Camp Ousland is an annual get-together of like-minded outdoor lovers on Manshausen Island, just a wee bit south of the Lofoten Peninsula. If you want to experience the beauty of Northern Norway with superb views on the Lofoten Peninsula, some amazing company and great activities, this is the place to be!
Disclosure: I’m a Helsport Ambassador and I was invited to Manshausen, but did not got paid to write about this trip. As you know: I’m keepin’ it real and tell you how it is - I maintain full editorial control of the content published on Hiking in Finland. Read the Transparency Disclaimer for more information on affiliate links & blogger transparency.
So yes, I’m a Helsport Ambassador, I was invited to this weekend in Norway, and I had a really good time. There were my kind of people, Northern Lights, exciting activities and as you will see throughout this article, some breath-taking scenery. Did I mention the great people already? No? Well, there was the Sisterhood of the Rope on the Nordskott Traversen, climbing buddies, fellow Helsport Ambassadors and friendly people from all across Norway, with a few Swedes and Europeans thrown in, too. Add in good food, a great location, an inspiring host and a Sauna and you’re bound to have an amazing event - whatever the Norwegian weather decides to throw at you!
When you sign up for the event you can book yourself in for several activities - from Sailing on a trimaran, a Kite course, Free diving, Halibut fishing, the Nordskot traverse or a guided kayak trip - there’s lots of options and you’re bound to find something you’d like to try. I myself was climbing, did the Nordskot traverse and visited the cave, and then also went packrafting on my own (I did bring my own raft). As you’re going to an outdoor event the people who will be in your group will most definitely be on your own wave-length, so don’t worry - even if you’re going on your own you will have a great time and meet good people!
After I arrived on the island there was a communal BBQ and then Børge Ousland, the famous Norwegian adventurer and explorer, welcomed us to his island and the weekend ahead. I used this time to meet some people, like Bjørn whom I have followed for a long time on Instagram, and get to know my fellow ambassadors. As I had a long day - I got at 4 am that morning - I retired early to my tent, and called it a night.
The next day I went climbing and rappelling at a nearby crag. Nothing difficult but good fun to get the people who have never climbed into it. The day started wet and rainy (not really good climbing weather) but ended up sunny and nice. We returned after the climbing to the island, had a warm shower and got ready for the big meal - this evening we would all together eat Whale, prepared by one of Norway’s best chefs. I have to say I was sceptical for ethical reasons to try Whale, but in the end my curiosity got the better part of me and I tried it. And what can I say - it was tasty! It certainly won’t be something I would look for in the supermarket (especially since nowadays I eat 95% of the time a vegan diet) but back then it was something I was curious to try. After the dinner together there was a Pecha Kucha going on which I followed for a while, though as the majority of presentations were in Norwegian I again left for my tent to go to sleep.
The next day I was signed up to go halibut fishing, but by a lucky coincidence I could switch with Helge and got to go on the Nordskottraversen, which I really wanted to do. The Nordskottraversen is a wonderfully exposed ridge walk, and we had the best Guide - Thomas - and an amazing group with Merete, Tina and Ellen. At the start it all looked weather-wise still OK - cloudy, not bad. But once we were down on the ridge after the short abseil the rain and wind moved in, and it was a real adventure. I was soaking wet on the outside, but warm and happy about the adventure in great company. As we moved off the ridge and were bushwhacking down the mountain the sun even came out again, and as we arrived back at the shore we had nice weather! After the boat ride back to Manshausen everyone was happy to get into the warm Sauna or a hot shower, and then get ready for the Saturday night Party on the main land. Bacalhau was served and was delicious, and then there was live music and drinks and dancing and good times - I have heard, as I myself was again retiring around 22 o’clock to my tent 😂
(This image is a good example to give you an idea of the scale of the ridge - it is LARGE! There’s one person standing at the start of the ridge to give you an idea of the scale.)
(And in this image you can spot another group a wee bit further down the ridge from us)
Sunday came around nice and early, and it was a good looking day. I wasn’t booked in on any activity that day, so I simply joined a walk to a nearby cave. It was totally chill and nice, with good views and good conversations. After we returned once more to Manshausen you already could feel the atmosphere of departure at camp - pretty much everyone was leaving today with the ferry back to Bodø. As my flight wasn’t until the next day I stayed another day on the island, chatted with Børge and the people who were still here, went packrafting and just enjoyed the beautiful views now that it finally got really sunny with clear skies!
That night I also put my alarm for midnight, as I had a hunch that on this first weekend of September there could be a chance of Northern Lights. And as I looked tired out of my tent - bright green Northern Lights were dancing across the sky, with a beautiful starry sky behind it. I took my Tripod and camera out and shot till the battery was empty, and then retired back to my quilt in my warm tent. It’s always worth to put your Alarm for midnight when the Northern Lights season is starting, as that is just something so special and pretty that I always will get up for it. The next day I departed with Børge and the others back to Bodø, and after a long day of travelling I arrived relaxed and with great memories back in Vaasa!
In conclusion, this was a well organized event at a great location. Just to meet up with friends I’d go again, and the location is just ❤️ If you have nothing planned for August - September 2019, keep an eye on the Helsport Facebook page where the next event for 2019 will be announced, book a flight and make sure to add a week before or after the event to visit the Lofoten, too! View more photos on Flickr.
How to get there
To get to Manshausen you take a plane to Bodø and from there the ferry to Manshausen, Nordskot is the place to get off the boat. Then you either can inflate your packraft and paddle over to Manshausen Island, or wait till one of their boats comes to pick you up. I did the latter =) The Ferry from Bodø to Nordskot you can book here, but usually you also could just walk on the ferry and get a ticket. My definite tip would be to attend Camp Ousland and then hang on another week in the Region - for example you can take the ferry onwards to Svolvær in the Lofoten, and explore that inspiring place.
Those that know me will be aware that I really like to sleep under a Tarp or in a Pyramide Shelter, though there are situations where a tent is the way to go - especially if you don’t need to carry the tent far (or can make someone else carry it)! My weekend on Manshausen Island in Nordland showed me the benefit of a large apsis to store gear and a dry, spacious inner to sleep and chill while the rain is pounding the flysheet. Obviously my tent was from Helsport, this time around I was sleeping in the spacious Lofoten Superlight Camp which I really like - more on this tent at some other time, though. If you don’t want to sleep in a tent or under a tarp while at Camp Ousland, you also can sleep in one of the amazing houses, on a boat, and some other indoor options are available, too.
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