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What to pack and to wear when travelling to Northern Norway

What to pack and wear in Northern Norway

Northern Norway is a popular region for winter and summer outdoor activities and tours. The main tourist destinations are Tromsø, the Lofoten islands, Senja, Narvik and Lyngenfjord.

You can chase the Northern Lights, go a fjord cruise, try dog sledding, simply hike in the mountains and many other activities. So when you ask yourself what clothes to pack when going to Northern Norway, it pretty much depends on the kind of activities you will be doing.

However, one thing is essential: be prepared for the weather changes!

What clothes to wear in Northern Norway during Winter

Winter in Northern Norway usually starts in October and lasts until May, with January and February being the coldest months. When travelling to the Arctic, your will surely visit Tromsø. The temperature in Tromsø in winter is relatively mild considering the city is above the Arctic Circle, at a latitude of 69° North. The average temperature is between 0°C and – 5°C thanks to the Gulf Stream. But just an hour’s drive into the mountains, the temperature can drop to – 20°C.

Even though it can get really cold in winter in Northern Norway, you don’t have to worry too much about packing extreme cold-weather clothing.

During your winter outdoor activities and tours, like reindeer sledding, a fjord cruise around Tromsø, husky sledding, a Northern Lights chase or snowmobiling, you will be provided with thermal winter suits. Depending on the type of tour, winter boots, hats and gloves will also be included.

Nevertheless, it’s still important to come prepared. One tip: think layers, layers, layers! This is the warmest to dress and is also practical because you can easily take off or add a layer depending on how the weather changes during the day. The base layer is particularly important as this is the main isolating layer. Wool is a must as it keeps you warm in any situation and is odour resistant and moisture-wicking. Some people prefer merino wool as it does not itch but any wool will do.

Here’s our checklist on what clothes to take to Northern Norway in winter:

  • Winter base layer: woollen underwear, woollen socks, woollen shirt and woollen tights.
Clothing illustration
  • Winter mid layer: wool (or fleece) sweaters:
Clothing illustration
  • Winter outer layer: warm wind and waterproof jacket and warm and windproof pants such as ski pants:
Clothing illustration

Please note that if you go winter hiking or skiing, for instance, you won’t need so many layers because you will be more active. A lighter jacket like a shell jacket will do.

Accessories: warm hat, mittens and/or gloves and a warm scarf

Winter footwear: warm and waterproof winter boots will keep your feet dry and warm, as your body easily gets cold from the extremities.

Clothing illustration

What clothes to wear in Northern Norway during Summer

Even during the summer, Northern Norway can sometimes be quite cold. The warmest months are June, July and August, with an average temperature between 10°C and 15°C, although a record high of 30.2°C has been registered in summer.

The coldest temperature registered in Tromsø in summer was 0.7°C, so while you can leave your big winter jacket at home, you’ll still need to take those essentials you needed in winter. Our tip is to have extra clothes in your backpack as the weather can change quickly. Fine weather can suddenly change to wind and rain and the temperature can drop 5 to 10 degrees in an instant.

Here’s our checklist on what to take to Northern Norway during Summer:

  • Summer base layer: underwear, short and long-sleeved shirts and socks:
Clothing illustration

What clothes to wear in Northern Norway during Summer

Even during the summer, Northern Norway can sometimes be quite cold. The warmest months are June, July and August, with an average temperature between 10°C and 15°C, although a record high of 30.2°C has been registered in summer.

The coldest temperature registered in Tromsø in summer was 0.7°C, so while you can leave your big winter jacket at home, you’ll still need to take those essentials you needed in winter. Our tip is to have extra clothes in your backpack as the weather can change quickly. Fine weather can suddenly change to wind and rain and the temperature can drop 5 to 10 degrees in an instant.

Here’s our checklist on what to take to Northern Norway during Summer:

  • Summer base layer: underwear, short and long-sleeved shirts and socks
Clothing illustration
  • Summer mid layer: fleece or merino sweater:
Clothing illustration
  • Summer outer layer: waterproof and windproof jacket and pants:
Clothing illustration
  • Summer shoes: waterproof hiking boots and comfortable trainers for sightseeing.

    Accessories: sunglasses and sunscreen – you’ll especially need these during the Midnight Sun season when the sun never sets below the horizon from mid-May to late July, and mosquito repellent (June-August)

    If you visit Tromsø during your trip, we recommend bringing some casual clothes as the Arctic Capital has a vibrant cultural and foodie scene!
  • Summer shoes: waterproof hiking boots and comfortable trainers for sightseeing
You might also want to bring a swimsuit for a sauna/Jacuzzi session or, if you dare, a refreshing dip in one of the fjords of Northern Norway! In any case, don’t forget your camera and leave some space in your luggage as you will probably go souvenir shopping!

To sum up: check the weather, travel well prepared and remember this important saying in Norway: there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!

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