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Planning for Sundsvall-Trondheim 2018 (mostly gear and food)

Julianna

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
St. Olav's Way (2018)
#1
Hi everyone! I am so excited that I am going to get to walk St. Olav's Way from Sundsvall to Trondheim in August and September of next year! I have been reading the other threads on here but thought I'd go ahead and ask about my own situation, to get as much benefit from others' knowledge as I can. This is my first pilgrimage and my first experience with a long solo trip.

I am planning my gear loadout. I do not own any backpacking gear currently, as I haven't backpacked in quite some time (having a young child will do that to you!) I will be traveling alone, and my budget is pretty limited. Meaning, I can't afford the cool name-brand items that many people swear by. And what splurging I can afford to do, will probably be on clothing for the trail, because staying dry and at a comfortable temperature while hiking is very important for me. I plan to camp the majority of the time, using other accommodations only when they are free or very inexpensive, or the weather is truly awful. Also, I hope to keep my pack pretty light-- less than twenty pounds if that's possible.

So here is what I am planning currently, and I would love any critiques and suggestions anyone can offer! :)

-- Pack: Inexpensive 50L internal frame. If my kit is light enough, I might go for a frameless one instead.
-- Shelter: Light tarp and trekking poles. (I don't like tents. I hope to sleep open-air when possible, and pitch the tarp if it rains.)
-- Sleeping bag: lightweight synthetic rated for 40F
-- Sleeping pad: ThermaRest RidgeRest SOLite
-- Footprint: Mylar blanket (also large enough that if I get super cold, I can fold it over myself as well)
-- Plastic trash bags and ziploc bags for keeping things dry
-- Hydration: 2L Camelback with in-straw filter
-- Cooking setup: Either an alcohol stove made from a can, or a very light canister stove; foil windscreen; Zippo lighter and storm matches; 1 quart aluminum pot; collapsible mug
-- Clothing: Merino underwear, socks and base layer. (Like I said, my one splurge!) Quick drying convertible pants. Linen overshirt in case of sun or bugs. Wool sweater. Fleece jacket. Frogg Toggs for my rain gear. Light water-resistant hiking boots. Beanie and liner gloves. Brimmed hat with bug netting. No changes of clothes except socks and undies.
-- First aid kit, multi-tool, compass, pen light, whistle... the basics. (Of course.)
-- Personal/hobby things: small binoculars (for stargazing), sketchpad and pencils, journal, e-reader, quick-drying bathing suit and microfiber towel, charging unit for phone and e-reader
-- Hygiene items: Comb, antiperspirant, dry shampoo, cut-down toothbrush, dried toothpaste tabs, multi-purpose biodegradable soap, chapstick, small amount of sunscreen, toilet paper, small trowel (for burying waste)

What are folks' ideas about that list? Any changes you would recommend? Do you think I can put that stuff together at twelve, or at most, fifteen pounds? (The extra weight to be occupied by food, water and fuel.)

Now, on to thoughts about food. I know there will be places to restock food frequently along the way-- what is the longest period I should plan on going without resupply? In other words, how many days' food should I plan to carry at once? Also, I'm wondering what sort of things I will be able to carry to eat. If I were doing a shorter hike closer to home, I would prepare individual dinners in ziploc bags out of dehydrated ingredients, and then just add boiling water at dinner time, but that won't be an option when I'm thousands of miles from my kitchen! I don't really know what kinds of instant/portable foods will be available in local stores in Sweden and Norway. I am fine with just eating nuts, fruit, etc. throughout the day but I do like to make myself a hot dinner at the end of a twenty mile hike. (Of course, I will undoubtedly eat in cafes/restaurants by the way sometimes, but probably not the majority of the time.)

And water: will 2L be enough to get me from one source to the next? I've heard it's fine to drink from the springs and streams, but I want to be on the safe side and use some filtration...

I'm sure I will have many other questions as the time approaches, but in the meantime, I would love any input people are willing to give! Thank you in advance!

~Julianna~
 

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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#2
I walked the Olavsleden last May - well out of the main season and still quite cold. Resupplying was not a huge issue and I normally carried enough food for two days which was fine with the daily distances I was covering. However, I was probably going further and faster than most people would find comfortable and completed the route in 17 days - mostly because it was simply too cold to stop walking on some days and very little accommodation was open at that time of year :) I carried a lightweight tent (just over 1kg) and camped most nights. The number of places offering relatively cheap pilgrim accommodation has increased even since last year but being able to camp will give you far greater flexibility and reduce your costs enormously. Fortunately Sweden and Norway have very liberal laws on outdoor access and wild camping is explicitly permitted provided you respect private property and cause no damage. Your camping equipment seems reasonable to me for a summer walk. I always carry a lightweight breathable bivvy bag on backpacking trips which protects my sleeping bag. If the weather is good and there is no prospect of overnight rain I occasionally do not bother with a tent. Not a very practical option for the length of the Olavsleden though.

I am not familiar with Frogg Toggs. Are you very confident that they will keep you dry in serious rain? If you only plan on wearing and carrying one set of outer clothing what is your plan for washing and drying them, or in event of accidental damage? I understand the aim to travel light but not having at least one change of clothing strikes me as an unwise economy.

If you think I can be of any more specific help to you please feel free to send me a private message.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances 2013 - Camino Portugues 2014 - Camino frances 2016
#3
As Bradypus have said - if you insist of going without tent and just use tarp in that area - I would highly recommend a bivy bag. If you are short for cash - get one in military surplus store. And also - the military bivies can take one hell of a beating without going to pieces.
I would go for 3-4 litres water instead and food atleast 2 days. It is slightly on the expensive side but the hiking food "Turmat" (norwegian) is really good - just remember to also eat fruit and so on on the side. Remember only drink directly from streams/rivers with "running" water - but use filtration just to be sure.
I must be honest here - if you can do it with a 50 litre - i would be very surprised. I walked Oslo-Trondheim a few years ago and I used a Fjeldræv 65L - and I still had to strap Tarp/Bivvy/sleeping pad to the outside of the backpack.
I also have to add some comments about clothes - you need 3 pairs of socks and atleast 2 sets of clothes - thats including the one you are wearing. And also the rain clothes Bradypus is mentioning - maybe also get a poncho. If it rains all day - you are going to get seriously wet - and then you need dry clothes.
That reminds me - don´t forget paracord rope or some rope for clothing line to dry your clothes.
And of course - have a great trip.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#4
I will be walking this route in order to arrive in Trondheim for the Olsok festivities, a month or so earlier than you. I don't intend to camp, and do intend to have a change of clothes! So my views on packing, etc are somewhat different.

You might want to look at Kate and Corwen's site. I haven't been in touch with them for some time, but they were a great help to me even though we were taking different approaches. @Corwen is their forum name, but they haven't visited for several years.

There are also threads started by @lovingkindness. She was also a great inspiration - you might want to read about her journey from Trondheim, starting here. She also provided me with links and hints to other resources, largely about the Gudbrandsdalen, here.

I trust that you have found the Norse and Swedish pilgrimage sites and the St Olavsleden Facebook page. The come up on a Google search, but if you do need the links, let us know and I'm sure one of us can let you know what they are.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#5
I trust that you have found the Norse and Swedish pilgrimage sites and the St Olavsleden Facebook page. The come up on a Google search, but if you do need the links, let us know and I'm sure one of us can let you know what they are.
Since @dougfitz has kindly mentioned them and they are a great resource for anyone thinking of walking the Olavsleden here are links to these websites. The Facebook group is very active and friendly. A lot of the Facebook posts are in Swedish but almost everyone there can and will post in English or translate if you ask nicely :) :

https://www.facebook.com/groups/hikingstolavsleden/?ref=bookmarks
http://www.stolavsleden.com/
http://pilegrimsleden.no/en/
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#6
I walked the Olavsleden last May - well out of the main season and still quite cold. Resupplying was not a huge issue and I normally carried enough food for two days which was fine with the daily distances I was covering. However, I was probably going further and faster than most people would find comfortable and completed the route in 17 days - mostly because it was simply too cold to stop walking on some days and very little accommodation was open at that time of year :) I carried a lightweight tent (just over 1kg) and camped most nights. The number of places offering relatively cheap pilgrim accommodation has increased even since last year but being able to camp will give you far greater flexibility and reduce your costs enormously. Fortunately Sweden and Norway have very liberal laws on outdoor access and wild camping is explicitly permitted provided you respect private property and cause no damage. Your camping equipment seems reasonable to me for a summer walk. I always carry a lightweight breathable bivvy bag on backpacking trips which protects my sleeping bag. If the weather is good and there is no prospect of overnight rain I occasionally do not bother with a tent. Not a very practical option for the length of the Olavsleden though.

I am not familiar with Frogg Toggs. Are you very confident that they will keep you dry in serious rain? If you only plan on wearing and carrying one set of outer clothing what is your plan for washing and drying them, or in event of accidental damage? I understand the aim to travel light but not having at least one change of clothing strikes me as an unwise economy.

If you think I can be of any more specific help to you please feel free to send me a private message.
I own a Frogg Toggs rainsuit, it is extremely light and breathable. It has always kept me dry in Camino rains, with the worst being in early May of this year upon leaving Castrojerez on the Meseta. It was quite cold with high winds and pelting rains all morning and afternoon until past 2pm. I never shivered and was bone dry when arriving at my lodging end of day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#7
I know there will be places to restock food frequently along the way-- what is the longest period I should plan on going without resupply?
I have been plotting a variety of things into the Garmin Basemap to transfer to a GPS, including accommodation and grocery stores. Google Maps is a good source, although there are still the classic issues of opening times and whether all the stores actually have listings. My results so far are consistent with the advice given in the English language translation of Soderlund and Sjostrom's guide St. Olavsleden: A pilgrims path in northern Scandinavia. On my staging, the places without grocery stores at some point on the stage are:
  • Borgsjo and Bracke - two days
  • Duved and Vuku - five days
  • Verdal and Hommelvik - five days
All these legs have places that provide accommodation and meals, but I have not found out yet whether you can get a meal if you aren't staying there.

And water: will 2L be enough to get me from one source to the next?
On the Gudbrandsdalen, I found that starting the day with a full 2 li bladder and a 750 ml bottle worked pretty well. When the bladder runs out, decant the bottle back into the bladder and look for a place to refill the bottle (and treat the water in it if you need to). I have used a similar pattern since on my pilgrimage walks.
 

beiramar

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Português, Camino del Norte, Fisterra,
#8
I have not walked that route but been hiking and camping down there in the middle of sweden quite some times.

It can get cold and really windy and the felt temperature is way lower than you would expect. Instead of bringing a tarp, a footprint plus a bivvibag I would rather take a tent. But that depends what you're comfortable with. I write this text lying in my tent right now and I would not want to swap it for a tarp setup. Mostly for moisture, warmth and perceived safety against the elements.

Other than that I think your set is great, make sure to bring warm clothes and a proper warm sleeping bag.

In September it can snow in the mountains, the snow won't stay but still... it's a positive and amazing experience if you're prepared.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#9
On my staging, the places without grocery stores at some point on the stage are:
  • Borgsjo and Bracke - two days
  • Duved and Vuku - five days
  • Verdal and Hommelvik - five days
A little information @dougfitz . Though I personally did not use it there is or was a small Coop supermarket in Hell. Also I made a diversion after the church at Vaernes into the centre of Stjordal which has a good number of shops, then looped around the airport to the west to reach Hell. Then I decided I had seen enough pine forest and instead walked along the minor coastal road through Hommelvik and Vikhammar to enjoy the coastal views until the Olavsleden rejoined it a few km from Trondheim. So I cannot comment on the official interior route at that stage. There are certainly a number of shops on that coastal road.

I was travelling pretty fast because of the cold and lack of open accommodation. I also ran into problems on arrival in Norway when an unlucky combination of a national holiday and a hotel strike mucked up my plans for more leisurely days. The supermarket in Vuku was closed. As was the hotel and visitor centre at Stiklestad. I ended up walking Duved to Verdal in two long days. I also was expecting to find an open ATM in Vuku but did not and I had very few Norwegian krone. Not a great problem as it turned out when nowhere was open to spend them :) It is probably worth getting hold of some Norwegian krone well in advance. I think the last opportunity to do so in Sweden would be in Are.
 
#10
Hi everyone! I am so excited that I am going to get to walk St. Olav's Way from Sundsvall to Trondheim in August and September of next year! ~
Hello, Julianna.

August and September are lovely months along the St Olavs Leden. There will be berries in the undergrowth and heat in the sunshine. I set off from Sundsvall on 13 August 2015 arriving at Nidaros by the second week in September. It was a solitary beautiful walk.

This is my first pilgrimage and my first experience with a long solo trip.~
…That shouldn’t be a problem. I am a woman who walks alone, too. From Sundvall to the border the trail is easy to moderate, mostly on dirt roads and tracks. The trail becomes more demanding in Norway. It is well signed.

I walked without GPS, phone or camera. I carried a PDF printout of trail maps and stages aquired at the tourist office in Sundsvall. This sufficed.

. I plan to camp the majority of the time, using other accommodations only when they are free or very inexpensive, or the weather is truly awful.~
I didn’t camp out. I walked from village to village with very little in my pack. At the end of each day I made enquiries and found a place indoors to stay. Sometimes people called their families and friends and I was passed from household to household along the trail. It was fun.

and my budget is pretty limited. ~
By the time I arrived in Sundsvall I had been walking for 4 months. I had set off from Trieste in April making my way up to Olsztyn, Poland then sailing from Gdansk to Sweden. For most of the journey I had little or no money in my pocket.

...I am planning my gear loadout. ~
My gear consisted of

*A Mountainsmith lumbar pack 9l

*Poles.

*2x 1 litre water bottles

*the clothes I walked in (1 pair of trousers, a blouse, lingerie, boots, 1 pair of socks, 2 buffs, a gortex hat and scuffs for apres-walk)

*rain gear (a large black rubbish bag, a 2-dollar plastic poncho and waterproof over-trousers)

*autumn gear (lightweight puff jacket (100 g); woolen gloves ; buff cap)

*Toiletries

*School exercise book, pen, gluestick , bible

*documents ;

*Flute.

*PDF printout of route (from tourist info in Sudsvall)

Now, on to thoughts about food. I know there will be places to restock food frequently along the way--~
Hallelujah! I ate every day. Thank G--- for the berries :)

...feel free to ask questions....

Cheers
Lovingklindness
 
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