List of Compulsory and Recommended Equipment

Please consider your own specific needs and bring additional items if you will need them.

List of Compulsory and Recommended Equipment

There are two lists below. The first is the clothing and equipment that is the compulsory minimum for all Outdoor Life exchange students during the fall semester. Please consider your own specific needs and bring additional items if you will need them. The second list is recommended equipment (not compulsory but bring it if you can).

Please note: You will spend a lot of time outdoors on a daily basis at NIH in addition to the multi-day field trips. You can expect to be outdoors in rain, wind, snow or warm sunshine, on any day. During the field trips you can expect to be hiking in the mountains during August and September, hiking in the forests of Oslo in September/October possibly skiing or skating (depending on conditions)  in November/December.

You need to have equipment suitable for very changeable conditions: the mountains in late August can have temperatures below zero, snow falling and the wind blowing at gale force; in late September and October similar conditions can occur even in the forests surrounding NIH – so prepare for cold and wet conditions. In Oslo, snow can start to build up from late November and lasts through to about March.

Compulsory clothing and equipment

The ‘golden rules’: dress in layers and avoid wearing cotton.

You will need to dress warmly and be able to quickly adjust your body temperature during activities from the first trip onward. Zips at neck are good to adjusting body temperature.

Outer clothes

  • Waterproof and windproof jacket with hood (Goretex or similar) and windproof trousers. The jacket should extend below the buttocks (for rain and wind protection of core body temperature)
  • Thick wool or windproof fleece hat/toque/beanie (it needs to cover at least your head, ears and forehead)
  • Mittens and finger gloves in wool or fleece. Bring one extra pair for a dry change. Bring wind-proof overmitts if you have them.
  • Boots for mountain trekking (for walking on rough ground and snow in the mountain and forest areas). Leather boots are better than synthetic fabrics for resisting water and snow (important in Norway!). They cost more but will last a lot longer and they are a good investment for future outdoor trips. (Good leather boots have a vibram sole and nubuck leather). Remember to bring (or buy) a leather conditioner. Do wear your boots enough before coming to Norway so that when you arrive, they are comfortable for walking several days at a time.
  • Light hiking shoes or heavy sneakers (for day trips near NIH in fine weather)
  • Rubber boots
  • A set of outerwear (warm jacket (or sweater) and trousers – no cotton)
  • If you have a duvet (down-filled) jacket or vest, bring it with you for cold evenings or short breaks on tours

Mid-layer clothing

  • A medium weight wool/fleece top (a collar makes it warmer)
  • A pair of medium weight wool/fleece trousers


  • 1-2 sets of long underwear in wool or poly-thermal material
  • Minimum 2 pairs of (long) socks made of wool (avoid cotton!)
  • Underpants (wool, silk or synthetic - avoid cotton. Note: wool is the best option and will keep you the warmest. If you can, choose it over synthetic materials or ski underwear)
  • Women – bra (wool, silk or synthetic – avoid cotton)
  • Scarf, neck-warmer (wool or fleece) or Buff


  • Sleeping bag (3 season/ suitable for temperatures to -10 degrees­ C). *Note from previous students: Look for a -10˚C comfort bag. A regular 3-season one will likely not be warm enough in the late-autumn mountain weather. Mainly, know your own temperature tolerance – if you can tolerate cold, a 3-season bag may be enough, but if you get cold easily, look for a warmer one. Good sleep on trips is essential!
  • Sleeping bag liner / inner sheet (no cotton)
  • Air mattress (Therm‑a‑rest or similar, with a minimum r-value of 3)
  • Foldable foam ground pad (15mm thick)


  • Backpack for multi day travel 65/70 liters or more
  • Smaller backpack for daytrips
  • Basic toilet articles (toilet paper, toothbrush and toothpaste, sunscreen, anti-bug spray, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, matches)
  • Plate, cup, cutlery/flatware (all suitable for outdoor use)
  • Compass (baseplate compass with 360-degree disk, e.g. Silva models Explorer, Polaris, Ranger or similar). You will use this extensively and rely on it for travel.
  • Knife (to make handcrafts; hunting knife or similar)
  • Headlamp (+ extra batteries)
  • Basic first-aid-kit including: athletic tape, adhesive tourniquet (compress) in individual package, blister bandages, wound dressings, antiseptic ointment, band-aids.
  • Sunglasses
  • Headband or buff (can also be used as a sleeping mask)
  • Sun-cap
  • Water bottle (Nalgene is recommended as it can be used as a hot water bottle for cold nights)
  • Drybags (multiple small ones preferred over one big one. Recommended size: 5-15 liters)
  • Rain cover for the backpack
  • Microfiber towel
  • Ropes (4-6mm thickness)

Nice to have (recommended)

  • Camping chair
  • Map case (inexpensive alternative to a map case: plastic Ziploc bag)
  • Some extra tent pegs
  • Gaiters
  • Sitting pad

If you need to upgrade your personal equipment, try to borrow what you need. Second-hand shops in Oslo are a  good source for items such as wool clothing.  If you think you will use the equipment you need a lot after the Outdoor Life programme, consider buying new.  Watch out for sale prices in your home country and in Oslo – there are many outdoor retailers in Norway so there are often good sales on, especially at end of seasons.  Use search terms ‘friluftsliv butikk Oslo’ to find webpages for retail stores.

NIH will have for you to borrow

  • Tents
  • Stoves
  • Pots for use with cookers and fires
  • Axe, saw etc.
  • Touring ski/all-terrain, skiboots, touring-poles, gaiters and owerboots

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