In winter by van to Norway?
At the beginning it seemed like a crazy idea: with our van in the deepest winter to Norway? We know the sometimes extreme weather conditions and snow conditions from our previous trips. Between December and Easter is always and everywhere in Norway with extreme conditions expected. But after we bought the van last summer, it's inconceivable for us to just rent a cabin or even book a hotel. So it works like so often with us: Once the idea is there, we have to (only) prepare the implementation. We will go north with our van!
First, we clarify the destination and the approximate distance in Norway, as many other facts depend on it. We very quickly reject the obvious desire to drive to Tromsø or even much north of Trondheim. On the one hand we only have three weeks for this tour and on the other hand we are too risky for the first road trip in winter with the van. So we quickly agree on an alternative, especially since we both love the idyllic and romantic region in the east of Norway: We drive into the vastness and untouched landscape in the border area to Sweden. From Femundsmarka via Røros to almost Trondheim, this indescribably beautiful winter wonderland is enough.
The WINTERWONDERLAND TOUR 2018 is planned
The route is planned relatively quickly. We consciously decide to choose already known places as the first stations. From there we will explore northern regions unknown to us. So we decide to spend the first nights in the idyllic pond Elgå on the shores of the Femunden. Then we want to continue to the fascinating city of Røros, where we have never had enough time to explore all the highlights. Then it should go on Stugudalen and Selbusjøen on to Trondheim. Depending on the time and the weather conditions, we either drive to the coast or back on the E 6 in a southerly direction. In any case, we still want to stop in Lillehammer on the way back to visit the Ice Sculpture Park.
We love to move freely and independently of campsites in Norway during the summer. Just stand where you like it and do not plan anything - that's what makes our tour so special. However, we quickly realize that in winter we rely on campsites. We will need the infrastructure in the squares, from the electricity connection to the washing machine or the sanitary facilities. So we are looking for at least the first two possible campsites in advance and ask if actually is open and we can come. The remaining places we clarify then on the way, during the tour. In any case, you should announce yourself or just announce the planned arrival, because then often only snow is pushed and you can be so sure that everything goes well. Elgå Camping and Røros Camping clarified. Great!
The dress rehearsal for our trip
Rather intuitively, we think that we should test our van first on a winter weekend in Germany. That makes sense, because we were only on the road in summer. The heating and other systems have never had to work at high performance. In addition, we could also back if we were already cold in the German winter temperatures. Said and done. On a weekend in December we visit friends in Saalfeld (Thuringia) and actually have the opportunity to put our motorhome through its paces. We quickly realize that the driving characteristics of our four-wheel drive on snow in combination with the BF Goodrich AT tires are very satisfactory. Even the first night in freezing temperatures can be sustained. However, the power supply of our eStore Lithium batteries does not work ... they simply can not be activated. Crap! Good thing we noticed it before the trip!
We contact the manufacturer Dometic and our contact Michael Ortmeier takes care of our problem quickly, professionally and solution-oriented. Christmas is coming and it is not long before the tour. After it is clear that we can hardly approach one of the service points of Dometic before our tour, Mr. Ortmeier has the eStores collected from us. We get back this with a firmware update. Quickly installed on the weekend before our Winterwonderland Tour - and lo and behold: nothing works. Our tour is on the cutting edge :)!
But Mr. Ortmeier is also on the weekend for us to talk and he agrees immediately to meet with Sirko before our tour somewhere on the highway. We get replaced the apparently defective second battery, so that we can first realize our tour to Norway without any problems. This works well and so is the tour of this site nothing more. Thanks to the sensational service of Dometic!
The equipment will be increased
(with * marked links are affiliate links / more about that in the imprint )
Through our test in Thuringia we also realize that an electric booster heater makes sense, if not necessary. In extreme temperatures, it can support our Truma diesel heater and we would also have a replacement if the main heater fails. After many searches in forums and Facebook groups, we decide not to compromise and buy the well-discussed electric heater * PEWAG RSV 81 accompany us - always in the hope of not needing them.
The ferry has to be booked
We have been to Femundsmarka three times and have always driven by car to Elgå via Oslo, Elverum and Trysil. In this respect, almost all ferries that arrive either in Oslo or a reasonable distance from it. When searching the possible connections, their prices and the timing of our arrival, we come for the first time on a new constellation: The Stenaline ferry from Kiel to Gothenburg. This is not far to drive for us in Germany, the ferry over night offers to sleep, so that we arrive rested. In addition, we have several options from Göteborg to come to Femundsmarka. We can use the E45 through Sweden or as usual drive through Oslo through Norway.
So we book the ferry and save more than ten percent. We use the exchange rate from the Norwegian krone to the euro by booking on the Norwegian side of the shipping company. How this works, we have shown for you in this separate post . In total we pay 4415 NOK (Norwegian kroner) for the two crossings Kiel - Gothenburg and back with our motorhome (just under six meters) and a double cabin. Perfect!
The car has to be prepared and packed
First, we explore what we additionally need in winter and which items make sense only in summer. Among other things, we remove everything that has to do with the bicycles (tools, spare parts, bicycle carriers etc.), the gas grill, the camping furniture, our tent for hiking and a lot more. Instead we invite the following things in addition for the winter tour: (with * marked links are affiliate links / more about that in the imprint )
- * Working gloves (for handling in the cold, for example with the snow chains)
- * Snow chains
- * two whisk with tripod (because of the high sprinter discs)
- * Additional insulation mats for the cab windows (fastened inside with suction cups)
A practical solution: the skis are hung on the slatted frame
The tripods, which are due to the many warm things (somehow much more than in summer ...) in the living room barely accommodate, must also in the rear garage. However, we also have to approach these important tools often and quickly. Tensioning belts made of rubber, which we put through the openings in the Euro-boxes in order to transport the tripods standing upright and safely, also help here. A solution that has proven itself well in the meantime.
The excitement is rising - soon it starts
So, the preparations are largely completed, the first two campsites made clear and of course we have plenty of warm wool underwear bought. Otherwise, you should really buy winterproof and robust clothing for extreme temperatures directly in Norway. Even if it is (sometimes) more expensive, the Scandinavians know best what is really suitable for the winter there.
Now it is important to regularly check the weather report from the first destination and the road conditions. For the weather we always use yr.no and for the road conditions the current information from Statens Vegvesen. (Both links may also be interesting for you)
Let's start ... Norway, we are coming !! Read here shortly the reports from our tour through the winter wonderland in the north of Europe and see if everything went well.