Friluftsliv: Embracing the Norwegian Way of Outdoor Living

Friluftsliv Philosophy

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verificationVerified Expert

    Embracing the great outdoors offers more than just scenic views; it's a journey of self-discovery, wellness, and a deeper connection to our environment. In this blog post, we'll delve into the profound benefits of nature, from the tranquility it offers our minds to the invigorating boost it gives our physical health. 

    Join us as we explore the myriad ways nature enriches our lives and why it's essential to prioritize our bond with the environment.

    What is friluftsliv?

    Friluftsliv is a term that resonates deeply with the Norwegian spirit. It emphasizes a simple, harmonious life in nature, ensuring that we neither destroy nor disturb the environment. This concept is not just about being outdoors; it's about a profound connection with nature, a bond that nurtures our soul. 

    The term is often associated with open-air living, encouraging everyone, regardless of age, to embrace outdoor adventures. It's more than just a word; it's a lifestyle.

    Friluftsliv embodies the philosophy of living harmoniously with nature, ensuring minimal disturbance. This Norwegian ethos aligns closely with "kos," denoting a cherished sense of comfort and joy.

    Connection and Friluftsliv

    The History of Friluftsliv:

    Friluftsliv, a term deeply embedded in Norwegian culture, translates to "free air life." This philosophy, rooted in Scandinavia for centuries, emphasizes a profound connection with nature. Historically, the rugged landscapes of Norway, with its vast forests, fjords, and mountains, shaped the lives of its inhabitants, making outdoor activities essential for survival and leisure. 

    The concept gained prominence in the 19th century, influenced by the writings of Henrik Ibsen and the Romantic movement. Over time, friluftsliv evolved from mere outdoor survival to a way of life, celebrating nature's simplicity and the joys of outdoor activities, fostering a deep respect and bond with the environment.

    The benefits of friluftsliv

    Engaging in friluftsliv activities offers numerous benefits:

    Mental Well-being

    Immersing oneself in nature offers a sanctuary from the daily hustle and bustle. The serene ambiance, the gentle rustling of leaves, and the rhythmic sounds of wildlife work in tandem to soothe the mind. 

    This natural tranquility acts as a balm, alleviating the pressures of modern life, thereby diminishing feelings of stress and anxiety. Over time, regular exposure to such environments can enhance mental clarity and uplift one's mood.

    Physical Health

    Engaging in outdoor activities is not just a recreational pursuit but a holistic approach to maintaining physical health. Whether it's hiking up a mountain trail, canoeing down a river, or simply taking a brisk walk in the woods, these activities stimulate the body, enhancing cardiovascular health, building muscle strength, and improving endurance. 

    The varied terrains and challenges posed by nature also ensure that the body gets a comprehensive workout, promoting overall well-being.

    Connection with Nature

    Delving into the outdoors fosters a bond with the environment that goes beyond mere appreciation. It instills a sense of belonging, a realization that we are a part of this vast ecosystem. This connection deepens our understanding of the intricate balance of nature, making us more attuned to its rhythms and nuances. 

    Over time, this bond cultivates a sense of responsibility, urging us to tread lightly and ensure that our actions are in harmony with the environment.

    Connection with nature

    How to get started with friluftsliv

    Starting with friluftsliv is simple. All you need is the desire to be outdoors. Whether it's a walk in the park or a camping trip, every step you take towards nature is a step towards friluftsliv.

    Friluftsliv activities


    Hiking is more than just a physical activity; it's a journey through nature. As you traverse various terrains, from dense forests to mountainous paths, every step brings forth a new revelation. 

    The chirping of birds, the rustling of leaves, and the distant sound of flowing water all contribute to the experience. Hidden gems like secluded waterfalls or panoramic viewpoints await the keen explorer. Hiking not only strengthens the body but also rejuvenates the mind, making it a holistic experience.


    Camping is the epitome of living in harmony with nature. As the sun sets, the world transforms. The once bright and bustling forest becomes a tranquil haven illuminated only by the stars and perhaps your campfire. 

    The sounds of nature, like the distant hoot of an owl or the gentle rustling of the wind, become more pronounced. Sleeping under the open sky, away from the distractions of modern life, you connect deeply with the environment. The morning sun, accompanied by the melodies of waking birds, is a gentle reminder of the world's natural rhythm.

    Camping as a part of Friluftsliv Philosophy


    Fishing is a meditative activity that teaches one the virtues of patience and perseverance. It's not just about catching fish but about understanding nature's cues. The gentle ripples on the water's surface, the dance of aquatic plants, and the subtle movements beneath the water all play a part in the angler's experience. 

    The anticipation, the wait, and finally the thrill of a catch make fishing a deeply rewarding activity. It's a reminder that good things come to those who wait.


    Canoeing is a dance with water. As you paddle through calm lakes or gentle rivers, you become one with the rhythm of nature. The gentle strokes of the paddle, the sound of water splashing, and the serene environment create a meditative experience. 

    Canoeing offers a vantage point like no other. Gliding on the water's surface, you witness the world from a unique perspective, observing aquatic life, the reflection of the sky on the water, and the landscapes that frame the water bodies.

    Forest in Norway

    Skiing & Snowboarding

    The winter landscape, blanketed in white snow, offers a playground for those seeking thrill and adventure. Skiing and snowboarding are not just about speed but about embracing the cold, feeling the crunch of snow underfoot, and navigating the undulating terrains. 

    The rush of cold wind against the face, the exhilarating speed, and the beauty of snow-covered landscapes make these activities a celebration of winter. Whether you're carving your way down a slope or catching air on a snowboard, the adrenaline and joy are unmatched.

    Friluftsliv gear


    When embarking on outdoor adventures, especially in varied climates like Norway's, the right attire is paramount. Dressing in layers allows for adaptability to changing conditions. Start with moisture-wicking base layers to keep sweat at bay, followed by insulating layers like fleece or down, and finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer. 

    This system ensures warmth and dryness, whether you're hiking in the rain or skiing down snowy slopes. Additionally, accessories like hats, gloves, and appropriate footwear can make a significant difference in comfort and protection against the elements.


    The essence of friluftsliv is to immerse oneself in nature, and having the right equipment can significantly enhance this experience. A sturdy tent provides shelter during camping, ensuring a good night's sleep under the stars. Quality fishing rods increase the chances of a successful catch, turning a day by the lake into a memorable adventure. 

    Backpacks, navigation tools, and cooking gear are also essential, each serving a unique purpose in making outdoor activities more enjoyable and safe. Investing in durable and reliable equipment ensures not only a better experience but also longevity in your adventures.

    House in the mountain


    Engaging in outdoor activities often requires more energy than one might anticipate. The cold can increase calorie burn, and activities like hiking or canoeing can be strenuous. It's essential to pack food that provides sustained energy. Whole grains, nuts, and protein-rich foods are excellent choices. 

    Preparing meals like stews or pasta in advance can be reheated on a camp stove, offering a warm and satisfying meal in the wilderness. Snacks like trail mix, energy bars, and dried fruits can be easily accessed during activities, ensuring you're fueled and ready for whatever the day brings.


    Embracing friluftsliv is about more than just outdoor activities; it's about a mindset, a way of life that brings us closer to nature. As we journey through life, let's take a leaf out of Norway's book and make friluftsliv a part of our daily lives. 

    And if you're planning a trip to Norway, consider renting a campervan from Campervan Norway to truly immerse yourself in the friluftsliv experience. Happy travels!

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