Beside your bike, riding gear, passport and credit cards, there are a couple of things you may want to bring when you ride Norway on your bike. These are my 9 favorite bring-a-longs.
This probably represents the ultimate compromise between living space and packing size when it comes to tents. If you plan on making the most out of the Public Right to Access Act, and wild camp whenever possible, it’s good to have plenty of living space in case of foul weather. The lavvo can be put up in a matter of minutes when you get the hang of it. Also, you can light a bonfire or use your stove inside it, which is a bonus. It’s a mainstay in my touring outfit.
Insulated sleeping mattress
Even in the summer, the ground can be quite chilly in Norway, which means that it may suck the heat out of you if you use a standard air mattress, which offers no insulation towards the ground chill. Make sure you bring something that insulates properly. My favorite is the Exped Downmat 9LW, which is insulated with down and keeps your back warm at temperatures down to -40C (not that you’ll encounter that in Norway in the summer, but it’s good to be on the safe side). It has a built-in pump which is a bit awkward to use the first few times you pump it up, but it seems to “loosen up” after some use and the filling-up takes shorter time. Beside offering superior sleeping comfort, the Exped Downmat packs rather small, so it is also a mainstay in my camping pack.
Medium-rated sleeping bag
Be aware that even in the high summer, the temperatures in the north or in the mountains may plunge down to under 5C at night. Therefore, leave your light sleeping bag at home and bring one that takes at least 0C for a proper, comfortable night in your tent. Your insulated mattress should add to your sleeping comfort. I use a Mammut Igloo, rated at -3C, for my summer touring.
Not a must, but the Therm-A-Rest LuxuryLite Cot keeps following me in my camping pack as it adds to camping comfort. It’s extremely awkward to assemble, as it consists of close to a billion parts, but it packs extremely small. I guess it’s the price you have to pay for compactness. It keeps my sleeping quarters off the ground, which is good as I use a lavvo with no ground tarp. Therefore it has become a mainstay of my camping outfit. I am looking at the Helinox option for easier assembly, though.
Trangia gas stove
It packs fairly light and includes all the pots and pans you’d need, but requires a gas box as fuel (you can use a spirit burner, but it’s kind of weak in the power output so I don’t use it). These gas boxes are, however, readily available at most outdoor equipment stores, which are found in abundance in Norway. The stoves are easy to light and are fairly cheap to buy. Any stove will do, for course, and for colder times of the year I prefer paraffin/kerosene fueled stoves. But for summer touring, the Trangia is my cooking buddy.
You might want to take your chances and hope to find a rock or something to sit on, but when the rain is pissing down while you sit there in your lavvo, you’ll be glad you brought your small, collapsible chair. It’s cheap, easy to pack, and you’ll thank yourself for bringing it every time you use it. Trust me.
Collapsible water carrying bag
A soft water bag requires no space at all to pack, but is extremely useful when you have settled you camp for the night. Good drinking water is usually easy to find in Norway, and with your water bag you can fetch and store enough for every watery need you might have during your stay. I do not go touring anywhere without my water carrying bag.
Collapsible fishing rod
There are lakes, fjords and water in general everywhere in Norway. Most of them carry fish, so bring along your collapsible fishing rod for joyful evenings trying to catch the night’s dinner. You can find cheap options at most outdoor sports equimpent stores, which you know are in abundance in Norway, and it has again become an inseparable companion on my own tours. Lures are bought at your nearest petrol station, or try finding worms and maggots near the lake where you’ll fish. Just remember to buy a fishing license (it’s cheap, but important as it finances cultivation of fish in the lakes. Ask for a license at the nearest petrol station).
My radio receiver has become an ever more important part of my touring gear. When I sit there with a lit cigar and a wee after-dinner cognac, savoring the evening atmosphere and the solitude, I switch on the radio for added coziness. Of course, most broadcasts in this country is in Norwegian, but you’d always appreciate the music. It’s a universal language, no?