Please schedule expensive items—phones, cameras, bicycles, etc.—on your homeowners insurance policy.

Questions? Call us: 413.458.9672.

  • What is the weather like on Norway Explorer?

    The weather in Norway during the summer varies widely, 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.

  • 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 trip end. We will provide more specific travel information once we have placed your child on a trip.

  • 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). The Overland 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 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 their interests and abilities. You should spend some time familiarizing yourself with the details of the specific trip 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.

    When we receive your application, if your first choice is available, we will: (1) call you to acknowledge our receipt of your application, (2) send you an email with a link to our enrollment forms, and (3) charge a deposit of $795 to your credit card. If your first choice is not available, we will call you to discuss options. For more information, and to access our application, please visit our Apply page.

  • 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. 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 an expensive smartphone. Instead, an inexpensive prepaid cell phone will do. All phones will be collected on arrival and returned at departure. While we will take reasonable steps to prevent damage, theft or loss, 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 other 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.

  • Can I send mail to my child during a trip?

    Getting a letter, card or postcard while on an Overland trip is always exciting. Please keep in mind that sending mail to your child on an Overland trip is different than sending mail to a traditional camp because your child will be on the move. Our experience has been that mail often does not arrive on time, and, sometimes, even when it does, post offices, campgrounds and other mail stops do not reliably deliver mail to our groups. For these reasons:

     

    1. Please do not send anything valuable – please send letters, cards or postcards only.  If mail is late, lost or misdirected, Overland’s leaders and staff are not able to return to the post office (or other mail stop) to collect it.

    2. Please use the US Postal Service first-class mail only; do not use UPS, FedEx or DHL (many of our mail stops accept US Postal Service mail only).

    3. Please do not send overnight letters: many overnighted letters arrive before or after we arrive and are then sent back. For this same reason, please do not send mail that requires a signature upon delivery.

    4. Please allow one week for postal delivery to U.S. mail stops.

    5. Please allow two weeks for postal delivery to international mail stops.

Get ready to explore Norway by foot & kayak.

Students going on Norway Explorer should prepare for:

  • Full days of outdoor activities led by two caring Overland leaders
  • Day hikes to viewpoints and mountaintops
  • A multi-day backpacking trip designed for first-time backpackers
  • A fun, supportive and wholesome Overland experience

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

Preparing for the Hiking

On Norway Explorer, you will hike on well-established trails over a wide range of terrain, from meadows to hills to mountains. You'll start with day hikes where you'll carry just the essentials for the day (snacks and lunch, water, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, bug spray and a raincoat). As the group's skills and fitness increase, you'll set out on a multi-day backpacking trip. While backpacking, you will carry all of your belongings (clothes, sleeping bag and pad), some group gear, food and water. Typically when backpacking, pack weights average about 30% of a hiker's weight. In the month before your trip, you should break-in your hiking boots (wear them a lot!) and complete the pre-trip training (see below). Once on your trip, you'll find that enthusiasm and a positive attitude will help to make the trip a success for you... and for everyone in your group.

Pre-trip Training:

  • 4 weeks before your trip: three 45-minute hikes or walks in your boots.
  • 3 weeks before your trip: three 60-minute hikes or walks in your boots.
  • 2 weeks before your trip: three 90-minute hikes in your boots with a backpack loaded with 10% of your body weight.
  • 1 weeks before your trip: four 2-hour hikes in your boots with a backpack loaded with 20% of your body weight.

Preparing for an Overland Experience

Overland trips are wholesome, structured experiences with high expectations of each student’s behavior. You are expected to be enthusiastic, positive, helpful and supportive of your trip mates and your 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. Arriving ready for a challenge—and prepared to contribute to an enthusiastic group—will go a long way toward creating a successful trip. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss preparing for your Overland trip.